Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6,942/Scorpion

Posted by Ali on January 15th, 2009

Ali.

The first puzzle I’ve had chance to look at in what appears to have been a tricky batch so far this week, and this one certainly adds to that pile. I managed only one or two answers on my first pass, but managed to pencil in a few possible checking letters and things eventually started to fall into place. A very satisying solve.

Across
1 A BETTER PLACE – A nice cryptic definition to start us off. Took me a few looks to get it though
10 NARRATE – ARRAN rev + TE (edges in TIME)
11 EARLY ON – A RLY (a railway) in EON
12 ON TAP – [pi]NT in OAP
13 MEGALITH – GAL in (IM THE)* – Tricky, I thought, as GAL for ‘piece’ is fairly obscure
15 SEAMSTRESS – SEA,M[-i]STRESS
16 ENID – Hidden reversal in helD IN Esteem
18 DOCK – DOC (bones),K (last letter in Star Trek) – Had to cheat on this one I admit. A good surface, but I have reservations about the K for ‘last letter in Star Trek‘. Just about passable given that the words are in italics I suppose
20 UNBLINKING – UN + INK in BLING – Lovely, and congrats to the setter for leading me a merry dance thinking it must be UNR….ING!
22 RINGLETS – RI + L in (GENTS)*
24 PORTO – PORT[-ic]O
26 THEATRE – T,HEAT,R,E
27 ENDLESS – Not sure on ths one. CLue is ‘What bra is to big Bren?’ Comments welcome
28 SHEPHERDS PIE – And another nice cryptic definintion to round off the across clues
Down
2 BIRETTA – B,(ATTIRE)* – A fantastic &lit.
3 TRAPPIST – TRAP,PH[-i]S,T – Nice to see Scorpion referencing cohorts Phi, Monk and Tees!
4 EPEE – [slop]E,PEE – Nice. I enjoyed PEE for ‘No.1′
5 PREHENSILE – RE HENS in PILE
6 AORTA – Even letters in fAvOuR A sTeAk
7 ELYSIAN – ELY,SIAN
8 INCONSIDERATE – ON SIDE in (CERTAIN)*
9 IN THE DOGHOUSE – OUTING DOES HE,H)*
14 FRONT TEETH – N,T,TEE in FROTH – Needed all the checking letters in TEETH before this one fell into place. A brilliantly misleading definition of ‘Champers’
17 IN SPADES – P for H in IN SHADES
19 CANCELS – (CLEAN)* in (SC)*
21 ISRAELI – I,(LASER)*,I – A very, very cheeky definition. Having never heard of Israeli politician Benny Begin, I guessed from the LASER part!
23 LITHE – E moving in LEITH…..
25 WEIR – ….and again, this time in WIRE

8 Responses to “Independent 6,942/Scorpion”

  1. Testy says:

    I think 10a must be R in ARAN reversed (otherwise the “runs” is superfluous) but apparently the sweaters can be either ARRAN or ARAN (according to Wikipedia).
    11A RLY for railway/line/lines is new on me. I’ve seen RY and L often enough but never RLY.
    13A I agree about “piece”=GAL. Not something that would occur to me and I’m not sure that the sort of people that would use the word GAL are the same as those that might use the word “piece”. To me they seem to be from different ends of the social spectrum.
    24A thanks for explaining this one. I got the answer but couldn’t understand the wordplay.
    27A Big Bren would be BRENDA and if she was ENDLESS she would be just BR(end)A
    21D I would have preferred “Begin, for example” and I still don’t get why it’s “patient’s eye” for I.

  2. Testy says:

    PS I think it’s more likely to be Menachem Begin that 21D refers to.

  3. nmsindy says:

    21 D I think it’s the middle letter of patient.

  4. Testy says:

    Ahh! I was thinking it was some sort of homophone indicator or some medical abbreviation. But does “eye” generally mean the centre of something? I know that hurricanes and storms have eyes, but aren’t they called that because the calm bit makes it look like an eye rather than it meaning the actual centre of the storm. I don’t think I would call the middle of anything else an eye.

  5. nmsindy says:

    I don’t think it’s given in SOED or Collins but Chambers gives it as ‘a central spot’.

  6. nmsindy says:

    PS I meant COED (the Concise)

  7. Allan_C says:

    11a ‘Rly’ was a common abbreviation for ‘railway’ particularly in the names of the old railway companies. Chambers gives both ‘rly’ and ‘ry’
    18a – Didn’t get this. But ‘bones’ being a slang expression for ‘dice’ I put ‘dice’ which gave me the correct first letter for 19d but left me baffled by the rest of the clue for 18a.
    In 4d, not having any interest in skiing, I had to guess that epee is a skiing term as well as a fencing weapon. Chambers (1998) only gives the latter.
    Quite a challenging puzzle but except for 18a I got there in the end with a little help from a spell-checker/word finder.

  8. beermagnet says:

    Allan, re 4D it is “piste” that is both a skiing and fencing term.

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