Posted by rightback on March 23rd, 2007
Solving time: About 30 minutes, plus a later look to get the last three clues (asterisked); one mistake.
After 10 minutes I think I had solved two and a half clues. Eventually I got 1 across, which made things much easier. After a break I managed to finish it off, but had already made a crass (double) error on 3dn. Some of the clues were very difficult to explain: 22ac, 25/10ac, 21dn and the first bit of 1ac were the hardest for me.
The theme was the song ‘John Brown’s Body‘, which includes the following lines:
John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave, x 3
His soul goes marching on.
They will hang Jeff. Davis to a sour apple tree, x 3
As they march along.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||JOHN BROWN’S BODY – ‘forehead’ is BROW, ‘wrinkled by nods’ is NSBODY and I think ‘Type of 22 [apple tree]‘ = JOHN; Chambers gives ‘John-apple’ as being a Shakespearean word for a variety of apple but does this mean a John is an apple-tree? This was my breakthrough clue (the third I solved!): I got it from the enumeration, the second ‘B’ (from BEGIN) and a guess of ‘IN THE GRAVE’, but was held up by thinking that 7dn began with O (“…oxygen on top“).|
|9||FISH (= angle) + GUARD (= (A DRUG)*)|
|14||U (= refined) + PROSE – a tenuous reference to the song’s first line, perhaps, but doesn’t “1 across didn’t” require the answer ‘uprise’ rather than ‘uprose’?|
|17/26||NAILED TO THE MAST; (AND LIE)* + TOT + HE + MAST (= nuts) – I remembered that ‘mast’ can mean ‘the fruit of the oak etc’ from a recent Listener, otherwise I would have been unsure about the last word.|
|22||APPLE TREE – Very difficult. I think ‘pupil’ = APPLE (as in ‘the apple of one’s eye’) and ‘actor’ = Herbert TREE (apparently Oliver Reed’s grandfather, though I didn’t know the name). The definition “…when wicked in the Yorkshire Dales” refers to the village of Appletreewick.|
|24||OR + S + ON – refers to Orson Welles.|
|25/10||IN THE GRAVE; (TREE + HAVING)* – a very good clue, ‘having suffered’ is subtle, but also very hard to explain because of the difficulty of spotting the actor in 22ac.|
|1||JEFFERSON DAVIS; (JIVES)* around (AND OFFERS)* – Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. I don’t think I’d seen this name before and had to struggle with the anagram.|
|2/27||HIS SOUL GOES MARCHING ON; HISS + (ARCHING in (MONOLOGUES)*) – unlike his body.|
|3||BOG MYRTLE – rev. of (TRY + M-GOB) + LE – this plant. As I wrote in ‘bog gyrtle’ I thought “what a funny word, if it wasn’t for the wordplay (‘m-mouth’) I’d have written ‘myrtle’”. What an idiot – and that’s before I noticed that I’d actually written ‘bog gyytle’.|
|4||OBAN + DSOL (= (SOLD)*) – short for ‘objection and solution’, apparently.|
|5||NADINE; (END IN A)* – a quick check of Wikipedia suggests that this probably refers to Nadine Gordimer.|
|7||DIABOLO; (BO[nes] in DIAL) + O – a kind of spinning top.|
|8||WE + ST + KEN + SING + TON (= 100mph) – I got ‘West’ quickly but somehow failed to think of ‘knowledge’ = KEN so it was ages before I got the second word.|
|10||P + ERGO + LESI (= (LIES)*)|
|16*||DOME’S (= of that building) + TIC (= movement) – I just couldn’t see this, even with the crossing letters. The word ‘that’ confused me; I think perhaps it’s an allusion to the various arguments about the Millennium Dome.|
|18*||IN(PET)TO – not a phrase I knew; literally ‘in the breast’. I guessed this once I’d got the crossing letters but parsed it incorrectly: I thought ‘into secret’ meant ‘an anagram of “into”‘ (which doesn’t actually fit the answer) and so the definition must be ’16dn’, otherwise I might have got 16dn more quickly.|
|21*||GRETNA – the last clue I solved. I only thought of this after going through the alphabet on both the first and fifth letters, and didn’t fully understand it until I looked up Gretna Green on Wikipedia – apparently most marriages at Gretna Green were performed at the blacksmith’s, hence “Smith’s work?“. (Wikipedia does claim that Gretna and Gretna Green are distinct places, but I’m not sufficiently well-informed to quibble.)|
|22||EVE + NS|