Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6964/Virgilius

Posted by John on February 10th, 2009


The usual delightful Virgilius, with one or two clues that I found particularly difficult but, as should be the case, solution of them was followed by some self-kicking. I completed the bottom half before making any significant inroads into the top half. For once I saw the Nina fairly quickly, although it didn’t help me to get the answers where it appeared: in the four longest across answers, some letter appears three times in succession, as indicated by 13ac and 20ac.

9 NottinG HILL I Encountered
10 FIRST L{ad}Y
11 PITT THE YOUNGER — not sure I fully understand this, beyond the fact that he was a PM and one of the children of Pitt the Elder
16 NOPE — the n of ‘open’ is moved — this took ages and I thought I was going to have to ask here for the answer. Mole, moke, …
19 AB(C)S
20 IN SEQUENCE — (nice queen’s)*
22 FREE ENTERPRISE — (peer interferes)*
26 FISTULA — (fault is)*
27 MADE FOR — (r of Edam)rev. — one doesn’t think of Edam as a Dutch town, but of course it is
28 WITNESS STAND — (wants dissent)* — while one might, if one was being very picky, turn up one’s nose at the fact that four of the last five across clues are complete anagrams, they are all really good ones — lovely surfaces and felicitous anagrams
1 DO(G)E — referring to John Doe
2 AL(I)BI — which reminds me of that Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch, which I can’t find
4 LEECH — (H c eel)rev. — wonderful surface
5 LA FA(YET)TE — wasn’t sure about him, but confirmed here
7 STAG HORN — which is used for the handles of cutlery
8 DYER — “dire”
12 ViETNAm
14 IN CREASE — ‘up’ as a verb
17 thE creW takE oveR
18 OUTRIDES — (studie{s} or)*
21 REGULI — (1 luger)rev.
22 FIFE — 2 defs
23 REMUS — refers to Romulus and Remus, and Sumer
24 SOF(I)A
25 GR I’D

8 Responses to “Independent 6964/Virgilius”

  1. Mick h says:

    Nice crossword, nice blog… but I think there’s a second nina. I didn’t spot the triple letters, but read 13 and 22 ac as referring to a number of clues with three sequential letters of the alphabet – ABCs, maDEFor, GHIllies, NOPe and fiRSTly. Coincidence?

  2. nmsindy says:

    I was lucky here, seeing the two elements of the Nina almost immediately – it helped me to find NOPE which I’d been struggling with. Thanks for STAG-HORN, John, which tho I worked out, I did not fully understand. Excellent puzzle.

  3. Al Streatfield says:

    Some excellent clues, but the sort of puzzle that confirmed my belief that themes don’t work very often in the context of daily puzzles. In the clues explaining the theme(s), the explanations weren’t integrated with the surface readings…

    Also much obscurity (FISTULA, REGULI etc…)

  4. rayfolwell says:

    I’m sure its is a double Nina – 13A refers to the triple letters in 1, 11, 22 and 28A. 20A refers to the sequences referred to by Mick H – fiSTUla is another one.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    I got FREE ENTERPRISE first and mused that it had three consecutive Es. I then spent a good while thinking that there must be other phrases like that and that it would be interesting to set a puzzle using several of them. After returning to the puzzle and getting WITNESS STAND I realised that I’d been beaten to it. I failed to see the sequential letters though, thinking that the two key words were both suggesting the triples.

    As for the integration mentioned by Al. The two explanations read to me as if they had been added to the clues afterwards, to give extra help. As a Nina I felt that it didn’t need highlighting in such a way.

  6. Smutchin says:

    Dammit, wish I could bring myself to buy the Indie on days like this…

  7. John says:

    I always miss some aspect of the Nina, being misled by the two ‘(like some characters in across answers)’ into thinking that the quirks were all the same. How brilliant Virgilius is: he has done so many of these lovely themed crosswords that I’m sure they’d make a really nice book.

    What nobody has said I think is that the all across answers are either a) XXX b) XYZ or c) telling you so.

  8. eimi says:

    I thought ‘peer interferes’ in 22 Across quite apt in the light of the latest cash-for-questions scandal.

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

six × = 6