April 30, 2016

Acrostic clue that I don't think began that way.

Tomorrow's NYT acrostic has one clue that reads: "How Abraham Lincoln and Jimi Hendrix died." I'm pretty sure that "Jimi Hendrix" was a last minute substitution.

Here's a piece from 3 days ago in the Wall Street Journal: "What Prince and Abraham Lincoln Have in Common."

Why oust Prince from that clue and replace him with a longer-dead rock-music icon? Spoiler alert. The answer to the clue is: intestate. The NYT is pretty punctilious about the accuracy of puzzle clues, and though no Prince will has surfaced yet, it could happen. And perhaps there is an element of taste. The quote in the solution — again, spoiler alert — comes from "Bring Up the Bodies," and we might not want to think of the recently lost Prince in such graphic terms.

Does the title of "Bring Up the Bodies" refer to buried human bodies?
The title of Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, we learn late in the narrative, is a legal phrase, the command to court officials instructing them to deliver to their trial men who, because they are accused of treason, are regarded as already dead: “The order goes to the Tower, ‘Bring up the bodies.’” But the phrase is suggestive too of the march to death, specifically to the scaffold, that is undertaken by many of the book’s characters. Bring Up the Bodies is a sequel to Mantel’s Booker Prize–winning Wolf Hall and in both novels she ambitiously attempts to reconstruct in fictional but credible form a series of crucial events in English history, specifically here those leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn....

22 comments:

Comanche Voter said...

Ah but she is going to get to the execution of Thomas Cromwell in the third book of that trilogy. And he is a much more interesting character than Ann Boleyn.

Ann Althouse said...

I haven't read those books, but I've become interested in quite a few books via the NYT acrostic. Love those things!

Crimso said...

Anoxia?

Crimso said...

Not following Walt Whitman's advice?

Ann Althouse said...

??

"Habituate yourself to the brisk walk in the fresh air—to the exercise of pulling the oar—and to the loud declamation upon the hills, or along the shore. Such are the means by which you can seize with treble gripe upon all the puzzles and difficulties of your student life—whatever problems are presented to you in your books, or by your professors. Guard your manly power, your health and strength, from all hurts and violations—this is the most sacred charge you will ever have in your keeping."

The Godfather said...

@Althouse: Sorry you haven't read the Mantel books. I'm deciding whether to read them and would like your judgment.

Anybody else have an opinion (please don't include references to Hillary! or Tromp; that's much too obvious).

narciso said...

I watched the bbc series, mark rylance does a masterful job, as cromwell, damian lewis does a decent job as young henry V111,

Ann Althouse said...

I can't bring myself to watch those multi-episode TV shows about royalty. They look so boring. I'd much rather habituate myself to the brisk walk in the fresh air with an audiobook.

narciso said...

it's a devil's advocate view, dethroning the place of thomas more, set by man for all seasons, much like machiavelli's advocacy of cesare borgia in his commentaries,

narciso said...

actually it wasn't, think of it as house of cards, tudor edition, cromwell is more urquart then underwood,

narciso said...

it's interesting how narratives were crafted then, by merton to serve the tudor throne, which shakespeare took up, by il macchia, to rubbish the reputation of one who had not chosen to take his advice, caterina de sforza, the tigress of forli,

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HenryW said...

Hendrix had a very large penis and was proud of it. My dad works in the alternative newspaper music business and has a lot of knowledge. He tells me Hendrix decided to memorialize his penis with a plaster cast of it.

narciso said...

Interesting, I have to look into that one, the nonfiction counterpart is contained in Jay Winik's the Great upheaval, with contrasts the revolutions in the colonies and france with the aborted one under Catherine the Great.

Quaestor said...

My dad works in the alternative newspaper music business and has a lot of knowledge.

What kind of music does the alternative newspaper make, and is it a profitable business?

Quaestor said...

My dad works in the alternative newspaper music business and has a lot of knowledge.

Waxed paper folded over a comb makes a serviceable alternative kazoo, but newspaper would probably get soggy before any note could be sounded more than once, therefore I assume alternative newspaper music would be classed as percussion.

Quaestor said...

I'm quite impressed by Hilary Mantel. The first of her novels I read was A Place of Greater Safety which unfolds during the French Revolution, with Camille Desmoulins, Georges Danton, and Maximilien de Robespierre as protagonists. It was bit Joycean in its rather undisciplined leaps from various third persons to omniscient and back again, which though not at all confusing to the reader who is more than passingly familiar with Jacobin politics and personages, can be daunting. Granted the subject is a hard one even for historians since the events and faces of the Revolution are so meteoric, spinning up as they do from the blackness, then bursting into incandescence only to spin once more into the darkening gloom while a thousand others also flare and fade.

Darrell said...

Hilary Mantel is not a historian--she writes "historical fiction." I direct your attention to the "fiction" part. We used to call that "revisionist History" or propaganda. She tells Guardian readers what they want to hear. See: Howard Zinn.

Bob said...

"The NYT is pretty punctilious about the accuracy of puzzle clues,"

Wouldn't it be great if they were as careful with their news reporting?

tim in vermont said...

I love his prose. How can you not? Whitman the poet rings through, even when he writes for "Men's Health."

veni vidi vici said...

They don't want to use the term "intestate" in connection with Prince, since it sounds too much like "testicles" and would thus risk "throwing shade" on his catalogue of risque sex-referential music and on his frequently-professed sexual prowess, given most idiot readers would take it an an implication that he had no balls.

London Girl said...

Bit late to this party but I would seriously recommend both Mantel's books. I read less and less fiction as I get older, and an awful lot of the modern literary fiction I try strikes me as embarrassingly overrated. Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies do not fall into that category. She has quite an elliptical style - she's not writing for the completely uninformed - but it is worth persevering with.

What I find slightly frightening is that when I first read Wolf Hall a few years ago, the Early Tudor period seemed completely foreign. Here for example, is Cromwell thinking about the debate between William Tyndale and Thomas More about the word charity vs the word love in Paul's letter to the Corinthians 13.

"Thomas More thinks it is a wicked mistranslation. He insists on 'charity'. He would chain you up, for a mistranslation. He would, for a difference in your Greek, kill you."

This sounds like hyperbole but of course it isn't. People really were burned at the stake over this debate.

Then Charlie Hebdo happened and Cromwell's world no longer seemed like a foreign country.