TLS Crossword 1150 by Myrtilus – November 11, 2016

This didn’t actually take me the 4 days recorded on the Club timer – more like about 50 minutes.  No sooner had I printed out the puzzle that Friday than all internet and cable tv service from one of the 2 local providers went phut and stayed that way until midday Tuesday.  And so large tracts of one of the most expensive wodges of real estate on the planet (the UES of Manhattan) were disconnected.  We thought that one of the subway workers working round the clock to get the new local subway line running by Christmas must have drilled through something vital, and we weren’t far wrong except that it was the phone company fooling about with some new equipment.  The incandescently furious tech guy who finally turned up at our door threw company loyalty out the window and gave us the whole story – and it was reminiscent of that old Flanders & Swann song, T’was On A Monday Morning, writ large.  Well at least it wasn’t a whole week.

The puzzle, on the other hand, was very good news.  Thanks to Myrtilus this was delightfully solvable without recourse to Google etc (except for blogging purposes).  And that was without the help of any quotations this time

Definitions (where appropriate) in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.

1.  A Dutch artist‘s soft copy left lying around (5)
APPEL.  Karel.  20th Century avant garde all-rounder.  APE=copy, surrounding P=soft, followed by L[eft].
4.  Hoyt Thorpe left her cold tart and drink unfinished (9)
CHARLOTTE.  From the 2004 novel Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, Sexual assault and college sports on an American campus.  Simmons is taken advantage of and then betrayed by Hoyt, who gets his own come-uppance.  Topical but not particularly enjoyable.  C[old].  HARLOT=tart. TE[a]=drink unfinished.
9. McDermid’s PI girl interrupts robber knocking off diamonds (9)
BRANNIGAN.  Kate Brannigan is the PI in the 1990s series of novels by Scottish author Val McDermid.  ANN=girl contained in (interrupting) BRIGAN[d]=robber, removing D as in diamonds.
10.  Small fish one caught in part of Eccles… (5)
SPIKE.  S with PIKE=fish.  It took a while, after toying with some sort of reference to an abbreviated Ecclesiastes, before light dawned.  I was never much of a Goons fan but did finally dredge up a boarding school memory of a dorm-mate who listened to them every evening as we got ready for bed.  Spike Milligan played Eccles as a preternaturally dense teenager in the radio show.  I wondered idly if there was any significance to the pairings (as food writers would say) of APPEL CHARLOTTE and SPIKE BRANNIGAN.
11.  … ugly dwarf fish (5)
TROLL.  To troll is to fish, and as a noun, an ugly dwarf (although in folklore some of them can also be quite large).  And an apt description of some of the lurking low-lifes we meet on the internet.
12.  Borstal’s a terrible burden (9)
ALBATROSS.  Anagram (terrible) of Borstal’s.  Metaphor taken from Coleridge’s poem The Ancient Mariner.
13.  A deliverer of tea for two, granny consumed noisily (7)
NANETTE.  NAN=granny.  ETTE=homophone (noisily) for ate=consumed.  Not everyone’s homophone – some say “eight” – but it works for me.  From the 1920s musical No No Nanette. Tea For Two and I Want To Be Happy are the 2 songs most of us know even if we don’t know the show.
15. A female Nobel winner‘s approval initial withheld (7)
LESSING.  Remove the B from [b]LESSING=approval and you have Doris, winner of the 2007 prize for literature.
18.  Tenor to suit music say, or drama (3,4)
THE ARTS.  T=tenor.  HEARTS=suit.
20.  The foremost of several writers presented to Queen Bess (7)
SPENSER.  First letter (foremost) in S[everal] with PENS=writers and ER=queen.  If I’m not mistaken this is another example of a deft AndLit clue to be found in these puzzles.  Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, where ERI appears as Gloriana, is an “homage” (just working in that piece of US pretentiousness which is on a par with pronouncing “herb” ERB – oh dear, yes some will do it)  presented to her.
21.  Cad taking in smart, decadent poet (9)
SWINBURNE.   SWINE=cad taking in BURN=smart.  Algernon.  Late 19th Century poet writing of then taboo subjects.
23.  “Anon” regularly hides this writer’s an actor as well as an author (5)
NIVEN.  The two Ns in ANON (regularly) contain (hide) IVE=this writer’s.  Suave, debonair, mustachioed British movie actor David (from Around The World In Eighty Days, The Pink Panther etc).  He also wrote (apparently entirely without the help of a ghost) two entertaining autobiographies – The Moon’s A Balloon and Bring On The Empty Horses.
25.  Holy statue of two characters (5)
PIETA.  PI and ETA=characters.
26.  Dickens’s milliner laminating trimmed synthetic (9)
MANTALINI.  Anagram (synthetic) of LAMINATIN[g] (trimmed).  Feckless and foppish husband of Kate’s employer in Nicholas Nickleby.
27. Man-of-war crushed reeds round a war zone (9)
DESTROYER.  Anagram (crushed) of REEDS surrounding TROY=war zone.
28.  Rows of footwear (5)
SPATS. Double definition.  They’re not really footwear, more lower-leg wear.  I think they and gaiters may be one and the same and were worn in the C of E long after they were passe everywhere else.

1.  A bachelor in a book, not just a friend to Hannay (9)
ARBUTHNOT.  B=batchelor contained in A RUTH=book NOT.  Sandy Arbuthnot is a friend of Richard Hannay, the protagonist in several of John Buchan’s novels, but doesn’t appear in the best known one – The 39 Steps.
2. He wrote laws re: deserting soldiers (5)
PLATO. I really don’t want to say how long it took me to get this, post submit.  If ON=re deserts a PLATO[on]=soldiers, that’s who turns up.  The laws are the last of Plato’s dialogues.
3.  Bond, in a bit he wrote on Orkney (9)
LINKLATER.  LINK=bond.  LATER=in a bit.  Eric, 20th Century Scottish author.
4. Allied officer shortly to fly east (7)
COGNATE.  CO=officer shortly.  GNAT=fly. E[ast].
5.  Winter’s Tale uses a new name:  The Third Man (7)
ANNABEL.  Is the title of a 2010 novel by Canadian author Kathleen Winter about a hermaphrodite.
6.  Lean, outspoken “Ossa arida” writer (5)
LISZT.  Homophone (outspoken) of “list”, as in lean.  “Dry bones” is a sacred choral work by the composer Franz. 
7.  Hears about fire god in book groups (9)
TRILOGIES.  TRIES=hears containing (about) LOGI=fire god in Norse mythology.
8.  Girl upset by, say, dad favouring Demetrius (5)
EGEUS.  After EG=say, reverse (upset) SUE=girl.  In Midsummer Night’s Dream he’s the father of Hermia and favours Demetrius over his daughter’s lover Lysander.  Hermia’s friend Helena, on the other hand, loves Demetrius.  The plot thickens.
14.  Poverty and ill-health requiring change of direction at the top (9)
NEEDINESS.  Take the S[outh] from [s]eediness and replace with N[orth].
16. Instruments to get a German wife into corsets (9)
STEINWAYS.  EIN=a in german.  W[ife].  Contained in STAYS=corsets.  Steinway Hall, the magnificent beaux arts showroom, used to be on West 57th Street not far from Carnegie Hall, but moved last year sadly.
17.  A dreamer‘s urge to sin, redressed (9)
GERONTIUS.  Anagram (redressed) of URGE TO SIN.  1900 choral work by Edward Elgar based on a poem by John Henry Newman, the controversial 19th Century theologian.
19.  Maybe I got drunk with Rosie; I’m unclear (7)
SCRUMPY.  The reference is to Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie.  It’s a kind of rough local cider that’s cloudy rather than clear, and in France at any rate (I’m not sure about Gloucestershire), is a lot more powerful than the usual brew.  Scrummy.
20.  A comic novelist, at last rather more serious (7)
STERNER.  Laurence (author of Tristram Shandy) STERNE with the last R in rather.
21.  Heidi passed around sandwiches: tasty! (5)
SAPID.  [Hei]DI PAS[sed] contains (sandwiches) it backwards (around).
22. Orwell book in which animal lies (5)
BLAIR.  Eric Arthur was the pen name of George Orwell.  B=book.  LAIR=where animal lies.  Easy but very neat.
24.  A fake eunuch rearranges a couple of bits and there it is!
VOILA.  If you switch the first two vowels in Viola in Twelfth Night, there it is.  In Act 1 Viola pays the sea captain to disguise her and “present me as an eunuch” to Orsino.

3 comments on “TLS Crossword 1150 by Myrtilus – November 11, 2016”

  1. 53.24, and a fine example of a TLS you can pretty much complete without knowing a vast swathe of the Arts, with generous wordplay that obliges you to Google only for confirmation and enlightenment. Though I don’t think I got the workings of PLATO, so thanks for driving down the long and winding road that led to that.
    SPENSER is indeed one of the Myrtilus’ (and the TLS’) specials, a beautifully smooth and evocative &lit. I equally liked GERONTIUS, where the wordplay is a succinct precis of the plot. I sang it recently, and I still don’t like the ending, where the poor old man, doing everything right as he dies, supported by friends, priests, angels, saints and virtually the whole company of heaven, gets to have one glimpse of God and realises he won’t get another until he’s spent centuries in purgatory. And he doesn’t mind!
    I wore gaiters as a Cadet Bombardier, ridiculous things which buckled over the top of your boots and the bottom of your trousers, and had to be plastered with Blanco, a sort of thin clay that was supposed to make them look nice, a trick I never managed.
    I can confirm that West Country SCRUMPY is close to lethal. No decent publican would attempt to tell you what proof it was. Best drunk lying on the grass (as with Rosie) to save falling down time.
  2. Thanks for the great blog and kind comments – and for noticing the warming pudding. I have tried to make the top lines interesting.
  3. Very similar experience, taking less than an hour and sans Google and enjoying the puzzle a lot. Nothing to add but I’ll echo the praise for SPENSER.

    I’ll be looking out for Myrtilus’ top rows in future.

    Thank you, M & O.

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