Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent Crossword 8052 by SCORPION (Saturday Prize Puzzle 04-08-2012)

Posted by twencelas on August 11th, 2012


Looks like a themed crossword this week – always a good sign.


So what of the theme


The key to it lies with 1 and 4 across.


The answers yielding “Gold medallist“, with the Olympic games taking place in London, not a great surprise.

But what sort of gold medallists and could I remember them all. I should also add they are all in Athletics.

  • David Hemery 9ac – 400m hurdles champion in Mexico city in 1968
  • Linford Christie 10ac – 100m champion in Barcelona 1992
  • Jessica Ennis 12ac – Heptathlon champion London 2012 (well predicted Scorpion)
  • Eric Liddell 13ac – 400m champion Paris 1924
  • Chris Brasher 19ac – 3000m steeplechase champion  Melbourne 1956
  • Denise Lewis 22ac – Heptathlon champion Sydney 2000
  • Kelly Holmes 27ac – 800m and 1500m champion Athens 2004
  • Tessa Sanderson 28ac – Javelin champion Los Angeles 1984
  • Mary Rand 29ac – Long jump champion Tokyo 1964
  • Steve Ovett 2dn – 800m champion Moscow 1980
  • Mary Peters 21dn – Pentathlon Munich 1972

For completeness since 1964 anyway, apologies if I have missed anyone:

  • on the men’s list Ken Matthews, Daley Thompson (my vote for our greatest ever Olympic athlete), Jonathan Edwards, Lynn Davies, Sebastian Coe (now Lord Coe of Ticketing fiascos) and Allan Wells
  • on the women’s list only Sally Gunnell and Ann Packer are absent from the grid

So full marks to Scorpion for including so much thematic material and a very pleasant and accessible crossword to solve – also nice that it was available for the whole country to enjoy, unlike the games themselves IMHO.

Key: * Anagram ; DD Double definition; rev. – reversed


1. DD-ish Number 1 is Gold in a winning sense and 79 is Gold’s Atomic Number = GOLD

4 (dame still)* = MEDALLIST (Successful sportsperson becoming)

9 H (hard) + emery (abrasive) = HEMERY

10 Christ (Gosh) + ie (that is) = CHRISTIE

11 Theatre (operating area) – h (hard) + e (close to source) = TEA TREE (Source of antiseptic)

12 Tennis (Wimbledon game) – t (time) = ENNIS

13 Rev. LED (watch display) in Lidl (Supermarket) = LIDDELL

15 Or (1 across as in gold) in Rev Diets (legislative assembly’s) = STEROID (Drug)

17 Med (Inland sea) + leys (straight lines) = MEDLEYS (Swimmers race in such)

19 her (that lady) fllowing bras (supports) = BRASHER

22 Lewisham (London borough) – ham (actor) = LEWIS

24 E (energy) + me (this person) in lent (fast time) = ELEMENT (Silver perhaps?)

26 OS (Crewman as in Ordinary Seaman) + Homonym born (endured) = OSBOURNE (Rock singer)

27 m (member) in holes (parts of golf course) = HOLMES

28 s and e (extremists in some) + RS (group of scientists – royal society) + on (attached to) = SANDERSON



2 Ott (excessive) around VE (day of celebrations Victory in Europe) = OVETT

3 Die (Become breathless) + r (runs) in had (experienced) = DIE HARD (Traditionalist)

4 Mayo (dressing) + alt (old german) in ry (line as in railway) = MAYORALTY (Political office)

5 De (Of French) + Cree (Language) = DECREE (Rule)

6 Glare (Dazzling light) moveing g (Gary’s beginning) = LARGE (Jumbo)

7 Insert (Supplement?) – t around an (article) = INSANER (Not so sensible)

8 tide (current) around ails (troubles) and l (pilot’s belly as in middle) = TAIL SLIDE (Aerobatic manoeuvre)

14 Ali (Boxer) in ides (selected dates) + se (Olympic region?) = IDEALISES (Glorifies)

16 Key (it’s important) + he (the man) in turn (revolve) = TURKEY HEN (Poultry)

18 Lon (half of Olympic venue London) around Widow (Dowager) – i (current) = LOW DOWN (News)

20 Rev. All in (rest)* = STELLAR (Of celebrities)

21 Pet (dearest) + hEiReSs (heiress regularly) = PETERS

23 Hidden javelin S PRE-Event = SPREE (Fling)

25 Teen (adolescent) around r (end of antler) = TREEN (out of wood)

24 Responses to “Independent Crossword 8052 by SCORPION (Saturday Prize Puzzle 04-08-2012)”

  1. flashling says:

    Thanks Twencelas although I do believe the puzzle is no longer available to the good folks in N.I.

  2. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks for the blog, but as for the puzzle … this was surely the most obscure theme ever. I was not aware that Britain had ever won a gold medal before, but on googling I see there have been quite a few medallists, but scarcely any whose names I recognised. The crossword was solvable by cheating to reveal the first letters of these names and then scouring a list to find a name that fit the wordplay, but it was hardly satisfying.

    I usually don’t object to crosswords with unfamiliar knowledge in them, as learning new things is generally pleasurable, but I’m afraid that fleetingly encountering the names of a few people who run, skip and jump for a living is neither interesting nor useful.

  3. Dormouse says:

    Must admit that once I found a Wikipedia page showing all the British medallists, completing most of this was easy. I had heard of all of them, as it happens. The answer I couldn’t get was 26ac. Not into rock music, but I now see even this was someone I’d heard of.

    I presume people saw the correspondence in the paper this week about the use of “Christ” in 10dn.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Yes, it was impressive to fit so much in. I’d not have been able to solve it without referring to Wikipedia from time to time when I could get no further. Though my interest in athletics is only moderate, I’d certainly heard of most of them and even notice a small error in the blog in that Mary Rand was in Tokyo not Rome – I remembered that. Not sure if some “?”s in the blog were asking a question but, just in case they were, I thought the supplement = insert in INSANER referred to a newspaper supplement and “Olympic Region” = SE meant the South East (of England) ie the London area. Re the CHRISTIE clue, I’ll have to admit when I had C?R, I pencilled in COR for GOSH with almost total confidence. I thought it was quite a hard puzzle and, with the need to research, was therefore ideal for a Saturday.

    Thanks Scorpion and twencelas. I’m taking Ian’s comments at #2 as being tongue-in-cheek…

  5. twencelas says:

    nmsindy – the queston marks were extracted from the clues not questions. Have corrected the 1964 reference – teaches me to not rely on my memory, especially from a year before I was born! As to Ian’s comment at #2, it’s not a point of view I share, but if it is a genuine opinion then it is a valid point, for I would imagine a small minority of solvers.
    flashling at #1 – perhaps the crossword would be more apt if it was only available in the London area, daring to air my own opinion on the exclusion of most of this country from access to the games. Seb Coe appears to be the one who is being blamed where I live. I should say no more on the subject.

  6. Paul B says:

    If you like crosswords then you’re not going to have much trouble getting along with a theme about e.g. UK gold medallists of yore, since a clue is a clue is a clue: cryptic bit, definition bit, Bob’s your uncle. It’s only when clues (for any word, themed or not) are badly-written (and these were very well-written) that you might have a slow and painful solving experience. And if you’re a prig, or a cannibal (the body and blood etc) into the bargain, you might not like gosh = Christ, I suppose.

    Good stuff Scorps old buddy, a nice bit of work.

  7. twencelas says:

    Paul B – It never even crossed my mind that gosh = christ could be controversial – missed the discussion in the paper that Dormouse refers to, and can’t locate it online.
    The latter is slightly stronger in tone than the former, but both convey similar sentiments.
    I too enjoyed this puzzle very much.

  8. Paul B says:

    Thank you for your blog btw twenceslas. Taking the Lord’s name in vain violates the 3rd Commandment, apparently.

  9. allan_c says:

    An ingeniously constructed puzzle but not a particularly rewarding solving experience – all it needed was a list of UK medal winners to find a name to fit the word length – the clues for these were then largely superfluous. The remainder were fairly straightforward except for TAILSLIDE, my last in from the crossing letters – it’s not in Chambers (1998) or Collins. I liked the clue to 1a, though.

  10. nmsindy says:

    While I understand the point at #9, I guess the pleasure of solving is the journey to the destination – so I kept away from lists of UK medal winners and tried to work the answers out from the clues – only going for help when I was absolutely stuck.

  11. Paul B says:

    Exactly. If you really want to enjoy a crossword puzzle, why on Earth would you seek a list of the themed answers prior to solution? Sorry, but this to me is a total no-brainer. Just solve the clues, and write them into the grid.

  12. Dormouse says:

    Why use a list? Well, for me, some clues I can read the word play, get the answer and then see it agrees with the definition. For others, I can guess from the definition and then work backwards to get the word play. But, for the majority, it’s a mixture of the two. For many of the themed clues here, I couldn’t get anywhere with the word play, and couldn’t remember the names of enough medal winners to get the answers that way. So, going to a list at least meant I could (nearly) finish the puzzle, which is more enjoyable that not getting any of those clues.

    As to the correspondence about “Christ” the letter complaining was here, titled “Unchristian”:

    There was an amusing rejoinder the next day.

  13. Paul B says:

    Well Dormouse, or Allan_C or whoever you are, if you’ve been beaten by a compiler of any quality, such as Scorpion, then you need to work harder on your solving. He’s certainly not out to beat you. Get a list from Google as and when you like, or press ‘cheat’ until the grid is filled, and weep.

  14. Dormouse says:

    After 40+ years of doing crosswords, I doubt if I’ll ever get any better at solving. I reckon I’ve hit my natural limit. Some I can complete, some I can’t. I have to accept that. And I may be retired, but crosswords aren’t the only thing occupying my time. If I can’t solve one, I’ve got plenty of other things I want to do.

  15. allan_c says:

    Well, I’ve probably been solving even longer than Dormouse, and there are not many puzzles or setters that defeat me, Nimrod and Anax included, or Scorpion for that matter. But for this particular puzzle my thoughts are almost exactly the same as those of Dormouse @12.

  16. Paul B says:

    That’ll be today’s big surprise then.

    But with the extra info you give @ #15, I’m even more baffled: why does a first-class solver of long experience, rarely defeated by the like of Nimrod and Anax, resort to filling in puzzle answers from a downloaded list, regarding the clues as ‘superfluous’?

    It’s like Oliver Reed settling for a shandy.

  17. twencelas says:

    Paul B – I’m all in favour of free speech, but you are in serious danger of crossing the line between pertinent comment and being abusive. I’d rather not resort to censorship.

  18. flashling says:

    Indeed PB you seem to be trying for olympic gold in trolling the crossword sites, I bow to to the master.

    Actually normally I try to just post reasonable helpful stuff, but Tees seems to need to taunt at times, he seemed quite a normal-ish chap at the S&B when we met.

  19. Paul B says:

    When I post here (exclusively, as a matter of fact), I use one ID, rather than a multitude: and you also know who I am, having met me. Re current debate, I simply found certain remarks anomalous.

  20. Polly says:

    Just to add to the sum total of human knowledge, Mary Rand and Mary Peters are one and the same, Peters being her married name; that much I remember from my teenage years. Although I take no interest in athletics I had heard of all these gold medallists, and find it hard to believe that anyone who keeps his/her eyes and ears open to current affairs and popular culture inter alia (surely the kind of person who does crosswords) could fail to recognize at least one – for instance, Linford Christie: the man who (ahem) gave rise to the learned judge’s question ‘What is a lunchbox?’ and Eric Liddell: subject of the film ‘Chariots of Fire’.

  21. nmsindy says:

    Polly at #20, I don’t think that is right re Rand and Peters – they are two different people.

  22. Polly says:

    Oo-er, red face here; but I’m not the only member of my family to have made that mistake. Thanks, nms – it just goes to show one’s never too old to learn something new.

  23. Paul B says:

    Unlucky re Rand/ Peters continuum Polly. With your other remarks I concur entirely.

  24. Graham Pellen says:

    Agree with twencelas@17. A marked superfluity of scornful comments by Paul B.

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