Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6641/Virgilius

Posted by neildubya on January 29th, 2008


Another thematic tour-de-force from Virgilius; this time almost every clue or answer has a royal flavour to it.

8 BALMORALS – which is a type of brimless cap. I think I half-remembered that from somewhere so I waited until I had a few more checking letters before filling it in.
10 (THE BLAZE I)* – ELIZABETH. Got this pretty quickly but it didn’t help much with the long clue.
11 REX,AL< – once I had the X filled in the answer suggested itself fairly quickly but it took me a while before I worked out the wordplay.
12/14/15/18 UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN – which is a quote from Henry IV Part 2. I didn’t know this and the clue didn’t really offer too much help in terms of wordplay so I didn’t get this. I guessed it might something to do with wearing (or bearing) crowns, which was enough – eventually – for Google. I liked the surface reading of the clue though with its misleading reference to “retirement”.
23 A,B,DIC[-t]ATOR – for some reason, I always assume that British will be BR rather than just B.
25 RERUN – don’t understand the wordplay here: “Again show one Tudor or another, as placed in succession”.
1 GREE[-t],K
2 AM in (SEA LAND)*,R – SALAMANDER. Reasonably easy anagram to spot.
5 (A HAAR SMEW TERN X)* – MANX SHEARWATER. Somehow managed to get this, despite first assuming that “unknown” would be Y.
7 (NICE CHEESE CART)* – I wouldn’t have known that “Stinks” was a generic nickname for a SCIENCE TEACHER if it hadn’t cropped up in another puzzle somewhere. We were far less polite with teacher nicknames at my school.
16 U in STARTS
19 WASP – I think is right. “Member of exclusive group initially formed” is White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

9 Responses to “Independent 6641/Virgilius”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was very good as usual. Slight typo in 11 across, I think, in which, I think LAXER is meant. Not an expert on Tudors, so just suggesting in 25 across, there might have been Tudors, with intials ER in RUN (succession).

    I’m stuck on 9 down S?R? “So-called king dangerous woman cut short”. SHRE(w) came to mind, but does not mean anything to me.

  2. neildubya says:

    Thanks for pointing out the typo – now corrected.

    9d – I put SIRE[-n].

  3. Jon says:

    Good, as ever, but I made heavy weather of this. 21ac I thought was particularly good. I still can’t get 6ac…

  4. linxit says:

    25ac: Edward VI and Elizabeth would both have been ER, as Niall suggested.

  5. anne says:

    I think 6 across is RASTA as in a rastafarian being a follower. Not great but the clue works A TSAR backwards.

  6. Jon says:


  7. nmsindy says:

    Confirming what Anne has said RASTA(farians) were followers of Emperor Haile Selassie (formerly of Ethiopia) which I think is what Virgilius is referring to, with the Tsar as Emperor of Russia.

  8. Ali says:

    I found this pretty hard and spent absolutely ages puzzling over the stinks anagram before it finally fell into place. I pretty much gave up two-thirds in, but on having read the answers now, I’m glad I did. I’d never have got Manx Shearwater or the long Henry IV quote!

  9. Wil Ransome says:


    Nobody has pointed out just how this is to be parsed: I don’t think it’s a straight anagram where X is one of the letters in the anagram (arguably unsound), as Neil suggests, but rather X in (A HAAR SMEW TERN)*, as indicated by the first letter of the clue. You can never catch Virgilius out: I thought I’d done so here until I saw what he was doing.

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