TLS Crossword 1156 by Talos – December 23, 2016

Judging from a well-populated stat board and the comments on the Club site, this seems to have been a deservedly popular puzzle.  The two quotations at 1A and D gave a friendly foothold and there was nothing obscure elsewhere.  At solving time I’d completely forgotten that I was blogging this which meant I enjoyed it at leisure and it took me a pleasing 37.21.  Some items needed checking and I had an episode of dithering at 11A even though the clue was admirably clear, unlike some of this genre.  Just the ticket to put one in the mood for a holiday weekend.

It occurred to me to mention that I’ve evolved the TLS method of curing insomnia (opiate-free, patent pending).  You take three authors (Jane Austen, Kingsley Amis, Hans Christian Andersen) and three works of literature (Anna Karenina, Adam Bede, the Arabian Nights) and mix and match, the more absurd the better.  Then you go on to B, C, etc.  Sometimes it works best to start further down the alphabet (the three James’s, Henry, MR and PD wrote Jane Eyre, Jaws and Jude The Obscure) or work backwards.  If you’re not fast asleep after 3 or 4 letters you’ll be wide awake so you may as well get up and start the day.  You’re welcome.

Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.  P.S.  I attempted the “read more” thingy but seem to have omitted a crucial step.  Maybe next time.

1.  “To miss the march of this retreating world / Into vain — that are not walled” (Wilfred Owen) (8)
CITADELS.  From the poem Strange Meeting which was one of those adapted by Benjamin Britten for his War Requiem.
5.  Endless success, having opened tremendous O’Neill play (6)
HUGHIE.  HI[t]=endless success contained in (having opened) HUGE=tremendous.  That word for large (especially when pronounced “yuge”) is banned in our house for the duration.  1950s two-character play set in a seedy NYC hotel in the 1920s.
10.  Dame involved in crime withholding number a car possessed (9)
CHRISTINE. 1980s novel by Stephen King in the horror genre also made into a movie.  I’ve read and seen neither but they’re certainly well known.  CHRISTIE=dame (Agatha) crime novelist holding N[umber].  I suspect many of us parsed this afterwards but it was a very nice clue.
11.  After changing taps, what James might turn for Kate? (5)
SHREW.  If you take The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James (scariest ghost story ever) and switch the cold for the hot tap you get Shakespeare’s Katherina.  There really was no reason for my faffing except that I’ve muddled these (so-called double helix) clues so often I’m programmed to doubt.
12.  The Foreign Legion has not use for my king (4)
LEAR.  LE= the in French (foreign).  AR[my]=legion without MY.
13.  Middle-Earth realm visited by porky boatman (9)
GONDOLIER.  GONDOR=Tolkien’s realm, containing (visited by) LIE=porky in cockney rhyming slang.  You don’t need any Lord Of The Rings minutiae (just a general familiarity) for this.
15.  Playwright who might shy away from Christmas (4,6)
NOEL COWARD.  Very neat and needs no further explanation!
17.  Creep lawyer from Maycomb initially ignored (4)
INCH.  The Alabama county lawyer in To Kill A Mockingbird was Atticus Finch.  Remove the F (initially), and there you have it.  I haven’t read Go Set A Watchman, the recently released prequel by Harper Lee, but while it doesn’t quite make Atticus a creep it certainly scuffs up his halo.
19.  Briefly imagine a way to describe Clyde Wynant? (9)
THIN.  THIN[k]=imagine curtailed (briefly).  In the 1930s Dashiell Hammet hardboiled novel The Thin Man, he’s the client of debonair private eye Nick Charles.  The novel was later serialized on film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles.  If your memory gets fuzzy (mine was) you begin to think it’s Nick Charles the PI who was the thin guy.  In the NY Times crosswords the Charles’s dog Asta (a schnauzer in the book, a terrier in the movies) is a staple.
20.  A word for go astray in a Nigerian novel (5,2,3)
ARROW OF GOD.  Anagram (astray) of A WORD FOR GO.  1960s novel by Chinua Achebe.
22.  Some assure us a harpy recalled Xerxes by another name (9)
AHASUERUS.  Hidden in [as]SURE US A HA[rpy] reversed (recalled).  This is Xerxes’s nom de Bible in Esther.
24.  Live rail cut in half around Paddington? (4)
BEAR.  BE=live.  RA[il]=half of rail reversed (around).  The little ursine fellow from Peru.
26.  One behind Heart of Midlothian?  That’s too much! (5)
SCOTT.  Sir Walter – novel in the Waverly series.  SC(scilicet)=that’s.  OTT (over the top)=too much.
27.  Junkie writer with digs underground, they say (9)
BURROUGHS.  William S. II, beat writer, drug user, author of The Naked Lunch et al.  Homophone of “burrows” (digs underground).
28. Taking down zip to set husband free? (6)
NOTING.  Remove (set free) H[usband] from NOTHING=zip.
29.  Officer who saw a former Danish king develop rare bond (8)
BERNARDO.  Anagram (develop) of RARE BOND.  He and Marcellus are the first to see the ghost of Hamlet’s father on the battlements of Elsinore.  In some editions he is spelled “Barnardo”, but the anagram makes an error far less likely, assuming one’s paying attention.  In times of yore with these puzzles there might well have been (a) no checking letter in a down clue and (b) no helpful anagram!

1.  “The game — clipp’d and arm’d for fight / Does the Rising Sun affright.” (William Blake) (4)
COCK.  From Auguries Of Innocence.  One of the best known ones that begins “To see a world in a grain of sand”.  The ghost of English A Level past.
2.  Record set on a river by an all-male coxed pair? (5,3,2,1,4)
THREE MEN IN A BOAT.  By Jerome K. Jerome.  The record being the tale and the setting being the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.  Very neat.
3..Booker-winner‘s note on archbishop’s address in Bow (8)
DISGRACE.  By South African author J.M. Coetzee, it won the 1999 prize.  D=note. [H]IS GRACE, archbishop as addressed by a cockney.  Does Lambeth come within the sound of Bow bells?
4.  Erica Jong’s fear?  Losing an edge for storytelling (5)
LYING.  From the 70s novel Fear Of Flying by Jong.  Remove the F (edge) from [f]LYING.
6.  A little drink with posh Penny – result! (6)
UPSHOT.  SHOT=little drink, with U=posh and P=Penny.
7. Potter’s associate sculpting no meagre herring (8,7)
HERMIONE GRANGER.  Anagram (sculpting) of NO MEAGRE HERRING.  Mate of Harry at Hogwarts.  I’ve the greatest possible admiration for J.K. Rowling but for some reason I couldn’t get into the books, and my children were just that bit too old for them when they first came out.  You absorb them anyway, and I believe Zabadak is an aficionado so this may have been a write-in for him.
8.  Why a Dr. gets mixed up in murderous deed? (6,4)
EDWARD HYDE.  Another of the signature TLS AndLits.  Anagram (mixed up) of WHY A DR and DEED.  The remarkable creation of R.L Stevenson that has long since passed into the language.
9. Bassanio’s man gets stood up in house party (8)
LEONARDO.  Bassanio’s slave in Merchant Of Venice.  LEO=astrological house.  DO=party.  Containing RAN=stood reversed (up).  I get my Shakespearean ****ardos mixed up so I needed to check this.
14. Hunger was his king, having escaped a US manhunt (4,6)
KNUT HAMSUN.  Anagram of K=king and US MANHUNT.  He was the Norwegian author of 19th Century novel Hunger.
16.  Conflict about road award for a gateway to Lewis (8)
WARDROBE.  From The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, where the wardrobe is the way into Narnia.  WAR=conflict.  DR=road reversed (about) OBE=award.
18. A schoolboy error finally breaks grave individual (3,5)
TOM BROWN.  TOMB=grave.  R=[erro]R (finally) OWN=individual.  19th Century novel by Thomas Hughes about a schoolboy at Rugby.
21. Perhaps Jane worried about American close to Tarzan (6)
AUSTEN.  ATE=worried containing (about) US with last letter (close to) in [Tarza]N.
23. Soldier that’s run into the Oracle of Delphi? (5)
SARGE.  R in SAGE=oracle – the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
25.  Look after little sailor in Harry Hole’s patch (4)
OSLO.  OS=ordinary seaman (little sailor).  LO=look.  Another Norwegian author – Jo Nesbo – created Harry the detective as his protagonist in a series of crime novels.

6 comments on “TLS Crossword 1156 by Talos – December 23, 2016”

  1. My heart always sinks a bit when I see a quote, but these were fairly easy: ‘game xxxx’ with the rising sun, and the rhythm of the Owen lines. DNK 3d, and DNK ‘Hunger’, but biffed on the basis of the enumeration and _N_T. But I got the T from Googling Wynant, which made me notice that I’d typed in ‘ON a boat’. I’ve never read any Rowling and only seen snatches of the movies, but somehow the name rang a bell. I thought the Powell-Loy movie was a full-length job not a serial (all I can remember is Loy saying, “They say you were shot in the tabloids.” and Powell replying, “Nonsense; the bullet never came close to my tabloids.”). Let’s hope, Olivia, that you’ll be able to say ‘huge’ very, very soon.

    Edited at 2017-01-13 08:12 am (UTC)

    1. They were indeed full-length movies – there were 6 of them (hence the serial) of which I’ve only seen the first.
  2. I didn’t know the King thing, and looked too quickly at your explication. But CHRISTIE including IN? I’d say it’s CHRISTIE (Dame involved in crime) ‘withholding’ (well, holding) N (‘number’)
  3. I was amused by the inclusion of the Narnia wardrobe. I’ve used it in the past to describe the link from a digital newspaper to a digital puzzle site. Instead of talking animals and mythical creatures, we have content that can be just as good when it’s two or more years old, and input from the reader as a vital part of consuming that content.
  4. HERMIONE GRANGER aka Emma Watson is a no no in our house. My daughter shares the same EW name and as a result cannot set up Facebook or Twitter accounts in her own name. She (my one) has met the other one at some gig and moaned! To add to the aggro, when at Bristol Uni, she was paired up in Biology practicals with yet another Emma Watson.

    Edited at 2017-01-13 11:00 pm (UTC)

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