Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6398 / Scorpion – Tough fare

Posted by tilsit on April 19th, 2007


Solving time:  Most of the day!

I was having to dip in and out of this between hospital appointments today and I found this experience very tough going.  Like my Co-blogger today, there is one clue that defeats me, though I have the answer from the definition.   Scorpion is one of the more ferocious Indy setters and all his previous puzzles have caused me problems.  In this one, I felt that there was a mix of really clever clues but there were one or two that I thought too clever for their own good.  However, overall it was a worthy challenge and one that was tougher than today’s Guardian, which was dreary and dull.  Off now to wrestle with the Times, masochist that I am!

ACROSS  (*= anag (R)= REVERSAL

1   HOLD UP   LOUD* in PH (R)
5   PUSHBIKE  BUSH (with first letter switched to the end)  inside PIKE
9   MINSTREL  Not sure about this –  any offers?
10  CRISPY    C R (regulars in SCARF) + I SPY (watching game)
11  BELL BOTTOMED   A cryptic definition clue (I think!) Not a favourite clue
14  PRAYER    P (Quietly) + AYE (agreed) inside R R (Clergyman – Right Reverend)
15  SCLEROID  CL (Criminal’s outside) embraced by ROSE* + I.D. (Passport ? – note the use of the question mark to suggest it’s an example)
19  NICKEL    US Bread =  def  +  (BREAD) which is half sliced (PUMPER)NICKEL
21  HYDROTHERAPY   Another cryptic def –  people used to “take a cure” in the
waters of Bath –  ie  in a bath as well.
23  SYMBOL    Ends of MerrY, BlottO, LeglesS scrambled
25  ONLOOKER  O (Oxygen) + N (New) + LOOKER (Babe)
26  FESTIVAL  ST IV(ES) = Cornish resort avoiding a couple inside two elements
 FE & AL
27  CANADA    Victoria’s home (def) –  Clothes shop C AND A with an A inside.
Allusion to the Beckham’s but the clue seemed a bit long and contrived to me.

2  OLIVER REED  REVELLER + I* minus L inside DO (R) – Another one a bit too
contrived for my liking,  though I appreciate some will enjoy it. 
3  DISPLAY    Solved the clue – but the explanation held me up for a while 
VIRGIN is an ISP inside LADY*
4  PARLOUR MAID  this was the clue I disliked most – anag of AU PAIR & MILORD less I –  an “&Lit” style
overall definition with the clue defining the whole entity. 
5  PILATES   PLATES (of meat) Cockney rhyming slang for feet with I for Institute inside –  This read well and was a nice deception.
6  SEC  Hidden answer
7  BUILDER   Homophone –  BILLED ‘ER – again an “&Lit” definition.
8  KEPT  KENT swapping N for P
12 MELANCHOLIC  M (Mass) + CLEAN* + HO (HOUSE) + LIC (pronounced Brush – LICK of paint)
13  WIDESPREAD  Another good concise clue – WIDE = errant delivery + SPREAD (cover)
17  EXHIBIT   I presume Three relates to 3 down.  Most setters use the numbers – is using a word instead of a digit  fair? – Discuss
18  AXOLOTL   AX (uS Tool) + TOOL* + L (ending in Duel)
20  CARTOON   ACTOR* +  ON (LEG side in cricket)
22  BYTE    Hidden answer
23  LEV   Money from one of the Black Sea countries.

3 Responses to “Independent 6398 / Scorpion – Tough fare”

  1. says:

    9 Across – Minstrel. ‘piano perhaps’ = ‘instrument’, half of = ‘instr’ covered by Mel (as in Mel Gibson).

  2. says:

    Precisely. You’re obviously a quick learner, Jon. I’m trying to tame Scorpion a little, but I wouldn’t want to homogenise the Independent crossword. If you see the name Scorpion you know you’re in for a challenge.

  3. says:

    I thought I was in for a long haul with this, but got there just inside 15 mins after my brain had got itself into ‘Scorpion mode’. Not fussed about the word/numeral issue at 17D – but then I’m quite used to the online version of the Times, where some bug in their system forces them to use words in many cases like this.

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