Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8223 / Scorpion

Posted by duncanshiell on February 21st, 2013


This puzzle from Scorpion made me think quite a bit before I solved it all.




I normally write the blog for these puzzles a day or two in advance by accessing the puzzle through Crossword Solver.  When I first downloaded the puzzle there was no clue for 5 down EN RÈGLE.  There is now a clue in the final published version but I am not convinced it works properly – see my comments in the body of the blog.  Almost certainly, I have missed something – I usually do. (Afternote – See comment 1 – I did!)

There was some interesting wordplay in today’s clues.  I liked the way ‘speed limits in Cardiff and Crewe’ was used in 17 across.  ‘Woods’ in the golfing allusion at 5 across was a good example of misdirection.  I also liked ‘vacation in Guyana’ to indicate GA.  Other slightly quirky devices were the references to HYPHEN at 27 across and the use of  ‘manufactured in Hong Kong’ at 8 down.

There were quite a few sporting references in the puzzle with golf, rugby, rowing and baseball all featuring..  Indoor games also got a look in with mentions of cards, chess and cribbage.

There was something for the linguists too with French and German words appearing together with Received Pronunciation.

There were quite a few Americans, starters and leaders throughout the clues.

I enjoyed this and look forward to Scorpion’s next appearance.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



American avoided bone eating second-rate course here (6)


(HUMERUS [bone of the upper arm] excluding [avoided] US [American]) containing (eating) (B [something of second class or order; second-rate])


HUMBER (reference the River HUMBER in Eastern England; course)




Third in Open? Woods? That’s rubbish (7)

E (third letter of [third in] OPEN) + (YEW [a type of wood] + ASH [another type of wood], giving woods)


EYEWASH (rubbish)




The German grabs floor-mat alongside American person on trips (4,4)


DER (one of the German forms of ‘the’) containing (grabs) (RUG [floor-mat] + US [American])


DRUG USER (one who experience the hallucinatory effects of LSD or similar drug and said to be ‘on a trip’)




Scorpion marks area tracking mate – horny creature (6)


I (Scorpion, the crossword setter) + M (marks [former German currency]) + PAL (mate) + A


IMPALA (an African antelope with horns curved in the shape of a lyre)



Sponsor to finance housing somewhat (4,2)


SORT OF (hidden word in [housing] SPONSOR TO FINANCE)


SORT OF (to an extent; somewhat)




During vacation in Guyana, a locum treated disease (8)

Anagram of [treated] A LOCUM contained in (during) GA (first and last letters remaining after the central letters are  removed [vacation of] GUYANA)


GLAUCOMA (a disease of the eye, marked by increased pressure within the eyeball and growing dimness of vision)




Having made a touchdown, England shortly converted it. Class! (6,6)


LANDED (made a touchdown, as in the plane LANDED on the runway) +  an anagram of (converted) ENG (a shortened form of England) + TRY (a touchdown [it] in rugby]


LANDED GENTRY (GENTRY defines the class of people next below the rank of nobility; in this case the GENTRY also own LAND)




Breaking the speed limits in Cardiff and Crewe causes vocal complaint (6,6)


Anagram of (breaking) THE SPEED and (CF and CE [first and last letters of {limits of} each of CARDIFF and CREWE])


SPEECH DEFECT (vocal complaint)




One playing in crib game cut the king of diamonds? (4,4)


BABE (one playing in the crib) + RU (Rugby Union; game) + THE (excluding the last letter [cut] E)


BABE RUTH (reference BABE RUTH, famous baseball player.  Baseball is played on a diamond shaped pitch.  BABE RUTH could well be known as the ‘king of diamonds’)




Plant trouble experienced in retirement (6)


(AIL [trouble] + HAD [experienced]) all reversed (in retirement)


DAHLIA (any plant of the Mexican genus DAHLIA of perennial garden composites with large brightly-coloured flowers and tuberous roots)




Old freelance, last to bring in idea, gets rejected (6)


G (final letter of [last to] BRING) contained in (in) (THINK [thought;  idea, when THINK is viewed as a noun in an informal sense] ) all reversed [gets rejected]


KNIGHT (a ‘freelance’ was originally one of the mercenary KNIGHTs and men-at-arms who wandered about Europe after the Crusades)




Una’s heading to a contracted department for a replacement hip (2-2-4)


U (first letter of [heading to] UNA) + an anagram of (for a replacement) (TO A and DEPT [contracted form of department])


UP-TO-DATE (informed about; knowing; hip)



Word is, in French, covering teacher’s beginning regular exam (3,4)


MOT [French for ‘word’] + EST [French for ‘is’]) containing (covering) T (first letter of [beginning] TEACHER)


MOT TEST (Ministry Of Transport TEST for vehicles; regular exam)




Endless publicity stunt by bird that’s seen in T-shirt and G-string (6)


HYPE (publicity stunt) excluding the last letter [endless] E + HEN (bird)


HYPHEN (there are HYPHENs in both T-shirt and G-string)





Eradicate posh accent evident in extremely upper-class rearing (6)

([RP {received pronunciation – the particular pronunciation of British English which is generally regarded as being least regionally limited, most socially acceptable, and is considered the standard; posh accent}] contained in [evident in] [TOO {extremely} + U {upper-class}])  all reversed (rearing)

(U (PR) OOT)<

UPROOT (destroy)




Party around entrance head for extra trifle (9)


(BALL [party] containing [around] GATE [entrance]) + E (first letter of [head for] EXTRA)


BAGATELLE (trinket; trifle)




Fluttering, one chirps, soft to loud? (9)


Anagram of (fluttering) ONE CHIRPS with the P (pianissimo; soft) replaced by (to) F (forte; loud).

‘fluttering that chirps’ seems to be doing double duty here, or the whole clue is an &Lit if the ROSEFINCH</b's chirp goes from soft to loud.


ROSEFINCH (any of various finches of the genus Carpodus found in Europe and Asia,; bird that flutters and chirps)




According to rules, green’s repositioned outside of line (2,5)


Anagram of (repositioned) GREEN  containing (outside of) EL (elevated railway line)  

This doesn’t seem to work for me  – I first tried L for line, but that left me an E short.  I then used EL, as above, but as the clue is written I would have expected the letters EL to be contiguous within the anagram of GREEN.

Thanks to NeilW at comment 1 below for showing that the wordplay is an anagram of GREEN + the outside letters LE of LINE

EN RÈGLE (in due order; according to regulations)




Heath or Blair, as leading creater of fiction? (5)


ERIC (reference ERIC Blair [George Orwell], author, creator of fiction) + A (first letter of [leading] AS)


ERICA (the plant of the heath genus)




One wriggles on front of chair after starter of iced jelly (5)


ASP (snake; something that wriggles) + I (first letter of [starter of] ICED) + C (first letter of [front of] CHAIR])


ASPIC (clear savoury meat- or fish-jelly used as a glaze or a mould for fish, game, hard-boiled eggs, etc)




Stamp of authority rearmost in call alarm – ‘manufactured in Hong Kong’ (8)


(Anagram of [manufactured] L [last letter of {rearmost in} CALL] and ALARM) contained in (in) HK (Hong Kong)


HALLMARK (the authorized stamp impressed on gold, silver or platinum articles at Goldsmiths’ Hall or some other place of assaying, indicating date, maker, fineness of metal, etc; any mark of authenticity or good quality)




Director, meeting huge cost mistakenly pays for himself only (4,5)


D (director) + (an anagram of [mistakenly] HUGE COST)


GOES DUTCH (pays for himself only)




Registered new Punto keeping check on edition (7,2)


Anagram of (new) PUNTO containing (keeping) (CH [check, in chess] + ED [edition])


NOTCHED UP (recorded; scored; registered)




Occupant of bogs starts to sway perilously, holding capless wine bottle (8)


SPH (first letters of [starts to] SWAY,  PERILOUSLY and HOLDING) + MAGNUM (two-quart wine bottle) excluding the first letter (capless) M


SPHAGNUM (any moss of the genus SPHAGNUM of boggy areas in temperate regions)




Heart of Texas in the USA’s awfully empty (7)


X (middle letter of [heart of] TEXAS) contained in (in) (an anagram of [awfully] THE USA)


EXHAUST (draw out the whole of; empty)




Go gently, training old resident in game (6)


(PT [physical training] + O [old]) contained in (resident in) TIE (match; game)


TIPTOE (go gently)




Crew returned the captured soldier (5)


(THE containing [captured] GI [American soldier]) all reversed (returned)

(E (IG) HT)<

EIGHT (crew [of a rowing boat])




Leader leaving the BBC is free (5)


AUNTIE (a term of affection [perhaps] to describe the BBC.  Chambers says AUNTIE is a facetious name for the BBC) excluding (leaving) the first letter [leader] A


UNTIE (free)



8 Responses to “Independent 8223 / Scorpion”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Duncan.

    EN REGLE: Anagram of GREEN before L(in)E (outside of line).

  2. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks Neil – blog updated

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan for the usual fine blog. I didn’t find this too tricky for a Thursday Indy; perhaps I was just in the zone today.

    Plenty of fine clues today: I specially liked EYEWASH, DRUG USER, SPEECH DEFECT and BABE RUTH.

    I have banged on before about RP: it’s fine for the clue, of course, but I think it’s a dated concept, and I certainly wouldn’t give it the status of ‘most socially acceptable’ or ‘standard’ (I know these will be the dictionary definitions). It’s also sometimes called ‘BBC’ English, but if you listen to most of Auntie’s presenters today you’ll get a lovely variety of regional accents, unlike in the 1950s when they all did have RP (and wore bow ties as well).

    Ahm gannin oot noo ter buy a proggy mat if yes all knaa what that is.

    Don’t worry, my medication usually kicks in by late morning … Excellent puzzle, thank you to Scorpion.

  4. Rowland says:

    Good clues here, very polished production. I too liked the speed limits joke, that was nicely done. Good stuff!!


  5. Flashling says:

    Not as hard as most thursdays but en regle beat me for wordplay. Thanks duncan and scorpion.

  6. allan_c says:

    Quite challenging today – Thanks, Scorpion (and Duncan!)

    My CoD has to be LANDED GENTRY for its great surface.

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    Well we seem to be in the minority here – some clues just felt a bit too contrived but then maybe it’s late and a Thursday. BABE RUTH defeated us we are afraid to admit – heard of him – but not into baseball. Kate Bush came to mind from the crossing letters but ……. unsurprisingly didn’t seem to work!

    Anyway, thanks to Scorpion who we normaly enjoy and to Duncan for the blog which we needed tonight.

    Not sure what K’s D has gone oot to buy but whatever it is … we hope it was worth it!

  8. Dormouse says:

    Well, I am into baseball, and it took a word search to get 20ac. King of the diamond would be more idiomatic, I think, but he was actually nicknamed the Sultan of Swat.

    One of those days were I got about half in a rush and then spent the rest of the day trying to get the rest. 1ac totally defeated me.

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>

8 − = two