Fifteensquared

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Independent 6384/Virgilius — a light breeze.

Posted by Colin Blackburn on April 3rd, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

It’s Virgilius so there must be a theme. Hmm, 6 long across entries; definitely a theme. The anagram at 11ac jumped straight out at me as did the one for 14ac, which is, incidentally, excellent. Once I had those two the theme was obvious and it was only a matter of working out if the shorter across answers were part of the theme—they are—and if the down answers were included—on the whole they’re not. This was the usual high-quality puzzle from Virgilius, if a little on the easy side because of the thematic elements.

Across
1 GALE-FORCE WINDS — (DOES CREW FLAG IN)* — excellent anagram &lit.
9 DROUGHT — DR+OUGHT
10 PAMPERO — PAMPER+O — I didn’t know the word but it sounded like a wind blowing across the pampas and that’s what it turned out to be. Pamper = baby isn’t from Chambers but it seems reasonable.
11 WEATHER STATIONS — (TEST AIR HEAT SNOW)* — another excellent anagram &lit.
14 STORM IN A TEACUP — (IMPORTANT CAUSE) — superb anagram.
17 HURRICANE LAMPS — cryptic-ish double definition, lamp = hit = blow
19 COME RAIN OR SHINE — double definition with a homophone in the cryptic definition.
22 TSUNAMI — I(MAN+US)T
24 TORNADO — TO(RN+A)DO — RN = Royal Navy = service.
26 THUNDERSHOWERS — TH(UNDER+SHOW)E+RS — “cat and dogs” is UK colloquial for rain.
Down
1 GO DOWN — GO(DO)WN — nice surface. I just left my university but had I gone to the right school I might have gone down from it.
2 LOOK AFTER — LOOK+AFTER
3 FOG — “Fogg” — ref. Phileas and the one thematic down answer.
4 RATER — fRATERnity
5 EXPATIATE — EXPAT+I ATE
6 ISM — IS+M(eaning) — vaguely cryptic definition of an ism.
7 DIEGO — DIE+GO
8 HOTS UP — (TO PUSH)*
12 HARRIER — double def.
13 TOECAPS — I read this as an &lit but am I missing something more in the word play?
15 ITALICISE — IT+ALIC(IS)E — Alice is, of course, the Lewis Carroll character, though I thought Morse for a while.
16 CAPTIVATE — CAP+T(IV)ATE — that gallery again.
17 HECATE — HE-CAT + E
18 VENOUS — VENO(mo)US — my last answer, not an obvious definition but nice surface and word play.
20 MOUTH — double def.
21 OATHS — ATHOS with O moved to top.
23 ANN — “an” — I assume this one is this simple, a homophone of a word given directly in the clue and a more than usually qualified definition of a name.
25 RIO — RIO(t) — Rio De Janeiro has a famous carnival.

4 Responses to “Independent 6384/Virgilius — a light breeze.”

  1. says:

    PAMPERO My Chambers has baby = pamper (vb) TOECAPS I worried a bit about this too. I think Virgilius has used “additions” to go with the numerical context of “digits” and they would be extra items for extra protection.

    As always, so impressed by how all the thematic material was found, fitted in, with all the rest being pretty much everyday words.

  2. says:

    It always strikes me that his puzzles almost seem to have been casually thrown together, they are so natural and pleasant to solve. One of the best setters around for me.

  3. says:

    nmsindy: I looked up pamper and didn’t find baby, I didn’t think to look up baby and find part of the answer. I am impressed by a grid that can have six long answers in one of the directions, and as you say, still avoid obscure words. Even with software this is no mean feat.

    tilsit: I agree absolutely. I always look forward to Virgilius/Brendan.

  4. says:

    Yes, Virgilius puzzles are a joy, always looked forward to – and show they don’t have to be hard to be fun.

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