Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,228 by Virgilius

Posted by Simon Harris on December 15th, 2009

Simon Harris.

If I were to choose a title for this puzzle it would be “Bottoms Up” – partly for thematic reasons, but also because that’s how the answers fell in today. The bottom half came together rather swiftly, whilst the remainder was a bit of a ‘mare, I’m afraid.

I’ll put that down to having heard of neither BARSAC nor MONTILLA, and making heavier weather of 13/17/22 than one should have. Anyways, I guess that the idea here is that we have six French wines and six non-French wines, the latter being “the other”.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

Across
8 BARSAC – A in (BARS + C).
9 MONTILLA – M + ON + TILL + A.
10 ASTI – [fe]ASTI[ng].
11 SOAVE – 0 in SAVE.
12 HOCK – dd. Not sure where “uncle” comes in, I’m afraid.
13/17/22 SIX OF ONE AND HALF A DOZEN OF THE OTHER – see preamble.
16 MUSCAT – CAMUS* + [se]T. Capital of Oman.
20 MERLOT – MÉR + LOT. “Drink” as in “sea”.
24 TENT – E in TNT.
25 MEDOC – [aweso]ME DOC[umentary].
28 PORT – cd.
29 BURGUNDY – (GUN + D) in BURY.
30 CLARETL in CARET.
Down
1 FAUSTIAN – A in FUSTIAN.
2 ESKIMO – I in SMOKE*.
3 ACTS – dd.
4 EMMA – [l]EMMA.
5 ANTE – ETNA<.
6 SIGHTSEE – hom. of “site” + hom. of “sea”.
7 ALICIAIC in ALIA.
14 OWLET – 0 + (L in WET).
15 ENACT – [statesm]EN ACT[ually].
16 MOOSE – and how a Scotsperson might pronounce “mouse”. This is, of course, a reference to Burns’ “Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie”.
18 HELOTAGE – HE + LOT + AGE.
19 ONE-ARMED – O (a circle, so a ring or “band”) + NEAR + MED.
21 EYEFUL – “roughly” a hom. of (Gustav) “Eiffel”.
23 TOP HAT – (O + P) in HAT. Astaire/Rogers classic.
25 MANE – MANE[t].
26 DAYS – cd. and hom. of “daze”.
27 COCK – dd.

9 Responses to “Independent 7,228 by Virgilius”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thank you Simon,
    I think the point is that the six above the central answer are white, the other six (or case?) are red?
    Another spotlessly tidy one from, I think, the best setter around…

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Simon. A very well constructed puzzle which I found tough even after getting the long across clue and guessing the theme. At 12ac, ‘uncle’ is a euphemism for pawnbroker, hence the reference to HOCK, I think.

  3. Mick H says:

    Great puzzle. I started at the top left and guessed what was happening after the coincidence of Barsac and Soave. Does Virgilius do a matching mixed case?
    The one clue I was uncertain about was 30 ac. I see ‘caret’ is a symbol for insertion – ^ – hence ‘mark for putting in’, I suppose. Apologies to those for whom this is basic general knowledge, but it’s a new one on me.

  4. NealH says:

    Quite straightforward apart from 27 where both meanings were new to me. The wine theme helped a lot: I don’t think I’d have got soave and claret as quickly without it.

  5. Ali says:

    Another classic Virgilius in which I knew what was going on pretty early doors, but it still took me until the very end to get the long thematic clue. I was unfamilar with the DD for 27D though and guessed at CACK!

  6. Quixote says:

    A puzzle as easy as it was delightful — will Virgilius ever run out of novelties?

  7. Paul B says:

    I hope not. Super stuff.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Agreed, another great puzzle from Virgilius, and thanks to the wine experts above who explained the difference between the two sixes, that must have made filling the grid even harder for him.

  9. Graham Pellen says:

    Simon Harris appears to have put an accent aigu over the “e” of “mer” in 20AC, but “mer” does not have an accent.

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