Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6295 by Virgilius – F-words in the Indy!

Posted by nmsindy on December 19th, 2006


Another amazing tour de force by Virgilius, whose weekly Indy puzzles usually have a theme.

This time (1) all the sixteen perimeter cells contain the letter F (2) there are seven rows and seven columns with entries.    In each one the first entry begins with F and the last entry ends in F.    The only “non-F words” are the central ones in the middle column and row.     Incredible!

Solving time:   19 mins.        Theme came fairly quickly.

 * = anagram


6  ALF    alfalf(a) is the fodder crop which ALF “repeatedly” “makes most of”

9 FAUNA    “fawn” + A      Fauna are all animals listed  cf flora for plants

10  WINDSURF   Thought about this and especially whether “on board” indicated container wordplay.    Knowing nothing about windsurfing, I think the whole clue is a definition of what it comprises.

17  GOOF (Foolish error)  “Almost” GO OF(f)  = explode

23  FOLLOWER  Liked this with a good surface reading, suggesting a compromise. O = old + L = left in FLOWER (elite i.e. the best)

25  STAFF   Double definition, but thought “use” should have been in past tense as that’s history now.

27  FA(i)L   River familiar to solvers     Bomb used here in the sense of “fail” in the cryptic reading – originally American slang.    The I is “dumped”


2   FEMALE    (ME) “turning over” i.e. reversed in a down clue in (LEAF)* .    The wording seems the opposite to the natural order, but that’s OK in a crossword, I think.    F is an abbreviation for Female and this is used in the next clue.

3  F  –  abbreviation for FEMALE (2) or FORTE (8) + LAW = rule

4  FAR NORTH   The Arctic Regions.     Favourite clue, with misleading context of the hit parade.

8  FORTE     Got this from 3 above.     It means loud (music) opposite to soft (p= piano) that we see more often in crosswords.    Don’t understand “Like a couple in song” – reference to some tune, I guess, but I’ve little doubt about the answer in the context of this puzzle.

13  HEART(s)     Double context of playing cards and football.    Heart of Midlothian is  Scottish football team based in Edinburgh, usually known as Hearts, so s = second is sent off.

16  AARDWOLF   An African mammal of the hyena family, feeding mainly on termites, if you want to know.     Glad the “easy clue to a hard word” policy was followed here as, unlike AARDVARK, which, as the first word in the dictionary, companies have used to get to the top of lists sorted in ABC order, I’d never heard of this one.   It’s (A WORD)* in ALF (6 across) 

18  OFF OF   (I think)     Maybe the constraints of the puzzle were pushing Virgilius to the edge, but I think it’s clear enough from the clue – and I’ve heard it used (and corrected!)

24  RUFF   As a non-bridge player, had to verify this.    (RUFF appears frequently in advanced crosswords, but usually as a bird.)     It means trumping using a different suit so e.g. diamond winning over a heart.     All this going with an excellent surface reading suggesting an entirely different romantic context.

26  AS OF   Definition:   Since (with effect from a certain time)    SOFA with the A (article) lifted to the top.

9 Responses to “Independent 6295 by Virgilius – F-words in the Indy!”

  1. says:

    Virgilius: crazy name, crazy grid.

    What a great puzzle. I twigged the theme very early on and my first thought was that it was going to have to stretch here and there to make it all work but I was wrong. This seemed to me like a harder feat to pull off than the “i’s” puzzle in the G last week.

  2. says:

    8 down. Song is ‘Tea for Two’ which goes on ‘and two for tea’

  3. says:

    Thanks for that, Conrad, that makes sense.

  4. says:

    My only gripe was the two five-letter words with only the first and third checked. I suppose this abnormal grid was a function of filling frame wif effing effs.

  5. says:

    Virgilius claims that once you’ve worked out the theme you’ve effectively got three checked letters in the five-letter words, and there was no other way of getting such prominent Fs in the diagram. A blinding display of effing, one might say.

  6. says:

    fair enuf

  7. says:

    I only realised when l was looking at the solution that there’s a thumping great F at top left made by black squares. I think that’s the “prominent” one, with its “symmetry buddies” in the other corners.

  8. says:

    When I saw the grid my immediate thought was that it was one of those cons, a 13×13 grid in a 15×15 frame. I then saw the double unches and realised they were there to make it effing obvious. A couple of answers in the bottom right quickly confirmed the theme and reduced the number of unches dramatically.

    So, Virgilius/Brendan has done H, X and F that I know of. The H grid inverted would give an I grid—has he done that one yet? I guess we can look forward to C, E, L, M, n, S, T, U W and Z at some stage.


  9. says:

    Oops, just read the first comment properly. He has done an I. My excuse is that I was away.

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