Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7958 / Scorpion

Posted by Bertandjoyce on April 17th, 2012


A bit of a mixed bag today we feel from Scorpion. We deduced the theme fairly early on and thought that we would have to resort to the internet to work out some of the answers. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case and we completed the puzzle reasonably quickly. Splitting the single theme word into three ‘normal’ clues was original and ingenious.

There were some very clever clues but a few rather contrived ones which just seemed to try too hard – 15a being one such example. We are great fans of the News Quiz on Radio 4 and it was lovely to see a familiar name from the show in the grid. We really do hope that she is a fan of crosswords! If she isn’t …. perhaps she’d like to start!

We’re not sure that Alcoholic’s Anonymous would like to be referred to as a ‘boozy group’ when the whole essence of their existence is to give people the support to solve their drink problems. Please read the comment from Eimi below for an explanation!

Neither of us is into football but we think that 7a featured in a recent puzzle either in the Indie or ‘Another Place’!

Thanks to Wanderer@6 for pointing out the missing 19d. We agree with the parsing with ‘ban’ meaning black as in boycott.

6 SCAN CAN’S (John’s – both slang words for toilet) with toe (last letter) moved to the front = examine – the first part of the theme word
7 SCHMEICHEL Anagram of SCHEME + CHIL (50% of children) (anagrind is ‘arranged’) = Scandinavian footballer voted as the world’s best goalkeeper in 1992 and 1993. Click the link if you want to see some his famous saves when he played for Manchester United!
9 BERING BE (experience) + RING (call) = Scandinavian navigator known for his two explorations of the Asian continent and North America.  The The Bering Sea, Strait, Island, Glacier and Land Bridge are all named in his honour. There is a very good account of his exploration of Alaska in the novel of the same name by James A Michener. This was our last one in. ‘Be’ as a synonym for ‘experience’ seems a little contrived.
10 BEOWULF The alternate (oddly ignored) letters of iBsEn (14d) + O (old) + WULF (if you recite it, it sounds like ‘wolf’ an animal that howls!) = an Anglo-Saxon poem set in Scandinavia
11 AMUNDSEN UND (German for ‘and’) + S (succeeded) within or ‘during’ AMEN (end of prayer) = The  Scandinavian explorer who was the first person to reach the South Pole. There’s an excellent exhibition at the Natural History Museum about Scott’s last expedition if you haven’t already visited it  which explores some of the differences between the two expeditions.
13 AVIAN AA (Alcoholic’s Anonymous – ‘boozy group’) around or ‘about’ VI (Roman numerals for six) + N (note) = of birds – the third part of the theme word. The dead tree version has an amended clue which is much better – see the comments below.
15 TRIBUNE U after or ‘pursuing’ RIB (guy as in ‘make fun of’) within an anagram of NET(s) (without the final letter or ‘shortly’) – anagrind is ‘wanting transfer’ = Classic guardian – in Ancient Rome a tribune was a magistrate who defended the rights of the plebians
16 TOKSVIG OK’S (authorises) + V (victory) within or ‘during’ TIG (children’s game) =  Scandinavian comedienne, Sandi Toksvig. If you have never listened to the ‘News Quiz’ on Radio 4 then follow this link – you are really missing out!
20 ECLAT TALC (cosmetic) + E (principal or first letter of ‘enhancement’) reversed or ‘brought about’ = cosmetic enhancement may bring about a striking effect or éclat!
22 EERINESS Anagram of IS RESEEN (anagrind is ‘bats’) = Horror movies may feature this
23 BIDDING D (final letter of ‘rumbled’) + DI (Inspector) inside or ‘in’ BING (as in Bing Crosby) = in bridge the players have to make bids
23 EDBERG D (heading of ‘divorce’) within or ‘impregnating’ GREBE (bird) reversed or ‘on the rebound’ = this former No 1 professional tennis player from Sweden
27 ORANGUTANS RANG (phoned) + anagram of AUNT (anagrind is ‘abroad’) within or ‘surrounded’ by OS (Jack or Ordinary seaman) = animals who live in SE Asia
28 ABBA BB (guest house as in Bed and Breakfast) within AA  (Alloa ‘vacant’ or emptied so you are left with just the initial and final letters) = this Scandinavian group
1 SCREAMER CREAM (as in Bailey’s Cream) within ShErRy (periodic or ‘odd’ letters of sherry) = a powerful shot mat be intended to thrill you with emotion which can be described as a screamer although it’s not a phrase that we have heard of before
2 RNLI Hidden within ea(RN LI)quor = seamen who are dedicated to saving lives as in this charity for those of you who are not based in the UK
3 SHEBANG SHEBA (biblical kingdom) + NG (no good) = lot as in the whole lot or whole shebang
4 FEDORA FOR A (for one) outside ED (editor or newspaperman) = a type of headwear
5 DEAFEN EA (each) + F (fathoms) inside DEN (hideaway) = heavy rock stars are renowned for being very loud!
7 SIGNS IN SIN (something wrong) about IGN(i)S (Roman word for fire without i, or one) = reports
8 CRU R (central letter of Syrah) within CU (first and last letters or ‘perimeter’ of chateau) = cryptic definition – a term used to identify a vineyard (or chateau) which could also be described as a centre for syrah wine
12 NOBEL B (initial letter of ‘busy’) within or ‘during’ NOEL (Christmas period) = this Swedish chemist who invented dynamite and used some of his fortune to institute the Nobel Prize
14 IBSEN NESBI(t) (‘writer Edith’)reversed or ‘in retirement’ without or ‘wasting’ t (time) = this Norwegian playwright and poet. The word ’writer’ seems to serve two purposes here – one for the English writer Edith Nesbit and also for the Norwegian playwright
17 OARLESS ARLES (French city) reversed or ‘circling’ inside OS (boatman as in Ordinary Seaman) = without a paddle. Thanks to Mark B for noticing the gremlin that crept in along the way!
18 INSCRIBE CRIB (card game) inside SE (London area) with IN at the beginning (‘popular at first’) = scratch
20 EKBERG ERG(o) (therefore without O or Oscar)  around or ‘keeping’ KBE (award as in Knight Commander of the British Empire) = this Swedish model and film star famous for her role in the Fellini film La Dolce Vita
21 TRIP UP RIP (tear) within TUP (a sheep or ‘wooly thing’!) = fluff, as in make a mistake
24 DIN DIN(go) (canine without or ‘avoiding’ ‘go’ (try)) = commotion – the second part of the theme word
26 BOAR BOA (stole) + R (last letter of cobbler) = swine


14 Responses to “Independent 7958 / Scorpion”

  1. hounddog says:

    At 1D ‘Screamer’ to mean a powerful shot is a common term in football.

    I think ‘ex-footballer’ at 7A could just be ‘footballer’ as Kaspar Schmeichel (son of Peter) is doing quite well in his own right.

  2. nmsindy says:

    The newspaper has ”Motorists’ group” in 15A for AA. While hounddog’s point re Schmeichel is of course correct, Peter would be very much better known even to non-footie fans, I guess, from all his success with Man Utd. I agree with him about ‘screamer’. V minor point in TRIBUNE, I thought that “wanting transfer” suggested one letter was moved ie T from the end to the front but the effect is the same as the anagram. Tricky enough, with AMUNDSEN giving me the theme once I had AVIAN – had heard of most if not all of the people referred to and got there in the end. Favourite clue TRIP UP and also liked the definition in ORANGUTANS. Thanks Scorpion and B&J.

  3. eimi says:

    I shared B&J’s reservations about ‘boozy group’ in 15A and asked for a replacement clue – unfortunately I only seem to have amended the dead tree version.

  4. Mark B says:

    Purely for completeness’ sake, I’ll contribute an explanation for 17D –
    OS is the Ordinary Seaman, or boatman, circling the French city of ARLES.

  5. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Mark B! We both remember typing it up so some gremlins crept in – we have just checked our Word document and it is there! We had a strange event recently when it was impossible to leave comments – again no idea how that happened.

    Further to the comments on AA. We’ll check Crossword Solver and the dead tree version in future to see if there are any discrepancies. Thanks Eimi for your comments – we are glad that you noticed it as well and asked for it to be changed.

  6. Wanderer says:

    Much enjoyed this. The blog seems to be missing BERGMAN at 19, which I parsed as ER (queen) + G(rand) M(aster) in BAN — which would require BAN to mean black. Is this right, or have I gone off in the wrong direction?

    First of the themed clues was NOBEL, and favourite was EDBERG at 23, for the delightful and complete narrative in the clue.

    Many thanks to B&J and Scorpion.

  7. Wanderer says:

    Sorry, EDBERG at 25, of course.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Wanderer! Well…… no gremlins this time to blame as we seem to have both missed it out in the compiling and the checking! Slapped wrists all round!!

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for blogging, B&J

    I agree with you about one or two cumbersome clues (TRIBUNE in particular) but I thought this was a decent puzzle with an interesting theme. I managed to get the gateway clue(s) right off, which was a help, and the Norsemen and Norsewomen were all pretty well known, I think. I too liked ORANGUTANS.

    And Old Norse had a significant impact on the development of English. If your HUSBAND has FRECKLES, blame the Vikings. And as I discovered from Kathryn’s brother’s Scandinavian girlfriend last summer, a mole (the digging kind) is MULDVARP, and as readers of D H Lawrence will know, the Nottinghamshire dialect word for the animal is MOUDIWARP.

    I digress. Thank you to Scorpion for the puzzle.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Wanderer. I took BAN to mean ‘black’ in the sense of ‘blacklist’. Not sure if that’s exactly right.

  11. Dormouse says:

    Well, I’d never heard of Schmeichel, father or son, nor the Coronation Street dog Wikipedia also gives me for that name.

  12. Wil Ransome says:

    Enjoyed this, although I didn’t get it all right — I’d completely forgotten Anita Ekberg and assumed there must be some actress called Emberg. Was slow to get Schmeichel because I’d always thought he was German. RNLI given as (4) in 2dn seemed a bit wrong: RNLI isn’t a four-letter word. Was trying to make CARLSEN (Magnus, world no. 1 at chess) work for 19dn, being unable to understand the correct answer for a time. Agree that be = experience (9ac) seems no good. Can anyone give two sentences where they are interchangeable?

  13. Dormouse says:

    Incidentally, did anyone else at first think NESBO for 14d? Scandinavian writer, five letter, middle letter S, possibly having letters in common with Nesbit. Couldn’t fully fit it with the clue, but it was a working hypothesis for some time. (And I see that the final letter of the name is not a simple O but the Scandinavian letter that looks like a phi. Seeing accents are usually ignored in crosswords, I suppose an O would have been the correct letter in the grid.)

  14. pennes says:

    Well, I got Edberg on the first pass and decided that if we were going to have not-exactly-household-names, I probably wasn’t going to bother, and seeing that an ex-footballer was involved confirmed it. It must be 20 years since Edberg was around and in terms of his name being known he is hardly Becker/ Mcenroe; so I did and old Bradman from the FT.
    Actually it looks as though it wasn’t as obscure as I suspected and others seem to have found it fun. I do think RNLI should be clued as 1,1,1,1: it has 4 letters but it’s not a word, and I think Nesbit is far from the first writer’s surname that goes with Edith.

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