Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6442/Virgilius – Cornered.

Posted by neildubya on June 16th, 2007


One of the last names you expect to see above a puzzle on a Saturday is Mr Tuesday himself, Virgilius. Not that I’m complaining. This was definitely easier than usual for a Saturday but no less enjoyable for that. And there is, of course, a theme which I’ve referred to in my notes (but see 20D for the full explanation).

10 hidden twice in “dAILy mAIL”
11 (ITS NEW TERMS)* – our first thematic element.
12 A,B,BEY – I didn’t know BEY so this was a guess. I also didn’t spot it’s connection to the previous clue so at this point I wasn’t aware of the theme.
18 O in STEP< – another part of the theme and again, I didn’t make the connection at the time of solving.
20 (OLD GIRL)* in CE – COLERIDGE. I think it was solving this clue that led me to thinking about a theme of some sort, although at this point I thought it was just to do with poets, nothing else.
24 hidden in “terueL OR CAstellon” – a nice touch to have his actual birth place in the grid.
27 (YET A VINEGAR)* – very nice clue.
30 NY in (SONNET)* – TENNYSON. I think my brain finally moved out of first gear with this one although I hadn’t yet solved 20D.
1 A in GRANDA(d)
3 DOWRY – not the best cryptic definition we’ve seen from Virgilius but that’s a bit like criticising Kaka for making a wayward pass.
16 ALAS (going up),MAN(x),CA(t) – SALAMANCA, which is in Spain.
17 L in (NEED BATS)* – nice definition (“West Indian players”) given the cricketing surface reading.
20 CORNER – double definition of “set piece” (as in football) and “where rook was, initially” (chess). The penny dropped completely with this one: “Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey”. In the bottom right-hand corner of the grid, Coleridge and Tennyson with 25D and 26D soon to follow. I’m not sure that Coleridge is actually part of the theme though as he’s not buried in Poet’s Corner and he doesn’t have a memorial there either. OK, he’s a poet and he’s in the corner of the grid but Tennyson, Burns and Byron are actually a part of Poet’s Corner (Tennyson was buried there, the other two have memorials). On the other hand, LORCA and EMERSON (who both wrote poetry) also appear in this corner of the grid so maybe the theme is not meant to be too exact. Another nice touch, which may not have been deliberate, is that Poet’s Corner is in the South Transept of the Abbey, and the poets appear in the “south” of the grid.
25 BY,NOR< – another of our thematic poets…
26 BURNS – … and the final one.

5 Responses to “Independent 6442/Virgilius – Cornered.”

  1. says:

    You’d be surprised how many unlikely setters turn up in the Saturday slot! I thought this was another Virgilius classic, the theme slipped in with typical subtlety and not at all necessary to guess for a successful solve. I know someone whose last entry was POETS.

  2. says:

    Yes – apparently any old joker gets the Saturday slot these days;-)

  3. says:

    Yes, this was excellent, and, as Neildubya has said, a little easier than the usual Saturday. I took Poet’s Corner and Westminster Abbey in a broad sense i.e. lots of poets in the grid (their corner) but they don’t necessarily have to be buried there. Not researched it but it seems unlikely Lorca, for one, has any connection with it.

  4. says:

    Yes – Lorca, Emerson and Coleridge are all buried elsewhere.

  5. says:

    Eagle-eyed Listener solvers might have noticed that one of last week’s winners was JE Green of St Albans.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

one − 1 =