Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8156/Scorpion

Posted by John on December 4th, 2012


A crossword with a theme that will not be approved of by everyone, since 8/12 should in some people’ s views be written out of history, certainly not given unwarranted publicity. Not perhaps that appearing in the Indy crossword is exactly having your name emblazoned across the front pages.

But this apart it is a very well-constructed crossword with some excellent clues. Several of them refer to each other in a circular way, so that you can’t get one without the other and vice versa, but I did manage to get one of them from the wordplay and thereafter it was OK.

9 IMP OS TOR — and 10 is ‘fake’
10 F{acing} A{ccusations} {bi}KE{rs} — and 9 is ‘impostor’
11 ORIGINATOR — (Giro)rev. (ration)*
13 {Ba}D (RU) G{uy}
17 F(R{epeats})IENDS
20 DYED — “died”
22 FRAUDSTER — (after drugs – g)* — the g comes from ‘cycling terminally’ — and 28 is ‘cheat’
24 CLYDESDALE — Clyde [the river, so a runner] (leads)*
26 LIAR — (rail)rev. and 27 is ‘deceiver’
27 D({l}E{e}C{h}E{s})IVER — and 26 is ‘liar’ — arguably a bit weak here to have ‘deceiver’ as the answer and ‘deceitful’ in the clue
28 CH(E)AT — and 22 is ‘fraudster’
1 P(L)EASANTRY — a pleasantry is, say, ‘how are you doing?’
3 R(EPO)R T — EPO is Erythropoietin— and 13 is ‘drug’
4 SILICON — “silly” Con — I’m not sure if it’s simply this and Nadine Dorries is merely a Con, or whether she’s a silly Con — I think it could be either
5 SPRINGER — ring in (reps)rev.
6 OSWALD — (D(law)SO)rev. — Lee Harvey Oswald
7 BOJO — (job)rev. O{pposition} — not a word I’d ever heard and not in Chambers but no doubt somewhere — how prim of me, of course Boris Johnson
14 UNDERPANTS — (nude R)* pants
18 EXTOLLED — (l-lot)rev. in Exe d
19 CAVALRY — Calvary with l a bit lower down, i.e. failing
21 DODGEM — “dodge ’em’ — and 8/12 is Lance Armstrong
23 DR {t}ENCH — a nickname for a doctor is ‘bones’
25 LIE N

10 Responses to “Independent 8156/Scorpion”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    Some wonderful surfaces here, 22 across and 4 down – the latter (even better if you know any French).

    And a themed puzzle on my home turf (track, rather).

    As for 8/12, I still have and still watch my DVDs of his seven wins. They may have been awash with EPO, but they were still real races on a pretty level playing field (at least among the contenders). Just my $0.02 worth

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, I hate to disagree with the redoubtable Mr Cork, but I didn’t enjoy this at all. I got LANCE ARMSTRONG early on, but then the rest just seemed a bit stodgy, and the theme didn’t encourage matters: as John says, why give publicity (of a Z-list kind, it has to be said) to someone who’s a cheat/deceiver/fraudster etc?

    In fact I gave up with about a third of the puzzle left. Sorry, Scorpion, not one of your best in my opinion. Although Conrad’s take on the Nadine Dorries clue is some recompense for French speakers …

  3. allan_c says:

    Got the theme pretty quickly but still struggled with a few of the themed clues. Eventually got FRAUDSTER from crossing letters but couldn’t parse it.

    I think it needs clarifying that it isn’t divers as in Tom Daley that are deceitful sportsmen but the overpaid divas (pun intentional!) of the football field.

    Thanks, Scorpion and John.

  4. sidey says:

    ‘Divers’ were originally boxing cheats.

    An odd mix of a puzzle, I think Scorpion conveys the contempt that Armstrong is held in by most though. Not only was he a cheat but a bully who forced others to cheat too.

  5. Raich says:

    I think there have been puzzles in various series about villain(s) etc. Can’t see why not TBH.

  6. crypticsue says:

    I too had to give up with this one about half way through. The theme was clear enough but it was just too much like hard work and I have a rule that if I can’t do a puzzle after two or three pause/returns, then it goes in the recycling. Sorry Scorpion and thanks to John for explaining all the stuff I couldn’t work out.

  7. Flashling says:

    Glad site is up. Thought the indy’s lawyers might be having kittens over this. Good stuff thanks john and scorpion.

  8. Dormouse says:

    Two days in a row I’ve been unable to do about half the puzzle. Not helped by guessing “morass” for 23dn, parsing it as MO +(W)RASS, except I now see the fish is spelled “wrasse”.

  9. Chris says:

    Second in a very hard pair on consecutive days. I gave up yesterday with two left but persevered today and did get right through. I thought some of yesterday’s were a little unfair and obscure but today, while very tough (for me at least) was fair. A very satisfying puzzle to finish.

    And, for the record, just because many disagree with the actions of an individual doesn’t seem to be any reason to avoid inclusion in a puzzle. Especially with all the negative associations in other clues. I’m sure there have been many puzzles about Jack the Ripper, for instance…

  10. Rorschach says:

    Chris @9 What about the morality of criticising a puzzle on the blog for a different puzzle?

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