Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6777/Scorpion

Posted by neildubya on July 11th, 2008

neildubya.

This was the best prize puzzle I’ve done in some time. That’s not to say the others weren’t any good, just that this one was really good. Lots of great clues and invention, and a few laughs here and there.

Across
1 (NORTH SEA OIL)*,ON – great clue which took a little untangling on my part (was “working the anagrind? was “North” part of the anagram fodder or just N? etc)
9 ALEXAND[-e]R,AI< – I liked the image conjured up by the surface reading.
10 (SAUCE,H[-e]R[-b]S)* – another excellent clue.
11 T(HEW,H)O – filled this in fairly quickly but it took ages to work out the wordplay.
12 LAP,DAN,CE – a standard athletics track is 400m long, hence LAP. I’m assuming that “man concentrated” indicates a shortened form of a man’s name: DAN for Daniel.
14 CAST,O,R – I did wonder what this had to do with stars but it turns out that CASTOR is a star in the Gemini constellation.
18 BERIBERI – another one where I saw the answer quickly but had to wait for the fog to clear to see the wordplay. It’s deceptively straightforward: “spitting out” is a homophone indicator and you need a brace of them.
20 IMPROV – a short form of improvisation. Don’t get the wordplay though: “Member in ballet centre missing first ad-lib performance briefly”.
22 BLEAR in TON< – another tricky clue to parse I thought.
24 (HER PANTIES)* – HEN PARTIES. Good clue with a well-hidden definition: “female flings”.
25 CAL[F for M] – with C?L? I originally filled in COLT but this clearly didn’t work with the wordplay.
 
Down
2 P in (CHOIR SAD)* – RHAPSODIC.
3 hidden reversed in “accompaNIED ARThur” – I think surface reading is a nod to the 80s TV programme Minder, featuring used car salesman Arthur Daley (played by George Cole).
5 ITS< in (LACE)* – is “pants” the anagram indicator here? If so, why?
7 NEIGHBOUR – which, in the pluralised version, is an Aussie soap opera. I think the rest of the clue is saying that if you add Hood (i.e. Robin) you get “Neighbourhood”.
13 (RAMBLE)* in ALL – ALARM BELL. Clever definition: “is it activated by stirring tea leaves?” (Tea leaf is Cockney rhyming slang for “thief”).
17 AVE,R in ANT< – I especially liked “hail and thunder finally” for AVE,R.
19 U in (BARS TO)* – which is a type of coffee bean.
21 REPOT – “toper” going up. A “toper” is a chronic drinker, hence “one smashed”.

2 Responses to “Independent 6777/Scorpion”

  1. beermagnet says:

    20A IMPROV is MP (member) inside KIROV (ballet centre) without the K

    5D I understood pants as the anagrind; as in “it’s all gone pants” as my kids might say.

  2. nmsindy says:

    I agree this was a great puzzle e.g. HEN PARTIES, TOPER, MASCOT – hard, and thereby best suited to the Saturday prize puzzle. I read NEIGHBOUR as (Robin huge)*.

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