Irregular Crossword Clue Explanation (October 2007)

5 across: Poison-type Thunder? (8)

Answer: GUNKSHOT

Gunk Shot is 70% accurate, has 120 power and a 30% chance to poison the enemy, so it works just like a Poison-type version of Thunder.

7 across: Dragon's Den? (8)

Answer: AMPHAROS

Ampharos's Japanese name is Denryuu. 'Ryuu' means 'dragon', so the clue is just a play on words - by translating half of the name, you get Den-Dragon, which can easily be reversed into Dragon's Den.

9 across: Why would you want to have all three at the same time? (5)

Answer: BURMY

There is a guy in Pastoria City who will give you the Macho Brace if you show him all three forms of Burmy. However, there is no reason one would carry all of Burmy's forms at the same time, since Burmy transforms when it faints (and thus you can see all the forms for yourself without having caught more than one Burmy).

10 across: Sdrawkcab? (5)

Answer: EKANS

Ekans is, as everybody knows, 'snake' spelled backwards. It's not Arbok because it tweaks the word it's derived from (kobra, rather than cobra). Yes, I know this was easy.

11 across: The most damage-efficient 30% flinching move in the game. (8)

Answer: IRONHEAD

Iron Head has a 30% chance of making the target flinch and has a power of 80. Sky Attack also has a 30% chance of making the target flinch, but since it takes two turns, the average damage per turn is only 70 (and since it is only 90% accurate, it is in fact 63). There are stronger single-turn moves such as Dragon Rush that have a 20% chance of flinching, but none with that 30% chance.

12 across: This may be even worse than Blastoise... (8)

Answer: TORTERRA

I'm not sure how I thought anyone could figure this out the way it was intended, but this is not a reference to the quality of the Pokémon themselves but to the wrongness of their classifications. Blastoise's classification is 'Shellfish Pokémon', which is obviously not what Blastoise is. Torterra, however, is the 'Continent Pokémon'. Uh... right. o_O

13 across: Has two black spots and a spike on its back. (4)

Answer: ARON

This can plainly be seen by looking at some images of Aron.

15 across: A myth is a female moth. (6)

Answer: MOTHIM

Mothim is an all-male species, so essentially any female ones are a myth. The actual sentence comes from a supposed list of nonsensical essay paragraphs from confused students.

16 across: Backwards, it would make a nice musketeer. (9)

Answer: FARFETCHD

Farfetch'd's name spelled backwards is d'hctefraf. While 'hctefraf' doesn't make a lot of sense, the d' is reminiscent of d'Artagnan, who was the hero of in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers.

18 across: White Fang? (7)

Answer: ICEFANG

Well, snow is white.

21 across: Soft or none at all at birth? (8)

Answer: SQUIRTLE

According to Squirtle's Gold version Pokédex entry, it is born with a soft shell, but the Red/Blue entry implies that it is born with no shell at all, as it says that its back "hardens into a shell". Which one is it?

23 across: Apparently it takes a forest of Exeggutor to get one. (10)

Answer: CHARMELEON

Ash's Charmander took awfully long to evolve - it only did so at the end of episode 41, March of the Exeggutor Squad, where the trigger for its evolution was a marching forest of Exeggutor that it burned up. Funnily enough, it evolved into Charizard only three episodes later.

26 across: It makes me think of Severus Snape... (7)

Answer: SEVIPER

Well, it starts with 'Sev' and has a P in it.

27 across: The curtain instrument! (7)

Answer: DRAPION

Its name is probably a portmanteau of 'Dracula' or something like that and 'scorpion', but it makes <em>me</em> think 'drape accordion'. I mean, it does resemble an accordion, after all...

29 across: The successor of a bad pixel virtue riling. (12)

Answer: ETERNAFOREST

"A bad pixel virtue riling" is an anagram of "Viridian", "Ilex" and "Petalburg" - what the early-game forests in the previous generations were named after. Hard, I know.

30 across: Retained its Japanese name on an English piece of merchandise. (6)

Answer: PIPLUP

A Piplup figurine released during the height of the wait for the English names of the fourth generation Pokémon had the name 'Pochama', its Japanese name, on it rather than the English name, resulting in a bit of confusion where a number of major websites declared that 'Pochama' was the confirmed English name.

31 across: The light purple turns blue, but the dark purple is left alone. (8)

Answer: CLOYSTER

This is referring to the shiny. The ordinarily light purple shell is blue on a shiny Cloyster, but the dark purple face inside the shell is the same.

34 across: The second most common natural move of them all. (5)

Answer: GROWL

A whopping 97 Pokémon learn Growl by level-up (or start with it) in some game. It is surpassed only by Tackle, which is learned by an amazing 156.

35 across: Colosseum didn't let it call upon the fainted. (6)

Answer: ASSIST

Assist calls upon a move known by a Pokémon on your team. Normally you can call upon any move on your team, even if the Pokémon that knows it has fainted, but in Colosseum this was not possible. It is possible in all other games, however.

36 across: Better unless it is raining. (11)

Answer: THUNDERBOLT

Thunderbolt is always wiser to use than Thunder except during Rain Dance, where Thunder will always hit (as its normally low accuracy is its main weakness).

1 down: Like Synchronize, except better. (11)

Answer: PSYCHOSHIFT

The Synchronize ability causes the opponent to be afflicted with status effects as well when it inflicts some on you. Psycho Shift will actually remove your status effects and put them on the opponent instead, making it better. On the downside, it's a move, so you need to actually manage to use it, rather than being an automatic effect.

2 down: Polkamon? (6)

Answer: PALKIA

Well, the name always makes me think of polka.

3 down: So the Nidos are all fighters? (10)

Answer: DOUBLEKICK

All the Nidos learn the Fighting-type move Double Kick by level-up.

4 down: Kinda useless when the opponent can just switch afterwards... (7)

Answer: MEMENTO

Memento makes the user faint and then sharply lowers the opponent's Attack and Special Attack. However, since when a Pokémon faints, any Mean Look it may have used is cancelled, the opponent will simply be able to switch out when you send out a new Pokémon except in some exceptional situations.

6 down: In America, Bug Pokémon, apparently, are cars. (5)

Answer: UTURN

The Japanese name of this Bug-type attack, Tonbogaeri, translates to 'Somersault'; however, when the game was officially translated to English, it was translated as 'U-Turn', which more brings to mind images of cars.

8 down: Unown in Johto? (6)

Answer: PONYTA

Unown's National Pokédex number is 201. This is also Ponyta's Johto dex number.

14 down: Not bad at all, for such an early move. (9)

Answer: RAZORLEAF

Razor Leaf has 55 base damage and a high chance of a critical hit. In Gold, Silver and Crystal, Chikorita learns Razor Leaf as early as level eight, and as it is a starter, it is one of the earliest moves somebody who starts with Chikorita will become able to control. Considering that, it is surprisingly powerful.

17 down: Only four towns? (5)

Answer: FIORE

Fiore, the region of Pokémon Ranger, contains only four towns - Summerland, Ringtown, Fall City and Wintown, referencing the four seasons.

19 down: Girl power! (7)

Answer: CYNTHIA

For the first time in D/P, the League Champion - the most powerful trainer in the world, at least until the player came along - is a woman, namely Cynthia.

20 down: Royal family? (6)

Answer: PHIONE

Manaphy is supposedly the "Prince of the Sea", and as Phione is obtained by breeding Manaphy, it can be considered a member of its family...

21 down: Am I to understand that girls are colder? (6)

Answer: SNOVER

Female Snover have more snow on them than the males.

22 down: The Lord will apparently take the form of even his lowliest creations. (11)

Answer: INSECTPLATE

The Insect Plate turns Arceus into a Bug-type. Bugs are generally not considered to be the godliest of all creatures.

24 down: What are you running for? (7)

Answer: MESPRIT

Alone out of Sinnoh's legendary trio, Mesprit runs around the region to appear randomly in different routes as Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Latios and Latias have done previously.

25 down: One, one, two, two in one! (7)

Answer: BICYCLE

In the first and second generations, we had one bicycle. In the third, there were two, but in the fourth, there are essentially two bikes in one that you can switch between on the ride.

28 down: Medicham hair? (7)

Answer: JUPITER

Jupiter's haircut oddly resembles Medicham's head. It's not one of her Pokémon, though, so it's most likely a coincidence.

32 down: Shouldn't he look better after his files? (3)

Answer: EIN

The 'Ein Files', from which you learn everything about shadow Pokémon and purification in Pokémon Colosseum, are scattered all around Orre. One would think that such vital files would be placed somewhere where some random person can't just pick them up...

33 down: How come she gets to battle you more often than the others? (4)

Answer: MARS

Jupiter, Saturn and Cyrus himself all battle you exactly twice in the game, but Mars battles you three times in all for some reason.

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