TLS Crossword 1151 by Broteas – November 18, 2016 No Macbeth, no Duncan

If you take it that 16ac is a reference to the William Walton opera based on Chaucer’s poem, there ain’t no Shakespeare in this one, making it a true rarity. It also contains something of a considerable rarity in the current run of TLS puzzles, a genuine, honest to goodness mistake at 25 across. That almost everyone who commented on it on the CC site knew who it was supposed to be suggests that it was an easy mistake to make if you weren’t looking it up to be sure. To be honest, it would have passed me by even though I can claim a passing acquaintance with Hackney boy Theo Paphitis, another Dragon and sometime generous supporter of my charity (cheers, Theo!). But of course, as your trusted blogger, I had to check. That, and just plain slow-on-the-uptakeness, stretched my time to near enough 12 minutes past the hour. Here’s what I concluded, backed up by careful (but not necessarily reliable) research: clue, definition, SOLUTION


1 A clown, Mario’s one who dies in a tale of crime  (4)
FOOL  Mario Puzo (he who wrote the Godfather stuff) wrote Fools Die, so one of his is offered as our unrefusable answer.
4 Reject lad with trifling gains – one falsely accused of theft (7,3)
WINSLOW BOY  A fine clue: lad with trifling gains translates to BOY (with) LOW WINS. Reverse the sequence for the Rattigan play about a schoolboy accused of stealing a 5/- postal order. Clearing his name involves legal action at the highest level, and at great cost to his family and others involved.
9 What can link actor to film? Looking fashionable – that’s about right (8,2)
STARRING IN  Think film posters, and a literal link. Looking: STARING, fashionable: IN about R(ight)
10 Something trivial in the Riot Act (4)
IOTA  hidden in rIOT Act. The Greek letter translates  י (yod), the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, used in “one iott or one tytle” (Matthew 5.18, Tyndale 1526) to indicate something trivial                
11 This month featuring in ode rewritten anew  (2,4)
DE NOVO  You need to know this puzzle was published in November. ODE rewritten gives you the DEO to surround NOV.
12 Earlier author’s flow of words, comprehended by Beat poet (8)
TROLLOPE  Earlier than Ginsberg, anyway. Beat (up) POET to get TOPE, and insert ROLL for flow of words.
13 This playwright lived with an artist  (8)
FLETCHER John Fletcher was an Elizabethan era playwright, noted for his collaborations with Francis Beaumont. John Aubrey claims they lived together in a ménage à trois. The complication for me is that Beaumont was not an artist per se, but there are several other Beaumonts that were and one of them will have to do.
14 Thriller writer’s left in an indication of danger  (6)
AMBLER  L(eft) contained in AMBER, the middle light on traffic lights etc. Eric’s our writer.
16 Orwell’s horse blanket concealing a bit of Lippizaner  (6)
CLOVER  Correctly divide. CLOVER is one of the inhabitants of Animal Farm. Blanket provides COVER, and contains a bit of Lipizzaner, sc the first bit.
18 In Spain, a house suitable for everyone – in France, good for a priest from the English Midlands  (8)
CASAUBON  Trust the wordplay. Spanish house CASA, suitable for everyone U (film classification) and in France, good: BON. George Eliot’s Edward Casaubon is priest in Middlemarch, somewhere indistinct in the East Midlands
20 One seen flirting with Greek in play is scared (8)
CRESSIDA  As in Troilus and, and an anagram (in play) of IS SCARED. The whole clue also makes perfect and accurate sense.
22 Mummy, damned in a vampire expert’s work  (6)
RAMSES  From “The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned”, a 1989 historical-horror novel by Anne Rice, or so I assume, better known for Interview with the Vampire. Currently undead in New Orleans
23 Junk lies somewhere off the coast (4)
ISLE  A rather easy anagram, but again a pleasing surface.
24 Striking a level tone in Latin America drama  (10)
TELENOVELA  Wiki says “a type of limited-run serial drama originally produced in Latin America”. If you don’t know that, fiddle with the letters of A LEVEL TONE until you stumble across a probable Spanish/Portuguese portmanteau word.
25 Dragon once a major figure in children’s literature  (10)
BALLANTYNE   Probably RM, author of The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean, and improbably (not to say incorrectly) Duncan Bannatyne, erstwhile denizen of Dragons Den, a popular presentation on the BBC. “Mr Middleton”, our esteemed editor, has already apologised for the error on the CC website.
26 David Hare’s clergyman with sixth sense? Unknown  (4)
ESPY  The David Hare play you need is Racing Demon (1990) and the character Lionel Espy, but you can get away with trusting the wordplay and the very few words that fit the crossers. 6th sense ESP and unknown Y. Sir David lives on the Essex Costa Geriatrica, AKA St Leonards on Sea.


2 Expose hoax? It’s what one writer may want to do to another  (7)
OUTSELL  Nothing to do with the Hitler Diaries, but expose gives you OUT, and HOAX gives sell. The rest of the clue supposes a competitive avarice amongst authors, a calumny on all authors whose dedication is, of course, to art rather than Mammon.
3 Male lover not ridiculous for a poet with Scottish roots  (9)
LERMONTOV Descended from a Scottish soldier called George Learmouth and possibly from Thomas the Rhymer. Also derived by playing around with the letters of M(ale) LOVER NOT.
4 Tumbledown winter home is for one exiled in the Borders  (4,2,9)
WEIR OF HERMISTON Collapsing letters of WINTER HOME IS FOR gives you the title of RL STEVENSON’s unfinished novel (and not say, the setting of a less spectacular incident for Sherlock Holmes). Hermiston is a village in the Scottish Border country where weir was – um – exiled.
5 One with no support – no great shakes  (7)
NEGATOR  An anagram of NO GREAT. Can’t offer much on matching (presumed) definition and solution, I’m afraid, other than they are both in negative vein. Something grammatical, perhaps? Is “no great shakes” an example as well?
6 Spankers appear in this city with complete confidence  (6,9)
LONDON ASSURANCE  is also a play by Dion Boucicault featuring Lady Gay Spanker and her husband Dolly. You’re right, they don’t write ‘em like that any more.  City: London, complete confidence: ASSURANCE
7 “Oh, give me again the rover’s life – the joy, the thrill, the” (Herman Melville, White Jacket)  (5)
WHIRL  Not whale, then. GOLIU
8 Curious couplet describing the Snark’s fits  (7)
OCTUPLE  Not many anagrams of couplet, are there? Charles Dodgson described his famous poem as “An Agony in 8 Fits”
15 Southern story, lots of it filmed  (4,5)
BLUE MOVIE  is also a book by Terry Southern (1970). It can also be characterised, in TLS coy naughtyspeak, as lots of “it”, filmed. Probably by Andy Warhol in 1969.
17 Greek city featured in Doctor Zhivago  (7)
LARISSA  The very lovely Lara, as portrayed by Julie Christie and characterised by one of the most ravishing theme tunes in cinema history, was a contraction of Larissa, which is also, as the clue explains, the name of an ancient Greek city and, as it happens, the modern version. Birthplace of Achilles and Hippocrates.
18 Dramatically a nephew (unknown) replacing son in Dickens  (7)
CHARLEY  So long as you know the first name of Dickens (yes, that one) this is easy: swap out the S for a Y, and you have the eponymous nephew in Charley’s Aunt, a hugely successful farce by Brandon Thomas first performed in 1892 and rarely off the stage since. Catch it this Sunday at the Globe Theatre, 104 London Street, Dunedin, Otago
19 Spells of cricket and running partly coincide  (7)
OVERLAP The two sports can divide into OVERs and LAPs. You need one of each.
21 Very successful author’s bargain book announced?  (5)
STEEL  I think this must be Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steel, currently the world’s best selling living author (New York City, I believe). A bargain book is a homophonic STEAL

12 comments on “TLS Crossword 1151 by Broteas – November 18, 2016 No Macbeth, no Duncan”

  1. 13A FLETCHER: I seem to have produced a jammy accidental semi-&lit, not having researched Fletcher’s home life. The intended wordplay is fl.=floreat = “lived”, often used in the dates given for ancient writers whose dates of birth and death are unknown, then etcher=(an) artist.

    Correction: floruit as Olivia says below. Should know by now to check anything in a language I don’t speak.

    Edited at 2016-12-09 02:02 pm (UTC)

    1. I freely admit I was curious about a clue that was only semi-cryptic, but the interesting information you garner when checking out Fletcher’s private life threw me completely off the cryptic track, which of course makes perfect sense. Another example of the TLS’ hidden depths.
  2. Hi Z, I think your preamble should reference 20ac not 16ac?
    Also although the surface of that clue makes perfect sense it wouldn’t, if it was meant to refer to an opera! I mean technically it works either way but you know what I mean.. 🙂
    What is the charity?

    Edited at 2016-12-09 09:23 am (UTC)

    1. You are correct on both counts, though if you rummage around enough there are other authors of T&C plays. I was, perhaps, too taken with the novelty f a Shakespeare free wordscape.
    2. And the Charity, sadly, is a was rather than an is. It was called Access to Employment and Training: no snappy title, perhaps, but it did what it said. It operated in Hackney and Tower Hamlets and helped people of all sorts find work: we calculated around 3,000 in 11 years. Our USP was our direct outreach, door-knocking throughout the boroughs to identify people who were, one way or another, short of a way forward.
      One of my favourites was creating a construction skills training centre for the Stamford Hill Orthodox Jews – we had the rare trust of the Charedi communities.
      When out main funder was deprived of the London Development Agency’s match funding for European money (too busy with the Olympics/political stuff involving Ken) and the Government of the day started switching employment money to the big boys, we ran out of options and closed. But in our time, we were the best there was.
      1. That is good stuff, Z .. and I will carry pictures in my mind forever, of bricklaying and hod-carrying orthodox Jews
        1. It was a most magnificent sight. Our first dozen or so became, with their new skills, much in demand within Stamford Hill.
          My other favourite was the two Charedi women who set up a fitness centre that was so successful with the men they opened up another in Golders Green. Black Hats and treadmills!

  3. Thanks for the blog Z. I’d never heard of Dragon’s Den which made BALLANTYNE a whole lot easier. The one I didn’t get until post-submit was FOOL – I was stuck on the Shakespearean ones. I did manage to see FL=floreat (although I’d always thought of it as in “floreat Etona”!)and the etcher but I love the Bohemian menage idea. All in all I don’t miss the old TLS days, but they were certainly good for some righteous fulmination now and then.
  4. P.S. Here in pedant’s corner (and just about remembering a few scraps of Latin A Level) I believe FL is an abbreviation of “floruit” (rather than floreat) and is the past tense of the verb “floreo”. “Floreat” means “may he or it flourish” and is used as an exclamation. No doubt Verlaine can rule.

    I can’t find anything gossipy about B&F in my version of Brief Lives, but will do an online search next time I’m trying to avoid a dull chore.

  5. The story is aired in the Wiki on Fletcher, and if you then use that info, it turns up in many scholarly references as an established fact, especially if you are writing with a view to Gay History.
    1. Interesting. As it turned out, in the early morning murk I’d taken out Pepys rather than Aubrey from a lower bookshelf (the spines are similar and they sit next to each other) and found nothing much in the index. Hours later I pulled out the right volume….
  6. This required more than one session and a bit of Googling but I got there in the end. Pretty sure the WEIR OF HERMISTON was my last one in, only vaguely familiar (probably from crosswords).

    Quite excited to see the city of Larissa in the puzzle as I lived there for two years. I knew it as a busy market town well off the tourist map. It does have a small amphitheatre, part of which was being used as a builders’ yard when I was there — it was that kind of place. I haven’t been back for years but not long ago I took a virtual walk through the town with StreetView and was a bit shocked by the state of the place, clearly hit hard by the economic crisis. They need a Greek Z8 or two to get the city back on its feet (nice one, Z8, btw).

    I’ve watched Dragon’s Den off/on for years but if I knew Duncan was ‘Bannatyne’ I’d certainly forgotten.

    Particular thanks, Z8, for parsing 1ac, which I spent a while searching for without success.

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