Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7024 by Virgilius

Posted by nmsindy on April 21st, 2009


Another themed classic from Virgilius.    Every across answer is thematic. So are almost all the clues, which as usual are superb.   Some unusual words were forced in by the thematic requirements and Virgilius gave very straightforward clues to these.    Solving time, 19 mins – it does not have to be super-hard to be good.

Many solvers will know, but for others, I will explain that the Six Nations Rugby Union tournament is held over seven weeks each spring with England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy each playing each other once.   In the tournament just finished Ireland not only won the title but beat all the other teams for the first time since 1948 and so achieved was is known as 20 across.   I think Virgilius would have celebrated this achievement.

* = anagram   < = reversed

1 IRISH TERRIERS    As in the other cases, a phrase is used with an adjective describing the country first.   24 is SIX NATIONS

9 BOD     As well as meaning a bloke this refers to the nickname of the Irish centre and captain, Brian O’Driscoll, who was voted player of the tournament.    From first letters, and leading to such phrases as ‘In BOD we trust’

10 WELSH RABBIT    Wales won the tournament the previous year also with a Grand Slam.     This means the same as ‘Welsh rarebit’

11 SCOTCH CAPS   caps also = international players and Scotland play in blue.

14 GO A L (last letter of successful) and also &lit  as in RU, a goal is 7 points, where a try (5) is followed by a successful conversion (2).

16 ENGLISH ROSES     Emblem that appears on England’s jerseys.

20 THE GRAND SLAM    The term is taken from bridge (i.e. not missing a trick)

21 PACK   a brilliant double definition with thematic reference (my favourite clue).    ‘pack’ are the forwards in RU.


27 FRENCH TOAST     England beat France by a wide margin in this year’s tournament.

30 TRY   See the explanation at 14!

31 ITALIAN SONNET   (internationals)* less r (last letter of fervour).


2 RED – HOT   (tho)*

3 SAW    Double definition

4 TELIC    Hidden reversal

5 RAH    (har(m))<

6 I VAN The Terrible (Tsar of Russia)   front row = part of rugby pack


8 STYLISH   (this sly)*

9 BEST   double definition

12 CENTRE   (recent)*    centre = back,  9 across for example

13 POSTS   double definition

15 ERRANT   hidden



19 SEA CHEST  (the cases)*   Jack = sailor

21 FOOT I.E.

22 ES PY   First and last letters

25 NEARS   hidden

26 ACYL   ditto

29 TEA leaves    Cryptic definition

29 TEN  score = twenty of which ten is half   (net)<

5 Responses to “Independent 7024 by Virgilius”

  1. dupin_1 says:

    Concur with you all the way NMS; far superior to the parochial bullshit served up by Araucaria today.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    Lovely puzzle though once I had WELSH RABBIT I twigged the theme and filled in the nation answers pretty quickly. SCOTTISH ??? would have been neater than SCOTCH ??? but I guess scope was limited.

    Thanks for explaining BOD, I’m not enough of a fan to know his name was shortened that way.

    Although this is not the place to discuss the Araucaria puzzle I didn’t feel it was anymore parochial than this one. THE SIX NATIONS is pretty much a UK and Irish thing (as far as English-language crosswords go). I reserve any further comment for the comments thread “over there” when it the blog is up.

  3. rightback says:

    Stunning puzzle – I loved ‘bod’ in particular. Thanks for the blog.

  4. Richard says:

    I loved this puzzle – but what a pity that “Terriers” rather than “Setters” had to appear across the top of the grid, given Virgilius’s Irish roots!

  5. Chatmeister says:

    Paul B
    I think the discussion should continue in public so I have created a new post in the chat room (Site Related Issues) and have moved the relevant comments there. I will reply to you in that post.

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