TLS Crossword 1174 by Myrtilus – May 5, 2017 Nothing Daunted

Expecting the trademark pun across the top line is just beginning to be helpful: if you can get one or other, it becomes a significant extra bit of information for solving  the associated clue. But please don’t stop, this week’s was another delight. Probably because I selflessly chose the “wrong” one, I’m of the opinion that we have a good shout for an alternative spelling. My time of around 37 minutes would then look better and rise some way up the table.
I present my findings with clue, definition, SOLUTION.


1. Rough breeches worn by a king (6)
HOARSE  Introduce A R (king) to hose , as in doublet and, for breeches
5. Lover, in case he left the wife of his youth (8)
CHESNUTT  Charles W, an African American author who wrote “”The Wife of His Youth”. The wordplay puts NUT (lover) in a CHEST (case)
9. This writer blocks those that could rectify a threat to Troilus (8)
DIOMEDES Contender for the title of Best Greek Warrior Except Achilles of Course and participant in the Trojan War. This writer: ME (Myrtilus doesn’t fit) surrounded by DIODES, one way electrical gizmos.
10. Sporting charmer who could make the 11? (6)
POTTER  References Stephen the author of “The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship: Or the Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating”. Equally a potter might create (spoiler alert) a TEA SERVICE, se next clue.
11. A secretive novel set in China (3,7)
TEA SERVICE  An anagram (novel) of A SECRETIVE
13. Way around an ancient land (4)
EDOM  A nation occupying the area to the south of the Dead Sea, traditionally descended from Esau, as in “my brother Esau is an hairy man, but I am a smooth man.” MODE for way backwards.
14. Cool school’s lack of rules (12)
INDISCIPLINE  Cool in my generation could be substituted by IN, as in the in crowd. Doubt it still can. School slides smoothly into DISCIPLINE
17. Migrant faced timeless moment in a novella (2,4,3,3)
OF MICE AND MEN  Take T(ime) away from MOMENT, add the letters of FACED, allow them to migrate where they will until they resemble the Steinbeck novella. The clue itself is a decent précis of the work.
20. Juvenile indiscretions, like Larkin’s intros for his prose work (4)
JILL  The only novel written by Phillip Larkin, spelled out by the first letters of the first four words.
21. Story writer’s maiden, cheerful fool, trapped by a soldier (10)
MAUPASSANT M(aiden) then UP (cheerful) ASS (fool) contained within A ANT (a soldier)
23. “What joy is joy, if — be not by” (The Two Gentlemen of Verona) (6)
SYLVIA SILVIA Does anyone else remember singing “Who is Silvia, what is she?” as I did at Primary School? They taught us well in those days. Anyway, it’s that Silvia.
24. American dropped from funny knight’s part in Princess Ida (8)
HILARION Suitor to Priincess Ida, though as a man , “Mother Nature’s sole mistake” he’s on a hiding to nothing. Ida is G&S 8th opera. Take the US out of HILARIOUS (funny) and get the N from Knight (chess)
26. Rides around following Jesus in parts of Greece (8)
CYCLADES  Following Jesus gives you AD (or used to). Rides: CYCLES. The Cyclades are an archipelago to the SE of Greece.
27. Macbeth’s servant and armourer agreed about fashion (6)
SEYTON (ooer, sounds a bit like Satan, wonder how that happened) is as described, and is also a reversal of YES (agreed) and TON (fashion)


2. Parish boy, short of meat (6)
OLIVER Well, obviously, but there is some wordplay: short O(f), LIVER for meat.
3. Hurt, lifting stuff (3)
RAM   An easy reverse of MAR for hurt, but could have gone either way. I think, indeed with the comma placement mar might have been the marginal favourite.
4. Sign leaving Kent perhaps: ‘Witch lived here’ (5)
ENDOR  The witch of Endor was fatefully consulted by King Saul, in 1 Samuel 28, The Wordplay n also takes some divination, but endorse for sign loses SE the location of Kent from a certain perspective.
5. Drink spiked by university conspirator … (7)
CASSIUS   Cassis is your drink, and U(niversity) your enlivening additional ingredient. Cassius conspired with Brutus et al to improve the air conditioning of Caesar’s mantle.
6. … it’s one used for sex (9)
EUPHEMISM  There are many euphemisms for – um – thingy, of which “It” is a laconic example.
7. Yon lass packs mesh bags in the country (11)
NETHERLANDS  Yon lass is HER, over there. NET translates mesh, and LANDS bags, as in captures. Arrange in a straight line.
8. Comedians filling with ego on stage (3,5)
THE GOONS  Hidden (filling)  wiTH EGO ON Stage.
12. Life drawing is something for evening courses (6,5)
SPIRIT LEVEL  Practically every word needs to be detached from the misleading context. So life: SPIRIT, drawing: having the same score/level. Evening translated to levelling, and courses not food but bricks and such.
15. Derby’s first alderman translated Utopia (9)
DREAMLAND The one I knew was in Sarfend., but Utopia will do as a synonym. Anagram (translated) of D(erby) and ALDERMAN
16. A deviant, fifty, hiding in a Sarah Waters book (8)
AFFINITY A plus a deviant version of FIFTY hides IN for Sarah Waters second book after Tipping the Velvet, a euphemism for –um – thingy practiced by two ladies. Affinity continues the exploration of the theme. Whether we should read anything into the surface of the clue is a bit of a loaded question.
18. O, love a duck! (7)
NOUGHT, a triple definition which doesn’t look like one. I plumped without thinking too much for NAUGHT, which I still think is possible.
19. Popular Oz character? Absolutely! (2,4)
IN TOTO  Popular is there to give you in. The Oz character is the dog Toto, always pronounced as if spelt with a D
22. One forever holding up a mariner’s return (5)
ATLAS  The Titan who keeps Henny-Penny’s hopes alive, and a reversal of SALT (sailor) following A.
25. Man famous for photographing fish (3)
RAY  The photographer (and surrealist is Man  Ray

13 comments on “TLS Crossword 1174 by Myrtilus – May 5, 2017 Nothing Daunted”

  1. 38 minutes or so, I think, but 2 errors: 1 NAUGHT, and I agree with Z, and one truly stupid one, ‘coarse’. I can’t remember whether I biffed it without trying to solve it, or just mistyped, but either way pretty damn dumb. Billie Thing, the good witch, says TOTO; the other characters are Murcans, and we suffer from North American Intervocalic Flapping. And whether or not SEYTON was pronounced back then to rhyme with today’s pronunciation of Satan, I’m not sure that Satan was: ‘ace’, for instance, was pronounced ‘ass’ [aes].
    1. Of course, you’re right,as it is in the grid. Probably influenced in my late night, occasionally dropping off posting by a dear friend who recently died who spelt it that way. I’ll correct.
  2. Oh dear, I was going along quite nicely with this one (apart from either a thoughtless or a mistyped “hilarios” at 24ac) but came unstuck in the NW. I should’ve remembered that this was a Myrtilus puzzle and that I should look out for a top line pun. Had I done so I might have paused to think “horse Casanova” is definitely not a thing. But I didn’t. This put the perfectly gettable euphemism and goons out of reach so a DNF.
  3. Sorry about the alternative spelling; it didn’t occur to me that folk would spell it that way.
    With regard to 10ac, even though I own a few Stephen Potter books, including the recently acquired Anti-woo book, I had intended nothing more complicated than Harry Potter, the ‘charmer’ first choice for the Quidditch team.
    1. Only 7 players in a Quidditch team, .. so naturally assumed the reference was to 11ac
  4. So far I seem to be the only one who got the wrong strand of the double helix at first here so the top row took me much longer than it should. In the musical Two Gentlemen Silvia (there spelled with a Y) sent a “hot night-letter” to Valentine. I saw it in Central Park when I was first in NY – wonderful! Thanks to Myrtilus and Z for the reminder about Stephen Potter.
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