Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6402/Virgilius – A to Z…

Posted by neildubya on April 24th, 2007


I found this very easy – one of my rare sub-10 minute solves I think – but that’s not really the point as there’s a very clever piece of grid wizardry going on here. The unchecked letters in the 1st, 5th, 11th and 15th rows contain all the letters of the alphabet in order. I know nothing at all about filling grids but that looks to me like quite an achievement. I haven’t commented much because many of the clues were quite straightforward but I thought this was another terrific puzzle from a terrific setter.

9 hidden in “moRAL PHilosophy”
11 (B HEATER)* – very smooth surface reading.
12 PUPIL< in SS
19 WESTON-SUPER-MARE – groan. If you were riding into the sunset you would of course be going west on a – well, you can probably work out the rest.
26 (TREES)* in D,S – another excellent surface reading.
30 (ANIMATOR)*,A – (edit: thanks to Colin for the correction)
1 AR,I in ABC – very much liked ABC for “the rudiments”.
4 DALEK – I guess even non-Doctor Who fans will have heard of the Daleks. Looking forward to next week’s episode and the conclusion of the “Daleks in Manhattan” story. Very impressed with the Doctor’s new companion, Martha Jones (played by Freema Agyeman) although I still think that Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper was an unbeatable combo.
7 AZ in GUM,P
16 hidden in “parTY POlitics” – “character flaw” is an excellent definition.
20 ADE, C in QUAY
24 hidden in “keepERS AT Zoo”
27 SLAV(e)

7 Responses to “Independent 6402/Virgilius – A to Z…”

  1. says:

    More applause. I don’t think I’ve seen a whole alphabet in unches like this before. Until I spotted the bottom row sequence, I was fooled by (Toronto) Blue Jays and Ajax (Amsterdam), into expecting a foreign sports teams theme. Weston-super-Mare must be a strong contender for the setter’s favourite seaside resort – I’ve seen other good clues in the past. It’s a shame that the combination of placename and (6-5-4) rather gives the game away.

  2. says:

    Yes, a marvel of construction. As you say, it was fairly easy, especially once I noticed STUV in the bottom left and twigged. It was nice that AZ, setter and theme, appeared as a clue component and ASCOT, another setter, popped up. I slight nod, intentional or otherwise to yesterday’s puzzle? I did wonder if there was an original attempt at a doubly pangrammatic grid given the extra J and Z.

    My favourites were ERSATZ, nicely hidden, and PSHAW, great word.

    30ac is (ANIMATOR)* + A.

  3. says:

    All hail Virgilius! Brilliant. Stuff like this adds another level of enjoyment to crosswords.

  4. says:

    I think this is stunning. The most amazing grid coup I’ve seen yet. Seasoned setters will know that the last letters of the alphabet would not be popular choices for word endings, which makes it insane even to try such a thing, but Virgilius, as ever, pulls it off with aplomb.

  5. says:

    And so say all of us.

  6. says:

    Re 1 above: see Indy Prize Puzzle, August 12, 2006

  7. says:

    Sorry John – looks as if I failed to notice – I just looked up my old solo blog and it mentions the puzzle but doesn’t mention anything about this.

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