Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,275/Virgilius

Posted by Ali on February 9th, 2010


Another very impressive themed puzzle from Virgilius.

Took me a while to spot what was going on and I found the bottom half tougher than the top, but once I’d twigged the drinks-related theme, everything fell into place. A nice touch to have the thematic answers as downs too!

1 SCAB – S(mall) CAB
4 SASSY – SS (sons) in SAY
7 HATE – HEAT with E moved
9 GENTOO – TOO (excessively) with GEN (dope) initially
10 ACUITIES – U(niversity) in A(rea) CITIES
11 BROOK – B(ishop) preceding ROOK
12 INCH – Double def.
13 HOUR – “Our”
15 ISLE – Regular letters of InSuLtEd
19 TEN-POUND – Cryptic def.
21 TOYS – Initial letters of This October You Say
23 MESS – Double def (I think!)
25 DAWN – Double def.
26 PUNCH – Double def.
29 HEEHAW – A HE rev. in HEW
30 EDIT – Hidden in screED I Typed
31 TIE IN – I.E in TIN
32 EMMA – Double def.
2 CHEERS – Double def.
4 SKOL – K in SOL
6 YOUR HEALTH – Cryptic def.
8 THE QUEEN – Double def.
18/17 HERE’S MUD IN YOUR EYE – Cryptic def.
22 L’CHAIM – Hidden in liebfraumiLCH AIMs
24 SALUT – U (“You”) in (LAST)*
27 CHIN – Double def.

10 Responses to “Independent 7,275/Virgilius”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, another classic. I think the ‘service’ in MESS refers to the ‘services’ ie Armed Forces. Did have to go for help re some of the toasts. As ever the question, how does it do it?

  2. NealH says:

    Quite an astonishing achievement to get all those toasts into the grid, even if a couple of them were unknown to me. I was surprised to be able to get through it without any help – had to guess at slainte and I held back from putting in lchaim for a long time because it just didn’t look like a word, even though I couldn’t see any other way of interpreting the clue. How much longer can Virgilius keep coming up with these themed puzzles ? His imagination seems inexhaustible.

  3. Mick H says:

    Looking at the completed grid, I thought – what a shame he couldn’t make all the downs thematic, but had to settle for The Queen. Then I realised that as a republican who doesn’t go to the rights kind of functions, I’d just overlooked another toast – a grand slam to Virgilius. Admittedly, I’ve generally heard ‘Gesundheit’ used when you sneeze (‘Prost!’ being the more usual drinking salutation), but no doubt it gets used for that too.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I can only surmise that as a setter, this kind of thematic stuff must be really difficult to achieve elegantly, but elegant is what this is. I couldn’t quite finish it in the SW corner, having spotted the theme and succumbed to temptation by putting PROST for 24dn – but of course the clue is pointing very cleverly in another direction entirely. Some super dds and cds.

    SLAINTE didn’t prove too difficult because of misspent youth with Irish friends, but strange that so many drinking toasts (in many, many languages) involve wishing one another good health, when the medical profession keeps telling us how bad it is for the same. Maybe our ancestors intuited that a couple of glasses of red a day were good for the old ticker.

    Favourite clue, despite not getting it till I had all the crossing letters, 19ac.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Mick H, that’s an interesting connection – many of the European languages use the ‘health’ word for a toast as well as for when you sneeze. The French say ‘Santé’, the Dutch ‘Gezondheit’ (as well as ‘Proost’) and the Spanish ‘Salud’. But I’ve also heard Spanish people say ‘Jesús’, meaning ‘May Jesus bless you'; any second and third sneezes are greeted by ‘Maria’ and ‘Joseph’. So I guess that’s closer to our ‘Bless you’, but the usage is presumably from similar principles: if you’re sneezing, then your health’s in question, or you may need assistance from a higher being.

  6. Mick H says:

    I remember hearing either of ‘Jesus!’ in Spain or ‘Bless You!’ that it was to stop the devil getting in while your mouth was open.
    As for these drinking saluations, I reckon they were invented so that you can sit around drinking with people from other countries with no language in common and still have something to say to each other. Ah, happy days!

  7. draig says:

    no ‘lechyd da’ though very disappointed 😉

  8. Mike Laws says:

    I filled in LCHAIM with complete confidence, because it could be nothing else, and was disappointed, having read the above, to have to google to find out it was a Hebrew salutation.

    “Slonsha” everyone!

  9. uncle yap says:

    What a tour de force, Virgilius !
    Yam Seng !!!
    Kan Pay !!!
    or as hashers say “Drink it down, down, down, down …”

  10. Moose says:

    Nearly finished.22d no idea! 27d didn’t get 32a didn’t and never would have got! 23a also eluded me.Got 9a with other letters

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