Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6659/Virgilius

Posted by neildubya on February 19th, 2008


Make the most of this puzzle, we might not see a Virgilius next week, unless he has a few puzzles in the pipeline. Not sure if this constitutes a theme but lots of answers have Is or Ts in them (see 15/18).

1 hidden in “joB IF Fomenting”
3 S,PACE,CRAFT – if I’ve parsed this correctly then I’m not sure what “put into” is doing. Maybe it belongs with “workmanship” and taken together they indicate CRAFT?
9 NEXT? – fits the definition but I can’t see the wordplay. “Clothing store that’s still open – most close”. The last two words might indicate T?
10 TILL in (ONE SIX)* – SEXTILLION is the sixth power of a million.
15/18 DOTS THE IS AND CROSSES THE TS – I’m not sure I really understand all of what’s going here. The full clue is “Applies finishing touches needed to rewrite it”. The first three words provide the definition but it’s the last half of the clue that I don’t really get. I mean “it” already has a dotted “i” and crossed “t” – why does it need rewriting?
22 DETR[-o]IT,US
24 IT in (TIED ROPE)* – PERIDOTITE. For me, this was another one of those “chuck the remaining letters in and hope for the best” clues. The wordplay is easy enough but once all the checking letters were in, you’re left with P?R?D?T?T? and EIEIO from the anagram fodder. Pretty much all the combinations of letters look convincing so I went for PIRODETITE.
1 hidden (going up) in “deED IF AN OBjection” – excellent hidden clue with a great surface reading.
4 RE,RE in PLEASE – quite a tough one to parse but the penny dropped once I worked out what “holding on repeatedly” meant.
7 I,I in AC DC – this showed up my lack of science knowledge. In the PH scale above 7 is alkaline or “basic” and below 7 is ACIDIC. I didn’t know that so I guessed it from the checking letters and wordplay.
8 TINKER – which can mean “fiddle” but I don’t understand “Irish sage listened to”.
14 US,HE,SETTER (going up) – excellent definition “Girl Guides in the dark” and a slightly surreal surface reading.
16 EXTR[-a] in DOSE
23 last letters in “thiS lasT cluE lasT” – this appeared in the Times puzzle yesterday too. It’s usually found in the margins of manuscripts “to indicate that something which has been changed or marked for deletion is to be retained in its original form after all.” Apparently it means “let it stand” in Latin.

18 Responses to “Independent 6659/Virgilius”

  1. Chris says:

    What does the opening sentence mean? Why mightn’t we see a Virgilius puzzle next week?

  2. neildubya says:

    Virgilius is having to cut down his crossword output because of pressures of other work. As a consequence, he’ll probably only be appearing every other week.

  3. Paul B says:

    Agree re 15/18. Perhaps if cap IT had been used? Got me thinking though, I’ll say that, and there were no doubts as to the required answer.

    NEXT looks like a multiple definition: can’t see the ‘still open’, but that’s probably due to the fact that I don’t have any decent refs here at work, and ‘most close’ would be equivalent to next as in ‘next to’.

    Love the fact that you were left with eey-aye-eey-aye-o!

  4. Paul B says:

    Btw, think the S+PACE+CRAFT is just what’s ‘put into’ getting the answer.

  5. beermagnet says:

    8D If you say “Thinker” with an Irish accent it sounds like “Tinker” thus Irish sage

  6. Mick H says:

    Work is the curse of the Crosswording classes, eh!
    “Irish sage listened to” is a homonym indicator for ‘thinker’.
    I got stuck on the bottom left corner (19d and 21ac) – now trying to see if Is and Ts help, but I fear not.

  7. Jon says:

    Was it just me, or was this a bit trickier than usual for Virgilius? I convinced myself for a long time that there was an anagram somewhere in 15/18, and the hidden answers in 1ac / 1d remained very well hidden for me…

  8. Ali says:

    I assumed that theme here was the presence of words with DOTI (dotting the Is) or XT (crossing the Ts)?


  9. eimi says:

    Well done Ali!

    I suggested to Virgilius that this theme would catch a few people out.

    I read 15/18 as meaning if you had to write (as opposed to type) “it” you would have to dot an i and cross a t and if you had to write it again (rewrite) it would be i’s and t’s. A bit of a liberty, perhaps.

  10. Mick H says:

    And thanks from me Ali – that tip enabled me to get 21ac, and so 19 down.

  11. nmsindy says:

    I had noticed at lot of EXTs, but, now, thanks to Ali, realise why this was hard for a Virgilius puzzle with some unfamiliar words. Another thematic pleasure.
    While I can hardly argue with an Irishman such as Virgilius, I’ve my doubts about the TINKER (thinker) homophone…

  12. nmsindy says:

    NEXT Following on from Paul B, ‘most close’ may be ‘nearest’ i.e. NEXT. ‘still open’ might just mean NEXT shops are still trading.

  13. Al Streatfield says:

    Didn’t get the “Dive and Sink” clue. (Across, near the bottom of the puzzle- can’t remember number).

    Have got -O-E.

    Looks like “HOLE” but why?


  14. Ali says:

    Yep, hole as in ‘a miserable place’, and presumably a golf reference – hole/sink a putt


  15. NealH says:

    What was the hoopla clue – something about “a scene in Much Ado about Nothing” ? It sounds like it should be a word for fuss about o, but apart from hoo-ha, I can’t think of any words for fuss that look like that.

    Also, who was the religious leader called Fox in foxtrots. Was he an archbishop or something like that ?

  16. Paul B says:

    Hoopla = much ado about nothing.

  17. nmsindy says:

    HOOPLA Following on from Paul B, it’s a double definition – the ‘about’ is not a containing indicator here. The ‘hoo-ha’ tempted me too at first.

  18. Wil Ransome says:


    NealH: From, I read (had been vaguely aware of this but hadn’t been sure) “George Fox is generally called the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)”.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

9 − seven =