Nonconformist by Towser
Posted by shirleycurran on 5 June 2015
As I wrote that title, I realized that, although we had a fairly speedy grid-fill and finish today, I still haven’t understood the title. I wonder what Arthur Conan-Doyle had to do with nonconformism. I do know that he was married in the little church of Thornton, about a mile from my Yorkshire Dales home and that his mother lived in the hamlet of Masongill. Apparently he, for some reason, wished to delete his links with the area from the records but Sherlock was possibly suggested by the Reverend Sherlock, who was, at the time, the vicar of the Ingleton area that covered those parishes. An enthusiastic local friend is in the throes of researching a book about Arthur’s links with the area.
Enough of that – Towser? That sounds new and that (like the new Serpent who slithered into view on April’s message board, and in the Inquisitor series and the Magpie – quite a benign serpent really) fills us with trepidation. What evils might be in store. A warm welcome, anyway to Towser.
Of course, I had to check whether Towser’s pedigree admits him to membership of the Listener Setters’ Imbibing Club and a run through the clues revealed rather disturbing preoccupations: ‘Nocturnal activity under the covers (8, two words)’ leading to REM SLEEP, ‘Rarely a place of debauchery… (4)’ STYE but not a trace of alcohol. Of course, Towser redeemed himself when we got to the endgame and ‘Six cracking a joke (5)’ produced one of the ten clues that had no definition, and from which we had to remove a letter to create a thematic word. [O]VINE left not just one bottle but the whole VINE! Drinks on Towser at the next setters’ dinner?
Yes, by this time we had understood that N was coming out of CHRISTINE to give us CHRISTIE and we worked our way through T[O]EY, CRISPI[A]N,PO[N]E, S[L]AYERS, CHANDLER[Y], [C]HILL, CAR[E]R andFREE[D]MAN to give us the letters to anagram to CONAN DOYLE and we were almost home.
A full grid and just that strange ‘?ABRTTRESK?’ across the centre of the grid. This had to be BAKER STREET with an E going in at each end but was that ‘a cryptic representation of someone associated with the 11th member’. We know Sherlock Holmes lived there and decided that, in a sense, it could be a cryptic representation of him and signed off (but a prompt from a friend long after I have posted my entry tells me about Wiggins, the boy who was head of the Baker Street Irregulars – what a lovely touch – so that was why it was anagrammed!)
Well, there’s a numerical due next week, so it was great to have a relatively gentle solve this week. Many thanks, Towser.