Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6476/Scorpion – Eric and Ernie

Posted by bensand on July 19th, 2007


No two ways about it, Scorpion’s tricky. Thursday is also the day of the week I have least time for solving and blogging so apologies that this is a little late.

I cracked the first half in about half an hour but it was sporadic peeks through the day from then on, culminating in an anticlimactic finish when I realised that it was Eric Morecambe not Ernie Morecambe when I had so earnestly been trying to work “sernie” into 13 down.

On a couple of later clues I definitely struggled because I was trying to invent something too obscure when in fact it was (relatively) straightforward but then on a couple I was trying for an easy reading and it was twisted! All very good though and scrupulously fair if difficult. Chapeau!

Hard to leave any clues out in the blog really, they all seem good candidates.

7 NEOPHYTE – (THE OPEN)* with Y inside. Nice topical starter and lulled me into a false sense of security!
9 TUAREG – T(OP) G(EAR) around UAE around R. Definition “Rover, on sand”
10 ELVIS – T(EL)E(VIS)ION. Excerpts from television means two separate chunks to make the word.
12 ASYMETTRIC BARS – Two surface readings, one of gymnastics equipment and one of a drunk in a dungeon (I think)
15 DO-SI-DO – DODO with IS<=, house is instruction rather than fodder
20 DULCIMER – D + ULCER around IM (being roman numerals for 999 … can’t believe how long it took me to see that!)
22 AGATE – A + G + (W)ATE(R)
24 THIRTY – TH(E) IR(ON) TY(SON). Increaingly diminished means take off one more letter each time! Brilliant although I think Iron Mike’s star was on the wane before he reached thirty!
25 BAEDEKER – BA(DEE)*KER. Baker is “one who makes a bloomer”, a bloomer being a type of loaf
1 DECEASED – Possibly the easiest clue in the crossword, given a basic familiarity with Monty Python, and I didn’t spot it until late…
2 SPIV – SP is odds, V is against, is I just indicated by a with tracking being a container?
3 BECKER – BECKER and BEAKER are the outside definitions and C (about) to replace A (adult)
4 ETON – Sounds like EATEN, not seen “picked up” as a homophone indicator before although it seems like a good and deceptive one
5 PARLIAMENT – PAR + LIAM + ENT. Liam (Gallagher) is one associated with Noel, ENT is PEANUTS with odd letters excluded
13 MISERICORD – S + ERIC (not Ernie) + O + R in MID. Only just put together the last bit as I thought ring road gave ORD and then I couldn’t explain the MI at the beginning. But if road is just R it’s easier. A room in a monastery according to Chambers.
18 MOUTHY – M is the centre of arguments + (YOUTH)*
19 HORNBY – HORN(B)Y referring to the author of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity among others
21 MAYA – A YAM <=

9 Responses to “Independent 6476/Scorpion – Eric and Ernie”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was tough but I got there in the end. Fave clue: MOUTHY

    18 across reminded me of an article I read many years ago about a reporter, who, like many, started in a provincial paper. This was I think in the 1960s somewhere in Wales. One August he was in the office, when a phone call came through. Someone wanted to speak with whoever was responsible for the crossword.

    Nobody had ever done this before but the reporter was responsible in that puzzles were sent down from London – he put them in and printed the solution the next day.

    The caller said “I was down enjoying the sun on the beach and now I’ve come up to a phone box here” (no mobiles then) “Do you know what it says in that crossword today?” “What does it say?” “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers”

  2. Quixote says:

    I found it hard too, Ben. As to BEAKER/BECKER : I think that the grammar could lead to either

  3. nmsindy says:

    Don’t want to argue with the experts, but I saw the BECKER/BEAKER possibilities but thought “about to knock out adult” gave it unambiguously (c for a). Hope I won’t be proved wrong tomorrow!

  4. rightback says:

    If I remember rightly I’ve found some of the clues in Scorpion’s previous Indie crosswords a bit too contrived, but I thought this whole puzzle was really good. Gave up on BAEDEKER after about 20 mins.

    I agree with Nmsindy about BECKER.

  5. Quixote says:

    Yes, sorry, agreed, BECKER!

  6. neildubya says:

    Great puzzle. A shade easier than previous Scorpions I thought.

  7. nmsindy says:

    You must really be coming on, Neildubya, if you can use any form of the word “easy” in relation to this puzzle.

  8. petebiddlecombe says:

    I found it as tough as many other Scorpions too (but fair). With this kind of puzzle, just a few right or wrong ideas can make a huge difference to your time.

  9. neildubya says:

    Well, an easier Scorpion still isn’t easy! Maybe I was properly tuned in yesterday.

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