TLS Crossword 1186 by Myrtilus – July 28 That’s All folks

I am relieved of this most pleasant of duties with this last TLS before the axe fell, and I’m already suffering withdrawal pains. Many thanks are due to Talos (still available in the Sunday Times), Praxiteles (still available just about everywhere there are puzzles to be set), our very own Ming the Myrtilus (pun required) and of course Broteas who rescued the whole thing from a rather sorry state to the excellent series we have enjoyed, compiling by common consent the hardest ever TLS in the process. This one (thanks to those who contributed images of the grid to make up for my error in not copying it) is as fitting a farewell as it might be, with a trademark pun across the top and a very fine set of clues, Here’s how I unravelled it (24a only while compiling) with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS.

1. The Bard’s mistress left, fulfilled (8)
OVERDONE  From Measure for Measure, the brothel keeper. OVER and DONE are synonyms for left and fulfilled respectively.
5. Author of ‘G’ is bitter about resistance to it (6)
BERGER  John, born in Stoke Newington, won multiple prizes for the economically titled novel G.  Bitter is BEER (it’s the hops, apparently) which you place around R(esistance) and the novel itself.
10. Shade of resentment, for example over being ignored (5)
UMBRA If you added a reverse EG, for example, you’d have resentment, take it away again, and you have your shade.
11. A feature of Bessie Bunter’s skirt and cape (9)
ROUNDNESS  To round is to skirt, and a cape is a headland or ness. Bessie was Billy’s equally alliterative and spherical sister.
12. Journalist whose client won’t appear in the Mirror? (8,6)
JONATHAN HARKER  Whose journal forms a significant part of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” Vampires cast no reflection as is revealed in the book. Harker’s professional relationship with the Count was as estate agent/lawyer.
14. Wrinkly leotards lacking a synthetic (7)
OLDSTER  “synthesise“ the letters of LEOTARDS, discard the A.
16. Pay to get old film clips (7)
FOOTAGE Pay: FOOT (the bill), get old: AGE
18. A naturalist’s blunder brought about lifeless harbours (7)
DURRELL  Gerald, “My Family and Other Animals” and loads of other stuff. Blunder: ERR, which is reversed and harboured by lifeless: DULL.
19. “Vain” author fond of whimsy, it’s said? (7)
HARRIET  Vane, sounds like vain, is the love interest of Lord Peter Wimsey brought to life by Dorothy L. Satyers.
20. A Faust scene with pals urging mischief (9,5)
WALPURGIS NIGHT  An anagram (mischief) of WITH PALS URGING. 1st May in Germany, and a scene of Faust’s vision inspired by Mephistopheles, who went on to write Sunday Times puzzles.
24. Governor using a gun, about to go off to the west (9)
REGULATOR  there are two reversal indicators here, one for A LUGER (about) which is a gun, and one for ROT (to the West) for go off.
25. Long to introduce a writer of common sense (5)
PAINE  PINE is long, with an A introduced for Thomas, writer of  Common Sense, which persuaded our American cousins that Independence was a good idea. Obviously didn’t envisage Trump.
26. Play against female rugby sides to begin with (5,1)
HENRY V Against provides the V, and rather charmingly female rugby sides are HEN R(ugb)Y
27. Savage ending cut in tense Vampire book (8)
TWILIGHT Savage provides WILD, from which the D is cut. Tense gives TIGHT, which surrounds it. The author is Stephenie Meyer, who wrote four of them in series, is undead in Arizona



1. One of Poseidon’s sons not using nets (4)
OTUS  Fortunately for setters, Poseidon had an improbable slue of offspring to fill in awkward spaces in crosswords, and here’s one of them, hidden. Can you spot it?.
2. A designer turned up wearing something hot and elaborate (9)
EMBROIDER  Of the famous designers, DIOR provides the filler, once reversed, for EMBER, a hot thing (except when it’s cold). Elaborate appears as a verb here.
3. Pericles has a vision of her lifting a leg up (5)
DIANA  Oooer missus. Except it isn’t,though I spent a happy while looking up DIANA’s legs. What a shame she’s just AN AID (a leg up) backwards. Pericles did have a vision of her, mind.
4. Where to find Lyra Belacqua left below, or sailors, in dark times (8,6)
NORTHERN LIGHTS  Part of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman in which our heroine appears. Here’s the wordplay: or: OR, sailors: THE RN, left: L, dark times: NIGHTS. Assemble with care.
6. Try the handle a detective finally revealed (9)
ENDEAVOUR  Inspector Morse’s given name famously revealed late in the series.
7. “Tis a invocation, to call fools into a circle” (As You Like It) (5)
GREEK  From As You Like It. And the word in question is ducdame, which is anything but.
8. During holidays, an old city park gets going again (10)
RESURRECTS  Holidays are (sometimes) RESTS, the old city is UR (of the Chaldees, Abraham’s hometown), and a park is a REC, the most famous being home to Bath Rugby Club. Assemble.
9. Device used by James. The warder’s next! (4.2,3,5)
TURN OF THE SCREW  A novella by Henry James, and with screw being slang for a prison warder, a whimsy for his/her go.
13. A poet’s letters accumulated value (10)
WORDSWORTH  Letters can, properly assembled, be WORDS, with their WORTH or value tacked on the end. Talos contributed a splendid anagram, worst Dr Who, not so long ago for general delight.
15. Work by George Herbert moving part of a block? (3,6)
THE PULLEY  Herbert wrote a lot of poems beginning with THE, and would have adored the TLS. This one’s completed by PULLEY, as described.
17. Landing a spot in the theatre? (9)
ALIGHTING  I suppose LIGHTING is includes a theatres spot light, and tghus just put an A in front.
21. A runner eventually dashed along (5)
LOGAN  LOGAN’S RUN is set on a post nuclear, underground earth where citizens go (more or less willingly) to their deaths at age 30, to avoid overcrowding. Our hero is an enforcer, who decides not to die, and rather sensibly takes the delightful Jenny Agutter on the run with him. He’s also a dashed mix of ALONG.
22. Force Wodehouse to shorten his introduction? (5)
IMPEL Pelham Grenville Wodehouse might have been persuaded to introduce himself with “I’M PEL”, but would probably follow up with “If you ask me to tell you frankly if I like the name Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, I must confess that I do not. … I was named after a godfather, and not a thing to show for it but a small silver mug which I lost in 1897.”
23. A Martin Sherman play with a twist (4)
BENT  Fulfils both premises of the clue. Well done!
So that’s it. If ever the TLS editors realise that cutting off their greatest admirers was a really bad idea, I’ll take up the cause again, but otherwise so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen good night…

10 comments on “TLS Crossword 1186 by Myrtilus – July 28 That’s All folks”

  1. I’m pushed for time Z so won’t comment on your Myrtilus blog now but I did want to draw your attention to the comments on Wednesday’s puzzle 26805. On page 2 there’s an exchange between JerryW and me about the TLS which we followed up directly by email. If you are interested perhaps you could get in touch with him. I haven’t got your email address or I’d forward you the rest of the confab.
    1. You do, at least you do if you still have vinyl’s email of 12 June.
      I’ve emailed Z8
  2. Lovely stuff. I really enjoyed the top line pun and an equally excruciating (in a good way) idea in TURN OF THE SCREW.

    Special nod to the DURRELL clue for that “lifeless harbours”. That penny took a long time to drop.

    I’ll avoid yet another maudlin adieu as I’ve already done a few. Cheers, Myrtilus and Z8. See you in another place.

  3. I thought 20ac was terrific, if just for cluing so lengthy an anagram in so few words. To my shame 24ac was bunged in with very non-literary, non-TLSsy thoughts of Emilio Estevez and chums in Young Guns. Very pleased to be able to construct 4dn from word play alone having no idea about the Pullman trilogy. Plumped for bent over rent after an alphabet trawl. Got a bit stuck in the NW where I didn’t know the author of G and didn’t twig the topline pun, didn’t know the quote at 7dn and had “head” for cape in 11ac. I can’t remember if I thought Bessie Bunter was a fatheaded gal or a tub thumping, puritanical follower of Cromwell. Perhaps very little thought went into it at all. Also disappointed not to get the most famously crosswordy detective with the most famous first name reveal in the history of literature. Ah well.

    Cheerio TLS bloggers and thanks for all the pleasure you’ve brought me in the relatively short time I’ve been solving the TLS. I’m not sure I would have kept at it without all the fun and entertainment (and explanations) of the blogs.

    1. Hi s-b, if I may call you that. Thanks for your support over the last year. If I remember rightly, you were the winner for 1162 (Robinson Caruso). Ah those halcyon days before the great schism. I hope you find a way to carry on with the TLS: I think it has a unique place in crossword land.

      1. Hello Myrtilus, s-b is fine, or James if you prefer. One doesn’t like to brag but indeed I did win the prize for 1162, and very proud of the achievement I was too (though I think Lawrence Olivia may be my favourite top line pun so far). Not quite the same thing but I actually won a very nice runners up prize for Talos’s first offering in another place as well. Not even Donald Trump can have imagined this much winning. The blog has been a lot of fun. I intend to stick with the TLS there’s usually something worth reading in it and it tops up my highbrow culture quotient balancing out the many, many lowbrow elements. The puzzles have been very high quality and they do have that added dimension of stretching the bounds of one’s knowledge and memory and are far too enjoyable not to carry on.
  4. Thanks Z for the witty blog as always. And a (possibly) final thank you to your fellow bloggers. I will certainly see you in ‘the other place’ and keep being a fan of your Nitches.
  5. Thanks to all the TLS bloggers for supporting the puzzle while it was possible.

    Peter / Broteas

  6. I’ll miss the blogs as well as the puzzles. Our readership was small but most exclusive. I’m catching up on this and a few other things while waiting for the eclipse, which seems appropriate.

    1 and 5A was certainly one of Myrtilus’s best puns and that’s a very high standard. I was however unfortunately reminded that that is how the current occupant of the White House likes his done – he would wouldn’t he. In addition to DURRELL I also liked HARKER very much. And HARRIET reminded me that the Vane was perfectly embodied by Harriet Walker on TV. WALPURGIS NIGHT was an excellent anagram. When shall we four meet again?

    1. When shall we four meet again? In Thunderer’s brightening for the brain, as WS nearly wrote.

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