Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent / 8030 Scorpion

Posted by Bertandjoyce on July 10th, 2012


An interesting themed puzzle today, with the themed items generally forming part of the wordplay rather than the answers themselves. This made it a bit trickier than other themed puzzles where you can find yourself looking for themed entries without necessarily following the wordplay.

We have one or two minor quibbles over the choice of words in some of the clues, which we feel could be improved without loss of surface reading, but overall, a good Tuesday work-out for our Wedding Anniversary!!

7   He’s crazy about gold – it can become addictive
HORSE Anagram of HE’S (anagrind is ‘crazy’) around OR (gold) = We’re unhappy about the use of the words ‘can become addictive’ – horse is a slang term for heroin, which is highly addictive. In its more familiar meaning, it is the theme for the puzzle
8   7’s inside attending to liqueur
AMARETTO MARE (a horse – see 7ac) inside AT (attending) + TO = liqueur
10   Website beginning to excite 7
EBAY E (beginning or first letter of ‘excite’) + BAY (a horse – see 7ac) = website
11   Setter, here in recent times, stamps territory
PHILATELY PHI (one of the Indy’s regular crossword setters) + LATELY (in recent times) = stamps territory, or stamp-collecting
12   7 with high tone, singing metal
COBALT COB (a horse – see 7ac) + ALT (a high tone in singing, or music generally) = metal
14   Loudly assertive do-gooder with 7 religious books
STRIDENT ST (saint – or ‘do-gooder’) + RIDE (horse – see 7ac) + NT (New Testament – religious books) = loudly assertive
16   7s collect old press secretary where Chequers is located
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BUCK and SHIRE (horses – see 7ac) around, or ‘collected’ by INGHAM (Sir Bernard Ingham, press secretary to Margaret Thatcher) = where Chequers is located
19   Sextet turned lively when journalist left type of supplement?
VITAMIN A VI (roman numerals for six, or sextet) + ANIMAT(ed) (lively, without ‘ed’ or editor – journalist) reversed, or ‘turned’ = type of supplement.
21   Name derived from 7 in middle of demo
EPONYM PONY (a horse – see 7ac) in (d)EM(o) – the middle letters of demo = name
22   Aerial competition, from 7, held by Southern fighter pilot
SPACE RACE PACER (a horse – see 7ac) in or ‘held by’ S (southern)  ACE (fighter pilot) = ‘aerial competition’, although if we’re being pedantic, ‘aerial’ relates to ‘air’ and ‘space’ is beyond the atmosphere, where there is no air
24   Around 7, English and Yankee like an omelette
EGGY GG (horse – see 7ac) in E (English) and Y (yankee, as in the International Telegraph Alphabet) = like an omelette
26   Tripe unknown in butcher’s window
BULL’S-EYE BULL (tripe, as in rubbish) + Y (unknown) in SEE (butcher’s, as in Cockney rhyming slang – butcher’s hook – look) = type of circular window
27   Group of 7 express disapproval
GROAN G (group, as in G5 etc) + ROAN (a horse – see 7ac) = express disapproval
1   Fish and chips primarily the focal point
CHUB C (first or ‘primary’ letter of chips) + HUB (focal point) = fish
2   Bird gets fruit below 7 kilo
GREY HAWK HAW (fruit) below, or after GREY (a horse – see 7ac) + K (kilo) = bird
3   Babe making big exhibition in the street
SEXPOT EXPO (big exhibition) in ST (street) = babe
4   Equestrian worker drawn by one artist
DALI LAD (equestrian worker, as in stable lad) reversed, or ‘drawn’ + I (one) = artist
5   Footnote?
LEGEND Cryptic definition – a foot is at the end of a leg, or a leg-end, and a legend can be explanatory words, or a footnote, in a reference book or similar document
6   Prop’s the latest to kiss Scottish flower
STAY S (last or ‘latest’ letter of kiss) + TAY (Scottish river or ‘flower’, as in something that flows) = prop
9   There’s confusion among characters from 7, filling in annual return before noon
ANAGRAM NAG (a horse – see 7ac) in, or ‘filling’ AR (annual return) + AM (before noon) = ‘confusion among characters’
13   Revolutionary company with intermittently built in windows
OCULI CO (company) reversed, or ‘revolutionary’ + alternate or ‘intermittent’ letters of bUiLt-In = windows
14   Children surrounded by stolen goods, arrested, sound unstressed
SCHWA CH (children) in or ‘surrounded by’ SWA(g) (stolen goods without the last letter, or ‘arrested’) = an unstressed sound
15   Drawer, being in pine, upset obsessive
NERDY DR (drawer) in YEN (pine) all reversed or ‘upset’ = obsessive
17   Simplicity shown by top-class doctor for 7s etc in north-east
NAIVETE A1 (top-class) VET (doctor fro horses – see 7ac) in NE (north-east) = simplicity
18   Enthralled by topless chef in riotous hen do
HOOKED ON (c)OOK (chef with first letter omitted, or ‘topless’) in an anagram of HEN DO (anagrind is ‘riotous’) = enthralled by
20   Sort of land 7 on the French
ARABLE ARAB (a horse –see 7ac) + LE (‘the’ in French) = sort of land
21   Zip code finally applied to work unit in US state
ENERGY E (last or final letter of code) + ERG (work unit) in NY (New York – US state) = zip
22   10 avoided workshop 7
STUD STUD(io) (workshop without the ‘i’ & ‘o’ or ten in numerals) = a horse – see 7ac
23   Plant some of 22 across
ACER Hidden in, or ‘some of’ (sp)ACE R(ace) (answer to 22ac) = plant
25   Colt perhaps falls on rear in Thirsk – it’s sludgy stuff
GUNK GUN (a colt is a sort of gun) + last letter or ‘rear’ of  (Thirs)K = sludgy stuff


8 Responses to “Independent / 8030 Scorpion”

  1. dialrib says:

    Thanks Bertandjoyce, and Scorpion.

    ‘Can be addictive’ seems fine to me. While it can be highly addictive it is frequently administered in hospitals without leading to addiction (I have had it several times and not felt any cravings).

    I had more of a problem with ‘see’ as a noun (26a) and yen as a verb (or pine as a noun) (15d) – their obscurity seeming almost unfair. But I love learning new words and meanings and enjoyed the crossword a lot.

  2. crypticsue says:

    Happy Anniversary B&J. I found this one quite tough going in places but got there in the end. Thanks to you and Scorpion too.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for a fine blog.

    I prefer this kind of theme, where you’re not just looking for ‘five of x’ or ‘six of y’. The gateway clue was straightforward, which I appreciated, and thereafter it was good fun to think a bit laterally about the ‘horse’ meanings.

    I liked SCHWA – it’s that funny unstressed sound at the end of words like ‘father’ (unless you’re rhotic, and let’s not go there …) And LEGEND was good too.

    I have mentioned it before, so at the risk of boring people, I think it’s unfair to include other setters’ names in clues. Everyone who blogs here knows that PHI gives us the Friday puzzle, but I’m guessing that for most of the Indy solving population, the setter’s name means nothing (sorry, boys and girls).

    Happy Anniversary, both, and to continue the theme, don’t get too frisky tonight …

    Thanks to Scorpion.

  4. Bertandjoyce says:

    Having never touched the stuff in or out of hospital, we take your point dialrib@1 about ‘can be addictive’ and stand corrected – apologies to Scorpion!

    Thanks to crypticsue and K’s D for their congratulations – we hardly ever celebrate – mostly forgetting when it is – but last year’s was fairly memorable in more ways than one! We don’t think we will be tempting providence this year by booking another expensive celebratory event!

    K’sD – we would normally take your point about including setter’s names but we felt that the definition was so obvious on this occasion that it was OK.

  5. Paul B says:

    Well, at least it’s not an adjectival phrase defining a noun, like wot you get in some other dailies. Occasionally.

    Good puzzle I think, with a tricky thematic device handled very well.

  6. NealH says:

    I got a bit held up when I convinced myself that 21 down might be emerge, even though it didn’t make much sense as a definition. That’s the problem with state abbreviations – it’s basically any two letters and ME for Maine seemed every bit as good as NY. Other than that, I enjoyed this one and didn’t have a lot of quibbles, except that I’d never heard of bull’s eye as a type of window and didn’t easily find it in any dictionaries. I got 7 across immediately, which helped, but it was still tricky to think of all the different short words for horse that could possibly be used in the answers.

  7. Dormouse says:

    Got the theme very quickly, so much so I was convinced I was wrong. It was only then getting 24ac that assured me I was right the first time.

    But then I found it a bit of a struggle and 2dn and 22dn both eluded me. I’d never heard of a “grey hawk” and couldn’t find it in Chambers. There does seem to be a bird called a “grayback” but I couldn’t fit that in with the rest of the clue.

    Did like 9dn.

  8. redddevil says:

    Got 11a straight away but it got me nowhere :-)

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