Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6516/Virgilius

Posted by neildubya on September 4th, 2007


Something of a rarity for me: a Virgilius puzzle I didn’t enjoy all that much. I got the three thematic clues fairly quickly, probably because they’re not all that cryptic and I knew the quote from Shaw; I did think briefly that the puzzle would make use of US and British words for the same thing (e.g PAVEMENT/SIDEWALK, TAP/FAUCET) but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the case, although many of the clues mention variations on 13A and 20A.

12 (W LORE)* – a ROWEL is a small spiked wheel attached to a spur.
13 GREAT BRITAIN – the theme of the puzzle is the quote from George Bernard Shaw that GB and the US are “two nations divided by 18A”. Neatly enough, this is replicated in the grid entries.
24 (EARTH)* – I’d never heard of Bret HARTE but the wordplay was easy enough to get this.
28 TABLE – I didn’t know the US meaning so this was a bit of a guess, although there’s not much else that could fit.
1 SLUGS – I filled this in without really getting the “used in strikes” bit but I’ve just realised that to slug someone can mean to hit them.
2 hiddein in “drivING EARlier”
3 (YOU AN ANGST)* – AGONY AUNTS. Very nice &lit clue.
6 N,G in E,LANDER – LANDER is the plural of Land.
10 (RAIN)* in ENG – “getting ready” (as in money) is the deceptive definition here.
16 BUSH in B,K,AS
17 HOP,I – I panicked a bit when confronted with ?O?I but then I saw that HOP=dance. A HOPI is a member of the Pueblo Indian people of Northern Arizona.
19 MAE WEST – something of a crossword staple (some might say cliche). As well being an actress, a Mae West was an inflatable lifejacket worn by WWII pilots. You can probably work out why it was called that but if not, it’s explained here.
23 USHER – a reference to the Poe story, The Fall of the House of Usher.
26 CREE(d)

2 Responses to “Independent 6516/Virgilius”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Must say I enjoyed this and was impressed with how much thematic material Virgilius fit into the grid. I’ll always associate the quote with the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Was slowed by misspelling GREAT BRITAIN at first and was wondering whether IRAQ or IRAN was the isolated state at 15 down, before light dawned.

  2. Patrick says:

    To ‘table’ an item in a meeting in the UK is to put it forward for discussion, to ‘table’ an item in the US is to put it on the table of contents (agenda) for a future meeting, usually so low on the list that it seldom sees the light of day.

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