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Mephisto 2788 by Tim Moorey

Our run of rather easy puzzles does now appear to have been replaced by a run of middle of the road ones. This is a standard, enjoyable, offering that should assist new solvers to learn without causing the experienced too many problems

1THROUGH,BALLS - TH(e)-ROUGH-BALLS; reference Ed Balls MP, aptly named politician;
10REAR - two meanings, the second a reference to the rear-horse (a praying mantis);
15ATTN - A-TT-N; T=time so TT=(two) times; short for "attention";
16T-CELLS - T(C)ELLS; blood cells;
17ATTORN - TA reversed - TORN;
24SDAINE - S(DA)INE; without=SINE; old word for disdain;
25CROTAL - C-R(O)T-A-L; a bell;
26CIRE - CIR(cl)E; CL=Sri Lanka; glazed fabric;
29ENGIRDLED - (glider)* in END;
31AMYL - AMY-L; reference flyer Amy Johnson;
32WORDSMITHERY - WOR(D-(h+ times)*)RY; D=Germany; coinage is definition;
1TRIMTAB - (tram bit)*;
2RARE - 2 meanings 1=old word for early 2=choice (as in excellent);
3ORIOLE - O-R(I)OLE; of=O;
4URNS - (t)URNS;
5GUDESIRES - GU(DESIRE)S; old word for grandfathers in Grampion;
6BALATA - BAL(l)-A-TA; a rubber substitute;
8LUSTREWARE - (use trawler)*;
9STONN - hidden (te)ST-ON-N(hs);
13PICKADILLO - PICK-AD(ILL)O; stiff dress collar;
14MATACHINI - M(A-TACH)INI; sword dancers;
19SOLIDLY - (lloyds i)*;
21CARPER - CAR-PER; CAR=Carulus=Charles; a=PER;
22ANANAS - (b)ANANAS; a clue from the clue museum;
23HOWDAH - HOW-D(ent)-A(sians)-H(inder-end);
27FRET - F(RE)T;
28ALME - man=male then move "m" to give ALME;


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
This took me a while to get into and I thought at first it was going to be very difficult, but once I got a foothold it went quite steadily.
I don't really understand 10ac. What's the stuff about not racing all about?
I also didn't understand 26, so thanks for that.
Feb. 9th, 2014 11:04 am (UTC)
Chambers under REAR-2 has "rearhorse" which it defines as a praying mantis. So "one sort of horse" directs to "rearhorse" and then "doesn't race" tells you it's not dobbin but an insect.

Not the best clue I've ever seen but sufficient to confirm REAR given "back" and checking letters
Feb. 9th, 2014 11:09 am (UTC)
That's what I thought. It still strikes me as a bit odd, but as you say it couldn't really be anything else.
Feb. 9th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
Couldn't parse a couple of these, so thanks for the blog Jim. I don't have the latest Chambers, but SDAINE seems to work for 24A too.
Feb. 9th, 2014 01:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks - that's what I have in my grid and I think it's the correct answer SINE=without. Must have made the typo when checking answers in Chambers when doing the blog - which I'll amend
Feb. 10th, 2014 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks Jim for the parsing- a crossword that caused me a lot of headache, but as you say a good chance to learn a few things. I suppose I can take it as read, but might I ask in what context is CAR used for Charles? And also does anyone know if car registrations like D and CL are ever used in the times daily cryptic - have never seen them in my limited experience. Is there a loose convention by which some more obscure abbreviations are only used in the mephisto and not in the cryptic?
Feb. 10th, 2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
Hello Allan

If you look in Chambers you'll find that CAR is a recognised abbreviation for the latin Carolus which means Charles

The general rule for Mephisto is "if it's in Chambers it's allowed". I have seen RR used for Rolls Royce although C doesn't support that

The range of abbreviations used in the daily puzzle is much smaller and generally limited to those that are or have been in regular daily use
Feb. 11th, 2014 04:36 pm (UTC)
Rarely have a moment like this - I had to sit through a particularly dreary talk by the mayor of Wilmington, North Carolina on Tuesday morning. I noticed that of the six people sitting at my table, four of us were doing crossword puzzles - two the New York Times, one the USA Today, and me the Mephisto. Got everything from wordplay (except HOWDAH from definition) and put question marks next to the ones where I needed to check the definition, but all A-OK.

Thanks Tim Moorey, for making it easier for me to suffer the mayor of Wilmington!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )