TLS Crossword 1175 by Broteas – May 12, 2017 – Picked A Peck Of Pickled Peppers

I’m off on a plane to Barcelona in a couple of hours; if all goes well this will appear as if by magic on the morning of next Friday, if not I’m in trouble I suppose! Broteas usually supplies a tough workout, with allusion to many literary and classical obscurities, and this looked like no exception, though I was able to complete it comfortably inside 20 minutes on this occasion, which was quite a relief. Many thanks to the setter, and I really want to go away and read Appleby’s End now! Too late to source a copy for reading on the beach sadly…


1 A form of examination including T-cell? (5)
PETER – PEER, a form of examination, including T. Peters are more conventionally safes in crosswordland, but they can also be a prison cell in the Antipodes.

4 Pa and I had curious elegy from Edmund on the death of a daughter (9)
DAPHNAIDA – (PA AND I HAD*) [“curious”]. The snappily titled Daphnaïda. An Elegy upon the Death of the Noble and Vertuous Douglas Howard, Daughter and Heire of Henry Lord Howard, Viscount Byndon, and Wife of Arthure Gorges Esquier, by your favourite Edmund and mine Mr Spenser.

9 One delivering stories daily? (7)
NEWSBOY – a straightforward cryptic definition I think.

10 Coe’s best-known achievement involved this dodgy sporting arrangement (5-2)
CARVE-UP – a carve-up is dishonestly prearranging the results of a sporting competition. “What A Carve-Up!” is presumably the best-known work by Jonathan Coe; certainly the first to be mentioned in his Wikipedia entry.

11 A chap’s adventure that isn’t by P G Wodehouse, but is about a pig (7,8)
BERTIE’S ESCAPADE – this does indeed sound like it should be a Jeeves & Wooster story, but in fact it’s a Kenneth Grahame work about Bertie, a pig of action, whose motto is “Deeds not grunts”.

12 Most unlikely to be Mary Shelley’s kind of man (4)
LAST – The Last Man being a postapocalyptic science fiction novel from Mary Shelley in 1826, long before they were all the rage.

13 Sweet parent, or someone less charming? (5,5)
SUGAR DADDY – SUGAR [sweet] + DADDY [parent], which sounds superficially nice but has unsavoury connotations in practice.

16 Cheap wine – inn gave ton away (3-7)

18 Colour, first seen with 1A in black and white (4)
BLUE – I think we’re talking about Blue Peter the long running children’s TV programme, which would obviously have been in black and white when it first aired in 1958, despite its name.

21 Winner lost Hope in this story, but through the alternative to Charity, had … (2,4,9)
BY LOVE POSSESSED – BY [through] + LOVE [the alternative to Charity, biblically following “the greatest of these is…”] + POSSESSED [had]. A popular 1950s novel about Arthur Winner whose wife Hope died giving birth to their daughter.

23 … perverse gusto in excursions (7)
OUTINGS – (GUSTO IN*). My first one in, thank goodness for some easy ones!

24 Critic’s reported description of the TLS (7)
HAZLITT – the famous critic and essayist, who sounds like HAS LIT, which the TLS surely does.

26 Removed passages from journeys, with Italy replacing home of ancient civilization (9)
EXCISIONS – EXCURSIONS [journeys], with I [Italy] replacing UR [the ancient Sumerian city-state]

27 Edmund’s half-brother, apparently mad, raged wildly (5)
EDGAR – (RAGED*) [“wildly”] – Not Spenser this time but Edmund’s less bastardly brother in King Lear.

1 Criticize 1A who’s immature (3)
PAN – Peter Pan, the only boy who never grows up.

2 What comes before the end of the morning, in Frayn’s story including newspaper crosswords (7)
TOWARDS – “Towards the End of the Morning” is a Michael Frayn satire, in which the protagonists are journalists and do have to compile the crosswords etc, which does sound unusually riveting!

3 A 1A who loses his jacket and shoes after stealing some food (6)
RABBIT – straightforward description of the events of Beatrix Potter’s much-loved children’s story.

4 Wipe, like wipe? That’s not very interesting (9)
DRYASDUST – DRY AS DUST [wipe | like | wipe]. One of those words that’s amazing just for having escaped the tyranny of hyphenation; I’m personally fond of using “longdrawnout”.

5 Cup is reshaped for an ancient monarch (5)
PICUS – (CUP IS*) [“reshaped”]. Apparently the first king of Latium in Roman mythology, who received his name “as a consequence of the fact that he used to rely on a woodpecker for the purpose of divination”, and was later turned into a woodpecker by Circe for rejecting her advances, ironic really.

6 Christie’s spy mystery, with a chap somewhere in Northern France (8)
NORMANDY – N OR M? is the Agatha Christie novel in question, plus ANDY [a chap].

7 Anger and trouble for a Shakespeare faker (7)
IRELAND – William Henry Ireland was a forger of Shakespeareana, including the play Vortigern & Rowena. (I think I went to see a production of The Birth of Merlin once, decades ago, which is in a quite similar vein.) the anger is clearly IRE, not quite sure how LAND is “trouble” though? Perhaps as in “landed with a massive bill”.

8 Detective story, with a railway station as Sir Humphrey’s objective (8,3)
APPLEBY’S END – 1945 detective story by Michael Innes: one Goodreads review claims “if you can put up with the writing style, which is erudite to the point of pretention, and have a taste for the bizarre, then Innes will be your cup of tea”, which sounds pretty marvellous to me. The other half of the clue refers to Humphrey Appleby from Yes (Prime) Minister.

11 Roger the conjuror, destroyed by diabolical goblin (11)
BOLINGBROKE – BROKE [destroyed], by (GOBLIN*) [“diabolical”]. 15th century alleged necromancer, executed for perpetration of treasonable witchcraft against Henry VI.

14 With protection like this, he killed a king (9)
AEGISTHUS – AEGIS THUS [protection | like this]. Aegisthus was Clytemnestra’s lover who helped kill Agamemnon on his return from Troy.

15 One presiding over trees gives a kind of birch without hesitation to a group of students (8)
SILVANUS – SILV{er} [a kind of birch “without hesitation”] + A NUS [a | group of students]. Silvanus, the Roman deity of forests and fields.

17 Nothing to do with the ears of East African people (7)
NILOTIC – NIL OTIC [nothing | to do with the ears]

19 Singles falling in love again, she gave us (7)
LESSING – (SINGLES*) [“falling”]. Love, Again is a 1996 Doris Lessing novel.

20 It was used to comb Sir 1A in a comedy of manners (6)
TEAZLE – Sir Peter Teazle is a character from A School For Scandal, and you can use a dried teazle or teasel as a natural comb.

22 It’s mainly Basil and Oscar chasing a nuisance (5)
PESTO – O [Oscar] chasing PEST [a nuisance]

25 Toni Morrison’s baby, not entirely proletarian? (3)
TAR – found hidden in {prole}TAR{ian}. Tar Baby is a 1981 novel by Toni Morrison.

3 comments on “TLS Crossword 1175 by Broteas – May 12, 2017 – Picked A Peck Of Pickled Peppers”

  1. Found this quite straightforward so it must have been an easy one.
    re 18ac Blue Peter .. 1958 – my god!
    1. Enjoyable. A couple of errors at 20dn and 24ac and had to look up 7dn and 2dn to complete the grid but very satisfying to derive unknowns like 8dn and 11ac entirely from the references to Sir Humphrey and P.G. Wodehouse. Couldn’t find the unhyphenated dryasdust in my OED. Wiki says that Dryasdust was an imaginary and tediously thorough literary authority cited by Sir Walter Scott to present background information in his novels; thereafter a derisory term for anyone who presents historical facts with no feeling for the personalities involved.
  2. Late comment, as I was on holiday when this appeared and only just remembered to look. The Peter themelet was a bit of self-indulgence, as 12 May is my birthday. Second birthday puzzle of the year, as there was also a Sunday Times General Knowledge crossword on my wife’s birthday.

    Other point: having read the Michael Frayn book now, the crossword-related content was a bit like the “Lone Ranger” theme in the William Tell overture – in the (lengthy) opera itself, it never appears. In the book, the crosswords are mentioned early on, but there’s no more detail about work on them than only having so many in hand.

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