TLS Crossword 1136 by – erm – let me think about it – ah yes, Talos – July 29, 2016

40 minutes for this one, a pleasant piece of work with the happy knack of making you believe you actually knew stuff by providing accessible wordplay to answers on the fringe of memory. The crossword was originally unattributed, “Talos” being sneaked in well after closing time. I did wonder, when Peter announced it a week later whether this might be a posthumous entry from Tantalus in a sort of reversed reference to the (now lapsed) rule that only deceased people’s names appear in the crossword. I continue my practice (where I have the info) of indicating whereabouts people are currently avoiding going on the cart.
I have a couple of queries on this one where either I’ve got the wrong end of the stick or the clue really is a bit rum. Enlightenment invited.   As ever   Clues Definitions SOLUTIONS
1 A Henry James novel that’s mere rubbish  (3,6)
THE MASTER  80% of Henry James novels start with The, so I wasn’t too surprised when The Master jumped out of the anagram fodder, THAT’S MERE, though I suppose it could have been The Stream. Or The Tamers. What was a surprise was that it’s not a work by HJ but about him, by one Colm Tóibín, currently lecturing at Columbia University
6 Bunch of plums reported by Morse and Lewis?  (5)
COPSE  Endeavour Morse and sidekick Lewis are Colin Dexter’s Oxford police creations, so they’re cops. Not a difficult soundalike, though I would have thought a “bunch” (?) of plums might be more an orchard, a copse being “a dense thicket of trees and bushes, especially one used for periodical cutting of twigs and branches” (Ch)
9 Called for Duke to go after Cesario  (5)
PAGED  In Twelfth Night, Viola adopts the guise of a page and adopts the name Cesario. D(uke) provides the final D, though it’s a nice touch that Viola’s purpose is to gain employ by Duke Orsino.
10 Men involved in following Pendel’s pursuit  (9)
TAILORING  Following TAILING, insert O(ther) R(anks) for “men”. Henry Pendel is Graham Greene’s Tailor of Panama
11 Price performing without Jack, a kid’s author  (7)
FARJEON   Price: FARE, performing: ON, insert J(ack). Eleanor Farjeon is a celebrated author of children’s literature (and much more). You may know her for “Morning Has Broken”, music by Rick Wakeman – now there’s a thing
12 One of the first Scots poets listening to Figaro?  (7)
BARBOUR  John, 14th century poet writing in Scots, and definitely therefore “one of the first”. Author of the Brus, as in Robert the. Figaro is the Barber of Seville, a close enough soundalike “listening to”
13 Churchman with line in any Oscar Wilde novel  (8,6)
CARDINAL WOLSEY  Played, I think, by Terry Scott in Carry on Henry and an anagram (novel) of ANY OSCAR WILDE plus L(ine)
17 Characters one may hear on a radio play  (5,3,6)
ROMEO AND JULIET  Shakespeare’s star cross’d lovers are so universally known that they turn up in the NATO (radio) alphabet. Idea for a gay version of the tragedy: Oscar and Victor.
21 Criminals getting staff to circulate cop’s ends  (7)
SPECTRE  Think James Bond. Clever wordplay: staff: SCEPTRE, swap the C and P as CoP’s ends.
23 Revolutionary artist capturing setter’s wild fancy  (7)
CHIMERA  CHE: ever the revolutionary, artist: R(oyal) A(cademician), setter’s: I’M. Assemble as instructed.
25 TS Eliot works on a Republican thinker  (9)
ARISTOTLE  You need A R(epublican) to complete the anagram (“works”) of T S ELIOT Artoilets doesn’t work as well
26 Children’s author to call back about second part of Crusade?  (5)
LAIRD  You only need the second letter, not the second half of crusade to fill in DIAL backwards. Neatly, Crusade is a book for children by Elizabeth Laird, who currently divides her time between London and Edinburgh
27 Desperate chap with note for underworld reporter?  (5)
DANTE  More kid’s stuff with Desperate DAN plus TE, a drink with jam and bread. I like the tongue in cheek definition for the author of the Inferno
28 “As jewels lose their glory if neglected / So princes lose their renown if not —” (Pericles, Prince of Tyre)  (9)
RESPECTED  An easy guess with a couple of crossers. The clue is a minor misquote, according to Kevin and confirmed with a blush by PB
1 Sort to confront one such as Miller or Franklin?  (8)
TYPEFACE  Not the Canterbury Tales, then. I was not aware of Miller as a font, but Franklin is all over MS Office.  Sort: type, confront: face.
2 Poor Tom Wolfe had at last turned around paper  (5)
EDGAR The wordplay takes the last letters of WolfE and haD and the reverse of RAG for paper. Edgar Gloucester’s legitimate son in King Lear whom circumstance forces to play the fool, Poor Tom.
3 Writer with licence to cover missing husband  (5,4)
ANDRE GIDE  One of those where even the “with” s needed to produce AND. REG is indicated by licence (plate) and IDE by cover: HIDE with the H(usband) missing.
4 Bottom lover I spank in Taiwan on and off  (7)
TITANIA   Nowhere near as naughty as it looks. I spank: I TAN, inserted into the odd lettrs of TaIwAn.
5 “There was an awful — once in heaven” (Keats)  (7)
RAINBOW  The checkers give it if your knowledge of Keats doesn’t. Here’s the relevant bit:
Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomèd mine—
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.
6 Short piece of work about current musical group  (5)
CHOIR  Work is not op, for once, but CHORE, here shortened and provided with an internal I for (electric) current.
7 Novelist and MP mixed up with Olivier  (5,4)
PRIMO LEVI, Auschwitz survivor and writer, a rather telegraphed anagram of MP and OLIVIER
8 Some bootleg Gershwin, a self-professed genius  (6)
EGGERS  Tom, US author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, hidden here in bootleg GERShwin. Currently living in San Franciso.
14 Sheridan plays about love of the old country  (9)
RHODESIAN  An anagram of SHERIDAN and O (love).  Just as well, because I could only remember The Rivals and The School for Scandal, and there’s not much you can do with those in this context.
15 He travelled by transport and field, I’m told  (6,3)
LAURIE LEE  A blushingly simple soundalike of lorry and lea, though I’m not convinced the surface makes a lot of sense, even though it’s an &lit.
16 Val’s collection gets Time’s dander up  (8)
STRANDED  Is a collection of short stories by Val McDermid, and an anagram (indicated by “up” I believe) of DANDER and two T(imes) McDermid lives in Stockport and Edinburgh
18 One helping a person like Chinaski?  (7)
ABETTER  Henry Chinaski is the alter ego of Charles Bukowski and protagonist in several of Bukovski’s novels. He’s enough of a gambler to turn up on Wiki’s list of fictional gamblers, though LinkedIn has a Charles Chinaski, professional gambler, if you’d prefer. By instinct, I’d have spelled abetter with an O, but the wordplay is unarguable. On edit: except, of course, when it isn’t
19 Pair not finishing game, Robert Browning’s last?  (7)
DUCHESS  My Last Duchess is a poem by Robert Browning, provided for us here by pair DUo with the end removed and game CHESS
20 One done in by two acts in party uprising (6)
OSWALD Back to Poor Tom and King Lear, 2 (down)  being our pointer, and Edgar being Oswald’s terminator.  Acts: LAWS in party: DO all reversed (“uprising”, this is a down clue)
22 This publication abridged cracking Bond book  (5)
TITLE This publication is , of course, the TLS, abridged for our purpose and inserted into Bond: TIE
24 Bit of editorial work written up by her?  (5)
ELIOT  George, (presumably, not TS. I looked in vain for a hidden reverse, but its bit of E(ditorial) and TOIL written up.

11 comments on “TLS Crossword 1136 by – erm – let me think about it – ah yes, Talos – July 29, 2016”

  1. I was feeling rather chuffed with this one, having finished in 33:53, and having got 10ac, 12ac, 8d, and, almost 18d without knowing diddly about Pendel, Barbour, etc. And only Googled 11ac (should have spent a few more moments thinking) and the Keats quote. But I typed in ABETTOR, don’t know why. If I may pick a nit–and why else are we put on this earth?–Poor Tom is a madman not a fool. Well, he’s an earl pretending to be a madman not etc.
    1. I noticed too late and with mild horror that “bettor” is a US version of “someone who bets”, so ABETTOR is not wrong unless we claimed to always indicate US spellings (which would be a fib). At least among the club forum solvers, the vast majority seem not to have known about this alternative.
      1. In which case I withdraw my comment about the wordplay being unarguable, especially with the example being American. But you’re right, I didn’t know you could spell the gambler with an O, just that you could spell the accomplice either way.
  2. Epic fail for me. I’m not going to list all the ones I didn’t get. We’d be here all day.

    I failed to identify the definitions in quite a few clues, including the 2 relating to King Lear, one of the few Spokeshave plays I know well.

    Enjoyed the ‘underworld reporter’. Thanks, z8 and Talos.

  3. Thanks Talos and z8b8d8k. This was just the ticket for a non-literary person like myself with an eye for biffing, though a lengthy Googling session was then required to actually understand all the references. Failed on FARJEON, plumping for FERMEON instead.

    Small correctionette – “The Tailor of Panama” was by le Carre (though inspired by Greene) and the character was Harry Pendel.

      1. I don’t have access to the book but IMDB has him as a Harold rather than a Henry. However I’m happy to believe that there was some confusion regarding his birth certificate, just like another complex character in modern culture – Michael/Nichael Bluth in “Arrested Development”.
  4. So far I’m finding Talos the most accessible of these setters, although when I did this one the puzzle was still unattributed. The better/bettor thing sailed right past me. I suppose I remembered that someone dubbed Henry James the “master”, but I didn’t pause to parse. I think Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward were also sometimes so-called. Thanks for the blog Z.
    1. Colm Tóibín’s opus The Master looks like one of those fact as fiction novels (Schindler’s Ark?) seeking to get to the heart of the man. Clearly the Observer’s critic of Tóibín’s work was no fan of James:
      “Those long sentences were tracts of prose in which James could play, sing and spout like a frock-coated whale, or else disappear inside a cloud of his own secreted ink like a giant squid of New England gentility. We shall not read their like again, with any luck.” Probably not the origin of the “Master” epithet, then.

      Edited at 2016-08-19 11:07 am (UTC)

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