Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,760 / Scorpion

Posted by RatkojaRiku on August 30th, 2011


My apologies for a later than normal post: I have just returned home from a holiday and dug out my laptop.

I had only previously blogged one puzzle by Scorpion before today, a thematic puzzle on colours that was also published on a Tuesday. As soon as I spotted his name above today’s puzzle, I rather suspected that I would be in for a lot of fun and a fairly hefty challenge once again.

Indeed, a quick perusal of the clues revealed that there was a theme to today’s puzzle and that it would revolve around the entry at 6, which was, no doubt deliberately, not one of the easiest in the grid to crack. Of the thematic entries, I cracked 15 first, which made me think this would be on a Formula One theme (although I’ve since learned that the spelling of that sports entrepreneur’s name is different); then 26, which didn’t really narrow the scope at all; and then 13, whereupon it crossed my mind that we could be straying into Doctor Who territory. Reverting to and solving 1, I was able to confirm that this was the case. I wondered if there might be a Nina here, but apparently not.

Despite its cult following, this BBC sci-fi programme that was launched back in 1963 and revived in the new millennium, is something that I relished as a child but haven’t really kept up with since leaving the UK: I suppose you can tell a person’s age by asking who they best remember as Doctor Who (as one often can with James Bonds, as it happens). As such, I tracked down the few Doctors that I could remember and then had to work out all the others from the wordplay. This was no mean feat, since two of the entries, at 21 and 25 and both unknown to me, contained rather unusual consonant clusters.

Only afterwards, when preparing the blog, did I realise that Scorpion had managed to work all of the eleven incarnations of the Doctor into this grid, a task made slightly easier by the fact that two of the Doctors share the same surname – in any case, an impressively full treatment of the theme.

My favourite clue in this one was 28, since I was sure that I needed to look for some IT term, and I was similarly blinded into thinking the word would end in –lane because of the highway reference. Since I cannot parse it, I suppose the most difficult clue for me was 3. I will update the blog later once it has been explained to me by one or more of you – now done!


*(…) indicates an anagram


6   DOCTOR DO<gs> (“half” means only half the letters are used) + C
(=canine, in dentistry) + TO + R (=roger, i.e. code word for the letter “r”
in radio communications); “to doctor” is an informal word for castrate, spay.
8   PERTWEE 6 = Doctor: Jon Pertwee was the Third Doctor.PERT<h> (=Aussie city; “hard
(=h) to avoid” means the “h” is dropped) + WEE (=Jimmy, a slang word for urination,
as in to have a Jimmy (Riddle))
10   TRANQUIL RAN (=continued) + QUILT (=bedding); “when temperature (=T) reverts” means the “t” is sent back to the start
of the word to give T-RAN-QUILT; the definition is “still”, as an
11   LUNAR N (=noon) in *(URAL); “drunk 4” indicates an anagram of the entry at
4; the definition is “Moon’s”, i.e. of, relating to the moon.
12   PARACHUTE PAR (=standard) + A (=amateur) + CHUTE (homophone – “caught” – of “shoot”
13   BAKER 6 = Doctor: Tom Baker was the Fourth Doctor and Colin Baker the Sixth
DoctorThis entry is at 13, which is a baker’s dozen.
16   EDITION NO I (=boss, i.e. No. 1) + TIDE (=time, as in yuletide); “to review”
indicates a reversal.
18   ACANTHI Hidden (“in”) in “SaharA CAN THIrst”
21   McCOY 6 = Doctor: Sylvester McCoy was the Seventh Doctor.MC (=host, i.e. Master of Ceremonies) + CO (=business) +
<part>Y (“ultimate in” means last letter only)
24   SMALL-BORE SMALL (=trifling, i.e. insignificant, minor) + BORE (=held, i.e. past
simple of “bear”)
26   SMITH 6 = Doctor: Matt Smith is the Eleventh (and current) Doctor.MIT (=with German, i.e. the German word for “with”) in SH (=mum, as in
mum’s the word)
28   GASOLINE GAS O<n> LINE (=to participate in webchat; “namelessly” means
one of the letters “n” (=name) is dropped; the (cryptic) definition is “it’s
essential on the superhighway”, referring to motoring rather than to the
29   DAVISON 6 = Doctor: Peter Davison was the Fifth Doctor.[VI (=Volleyball team, i.e. six players) + SO (=very)] in *(AND); “dynamic”
is anagram indicator.
30   ON SALE <c>O<r>N<i>S<h> (“regulars of” means alternate
letters only are used) + ALE (=beer)
1   MOORLAND M (=member of) + O-RLANDOO (=Disney World site, i.e. in
Florida; “duck (=O) moves” means
that a letter “o” switches place, here moving from the end of the word to the
2   TROUGHTON 6 = Doctor: Patrick Troughton was the Second Doctor.[UGH (=cry of revulsion) + T<iger> (“initially” means first
letter only)] in TROON (=Scottish course, i.e. for golf)
3   APPLET Definition = piece of software; “man got” should be read as “mango + t”, the formula being {fruit + t}; here this gives APPLE + T, hence “formulated for a similar market”, i.e. a fruit and vegetable market.
4   URAL UR<in>AL (=John, i.e. slang word for toilet); “missing in” means the letters “in” are not
5   RWANDA <doctor>R (“latterly” means last letter only) + WANDA (“fish
screened”, i.e. the 1988 film A Fish
Called Wanda
7   TENNANT 6 = Doctor: David Tennant was the Tenth Doctor.ENNA (ANNE = old Queen; “upset” indicates vertical reversal) in TNT
9   EYRIE YR I (=infant class, i.e. Y(ea)r 1) in E E (=earth; “repeatedly” means
the letter is used twice)
14   KIT K (=Grand, i.e. a thousand) + IT (=computing, i.e. information
15   ECCLESTON 6 = Doctor: Christopher Eccleston was the Ninth Doctor.ECCLES (=type of cake) + TON (NOT; “rising” indicates vertical
17   ICC Hidden (“embracing”) in “AthletIC
Coach”; the ICC is the
International Cricket Council, hence “cricket supremos”.
19   NIBBLES NIB (=bill, i.e. a bird’s beak) + B<ott>LES (=much wine; “not excessive (=OTT, i.e. over-the-top)”
means that the letters “OTT” are not used)
20   HARTNELL 6 = Doctor: William Hartnell was the very First Doctor, back in 1963.[ART (=cunning, as a noun) + <pla>N (“finally” means last letter
only is used)] in HELL (=abyss)
22   CASED AS (=when) in CED (DEC=month; “back” indicates reversal); the
definition is “had an examination”, as in to
case a joint
, i.e. reconnoitre, usually with a view to burglary.
23   OGILVY *(<l>OVI<n>GLY); “forgetting one line (=L) and name (=N)”
means that a letter “l” and the “n” are dropped from the anagram; “performed”
is anagram indicator; the reference is to English actor Ian Ogilvy, 1943-,
famous for playing Simon Templar in Return
of the Saint
25   McGANN 6 = Doctor: Paul McGann was the Eighth Doctor.[CG (=coastguard) in MA (=mother)] + N N (news, i.e. 2 x N = new)
27   HUSK HU (=Hull) + SK (=Stockport); these are postcode areas used in the
formation of UK postcodes.

13 Responses to “Independent 7,760 / Scorpion”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the great blog, RatkojaRiku. As one who has never watched Doctor Who, I’m afraid, this became a very hard and challenging puzzle. When I’d worked out five or six of the names, while still struggling with 6, I decided to Google the names which led me to the theme. With the help of this I managed to finish it. Favourite clue KIT. Not at all sure about this (to say the very least!), but maybe APPLET refers to APPLE (man got – in the Garden of Eden) to a T (ie with perfect exactness ie a similar market). This may all be nonsense but I’ll put it forward as a start.

  2. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks for your usual fine blog, RatkojaRiku, and for a most entertaining puzzle, Scorpion.

    I was lucky enough to spot the theme here fairly quickly (my first ones in were 6a and 8a) and there’s no doubt that this helped the solve enormously. I must confess, though, that I wasn’t au fait with the names of all 11 of the actors to have played the Doctor, but fortunately the 2 whose names were new (ECCLESTON and MCCOY) were gettable from the wordplay without too much difficulty (I don’t think that I could have worked out MCGANN so easily had I not been a fan of Radio4 Extra).

    I needed the parsing of both 3 and 12 when coming here (thanks, RR, I hadn’t twigged to the homophone in 12, and it briefly crossed my mind that “caught” must refer to the letter”C”, leaving an unlikely “HUTE” to be explained!) As for 3, I imagined that APPLET was somehow a reversal of “man” =TEL got PP (per procurationem) = “formulated for” and A. But how to get this reversal from “similar market”? That I just can’t see. So alternatively does it have something to do with the Windows/Apple “IT markets”? Or the Garden of Eden (now I am sounding desperate I suppose).

    I thought there were some very nice clues here, and my COD too was GASOLINE.

    On a final, general note: this is pretty much the first time I’ve seen that a reference to “German” didn’t just mean insert the letter”g”. I found this a refreshing change!

  3. flashling says:

    Can’t see applet either, was wondering about the Adam’s apple men have and done to a T, thanks RR

  4. superkiwigirl says:

    I’m afraid that we crossed, nmsindy – perhaps the Garden of Eden is at the heart of the explanation after all.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    I didn’t have time to solve this puzzle but I will throw in a suggestion for 3dn. Could the ‘market’ be referring to a fruit and vegetable market? Then MANGO T ‘formulated for a similar market’ could give APPLE T as both fruits would be sold in the same market.

  6. beermagnet says:

    I really enjoyed this.

    Expecting a rough ride from Scorpion as usual, and seeing the the references to 6 littering the clues, I thought I would get nowhere with this. After getting only six answers on the first pass I thought this prediction would bear out and was tempted to stop. Then I noticed the “dozen” mentioned in clue 13 and thought “Baker” so being a Doctor Who fan the floodgates opened. I was impressed that all Doctors were included, even McGann. With all the doctors in place what remained had enough crossing letters for even me to get the rest – including Applet from the def, though that was one I couldn’t explain either. For my money I think Gaufrid’s just hit the nail on the head – Mango T – great.

    Now, for those of you who could do with boning up on Doctor Who lore please check out the fantastic “Doctor Who Tube Map”

    Cheers to RR for the blog.

  7. redddevil says:

    I’m sure this was most worthy but for me was waaaay too soon after last week’s similarly ‘themed’ (i.e. lots of clues referring to one other) effort.
    It did bring me some pleasure though – when I tore it up in disgust.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    RatkojaRiku, thank you for blogging.

    This was well beyond me today. Got a few, went down the Formula One track, then had to throw in the towel. I have to say that the gateway clue is far from obvious; I did get a few of the themed clues, but unless you’re a Doctor Who aficionado then the link is unlikely to poke you in the eye.

    VI for ‘volleyball team?’ Well, I guess since XI can mean ‘cricket team’ that works, but it gives an indication of the difficulty of the puzzle.

  9. Lenny says:

    This was a grid-filling tour de force. Getting 10 specific names into a grid is very impressive. It must have taken a long time just to find the right grid. I think I have seen something like this before, on the same theme, but a quick search of the archive does not produce any hits. Anyway, there has been a proliferation of Dr Whos in recent years so the last setter who tried it probably only had to fit in seven or eight names.

    I solved all this fairly quickly without aids, which makes me despair. I have not watched Dr Who since I was a child and he was William Hartnell. Why is my brain full of this rubbish instead of something more useful?

  10. superkiwigirl says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid @ 5: your suggestion is surely right. As usual, once a clue is explained, you think “obvious, isn’t it”, and “why didn’t that occur to me?”

    At least now I will (probably) sleep well tonight, without being haunted by the parsing of this clue. But without wanting to seem too serious, I might just be awake in the wee small hours reflecting ruefully that the ability to solve (well) is more a matter of nature than nurture…

  11. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks to one and all for your input on 3 – I am relieved to read that I was not the only one to struggle with this one.

    I imagine that Gaufrid has indeed hit the nail on the head and will amend the blog accordingly – not in a million years would I have worked that out for myself! I don’t think I’ve ever come across a “mirroring” clue of this kind before.

  12. Allan_C says:

    Mostly beyond me, even after looking up the first few answers on the blog though I’d got BAKER and SMITH from the wordplay. Then got the theme from the blog and filled in the other doctors but still couldn’t finish. The clue for APPLET was far too abstruse, with MOORLAND not far behind, and a few others I got without understanding the wordplay.

  13. Colin Blackburn says:

    I found this very enjoyable but then I did know all the Doctor’s actors’ names so once the theme was cracked I just filled in all those entries. I was impressed with the grid fill but I think I’d have liked to have seen two separate entries for BAKER – maybe that just wasn’t possible (do setters ever have the same word appear twice?). I filled in APPLET from the definition and thought the clue was fruit-related but just couldn’t see it – MANGO T is very clever but maybe a little too clever for a daily puzzle.


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