Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6617/Virgilius

Posted by John on January 2nd, 2008

John.

It’s New Year’s day, and it’s Virgilius. That means that his crossword must contain some wonderful Nina, especially as the grid is a bit odd. But I can’t see it.

(Note from Neildubya: Thanks to John for providing this blog at short notice. As for the Nina: at the top and bottom of the grid we have THINKING, “outside the box”. The three phrases in the middle of the grid could also be described that way)

Across
1 THING reduced by 20%; I suppose “thing” in the sense “now that’s a thing”.
9 ORESTES – stereos*. A Greek play by Euripides.
10 VERBALS – (slab rev) reversed. A verbal is apparently a confession to the police under questioning.
12 WHOLEMEAL – (home we all)*
13 (A KK UP) rev.
14 BREAKING THE MOULD – 2 defs
15 PUSHED THE ENVELOPE – I think that if you push an envelope you are forcibly entering post. I think.
19 AT THE CUTTING EDGE – 2 defs
23 ROUTE. For a long time I was trying to see why “rou” was Waterloo, “to Euston, initially” giving TE. But it’s just the E of Euston and Waterloo = rout.
24 A L in (THE TERM)*.
25 OPEN SEA, being “open season” without “son”.
26 MAT(IN E)E. As intended, I was misdirected towards “noh”.
27 KING – The tennis player Billy Jean, and the leader of the court (in the “court circular” sense).
 
Down
2 “Has bean”
3 N(LOVE*)ETT E
4 WE in OBBC*. Cobweb was a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
5 BE FOR(ETHE(r))HOUSE. Ether is the crossword setter’s favourite number, and theatre = house.
6 STREAKED – cryptic definition. I won’t be caught by this again, having once taken a week to fail to solve “Run without a stitch” in The Times.
7 TRIPLE – “trip ‘ll”.
8 E COLLAPSE*
11 AC(KNOW LED G-MEN)T
16 I in (TO RULER)*. Ulterior = succeeding, although one tends to be misled by “ulterior motive”, where “succeeding” is not very apparent.
17 HATCH [= release clutch] BACK
18 V (EG) E TATE
20 C(R)EASE, a cricket reference. Nice &lit.
21 I’LL (NEMO rev.). Submarine captain is always Nemo (Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea).
22 (L)EARNER

4 Responses to “Independent 6617/Virgilius”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    Fascinating Nina. The Indy is certainly breaking new ground in its custom daily grid facility!

    BTW, the apology for the “production error” appeared at the bottom of page 7 in this Jan 1 paper.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was good – tougher than normal for Virgilius. Re ENVELOPE, I think this does not refer to a letter, but is a scientific usage that passed into general language.

    A Listener used the same “thinking outside the box” idea fairly recently and that did help me along.

  3. petebiddlecombe says:

    More applause from here – I stupidly failed to understand “thinking outside the box” even after seeing the point of the other sticky-outy bits.

  4. Al Streatfield says:

    The Listener that used the “thinking outside the box” idea was “No Pen” by Charybdis. (Can’t remember what number) It combined it ingeniously with the concept of “lateral thinking” (Edward de Bono etc.) so that the letters THIN and KING had to be written outside of the grid on each side of it, creating new words when added to the appropriate across answers in the grid…

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