Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6857/Virgilius — Normal Service Again

Posted by John on October 7th, 2008


What a relief. When no crossword appeared on Monday, I wondered if the Indy had quietly dropped it, but when I rang them they admitted their error. To do them justice, they did at least say that they’d made a mistake, and this morning they didn’t hide behind “technical reasons”; “a production error” was at least more or less the case. “A cock-up” would have been more accurate, though.

Up to Virgilius’s usual standard. The words at the perimeter are all homophones, although those down the left side stretch things a bit. Perhaps in Virgilius’s Northern Irish accent they sound more similar than they do to me.

1 SOLE — if it isn’t in the shoal it’s alone, or sole
3 SEOUL — first letters
6 SOUL — two defs
10 R(E M)AP
12 REPRIMAND (?) — it is I think re(pr(eceding) 1 man)d, although I can find nothing in Chambers, Collins or the COD to suggest that pr = preceding
13 HOMOPHONIC — referring to the perimeter entries
17 O(U)NCE
18 THE MIKADO — (had OK time)*
20 EASY TERMS — two defs
21 GREBE — (E Berg)rev.
22 THREESOMES — (see mothers)*
28 R ON DO
29 ROD E — the bay is a horse
30 ROWED — two defs
31 (B)ROAD(s)
1 SORE — one end of shinbone is s or e
2 LAMPOONIST — 0 in (Platonism)*
4 EARTHSTAR — (that’s rare)*
5 UN(P)I(o)N
7 OKAY — not quite sure, but I think it’s o Kay, where Kay is both the name of a girl and the letter K
8 LODE — (old)* E
9 WITCHING HOUR — two defs
14 SOWER — (worse)*
15 GAVE REIN TO — (overeating)*
16 L OWED — 25, say is mooed
19 brackENS HEATHEr — this fairly straightforward hidden clue defeated me until the very end, when I gave up and cheated with an electronic wordfinder. Fool
23 R (wort)H IN O
24 SO A R(ebellion)
25 MOOD — 0-0 in M(an. Ut)D.
26 L(0)AD

4 Responses to “Independent 6857/Virgilius — Normal Service Again”

  1. beermagnet says:

    3D REPRIMAND is PR,1,MAN inside RED PR is from Publicity preceding is just a link word

    Thanks for explaining 1D “S or E” which I only got after seeing the HOMOPHONIC THREESOMES theme.

  2. Al Streatfield says:

    Strangely enough, UNSHEATHE Was the last one I got. Clever stuff as ever from Virgilius.

    (I didn’t work out the HOMOPHONIC THREESOMES answers and ended up putting in MONOPHONIC)

    Agreed that SOWER stretches homophony a bit. In my opinion, before homophones are used, they should be rigorously checked- in Chambers, preferably- to see whether they are actually homophones.

  3. carlos says:

    ensheathe defeated me too, came here to find the answer, what an idiot, I know there should be a hidden word every time!
    I do love Virgillius, even when I cant finish him I always enjoy his work

  4. Allan_C says:

    A nice one. I didn’t follow some of the wordplay but answers were obvious from the checking letters – e.g. ‘reprimand’ where the definition was obviously ‘carpet’. but I didn’t get ‘homophonic’ either till I put the checking letters into a spell-checker, yet it should have been obvious!

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