DIY COW #108 – DIVORCE   15 comments

Here we go…


Posted April 30, 2011 by Anax in DIYCOW

15 responses to “DIY COW #108 – DIVORCE

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  1. Well done to the contributors to DIYCOW #108. There was some very creative thinking on show, and I was amazed by the diversity of ideas that everyone produced. I’ve listed the clues by contributor, in order of when their first entry was posted.


    Tiebreak required to separate closely-matched pair (7)

    The first clue submitted. The surface is a sporting metaphor, and reads pretty well. I’m not entirely convinced by “closely-matched pair”, but this is a pretty good clue.

    Catholic in pursuit of love during spring break (7)

    “In pursuit of love” is excellent. “Spring” for “dive”? I didn’t like that at first, but, on reflection, I think that it’s OK, and it helps the surface – “spring break” is nicely misdirecting. Shortlisted.

    Decorated hero protects men in pass over chasm (7)>/b>

    The wordplay here works well. I’m not keen on “chasm” as the definition, though, and the surface is slightly clunky.


    Personality returns cover version of Tammy Wynette song (7)

    I’d hoped that someone would think of using this song! Unfortunately I don’t think that “cover version of” can indicate an anagram of “cover”, because “version of” suggests that the fodder is to follow. Also, I don’t think that “returns” works well in the surface reading.

    Welshman in a state over European break-up (7)

    “Ivor” as “Welshman” is very nice, and the surface is plausible.

    Co-driver almost distraught in parting (7)

    “Co-driver” is almost a cryptic definition of spouse, and I liked the idea of the clue. Unfortunately the surface is a little too unnatural.

    Unwed? (7)

    Nice. An adjective meaning “not married” used cryptically as a verb to mean “undo wedding”.

    Dewed! (7)>/b>

    A similar idea to the previous clue, although using a seldom-seem adjective. This is OK, but lacks the impact of “unwed”, which has a related literal definition.

    Vile coward prepared this law perhaps (7)

    The only compound anagram submission. The wordplay is flawless, but there’s no natural link between “vile coward” and “divorce law”, and that weakens the clue somewhat.

    Partition of old C Drive needs defragmenting (7)

    A brilliant idea. Excellent definition, which works as both verb and noun, and well-chosen (and original) anagrind. The use of “old” for “O” as part of the anagram fodder is on the acceptable side of indirect anagrams, since there’s little doubt about what is meant.

    The construction [definition] of [wordplay], although it’s often seen, isn’t good. “From” instead of “of” would have been better, or the clue could have been tweaked to eliminate the “of”; eg “Defragment old C Drive partition”. Nevertheless, a very impressive concept. Shortlisted.

  2. SWK

    Separate doctor….voice doctor (7)

    It’s a matter of opinion, of course, but, for me, this goes too far into indirect anagram territory. The anagram fodder must be clearly indicated. Straightforward single-letter indicators are OK, I think, as are other unambiguous pointers, but “doctor” can clue quite a few possible combinations of letters. The surface reading is problematic too, I think, because it’s difficult to imagine this phrase actually being used.

    Twisted video about religious disunion (7)

    A good concept, and the first mention of video! The wordplay works well, and I like disunion as the definition. A different anagram indicator, though, could have improved the surface reading; “twisted” doesn’t work too well.

    Scuba outing captures killer whale cutting tail on the rocks (7)

    “Scuba outing” for dive is clever, and the rest of the wordplay is also very good. Sadly, “on the rocks” is an adjectival phrase, and the definition really demands a noun or a verb.

    Scuba expedition films killer whale cutting tail on the rocks (7)

    As above; I don’t think that “films” can be used as a containment indicator in the way that was meant. “Film” can be synonymous with “cover” but in an entirely different sense. Solvers would struggle to make that connection, I think.

    Divide by half, or end couple’s alliance! (7)

    Another good idea, but it doesn’t quite work here. “Divide in half” could indicate DIV, but “divide by half” suggests “multiply by two”. “End couple’s alliance” doesn’t properly indicate CE for me – it could mean “end the alliance of couple” (which is a perfectly reasonable definition) or “end alliance is couple” (which doesn’t make sense) or “end alliance has couple” (ditto). I could go with “end couple of alliance” for CE, but that would obviously ruin the surface.


    Perhaps what the distressed Man United needs (7)

    Using “Man United” as part of the clue is an interesting idea, and certainly one that I wouldn’t have thought of. “The distressed Man United” doesn’t read well; you would never talk about “the Man United” in normal speech. “Man United” could definitely be worked into a clue for DIVORCE, though. This one definitely gets points for originality.

    Poet upset about describing Conservative break-up (7)

    Excellent wordplay, and props for being the only contributor to use Ovid in a clue. The surface reads naturally, with only a little hesitancy about why a poet would be writing about such a thing. Shortlisted.

    What eventually resulted after Diana got upset over Camilla’s arrival (7)

    The first mentions for Diana and Camilla! I’d expected both to be well-represented, so more points for originality. This is very nearly a beautiful clue. The surface is great, but “arrival” as a “first-letter-indicator” is not so good, and there’s no indication that the “C” is to be embedded in the rest of the wordplay.


    Distributed video about Catholic schism (7)

    A better working of SWK’s earlier idea, and top marks for pointing out the earlier contribution.
    Not entirely sure about “schism” as a definition, and, again, I think that a better anagram indicator could have improved the surface reading.

    I’d reversed over roundabout without first considering to break a long journey (7)

    “I’d reversed over roundabout” is excellent, and “without” as a containment indicator works very well here. “First considering” isn’t really adequate to indicate C, and the definition is, as you suggested, a bit of a stretch.

  3. S T Sahasrabudhe

    1) Separate cover Id — marriage (7)

    I don’t think that “marriage” can act as an anagram indicator. It doesn’t suggest a disturbance or rearrangement of the letters. “Separate” is a perfectly good definition, but the surface makes very little sense.

    2) Give up queen to avoid mate (7)

    The surface reading here is perfectly natural, and the chess allusion is clear. Unfortunately, neither of the purported definitions quite does the job. “Give up queen” presumably requires the assumption of “queen=wife” which is too much of a stretch; “avoid” doesn’t convey the sense of permanent separation the divorce would imply.

    3) Part company, break partnership and revert to onefold life (7)

    The first two of the three definitions are very similar, and the third is a very unnatural construction involving an obscure adjective. The clue overall reads poorly, I’m afraid.

    4) Divide five hundred by five or hundred in even time (7)

    The wordplay here is convoluted, but accurate, and it works quite well. Sadly, the surface reading is not good, and it’s difficult to see how such a sentence might ever be used.

    5) Disunite post-marriage cover Id change (7)

    “Disunite” is OK as a definition; “disunite post-marriage” works less well. “Cover ID change” is a fair way to indicate the necessary anagram, but the surface reading, again, is disharmonious. This sounds rather like a clue that was produced by an algorithm rather than a person.

    6) Split figure five hundred that is without five or hundred (7)

    “Split” as the definition is fine. “Five hundred that is without five or hundred” signifies the wordplay accurately. “Figure” seems to be redundant, and it’s difficult to understand what the surface reading could mean.

    7) Executive Committee’s rigidity over vindicating individual directors initially from the East, causes split (7)

    The reversed acrostic is properly indicated, and the definition is OK, but the clue is let down by the surface reading. “Vindicating” is not a very good choice of “V-word”, and, overall, the clue sounds a little clumsy, and rather long.

    8) Split seconds of ads give even longer real commercial exposure initially (7)

    An ambitious idea! Start with second letters and finish with first letters. The wordplay is absolutely fine, and the definition is OK, too. The surface reading, though, doesn’t quite work; splitting seconds wouldn’t lead to longer exposure.

    9) This gives a couple of singles (7)

    Yes, it does – sort of. The “singles” don’t just come into being though, and there’s nothing here to suggest a separation, or a change from an existing state. There might well be some mileage in this idea, but you’d have to have a “pair” before getting “ a couple of singles” I think.

    10) Tie-breaker for a cancelled match? (7)

    “Tie-breaker” is a decent definition, although how it could be part of a “cancelled match” I don’t know. Again, there is a decent idea here, but Gazza’s early clue did it better.


    Monster sitting in sleazy bar gets cut off (7)

    The wordplay works well. “Monster” for ORC is good, “cut off” (as a verb) is good as a definition. The surface lacks something, though. Cut off from what? Why cut off?

  4. Axiom

    Rally leader leaving co-driver broken down causes breakup (7)

    I like “co-driver”, as in Prolixic’s earlier clue, and the wordplay here is very good. The surface is understandable, but there’s a tension here. To make the wordplay work “co-driver” has to be “broken down”, but for the surface to work, either both “rally leader” and “co-driver”, or the implicit vehicle, ought to have “broken down”. Perhaps “…co-driver, having broken down…” and “…caused…” might resolve that problem. A decent clue, but not quite there.


    Split beaver finally seen with tip of cock in video nasty (7)

    Another rare outing this week for “video”; I had expected more examples.

    What to say about this clue? The wordplay is great. “Video nasty” is brilliant for those of us old enough to remember when the term was common currency (which, I suppose, probably includes most DIYCOW contributors). The surface reading is not that bad, but has a couple of problems. Perhaps I have had a sheltered life, but “split beaver” has little anatomical resonance for me as a noun (as it’s used here), and very little more if used as a verb. I can imagine a sense it which it might be conceived as playing a part in a “video nasty”, but I really don’t want to go there.

    A mention in dispatches for bravado, though!

    Penfold finally reaches 50. Amongst one of the ruder clue-writing entrants. Hats off! (7)


    This is a fantastic way to send congrats to your mate, and it’s nearly a great clue. I’d love this one to win, because it’s so brilliantly conceived.

    Sadly, “50” won’t (quite) do for VO. Maybe “The old five-oh” could have worked…

    I’m not a fan of “hats off” as an acrostic indicator, although it is used; “hats of” makes more sense, but isn’t so good for surface readings. “Clue-writing”, I think, would need to lend two hats, rather than one, and the “of the” seems redundant, unless it’s linked with “hats off”, in which case the whole thing would be, as Big Dave says, “yodaspeak”.

    Nevertheless, a wonderful contribution, in more ways than one.


    Divide 501 by five to get 100 and a quarter, or somewhere in the region

    Brilliantly original, and almost (but not quite) there.

    “Divide” as a definition is good, and most of the wordplay is OK. The arithmetical basis of the clue is fantastic. The insertion of OR doesn’t really work, though. Great idea, and very original.

    Root note (bars one and five) clashes with second note around opening of canon – end of two-part harmony

    Another excellent and very creative notion. My only quibble is with the definition, which is just about plausible, but not quite enough to justify a top-three finish

    Without ceremony, void church marriage terminally?

    Lovely choice of anagram indicator and good wordplay; “terminally” spoils the surface reading for me, though. Another good contribution.

  5. Ayayay

    To split – go down, around or about (7)

    Sound wordplay, but I’m struggling to see the surface as plausible.


    Part of the line recited (7)

    The definition is fine, but the homophone doesn’t work for me.


    Habit of Henry VIII, Vlad IV or Ceausescu that’s shrunk? (7)

    Very good definition and wordplay. The surface allusion to clothing common to those three having shrunk, though, is (no pun intended) a bit of a stretch.


    After this, United no longer cried freely about an old 5-0 (7)

    Very nice definition, and the wordplay works well for me. Perhaps the surface requires some familiarity with football, but this is a good clue. Just pipped to the shortlist.


    Throw out first two to vomit cider – the consequence of choosing Rough Old Wife? (7)

    The wordplay works well. “Rough Old Wife”, regrettably, requires specific knowledge on the part of the solver that would be in short supply (and, accepting what you say about searching the web for confirmation, acquisition of that data could present some risks!). The definition is a little unclear, I think.

    Very funny, though!

    Cast cried about very old double act coming to an end (7)

    Good wordplay, excellent definition, and plausible surface. Shortlisted.

    Girl Power gets victory for female liberation from marriage (7)

    “Power” for “force” is OK, and the wordplay is fine. The surface of this one, though, is a little clunky, I think.

  6. Cutlp

    Unhitch? (7)

    Uncouple? (7)

    Similar ideas to Prolixic’s “Unwed” and “Dewed”.

    Both of these suffer as CDs, I think, because they are both literal definitions of one sense of the solution, although they are both cryptic definitions of the “marital” sense of the term.


    Split over CID reforms (7)

    Everything works well here. It’s a good clue, but not quite up there with the top three.

    So, four shortlisted clues. It wasn’t easy to decide between them, but:

    Fourth place:

    Shyam: Poet upset about describing Conservative break-up (7)

    This works well, and it’s just short of the top three.

    Third place:

    Dram: Cast cried about very old double act coming to an end (7)

    A fine clue that I’d be happy to see in a newspaper puzzle.

    Second place:

    Prolixic: Partition of old C Drive needs defragmenting (7)

    Very original and creative clue, just a tweak away from greatness.

    …and the winner:

    Gazza: Catholic in pursuit of love during spring break (7)

    Very nice clue indeed. Well done!

  7. Thanks to Qix for the expert judging and managing to post the results in spite of the technical problems.
    Thanks to him also (I think) for making me the winner. I’ll wait a while before posting next week’s challenge, to see if the old site comes back.

  8. Thanks for some fine clear judging Qix, and well done gazza on a brilliant clue!

  9. Many thanks Qix for your detailed write up, a fine debut effort, and of course for the podium finished – drat, only just missed out on the coveted second place! Well done Gazza, here to fewer anagrams next week!

  10. Huge thanks to Qix for providing such a detailed review under trying circumstances. I’m really sorry Web-Mania have let us down again, although I have to resist being too harsh on them.
    Last time it was due to an external hack of the MySQL system which affected many forums, not just those hosted on Web-Mania servers. This time a serious mechanical fault has taken a number of their servers offline and they are trying to effect repairs – we can only wait and see how quickly that happens; and, to their credit, they’ve been very upfront about the problem.
    In the meantime, message to Gazza – no problem at all if you want to announce next week’s challenge here. Contributors can at least work on some ideas between now and the forum going online.

  11. OK, the challenge for next week will be CURRENT which should provide for a large number of possible definitions. The usual rules will apply (i.e. max. 3 entries per person before Tuesday night and the whistle will be blown at 17:00 BST on Friday). I’ll be aiming to provide a review sometime on Friday evening.
    Good luck, everyone!

  12. (i) Return, playing with child’s first present (7)

    Def = present
    RETURN = fodder
    With = to include C(hild’s first)
    Playing = anagrind

    (ii) Return with child’s first broken present (7)

    As above but with ‘broken’ as the anagrind

    Trying hard not to post something about Rolls Royce engines initially being housed in something!

  13. Hello! Is there anybody in here?

    Feeling awfully lonely all on my own . . .

    • Hi Axiom

      There is a new thread for challenge #109 – just the one offering so far although I have suggested that contributors may want to use the next few days to work on clues before submission (in the hope that the proper forum comes back online) which may be why it’s quiet.

  14. 1) Dog-torn present (7)

    2) What’s happening now is odd–not keeping promise to let (7)
    Definition = What’s happening now

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