TLS 1131 by Broteas, June 24 2016 — Do Not Drop

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Let’s try something a little different. Most of the clues are pretty straightforward to parse once the answer is there. Any questions, clues not understood, things you need to get off your chest (such as “What was the blogger thinking?”), just pop a comment below and one of the Grub Street Irregulars will attempt an answer. I have at least one query myself.


1  – ANDRE BRETON – French writer’s name in 4 Brontë version  (5,6)

7  – OWL – Snowy I might be, and I’m in famous children’s literature  (3)

9  – BOOKPLATE – Where one who 4s can write as well  (9)

10 – VOTES – They made a late decision to stay or leave  (5)

11 – NOSING – Slow movement’s what a pibroch performer does  (6)

12 – FOUL BLOW – Dodgy punch producing diarrhoea for Spooner?  (4,4)

14 – GEORGIAN POETRY – Series starting in the cool of the evening with Joseph and Mary, ending with bitterness and vagrancy  (8,6)

17 – THE TERMINAL MAN – Victor Navorski in Michael Crichton’s version  (3,8,3)

21 – ACCIDENT – Unfortunate encounter in the cinema, between the servant and the go-between  (8)

23 – ROWENA – Ivanhoe’s lady in dispute with another woman  (6)

25 – TRENT – Detective seen in some Gainsborough pictures  (5)

26 – HALLOWEEN – After an expression of surprise, believe in a spooky event  (9)

27 – COS – A Greek location for a triangular relationship  (3)

28 – COMET HALLEY – Unusually arrives at a passage in Hoyle’s sci-fi work  (5,6)


1  – ALBANY – The Duke of New York?  (6)

2  – DROP SCENE – The end of a drama, or how to make it come sooner  (4,5)

3  – ELPENOR – Write in role reversal for one fatally involved in a 2?  (7)

4  – READ – In village school, I write and you (we hope) —  (4)

5  – TREVOR NUNN – Shakespeare producer, not one for an audience after William the playwright  (6,4)

6  – NOVELLO – Look after book for specialist publishers  (7)

7  – OFTEL – I was once responsible for lines in soft elegies  (5)

8  – LESSWAYS – Bigamist of reduced means, having son  (8)

13 – BIRMINGHAM – “There were antiquities from Central Italy […]; bits of mummy from Egypt (and perhaps —)” (Little Dorrit)  (10)

15 – TRADEWELL – City madam’s family succeed in business  (9)

16 – ATLANTIC – “And the gilded car of day / His glowing axle doth allay / In the steep — stream” (Comus, Milton)  (8)

18 – EIDETIC – Clear and vivid quote, with end reversed  (7)

19 – LEONORA – Boy and girl in the first version of a boy/girl opera  (7)

20 – HANNAY – Spy a couple of knights in a place to find books  (6)

22 – CREWS – Many sailors, and what they do in The Odyssey, we hear  (5)

24 – PLOT – Land that’s often developed in fiction  (4)

Notes & Queries

ANDRE BRETON – the clue is a compound anagram of the ‘read’ from 4d and ‘bronte’

VOTES – is there anything more than a cryptic definition with a Brexit theme?

GEORGIAN POETRY, series of anthologies published by Harold Monro and edited by Edward Marsh. New to me but guessable for what it was. I took English at a university where they burned this kind of thing and replaced it with shelves of pulp fiction, with pamphlets by Roland Barthes scattered artfully about. The collection is almost accidentally important, spanning as it does the Great War, the arrival of modernism, the end of La Belle Époque. Sampling the early, then the later poems it’s hard not feel the passing of something. Strange that the anthology’s beginning should have been so slight:

“The idea for an anthology began as a joke, when Marsh, Duncan Grant and George Mallory decided, one evening in 1912 to publish a parody of the many small poetry books that were appearing at the time.” – Wikipedia

The clue refers to two poems which roughly bookmark the beginning of the series: In the Cool of The Evening by James Stephens, and Joseph and Mary by James Elroy Flecker. And two from the final volume: Bitterness by Victoria Sackville-West and Richard Hughes’ Vagrancy:

When the slow year creeps hay-ward, and the skies / Are warming in the summer’s mild surprise, / And the still breeze disturbs each leafy frond / Like hungry fishes dimpling in a pond, / It is a pleasant thing to dream at ease / On sun-warmed thyme, not far from beechen trees. …

…But Sleep doth hold me, and I hear no sound. / In the far West the clouds are mustering, / Without hurry, noise, or blustering: / And soon as Body’s nightly Sentinel / Himself doth nod, I open furtive eyes…. / With darkling hook the Farmer of the Skies / Goes reaping stars: they flicker, one by one, / Nodding a little; tumble,–and are gone.

ACCIDENT – an enigmatic clue, which refers to Harold Pinter’s screenplay for the 1967 Accident. It came after Pinter’s work on The Servant (’63) and The Go-Between (’70).

ELPENOR – Talking of accidents … Odysseus’ buddy Elpenor is one of history’s oldest known entrants for the Darwin Awards, having met his end in a rather prosaic manner by falling off a roof (hence the excruciating reference to a drop scene — hang your head in shame, Broteas!)

Hilda LESSWAYS weds bigamously in Arnold Bennet’s Clayhanger trilogy, proof that nothing good will come of a boarding house in Brighton.

TRADEWELL – the name of several characters in The City Madam, a 17th century play by Philip Massinger, revived by the RSC in 2011 at the Swan theatre. It’s well worth a glance through the summary and the priceless list of characters (very Carry On) at the RSC’s site:
Probably the less said about Shave’em the whore the better.

HANNAY –  a couple of knights (n in chess notation) inside Hay. I went to a few things at the festival at Hay-on-Wye in its early days, though in truth what I remember best is dodging the sheep on the astonishing drive across the hills to Hay Bluff. In 2001 Bill Clinton memorably described the festival as “a Woodstock of the mind”. Some would argue  that it’s now more of a Glastonbury, as evidenced by the appearance of Bill Clinton. Not I. Not I.

17 comments on “TLS 1131 by Broteas, June 24 2016 — Do Not Drop”

  1. I hope VOTES is your query. No, nothing more than a CD which occurred to me after wondering “how am I going to find a clue for this?”
  2. I got most of this during the solve, but completely missed out on understanding the clue for Georgian poetry. I only solved the cue when I had crossers in place, and vaguely associated it with Georgics, which in turn I vaguely associated with poetry. Believing that Georgian Poetry was therefore a thing, I rested content and ignored all the stuff about Joseph and Mary, thinking there might be some incredibly complicated wordplay happening.
    I think TRENT needs an explanation. I take it to be that the River Trent runs through Gainsborough, and would therefore be seen in picture postcards of the place, but that may be too literal rather than literary. I did wonder whether the famous (and once local to me) Gainsborough Pictures might have a role to play.
    I rather liked the wordplay in the COMET HALLEY clue, once the penny dropped.
    1. Ah, so there’s a place called Gainsborough! I just assumed that the river must feature in some of the artist’s work. Yes, the place makes much more sense.

      I would take my hat off to anyone who understood the Georgian Poetry clue in its entirety, and would wonder if they were a recent Mastermind contestant with ‘Georgian Poetry’ as a specialised subject!

      I might as well use this reply to explain why I tried something different. I was wondering if explaining less might lead to a bit more discussion. I think we can call the experiment a resounding failure.

      To be honest I’m finding this a bit of a chore. It’s not so rewarding when the only comments come from the blogging team and the puzzle editor. Makes it feel like a private conversation and I question whether it’s worth the effort. I’m losing the will to continue with it.

      Obviously the lengthy gap between puzzle and blog is the real problem. It seems unrealistic to ignore the existence of at least one answer-related website that has regular, quite active TLS threads. I use it myself if I get truly stuck. There’s a lot more back and forth there, which is what I would love to see here. But is that ever going to happen if we’re blogging weeks after the fact?


      If you think it’s worth a discussion, perhaps on Monday I’ll message the other bloggers and we can have a pow-wow (I think Verlaine is currently wallowing in mud and music, and Olivia may be doing her Walden thing upstate).

      1. I have not spent as much time on the TLS so far as I intended, and often lose my printed-out attempt before the blog can appear, but in principle I am in favour of it carrying on, as I enjoy finding out what I didn’t know. And I’m not au fait with the website / forum you refer to S.
        When colder, wetter times return I’ll be giving it more attention.
        1. That’s encouraging. Thanks, pip. Rather than being coy, the website is the AnswerBank. I’ve used their Listener threads sometimes when going through one of my periodic Listener phases and I like how they handle that one. The ‘resident’ whizzes tend to give hints in answer to questions rather than outright answers.
      2. I don’t even recall the Saturday/Sunday puzzles by the time the blogs come round – how anyone can muster up much recollection of the TLS weeks later is a bit beyond me. Given that these puzzles are a lot more effort to blog than the ordinary ones, and the response is negligible, it does feel like the ratio of pain to reward is comparatively quite small… but perhaps it’s its own reward?
        1. Yes, you’ve rather perfectly described my experience. If I don’t comment on someone else’s TLS blog, it’s not because I don’t care but because I have no recollection of solving it!

          And yes, blogging the TLS is labour intensive. I tend to research every clue, even the ones where I was sure of the answer, just to make certain of my facts and to check things like year of publication.

          Peter’s suggestion of a more old-school TfTT approach might be a way forward. And not including the clues would speed it up, for sure.

          I wonder if the management would be okay with us doing a screenshot of the online clues and including that in the blog, then doing some selective exegesis below. Two reasons why I would prefer this:

          1. Much quicker.

          2. When I see the clues laid out in the original format, it seems to prompt a memory of the solving experience. Looking at clues in a quite different format doesn’t ring the same bells for me. Anyone else find this?

          I’ll give ‘the management’ a nudge below to ask his reaction to this one.

  3. Oh, and a couple of other things. The Snowy clue was so obviously DOG that it blocked me for ages, and READ, on which so much depended, took a while until I vaguely remembered Miss R.

    Edited at 2016-07-16 06:59 am (UTC)

  4. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of text people have been happy to write about the TLS puzzles. I think there’s a possible case for going back to the style of early days TftT reports on Times crosswords – while the audience was gradually building up, I just commented on a subset of the answers, and didn’t worry about showing the clues, on the grounds that they were available to those for whom the reports had any meaning. I’d be happy for all or some of the report writers to just write about the clues where they had do look something up or thought they gained from reading something others might not have, and then leave discussion of any others as a response to queries.

    I’m afraid I would very strongly discourage any discussion before the closing date.

    Edited at 2016-07-18 09:11 am (UTC)

    1. Hi Peter. I made a suggestion in a reply to Verlaine, above. Is it allowable?
      1. There are already multiple cases where a blog includes all the clues (and answers), and the newspapers involved seem not to mind. If a screenshot works, I can’t see that it’s significantly different. Though as a time-saver, I also just noticed that I can copy and paste from the club version into Notepad or Word.
        1. OK, then perhaps I’ll try it next time around, or if anyone else wants to, just to see how it works. As I said above, it’s helpful as a memory jogger to see the clues exactly as they appeared, in the two-column format. It would make an interesting experiment, anyway.
  5. I certainly never got the memo on this and like Z thought it might have something to do with the Georgics and that interminable Land thing by V Sackville West. So I didn’t really find it much easier than the last Broteas.

    I liked the format a lot Sotira. We have about 30 TLS solvers on the Club Forum and only one of them ever seems to turn up in the prize drawing where the names are almost always unfamiliar. So I deduce that there must be at least an equal number of non-club solvers out of the TLS 15,000 circulation. Whether any of them come here is another matter. Andy may have a handle on how many hits these blogs take on average which might tell us if we’re just preaching to the choir…

    1. Thank you. Yes, there’s clearly a rather different constituency for the TLS and whether on the whole they ‘blog’, I don’t know.

      I have this vague sense that there’s a slightly better way to do this but that’s as far as I’ve got.

  6. Hi all.
    I am a relatively new setter and have found your comments very helpful. One of the trickiest aspects of setting is gauging how hard the puzzles are for solvers – how long they will take, how much google is required etc. Any feedback on these aspects is really useful.
    1. I think all four of the current TLS setters look at the blogs about their puzzles, and try to learn from the comments. I’m a relatively new setter too!
    2. That’s an interesting point of view, Myrtilus, one that I hadn’t considered. Thanks.

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