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February 11th, 2018

Mephisto 2997 - Paul McKenna

Woohoo - the script is working again! We can bulk reproduce crossword clues with abandon.

I had a hard time with the last few fiddly bits of this puzzle.  Most of the long answers were easy to get at with wordplay, and a quick spotting of the potential for the pun at the top to be STAKE A CLAIM helped me out tremendously. There's still a few wordplays I'm a little up in the air about, maybe those will sort themselves up as I type this out.

Definitions are underlined

Away we go...

Across
1 Right to assess wood cut for BBQ, perhaps (5)
STEAK - (asses)S, TEAK(wood)
5 Liberal point on according rave review (7)
ACCLAIM - L(liberal), AIM(point) next to ACC(aacording)
10 Dependable sort returning dress, fairly upset about daughter (10, two words)
GIRLFRIDAY - RIG(dress) reversed then an anagram of FAIRLY around D
11 Try hard to plough in historic fashion (4)
HEAR - H(hard), EAR(plough)
12 Relax” — song to dominate utterly (7)
LIEDOWN - LIED (German song), OWN(dominate utterly)
14 Holm is historically obstructed (5)
ISLET - IS, LET(obstructed)
16 Tuning peg inserted in fixed musical instrument (6)
SPINET - PIN(tuning peg) in SET(fixed)
17 Exodus finally seen in choice festival of liberation (6)
PESACH - (exodu)S in PEACH(choice)
18 Protected animal is disturbed in a brook beside duck (9)
ARMADILLO - MAD(disturbed) in A RILL(brook), O(duck)
21 Fancy term for paratactically set and in continuance (9)
ASYNDETON - I think I have this right - an anagram of (practicall)Y,SET,AND then ON(in continuance) with the whole being the definition
24 What stands in front of hearth in a study? (6)
ASHCAN - H(earth) in A, SCAN(study) and another definition that is the whole clue
26 Flipping arrogant gasp with respect to following departure (6)
HOPOFF - POH(arrogant gasp) reversed, then OF(with respect to), F(following)
28 Zulu guzzles out of tin holders (5)
ZARFS - Z(zulu, NATO alphabet) then SNARFS(guzzles) missing SN(tin)
29 Eliot bemused by translator’s poem (7)
TRIOLET - anagram of ELIOT with TR(translator)
30 Cross with one starting to complain about animals (4)
ZOIC - ZO(cross, hybrid animal) then I, C(complain)
31 I ran with tailor fittingly making what looks long short (10)
IRRATIONAL - anagram of I,RAN,TAILOR
32 Paradigm of western dress? Don’t change it, sunshine (7)
STETSON - STET(don't change it), SON(sunshine)
33 Sound argument from which ma’ll break free mug (5)
GOLEM - another one I'm trying to wrap my head around - Sound has to indicate GO, but I'm not sure how. The rest is LEMMA(argument) missing MA.  As pointed out in comments, GO can mean to sound a bell or a gun to start a race, so that was my bad.

Down
1 School teaching year shows difference in pitch (7)
SCHISMA - SCH(school), ISM(teaching), A(year)
2 She crosses a line in Parisienne’s very old hat, right? (10)
TRESPASSER - TRES(very), PASSE(old hat), R
3 Fairness would be sovereignty without right (7)
EGALITY - REGALITY missing R
4 Soak vessel upside-down in large bowl (6)
KRATER - RET ARK all reversed
5 Wholly excessive people will dig in here? (9)
ALLOTMENT - ALL(wholly), OTT(excessive) containing MEN(people)
6 Worked on a boat unprepared to be heard (6)
CREWED - sounds like CRUDE(unprepared)
7 These beaches could be packed solid (5)
LIDOS - anagram of SOLID
8 Fusses about spinning fail for Sturgeon (4)
ADOS - A(about), then a reverse of SOD(fail in Scots is a turf or sod)
9 Gosh! Chinese people turned up mimic (5)
MYNAH - MY(gosh) then HAN(Chinese people) reversed
13 Lollard with fabulous felicity gaining frequency (10)
WYCLIFFITE - W(with) and an anagram of FELICITY containing F(frequency)
15 Near indifference over anonymous fashion in poet’s sobriquet (9)
APATHATON - APATH(y) (indifference) on top of A(anonymous), TON(fashion) - edit: I had messed up the wordplay in the original post
19 Paper which is not read can curl (7, two words)
LOOROLL - LOO(can), ROLL(curl)
20 Fellow in shifting focus on mobile refuse (7)
OFFSCUM - F(fellow) inside an anagram of FOCUS, then M(mobile)
22 Ultimate in rearing previously earnest foster-kids from Fife (6)
DAULTS - ULT(ultimate) inside SAD(earnest) reversed
23 Bleeding “Circle of Life” (6)
OOZING - O(crircle) O(of), ZING(life)
24 We resist Article 50 being overlooked from upcoming opening (5)
ANTIS - AN(article) then L(50) removed from SLIT(opening) reversed
25 European run out aboard Geordie coaler (5)
CROAT - RO(run out) inside CAT(coaler)
27 Shocking manager losing the second half (4)
DIRE - DIRE(ctor)
14:26. Nothing terribly difficult this week, but there were a few unfamiliar words and phrases to slow me down a little. Quite a lot of unfamiliar words actually, making for an interesting puzzle, but there was always something else in the clue to help get to the answer. I like puzzles like that.

So my thanks to Jeff, and without further ado, here’s how I think it all works.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.

Across
1 Group of subs run over to crowd
WOLF PACK - reversal of FLOW, PACK. From ODO: ‘a group of people or things that operate as a hunting and attacking pack, in particular a group of attacking submarines or aircraft’. This concept seemed vaguely familiar, but I’ve no idea how.
5 Is about to eat a short meat sausage
SALAMI - reversal of IS containing A LAMb.
10 Post contains Howell’s first move
STANCHION - (CONTAINS, Howell)*.
11 Old-fashioned hairstyle worn by Fifties youth
DATED - DA, TED. The DA or Duck’s Arse is a hairstyle I know about because my dad apparently had one in his youth. If I didn’t know about it for that reason I would almost certainly know it from crosswords.
12 Fish on a line is just right
IDEAL - IDE, A, L.
13 Spread on plate for Goldilocks?
BUTTERCUP - BUTTER as a spread seemed OK but I was puzzled by ‘plate’. Collins to the rescue: ‘a cup or trophy awarded to the winner of a sporting contest, esp a horse race’. A BUTTERCUP is (Collins again) ‘any of various yellow-flowered ranunculaceous plants of the genus Ranunculus‘, and goldilocks is ‘a Eurasian ranunculaceous woodland plant, Ranunculus auricomus‘. So there you have it.
14 Sweet American sailor’s an old comic
GOBSTOPPER - a GOB is ‘an enlisted ordinary seaman in the US Navy’, apparently, and TOPPER was a comic that ran until 1990, when it merged with The Beezer.
17 Blue feathers
DOWN - DD, and a bit of a chestnut.
19 In Margate but backing City
AGRA - contained reversed in ‘Margate’.
20 Is cheddar this tough?
HARD CHEESE - not the hardest clue ever seen…
22 Snazzy racing driver’s a cause of much debate
HOT BUTTON - HOT (snazzy), BUTTON (Jenson, racing driver). A HOT BUTTON topic is a controversial one. I can’t think of an issue like that at the moment.
24 It’s refreshing to be returning home, sleeping like a baby
TONIC - IN is in COT, hence sleeping like a baby, geddit? The whole lot reversed.
26 Catch nasty whiff around governor
NABOB - NAB (catch), reversal of BO.
27 Ran to get 50 in over
COMPLETED - COMP(L)ETED.
28 We would change in Malaysia to tour this country
SWEDEN - S(WE’D)EN. A SEN is a 100th of a Ringgit, as you know.
29 Productions of Potter may use this epic metamorphosis in dramatic performance
PIPE-CLAY - PLAY containing (EPIC)*.

Down
1 Including trendy names “Which” is put out with gas appliances
WASHING MACHINES - (NAMES WHICH GAS)* containing IN (trendy).
2 Hire back of hotel and relax
LEASE - hoteL, EASE.
3 It’s appropriate to surmise taking top off
PECULATE - sPECULATE.
4 At first childish lady is missing Barbies — grow up!
CLIMB - first letters of ‘childish lady is missing Barbies’. The CLIMBing here is being done by some kind of plant.
6 Doc visits a green prince
ANDREW - A, N(DR)EW.
7 Choir take off for something to eat after Jerusalem
ARTICHOKE - (CHOIR TAKE)*. If you put ARTICHOKE after Jerusalem, you have a Jerusalem ARTICHOKE, which is a completely different plant, so is the ARTICHOKE of the answer still there to be eaten? Hmm.
8 Broadcast newspaper’s political interviewer film
INDEPENDENCE DAY - homophone (‘broadcast’) of “Independent’s”, DAY (Robin, one-time BBC political interviewer).
9 Spooner’s engineer used leg to hurt gatecrasher in bed
KNOTWEED - how the Reverend might have said ‘Watt kneed’.
15 Here’s food for the peckish
BIRD TABLE - CD.
16 Rehearsal of first part of play in Priest’s church
PRACTICE - PR(ACT I), CE.
18 Minor invention with changing key before rest
WHITE LIE - (WITH)*, E, LIE.
21 Judge eating doctor’s roll
RUMBLE - RU(MB)LE. Think thunder.
23 Raised multinational computer company’s popular “cloud” many times over
NIMBI - reversal (raised) of IBM, IN.
25 Finally obstetrician is given a detailed story about birth
NATAL - obstetriciaN, A, TALe.