TLS 1166 by Myrtilus

Myrtilus stopped by the forum to apologise for delaying some solvers rather longer than intended with this one. Apology unnecessary, of course. If it didn’t hurt, what would be the point? Which sounds a bit like something the big sister of 26a would say.

As it happens, I didn’t spend too long on this because I ground to a shuddering halt with nearly half done, knew I was stuck and resorted to aids to get myself going again.

I needed to hit the books a second time to finish the puzzle off with the two 13s. I would never have got these without help. Much of the rest was very doable, though, and with the sort of eclectic mixture of references I enjoy most in a TLS puzzle.

I have an error, according to the Club site, but I still haven’t sorted it out. Everything appears to parse, so either it’s a typo I just can’t see or I’ve got completely the wrong end of the stick on something. I’m sure you’ll let me know!***

*** thanks to the sharp eyes of JerryW for spotting that in the grid seen below I had typed DORCAS as ‘DORCUS’. I’ll leave the slip for posterity.

Anyway … the game is seven card stud:

1 LA(WREN)CE for the first part of the top-line pun, completed by:
6 (b)OLIVIA, reference is Twelfth Night
9 DORCAS was raised from the dead by St Peter (Acts), and Dorcas Lane is the post mistress in the Candleford books of Flora Thompson
10 TRINCULO — (IN COURT)* circling L, for the jester in The Tempest
12 ARCHER — I’ve a feeling the former MP for Louth would rather like the “ex-con” epithet
13 DEL,TA — research needed on my part to discover that delta, usually as Δ, typically denotes a value of incrementation or change. Steady on, Myrtilus — how’s an arts grad s’posed to know that?
14 DEATH,T,RAP — never heard of it, but Ira Levin’s 1978 play seems to be very much an American Mousetrap, holding the record as the “longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway”, though I’m not sure how many comedy-thrillers make it to Broadway
23 DAUGHTER is a reversed RED around AUGHT
24 LADY ANNA — canny stuff. It’s LAD (Fellow) preceding a reversal of ‘ANNAY, that ‘ero being Richard Hannay. Mr Standfast is the 3rd of Buchan’s Hannay novels. Trollope wrote Lady Anna to pass the time while en route to Australia
26 STELLA, Blanche’s kid sister in Streetcar, here a soundalike of ‘stellar’
27 EARN (get) + SHAW (:sure), this being Catherine of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is referred to as a gypsy a few times in the book

2 A(POST)LE — I love this definition
4 NESBI,T — Ibsen going up, then ‘there’ without the ‘here’ giving T. Sweet
5 ENTENTE CORDIALE is an anagram of “reacted to nine” followed by the French article LE
6 OXIDANTS — I(one)+DANTE‘S with E(ecstasy) removed and an OX(neat) going before
7 V,OUCH,ER(Her Maj)
13 DECAPOLIS — my other known unknown, this being the “ten cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in the southeastern Levant”. Parsed as SPACED reversed around (OIL)*
15 THE(CHI)MES — A Dickens short story set at new year
20 THE FLEA — super cryptic def. for John Donne’s unforgettable poem (lines) occasioned by a double flea-bite, the hopper being the flea
21 DUN,BAR — Paul Laurence Dunbar was the lyricist of the epochal musical In Dahomey

15 comments on “TLS 1166 by Myrtilus”

  1. Aha! That would be it. And a fairly typical slip for yours truly. Thank you, Jerry.
  2. Hi Sarah. . I’m away from home at present. . Your blog answers look fine but I moulded that in the grid you have Dorcus not Dorcas .. Maybe your error?
    Found this hard but enjoyed it and got there in the end
    JerryW Not signed in
  3. This was the one I just couldn’t see – until I did some hours later when it “rang a Bell” (geddit?). Lawrence Olivier was a memorable Heathcliff in the movie but the book is a bit too feverish for me. I was thinking that Olivier was also in Death Trap (with Michael Caine) but that was Sleuth which was rather similar. We still cherish my late mother-in-law’s malapropisms. She called the late President of France Giscard D’Estaing “discard’ or “disdain”. And Lord Olivier was Laurence of Olivia.

    Thanks for the parse on DELTA Sotira – it was also beyond this law graduate. My time was over 2 hours but that included breakfast, a bath and a shampoo while thinking over 27A. Excellent puzzle. P.S. There was some grumbling on the Club forum about the Shaw/sure homophone but it works in English English for me.

    Edited at 2017-03-31 10:00 am (UTC)

    1. You must be proud to feature as 6ac Olivia, and as part of a nifty pun to boot.
      As an engineering graduate I had no trouble at all with 13ac, only with most of the other clues .. including ms Earnshaw. I make it a point never to complain about homophones, but that one was a bit of a stretch and not at all how I would pronounce “sure.” Nor is it RP I would think. Sloane, rather.
      But overall a very fine puzzle
  4. Despite knowing that the the top line was going to be an excruciating pun, it took me way too long to get Olivia, and Earnshaw was no giveaway either. If I had succumbed, and looked up In Dahomey earlier, instead of messing about with IVR’s it might have helped.
    This was top quality deceptive cluing, which occupied me for an hour and a half. Darling Larry was the cream that topped the whole thing off, made me laugh out loud and leavened the struggle. Worth the time.
  5. I assumed it was a rather fetching dialect word from somewhere or other. What a shame — I was planning to use it!
    1. I collect that you are under a misapprehension .. but don’t let that stop you, we may yet be launching a new colloquialism on its way!
  6. I agree that there were some real posers in here, but I didn’t find this *too* tricky, by and large? DORCAS my last one in when the penny finally dropped that there must be a character with the surname Lane, but I did have to look her up. Sad that 16dn wasn’t STILETTO.
  7. Hello all. Sorry for such a late post. I’ve been lurking on this blog for a while and decided to join in. Mainly just to say thanks to all the bloggers and posters whose comments have meant my solving has come on in leaps and bounds. The blog also persuaded me to start trying the TLS. I had previously thought it was neither fish nor fowl (i.e. too much literary GK required for me to tackle) but although there are significant gaps in my literary knowledge, thus far I have found that if I screw up my mind brain as intently as I am able the wordplay in a Myrtilus or a Talos puzzle allows me to derive the answer almost entirely from wordplay alone. Praxiteles and Broteas on the other hand I have yet to complete without aids.

    In this puzzle the only unknown, which I had to look up, was Dorcas. Trinculo dredged up from Christopher Biggins in a Derek Jarman adaptation (I think).

    The paper edition shows that I won the prize for crossword 1162, it was my first ever entry and I was absolutely delighted!

    1. Hi, sb, and welcome

      How nice to win a prize at the first attempt! Clearly it was meant to be. And please do contribute regularly on the TLS blogs … as you know, we’re an ‘exclusive’ group. It would be nice to get a few more regulars involved.

      You’re not alone in being less than confident about your literary GK. I suspect it’s the norm, in truth.

      1. Many thanks for the reply Sotira, I will try and make a habit of contributing to the TLS blogs. The had work of the bloggers is very much appreciated.
  8. Hi Sb. Fantastic to hear from a winner. I am in awe of all the solvers who manage these crosswords without aids – and some in incredible times. I, for one, couldn’t set them without a generous helping of google.
    1. Hello Myrtilus, fantastic to hear from a setter. I have very much enjoyed your puzzles especially the recent top line puns. Fortunately they are so well crafted that even great lacunae in my GK such as Victorian Novels has not proved insurmountable when solving. As above the bloggers and commenters on this site are very much appreciated. I neglected to say that the setters are of course also hugely appreciated for the hours of solving pleasure (occasional torture) they provide the humble solver with.

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