Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6889/Scorpion

Posted by neildubya on November 13th, 2008

8 MAC’S (reversed)
9 SOMERSAULT – sounds like “summer salt”, which are both types of “season”. Not sure about “pouring out” as the homophone indicator though.
10 PRET,(AIR,O reversed) – PRETORIA. “Rene’s ready” is the French word for “ready”, PRET (as in “pret a porter”).
11 TEN[-n]ANT – David Tennant is the current Doctor Who, although he recently announced he’ll be leaving the show after filming next year’s specials.
12 CLIPS in DEE (reversed) – ECLIPSED.
14 (TH[I for E]GYM)* – MIGHTY.
16 L in SALAD (reversed) – DALLAS.
20 F(A,SC,I)A – I’m a bit puzzled as to where SC,I comes from – SC would seem logical enough for “self-contained” but it’s not in Chambers or COED (I’m guessing it’s in Collins though). That leaves I – which is the symbol for electric current but is that a “unit” of electric current?
22 [-b]ET(ERNI[-e])TY
24 T(REM,END)OU[-t]S
25 [-d]AIRY
26 LAUNDRY BASKET – now that’s what I call a cryptic definition. Excellent.
1 RICER – “crier” with the C moved down (“drop of cold water”).
3 O,F(S)ORTS – “type of map” is OS (Ordnance Survey).
6 [-g]AGA,IN
7 [-w]ELLINGTON – excellent definition, “popular with cats” (cat being a term for a jazz fan).
13 CH,A(PAR)RAL – Brian LARA is the cricketer.
15 GREE(NB,AC)K – in cricket a no-ball (NB) is an extra (a run scored without hitting a ball).
19 LE< in (CHASE)* – CHELSEA.
21 hidden reversed in “honoUR MY Cousin”
23 AR in TOT

22 Responses to “Independent 6889/Scorpion”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    In 20ac is it not simply unit = one = I?

  2. Geoff Moss says:

    20a Colin beat me to it with the unit=one=I.
    SC for ‘self-contained’ is not in Collins or COED but it is in Chambers as S/C.

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    I initially penned in TEAM CHASE (meaning team pursuit) for 2dn without thinking about the word play as I tend to think of the TIME TRIAL as a road rather than track event. Shorter distance track time trials are UCI events but no longer Olympic events. This is a case where too much knowledge is a bad thing. And, of course, team chase is an equestrian not a cycling event.

  4. Testy says:

    I had a few question marks (probably due to my ignorance):

    9A I can’t see how “pouring out” is a suitable homophone indicator either
    12A Is “needing restoration” a reversal indicator? I could accept it as an anagram indicator (except that would make this an indirect anagram) but to me restoration does not indicate reversal.
    20A I’ve never come across SC for “self-contained” before and, to me, “that’s over shop” wasn’t a particularly good definition for FASCIA. Perhaps a “perhaps” at the end might have helped a little.
    22A How is “joins” supposed to indicate that you put ERNI inside ETTY?
    7D I would have preferred “scratched” to “scratching”
    15D Is “bill” doing double duty for AC and for the definition or does “food” on its own somehow indicate AC, or is the definition just “produced in US”?

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    12a I think restoration can be read as returning something (to its original state.) Restoration is more specific than rebuilding.

  6. Geoff Moss says:


    9a ‘pouring out’ is just as good a homophone indicator as most and probably better than some (eg ‘on radio’). Look at the Chambers’ definition for ‘pour out’ (or ‘pour forth’) – “to recount (one’s story) or rehearse (one’s woes) volubly”. This is clearly something that’s said or spoken which is just what is wanted for a homophone indicator.

    12a ‘restore’ is ‘to bring, put or give back’ so ‘needing restoration’ is a satisfactory (and oft used) reversal indicator.

    22a ‘join’ can mean ‘connect’ (ie be alongside) but it also means ‘to come into association with’. For example, ‘if you join a group’ you can be said to enter that group.

    15d I would say that ‘bill’ is doing double duty.

  7. Testy says:

    “Put back” would certainly indicate reversal but doesn’t restore only mean “put back” in the figurative sense rather than the literal sense? It is setting something to its former state, not literally putting something backwards.

  8. Geoff Moss says:

    Yes, but crosswords are full of examples where the true and the implied meanings are not necessarily the same. For example ‘detailed’ to mean removal of the last letter of a word or ‘upbraided’ (in a down clue) to give ‘dessert’ (tressed reversed). This is part of the fun of cryptic crosswords, a bit of lateral thinking is needed.

  9. nmsindy says:

    15 down – I think AC is ‘before food’ from medical prescriptions (from Latin)

  10. mhl says:

    Did anyone else find this rather more difficult than usual today? When I do the crossword in the applet rather than on paper I tend to find it trickier, so maybe it’s just me…

    EMCEEING was a surprise to me, but I see that it’s in both Chambers and Collins.

    Thanks for explaining AC = “before food”, nmsindy.

  11. Testy says:


    I’m afraid I don’t think that those examples are comparable. There the setter is just asking us to be a bit flexible with how we read the word (“de-tailed” for “detailed” and “up braided” for “upbraided) but they are still the same words (or at least the same letters). But with the “restoration” case it seems that the setter is actually asking us to take a word that does not literally mean “reversed” and realise that it is actually a synonym for another word or phrase “put back” which does happen to also mean “reversed”. It’s just too indirect for me.

    I think I will probably remain unconvinced unless someone can point to a definition of “restoration” which literally means physically reversed.

  12. Geoff Moss says:

    OK, let’s agree to differ on this one. However, one (hopefully final) comment from me. This is a cryptic crossword and one definition of ‘cryptic’ is ‘mysteriously obscure’ :-)

  13. Colin Blackburn says:

    I agree with Geoff here. If detailed etc isn’t good enough then how about drunk as an anagram indicator. It has no literal meaning that suggests jumbling, it figuratively means something like, ‘all over the place’. There are many more examples of indicators that are not literal.

  14. Eileen says:

    Interestingly, Scorpion’s alter ego Aardvark uses ‘restore’ as a reversal indicator in today’s FT puzzle.

  15. Testy says:

    I’m just glad you lot aren’t doing restoration work on my house otherwise the living room might end up facing north rather than south or the bedroom might end up in the basement;)

  16. Colin Blackburn says:

    More importantly I’m glad that when I get drunk all my body parts remain in their usual places, usually ;-)

  17. Paul B says:

    I can see Testy’s point about what is and isn’t ‘too indirect’ though, especially with regard to reversal indicators – for they are few on the ground, and setters (if they’re as bored as I am with the usual across- and down-specific suspects) are grasping for whatever they can.

    As remarked, de-tailed (and dis-tressed) or even stuff like ‘deiparous’ (expect to find a god of some sort or another inside your containing word) do not seem to me to break Afrit’s Injunction (if you like, or are somehow goaded by crosswording rules) because, however thick the disguise, they say what they mean. But where we are at one remove, with the possible exception of anagrinds (shurely a speshial case), the situation can become much more tricky.

    All the same, I enjoyed Scorpion’s puzzle. He is, and has a reputation for being very tough, but he’s also brilliantly inventive.

  18. Richard says:

    I found this to be a difficult, but enjoyable, puzzle, and was somewhat astonished to be able to complete it without using any reference books (although it took me a long time to do so). Many thanks, Scorpion, for giving us such a good challenge.

  19. Colin Blackburn says:

    I have to disagree about the likes of ‘detailed’. In order for it to work in word play, for it to say what it means, it requires the solver to construct a word that does not exist. Yes, the de- suffix is known and has as one of its meaning ‘remove’, but in English, as it is normally used, such a neologism would almost certainly be written de-tailed to distinguish it from the commonly used detailed. I have no problems, in crossword clues at least, in seeing words (ab)used in this way. It is an indirection I accept in order to allow clues to be enjoyable. It is also an indirection that does not make the clue unfair. I feel that the same applies to restoration. Yes, it does not literally mean written backwards but the level of indirection is fair and acceptable. I’ll shut up now.

  20. nmsindy says:

    Re Eileen’s comment at 14 re ‘restored’, if two crossword editors accept it, it can’t be too bad.

  21. Al Streatfield says:

    “Pouring out”. I agree with the objections to this as a homophone indicator.

    Although as has been pointed out, it can mean “recount volubly”, in my opinion, taking this meaning doesn’t work for homophone indicators.

    Would anyone accept “snapped”, “retorted” etc. as a homophone indicator?

  22. Paul B says:

    I think it’s another area in which setters find themselves under creative restriction. And you know what that means …

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