Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6350 / Virgilius Curate’s Egg

Posted by tilsit on February 22nd, 2007


Solving time: 55 minutes (including 35 minutes of staring at a blank grid)

I nearly had a relapse with today’s puzzle.  It felt odd because usually with Virgilius, I can wade  in, savour the brilliance of the clues, discover some hidden theme and leave smiling.

That just didn’t happen today.  Sure enough, there are some lovely clues, but the overall feel doesn’t seem to be that of a normal V puzzle.  Maybe 1 across was the hidden theme, in that it was a straightforward puzzle.  Perhaps I have just been spoilt recently.

Can I also take the chance to thank everyone for the comments received
 on the puzzle with Nimrod on Tuesday.

1  STRAIGHTFORWARD   This clue had me flummoxed as to how to parse it right up to five minutes ago.  Frank’s  = def.  Channel =  STRAIT (Homophone) Supporting Political Division = FOR WARD
9  LIAISON  an oil is* –  not sure about the def here “Part of sauce” is obviously the def.
11  THE INVISIBLE MAN CD   Nice clue
12  NURSELING NURSE + LING   two fish  making a smaller one.  I don’t feel happy about the idea that A + B = a version of A.
16  INGLE SINGLE without S
18  INTERVENTIONIST  Not 100% sure about this – I think it’s simply  INTERVENTION + IT’S*
22  IWO JIMA   (Lucky) JIM in IOWA*
24  MELODIC LO in MEDIC  strain =  music in this def.
24  ENTENTE CORDIALE NATION REELECTED* – nice apposite anag and clue

1  SPLIT INFINITIVE  CD  clever!  10/10!!
2  READE READE(R) –  Can’t say i have heard of an author called Reade –  only Miss Read.
3  INSINCERE Hidden answer BargaIN SINCE REjected…   Virgilius is the master of the hidden clue.
4  HANOI H =  Middle of “Nowhere” + IONA (rev)
6  RATEL Another hidden witha cryptic def.    Where would setters be without the honey-bear?
7  ALARM CALL CD  Didn’t like this clue at all.
8  DEFINITE ARTICLE CD  it’s not “A” = definition  SURE THING =  two defs
13  RIGHTMOST Title =  RIGHT (?) + first letters of Match…. team
14  IMPRECATE  I + MP  = Current representative = CREATE*
20  TEMPO Hidden answer
21  INDIA Lovely clue  Communicating with control tower, I =  definition.  I in the phonetic alphabet is INDIA 

5 Responses to “Independent 6350 / Virgilius Curate’s Egg”

  1. says:

    I think you’re right about STRAIGHTFORWARD i.e. no theme. INTERVENTIONIST is, I finally worked out, TER(m) in INVENTION (“creative act”) + ITS*. READE is Charles Reade – clever clue, that.

  2. says:

    Satisfied customer here – not the usual bucketfuls of theme, but SPLIT INFINITVE and DEFINITE ARTICLE made a nice pair. Had the opposite solving experience – easily sub-5 even with a quick flap over ALARM BELL rather than CALL. Maybe my Times background paid off – BG has been a setter for all but a few of my 20+ years of Times solving, and his period as editor was my quickest spell of solving.

    1A: Strictly, “Frank” is the def and ” ‘s ” = “is” is a link to the wordplay.
    10A: more than just a CD – “In the minority?” and “Yes indeed” are both defs.
    8D: Surely a charade of sure = definite, thing = article ?

  3. says:

    I thought this was a good puzzle and “straightforward” was a hint – ironic, in a week in which Dac has a theme, that the king of the themes doesn’t, but it serves to remind that there’s more to Virgilius than clever grid gimmicks – he’s a very fine setter and this grid would pass the most rigorous scrutiny for fairness.

  4. says:

    I never did see why part of sauce = liaison, in 9A. Please could someone explain?

    In 13D, right = title in the sense of right of ownership, I think.

  5. says:

    Liaison: it’s a thickening for soups or sauces, such a cream or egg yolks. And you’re exactly right about right.

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