Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8249 (Saturday 23 March 2013) Scorpion

Posted by Bertandjoyce on March 30th, 2013


We thought this was an enjoyable and not too challenging Prize Puzzle for a very snowy and cold weekend.

The last few Scorpion puzzles that we blogged were themed. At first we couldn’t spot anything going on here. We thought it may be a pangram, which helped us solve 6d but on completion we couldn’t find a Y in the grid. So, we set about writing up the blog (Joyce’s turn this week!). When someone got in touch with us during the week about the puzzle, it prompted us to look again…. how did we miss it?

There were a few clues that we weren’t that sure about – 11 ac and 13ac  but as always we may be missing something.

Our COD has to be 25ac.


1   ‘arsh museum dissecting collection of animals – like this one?
AARDVARK hARD (harsh with first letter removed) + VA (Victoria Albert Museum) inside or ‘dissecting’ ARK (collection of animals
6   Foreign city very quiet as a lion circulates
ALEPPO PP (very quiet) with A LEO (a lion) outside or ‘circulating’
9   Army leader given award by this writer in both hands
ROMMEL OM (award) + ME (this writer) inside or ‘in’ RL (right and left)
10   Quiet couple steal mushrooms
SHIITAKE SH (quiet) + II (couple) + TAKE (steal)
11   Glass taps connected earlier
SCHOONER CH (cold and hot as in the taps) inside SOONER (earlier). We weren’t that happy with ‘connected’ indicating ‘around’. We’ve not come across this before. It may have been better with just ‘connect’!
12   Electronic gadget masks front of satellite dish
MOUSSE MOUSE (electronic gadget) around or ‘masking’ S (first letter or ‘front’ of satellite)
13   Rational bank clerk briefly stops lunatic crook
INTELLECTUAL TELLEr (bank clerk) with last letter removed or ‘briefly’ inside or ‘stopping’ an anagram of LUNATIC (anagrind is ‘crook’). Another anagrind we’ve not noticed before. We would have been happier with ‘criminal’ which would have still fitted the clue.
16   Getting back excellent coat, shortly arrive here in North America
BAFFIN ISLAND Reversal or ‘getting back’ of FAB (excellent) + FINISH (coat with last letter removed or ‘shortly’) + LAND (arrive).
19   Roman figures keep current uniforms cleaner
VACUUM VM (Roman figures) around or ‘keeping’ AC (current) + UU (uniforms)
21   Stuffed that Parisian in Scrabble, peripherally with final letter
SQUEEZED QUE (that in French) inside or ‘in’ SE (first and last letters of ScrablE or ‘peripherally’) + ZED (last letter)
23   Jack no good in heptathlete’s company, being a foolish schoolboy?
JENNINGS J (jack) + NG (no good ) inside this heptathlete from Sheffield. The boy features in this series of novels which Joyce remembers reading.
24   Curtailed journey after peak brought about blistering
TORRID RIDe (journey) with last letter removed or ‘curtailed’ after TOR (peak). What a mess Joyce made of this clue. Thanks to all concerned for checking the blog more thoroughly than she did!
25   Stick at shaving facial hair
ATTACH AT + TACHe (facial hair) with last letter removed or ‘shaved’
26   Perhaps movement of duck initially disturbs fish after roll of bread given
WADDLING D (first letter of Duck or ‘initially’) + LING (fish) after WAD (roll of money or ‘bread’)
2   Charlie enters to make amends now
AT ONCE C (Charlie) inside or ‘entering’ ATONE (to make amends)
3   Imbecile doctor splits brace
DUMBO MB (doctor) inside or ‘splitting’ DUO (brace as in pair)
4   Pet heading off with great speed here in Texas
ARLINGTON dARLING (pet) with first letter missing or ‘heading off’ + TON (great speed)
5   Predator destroyed trees in centre of Ilkley
KESTREL Anagram of TREES (anagrind is ‘destroyed’) inside or ‘in’ KL (centre of ilKLey)
6   Saying one couldn’t fly around the ninth gets overturned
AXIOM MOA (New Zealand bird that couldn’t fly) around XI (ninth) all reversed or ‘overturned’
7   Hospital section, having deteriorated, invested with responsibility
ENTRUSTED ENT (Hospital section) + RUSTED (deteriorated)
8   Ravioli, penne, etc? Grabbed half kilo, southernmost in European country
PAKISTAN PASTA (ravioli. Penne etc) around or ‘grabbing’ KI (half of kilo) + N (last letter or ‘southernmost part’ of European as the answer is written vertically)
13   Pub contains smoker using zone which leads to a complaint
INFLUENZA INN (pub) around or ‘containing’ FLUE (smoker) + Z (zone) + A
14   Left empty, posh hideaway elevated special date
EVACUATED U (posh) + CAVE (hideaway) reversed or ‘elevated’ + anagram of DATE (anagrind is ‘special’). Another new anagrind!
15   Lover embraces a Playboy bird
PARAKEET PET (lover) around or ‘embracing’ A RAKE (a playboy)
17   Soldiers clean up cutter
SASH SAW SAS (soldiers) + WASH (clean) reversed or ‘up’
18   Kind of engine boffin’s done up
BENIGN Hidden within the clue when it is reversed or ‘up’ eNGINE  Boffin. We couldn’t seem to find any reference to the answer being hidden within the clue until someone suggested that ‘boffin’s’ was short for ‘boffin has’ – and then it all made perfect sense!
20   Champ who’s popular in the gallery?
MUNCH MUNCH (champ as in eat) as well as a reference to this Norwegian artist
22   Knowledge gathered up about new recruit
ENROL LORE (knowledge)  reversed or ‘gathered up’ about N (new)


17 Responses to “Independent 8249 (Saturday 23 March 2013) Scorpion”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thank you, Bertandjoyce.

    Your parsing of 24ac seems to be a work in progress…

    (Also, trivially, you need to shorten your coat in 16ac.)

  2. Muffyword says:

    The journey in 24 ac is more a ride than a trip (I won’t be as oblique as NeilW).

    Brilliant crossword, blogging, especially across.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi, Muffyword and NeilW. Joyce is not into the blame game but Bert didn’t check the blog! Apologies for the typo which will be sorted out when we are home. Access is a bit difficult at the moment!

  4. allan_c says:

    In 24ac ‘tor’ is not reversed, nor are the two halves of the word transposed, so ‘brought about’ is not a reversal indicator. It can be read as ’caused’, or be there simply to improve the surface, and could also be a deliberate misdirection.

  5. crypticsue says:

    A great crossword thank you Scorpion – after all who can resist a puzzle with Jennings in it, brought back many happy memories for me. Thanks to B&J too.

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks also to allan_c. We are now back home with a computer that responds more quickly so the blog will now be amended!

    Joyce also unreservedly apologises for any other errors found in the blog – she also apologises to Bert – she really should have checked her own blog more thoroughly!

  7. sidey says:

    So what’s the Nina?

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi Sidey. Look closely at all the across answers.

  9. sidey says:

    Oh yes. Thanks.

  10. Pescar says:

    Thanks for the blog, B & J. Enjoyable puzzle, but (sorry for being a bit dense), I can’t see the Nina nor do I understand your reference above about the missing “Y”. Also, can anyone explain the double letters in the across clues? Many thanks.

  11. allan_c says:

    The Nina (if that’s what it is, maybe it’s just a theme) is that all the across answers have a double letter in them. As for the absence of a Y, a pangram is something that contains all the letters of the alphabet; this grid has them all except Y so is not quite a pangram.

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi Pescar. You are not dense! We were looking for a theme or a nina and totally missed the double letters until we were prompted to look further. Quite an achievement on behalf of the setter.

    The puzzle contains all the letters of the alphabet except Y. If only Scorpion had managed to slip one in it would have been a pangram as well! Because we had Z J and Q by the time we got to solve 6d we started looking at somewhere for an X!

    Hope this helps.

  13. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks allan_c.. We crossed!

  14. Pescar says:

    Thanks, Allan_c for the explanation. Well, at least I spotted the double letters, fairly early on in fact, which helped me solve the puzzle a much more quickly. And now for the joys of a Nimrod puzzle!

  15. Pescar says:

    Thanks B&J. Keep up the good work!

  16. Flashling says:

    Umm so why Y not a pangram setters joke if you see what I mean.

  17. Tramp says:

    I really enjoyed this. Super stuff.

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