Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6277/Virgilius – That’s logic

Posted by rightback on November 28th, 2006


Solving time: 13:16 (one mistake)

Another excellent puzzle from Virgilius with a theme (7, arguably 10 answers) based on a work by one of my favourite authors. Anyone unfamiliar with the excerpt in question can read it here, while the whole book can be found here and its predecessor here. Unfortunately I made a pig’s ear of this puzzle, starting with a time-costly mistake (see 1dn) and finishing with another (17dn).

1 L and (later) O inside TAKING PINTS – possibly a thematic allusion to ‘talk of many things’?
9 RAM RAID – Jason and his Argonauts went in search of the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology.
11 “CEILING WHACKS” – is sealing wax still in use? I’ve never seen any.
12 ALAS[ka]
16 CAB(B)AGES – I like AGES for ‘gets over hill’!
20 PENT + AD – my last correct solve, referring to the five gold rings of the carol.
23 MET A TAR’S AL[satian] – unusual wordplay with ‘up to a point’ meaning ‘take all the letters before the first compass point (N, S, E or W)’, but nonetheless I should have got this much faster, a 10-letter bone can be metatarsal/metatarsus, metacarpal/metacarpus and not much else. I think on my first read I thought the definition might be ‘up to a point’.
26 NET + G(A)IN – but strictly shouldn’t the definition be ‘what one finally makes’?
1 “TAMPER” – I wrote in Medal (for “meddle”) here fairly confidently and only realised my error when I got RAM RAID. I think I was thinking of Mobile in Alabama, because the city of Medal doesn’t seem to exist…
3 [k]IND I GO[t] – another variation on a common wordplay device.
4 WASTE rev. inside GAY – I didn’t register the ‘up’ in the clue to start with so took several seconds to realise why this was right.
5 OHIO, which has a horizontal line of symmetry (not the vertical one I was expecting!). Another thematic allusion, to a looking-glass?
6 anag. of ONE + N(L)IGHT – very nice &lit.
7 S(HIP)S – hip as in rose hip.
8 W (= with) + REST + LED – the definition is ‘fought, in a way’ which makes the clue much more difficult than if it had been ‘fought’ because there are so many more possibilities.
13 anag. of ROMEO around anag. of O (= love) and A BED – I’d not heard of an oboe d’amore, and thanks to the invisible apostrophe nearly went for the (appropriately) nonsensical Radome. Quite what an oboe radome would be is anyone’s guess, but luckily I realised on checking that the wordplay doesn’t quite work for that answer so I knew it was wrong and eventually twigged.
15 CAR(PEN)TER – another very slow moment. What’s a ‘carterpen’?, I asked myself, before giving up and moving on…
17 anag. of I STAY and OLD – yet another wrong 50/50 guess for me, and worse still I wasted at least a minute on this before realising I’d misread ‘conversion’ as ‘conversation’. The correct answer is SODALITY, from the Latin sodalis meaning ‘companion’, but I went for ‘sadolity’. Stupidly I guessed and stopped the clock before having noticed the theme which could in theory have helped me (though not in fact with this answer).
18 COME INTO – ‘be left with’ = inherit, and also refers to this Tennyson poem. A nice complement to 4dn.
21 WALRUS – the one clue for which you needed to know the theme poem, though I still didn’t realise that this was the puzzle’s theme.
22 KINGS – refers to the bible and the regal names Henry and James. Nothing to do with the author Henry James but I’m not sure I like this misdirection; would ‘cat dog, say’ (as opposed to ‘cat and dog, say’) be acceptable for ‘animals’?
24 SHOES – double definition and another thematic entry…
25 PAWN – …and maybe one more?

4 Responses to “Independent 6277/Virgilius – That’s logic”

  1. says:

    I vaguely knew this reference, but am not very familiar with it, so I did wonder if for once Virgilius was not giving us a thematic one. Really struggling in the bottom half – CABBAGES, as you have remarked, was a lovely “stinker”. Realisation dawned with WALRUS and I saw there was another route to CABBAGES – that part of the quote I did know. I finished the puzzle quickly then. Looking up the quote, I found several other words that I’d solved independently. Solving time: 46 mins.

    I think Peter B advised on his Times site some time ago that it was worth reading up on that theme. Azed’s third prize winner this month used it (the reference meant nothing to me). Also, I’ve failed with a few Listeners where it was used thematically.

  2. says:

    Araucaria frequently uses Lewis Carroll as a source of his themed (and Bank Holiday) puzzles.

    Nice puzzle by Virgilius and with the Times and Araucaria,good puzzles all round (will go and check the FT in the hotel to see if we get a full set!)

  3. says:

    Back in the good old days of double grids on Bank holidays, one of the few I had the wit to cut out and keep was an Araucaria puzzle on the Alice stories. It’s used as a bookmark in my copy of MartinGardner’s Annotated Alice.

  4. says:

    You’d better know your Sherlock Holmes too!

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