Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6663/Scorpion

Posted by neildubya on February 29th, 2008


I have a number of crossword wishes waiting to be carried out by the crossword genie and one of them is for Scorpion puzzles to appear more often. Yes, they are very tough but I find them very satisfying to solve. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every Scorpion puzzle I’ve solved and this was no exception. Lots of great clues to savour here but, for me, 14d is simply brilliant, and brilliantly simple.

1 S,A MUST,AS (all reversed)
6 [-j]IFFY – just a short clue but quite tough to parse and a good surface to it.
9 POLO,[-a]NY – “Marco” could only really be POLO it took me a while to see that “some” was ANY. Not knowing that POLONY was a suasage didn’t help either.
10 OV(ER)A,CT – lifting and separating “ham and eggs” is the key to cracking this one.
11 E,VEN[-i]SON,G – I thought EVENSONG as soon as I saw “prayers” but didn’t fill it in immediately as I couldn’t see how the clue worked. “Electronic game” is a hard phrase to split up, if you get my drift.
13 BRIGHTON ROCK – I think this is a homophone for “brighten roc” (“polish bird, in fiction” – the roc being a mythical bird), with “picked up” as the indicator. I worked that out post-solving.
16 (IGNORE TOM)*,TRY – I think this was the first answer I filled in.
20 M,N (COME IN)* – “jogger” is an excellent def for MNEMONIC.
23 (VI[-c]T[-o]RIA)* – TRIVIA.
25 BE in AYR in TRY – struggled with this one until I thought of AYR as the Scottish town.
2 ([-l]OREAL [-h]AVE)* – ALOE VERA. Not sure about “scrubbing faces” to indicate the removal of the initial letter of “L’oreal have”. Works perfectly on the surface, less so in the cryptic reading I think.
3 SHORN – not completely convinced this is right but I can’t see what else it might be. “Outgrowth” could be HORNS, and if you move the bottom letter (“toe”) to the top (“head”), you get SHORN.
8 (NOTE COST)*,VENT,RY – I’ve always wondered what phrase the residents of Coventry use instead of this one.
14 ETC in GARTER – what a great piece of phrasing: “Order masks etc for 1970s film”. Bravo.
15 RAIN,IE in BR – I’ve never come across BR as an abbreviation for “bedroom” before, but there it is, in the dictionary.
17 (T EMIN OR)* – ON MERIT. An unusually worded clue here: “According to T.Emin or other, how Turner Prize is won?”. I don’t think we can call the clue an &lit so “According to” just seems to be helping the surface along. Or have I read that wrong?
18 LAUREL – “Hardy perennial” is very good and very misleading.
21 PI in ONE – I very much liked “a couple of pints” to indicate PI.

4 Responses to “Independent 6663/Scorpion”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was one of the best Indy puzzles of the year so far, a real pleasure right through to solve. Happy with ‘faces’ for first letters in ALOE VERA – would see it as similar to ‘front’. Re ON MERIT, think “According to …. other” taken together indicates the anagram.

  2. Jon says:

    Enjoyed this very much, despite staring at an empty grid for half an hour before 8d fell into place, and then I started to get somewhere…

  3. Fletch says:

    That’s the same way I interpreted the shorn clue.

    First time I think I came across bedroom abbrev. as BR was in this Enigmatist clue: Spanish chap in bedroom penetrates (6).

  4. Al Streatfield says:


    Shurely “masks” doesn’t work as a “container” indicator, because the letters ETC (or, if you like, ET C) can be seen quite clearly in GET CARTER… The aim of a mask is to conceal what is underneath it.


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