Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7136 by Virgilius (Saturday Prize Puzzle – 29 August 2009)

Posted by duncanshiell on September 4th, 2009


I solved this in an afternoon whilst watching sport on television, so the fact that I could multi-task probably means that the sport wasn’t too engrossing and the crossword wasn’t too difficult.

The significance of the second part of the clue to 1 Across didn’t become apparent until quite late on in the piece when I realised that all the Across entries between 1 and 29 were formed from two or more Christian names, i.e. JOINT NAMES.

In many cases, the names were shortened versions.

We Had:

2. Hal and Ted

9. Sig (Sigourney?) and Nora

10. Viv, Al and Di

11. Lance and Jack

12. Nat and Al

13. Sue and Des

14. Rose and Mary

17. Mo, Les and Ted

19. Vic and Tim

23. Liv and Ed

25. Arthur and Ian

26. Cass and Ava

27. Abel and Ian

28. Don and Ned


Constructing the grid in this way led to a few more obscure words in the Downs, e.g. TROWELERS, HIATAL, ELVAN, ELYTRA, TRIVIUM and MAÑANAS.


However, the clueing was very clear, and the wordplay helped to confirm the Downs.

No. Wordplay Entry
1/29 JOINT NAMES (cryptic reference to ALL other Across entries comprising two or Christian names) JOINT NAMES (in which some couples do business)
4 HATED (very unpopular) containing (being included) L (line) HALTED (stopped)
9 Anagram of (is in order) SO A RING SIGNORA (title of address for a married Italian lady)
10 VIVALDI (cryptic reference to Antonio Vivaldi who scored (composed )The Four Seasons violin concerti) VIVALDI
11 LANCE (cut open) + JACK (sailor) LANCEJACK (soldier)
12 NATAL (ref NATES (the buttocks); of the bottom) NATAL (part of Southern [at the bottom] Africa)
13 SUED (taken to court) + ES (first letters of [initially] each of Elegantly and Sewn) SUEDES (fabrics)
14 ROSE (grew, as the first part of the entry[initially]) + MARY (gardener; Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow) ROSEMARY (shrub)
17 Anagram of (stupidly) MODEL SET MOLESTED (interfered with)
19 Hidden word (from) in conVIC TI Mistreated VICTIM (person suffering harm)
23 LIVE (as it happens) + D (Democrat) LIVED (survived)
25 ARIAN (heretic) containing (has in) THUR (day) ARTHURIAN (like legendary Court)
26 CAVA (Spanish wine) containing (put in) ASS (idiot) CASSAVA (root crop)
27 AAN (indefinite articles) containing (about) (B [bishop] + ELI [priest]) ABELIAN (like plants [groups?] of the Genus Abelia)
28 DONNE (ref John Donne, poet) + D (fourth grade [in an exam]) DONNED (got into)
29 NAMES (See 1 across) NAMES


No. Wordplay Entry
1 JOES (ordinary guys) containing (crossing) (ST [street] + L [learner]) JOSTLES (bumps into)
2 GENUINE (real thing) with IN moving to the top of the word (down clue) INGÉNUE (young actress)
3 Anagram of (upset) WRESTLERS containing (outside) O (ring) TROWELERS (American term from brickies)
4 Anagram of (organised) A HALT I HIATAL (like a temporary stop, ref hiatus)
5 LOVE (nothing) + KNOT (sounds like ‘not’) LOVE KNOT (romantic token)
6 ÉLAN (style, from the French) containing (in) V (verse) ELVAN (mischevous)
7 Hidden word (having) in lovELY TRAcery ELYTRA (beetle’s forewing modified to form a case for the hindwing)
8 M (maiden) + ISLAY (island in The Hebrides) MISLAY (be unable to find)
15 E (European ) + AN (indefinite article containing (in) (PI [sanctimonious]  + CURÉ (priest]) EPICUREAN (hedonistic)
16 YIN (one in Scots) containing (holding) reverse of (up) AGATE (ornamental stone) YET AGAIN (once more)
17 M (married) + ALICE (woman’s name) MALICE (ill will)
18 LAV (John; loo, lavatory) + IS + H (husband) LAVISH (generous)
20 TRIVIUM (singular of TRIVIA [unimportant facts]) TRIVIUM (group of liberal arts first studied in medieval schools; curriculum)
21 MANNAS (unexpected gifts) containing (covering) A (area) MAÑANAS (tomorrows; coming days)
22 STRAND (element) STRAND (coastal area) – double definition
24 CARD (eccentric) reversed (upset) + O (old) DRACO (the first lawgiver of ancient Athens from which draconian is derived)

11 Responses to “Independent 7136 by Virgilius (Saturday Prize Puzzle – 29 August 2009)”

  1. Richard3435 says:

    I think the definition of Abelian is found here:

    It’s a mathematical term describing groups with a certain property.

  2. Richard Palmer says:

    Another brilliant composition by Virgilius.

    In 9A I think Sig may be short for Sigmund.

    Abelian has come up a few times on Countdown recently.

  3. eimi says:

    It’s true that some of the vocabulary was a little more abstruse than usual for a Virgilius, which is why he had a rare Saturday outing, but scrupulously fair and inventive as ever.

  4. Paul B says:

    Hear hear. The across clues were not only without exception thematic, but included at 1 and 29 the puzzle key. So it’s completely justified that some down entries had to be more difficult.

    Verty nice puzzle, just right for a Saturday, and a great blog too.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    As soon as I saw 27ac I hope the answer would be Abelian. Abelian groups are (mathematical) groups where the group operation is also commutative. I knew my OU course in Group Theory last year would come in handy one day.

    Q. What’s green and commutes?
    A. An Abelian grape.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Heartily endorse all of the above and, as solving proceeded, suspected the Sat appearance was for the reason given by Eimi at 3 above.

  7. IanN14 says:

    Nothing to add.
    Just brilliant again.

    (Bet he wished “Sig” was a more popular name, though…)

  8. Richard Heald says:

    Another stunner from the Theme-meister.

    I had no problem with “Sig”, remembering Sig Rumann, the German actor who played villainous roles in several Marx Brothers films.

  9. Richard Heald says:

    … whose real name was Siegfried, according to my battered copy of Halliwell’s Filmgoer’s Companion.

  10. Allan_C says:

    I must have been thick! I completed the puzzle but never twigged the theme; no wonder I couldn’t quite fathom the clue for 1/29. How absolutely brilliant, though.

  11. petebiddlecombe says:

    Equally thick here but enjoyed this puzzle all the same.

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