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Independent 6975 by Virgilius

Posted by NealH on February 23rd, 2009

NealH.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def

A topical, Oscar-themed puzzle which I found quite enjoyable but may not be to the taste of non-film buffs, especially since some of the films referenced were current Oscar nominees and may not yet be familiar to everyone. The surface meanings of the clues were generally excellent – 8 across and 6 down, for example.

Across
7 Agents: A + gents.
8 Bacall: B[ogart] + a + call. The clue also works perfectly as an &lit because Bogey was Lauren Bacall’s first husband.
9 Beverly Hills Cop: CD. I thought this was a slightly weak clue in an otherwise excellent puzzle.
11 Woody Allen: Wood + yen around all.
13 Gran: First part of Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood’s most recent film.
14 Academy Awards: (way cameras add)*.
16 Milk: Double def. Milk is one of the Oscar winners (best actor for Sean Penn and best original screenplay).
17 Storehouse: S[tudio] + tore + house.
19 Stars and Stripes.
22 Spacek: Space + k. The actress is Sissy Spacek.
23 Reader: double def. The Reader is the film for which Kate Winslet has won an Oscar. Reader is also a university position (hence Don).
Down
1 Came to: T in Cameo. I found the definition a little odd – “Stopped, in Titanic”. Is that in the sense that it “came to” an iceberg ?
2 Gere: hom. of gear + Richard Gere.
3 Stellate: (ET set all)*.
4 Marlon: normal* – ref to Marlon Brando.
5 Jaws: Double def.
6 Also rans: A[udience] + (snarl so)*.
10 Holly wood
12 Drank: D + Rank.
13 Garbo: Garb + o (Greta Garbo).
14 Acid Test: (it’s acted).
15 Wrestler: Double/cryptic def. The Wrestler was another nominated film, but didn’t win.
17 Spacey: Double def. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it out of my head that the answer to this was Spaced, the UK comedy with Simon Pegg, even though that would clearly never be eligible for Oscars. For a UK person, I think Spaced works better because Spacey to mean “spaced out” seems to be an American expression.
18 Steers: ER in sets<.
20 Road: Hidden in Broadway.
21 Indy: double def – Indy films and the Independent itself.

8 Responses to “Independent 6975 by Virgilius”

  1. Ali says:

    Fabulous stuff, with not only a film reference in every clue, but loads in the actual grid. Very impressive as ever from Virgilius

    Couple of things though:

    – I’ve got LEADER (double definition) at 23A
    – What’s the Oscar material relevance with 14D? I’m sure there is one, but I can’t see it!

  2. Ali says:

    Sorry, just checked online, it is READER.

  3. Richard says:

    I had “leader” too, for 23A.

  4. Ali says:

    Good to see I’m not the only one. To be honest, I think LEADER is a better answer. ‘Title role’ as a definition for READER is fair enough given that it’s an Oscars-themed puzzle (it would work equally well for the WRESTLER clue as well I guess), but as that first letter is unchecked, I’m calling this one a score draw!

  5. Geoff Moss says:

    Ali
    Re 14d. Chambers defines ‘acid test’ as ‘a test for gold by acid’ and the Oscar statuettes are gold-plated.

  6. Richard Heald says:

    To misquote Sally Field, I liked this one, I really liked it.

    I too wondered about the defn at 1Dn, but Chambers defines ‘come to’ as a nautical term meaning ‘to stop’ (maybe a ‘perhaps’ after ‘Titanic‘ would have been advisable here?).

  7. Mick h says:

    Wot no Slumdog Millionaire clue? Even if Virgilius failed to pick the winner, surely Mike could have slipped a late 3am clue change past the Indy subs? ;-)
    Nice puzzle anyway. Thanks to those above for clearing up my queries too, though I eventually got READER, being unwilling to settle for LEADER.

  8. Nick Corney says:

    Reader much better than leader, imho.:)

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