TLS Crossword 1167 by Broteas – March 17, 2017

After just over a year with the new regime at the TLS crossword I’ve come to regard Broteas as the most difficult of our four setters.  He seems to be adept at scrambling any wavelength I might pick up, and mixing up the simple and the devilish clues in a way guaranteed to send me miles off course.  There was a theme here – Lawrences – but not necessarily the ones you might think.  No T.E., no Sterne and no Durrell for example.  15A beat me hollow, and just to complete the experience I had an unforced error in 5D.  I had all but 15A done in about 40 minutes and when I came back to finish I threw what American football commentators call a “Hail Mary Pass” (it was St. Patrick’s Day) which went nowhere near the goal naturally.  In the end I “phoned a friend” and Broteas gave me the answer.

it’s time once again for our family to come out of hibernation and return to rural New York where we rely on the town library for internet connection on weekends.  In case of trouble I’ve given my local phone number to our boss Vinyl who lives somewhere over the border in Connecticut.  When we were last there it was BT (Before Trump) – it seems a very long time ago.  If I miss the early comments on a Friday I’ll check in and reply on Sunday or Monday.  Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.  In several cases here the whole clue is the definition.


1. Like one sure if another fails, following twenty-nine distinct damnations (10)
CATALECTIC.  Tricky.  The reference is to Robert Browning’s poem Soliloquy Of The Spanish Cloister, which is composed in this verse form where a syllable is dropped from the beginning or end of a line.  No quotation marks to point the way so it took some exasperated flailing about before I got the drift.  The relevant part of the poem reads:

There’s a great text in Galatians,
Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine distinct damnations,
One sure, if another fails.

The poem is addressed to a hated fellow monk, Brother Lawrence.  I haven’t read much of Browning since A Level English when we “did” My Last Duchess, and this wasn’t familiar.
7.  Brian or Erica, fighting a war in ’74 (4)
TATE.  The War Between The Tates is a 1974 novel of American campus life in the 60s by Alison Lurie.  The title seems to be a play on “The war between the States” i.e. the American Civil War.  It was made into a movie in 1977.
9.  Shakespeare’s Roman bull (6)
TAURUS.  Caesar’s lieutenant in Antony And Cleopatra.  For people who go in for astrology Shakespeare is a Taurus (late April birthday).
10.  Leading character from Wagner and another German seen in Rolling Stone (8)
WANDERER.  W[agner] with ANDERER=another in German.  Fortunately you didn’t have to know any German to get this.  Unfortunately it reminded me of The Happy Wanderer song which was on the radio ad nauseam in my early childhood.
11.  One in wild abandoned, in Scandinavian tales of summer (9,4)
DANDELION WINE.  Nostalgic non-sci-fi 50s novel by Ray Bradbury.  DANE=Scandinavian containing anagram (abandoned) of ONE IN WILD.
13.  A girl meeting priests, we hear, and a judge’s lover (3,7)
ANN VICKERS.  ANN=girl.  VICKERS sounds like (we hear) vicars=priests.  She is the protagonist of the 30s novel by Sinclair Lewis, later made into a movie.
15.  A Pre-Raphaelite beginning, which failed to take off (4)
GERM.  As in beginning, not bug.  It was the name of a magazine started by the Brotherhood in 1850 which did not survive its fourth issue.  I suppose I’d better confess how I went off the rails.  I had G*R* and the Lawrence theme.  So first I thought of Alma-Tadema who Anglicized his first name to Lawrence – that was the Pre-R beginning.  Then I proceeded to T.E. Lawrence and the Great Arab Revolt, which didn’t really get off the ground either in spite of a lot of picturesque trotting about on camels.  That got me to GAR* but then what?  Just threw in the towel and threw in P as in “proclamation'” or “project”.  Yes I know.  I’ve never liked Pre-R art anyway – not out of snobbery but ever since I happened upon a version of the Morte D’Arthur with their creepy illustrations when I was about 9.
16.  Star part in kidology (4)
IDOL.  [k]IDOL[ogy].  I think we had that word in an Anax puzzle once.  Hmmm.
18.  One giving advice on ugly acne, perhaps (5,5)
AGONY UNCLE.  Very neat.  Anagram (perhaps) of ON UGLY ACNE.
21.  The last line of Raleigh’s last poem?  (3,10)
THE CONCLUSION.  Sir Walter may have revised an earlier poem into this 8-line version written in the Tower before his execution. He’d been imprisoned for long periods under Elizabeth and James and had dodged death enough times to be ready for it by then.  It was found in his Bible afterwards.
23.  Byzantine raids in a location visited by Lawrence (8)
SARDINIA.  Anagram (Byzantine) of RAIDS IN A.  Sea And Sardinia is one of D.H. Lawrence’s travel books from the 1920s.
24.  One with a gentle master, reflecting nothing in drama, for example (6)
TRANIO.  He is the servant of Lucentio, suitor of Bianca, in The Taming Of The Shrew.  O=nothing with IN and ART=drama, all reversed (reflecting).
26. A philosopher?  Yes, that’s right (4)
AYER.  Alfred Jules.  AYE=yes with R.
27.  The horsemen of Babel? (3,7)
RED CAVALRY.  1920s collection of short Russian stories by Isaac Babel.


2.  A row about a boy’s story that was added in translation (7)
ALADDIN.  A DIN=row containing (about) LAD=boy.  The tale was not originally one of the 1001 Nights stories told by Scherezade, and was not from Arabia but from China.  It was added to the collection by 18th Century translator Antoine Galland.
3.  In a song, a place for a castle?
AIR.  Double definition.
4. One in an English school is a girl (5)
ELSIE.  E[nglish] LSE=school containing I=one.
5.  Master writer‘s article about something small (1,1,5)
T.H. WHITE.  The Master was a 1950s sci-fi novel of his.  THE=article containing (about) WHIT=something small.  I may have been thinking of T.E. Lawrence because I entered an E instead of an H.
6.  Heartless deception’s seen through in a Victorian attempt to influence public opinion (9)
CONINGSBY.  CON[N]ING’S=deception’s without the N in the middle (heartless) BY=through.  1844 novel by Benjamin Disraeli set in the Reform era of the 1830s.
7.  Lawrence’s last work was on this version of a story of unlikely romance (3,4,3,1)
THE KING AND I.  That’s Gertrude Lawrence.  Her final stage performance was with Yul Brynner in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
8. The most remarkable horror story about Jordan, by Thomas Kenneally (3,4)
THE FEAR.  Autobiographical 1960s novel with a protagonist named Danny Jordan.  I’m not sure where “most remarkable” comes in.
12.  Victorian author, possibly writing for this person (5,6)
NOVEL READER.  NOVEL=new.  READE (Charles)=Victorian author.  R=writing – one of the three.
14.  “What’s yours is mine” we could say to this big shot (4,5)
COAL OWNER. My only hesitation was in thinking of the ownership of the pit rather than the product.
17.  Dry atomic nitrogen in home-made gas plant (7)
DITTANY.  TT=dry and AN=atomic nitrogen contained in DIY=home-made.  Apparently it exudes a flammable vapour, thus the name.
19.  A source of cherries or something else to eat (7)
ORCHARD. Thank goodness – a write-in.  OR with CHARD – the fashionable veggie, or am I thinking of kale?
20.  More bony flank I erroneously embraced (7)
LANKIER.  And another write-in, just in time.  Hidden in [f]LANK ER[roneously].
22.  Extreme intelligence (5)
ULTRA.  Double definition.  Intelligence – see Bletchley.
25.  A new top-quality collection of memories (3)
ANA.  A N[ew] A=top-quality.  VictoriANA etc.

9 comments on “TLS Crossword 1167 by Broteas – March 17, 2017”

  1. Rather a gentle theme, I thought, with plenty of unLawrency clues.
    For me, TH White forever linked with the Once and Future King, a very fine book
      1. Oh, no Olivia .. I only meant that lots of clues failed to mention Lawrences, not that they were easy at all. Unlike say the Dickens theme that encompassed almost every clue in the grid.. (and that not really meant as a criticism, Mr/s Broteas!)
        At present I seem to be finishing about 50% of TLSs, partly through rather patchy & eclectic literary knowledge, partly just through time, what with the jumbos, club mthlys etc etc.
  2. A long time raking around in the undergrowth for the how what and why of CATALECTIC, not least because I only knew beforehand of the version with a P in it. Spellchecker is of the same opinion. So a total time so close to an hour and a half that left not enough to make a restorative cup of tea. And then, despite the fact that I knew, I really did, without looking it up, that it was DANDELION WINE, I put in TIME instead.
    Thankfully, GERM rang a very distant bell, so I didn’t need to ring Broteas’. I quite like P-R art: at Brum Art Gallery, they have thousands, and (accepting the occasional rather spooky bits) the incredible super-photographic attention to detail does have a certain OCD attraction.
    As I see it, neither of the two most intractable clues in this grid, at 1 and 15, had any noticeable word play assistance. “Teutonic beginning for…” at 15 would have mightily helped, for example. But hey, this is the TLS.
    1. It’s odd about the Pre-Raphaelites – people seem to have a visceral response to them. I have an ex brother-in-law who’s a collector. And one of my maternal great-grandfathers, who was a non-believer, was so moved by Holman Hunt’s Light Of The World that he paid the artist to make a copy for him and then underwrote a world tour for it. My great-grandmother, who WAS a believer, was scathing!
  3. Hi, as a recent convert to the TLS and to posting comments on these valuable blogs I would say I agree with you, Broteas does seem the hardest – for me I think it’s the lack of a way in via wordplay if the literary allusion is unknown but also, with the other setters I can still find a flash of inspiration seems to appear and lead me to the right answer however obscure or unknown the allusion may have first appeared, with Broteas, for this solver, the lightning bolt never seems to arrive. This one involved a lot of educated guesswork, a lot of uneducated guesswork and a fair bit of wing and a prayer stuff. In the end a DNF. Needed aids for 1ac (like the blogger knew My last duchess from school but did not know the Soliloquy in a Spanish cloister, the verse form here or twig what was required), 7ac, 15ac, 27ac and 8dn (all unknowns). Enjoyed the challenge and not disappointed as I would be for an ordinary Times puzzle to have to look stuff up because I find the GK in TLS puzzles is really at the cusp of what I actually know. Thanks for enlightenment re. the Lawrence in 7dn, which I solved from checkers, enumeration and “unlikely story” without knowing who she was. Now have Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr singing “getting to know you” in my head. Delightful.

    Edited at 2017-04-07 09:41 pm (UTC)

    1. Very nice to hear from you – do keep coming! We all like to see fresh faces here.
      1. Thanks Olivia. I am really enjoying the challenge of the TLS. I love the regular Times cryptics but it feels refreshing to do something a bit different. Now that I have de-lurked I am trying to comment regularly so I am sure I will keep coming!
  4. 25d is nothing to do with Victoriana, just a word meaning a collection of anecdotes or sayings. Really appreciate this site, which I had to have recourse to once the TLS crossword became less literary and more cryptic with its new setters. Many thanks!

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