Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7441 by Scorpion (Saturday 21 August)

Posted by petebiddlecombe on August 28th, 2010


Solving time: About 38 minutes says my copy, but I think this includes an arbitrary penalty for running out of patience and looking up the posssibilities for 5D, which was a bit poor on my part. Overall I thought it was a bit easier than the previous Saturday’s Anax puzzle, but only a bit. The fairly black outer edge had me watching out for some theme or a message in the grid, but I didn’t spot anything, which may be a cue for an egg on face moment.

6 EASE=lighten,(mura)L
8 BURG(H)LE,Y – I was cross with myself for this because I thought of the right horse trials but somehow convinced myself they were “Burleigh” like the aristocratic hurdler of the “Chariots of Fire” era.
9 NEBRASKA – support=BRA, in Snake* – not quite sure whether the Snake in the surface is the old European currency exchange rate mechanism, or Nebraska’s Snake River, not that it matters
10 C(inque),LEFT=port
11 (spl)IFF,Y=unknown – theoretically, “unknown” in crosswords is X,Y, or Z, but as I advised elsewhere recently, always try Y first if you’re in a hurry
12 ABS = “six pack”,CON=Conservative=party,DER=rev. of red=wine
13 TWI(t=temp.)C(h=hot)ER – if the answer is new for you, you need Chambers to confirm that it’s church slang for someone who habitually goes to church twice on a Sunday. Chambers also has “oncer” but no “thricer”
15 TIG(e)R=cat losing last of ninE,IS=lives
18 DIAL=face (we’re in the slang zone again – COED calls this “Brit informal”),ARID=meagre (100% solid if you look up “arid” in Chambers, a bit iffy if you look in COED or Collins),E=English
19 POSH = shop* – Posh = “WAG” is from Posh Spice = Mrs. David Beckham, a well-known WAG = back-formed singular of WAGs = “wives and girlfriends”
20 See 4D
21 DERRIERE = “stern”, = “Derry air”
22 ANTENNAE – reverse hidden in “ocean net naturally”
23 D(ATE)D – to “see” someone is to date them
1 FEVER=illness,FE=iron,W=weak (Physics, in Chambers as someone more observant points out below) W=?=”weak”. W=weak is the only way I can account for the final W in this medicinal plant, but I can’t justify it from dictionaries – only w=week. So I think we’ve got the wrong word. “Week after illness” seems like a start for a possible surface meaning, but not the one used here, so I wonder if a reworking of a former intended surface caused the trouble, or maybe just bad handwriting.
2 A-LIST=kind of celeb,AIR=publicise,DARLING=favourite
3 TRICK OF THE TRADE – cryptic def. using “trick” to hint at games like bridge, skat, piquet, etc. etc.
4/20 SH=Mum=keep quiet,EEPDOG TRIAL = (pig dealer to)*
5 DEXTER – double def., dexter being a small breed of cow (which makes perverse sense if you think a huge big cow might be ‘sinister’)
7/19 SPR(AY=agreed,P.A.=annually)INT – in Collins and Chambers you can “career” without losing control, which makes sprint=career OK
8 BRA(S=special,S=(ditto))Y – Heston Blumenthal’s “Fat Duck” (watch out for the dreadfully easy typo of that one!) restaurant is in Bray. Well, at least he makes a change from the vicar.
14 C(rowd),LARINET = latrine with the T moved to the, er, bottom – I get the feeling a saucier clue might have been on the cards here
16 IN SHREDS = (S(ara)H,diners)*
17 GIR(D)L,E
19 See 7

12 Responses to “Independent 7441 by Scorpion (Saturday 21 August)”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    W = weak in the particle physics sense, Peter – it’s given in Chambers.

  2. petebiddlecombe says:

    Sorry, so it is – I forgot to look under all the different W entries.

  3. jmac says:

    Thought TWICER was brilliant – shows there’s a word for everything. Also liked DERRIERE, a cheeky use of the French. Thanks for the very clear blog, Pete, particularly for explaining CLARINET, which clue’s finer points had gone over my head. I was a bit slow to get TRICK OF THE TRADE which slowed me down on the right-hand side. Another very enjoyable crossword from Scorpion. I missed his last couple of ninas and if there is one here then that makes it a hat trick.

  4. flashling says:

    Took me quite a while to finish this, 7/19 being where I came unstuck, I thought street artist confirmation was ST RA Y which fiited the clue and crossing letters. Got there eventually.

    Clarinet had me thinking for a while, the clue says musician rather than instrument, but I suppose the first violin is the player not the violin so the same principle applies to this.

    Regarding W(eak) I actually made a mistake initially in the blog for thursday by remembering this rather than the clue I was looking at!

  5. petebiddlecombe says:

    instrument/player: if you’ve played in bands or orchestras this non-dictionary usage comes naturally, though probably best kept to standard instruments – musician = “contrabass clarinet” or “sousaphone” would be taking it a bit far.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Pretty tough puzzle, enjoyable, definition in SPRAY PAINT was very well concealed. Favourite clue, POSH.

  7. Petero says:

    I found this tough indeed, needing more internet assistance than I like to use. On that tack, it did not help that 21A reads ‘No clue’ – not even an enumeration; it happened that ‘derriere’ was all that would fit. Evidently there was a clue in the dead tree version.

  8. scchua says:

    Like Petero@7 I too have only the online version. And it’s a bit frustrating not to be able to “complete” the puzzle because of 21A: No clue. As a matter of interest could someone please repeat 21A’s clue in the dead tree version. Thanks.

    Very challenging but got there in the end (except for 21A). Went astray for a while with 14D, trying to fit “clavinet” (another musical instrument), thinking that “lav” was the one synonym for “toilet”. Thanks Scorpion.

  9. Allan_C says:

    Petero and scchua – 21a clue was ‘Atmosphere in Northern Irish city reportedly stern (8)’. As jmac says, rather cheeky!

  10. Uncle Yap says:

    very enjoyable puzzle . One query
    Why is ABS = six pack?

  11. flashling says:

    abs = abdominal muscles which in a rippling body are often referred to as a six pack

  12. framptoncottrell says:

    Found this one very tough! ‘Y’ in the NATO (ICAO) phonetic alphabet is Yankee (11 across)

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