Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6259/Virgilius – A fairly easy 4A.

Posted by neildubya on November 7th, 2006


If you’re familiar with Virgilius (Brendan in the Guardian) you were probably expecting some sort of theme or grid wizardry when you saw today’s puzzle. Somewhat surprising then, to discover that today’s is actually a good old 1A 4A. Very entertaining though and in a 25A we’ve come to expect from this top-drawer setter.

9 SURE, COOKER in PRESS – “cooker”=apple, “press”=a type of cupboard.
11 BARB – double definition. A “barb” is a type of horse.
13 I in CHARS – misleading surface reading.
16 OMELETTE – excellent cryptic def. I had O?E?E??? filled in so my first thought was “overeasy” although I wasn’t convinced, correctly as it turned out, that it was one word.
23 GREEN REVOLUTION – anag. I thought the (Al) Gore ref was a nice touch.
24 CUSTOMARY – anag of “Army scout”.
25 STYLE – another word for “stylus”.
3 NOSY PARKER – anag of “prank yes or” and &lit.
4 L in CIRCE – Circe was the goddess who transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals using magical potions.
8 I’S, OBE in DYED – honour = “obe”
12 INS AND OUTS – double definition.
13 OP, LOG in CHIC – hyphenated in Chambers (the online version anyway) but not here. I’d never heard of this term, which means “over subtle or complicated arguments” but I got it from the wordplay.
15 ET CETERA – Neat. “Etc” is contained in “sketch”.
18 NO BODY – which is definitely a problem in a murder case but I don’t get the “Holloway recorder” ref – could someone enlighten me?
21 Tin+Ge – Ge is “germanium”. Can “trace elements” plural be fairly defined as “tinge” (singular)?
22 (p)INTO – a “pinto” is another type of horsey.

6 Responses to “Independent 6259/Virgilius – A fairly easy 4A.”

  1. says:

    I’d like to thank Neil for his efforts in setting up this blog. I shall certainly be an avid reader, because I find feedback very useful, and I’ll contribute clarifications where I can.

    I’m glad Virgilius’s plain crossword in customary style was appreciated. There was speculation on Peter Biddlecombe’s excellent blog about whether Virgilius set any crosswords without a theme and, knowing what was in the pipeline, I allowed myself a quiet chuckle.

    Re: 13 Down
    My Chambers has CHOP LOGIC as two words as a verb or as one word as a noun.

    Re: 18 Down
    The clue is a reference to George Grossmith’s comic novel Diary of a Nobody, set in Holloway.

    Re: 21 Down
    “Trace” is the definition and “elements. metal and semimetal, one symbolised” refers to Tin and Ge.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  2. says:

    I enjoyed this too – found it a good deal harder than the average Virgilius, with the TINGE and STYLE in the SE corner very tricky indeed, before eventually working them out. Had been expecting STYLE because of the “theme”, but it took a while to see why. OMELETTE was my favourite clue – misleading context suggesting motoring, though my garage always suggests replacing it, rather than repairing it…

  3. says:

    Thanks for the clarifications eimi.

    I agree with nmsindy that the SE corner was the trickiest. Also considered TINTS for 21 Down.

  4. says:

    I doubled my solving time trying to justify BARB. Eventually I realised that BARB was short for BARBITURATE = heroin = ‘Horse’. Complete and utter nonsense, I now discover!

  5. says:

    Hard but good. I failed on CIRCLE, which I should have got, and BARB, which was a new one on me. I was fine with the Holloway reference, knowing the book and that part of London well, but I’m not convinced the connection is really well-known enough.

  6. says:

    I think the Grossmith novel is referenced in Chambers under POOTER.

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