Fifteensquared

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Independent 7346 by Virgilius

Posted by NealH on May 3rd, 2010

NealH.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

Another brilliant themed puzzle by Virgilius. The theme was set out in clue 14 (“marginal seats”) and all the words along the perimeter of the grid are indeed words for seats (although some less well known than others). There was also a political slant to most of the clues.
 

Across
1 Banquette: (But eaten)* around Q.
6 Sofas: Hidden in quarters of a socialist.
9 Togas: DD – “to gas” and what Roman senators wore.
10 Rightmost: DD referring to the fact that 8 and 20 are on the right side of the grid (a rare case where you didn’t have to know what the other clues were to solve it).
11 Outfield: Out + field and ref to the outfield in cricket (where the longer shots would go).
12 Cartel: (Jimmy) Carter with the last r changing to l. This was the last clue I got, although I think if it had just said “Democratic leader” instead of “Liberal Democratic leader”, I’d have got it straightaway. I can’t see any point in the liberal other than as descriptive of Carter.
14 Marginal Seats: DD referencing 16 (close contests) and 8 (Settle – one of the seats on the margin of the grid).
16 Close Contests: Close (defined as “to block, make impassable or impenetrable in Chambers) + con + tests.
21 Herein: Her + [candidat]e + in (=elected). Def=”within this”.
23 Overrate: DD (over rate in cricket). It’s a shame Virgilius couldn’t get Ed Balls in there.
25 Infighter: (right fine)*.
26 Theta: DD – “The TA” + theta being the initial letter of Thebes in its Greek form.
27 Siege: DD. Investment is an old word for a siege and a siege is an old word for a throne.
28 Bleachers: Beaches with L and R in it. Not a word I was familiar with – it seems mainly to be used in the US.
Down
1 Bottom: DD referring to Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (although nick can also be a hidden bottom in a beer tankard, so that is another interpretation).
2 Nightfall: Nigh + [poli]t[ical] + fall.
3 Upswing: P in Us + wing.
4 Turtleneck: (Clue Kn[i]tter)*.
5 Edge: DD.
6 Situate: I in astute*.
7 Front: DD.
8 Settle: 3 defs (resolve, colonise and North Yorks town).
13 Blank Verse: L in bank + veers*. Blank verse doesn’t rhyme, hence doesn’t have “sound agreements”.
15 Tete-a-tete: Te four times (the same note repeated over and over) around a.
17 Shingle: English*. Ref to Brighton’s famous shingle beaches.
18 Erratic: (I react)* around r.
19 Chairs: Chars around I.
20 Sedans: Hidden in biased answers. Sedan chairs were used to carry people around.
22 Rifle: Rife around L[abour].
24 Stub: Buts<.

11 Responses to “Independent 7346 by Virgilius”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Neal.

    I really enjoyed this and it made up for my disappointment with the Guardian 25,000. Thank you, Virgilius.

    In 14ac, I took the ‘eight’ to mean the eight seats round the edge of the puzzle, rather than clue 8.

  2. Duggie says:

    Amazing. A great way to start what is set to be a highly-charged political week. Yes, every clue has a ‘political’ element in it.

    I agree with Eileen about 14A. A little bit of pedantry re 27A: siège is actually the word for seat in French, hence throne.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Neal. Good job it’s a bank holiday, because my brain hurts.

    What a super puzzle. I can’t usually cope with one theme; with two going on this was hard work, but very enjoyable. I did twig the ‘eight seats’ about half way through, which helped with the eight outermost answers.

    Three cricket-themed answers? Tick. Super surfaces at 19dn and 8dn? Tick. Thanks to Eileen for flagging up Nick Bottom a month or so ago? Tick.

    Not sure I’ve got enough brain power left to tackle the Grauniad’s 25,000th, and the lawn needs mowing. Oh, alright then, it’s going to rain in a bit anyway …

  4. Derrick Knight says:

    Yes. A great start to the week.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Great as always from the master – did not find it too hard. Though the ‘liberal’ is cartel was legitimate trickery.

    In the thematic context I read BOTTOM = SEAT (your own one that you sit on).

  6. nmsindy says:

    Should be ‘Thought the liberal..”

  7. flashling says:

    Failed to get siege, neither definitions ring any bells even now. Agree about the 8 seats on the margins though. Good one thanks Virgilius. More election themed to come do you think?

  8. Paul B says:

    Not too many hard words that I could spot, either. Fine grid-fill from the ring-bearer*. Perhaps we should now start calling him Frodo?

  9. scarpia says:

    Sorry to interrupt this meeting of the Vigillius fan club. :)
    I’ve never quite understood all the praise for Virgillius/Brendan.I always find his puzzles o.k.,but rarely great,I’m more of the ‘libertarian’ camp I suppose.
    Did like 9 acroos today though.

  10. Allan_C says:

    Re 10 being “a rare case where you didn’t have to know what the other clues were to solve it”, that’s true, of course, but means that it starts you looking for something in those clues – very crafty! Great puzzle, though, even if I didn’t spot the theme till I’d almost finished it.

  11. Quixote says:

    Good to have a political puzzle from my old chum without an in-your-face political message. A very pleasing effort that may be too easy for Scarpia, but one that will keep in touch with the average solver who may want a bit of added spice — enjoyed it while watching England score lots to runs (alas to no avail).

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