TLS Crossword 1120 by Talos – April 8, 2016

After the two puzzles immediately preceding this, which were extremely tricky, I should have been on Easy Street here – so of course I made a mistake.  Memo to self:  do not try to do these crosswords when you have to leave for the weekend within the hour. Well that’s my story anyway.  My mistake was not, as I originally thought, the unfamiliar author in 9a (which I’d failed to parse at the time of submission), but a careless misspelling of 3d.  Not a typo, just sloppiness.  Once over the sulks, I found this very neatly constructed and an excellent medley of the knowns and the unknowns.  I’ll resist the temptation to quote that other Donald – Rumsfeld.  Where appropriate, definitions are in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.  42.32

1.  Mystery writer of 19th Century dictionary (7)
COLLINS.  As in Wilkie, the 19th Century author.  Best known for the Moonstone and the Woman in White.  Close friend of Dickens.  Also as in dictionaries – in particular the Gem Crossword Solver, without which I would not be doing this.  Double definition.
5. Play mother with cold and hot drinks option (7)
MACBETH.  MA=MOTHER.  C and H contains (drinks) BET=option.  Giving us the Scottish play.
9.  Way to befriend Afghan war author? (3,6)
PAT BARKER.  When you want to be friends with an Afghan dog (barker) you pat it.  Excellent completely misleading clue.  British writer whose works on the subject of war trauma (Regeneration Trilogy) I did not know at all but should have.
10.  Publish Pinter plays with no end of menace (5)
PRINT.   Anagram of PINTER, dropping the E (no end of [menac]E.
11.  Goethe play not opening gutted Estonian novelist (6)
AUSTEN.  As in Jane.  [F]AUST with E[stonia]N, after removing the guts.
12.  “Be scared, you – – that.  But don’t be afraid” (Faulkner) (4,4)
CAN’T HELP.  From The Bear by William Faulkner.
14.  Writer‘s lodge around cabin in New England (5,5)
NEVIL SHUTE.  Lodge=LIVE reversed (around) with S.  HUT=cabin.  All contained in NE=New England.  I saw the hut and didn’t unpack the rest of it until now and I don’t suppose I’m alone because it was a bit convoluted.
16.  Briefly study purveyor of nonsense (4)
LEAR.  As in Edward of the limericks etc.  LEAR[N]=study.  He was also a really good landscape artist.
18.  Club knocking vitality out of Elinor or Marianne? (4)
WOOD.  The golf kind of club.  Remove the “dash”=vitality from Elinor and Marianne Dashwood of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.
19.  Father with revolutionary post in Urquhart’s workplace (10)
PARLIAMENT.  PARENT=father, containing MAIL=post reversed (revolutionary).  Francis Urquhart, embodied by Ian Richardson, was the wicked PM in BBC tv’s House of Cards in the 1990s.  You couldn’t possibility comment.
22.  A criminal pair, one case to suit Holmes? (8)
APIARIST.  Anagram of PAIR, 1=one and S[ui]T, (outside letters=case).  In the story collection His Last Bow Conan Doyle brings Sherlock back from his retirement hobby of bee-keeping in Sussex.  But you knew that.
23.  Amis makes first of terribly good notes here? (6)
MARGIN.  For Martin read margin (where the notes might be), replacing the first of T[erribly] with G[ood]. 
26. I wasn’t totally fed up with son-stealing idiot (5)
TWIST.  As in Oliver, the Dickens boy who asked for more (not totally fed).  TWIT=idiot, containing (stealing) S[on].
27.  Ian’s novel way of making up for mistakes (9)
ATONEMENT.  The 2001 novel by Ian McEwan.  Double def.
28.  Barrel about with maybe Holly or Hazel? (3,4)
NUT TREE.  TUN=barrel, reversed (about).  Hazel=NUT.  TREE, as in a holly.
29.  “The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the – , or it is not” (Elizabeth Gilbert) (7)
STERNUM.  From Eat, Pray, Love.  I know of it but haven’t read it.

1. Haddock for one likely eaten by noir writer (7)
CAPTAIN.  A character from the Adventures of Tintin by the Belgian writer Herge (Georges Prosper Remi).  I remembered him from my little brother’s collection of comic books and annuals (or was it his tv watching?).  Ignore the stuff in brackets – see PB’s comment below.  I’d completely missed the point. [ I had no idea where the “noir” came in but on Googling I found that Tintin au Pays de L’Or Noir is the title of one of the volumes, so I think that must be the reference.]
2.  Plant books found in boozer, not hospital (5)
LOTUS.  OT=books in LUS[h]=boozer dropping the H.
3.  When one goes up to call a novice of Saint Clare (8)
ISABELLA.  This was the one I got wrong by putting an E on the end, having skimped on the parsing.  She is a character from Measure for Measure, a play I’m only vaguely familiar with, and is a pious votary of St. Clare.  ISA= AS I reversed (up).  BELL=call.  Then A.
4. Burma-born satirist mockingly ironic on radio (4)
SAKI.  Pen name of H.H. Munro, author of short stories, often with a slightly macabre sadistic twist.  Homophone for “sarky” or sarcastic – appropriate here.
5.  Found recent mail relating to Antonio’s work? (10)
MERCANTILE.  Anagram of “recent mail”.  I don’t immediately recall having seen “found” as an anagram indicator but it wasn’t obscure.  Antonio is Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, hence the description of his work.
6. Persons known for seminal true crime book (6)
CAPOTE.  Truman, aka Truman Streckfus Persons, his birth name.  The book is In Cold Blood, an account of the murders of the entire Clutter family in Kansas in 1959 by Richard Hickock and Perry Smith who were later executed.  Brilliant gruesome book I read just once.  I understand the movie is good too but not for me.
7.  Lie about with European Verne novel (in Dutch) (5,4)
ELINE VERE.  Anagram of LIE, E (European) and VERNE.  By Louis Couperus.  Must admit I’d never heard of it but the anagram wasn’t too hard to tease out, followed by a visit to Google.
8.  Incentive to support fiery rebel (7)
HOTSPUR.  HOT=fiery.  Supported by SPUR=incentive.  Henry (Harry) Earl of Northumberland.  Character in Henry IV Part I but also known to history.  He sided with Bolingbroke (Henry IV) in deposing Richard II, hence a rebel.
13.  What Mr. Peggotty might try and get for Scrooge? (10)
CHEAPSKATE.  Another Dickens of a clue. Daniel Peggotty, the brother of David Copperfield’s nanny, is a Yarmouth fisherman.  Scrooge being the eponymous miser from A Christmas Carol.
15.  It left vision blurred in one such as Holmes (9)
VIOLINIST.  Anagram of IT L[eft] VISION.  And another Conan Doyle clue.  Sherlock scrapes away at his Stradivarius to relieve boredom between cases.
17. Nationality of Jane swinging with apes? (8)
JAPANESE.  Anagram of JANE and APES.  Neat one.
18.  No time to pardon right-on novelist (7)
WHARTON.  Edith, of The Age of Innocence, House of Mirth etc.  Some pretty good ghost stories too.  WHA[t]=pardon, dropping the T.  Then RT and ON.
20.  Can heartless fantasist upset sickly lad? (4,3)
TINY TIM. God bless us, more from A Christmas Carol.  TIN=can.  MIT[t]Y upside down (upset),  Walter Mitty, James Thurber’s daydreamer – ta pocketa pocketa (the sound of hitting the keys at Mark Goodliffe speed, in my dreams).
21.  Pen and the person using it, perhaps (6)
WRITER.  Exactly.  Double def.
24.  Lime and the man who created him say (5)
GREEN.  Lime green being the colour and also the homophone of Graham Greene.  In this case the movie (The Third Man) for which he wrote the screenplay, came before the book, and the character Harry Lime was played by Orson Welles.
25.  Trouble having love for university poet and librarian (4)
FOSS.  Take FUSS=trouble and substitute O=love for U and you get Sam Walter Foss, New England poet.

7 comments on “TLS Crossword 1120 by Talos – April 8, 2016”

  1. Pretty straightforward, notwithstanding the Scandinavian book. I considered CAPOTE at 6d, but went for ‘capita’ because of the plural. Should it be ‘person’, or am I missing something?
  2. 1D: “Noir writer” is James M CAIN, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. He’s containing APT = likely.

    ulaca: Persons it is, as you can’t say very often – Olivia explains it as well as I can.

    1. Thanks Peter – blog fixed. I won’t be back online until Sunday afternoon but will check in then just in case.
      1. Don’t worry about more from me – for all the others, it was as if you had our solution and explanations page in front of you.
  3. Another good one this, in which I actually knew most of the references, helped out by some generous wordplay.
    I slowed progress because I thought I knew the obvious reference in 18ac’s Marianne, who is to the French what Britannia is to the Brits and is therefore an ICON. All I was missing was an Elinor whose vitality could be replace by a C(lub), so I*ON. I assumed Ivimon or Igoon, or at a pinch Izipon, but it was not to be.
    Thanks for CAPOTE – I skimmed over Persons and assumed it was a barely cryptic clue, – cleverer than I thought.
    CHEAPSKATE was great fun, and MARGIN particularly clever.
    ATONEMENT made a second appearance after only two weeks, perhaps with a rather easier clue.
    This is fun, isn’t it?

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