Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6502/Virgilius (18-08-07) – Across the board

Posted by neildubya on August 24th, 2007


This was a very quick solve for me (8:47, since you asked) so I didn’t spot the (subtly done) theme until I had 2 or 3 answers to go in. I’ve mentioned all the thematic answers in the explanations below. Nice puzzle though, and a pleasant change from the tough stuff we usually get on a Saturday.

1 CROOKS – double definition. Note the hidden chess piece.
4 ARM in FABLE – took me a while to shake off “limb” for “member”.
10 STALEMATE – one of the more obvious thematic answers.
13 G in THINK<,HOOD – another chess piece, technically referred to as the “horsey”.
14 ALL ABOARD – …and another chess reference.
17 RARER – “basic education” is the three Rs but I’m not sure where we get the A and E from; they’re the odd letters in “places” but so is the P. Full clue is “It’s not so usual having basic education in odd places”.
19 SET PIECES – the clue that announces the theme: “included in answers here”.
22 (BRAWN)* in POKER – “Uncle” is a slang word for PAWNBROKER, a piece of crossword knowledge that I only picked up about a year ago and which seems to have cropped up regularly since then. I’m sure you don’t need me to point out the chess piece here.
26 I,BIZ,A
27 (MEN QUEASY)* – MAY QUEENS. The anagram sort of leaps out at you. Only a couple more chess pieces to go now.
28 PEAK in SING – the most important piece of all.
1 CASCARA – move the CAS from “Caracas” to the front. The only word in the puzzle I’d never heard of.
3 KEEN – which means “bitter” when talking about the wind.
5 A,V,ENG,ED – a reference to the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas,pere.
6 M,(IS A TREAT)* – thanks to the injuries sustained by Beckham and Rooney among other, METATARSI (or more commonly the singular metatarsal) is now part of our vocab.
7 BISH,O,PRIC(e) – didn’t think too hard about this one, which is just as well as I wouldn’t have known that BISH can mean a mistake (according to Chambers).
8 E.MEN,DER – this could be another chess reference (MEN) or a happy accident.
9 N,AR(N)IA – from those awful books by C.S.Lewis. Don’t get me started on this.
15 I in (THEY WILL)* – LILY WHITE. Another chess reference, with BLACK coming right up…
20 TIED,YE – “the old” is YE.
24 CHECK – “czech”.

3 Responses to “Independent 6502/Virgilius (18-08-07) – Across the board”

  1. Paul B says:

    I solved this one during last week, with friends, with none of us realising it was a Prize Puzz! Ah, bliss, and as Dubya says it did feel quite easy.

    Having said that, this is pour moi ‘Ximenean’ writng at its best. That is to say I didn’t feel patronized, even where what you might call ‘directions for solving’ were laid out very unambiguously (at the cryptic level I mean, of course – Virgilius is as clever as any in surfaces). Very good stuff.

  2. nmsindy says:

    RARER It is perhaps “rare” not to clue all the letters, but that’s what’s happening here, I think. RRR in odd places i.e. 1,3,5 – the definition leading clearly to the other two tho they’re not specified. Another excellent themed puzzle from Virgilius – a quick solve for me too.

  3. petebiddlecombe says:

    Virgilius being a former Times crossword editor, I wonder if RARER is a sly nod back towards the “bad old days” of the 40s and 50s when the Times and other puzzles quite often had ‘partial wordplay’ clues. I’m sure there are some older solvers who think the current insistence on complete wordplay makes us a bunch of cruciverbal wimps. This was a good example of a time when the setter can get away with it – RARER obviously fits R?R?R and I very much doubt anything else does.

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