Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6594 by Virgilius

Posted by nmsindy on December 4th, 2007


This site was ringing with praise for Virgilius last week. This puzzle was another excellent example of why. A theme (as usual) reasonably obvious and which helped speed up solving at the end. But, in case readers might like to look again, I’ll refer to it only after the clue explanations. Solving time (fast for me): 14 mins

* = anagram < reversed


1 DOUBLE Appropriately a double definition (ref a dartboard, I think, though I’m far from an expert on that)

10 REST (ART) ED Not the first US reference in a Virgilius puzzle. The V = five that I was looking for I never found. Took five = rested (US usage) – take five in present tense.

13 DEP (ART MEN) T Dept = abbrev for Department. The basic French local administrative unit (similar to counties). Each has a number which you see eg on car number plates.

16 RE PAIR Pleasing pun repair = go eg straight will I repair to the Curragh of Kildare

19 M UTTER A nice & lit a bit of menace = 1 letter (not seen so often in daily puzzles and shunned by some as not precise enough). I think’s it’s OK as an understood usage (if it leads to the first letter, as here). Utter = speak

20 PAR ROTE R “Producer of standard meaningless repetition? Right” Clue of the puzzle for me – a superb &lit

25 CA (Central America) R S (final letters). Definition is “Jaguars, say”

27 I A MB I two = II (Roman numeral). Feet of different lengths = iambi (plural of iambus) which in poetry is a foot of two syllables of different lengths (one short, one long)

28 NORWEGIAN (wearing no)*

29 FRE(e) N CH ‘Nice’ (the city) screams ‘French’ to hardened solvers.



5 VODKAS (Kiev soda)* less ie (namely) &lit

7 OUT R(ar)E “Unconventional, striking, and extremely rare” Another cracker. In cryptic reading, striking = out (on strike)

8 PROF (Professor) IT ‘sitting’ excellent in the cryptic reading as a link in a down clue.

14 GENE RATION (helping)

17 ACT (yo)U ARIES

18 RAINDROP R(river) (no rapid)*

24 SUMER (Uncle) Remus<

26 DEAL Ref to cutting playing cards before dealing

Theme: In four symmetrically placed rows and similarly in four symmetrically placed columns the two answers taken together make a phrase.

7 Responses to “Independent 6594 by Virgilius”

  1. neildubya says:

    10a – I looked for a V too.

    20a – Agreed, great clue.

  2. Wil Ransome says:

    VODKAS (5d)

    “Drinks, namely from Kiev, possibly mixed with soda”. When doing this I thought that Kv was possibly some kind of abbreviation for Kiev, in which case “namely” seemed a bit odd, but the explanation here makes the “namely” clear. However, now I can’t see the point of “possibly”. Surely “Kv mixed with soda” is a good enough indication of the anagram?

  3. Quixote says:

    A nice fresh set of clues and another excellent nightcap.

  4. Joins says:

    19 across:

    I think Virgilius himself critised the use of ‘bit of’ meaning ‘first letter of’ in his 2001 book.

  5. petebiddlecombe says:

    What he actually said (in “How to Solve the Times Crossword”) was: “The convention [...] that “bit of”, or similar expressions, points to the first letter of a word has always struck me as illogical. I see no strong reason why “bit of cheese” is C rather than H, E or S – or indeed HE.” So he’s happy for it to mean the first letter, but also any of the others.

    Anyone without this book: keep an eye out for it in secondhand bookshops – it’s, well, as good as his puzzles.

  6. jc penney credit card says:

    Useful site. Thank you:-)

  7. vanessa hudgens says:

    Useful site. Thanks!!!

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