Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6300/Virgilius

Posted by neildubya on December 26th, 2006


Do my eyes deceive me or is this a theme-less puzzle from Virgilius? There’s the reference to the flags of the US and ex-Soviet Union at 1A and 26A but that’s all I can see. A un-Virgilius-like grid as well, what with those long answers forming the perimeter. Still, the clue-writing is as good as it always is, and that’s the most important thing.

9 (MERELY)*,GI’S – the setting for Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” and John Fowles’ “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”, fact fans.
11 ACNE – “‘ackney”
12 CLERE (“clear”=plain spoken),STORY
14 L,ILDES,S – so nice to see “new driver” rather than “student” indicated as L.
15 DEAD SEA – I think this is a reference to the fact that the Dead Sea is the one of the lowest points on Earth ().
19 (OLD DIET)* – I’m sure DELTOID is right but the definition “to build up muscle” is puzzling. In the Concise Oxford, the only dictionary I have to hand right now, deltoid is defined as an adjective and a noun, not a verb, which is what the clue seems to be indicating. Unless “to build up” is part of the anagram indicator?
20 hidden in “RomantiC LOVE HIT CHap” - Edit: I originally wrote this up as an anagram, for some strange reason. Maybe the excitement of the forthcoming festive season got to me. It is, of course, a clever hidden clue.
26 STARS AND STRIPES – double definition.
3 O,RUE< – “rue” should be an essential part of your crosswording French vocab.
4 EL in ANGUS – I liked this for two reasons. First, Virgilius avoids “the Spanish” and instead goes for the much more original “Don’s article” for EL; second, it’s nice to see a Scotsman other than Ian in a crossword. Excellent surface reading too.
5 SIR in DEED – I liked “so-called teacher” for SIR.
7 hidden in “broKEN-DOwn”
13 PEDOMETERS – do you do your 10,000 steps a day?
16 (POORSCENT)* – had to guess this because, as I’m sure I’ve said before, I have a blind spot when it comes to plants and flowers.
18 TIFF in SEN
21 OUIJA – this is usually clued with reference to OUi and JA being Yes in French and German so kudos to Virgilius for trying something different.

6 Responses to “Independent 6300/Virgilius”

  1. says:

    I found this harder than the normal Virgilius. 37 mins. I took the theme as the four perimeter words relating to each other i.e. the two downs and the two acrosses. There were two very clever hiddens, both of which I missed till near the end i.e. CLOVE HITCH and KENDO. But what really held me up was first pencilling in DEEP END, then DEEP SEA before getting DEAD SEA which is the lowest lake in the world, says Collins. DELTOID is a noun in one of my dicts so I took the build up as part of the anagram indicator.

  2. says:

    2D in American would have been MOM AND POP :)

  3. says:


    Isn’t it simply that “to build up” is another way of saying “to produce”?

  4. says:

    Yes, for DELTOID I think you are right – “build up” is a link. “Modify” deals fully with the anagram. I guess the couple is MUM AND DAD but if it was a comp they might have had to accept MAM AND DAD or even MOM AND DAD.

  5. says:

    Strictly speaking, shouldn’t 1across have been “Tools flown across USSR”?

  6. says:

    I think Russia is OK as it was part of the USSR – and we don’t want to give too much away in the clue, though I’ll admit I solved this one straightaway. Though this did not prove an omen for the puzzle as a whole…

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