Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7306 by Virgilius

Posted by nmsindy on March 17th, 2010


A special puzzle on the Irish national day, St Patrick’s Day, by Virgilius who hails from there.        Impressive that so much thematic material was packed into clues and answers.    Great stuff as always from the master.

Not too difficult at all, solving time 10 mins.

* = anagram    <  = reversed


8 POTAT(I)O N    Murphy = potato

9 REAGAN   (anger a)*     In the definition here Republican refers to the US party of which Ronald Reagan, US president, 1981-1989, was a member.   He has ancestral roots in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary.

10 RED (ruddy)  RUM (unusual)     National here refers to the Grand National which this horse famously won 3 times in the 1970s.

11 RECITAL   (Clare it)*     Clare is a Irish county.

12 QUIN ie one of quintuplets    “Quinn”     Very common Irish name eg former international footballer, Niall Quinn, now Chairman of Sunderland AFC.

13 JAMES JOYCE    Irish author of Ulysses etc      Henry JAMES (US writer) and JOYCE (girl’s name – common in Ireland).

15 BE (L) FAST     L in ‘be fast’

17 S (AIN’T) LY

19 COUNT   Y “why”   MAYO(r)       Irish county

22 ERI N    ire<     poetic name for Ireland

23 FREEDOM   (Formed E)*     Éire = Ireland (in the Irish ie Gaelic language), generally now refers to the Republic of Ireland  ie the 26 counties.     “Éire” appears on Irish postage stamps as official priority is given to the Irish language though the word will not be heard in normal conversation there  (in English).

25 A L M O ST (saint)     Definition = approaching

26 ALWAYS    Galway’s   less the initial G

27 GREEN TEA      (Teenager)*      Clue of the puzzle.    Laugh-out-loud.


1 HOME RULE    Historically this was sought from about 1870 to 1920, superseded by the establishment of the Irish Free State (1922).   It did apply in NI though as it happened.

2 PAT RON    Ireland’s Patron Saint

3 HIS MAJESTY    Hidden

4 ANT RIM     Irish County (in NI)

5 ERIC    A fine paid by a murderer to a family of his victim (old Irish law).    A word seen often in ‘advanced’ puzzles, I guess as it is grid-friendly.    Think it also refers to the C10 Viking explorer who explored Greenland and founded Norse colonies there.

6 CAST (group of players)    DOWN  (NI county)

7 GAELIC    “Gallic”     Irish language – other versions exist too eg Scots Gaelic

14 SEÁN O CASEY   a in (essay once)*    Irish playwright, wrote Juno and the Paycock etc

16 FINN EG AN    This refers to James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake.

18 LEINSTER   (listener)*    Irish quarter = one of the four Irish provinces

20 OFF A L  plaY       Another Irish county

21 ARMAGH    (Graham)*    … and another (in NI)

22ÉAMONN    (no name)*    Common Irish name, best known possibly the late TV and radio personality Éamonn Andrews – This is your Life etc

24 DISC    hidden

17 Responses to “Independent 7306 by Virgilius”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Very enjoyable today, though it took me a lot longer than ten minutes! Hats off to Virgilius for getting the Irish connection into every clue while still producing good surfaces. We seem to have had the teenager/green tea anagram a lot recently in the dailies, but it was laugh out loud today. Only one I failed to get was POTATION, not realising the Murphy/potato connection.

    Thanks for the blog, nms – nice name check at 12ac. Expect IanN14 will drop in shortly to tell us that some more famous Quinn once played for Spurs back in the 1800s …

  2. Paul says:

    What’s the significance of “twice broken” in 24dn?

    I missed on QUIN, shoving EUAN in as the only Irishman could think of and hoping it sounded like some obscure Gaelic word I’d never heard of.

  3. IanN14 says:

    I think twice broken indicates it’s over three words (therefore two “breaks”).
    K’s D,
    1800s is before my time, but there was a David Quinn, an inside forward, 1902-04….

    Anyone else do this online?
    There’s a nice surprise on completion…
    Cheers, Virgilius and eimi.

  4. Duggie says:

    Fellow-countryman on top form today. Just superb. Pity he wasn’t able to use his Guardian by-line to complete the full house.

  5. iDIYot says:

    Having uncharacteristically finished the Guardian crossword I tackled this one online and really enjoyed the Irish connection with the clever surprise at the end. I should do this more often – maybe I’ll have time next bank holiday! Slan.

  6. Quixote says:

    A very impressive thematic!

  7. matt says:

    Yep, this was excellent. Particularly liked ‘his majesty’.

  8. Punk says:

    Brilliant stuff!

  9. Derrick Knight says:

    Marvellous achievement in grid-filling and clue-writing to a theme

  10. Mick H says:

    Cracking. Loved ‘His Majesty, and ‘Graham crackers’ was a beaut too.
    I havered about GAELIC, because the clue relies on it being pronounced the same as ‘gallic’. Seems to me that usually it’s gay-lick, though you do sometimes hear the other. Is that a Scots/Irish thing, or regional variation? Or just changing fashion?

  11. sidey says:

    A+, that’s all.

  12. Jenny says:

    I got “his majesty”, even though I missed it staring out at me, since it’s also an Irishism to describe men – a sarcastic one. “How’s his majesty?” referring to someone’s partner.

  13. ant says:

    Thought red rum was the cleverest. On Cheltanham First Day. A big cheer

  14. eimi says:

    I’m only half Irish, but I’ve heard Gaelic pronounced as gallic more often than gaylic on my visits to the old country. It brings back bad memories, however, of being lost in the wilds of Connemara when the road signs no longer made any connection with my road map.

  15. Pandean says:

    eimi, I’ve had similar fun with Irish road signs over the years, although they have improved more recently. I’ve always pronounced Gaelic as gaylic, and that corresponds better with the pronunciation of the Irish word ‘gaeilge’ – the word for the Irish language, and also the Irish for ‘Gaelic’.

    A great Irish puzzle from Virgilius today, so ‘go raibh mile maith agaibh’ (many thanks to you both) for that and also for the online ‘Sláinte’!

  16. Merlyn says:

    Nice one, but I’ve never heard of Murphy being a potato. Even as I went to buy the paper I thought – It’s gonna be an Irish one…

  17. Moose says:

    Didn’t finish.Got a few.10 mins! Couldn’t read it in that time! Knowledge of Ireland not that good

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