TLS 1149 by Praxiteles – Fireworks

Note: Apologies for the extreme lateness of this blog which is a result of an excess of diligence. I wrote this last week then forgot all about posting it until a wee nudge from the Ed. I’m on the road at the moment and am attempting to copy this from my LJ account to a post here on TfTT using a very creaky first generation iPad. Fingers crossed. Corrections may have to wait until I return home in a few days.


Far too tough for this blogger to complete unaided, with a number of unknowns, not all of them literary. And the fireworks theme for this November 4th puzzle didn’t help me all that much. I detest fireworks so it’s no surprise I came up a bit short on the requisite knowlege for the themed answers, and several other things stumped me even after revisiting the puzzle a few times.

But if ever a puzzle had a clue worth the price of admission it’s this one. The clue for GAWAIN is a stupendously good &lit with not a word wasted. I imagine Praxiteles wrote that one out, sat back and said “Ta da!”

I have underlined thematic words in the notes, the key to the mini-theme being at 2d



9 APRES COUP even with the anagram fodder (A,US,COPPER) I couldn’t get this unknown-to-me French loan

10 SQUIB being the first of the fireworks and an anagram of a truncated ‘Bisque’

11 Fantastic &lit clue to give the hero of Gawain and the Green Knight, a story with the moral: Never trust a bloke who says “Go on, you have the first shot”
One (A) with (W) a (A) bit of interest (I) all inside a bracket made up of ‘head of Green’ (G) and ‘Knight’ (n)

12 “fully” tells us to give the full version of Winnie, a character in Beckett’s Happy Days

14 anagram of (SHE’S,ASTRIDE,BIG) where ‘reins’ is the archaic term for the kidneys and ‘tacky’ the unusual anagram indicator

23 the reference is to Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun, Loudun being a small town with a devilish past which lies to the east of the town of Thouars. If you knew all of that without looking it up you’re about three up on me

25 a THEIC is a “person who drinks excessive amounts of tea”. I believe the late Tony Benn was one such. Another unknown word for me


IRE (anger) W(omen) inside FORKS (alternative ways)

3 you can read the story of American civil servant Alger Hiss in innumerable places online and decide for yourself if he was a Soviet agent. ‘in German’ gives us the -ing

5 EMPFINDUNG … German for ‘sentiment, feeling’, which I gather is sometimes used in music, though if you ever hear me lauding the empfindung of a piece of music, shoot me

6 FISGIGS are a type of firework, the wordplay requiring a homophone of Phiz, the illustrator also known as Hablot Knight Browne

15 APPLIANCE more fiendish wordplay which I think goes:
A,P(ast),P(resident),L(eft) + [AN(one) inside ICE(reserve)]

19 ‘The Butler we hear’ is RET (sounds like Rhett of Gone with the Wind)

22 PEEOY – so P (quietly) and an anagram of (EYE,O) giving us a Scottish homemade firework. Sheesh.

4 comments on “TLS 1149 by Praxiteles – Fireworks”

  1. Same unknowns as you Sotira but I must admit I love fireworks. I sort of knew about the DEVILS because there was a dreadful Ken Russell film version eons ago that some poor guy thought would be a good date movie. It didn’t take long for us to walk out. I enjoyed this one.
    1. I freely admit that a much younger me sneaked furtively into one of the early showings because of the Russell reputation for extravagant naughtiness. I was not disappointed.

  2. Was there any significance to the fact that all the fireworks I ciuld find were the sort that tend to disappoint?
    GAWAIN yet another clue I would put in a showreel of that’s how it’s done clues: credible surface, exemplary wordplay, the whole wrapped in the atmosphere of the required answer. The TLS keeps on delivering these things way beyond the standard of the Times.

Comments are closed.