TLS Crossword 1158 by Myrtilus – January 13, 2017

I was rather hoping it wouldn’t be my turn to do this one because I had a glaring gaffe at 12D.  But after Zabadak’s Inaugural phantom phenom blog on January 20th, it fell to my turn and self had to be pulled together.  Myrtilus successfully mislead me as to which author we were talking about by way of a theme, and when you careen off the wrong exit ramp from the highway you can end up almost anywhere.  I got off to a clipping start, having spotted his signature twinned clues at 1 and 4A quickly, and it was all downhill after that for a ho hum error-filled 48 minutes.

Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.

1.  One time writer’s countryman (4)
SCOT.  Sir Walter Scott, the Scotsman, but with one T[ime].  Twinned with 4A.
4.  “Offshore author” sounds apt for Durrell (10)
FITZGERALD.  Not F. Scott here but Penelope, whose novel “Offshore” won the 1979 Booker Prize.  FITZ=homophone for “fits”=apt.  It wasn’t Lawrence so it had to be Gerald. 
9.  Crime writer put off by stabbing (6)
DEXTER.  Colin, creator of Endeavour Morse.  I for one prefer the tv series to the books.  X=by, contained in (stabbing) DETER=put off.
10, 4A wrote of one place to find it (8)
BOOKSHOP.  1978 novel by Penelope, and where you might buy it. 
11.  This US laureate is not minor or obscure (8)
TONI MORRISON.  Anagram (obscure) of IS NOT MINOR OR.  Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
13.  William of Baskerville visited these cooks to hold a bible class (8)
FRIARIES.  FRIES=cooks holding R[eligious] I[nstruction]=bible class.  William is the Franciscan friar in Umberto Eco’s mystery The Name Of The Rose.
15.  Rudely, girls go topless around the French coves (6)
INLETS.  [B]INTS=girls surround LE=the in French.  Rude word which I’d never heard until final year of University law.  Must have led a sheltered life. 
16. Little people’s author brought back only Harry and Hermione (6)
NORTON.  Mary, author of The Borrowers series of children’s books.  NOT RON (Weasley) reversed (brought back) from the Harry Potter books.
18.  Children‘s author, of Worzel, left hearts oddly lifted (8)
TODDLERS.  It took me a while to unravel this.  Barbara Euphan Todd was the author of a 1930s and 40s series of children’s books about a scarecrow called Worzel Gummidge.  TODD=author.  L=left.  [h]E[a]R[t]S.  I stuck for a bit thinking there was a separate significance to “lifted”.
20.  Switching mint candy for Christmas pudding was her idea (5,7)
NANCY MITFORD.  Nice one.  Anagram (switching) of MINT CANDY FOR.  Christmas Pudding was her second novel and in later years she regarded it as juvenilia and was reluctant to let it be re-published. 
23.  Who chose the lead singing part and cropped bits? (8)
BASSANIO.  In Merchant Of Venice he was the one of Portia’s suitors who correctly chose the lead casket with her portrait inside (the other caskets were silver and gold).  BASS=singing part.  AN[d] cropped.  IO=IT bits.
24.  Atkinson made this PI have too much cheese around (6)
BRODIE.  Jackson Brodie was the privae eye protagonist in a series of novels by Kate Atkinson.  OD=have too much, surrounded by BRIE=cheese. 
25.  A writer could have one pint without lines by Tess getting muddled (10)
BESTSELLER.  BEER=pint surrounding (without) anagram (getting muddled) of TESS and LL-lines.
26.  In times past, back end of chancel (4)
APSE.  Hidden in [tim]ES PA[st] reversed (back).

2.  He re-imagined Notting Hill converted to trenches (10)
CHESTERTON.  G.K.  The Napoleon of Notting Hill is a futuristic 1904 novel set in 1984.  Anagram (converted) of TO TRENCHES. 
3.  Giant caught out by a fairy (7)
TITANIA.  TITANI[c]=giant, removing C=caught (out) with A.  Shakespeare from MND.
4.  Backtracking of an island assembly (5)
FORUM.  OF reversed (backtracking) with RUM=Hebridean island. 
5. Knights may appear in these, thanks to poets (7)
TABARDS.  TA=thanks.  BARDS=poets.  A kind of heraldic surcoat or gilet.  What americans call a vest. 
6. Revered or famous poem, Gray initially fibbed about (9)
GLORIFIED.  G[ray], then LIED=fibbed containing (about) OR and IF=famous Kipling poem.
7.  Attar came up with work that’s timeless (4,3)
ROSE OIL.  ROSE=came with [t]OIL=work dropping the T.
8.  One responsible for Brunetti’s Christmas being over (4)
LEON.  NOEL=Christmas reversed (over).  American author Donna Leon wrote a series of Venetian crime novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti.
12.  A 4A piece in a paper backing socialist ends (2,8)
AT FREDDIES.  1982 novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.  At first I thought my wrong’un was 22d and it was only when I went back to write up the blog that I sorted this out.  A TF=F[inancial] T[imes]=paper reversed (backing).  RED=socialist.  DIES=ends.  [I had St. Brigid’s, and no of course it didn’t parse.  And naturally I can neither find nor remember the phantom F. scott reference I used to justify it.]
14,  4A left this pub drunk once before church (9)
INNOCENCE.  1985 novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.  INN=pub.  Anagram (drunk) of ONCE.  CE=church.  Continuing my confession of error, I thought this might be a reference to a theme of F. Scott – loss of innocence.
17.  Bats star in the start of The Passage (7)
TRANSIT.  Anagram (bats) of STAR IN, with start of T[he].
18. Two parts in Lear, but not the poor idiot (7)
TOMFOOL.  In the play Edgar, son of Gloucester, disguises himself as Poor Tom when choused out of his inheritance by his bastard half-brother Edmund.  Omit the “poor”.  The unnamed Fool is another part in the play.
19.  Sign a short bloke up for a part in Il Trovatore (7)
LEONORA.  LEO=astrological sign..  With A RON=short bloke reversed (up).  She is the noble lady in Verdi’s opera.
21.  Rome’s split by this group bringing Caesar at last (5)
TIBER.  The river runs through the middle of Rome.  TRIBE=group – move the R (last in Caesar) to the end (bringing down).
22.  An Aussie writer’s detailed mind (4)
CARE.  I thought this must have been my mistake – it wasn’t.  Peter Carey is the author, removing the last letter (detailed).

7 comments on “TLS Crossword 1158 by Myrtilus – January 13, 2017”

  1. No time for this one, which means a lot of time, all of it offline. It’s something of a comfort to know that I wasn’t the only one to think of the wrong Fitzgerald–in fact, I’d totally forgotten about her. (I’m now reading, and enjoying, “At Freddie’s”.) Looking back on this, I’m impressed by how little I knew: DNK DEXTER, NORTON, the Notting Hill reference, Leon & Brunetti, Leonora, Atkinson and BRODIE, ‘Christmas Pudding’, forgot Wm. of B, Worzel (had to Google that one). My one error was 12d, where I’d put in ST (socialist ends), then forgot to correct it when I finally twigged to the rest of it. I didn’t realize that ‘bint’ was rude; just thought it was outdated. Fortunately, using it is not one of my no doubt many solecisms. (You’ve got a typo there; should be ‘led’.) Olivia, what we call a vest you call a waistcoat; I’m pretty sure that on both sides of the pond a tabard is (or was) a tabard.
    1. Typo corrected. You’re right about the waistcoat Kevin, but my husband also has an unheraldic sort of fishing “tabard” with multiple pockets which he calls a vest. All I know is that he can never find whatever he’s looking for without removing everything he’s so carefully stowed! P.S. I just looked at some pics of tabards and they look exactly like the smock (pinafore) I use for outdoor painting in the country. I don’t think it’s ever been washed and its colours would make a nifty heraldic device.

      Edited at 2017-02-03 08:09 pm (UTC)

  2. I got the distinct impression I was being toyed with in this, what with the wrong Fitzgerald, and all. But there was much to bring a smile: I liked NOT RON for example, and the &littish CHESTERTON which also managed to be a (slightly excessive) summation of the book.
    I worried that 22d (?A?E) might be capable of many answers, but put in what at least was a defensible one and hoped for the best.
    Love the word “choused”, Olivia, and delighted to find it’s a real and very expressive word. I shall start using it whenever I can. Thanks for uncovering everything: I find I forgot to parse 15, so didn’t need to tut tut the word bint. My grandfather picked it up in Egypt, WW1.

    Edited at 2017-02-03 08:57 am (UTC)

  3. I’m a fan. She does seem to be much less well known than she should be; plus she had an extraordinary life (worth googling) and didn’t start writing until she was 58.
    1. I am ordering from Amazon right now – I need some new stuff to read. Thank you!
  4. Under 20 minutes for me, but most undeservedly, as I never got past F Scott as the Fitzgerald, and assumed that all the references were to boooks of that gentleman’s I was unfamiliar with. 10ac in particular: somehow my thought processes went no further than that a bookshop might be a good place to get “it”, as in “sex appeal”, as in nookie. Don’t worry, I don’t really get up to that kind of thing in bookshops!
    1. V, if you got At Freddies without peeking or twigging Penelope F. that is stunning – no wonder you are up there with the fast crowd!

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