Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6289 by Virgilius – Poets aplenty!

Posted by nmsindy on December 12th, 2006


Giving away no secrets with that.     “Poet” appears as full or partial definition in twelve clues,  and another two as part of wordplay. 

Impressed that, despite these constraints, (a) the other words in the puzzle were normal everyday cryptic material, (b) for one who does not spend the winter nights reading the great poets, I’d heard of nine of the twelve and was able to work the others out, with one exception, directly from the wordplay.

Solving time:   18 mins 

* = anagram


8  BLUNDEN   n = new for r (end) in blunder (big mistake)

9  NEWBOLT   Paused on this one, before realising “changed” is an adjective, not a verb which was my first thought.    Changed lock = new bolt

11 REGAN   (Ronald) Reagan less the “first” a.   (cf SKELTON below)     King Lear’s daughter in Shakespeare play of that name.    Familiar to solvers.

17 INMATE   A chess game ends “in (check)mate”.     “Say” included here as there are inmates other than prisoners who is just one example of an inmate.     Rigour as expected from Virgilius.

22 GARGANTUA     r = runs (cricket) in gaga (crazy) + (aunt)*  “possibly” indicates the anagram.    Originally from the eponymous work by Rabelais, but has gone into English in its own right.

23 BLOOM   L in BOOM  (sudden growth).    Lovely image – my favourite clue.

24  SKELTON   Skeleton (outline) “lacking energy(e) in one place” Take away one of the es

25  A PRIORI   From first principles (from Latin)   A PRIOR (Poet no 13) + I = one (must follow).


1  ROBERT BRIDGES   R (king) + T (a short time) + BRIDGE (game) in ROBES (formal clothes)

5  IGNITE   first letters off (b)IG (o)N (s)ITE

7  NEONATE   Newly- born i.e delivered.   NEON(gas) + ATE (consumed)  

10  THOMAS CAMPION    (Dylan) THOMAS (Welsh poet) (Poet No 14)+ CAMPION (flower)

14  EXTRACTOR   Definition = one takes out.   EX (former) TRACTOR (farm equipment).

18 MARVEL (genius) + L (extra line i.e. another l beyond the one that’s there)

20 RIO (de Janeiro – place in South America) TO US (part of N America)

21 AT ONE (in agreement) + D (Daughter)  

3 Responses to “Independent 6289 by Virgilius – Poets aplenty!”

  1. says:

    Another gem in the Virgilius thematic series. Nice and easy, so kicked myself for not spotting Kipling at 1A immediately, which might have given a very quick time. And as well as the other words being “ordinary cryptic material”, the grid was impeccable too.

  2. says:

    Grid construction is something of a blind spot for me – could you explain what you mean by “impeccable”? Is it basically to do with the amount of checking for each answer?

    Took me a while to spot Kipling too, probably because I don’t usually think of him as a poet (can’t stand “If…”)

  3. says:

    Checking is part of it: this one has 50% checking in every answer in the Times manner. The other aspect is interconnections between parts of the grid. If you can draw a line isolating a large part of the grid from the rest, which only goes through one white square (or two white squares which are “symmetry buddies”), that’s usually counted as a weakness. Yesterday’s Indie grid was a bit weak in this way – without the 4 12-letter answers, you’ve got 4 mini-puzzles. You can’t find a set of linking answers like this in today’s grid.

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