TLS Crossword 1182 by Myrtilus – June 30, 2017

I seem to have made a mulligatawny soup of this  – the mystery ingredient being an invisible error.  I hope someone will spot it.  In the top row we have a cracker-worthy (that’s a compliment) homophone joke.  I was able to do almost all of this on the train in about an hour give or take (so a bit on the difficult side), and that’s the way I like it.  Some online checking was needed for the blog but in general it fell within my ken.  The Club board shows that a number of the regulars also had one wrong so perhaps we all fell at the same fence.  A well-deserved mention of our colleague Sotira  appears in the 8th across line.  I’m not primed to look for “ninas” so of course I missed it until prompted – and even then didn’t see it for longer than I care to admit.  Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.


1.  Two islands to worry about, first encountered in Ulysses (8)
MULLIGAN.  MULL and I are the islands with GAN=worry reversed (about).  Buck Mulligan is the first character to appear in James Joyce’s novel.
5. Old city dictator’s flag (4)
TYRE.  Homophone (dictator’s) for “tire”=flag (Americans spell those things cars run on “tires”).  Phoenician city twinned with Nineveh in Kipling’s Recessional poem.  Here, however, it is twinned with MULLIGAN in 1A and morphs into a Myrtilus homophone/pun for Mull Of Kintyre, the Scottish peninsula hymned by Paul McCartney in his post-Beatles incarnation.  And there’s another McCartney connection in that corner with 6D.  Full disclosure:  I got Tyre before I saw Mulligan and spent far too long trying to make Michelin work.
10. He kept Pilot men circling a city (9)
ROCHESTER.  OR=other ranks (men) reversed (circling) with CHESTER=city.  In Jane Eyre this is the name of Mr. Rochester’s large black and white dog which causes her some trepidation in her first encounter with him.
11.  One is where the Alchemist’s found oxygen unmodified (5)
OASIS.  O=oxygen.  AS IS=unmodified.  In The Alchemist, the novel by Brazilian author Paul Coelho, the protagonist Santiago meets an Englishman in search of the title character and an Arab girl in an oasis.
12. He tried to force a union, for example, then another succeeded (5)
EGEUS.  EG=for example.  EU=union.  S=succeeded.  In Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream he is the father of Hermia, trying to force her to marry Demetrius when she loves Lysander.  The plot thickens.
14. Where to keep wicked things like Philip Marlowe books? (9)
CHANDLERY.  Very neat double definition.  The “wicked things” are candles which would be stored in such a place.  Marlowe is Raymond Chandler’s PI (memorably portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the movie version of The Big Sleep) in his hard-boiled pulp fiction novels which could be described as Chandlery.  Doesn’t work quite so well with Dashiell Hammett.
15.  Opera House opera losing millions (7)
LEONORA.  LEO=house (astrological) with NOR[m]A, dropping M=millions.  This is an opera by Ferdinando Paer from the same source as Beethoven’s Fidelio.  Norma is an opera by Vincenzo Bellini.
17.  At last book dealer ordered Shirley (7)
KEELDAR.  She is the title character in Charlotte Bronte’s second novel.  Anagram (ordered) of [boo]K (last) with DEALER.
18.  I’m thinking this writer’s against small animals (7)
ERMINES.  ER=I’m thinking.  With MINES=this writer’s.
19.  She had Diomedes twirling, see, like a piper! (7)
DEIPYLE.  Mother of Diomedes.  ELY=see.  PIED=as in piper.  All reversed (twirling).  He was a Trojan hero and in Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida he got her in trouble with Troilus for flirting with him.
21. Originally set in stone by a girl claiming sanctuary (9)
ESMERALDA.  S[et] (originally) contained in EMERALD=stone with A.  The Roma girl from Victor Hugo’s Hunchback Of Notre Dame who is rescued from execution (the first time around) by Quasimodo who takes her to the cathedral for sanctuary.
23.  Get up on stage (5)
MOUNT.  Double definition.
25.  Stroke part of poet’s foot (5)
ICTUS.  Another double definition.  In medicine a seizure.  In poetry a stressed syllable.
26.  Shift carpet and he can perform (3-6)
TAP-DANCER.  Anagram (shift) of CARPET AND.  And lit.
28.  Pound a book!(4)
EZRA.  20th Century American poet and priest.  Prophet, scribe and book of the Old Testament.
29. A novel plot pinched by Agatha Christie, perhaps (4,4)
ADAM BEDE.  By George Eliot.  A BED=plot containing (pinched by) DAME.  Christie was DBE.


1.  Wonder about learner driver who said he heard a winged chariot (7)
MARVELL.  MARVEL=wonder with L.  Andrew addressing his coy mistress.
2.  Cabinet cut one leaving two treatises (5)
LOCKE.  John – 17th Century philosopher writing on Government.  Remove (cut) the last letter from LOCKE[r]=cabinet.
3.  Top sin to get Dante’s Cocytus? (3)
ICE.  Freezing river in Dante’s underworld.  Remove (top) [v]ICE=sin.
4.  Lead function set up by a university for those like Napoleon (9)

AUTOCRATS.  STAR=lead. COT (cotangent)=function with U and A.  All reversed (set up).  Either Bonaparte or the pig in Animal Farm, for example.
6.  One that lighted fools when the rest weren’t born?(9)
YESTERDAY.  From the “tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy in Macbeth.  And you’re not a fool if you weren’t born yesterday.  And of course, when all our trouble seemed so far away.
7.  English crime writer finally promoted?  She’s trying! (7)
ESSAYER.  E[nglish] with Sayers (Dorothy) moving the final letter forwards (promoted).
8.  Fraulein Bunt‘s pilot, stripped of his wings (4)
IRMA.  Remove the first and last letters of [a]IRMA[n]=pilot (strip the wings).  Female villain in the James Bond franchise.  The movies lost me after Goldfinger so I’m no expert and I’ve never read the books.  Although it so happens my late father is mentioned by name (twice) in The Man With The Golden Gun.
9.  Lib-Dem rows about censorship (10)
BOWDLERISM.  Anagram (about) of LIB-DEM ROWS.  Named after the 18th Century Doctor Thomas who promulgated an expurgated Shakespeare.
13.  One applying to watch birds will do just that (10)
SPOONERISM.  I don’t think I was the only one a bit puzzled by this.  I concluded that it was the verb form of the activity, but if it was the noun with “ism” on the end that’s where my error is.  If you are the good DD of crosswordland and you have a tendency to “botch words” you might say that you “watch birds”.  Corrected – it is SPOONERISM.  See Mohn infra.
16.  Means to test a solution assembled amid Romeo’s raving (9)
OSMOMETER.  Anagram (raving) of MET=assembled and ROMEOS.
17.  Slept around and turned up in a novel (9)
KIDNAPPED.  KIPPED=slept containing (around) AND reversed (turned up).  Excellent Scottish tale of adventure by Robert Louis Stevenson.
18.  Write as Gray did, say, plugging a subject of Beethoven’s (7)
ELEGISE.  EG=say contained in (plugging) Fur ELISE – a piano piece that no novice pianist escapes having to learn and practise, to the pain of teachers and listeners.  And in my day no student of English escaped learning Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard, but that at least was not too painful.
20. Lacking sex, topless exercise gives inspiration to musicians (7)
EUTERPE. Remove the top from [n]EUTER=lacking sex and add PE=exercise.  Muse of music and lyric poetry.
22.  Not all Apollo tells about his mother (4)
LETO.  Hidden in [Apoll]O TEL[ls] reversed (about).  When I solved this I just casually thought it was a shortened version of LET O[n] but when I came to write this up I saw what Myrtilus meant to do.  Zeus was the father.
24.  Relative success for JP Martin (5)
UNCLE.  Popular children’s stories that somehow I’d never heard of.  They were published in the 1960s and 70s and then were out of print for a long time, but have now been revived.  I should look into them.
27.  End in sight (3)
AIM.  Double definition.

5 comments on “TLS Crossword 1182 by Myrtilus – June 30, 2017”

  1. Awww, shucks. Tell the palace they can keep their OBEs. A nina in the TLS? Thanks, Myrtilus!

    Needless to say I didn’t spot it and had no idea about it until coming here, so thank you, Olivia, too. I’m especially proud to be associated with a truly excruciating top line pun.

    To business, I finished this in about half an hour but also have an error I can’t see. My answers seem to be the same as yours, Olivia, so we’ve presumably got the same one wrong. Was 13d possibly the noun?

    A few unknowns —  KEELDAR, the LOCKE, UNCLE and OASIS references, Dante’s Cocytus — and several words I wouldn’t be too sure of knowing how to spell without wordplay. But they were all pretty generously clued or checked.

    As ever, some lovely things. TAP DANCER is a gem. As is, appropriately, ESMERALDA — I love that “set in stone”. And CHANDLERY is still making me smile. Ah, happy days.

  2. Got through most of this without too much trouble though I needed aids to correct 12A (my guess was EGEGS, despite studying AMND for O-Level English Lit) and 17A (didn’t know the character and KLEADER seemed a likelier ordering). Half-a-dozen other unknowns but the wordplay was clear for them.

    The answer to 13D is SPOONERISM – I would have been tempted by the verb form but it’s not listed in (my old) Chambers/Collins/ODO. I suppose the definition is in the sense of if you apply a spoonerism to “watch birds” then it will botch words.

    1. Yes, you’re right. I was coming to that conclusion myself. Blog corrected, thank you.
  3. Enjoyed this one but botched my word at 1ac, despite being on the lookout for a signature top line pun I still managed to put something that wasn’t even close to either the answer or the pun. Ah well. Enjoyed “chandlery” and “Euterpe”. I think I’m slowly becoming more disciplined in my spelling of Esmeralda which I always want to spell “Esmerelda”. A!though now I look at it, it definitely seems wrong. Pleased to get 17ac by throwing the anagrist up in the air and having it land in the right order. Also enjoyed getting 19ac from word play. DNK osmometer so that too was assembled from word play. NHO JP Martin but fortunately a five-letter relative beginning with “u” was manageable, even for this beleaguered solver.

Comments are closed.