TLS Crossword 1145 — “1 Down” by Praxiteles – October 7, 2016

Right up until this point, I had not understood what the theme, “poetry” referenced and had actually already written a complaint that the poetry count was no higher than usual. While highlighting the clues, I’ve spotted that they form a complete, if surreal, poem in rhyming couplets and pretty decent scansion, and I apologise to Praxiteles for thinking rude thoughts, instead tipping my hat in admiration. Bravo! Some of the cluing suffers a bit, I think, noted, pretty much without complaint, in my comments. All that aside, this was a relatively quick solve for me, coming in on exactly 30 minutes, and a pleasant one, not least because it visited a substantial portion of my A and O level syllabi, awaking  (mostly) happy memories and giving a sense of purpose to all those themes we wrote desperate mnemonics for. Discuss the role of equivocation in Macbeth – bet you still can.
I have facilitated understanding by formatting clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS. Everything else you’ll have to work out for yourselves using the normal rules of English language, give or take a few that I may have made up along the way.


1 Starts poem by Wordsworth, beginning of same  (8)
PRELUDES  Prelude is Wordsworth’s life’s work, not only because it’s autobiographical but because it consumed him off and on for two thirds of it. Mrs W gave it its title after he died. Add an S from the beginning of Same and you have all you need for entry. And a work from T S Eliot which might have been a shorter clue.
5 Most of royalty troubled by Coleridge’s name (6)
William TAYLOR Coleridge, and an anagram of ROYALTy.
9 What’s mixed with our broadcast, introductory bit  (8)
EXORDIUM  Follow the instructions, mix (“broadcast”)   MIXED with OUR for another version of prelude
10 Franco-Austrian battle where jester gets hit (6)
WAGRAM   1809 battle won by Napoleon, though with horrendous casualties, since no-one had yet worked out that standing in ranks in front of cannons was a bad idea. Jester WAG, hit RAM
12 Oswald, recounting a tale of Aleyn  (5)
REEVE  named as Oswald by Chaucer in the Tales. His is an hilarious story of sex, violence, theft, sex, deception and sex featuring Aleyn and John, students, and Mr and Mrs Miller and their daughter. Something of an eye-opener, in the BBC 2 raunchy 1960s version, for a young teenager “required” to watch it for study purposes.
13 Statesman whom Wister described on the plain  (9)
VIRGINIAN  Owen Wister wrote The Virginian, a Horseman of the Plains, in 1902. Later a major TV series, Great theme tune
14 In courtly advice his interest is nil (6,6)
AMICUS CURIAE  So not Sirrrr Gawain, then. A “friend of the court” whose task it is to provide impartial information. Cryptic-ish definition, I think
18 Rake detains crook that’s marked with a kill (12)
BLOOD STAINED  Rake translated as BLOOD (via “man of fashion”) plus a “crook” version of DETAINS
21 Like “Present of the Past” as Tennyson implied (5-4)
NIGHT-LONG  Section 71 of Tennyson’s In Memoriam:
Sleep, kinsman thou to death and trance
And madness, thou hast forged at last
A night-long Present of the Past
In which we went thro’ summer France.
23 Like one with a view that’s ample and wide  (5)
ROOMY Two definitions, one that whimsically suggests “similar to room”
24 A tense poem composed at original pace  (1,5)
A TEMPO  Musical Italian, and an anagram (composed) of A T(ense) POEM.
25 Rowe’s lover averse to a tropical place  (8)
LOTHARIO  A name introduced by Cervantes and taken up by Nicholas Rowe in his 1793 play The Fair Penitent. Wordplay reluctant: LOTH, a: A, tropical place: Rio.
26 City in Greece; was it almost supreme?  (6)
THEBES  Almost THE BESt. I love the vintage ones.
27 Poem by Keats, divine love as its theme  (8)
ENDYMION The story of moon goddess Selene’s love for a shepherd boy. A clue that seems to have strayed in from one of those GK crosswords.


1 Humourless note on “Essay” in verse  (6)
POETRY  PO (as in –faced), E (a note to follow D) TRY “Essay”
2 a poem of note Pope’s ending in curse  (6)

The Shape of the Unlock
What arcane word from simplest clueing springs
When note suggests an E Euterpe sings
And POPE himself doth manifest his name
And final E from curse completes the frame
Hail EPOPEE! Great Homer’s greatest gift!
How kindly doth our Setter help us sift
This less-known word from deepest OED
And place it in the grid suspicion-free!
Thus Alexander Pope himself might write
(If he was filling in for me this night)
In mock heroic rhyming couplets twee
To light for us the way to EPOPEE
       Composed before the epiphany acknowledged in the prologue.

3 Made under wavering, were Hamlet’s things so?  (9)
UNDREAMED Clearly an anagram, but also neatly shadowing Hamlets other thing of behaving like the poor cat i’ th’ adage. The “things” here, though are the ones in Heaven and Earth undreamed of in your philosophy. So there, Horatio.
4 Short wisecrack in echoing words “yes” and “no”  (12)
EQUIVOCATION  Your short wisecrack is QUIp, and echoing provides EVOCATION (Chambers “something that reminds one of something else; a memory evoked”). Assemble Matrioshka style.
6 In dramatist’s oeuvre a cello stands out  (5)
AMATI, hidden (just about) in dramatist. Here’s what an Amati cello sounds like.
7 Right ego a poet’s embracing, the lout!  (8)
LARRIKIN  Australian. Or Cornish. LARKIN is your poet (winner of the Mary Whitehouse prize for the best use of the word F*** in a serious poem, 1972) and R(ight) I (ego, Latin!) the missing letters to be inserted.
8 Suggestion of one who’s protecting a crook  (8)
REMINDER  I think “of” provides the RE, about, and MINDER is of course as played by Dennis Waterman on the TV series of that name.
11 Garment one’s beating, good for a duke  (8,4)
DRESSING GOWN Take the beating, usually verbal, I think, and swap out the D of Duke for the G of Good. Don’t do it the other way round.
15 Weird Lutheran maybe, the last one of twenty  (9)
UNEARTHLY A strangely satisfying anagram (indicated by “maybe”, not “weird”) of LUTHERAN waiting for the last letter of twentY
16 A roll and mixed fondant at last that’s aplenty  (8)
ABUNDANT  A roll gives A BUN, and mixed gives DAN, and the last letter of fondanT the icing on the cake.
17 A poet to study and suffer we’ve heard  (8)
CONGREVE  Today’s (partial) homophone, of grieve (suffer) tacked on to CON for study. Who knew that the developer of military rockets also wrote poetry? (source Every Boys Book of Entertaining But Not At All True Facts)
19 Three Sisters” for instance. One Maori? Absurd!  (6)
MOIRAI the three Fates. A rather heroic attempt at a practically impossible anagram produces I (one) MAORI.
20 Eccentric not coy, the last Hollywood czar?  (6)
TYCOON And a less heroic anagram, NOT COY, references The Last Tycoon, by F Scott Fitzgerald, about an old style Hollywood producer.
22 Polynesian relation’s old Jaguar car?  (5)
TYPEE  A semi-true book by Herman Melville (yup, that one) about the islanders of Nuku Hiva in the middle of the Pacific. And, of course, in reverse order, the iconic Jag

8 comments on “TLS Crossword 1145 — “1 Down” by Praxiteles – October 7, 2016”

  1. Isn’t it SAMUEL Taylor Coleridge at 5a? Having recently visited his cottage in Nether Stowey and walked part of his trail in the Quantocks, he is still in the forefront of my mind. He is not to be confused, of course, with Samuel Coleridge Taylor, but that’s another tale.
    By the way, is there any way of getting the TLS crossword without subscribing to the whole publication?
    1. Ah, I’m glad you asked me that. William sounded right, and I live in hope that he’s Samuel’s little brother. At least I got the Taylor bit right, which was the bit that matters.
      TLS is available on the Times Crossword Club site, which also gives you all the main crosswords  a monthly special, and a range of forums. Doesn’t have the Quickie. Included in a Times subscription, can be independently subscribed to, not too massive a price.

      Edited at 2016-10-28 09:16 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks z8.
        I’m a subscriber to the paperware Times, so this entitles me access to the Club site.
  2. I remembered absolutely nothing about this puzzle which appeared on my birthday (I don’t remember much about that either), but I’m very impressed with the blog and in particular the verse accompanying 2d. My excuse is that I was SUI after a back operation and had been given the sort of drugs that fetch large sums on certain street corners.

    What was really unnerving is that I’d carefully completed my monthly list of bills paid or scheduled that week showing that I’d taken care of all of them, only to get a call from the phone company this week demanding my PIN or the last 4 digits of my SSN. To which I said – What kind of idiot do you think I am and hung up. Only to get a call a little later from the electric company to the same effect. I hadn’t paid any of them!

    1. Goodness! On one of the occasions I put my back out in performing my Loadmaster duties, the base hospital at NAS Sigonella, Sicily gave me “the sort of drugs that fetch large sums on certain street corners.” I made it home and was on the phone to my colleague in Rota, Spain when I told him I had to put the phone down. I made it to my bed and that was that till the following morning!
      1. Thanks Martin. An email will be on its way tomorrow. Last month was complicated, and not just by valium and percocet!
  3. Another one that I missed, but I’ve had to go and look at it after reading your intro, Z8, and once I finally realised it was the clues, not the solutions, which formed the verse I was bowled over by it.

    I always enjoy Praxiteles’ puzzles and am sorry I didn’t solve this at the time. Special stuff.

    And well done, Z8, especially for the flexing of your own poetic muscles. Bravos all round.

  4. Thanks, z8. I fell down on the Tennyson quote and put “night song”. My memory of the Moirai comes from Len Deighton’s superb spy thriller “Horse Under Water”. One of the characters, in his dying moments, refers to Atropos.

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