Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6952/Virgilius

Posted by John on January 27th, 2009


The usual nice Virgilius today, but I sense that some of it is passing me by. There was a sinking feeling as I stared at it, quite sure that the usual devilish Virgilius Nina was there, and could see nothing. But as I’ve been doing the blog, it has become a bit clear. Many of the answers are to do with luck, and several clues also. But what’s the whole story?

1/11 FOUR-LEAFED CLOVER — 2 defs
6 SwedeN OR Norway
9 THE IDES — he id est with the final t moved to the front
10 {roa}D ICIEST
12/14 FINGERS CROSS ED — does this mean ‘taking no chances’? I thought it meant ‘hoping for good luck’
15 L{eft} O{n} T{he} S{helf}
19 MASS ACTION? — it seems to be this, since although I can’t find this term in the dictionaries it is recognised by Google and its main sense is chemical, but how the wordplay works I can’t see: class action …? Surely it isn’t simply 2 defs, ‘Chemical process covered by law’ and ‘case brought by many people’?
23 CRACKED — 2 defs
25 {Rect}OR IS ON S{unday}
26 EXTINCT — inc in (text)*
27 IN RANGE — (earning)*
29/30 HAR{m} D(L)UCK
30 TRITURATES — (true artist)* — not a word I’d heard of
1 FATEFUL — fa (flute)*
2 USE — 2 defs
3 LADDER — (red dal)rev.
4 ASSISTANT EDITOR — (station disaster)*
5 ENDOCRINOLOGIST — (doctoring lesion)* — Virgilius’s long anagrams, as here and in the previous clue, always seem to work out perfectly. Art conceals art.
7 {w}OMEN’S
8 NOTEDLY — (n yet old)*
13 {i}N A TES{t} — the nates are the buttocks
17 T{heatre}(R.U.R.)O{pening} — R.U.R. is a play that possibly lives on because of its convenience to crossword setters
18 WALK ON I think — but I can’t understand it all: a walk-on part is a minor role, and ‘walk on’ means ‘continue by foot’, but ‘tempting fate here’?
19 MAC(BET)H — refers to the superstition of its being bad luck to mention this play
21 KISSERS — se in (risks)*
22 MIRROR again I think — although if I understand it correctly it all seems a bit loose: The Daily Mirror is a red-top, informally I suppose, and it’s said to be bad luck to break a mirror
24 ACTOR — “break a leg
28 NUT — 2 defs

13 Responses to “Independent 6952/Virgilius”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    You have a typo in 29a, it should read ‘HAR{m}.

    19a appears to be a simple dd.

    The only thing I could come up with for ‘tempting fate here’ in 18d is a reference to a walk-on airline (or similar) where the absence of a pre-booked ticket means that you are taking a chance as to whether you get a seat on that flight.

    I agree with your comment re 12a.

  2. conradcork says:

    The law of mass action is in Chambers under ‘mass’, but right at the end of the entry.

  3. NealH says:

    I thought some of the definitions were unusually loose. “Extremely slippery” for iciest doesn’t to be quite right – a bit like equating good with best. I was also a bit surprised by fingers crossed: I was expecting something like future proofed.

  4. nmsindy says:

    MASS ACTION, I thought was a charade in the wordplay part – ACTION (case) “brought by” MASS (many people)

  5. Al Streatfield says:

    Good blog.

    Unusually for a Virgilius puzzle, I had some questionmarks against the clues, shared by the blogger. (I solved the puzzle unaided)

    Didn’t like the definition for “fingers crossed”. Agreed with the blogger.

    Still don’t understand the “tempting fate” bit in “walk-on”.

    Some of the clues excellent.

    “MASS ACTION” (as in chemistry) and “TRITURATE” are rather obscure for a daily.

    “BREAK A LEG” (actors’ saying) isn’t in Chambers as far as I could see.

  6. Glow-worm says:

    “Break a leg” is in Chambers 2008 under break(1), between “break a lance with” and “break a record”…. [One's supposed never to wish an actor "Good Luck" - it's bad luck!]

  7. Richard Heald says:

    Re 18 Dn – “tempting fate here?” I think refers to the answer’s location in the grid – i.e. under LADDER!

  8. Mick H says:

    That’s very good – I didn’t spot the ‘under a ladder’ bit. There’s actually a great deal of thematic material in here – a good half of the grid, I’d say.

  9. John says:

    29/20 corrected Geoff, thanks. Yes 18dn is under the ladder — very good.

  10. Allan_C says:

    As a chemist I would quibble with the wording of the clue for 19a: it seems to be asking for the name of a chemical process, not the law which governs it.
    And I don’t like ‘kisser’ to refer to the whole face when it’s usually thought of as slang for the mouth. This came up not long ago, but I can’t remember if it was in the Indy or another paper.

  11. Allan_C says:

    … and isn’t Truro (17d) a city rather than a town?

  12. Colin Blackburn says:

    Of Truro: Yes, but only since 1877.

  13. Radian says:

    Allan C: as the one who perpetrated ‘kisser’ last time out I wondered too. But Colllins & COD (but not Chambers) say: “mouth or face”. Phew!

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