The only downside is that it conflicts with the NCAA tournament, although last year I did better than Syracuse...
Time to rent Wordplay, the hit 2006 documentary about the Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
To experience how little this secret niche has changed since Dickens wrote those words, go right through the ancient gateway and enter Staple Inn itself. As you do so, note the warning just inside the wall on the left that warns you in no uncertain terms: “The Porter Has Orders to Prevent Old Clothes Men and Others From Calling ‘Articles For Sale’ Also Rude Children Playing and No Horses Allowed Within This Inn.”
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping, and the waterside pollution of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out in the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships…
And…in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in His High Court of Chancery.Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, too assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds, this day, in the sight of heaven and earth.
In a letter to The Echo in 1883, a Mr. Charles Tesseyman confessed that his brother, who had dealt in old china, books and paintings from the premises between 1868 and 1877, had added the “Immortalized by” appellation to his shop front for “business purposes.” Following his brother’s death in 1877, the new tenant painted over his name but left the claim displayed on the wall. Around 1881, an American journalist writing about Dickensian landmarks arrived at the shop and “straightaway wrote an article in Scribner’s Monthly … [assuring] …his readers that this was the old original Old Curiosity shop of Dickens.”
an old-fashioned place even in the year 1780. It was very small, very dark, very ugly, very incommodious. Any one of the partners would have disinherited his son on the question of rebuilding Tellson’s. Thus it had come to pass that Tellson’s was the triumphant perfection of inconvenience.
Rebuilt in 1667, this rambling tavern of creaking floors, cosy rooms and snug corners, possesses a timeless ambience that keeps the contemporary world firmly at bay. Portraits of those who have worked and supped here over the centuries gaze fondly down from its dark wooden walls. Dr Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—to name but a few—have all ducked beneath its low beamed ceilings to absorb its 17th-century atmosphere. Dickens, too, was a regular, and the table to the right of the ground floor restaurant’s fireplace is said to have been his favoured place.
This is believed to have been the pub that Dickens had in mind when, following Charles Darnay’s acquittal on charges of high treason in A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton invites him to dine: “Drawing his arm through his own” Sydney leads him to Fleet Street “up a covered way, into a tavern… where Charles Darnay was soon recruiting his strength with a good plain dinner and good wine.”