TLS Crossword 1162 by Myrtilus – Feb 10, 2017 Mann Freyja Day

Anything that starts with a top line pun has to be Ming the Myrtilus and a joy to solve, and this is no exception. Walter Scott is given a prominent place in the proceedings, if not quite a theme. There is one clue which, if you search for it online, uses your humble servant as its chief reference point, which I suppose is fame of a sort. For what it’s worth, a 52 minute solve, to which add a lot of leisurely time chasing down these finer details for your delectation:

Clue, definition, SOLUTION

1. One responsible for housekeeping as Dick Grayson’s working (8)
ROBINSON  Dick Greyson is to Bruce Wayne as ROBIN is to Batman. Add the ON for working and you have Marilynne, whose first novel was Housekeeping, 1980.  Now living in Iowa City.
5. He sang about the Empire Falls writer losing heart (6)
CARUSO  Empire Falls is a 2001 novel by Richard Russo (at this time of year living in Boston). Remove his heart (gently please) and add C(irc)A for “about” at the fore end, and you have our celebrated singer.
9. Genuine papers found by a female in Ilium? (4,4)
BONAFIDE  Nothing to do with the topless towers. The Ilium is a BONE, part of the hip, and a definition by example. Insert A F(emale) and ID for papers (in that order) and you have your answer
10. Bingley’s friend talked of one to Alan Fairford (6)
DARSIE We are partly in Austen territory here where Mr Bingley has a friend called Darcy famous for rising from the waters like a male Ursula Andress in P&P. His soundalike, (surnamed Latimer) our entry, is a friend of Alan Fairford in Scott’s Redgauntlet
12. Quality of chrysanthemums in Lawrence’s bouquet (5)
ODOUR   of Chrysanthemums is a short story by DH Lawrence.
13. Plain Maugham story used in school too much? (9)
OVERTRAIN Rain is a short story by Somerset Maugham, and needs only to have OVERT, plain place, in front to supply the necessary letters.
14. Miss Meeber’s evil, but not in a horror story (6,6)
SISTER CARRIE  I refer the honourable members to the answer I gave 6½ years ago (sic) which is where Google directs any query about Miss Meeber. Anyway, Sister Carrie is the title of a 1900 novel by Theodore Dreiser, so nothing to do with the Steven King book-become-horror-movie and everything to do with Caroline Meeber, aka the title. The wordplay asks you to convert evil to SINISTER, take out the IN, and add the blood-soaked Sissy Spacek character.
18. Burns’s girl’s been lonely and is out of sorts (6,6)
BONNIE LESLEY In TLS 1162, Burn’s lassie caused much head-scratching (and fruitless Googling – I know) and turned out to be George Burn’s partner in fun Gracie Allen. BONNIE LESLEY, thankfully clued as an anagram of BEEN LONELY and IS, was a sudden and, for once, unattainable fixation for the auld lecher. This is the poem he wrote (and his spellings):
The bonie Lesley Bailie,
O she’s gaen o’er the Border;
She’s gaen, like Alexander,
To spread her conquests farther…
To see her is to love her,
And love but her for ever;
For nature made her what she is,
And never made anither!
21. He mocked nobles taking over from other positions (9)
THERSITES Pretty much amongst the Greeks at Troy the deformed fool with (some) licence to ridicule his superiors. Take O(ver) from OTHER, add SITES for “positions”. The clue is so smooth I missed the cryptic bit first time round.
23. Sit back to follow a storyteller (5)
AESOP  POSE for sit (as in for an artist), reversed after A.
24. A Chekhov play’s hero of 22, after he’s lifted to victory (6)
IVANOV  Lift the H and E from Scott’s Ivanhoe, and add a V(ictory)
25. Aim to tackle what goes on at the top (8)
HEADGEAR  Aim supplies HEAD, tackle GEAR. The definition is thinly um, veiled
26. Students might read this novel without expectation (6)
GREATS  Essentially the Classics degree at Oxford. Take expectation out of the Dicken’s novel.
27. When to use art forged for a Titan (8)
ASTRAEUS  Get the AS from “when” add the letters of USE ART “forged” in such a way as to spell something likely to be a Titan, this one with a link to the dusk
1. He died lifting gold in lines in a novel (3,3)
ROB ROY  Subject of (inter alia) another Scott novel. He died: OB(it) “lifting” OR gold in R(ailwa)Y lines.
2. Admiral and oarsman supporting Munro? (6)
BENBOW The oarsman at the front of the boat is the BOW, here supporting the Scottish 3000’+ mountain BEN for the Admiral whose likeness adorned the pub in Treasure Island.
3. A queen uses it on marshland without it flipping over (9)
The very beautiful NEFERTITI Constructed thus. IT RE (on) FEN (marshland) outside IT all flipped
4. A tale of my landlord’s rent, my tailor told (3,9)
OLD MORTALITY  An anagram (rent) of MY TAILOR TOLD. The second in Scott’s series Tales of My Landlord.
6. Isolated, like Hamlet for example (5)
APART  Well, Hamlet is at least A PART in the play that bears his name (suppressed groan).
7. A purist’s not right in the head (8)
UPSTAIRS  An anagram (not right) of A PURIST’S, and figuratively “in the head”
8. Old lover who crossed a flower and shrub (8)
OLEANDER  O(ld) Leander was famous for swimming the Hellespont to be with his Hero, so there’s the flower
11. Resists clue being “Posters of the sea and land” (5,7)
WEIRD SISTERS  One of those backwards clues, where the answer might be the anagram clue for “resists”. So described in their own words in TSP act 1 Scene one.
15. Pushkin’s old lover in The Eagle? (9)
ALEXANDER  Pushkin’s given name.  I think the cryptic goes EX, old lover, in A LANDER which would be The (lunar module) Eagle in Apollo 11 or Michael Caine in the 1976 film version of Jack Higgins’ book.
16. What nanny might give you next (8)
ABUTTING  Nanny as in goat. Or I suppose as in the nursery if you’d been especially naughty.
17. Article, say, by a writer returning Fenton’s love (4,4)
ANNE PAGE One of the Merry (eventual) Wives of Windsor, courted and wed by Master Fenton.  Article AN, for example EG a writer A PEN, the latter two reversed and the whole stapled together.
19. This writer’s regularly dissented about Polynices’ sister (6)
ISMENE  A regular in Sophocles’ plays. This writer ME, contained in alternate letters of dIsSeNtEd
20. Shows some critics are potty about (6)
OPERAS  Reverse hidden in critics ARE POtty
22. Writer’s block providing time for church (5)
SCOTT The man himself takes a bow. Scotch means block (via frustrate, put an end to), and if you substitute T(ime) for CH(urch) you get our prolific author (though there are several others)

8 comments on “TLS Crossword 1162 by Myrtilus – Feb 10, 2017 Mann Freyja Day”

  1. I got nowhere with 2d, not knowing who or what Munro (Alice? not likely) was and not getting ‘oarsman’; biffed Benson for the hell of it. A plethora of DNKs: Dick Grayson, ‘Housekeeping’, ‘Empire Falls’, Darsie, Miss Meeber, Bonnie Lesley, but that turned out not to matter. Does the Dardanelles flow?
    1. “Water flows in both directions along the strait, from the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean via a surface  current and in the opposite direction via an undercurrent.” I had rather assumed that it worked pretty much like a river (the usual “flower” translation) with water running downhill from the Black Sea to the Med. While it’s a tad more complicated than that, I think Myrtilus can get away with it.

      1. I didn’t give this much thought at the time I solved, or even when I posted the comment, which was really just an afterthought. But there is a bit of a thin-edge-of-the-wedge feeling to this. After all, oceans have currents. The volume of water passing through the Golden Gate is three times the volume emptied by the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico; but I don’t think many of us would be happy with ‘Golden Gate’ defined as a ‘flower’.
        1. We could have fun with this all day! Does flower have to translate to “river”? Unquestionably the Hellespont flows – the accounts of swimming the thing speak of very strong currents that can take you down to the Aegean. Does it matter that it’s technically a maritime strait? Would using “banker” work?
          Like you, I didn’t give it a thought while solving, maybe because Leander’s legendary nightly two way (!) swim itself feels more rivery than open sea-y. Heroic nookie must have been pretty special!
          Don’t think “flower” would work for the Straits of Gibralter or the English Channel, so maybe this is not the thin end of the wedge. But I’m not sure I can cogently argue why.

          1. That sounds like my thoughts when editing — my initial question mark was deleted because of the current.
  2. I had forgotten to solve this one so just had a quick go to see how many I could get off the bat. Not many, as it turned out, this one hitting a lot of my blind spots.

    How nice, Z, that you are now the authoritative source on all things Meeberish. I’ve never heard of Sister Carrie, despite having solved the puzzle which prompted vinyl1’s mention of Miss Meeber in his blog title [

    Reading up a bit on Sister C it seems it’s very much in the American literary canon. If it jumped the pond it was presumably via Laurence Olivier in the film version, which was simply ‘Carrie’.

  3. I was in a bit of a rush when solving this so I didn’t stop to think about the tidal or other qualities of the Hellespont. I also managed a double typo in the course of inventing a new tale from Northern parts called Old Moorality (aka Wuthering Heights). I do like the Myrtilus jokes very much.

    My little brother always had the 60s Batman series on when I got in at teatime from a long day being “finished” in art history and “how to open the village fete” and that sort of thing so I involuntarily absorbed some of the lingo. I had to check this but it turned out I remembered correctly that Robin actually did say “Holy anagram Batman!”. 38.31

    P.S. It was 1161 where Burns and his lassie Gracie caused some of us so much angst. Nice blog as always Z

  4. I found this very tricky but excellent fun, especially given the Nina and 26ac, which I should have gott more quickly given that I did, in fact, read it… Thanks Myrtilus and Z. I’m doing next week’s blog, I expect? Time to gird up my loins for that…

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