TLS Crossword 1148 by Talos – October 28, 2016. Up to the elbow.

One of the better things to have happened this year is that the quality of cluing in the TLS has risen to considerable heights. It’s not just that they bear comparison with the Times, but that the Times itself should look to its laurels. 7d is a case in point: this is how you do an &lit, with everything conspiring to provide the answer, a literal with a strong resonance that sets the scene, and wordplay that puts no strain on the literal, but still works perfectly. There is a scene of Wilde debauchery that turns out to be nothing of the sort. The literary content in this one is high, but for the most part, you can have a stab at the answer because the wordplay works, and to be able to enter with some sort of confidence you don’t necessarily have to chase down the references. That’s what your commentary team is for. Trust us.
Mind you, the two tetragrams in the bottom left led me a merry dance, one a Chasse aux Oies Sauvages, the other simply a Chasse Longue into the deep undergrowth.
Here, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS, is the result of my delving, with some extra frills and furbelows for your entertainment


1 Queen visiting revamped Antigone production  (10)
GENERATION  “Revamp” ANTIGONE and find a place therein for ‘ER in Windsor.
6 Quiet English male, one of three bros in a boat  (4)
SHEM  Quiet SH, E(nglish) M(ale) for the  middle son of Noah, from whom the Semitic peoples derive.
9 Note calm coming over keen Leeds biographer (5,5)
DAVID PEACE  The wordplay is easy enough: Note: D, calm: PEACE surrounding AVID: keen. The “biography” in question is “The Damned United”, an account of Brian Clough’s brief reign at Leeds United, renowned for being, as it turned out, somewhat fanciful.
10 Press taking a different view of noir (4)
IRON   Not exactly difficult, just a different way of seeing NOIR.
12 Obscure book university found in empty locker  (4)
BLUR  Book  provides the B, University the U, and “empty” L(ocke)R the rest.
13 One after Atwood’s debut browsing around a city  (9)
SURFACING Margaret Attwood’ second novel was Surfacing, browsing being SURFING, here set about A C(ity). C is short for City somewhere in a dictionary of abbreviations, probably, and certainly in CBSO, the Brummie band that Simon Rattle made famous, and vice versa.
15 Bruno’s nurse patches up laddie in hospital department  (8)
ADELAIDE  From a novel by Iris Murdoch called Bruno’s Dream. An  anagram of LADDIE in Accident & Emergency, the frontline hospital department, seen here with a dislocated &.
16 Theatre part that Montana Wildhack might pinch?  (6)
BOTTOM  Though there are many, many theatre parts to chose from, this, with its association with pinch, was the one to settle on. Montana Wildhack is the partner chosen for Billy Pilgrim by the Tralfamadorians in Slaughterhouse Five. I have no idea why she might be noted for pinching other people’s bottoms, or even if that’s what the clues is driving at. I am way too much of a gentleman to suggest other people might be interested in pinching hers
18 Some maidens ignoring one such as Iago  (6)
ENSIGN  Iago’s rank in Othello, hidden inside maidENS IGNoring.
20 Suffragist novelist, one concerned with plot  (8)
GARDENER Helen H, I think, who was both those things and many others besides. And then we have an allotment enthusiast.
23 Awful crimes, like unfinished rhymes (9)
Our talented TLS Setter
Of this “LIMERICKS” clue’s the begetter
With “CRIMES” you must blend
The word LIKe without end
Well you think of anything better.
24 Bayley’s elegy was for her, but not all from Dublin?  (4)
IRIS  John Bayley was married to Iris Murdoch, and his Elegy for Iris covers, among other things, her descent into Alzheimer’s. If you’re not all from Dublin, you’re IRISh
26 He might have rhymed November with cold embers  (4)
NASH  I searched in vain for a poem by Ogden Nash about November. Don’t bother, it’s just November maximally reduced to N, plus ASH, cold embers. Just for fun, though, be it known that on November 13th the Day’s World website republished Nash’s “Cow”
  The cow is of the bovine ilk;
  One end is moo, the other, milk.
27 Stress with gang aboard the Hogwarts Express?  (5,5)
STEAM TRAIN  TEAM for gang, “boards” STRAIN for stress. The Hogwarts Express consists of GWR Olten Hall painted red and pretending to be a Castle, and a rake of 4 or 5 BR Mk 1 coaches.
28 Look for a possible bride for Tom Jones (4)
HUNT  An otherwise unmentioned Mrs Arabella Hunt propositions Tom towards the end of the novel. He declines, which is unusual, especially with £40,000 involved in the deal. There are 346,747 words in Tom Jones. The entire Mrs Hunt episode takes up 0.26% of them. Blink and you miss it.
29 Fill frieze with new design for film director  (10)
ZEFFIRELLI  A neat and pretty natural anagram of FILL FRIEZE.


1 “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ ” (King Lear) (4)
GODS  Know it, look it up, or guess it.
2 New backing electrified the French Shakespeare, some say  (7)
NEVILLE  Sir Henry Neville was proposed in 2005 as a candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, which, as any fule kno, were written by Shakespeare. N(ew)+ LIVE reversed + LE for the in French.
3 She was his equestrian witch, a flipping pain  (5,7)
RIDER HAGGARD  Put the break in the right place: She was his (novel). The rest is wordplay, an equestrian witch being a RIDER HAG, and a pain is a DRAG which needs to be flipped.
4 Edits see changes in setting of Milward’s Apples  (8)
TEESSIDE  into which EDITS SEE changes. Richard Millward is the author of Apples, a novel drawn from his experience of growing up in Middlesbrough. He is alive and well and lives in Holloway.
5 In drunken reflection, might Wilde see these sculpted men?  (6)
OSCARS  The premise is that if Oscar Wilde when drunk confronted himself in a mirror, he might see two of him.
7 One with hand up in champion ruminant’s bottom?  (7)
HERRIOT  James, of course, with the literal of the clue reflecting possibly the best remembered (and unfaked) scene in the television adaptation of his All Creatures Great and Small. It’s a rather splendid &lit: turn I (one ) and R(ight hand) up within HERO (champion) and add the bottom letter (this is a down clue) of ruminanT
8 One related to Emily and Anne as well as Burns?  (10)
MONTGOMERY  Ah, that Burns. Excellent And Anne and Emily not so much related to as by Maud Lucy Montgomery, as in of Green Gables and of New Moon respectively. Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklgruber Burns is incredibly alive and well and living in Springfield, OR.
11 Birthday party planner or thin pedlar in play  (6,6)
HAROLD PINTER, a play on the letters of OR THIN PEDLAR. And of course the author of ………………..The……………..………Birthday………………..Party.
14 A novel meal that requires no dressing?  (5,5)
NAKED LUNCH  The of which was written by William S Burroughs. Double definition, one mildly whimsical.
17 Portly blowhard reporting seasonal workers in Texas? (8)
FALSTAFF  The season required is Autumn, which in  Texas (and anywhere else in the US, breaking the natural sequence of 6 letter seasons) is Fall. So Fall staff sounds a lot like Shakespeare’s hearer of midnight chimes.
19 Strongman taking on piano tutor of Guy Mannering  (7)
SAMPSON  Dominie Sampson is a tutor encountered in Scott’s Guy Mannering, acquired for our purpose by adding a P(iano)  to the hirsute strongman found in the book of Judges.
21 Booker-winner McEwan brought up with Theroux?  (7)
NAIPAUL  V.S., constructed here from IAN McEwan “brought up” and PAUL Theroux. V.s. Naipaul is alive and on Facebook
22 “This I do vow and this shall ever be / I will be true, despite thy and thee” (Shakespeare)  (6)
SCYTHE  see comment on 1 down. Sonnet 123, addressed to Time.
25 One opposing taking 50% off a Huxley novel (4)
ANTI  The Aldous Huxley novel you need is Antic Hay, just the first half.

8 comments on “TLS Crossword 1148 by Talos – October 28, 2016. Up to the elbow.”

  1. I’m trying to remember to do the TLS more so that I can comment on m’colleagues’ excellent blogs, and I certainly did this one, hurrah! Nice to see VS Naipaul whose Miguel Street I did for… GCSE was it? So long ago! Also Oscar Wilde is a surefire way to my heart, though I’d forgotten that seeing single was even a possibility, given my own predilection for intoxication. And then sadly 7dn did for me in the end, sadly – I guess I couldn’t see how H_R_I_T could be anything other than HARPIST or something and had to “resort to aids”. Should’ve trusted in our brilliant setter and kept trawling the alphabet until the penny dropped. Great job yet again Talos and thanks Z!
  2. I veritably sped through this but slipped up with a careless Zefferelli. And I’ll agree with all the praise for this and the current crop of TLS puzzles.

    I always want to question ‘C’ for city but you’ve sold me, Z8, with your CBSO example. I knew the orchestra well in the Rattle days from tending bar at their spiritual home; I never questioned the abbreviation then so there’s no reason I should question it now. Longstanding objection withdrawn.

    The HERRIOT clue is an absolute hoot. When the likes of Tom Cruise say “I do all my own stunts”, Christopher Timothy et all can rightly say “Pah!”

    Thanks for another entertaining blog, Z8. Your work on 28a HUNT is a perfect example of what you say about bloggers doing the research so the rest of us don’t have to.

    Edited at 2016-11-18 08:36 am (UTC)

    1. The dictionary word (ODE) on C = City is ” in names of sports clubs”. ODE also has T = Town and U = United for the same reason.

      Thanks to all for the kind words. I feel a pint debt building up.

      1. We might just take you up on that! In the meantime, could you satisfy my curiosity on the presence of the delectable Montana Wildhack with respect to bottom pinching? Is her name perhaps a euphemism for the President-Elect?
        1. I was happy that as “Montana appears to be a complete fantasy for Billy, a totally understanding and attractive woman who is totally okay with a no-strings-attached kind of relationship” (quoting a “college essay help” site), she might well have pinched some bottoms, but I didn’t have time for more detailed research.
  3. Nice Lear touch there Z! Not being on blog duty I skipped some of the parsing (HUNT and STEAM TRAIN). But I actually had to do the work to get DAVID PEACE – football not being my thing, either side of the Atlantic. I did finally remember that Talos, when wearing his other hat as Sunday cryptic setter, had a football tour de force some months ago in that setting – it did for me I seem to recall.

    I missed that Herriot scene but I heard about it big time from my mother-in-law who was a big fan! Yes great clue. I had a slightly different (incorrect) mental picture of Oscar, in a drunken fantasy, dreaming of Chippendales types.

    These puzzles are great aren’t they!

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