Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,419/Virgilius

Posted by Ali on July 27th, 2010


A characteristically clever puzzle from Virgilius, with plenty of thematic stuff to chew on in the clues and completed grid. x and y can be used in cryptic clues in a variety of guises, nearly all of which appear to be covered here!

1 TENS – Last letters of whaT aussiE maN preferS
9 HEXAGRAM – HEX + A G(ood) RAM (as in Aries, the sign)
10 PALTRY – PAL (intimate) + TRY (essay)
11 SCYTHE – I think this is Y (what said) + THE (article), but not sure how SC is ‘namely’
13 XENOGAMY – MA GONE rev. in XY (chromosomes)
14 DOXY – DO + XY (variables)
17 DECANTING – DE (bow section of DEstroyer) + CANTING
20 ELMY – ELY about M(otorway)
21 UNKNOWNS – NOW + N in (SUNK)*
23 BLOWSY – BLOWS + Y(en)
25 DRAWDOWN – DRAW (appeal) + DOWN (not working)
27 ASYMMETRIC – A Double def. I guess, as most of the letters of the alphabet are asymmetrical
28 AXES – X (vote) in SEA rev.
2 EXE – “x” – which, along with “y”, give us algebraic unknowns
3 SMARTLY – Double def.
4 CARTESIAN – Cryptic def. ref “I think, therefore I am.”
5 ADMIXES – DMI (Roman numerals) in AXES
6 LUPIN – L(earner) + UP (taught) + IN (at home)
7 ILLOGIC – Cryptic def. – A clever misdirection of ‘premises’
18 CONFORM – C(entury) + ON FORM
19 INSIDER – IN + “cider”
22 WILDE – L(ine) in WIDE
26 WYE – “y” – which, along with “x”, give us Cartesian coordinate and axes.

13 Responses to “Independent 7,419/Virgilius”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    In 11ac, SC is the abbreviation for “Scilicet (Latin), namely” (Chambers). Also you have a typo, ‘Y (what said)’ should read ‘Y (why said)’.

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Ali.

    I thought this was an excellent crossword, in that, without any knowledge of Cartesian coordinates or axes, I had managed to get all three words by means of the flawless cluing, which gave me the heart to carry on. If anyone had told me the theme, I don’t think I would have bothered trying. as it was, I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks onc again for a great puzzle, Virgilius.

    On more familiar ground for me, in 11ac, SC is short for Latin ‘scilicet’ – namely.

  3. Stella Heath says:

    I’ve never heard of ‘doxy’, and would have spelt 23a with a ‘u’, as I’ve always understood this to mean that this type of woman wears loose-fitting blouses to enhance their charms. It seems I’m not very well up on risqué language.

    I’d forgotten ‘SC’ = ‘scilicet’, though it came up a month or two ago. Thanks for that explanation, and for 13a, which I stupidly failed to parse.

    PS.- As I was writing that, I hesitated for a moment on the spelling; I wonder if we’ll ever get a pass/parse homophone :)

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Not where I come from we won’t, Stella, but let’s not start that one again.

    Had to do this in a bit of a rush this morning before scooting off to earn a crust, so didn’t really have time to appreciate it. Nice theme though; makes a change from Jane Austen or Charles Dickens.

    Never heard of DOXY, but stuck it in and it proved correct. XENOGAMY is one of the three or four I didn’t get, but it’s very clever. Usual good stuff from Virgilius.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Yes, better let sleeping dogs lie, KD, even if they’re only pretending to, as my two are now :)

  6. Myrvin says:

    Had to look up various words and cheat on 1a.
    I thought a DOXY was a prostitute. I see this is one of many meanings.
    Didn’t know of SC – I do now. I got the answer anyway.
    ELMY goes down with the recently used (in Guardian?) of COBWEBBY.
    27a seems weird. Maybe not most of the letters of the alphabet, but all the letters of ASYMMETRIC, except R, have symmetry.

  7. Ali says:

    Thanks for the explanation of SC in 11a. I guess this is one of those that you only ever learn through crosswords, and then often forget!

    Myrvin – your explanation of 27a is way better than mine, so thanks for that.

  8. flashling says:

    really thought elmy was weak, frankly a real word? No doubt someone will it’s in chambers or such. Still quite a quick solve despite a few beers before starting it. maybe a maths backgound helped on this.

  9. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyed this, by no means the first Virgilius puzzle with a maths theme, all the xs and ys made it esp interesting.

  10. Wil Ransome says:

    Do you think he tried and failed to get Y’s in the vertical column of unches on the right? Which might explain the rather odd ELMY.

  11. Tatrasman says:

    I too was thrown by ‘blowsy’, having always assumed like Stella H that it was to do with well-endowed women in big blouses, and misspelled it consequently as ‘blousy’, but according to the ODE its origin is in ‘blowze’ – an obsolete 17th century expression meaning ‘a beggar’s female companion’!

  12. Myrvin says:

    @11: I must get me one of them ODEs – sounds good. :)
    I did the BLOUSY thing as well.

  13. Martin H says:

    I only came to this today, having put it aside on Tuesday, not being the greatest fan of this setter. This time he really explored the theme well; it helped, I think, that it is so abstract – or perhaps I mean concrete, its elements being embedded in the puzzle itself rather than referring to an outside subject. Indeed an external reference led to the weakest of the themed clues, at 4d. (Excellent cd at 7d though). I was going to say, ‘More like this please’, but I guess the number of such themes must be somewhat limited.

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