Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6576/Virgilius

Posted by neildubya on November 13th, 2007


Even when Virgilius produces a puzzle without a theme, he’s kind enough to tell you so – check out the diagonal from top left to bottom right.

4 S in MEMBER,HIP – was a bit unsure about this when I filled it in but the COED confirms “s” for “succeeded”. And MEMBER is actually a dictionary definition for the, well, you know.
9 TIEPIN – cryptic def. “Memento of old school” immediately suggested TIE but it was near the end of the puzzle before I worked out what the rest of the clue was doing.
10 LOVE,LACE – I knew my English degree would come in handy one day. Richard LOVELACE wrote these famous lines:

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage

11 RE,DEEMED – “spiritual guidance” for RE was a bit unexpected but fair and quite original.
16 THIN[-g] – “obsession” = THING as in “She has a bit of a thing for Brad Pitt” (to use the Chambers online dictionary example)
23 L in TATTING – the last one to go in and a guess based on the definition and crossing letters as I didn’t that “tatting” was a lace trimming.
27 C in (TRAD SCALE)* – potentially controversial bit of wordplay here: “unusually short traditional scale” for (TRAD SCALE)*. “Trad” is a very common abbreviation for “traditional” but I was surprised to see it used. I got the answer from the checking letters and worked back from there. After umm-ing and aah-ing I think it’s fair because the wordplay is clear and the trad shortening is in the dictionary.
2 WHITE – not really sure what’s going on here. Could be a cryptic def, with “outer” not referring to the shell. Full clue is simply “Outer part of egg”.
3 EXPRESS – don’t really get this one either although I guess it’s something to do with the Orient Express? Full clue is “Transport historically from Paris to Istanbul, say”. I guess it could be another crypic def?
5 (IRAN MIDDLE EAST M)* – at my first look at this I thought the anagram fodder might be (IRAN AND MIDDLE E M)* but then MALADMINISTERED occurred to me and I realised that would need the S from EAST.
6 ELVIS – swap the first pair of letters in LEVIS.
15 (EAT D)* in (ANGER)*
20 hidden in “fALL HE ALways”
22 LA MER – got this quite quickly as a similar clue appeared in the Times one day last week.

22 Responses to “Independent 6576/Virgilius”

  1. nmsindy says:

    The diagonal, which I did not see till I had the grid completed, was a nice touch. It did confirm some answers I’d slight doubts about.
    In 2 down, while seeing it could be WHITE, I was quite uncertain, but I think it’s just a straight definition, confirmed the next time I crack the shell of a boiled egg. Yes, you’re right re 3 down, I think it refers to the Orient Express. It also confirmed TIEPIN which, again, did not have a wordplay element and seemed to veer between cryptic and almost direct definition. Good puzzle, as always from V.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    WHITE is the outer on an archery/shooting target. It’s a double definition dressed up as a single definition.

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    Hmm, scrub that. Each colour has an inner and an outer. White is the outermost colour but it is not “the” outer.

  4. Michod says:

    Re 4 across (the last one I got) ‘member’ can surely refer to an arm or a leg. I liked 27ac;’unusually short traditional scale seems fine for an anagram of trad scale, with the abbreviation well signposted.
    I completely missed the diagonal, which is a lovely touch, although arguably a contradiction in terms!

  5. neildubya says:

    4A – Well, yes. I was just a bit surprised to see the other definition.

  6. nmsindy says:

    WHITE Looked in dicts – both Concise OED and Collins give it as the outer part of an egg cf yolk. So I think that may be right, but, as in comment 1 above, what made me hesitant was that there seemed to be no cryptic element.

  7. Al Streatfield says:

    Don’t understand either WHITE or EXPRESS. Given, as Colin points out, that the archery reference doesn’t work, they both seem to be straight definitions, so what are they doing in a cryptic crossword?

  8. nmsindy says:

    WHITE I’ve an open mind on this but maybe it’s a fair part of the game occasionally to throw in a straight definition esp if it may look like a cryptic clue.

  9. Testy says:

    They are both double definitions cunningly hidden as straight definitions.

    2D Targets other than archery ones also have white outers (e.g. shooting targets tend to just have a black inner and a white outer).

    3D Transport historically from Paris to Istanbul = EXPRESS and SAY = EXPRESS.

  10. nmsindy says:

    EXPRESS When commenting on this earlier (comment 1), I was referring to one part of the clue – no doubt that’s a double definition. I did not have any uncertainty about this.

    Looking again at dicts, I’m inclined to agree with Testy about WHITE. Collins, in its definition of OUTER (I’d been looking at WHITE) does refer to white an the target in archery. The confusion was, I think, that just by coincidence, WHITE happens to be the outer part of an egg though the (accurate) definition is ‘part of egg’

    So, maybe you were right all along, Colin, re archery!

    And it is better the cryptics stay cryptic IMHO.

  11. Wil Ransome says:

    23A (TATTLING)

    “Initial glimpse of lingerie lined with lace …”: presumably the initial glimpse of lingerie is L, but how is this lined with lace? I would have thought that “lined with” meant something like “has, in the middle” – for example “Across” is lined with “ro”. Here it’s just the opposite of that. In these situations V always turns out to be right, but here?

  12. eimi says:

    Sorry, I’m just back from an internet-free break, so haven’t been able to offer clarifications before now. Surely the outer part of an egg is the shell. My reaction to 23A was the same as Wil’s at first and I queried it with Virgilius who claimed it can mean on the outside, as in “an avenue lined with trees”.

  13. RE Specialist says:

    Religious Education is not (in most secular schools) simply ‘spiritual guidance’ (or ‘Scripture’ etc.). It uses a non-confessional approach,looking at a number of world religions (and at secular humanist perspectives sometimes as well). We’ve moved on from the Bible class! Religious Education has the objectives of ‘learning about and from religions’. Too many setters have an image of RE that equates with the RI (Instruction) of 60 years ago. Alas another case of making a definition inaccurate for the sake of ‘good surface’. Virgilius should know better. Otherwise his usual good stuff!

  14. fgbp says:

    Maybe RE is no longer spiritual guidance (or in my case misguidance as we were taught by a creationist who thought that Animal Farm was a “thumbs up for communism” – partly true but surely missing the point of the book – and told us not to read it) but that’s how most of it remember it and as far as I can see is a fair definition.
    Actually, though, you say that it’s only changed in “most secular schools” which suggests that in some schools at least it’s the same as it always was.

  15. RE Specialist says:

    Sorry – that argument won’t do! Faith schools (Catholic, CofE, Muslim, …) are still a minority, and crosswords do also need to reflect current life! RE =Spiritual guidance is naff!

  16. Colin Blackburn says:

    The avenue lined with trees in an interesting case. One might argue that the roadway is the avenue and that the trees are therefore on the outside. However, the avenue is, to me, the whole road including roadway, footway and verges. In this sense the trees would be just inside the boundaries of the avenue and thus they would be lining it in the more conventional sense of what lining means.

  17. fgbp says:

    But if there are schools which have “RE” on their curriculum meaning “Spiritual guidance”, whatever one may think of that, then all the poor compiler is doing is reflecting that fact. As I say, my “RE” lessons, (not all THAT long ago) were nothing to do with learning about religions. I think you should be objecting to the relevant schools, or even the dictionary editors, instead.

    Aren’t minorities a part of modern life – just a thought …

  18. RE Specialist says:

    ‘Spiritual guidance perhaps’ would be a possible peace formula – but I would still see that as a weak definition. Nuff said.

  19. Michod says:

    If the road is lined with people, rather than trees, they would normally be on the edges of the roadway. It seemed odd when I saw it, but I think it works.

  20. Colin Blackburn says:

    I’m not 100% convinced. If a street is lined with people they are not outwith the street but within the boundaries of it. They are lining the street because they are gathered along the two inside edges rather than filling the street. I think the confusion (or is it just modern usage?) arises because we now think of the street being the roadway rather than the whole thing, as it is and was before we started having to provide a safe area for people on foot.

    The dictionary I have to hand, Chambers, certainly suggests that a lining is on the inside surface of something—although as ever there’s an ambiguous usu. attached.

  21. timbo says:

    Spiritual Guidance is a form of RE, regardless of whether this form
    of the subject is taught in Schools in the UK or anywhere else. So
    the clue is clearly fine as it stands! Trust a religious type to cause
    a rumpus in this otherwise agreeable forum!

  22. nmsindy says:

    RE Those two-letter crossword staples will, like the poor, always be with us, I guess.

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