Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,395/Virgilius

Posted by Ali on June 29th, 2010


Man, this was good!

A very impressive grid construction by Virgilius, in which all bar 7 entries contain MAN, and the remaining 7 all have MAN in the clue.

I spotted the theme early on, which helped quite a lot as there was a handful of fairly tough clues in here. Sound clueing as always though.

6 PAC MAN – I think it’s PC (computer) covering A(rea) on MAN, but not sure how MAN is ‘game’.
9 G-MAN – G[ri]M A[merica]N
10 MANNA – M(arried) = ANNA
11 EMMA – Hidden in poEM MAn
14 MANY – AN in MY
15 INNER MAN – NN (2 names) in (REMAIN)*
17 MANIAC – CAIN rev. on MA
19 TRUMAN – AM(erican) rev. in (TURN)*
23 OMAN – [-w]OMAN
25 MANUMITTED – (I’M TAUNTED)* after M(aiden)
27 ANTI – Hidden in mAN TImidly
28 TOMAN – Not 100% sure
30 MANN – Hidden in gerMAN Novelists, &lit.
31 MANNER – “Manor”
2 HOMEOWNER – O(ld) + WN (quarters) in HOMER
4 ROMAN – Double def.
5 SON – “Sun”
7 CREWMAN – CREW (bragged) on (Isle Of) MAN
8 AMMAN – (AN [-i]MAM)*
13 MANXMAN – X in MAN x 2
18 AGEMEMNON – (EGO + MAN x2)*
20 MANSION – MAN + SON outside 1
22 OTTOMAN – Double def.
24 MANTA – MAN (e.g. Ray) + TA[-il]
29 MOP – Initial letters of Man Of Property

13 Responses to “Independent 7,395/Virgilius”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Incredible, easy enough once theme spotted. I think the man that moves may refer to chess men.

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi Ali – thanks for the blog. Great puzzle!

    re 6ac: I think it’s a kind of &lit: MAN is ‘something that moves in game’ [chess].

    28ac: TOM [Persian {cat} male] + AN

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    Excellent puzzle.
    Yes, I read 6ac as Eileen did.
    I failed to write in MANUMITTED with any confidence even though I should have seen the connection with manumission.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks to Ali for the blog and to others for clarifications. I agree that this was very cleverly put together and I’m not going to say it’s a poor puzzle because it isn’t, and without exception I enjoy tackling a Virgilius/Brendan offering. But once the MAN theme became apparent, then I was just using that to stick in the answers rather than enjoying and teasing out the wordplay. I guess I’m saying that I usually enjoy being taken round the houses by Virgilius, and today he just showed me the path to the front door a bit too easily.

    Never happy, are we?

    But PREGNANT was, as Kathryn would say, a lmao moment.

  5. sidey says:

    An amusing diversion, what else can one ask for?

    A beautiful construction, is there some significance to the placement of the theme words? They seem to make a pattern.

  6. Colin Blackburn says:

    sidey, well spotted.
    The MANs reflect the 180 degree symmetry of the grid, so even more elegantly constructed than I first thought.
    There are two long interconnected chains of MANs and a single X in the centre square—maybe that’s where Virgilius’ treasure is buried!

  7. NealH says:

    I didn’t spot the fact that everything contained man until I’d completed most of the grid, so it didn’t make the puzzle a great deal easier for me. It did help slightly with one or two of the more unusual words such as maniple. Pregnant was the last I got – one of those answers I feel I should have got much more quickly, but the conviction that the word would end in ing was probably what stopped me.

  8. flashling says:

    Knowing it was a Virgilius was looking for the grid answer links and saw it very quickly, only put manumitted in at end as it was the only was clue anagram could go, but never heard the word before.

    Very quick solve not really timed but it would be sub ten mins which somehow left me feeling cheated!

    Been looking for a further link on the other answers but other than placement can’t see one.

  9. beermagnet says:

    Two or three words I didn’t know here. No doubt the one I’ll actually remember in the future is the one I guessed wrong: TIMAN? – sort of half way between Timon of Athens and Toman of Persia.

    Ali, your Agamemnon’s missing an A.

    Coincidentally MANUMIT is an answer in the Guardian Quick today.

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    About MANUMITTED, about a year ago I clued it like this:
    “Emancipated football team with German replacing popular back”.
    [I don’t think thát English football team would, at this very moment in history, like to replace one of its backs by a German … :)]

    Oh, of course, great crossword by one of the best setters around!!

  11. Scarpia says:

    I found this very easy – even without spotting all the “men” – like flashling @8 about 10 mins.
    12.15 still seemed a bit early for bed so tried the Guardian Quiptic for the first time,which I found a tad more challenging than this!

  12. jetdoc says:

    I assumed that CHIMERAS at 1a indicated the theme, in that answers were part-MAN, part-something-else. Yes, it was on the easy side for a Virgilius.

  13. beermagnet says:

    Similarly I assume 32A is how you end up after having that many men.

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