Posted by RatkojaRiku on September 27th, 2011
It’s Tuesday and I’m blogging a Scorpion puzzle, so it’s doubtless time for a thematic puzzle and/or a Nina.
As thematic puzzles go, some reveal their themes more easily than others, and, I think it is fair to say, it soon became clear – looking at 11/26 and 25/21 alone – than many of the entries would consist of the stage names of the individuals that were identified by their birth names in the clues. Having said that, on first perusal of the grid, I realised that most of the birth names were unfamiliar to me, and that they would have to be worked out from the wordplay with the help of checking letters in the grid. I persevered and eventually unmasked all the showbiz stars, although anyone struggling would have been able easily to look up one or more of the names online and then be able to carry on solving, thus making this puzzle accessible to a wider range of solvers.
My knowledge of pop music is patchy to say the least – I didn’t even know that 16/6 was a man! – so I have learnt quite a lot thanks to today’s puzzle – you never know when those birth names might come in useful in a pub quiz! The reference at 10 was new to me and, I suspect, a great many other solvers – Wikipedia to the rescue!
Highlights for me today included the reassembling of proper nouns to make 13; the “towering face of rock” in the wordplay at 25/21; the surface reading of 14/1 and 20; and the “place in Oklahoma” in the definition at 9. As for my take on the trickier clues, as is often the case with this particular grid for me, with its large number of short entries and many with their initial letters unchecked, 2 and 4 held me up for longest: I had ERSE at 2 for a long time before correcting myself, and I have to admit to searching the thesaurus for 4, which I had wrongly solved as RAIN.
I go away from this puzzle feeling entertained and instructed, but also with the sensation that Scorpion had the last laugh today. I look forward to pitting my wits against him again!
*(…) indicates an anagram
|8||ADAM ANT||A + DAM (=barrier) + ANT (=worker); Stuart Goddard is the birth name of English pop star Adam Ant (1954-)|
|10||STIG||ST (=road, i.e. abbreviation of street) + <s>I<n>G<s> (“regularly” means alternate letters only are used); the Stig is a character on the BBC’s motoring show Top Gear, known for clocking fast lap-times when test-driving cars, hence “fast driver”.|
|11/26||ELTON JOHN||*(LET) + ON + JOHN (=toilet, colloquially); “loose” is anagram indicator; Reg Dwight is the birth name of English singer-songwriter Sir Elton John (1947-)|
|12||LULU||<hono>LULU (=US state capital, of Hawaii; “spending half of” means that half of the letters only are left to be used); Marie Lawrie is the birth name of Scottish singer and actress Lulu (1948-)|
|13||CLARKE||LARK (=play) in CE (=church); “following 26 6” means that this entry must be read together with, and follow, those at 26 (=John) and 6 (=Cooper), to give John Cooper Clarke (1949-), the English punk performance poet.|
|15||MEAT LOAF||[T (=tense, i.e. in grammar) in MEAL (=dinner)] + OAF (=Charlie, i.e. idiot); Marvin Lee Aday is the birth name of US rock star and actor Meat Loaf (1947-), whose birthday it is today!|
|17||CONCAVE||CON (=criminal) + CAVE (=beware, as in cave canem, i.e. beware of the dog, in Latin)|
|19||VIRGULE||VI (=six, i.e. in Roman numerals) + [G<irls> (“initially” means first letter only is used) in RULE (=regulation)]; a virgule is a slanting line, an old form of comma, hence “slash” as definition|
|22||POLANSKI||POL (LOP=cut; “back” indicates reversal) + A + *(SKIN); “plastic” (in the sense of having the power to take on different forms) is anagram indicator; the reference is to French-Polish film director Roman Polanski (1933-)|
|24||ESCUDO||CU (=copper) in *(DOES); “criminal” is anagram indicator; the definition is “the necessary (=money, colloquially) once abroad”, referring to the former Portuguese unit of currency|
|27||BEHAN||BEHA<vi>N<g> (=being good); “gets six (=VI) grand (=G) from” means the letters “vi” and “g” are not used); the reference is to Irish poet and short story writer Brendan Behan (1923-64)|
|29||IGGY||I<nterestin>G G<u>Y (“extremely” means the first and last letters only are used); the reference is to US singer-songwriter Iggy Pop (1947-), considered the father of punk rock.|
|30||DRAINER||RAIN (=fall) in DER (=the in German)|
|31||REFUGE||REFU<s>E (=rubbish); the letter G (=government) replaces the letter <glas>S (“ultimately” means last letter only)|
|2||CREE||CREE<p> (=yes-man; “page (=p) avoids” means the letter “p” is dropped)|
|3||RAGTIME||TIM (MIT=with in German; “uplifted” indicates vertical reversal) in RAGE (=craze, as in all the rage)|
|4||DAMN||Homophone of “dam” (=hold back)|
|5||RAWLPLUG||RAW (=naked) + L<ady> (“cap” means first letter only is used) + PLUG (=advertise)|
|7||PAGER||RE (=on, regarding) + GAP (=pause); “when retiring” indicates reversal|
|9||TULSA||A (=American) + SLUT (=hussy); “turns up” indicates vertical reversal; Tulsa is a city in the US state of Oklahoma, not a character in the musical Oklahoma, as the clue misleadingly suggests|
|*(CELLIST LOVES) + O<utshine> (“lead to” means first letter only is used); Declan MacManus is the birth name of English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello (1954-)|
|16/6||ALICE COOPER||[ICE (=diamond) + CO (=business)] in *(PAROLE); Vincent Furnier is the birth name of American rock singer-songwriter Alice Cooper (1948-)|
|18||CHAINSAW||CHAIN (=links, i.e. which together form a chain) + S (=Southern) + A (=admiral, as in RA for Rear Admiral) + W (=with)|
|20||LADY GAGA||[<appl>Y (“latest to” means last letter only) + GAG (=choke)] in LADA (=Russian car); Stefani Germanotta is the birth name of US pop singer-songwriter Lady Gaga (1986-)|
|23||O’DOWD||<t>OW<n> (“centre of” means central letters only are used) in ODD (=weird); George O’Dowd is the birth name of English pop singer-songwriter Boy George (1961-)|
|CLIFF (=a towering face of rock) + RICHARD<s> (=Stones guitarist, i.e. Keith Richards; “cropped” means the last letter is dropped); Harry Webb is the birth name of English pop singer and philanthropist Sir Cliff Richard (1940-).|
|27||BONO||B (=book) + ONO (=offers accepted, i.e. Or Near(est) Offer); Paul Hewson is the birth name of Irish singer Bono (1960-) of U2 fame.|
|28||NORM||NO RM = no Royal Marine, i.e. “Naval infantry excluded, apparently)|