Posted by tilsit on November 21st, 2006
Solving Time: 18 minutes
After yesterday’s enjoyable Tees puzzle, the momentum of the excellence of the recent Indy puzzles continued with today’s puzzle by Virgilius, although the brilliance of most of the puzzle is tempered by a couple of less than satisfying clues.
Any aspiring setter would do well to study the clue writing in Virgilius’ puzzles as he possesses an amazing talent to provide both novel definitions and clever ways of presenting his indications. One of today’s star clues was:
21d Discontinuous, like most parts of Fiji (6)
I wonder how many solvers reached for an atlas, or looked in a reference book for a help with this clue, when the solution is right in front of them. It reminds me of a famous clue from a Times crossword competition eliminator (I think) which read: They hang from trees in the book of Jeremiah (6) . A great many solvers went looking in the Bible and struggled to come up with an answer, which was AMENTA (a type of catkin). The answer of course was hidden in the title of the OT book “Lamentations”. With Virgilius’ clue, you had to literally look at the clue and notice that most of the letters in the word were dotted. Tah-dah! Brilliant!
As with most Virgilius puzzles, there is always something going on, and todays was no exception, although I have to say I found it almost immediately. That made solving some of the clues a hunt, rather than a genuine voyage of discovery, but it was no less enjoyable for it.
And a nice finishing touch hiding 7/26 in the first three letters of 1 down!
7/26 SIXTH SENSE – a straight definition hinting you should look for five linked words in the puzzle.
11 INTO TOUCH - Ouch (a cry of pain) following IN TOT (popular child) – remainder of clue is definition.
12 RURAL - River = R, plus one in Russia The River = URAL. I have to say I have seen this clue a number of times before. Not the easiest of words to do anything with when cluing.
13 SEEING THE SIGHTS – A cryptic definition clue – I liked the idea of it, but I didn’t feel this worked fully.
15 ACQUIRED TASTE – nice anagram, worked into a lovely definition.
18 HEARING IMPAIRED i.e. HEARING I’M PAIRED = Being told that I have a partner - the rest a cryptic definition - having trouble with audition i.e. deaf.
22 ORIBI – Old = O bone = RIB +I Where would setters be without the vast range of antelopes, who all have unusual names (and plenty of vowels!)?
23 SMELL A RAT - another nice anagram whch dovetails well with the definition.
26 ON THE NOSE This was the last clue I solved and held me up for ages till - Bridge = bridge of the nose and “Not each way” = payment (betting) is exact i.e. on the nose.
1 ESPIES - S inside E PIES (European dishes) – ESP is of course the SIXTH SENSE – this has to be intentional, doesn’t it?
2 EXIT – a hidden answer. Virgilius’ hidden answers are always very cleverly hidden and this was no exception.
3 PHOTON HOT under P (Pressure) about = ON, rest is definition.
5 TECHIE – a nice simple clue with an anagram
6 DRILLS Routinely teach, i.e. teach a routine and a DRILL is type of monkey - double definition.
9 PARTITA Where orchestra plays = PIT, without skill = AROUND ART, then plus A equals a type of suite – See Chambers.
10 NORTH STAR Former PM’s = (Lord) NORTH’S + TA (thanks) + R (queen). How many people would know that Lord North was a Prime Minister? (I did!) But is it fair to use that definition to get solvers to NORTH in a daily puzzle?
16 UNITIVE - Punitive (Disciplinarians) without P (its head). Tending to make one = definition. Another nice clue.
20 AT LAST - This clue troubles me - It was a clue I solved from intersecting letters and assuming that finally was the definition. I am not sure about the “Where Oxford is put in shape” I presume this is ATLAS + T, although I am happy to be corrected.
21 DOTTED – See above
24 RANK Double def.