Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7485/Scorpion

Posted by John on October 12th, 2010


I always fear crosswords by Scorpion, expecting them to be impossibly hard. However, this one was perfectly all right, several nice clues, one I didn’t and still don’t understand, but that’s only usual. To begin with there was the problem that I didn’t have 12 or 23 so most of the Down clues were lost on me, but everything came smoothly enough once I solved them.

6 UNIPOLAR — (urinal)* around (p 0), a type of disorder of which I was unaware, but since there’s bipolar disorder there is very likely to be unipolar disorder
8 NU(MA)N — Numan is a singer of whom I hadn’t heard
10 PI RATE — a little joke, a PI is presumably a police inspector (or interrogator?), but there doesn’t actually seem to be such a rank
11 STIRRING — (gin it’s)* around RR
12 {comm}A{nder} RM — Royal Mail presumably
13 EWE LL — (having rejected cowll)
15 YO OF — yoof = youth, colloquially, in case you aren’t up with the lingo
16 A MEN
17 {c}AR{p} RAY
18 vELODrome — hidden reversed, indicated by ‘from conversion of’
19 STY {nam}E — the observer is the eye
21 PSHAW — (P (was)rev.) around h
23 LEG — (gel)rev. — gel is hairdressing in the sense that it is hair dressing
24 FORESTER — for (trees)*, nice semi &lit. (semi?)
26 R(AG {meda}L)AN — very good clue
27 GLINT — (l{us}ting)*
28 POT A{ttracts} TOES
1 SPEARMEN — (neeps)rev. around arm
3 IRIS — I (sir)rev. — the pupil of the eye
4 UNWIELDY — (wine duly)*
7 NEIL ARMSTRONG — (line)* arm strong
9 NONCOLLEGIATE — leg in (location)* in NE
14 EARTH — 2 defs, a bit awkward because perhaps it should really be ‘an 12′ but that seems odd too
17 AMP U TATE — the definition uses 12 and 23; the gallery is always the Tate so far as I can see
20 ELEGIT — leg in (tie)rev. — an elegit is a legal term — now are you much wiser?
22 WARMTH — but I’m bewildered here: presumably it is W (= Welsh) arm (= no. 12) th (???) and the definition is ‘fire’, although ‘warmth’ and ‘fire’ seem to be a bit loosely connected so perhaps that isn’t the definition
25 {t}RIPE

14 Responses to “Independent 7485/Scorpion”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    10ac is Private Investigator = detective.
    22dn I think TH might be “lacking the”. Best I can come up with.
    In 14ac I this ‘a 12′ is right. It is 12 that takes the article rather than ARM. Of course, a 12 = an arm in this case.
    at 8ac I’d quibble with Numan being described as electropop but that’s probably me being picky.

    Like you I found this puzzle easier than the average Scorpion. I think it helped that I guessed ARM and LEG quite early and so with a few checking letters I wrote in the extra letters.

  2. Matt says:

    Hi John thanks for the blog

    Re: 10a) PI is Private Eye – not that I got the answer. I was trying to fit Dirate in here!


  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you John. My reaction when seeing Scorpion’s name is the same as yours, but today his venom wasn’t quite so deadly, although I still found it tough going. There were a few unusual words, but the theme was a help once you’d solved the two short acrosses (and 14dn was a pretty generous hint, which is how I got them).

    I don’t have a better suggestion for WARMTH.

    I wouldn’t say there were any laugh out loud moments, but my satisfaction today came from completing a toughish puzzle from a setter I don’t think I’ve ever done that with before.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks John for the blog, and Scorpion for an enjoyable crossword.

    Was afraid there might have been a sting to this one, upon first glance at all the references to a couple of clues, ie. major holdback if you don’t get the latter. But 17D AMPUTATE (it’s back to “gallery” = TATE?) was the breakthrough, leading to 12A ARM and 23A LEG, and the rest fell into place. Also 15A YOOF came into mind almost immediately, thanks to a previous crossword. Favourites were 28A POTATOES and the &lit 24A FORESTER.

    PS. If you were following a small subthread about a certain epithet yesterday, may I please refer you to nmsindy’s blog yesterday for an 11th (more like 25th) hour entry I posted – unless you’ve already read it (I know of 2 that have). Thank you.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, John. I too found this much easier than usual from Scorpion, with EARTH giving me the theme on first run through, so I pencilled in ARM and LEG and those words were in many answers. I read 22dn as ‘lacking the’ = TH ie a ‘the’ that is lacking (a final letter). Also while not expert in pop terminology that ‘electro’ part of it certainly brought NUMAN to mind in my case. Favourite clues SMARMY and FORESTER.

  6. flashling says:

    As KD noted 14 rather gave away what 13/23 were and after that it was a relatively easy solve, except for words like elegit which is not quite in common usage and I did puzzle for a while over warmth before coming to same conclusion as Colin. Didn’t we have yoof last tuesday as part of the double lettered words crossword?

  7. Lenny says:

    Being new to the Indy and never having done a Scorpion before I’m surprised by the comments about him usually being difficult. I was on target for a fastest ever time until I was interrupted by a call from my insurance agent. However, I got some answers without understanding the wordplay so thanks to John for elucidating, Arm, Ripe and Forester which I read as a feeble cryptic definition.

    I’ve fallen foul of Pshaw before so I saw that coming but I don’t think I would have got Yoof were it not for the fact that it cropped up in an Anax a couple of weeks ago. Unipolar and Noncollegiate were also new to me although readily gettable from bipolar and collegiate

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Yes, I remembered YOOF from a recent Indy puzzle, but couldn’t place it. I’ve also solved EWELL recently but can’t for the life of me remember where … Everyman, maybe. Anyway, both words punching above their weight in CrypticLand of late.

  9. Simon Harris says:

    Got through this fairly swiftly, but was beaten by ALLEGE. Can anyone explain how that works?

  10. Rishi says:

    Declare bottles of booze about 23?

    ALE is from ‘bottles of booze’.
    ‘about’ is inserticator.
    LEG is from [clue] 23 – for which the answer is LEG.
    So AL(LEG)E (declare).

  11. Rishi says:

    PS: I would think that the clue needs a dash after ‘booze’.
    We can imagine someone at the Customs declaring the contraband – quantified to 23.

  12. Jake says:

    Scorpion – great puzzle. A few ‘hang-on’ ‘don’t pen that in for a moment’ clues, so honest to God not the best I’ve tackled of yours. But still passed the afternoon away with delight Sir. Thank-you.

    Thanks for blog, in the end I figured out the clueing 100% so it was all good.No answers needed.

    Scorpion thanks.

  13. Allan_C says:

    Same reaction to seeing Scorpion as John, K’sD, et al, so very surprised and pleased to finish it by midnight without going to sleep in the middle (only started at around 11.30 pm). Only one I didn’t know was NUMAN, but it was obvious from the clue and checking letters.

  14. Allan_C says:

    … and it’s just occurred to me that NUMAN is a homophone of NEWMAN – Cardinal John H, recently beatified, another facet of “religious” in the clue.

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