Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,096 / Scorpion

Posted by RatkojaRiku on September 25th, 2012


It is Tuesday today, so it is not easy to predict whose work will be in store for solvers and blogger alike.

I hadn’t blogged a Scorpion for a while so I was quite excited when I started this one, and indeed, Scorpion lived up to my expectations. As it is Tuesday, you know to be on the lookout for a theme, but I didn’t actually spot one in this puzzle. On the other hand, I did spot that the grid is a pangram.

I worked my way through this grid – which was new to me, by the way – at a fairly even pace – no sting in Scorpion’s tail this time! Overall, I found that I was solving the shorter entries first and only then making inroads into the longer ones once there were enough letters in.

There are a lot of intricate composite clues in this one, with original indicators for selecting/dropping letters from words – e.g. belly of, extremists to, peripherally, character inside – that I found truly refreshing, if a tad daring.

12 was the last one in today, although 23 was the hardest for me to parse. My favourite clue today was 15, for its smooth surface and well-disguised definition and for affording me a moment of nostalgia (The Sweeney was a particular favourite in our house when I was a child); this was closely followed by 27, for its smooth surface. I also smiled at the irrelevant linkage (…) between 6 and 9.

*(…) indicates an anagram

5   GRACE *(C<h>ARGE); “leaving hotel (=H)” means letter “h” is dropped; “fixed” is anagram indicator;
6   SCARGILL [CAR (=vehicle) in S<econd> G<ear> (“starts in” means first letters only)] + ILL (=badly); the reference is to Arthur Scargill, leader of the NUM during the miners’ strike in the 1980s
9   LANCELOT LANCE (=cyclist Armstrong) + LOT (=works, as in I had the works); this time the reference is to Arthurian legend
10   EVOLVE VOLV<o> (=Swedish car; “when contracted” means last letter is dropped) in E E (=electronics, i.e. 2 x E for electronic, as in email)
11   PAUNCH <b>A<r> (“character inside” means middle letter only) in PUNCH (=thump)
13   GINSBERG [B<ull> (“head” means first letter only) in *(SINGER)] + G<uiness> (“primarily” means first letter only); “performed” is anagram indicator; the reference is to American Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-97)
14   MOJO MO (=doctor) + JO<y> (=happiness; “endless” means last letter dropped)
16   LILAC I (=one) in LLAC (CALL=ring; “which turns” indicates reversal)
17   EXES EXE (= “flower”, i.e. River) + <tear>S (“close to” means last letter only)
19   ADHERENT A<ccepte>D (“peripherally” means first and last letters only) + HERE (=present) + NT (=religious books, i.e. New Testament)
21   ESCHEW ESC (=characters on keyboard, i.e. the ESC key) + HEW (=axe)
23   DÉJÀ VU [E (=electronic) in DJ (=Jock, i.e. disc jockey)] + AVU (UVA=light, i.e. ultraviolet radiation with a range of 320-380 nanometres; “back” indicates reversal)
24   COLTRANE COLT (=arm, i.e. gun) + *(NEAR); “stretched” is anagram indicator; the reference is to American Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane (1926-67)
26   IMMOLATE MO (=instant, i.e. moment) in I’M LATE (=confession of tardy person)
27   EQUAL QU (=queen) in <d>EAL (=card handout; “losing daughter (=D) means letter “d” is dropped); the definition is “match” as a verb
1   FALCON FAL (= “runner”, i.e. River) + CON (=fleece, i.e. swindle)
2   REAL Homophone (“pronounced”) of “reel” (=stagger)
3   PSST S<eem>S (“vacuous” means first and last letter only, i.e. the word is “emptied”) in PT (=training)
4   TABERNACLE TAB (=bill, as in to pick up the tab for) + *(CLEANER); “ordered” indicates an anagram
5   GUANACO GUA (AUG=one month; “upset” indicates vertical reversal) + NAC<h>O (=tortilla chip; “not hot (=H)” means letter “h” is dropped); a guanaco is a wild llama, hence “South American resident”
7   GOODBYE GOO (=sticky stuff) + D<au>B (“extremists to” means first and last letters only”) + YE (=the old-fashioned)
8   LOVER <g>LOVER (=manual worker); “who loses good (=G)” means letter “g” is dropped
12   HALLELUJAH HALLÉ (=Orchestra) + [J<acket> (“leader in” means first letter only) in LUAH (HAUL=convey; “uplifting” indicates vertical reversal)]
13   GILET Reversed (“reflective”) and hidden (“catches”) in “cigaretTE LIGhter”
15   OREGANO REGAN (=cop in The   Sweeney, i.e. Jack Regan, played by John Thaw) in <cr>OO<ks> (“belly” means middle letters only); the definition is simply “leaves”, i.e. herbs
18   ETERNAL TERN (=high-flier, i.e. bird) in E<l> AL (=airline; “ignoring locations initially (=L)” means letter “l” is dropped); Rome is known as the Eternal   City
20   DREAM <ruine>D (“ultimately” means last letter only) + REAM (=sheets, i.e. of paper)
22   CORPUS COR (=My!, i.e. exclamation) + PUS<s> (=cast; “Manx” means tailless, i.e. last letter is dropped)
24   CHEZ CHE (=an Argentine, i.e. Che Guevara) + Z (=last character, i.e. in alphabet)
25   LEEK E (=low-grade, e.g. in UK exams) in LEK (=Albanian bread, i.e. unit of currency)

10 Responses to “Independent 8,096 / Scorpion”

  1. yvains says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku – I needed the explanation of 23 :). Thanks also to Scorpion – I particularly liked 7 and 22.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Excellent puzzle and excellent blog. Esp liked LILAC, PAUNCH, CORPUS. Maybe it’s just me but was there maybe a theme Arthur’s Day (Guinness) which is this week with a number of drink-related clues – Arthur appearing twice and Guinness once. Thanks RR and Scorpion.

  3. allan_c says:

    A nice range of difficulty in the clues today, some easy ones to get started before puzzling over such as 23a, 5d and 18d.
    Guessed COLTRANE at once for 24a then saw the parsing of it. Forget Pavarotti & Co; if anyone says ‘Three Tenors’ to me I think of John Coltrane, Prez (Lester Young) and Stan Getz. Which gives me an idea. Maybe one of our setters could come up with a jazz-themed crossword sometime, though no doubt someone will chip in here to say it’s been done already.
    Thanks, Scorpion and RatkojaRiku.

  4. flashling says:

    Thanks RR & Scorpion, saw the pangram but failed to see the something else which I expected on a Tuesday so I quite like NMS’s explanation.

  5. eimi says:

    I think there’s a classic CD missing from a lot of Indy crossword solvers’ collections. It’s a ghost theme, appropriately perhaps.

  6. Trebor says:

    Come on then, what’s the theme?

  7. Simon Harris says:

    I shamefully didn’t spot it without the prompting, but I trust that at 11:30pm it won’t spoil the fun for anybody if I chip in. This is Jeff Buckley’s GRACE, with the track listing:

    – MOJO Pin
    – GRACE
    – Last GOODBYE
    – LILAC Wine
    – So REAL
    – LOVER, You Should’ve Come Over
    – CORPUS Christi Carol
    – ETERNAL Life; and
    – DREAM Brother

    So I think that’s every track represented in the grid, which is very impressive indeed.

  8. allan_c says:

    Thanks, Simon, for putting us out of our suspense (and supplementing at least one person’s education).

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Make that three!

  10. RatkojaRiku says:

    And make that four – to my shame, I’ve never even heard of Jeff Buckley! Not the most obvious of themes, in all fairness, but at least solvers weren’t required to know the album to complete the puzzle. However, those that did, and that spotted it, doubtless derived extra enjoyment from the puzzle.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

− 7 = two