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January 20th, 2019

Mephisto 3046 - Don Manley

Unless you’re very experienced you are unlikely to solve a Mephisto without using Chambers. The idea is that you use the precise wordplay to derive an answer that you then verify in the dictionary. 11A is a perfect example.

Quite an eclectic mix of knowledge required in addition to the usual French, Latin and Greek including Irish history, biblical tales, and Roald Dahl characters but nothing too onerous overall.

In the clues, definitions are underlined. Wordplay explanation is followed by very helpful comments.

ACROSS

1 Maiden, maybe follower of John, goes over the top? (8)
OVERACTS: OVER-ACTS; maiden (cricket) an over from which no runs are scored; John is last gospel before book of Acts in Christian Bible;
11 Clay gives covering for seed? There’s little good in that (5)
ARGIL: AR(G)IL; covering for seed=ARIL; alumina – potter’s clay;
12 Mansion by lake, housing for top people at ease (6)
CASUAL: CAS(U)A-L;
13 Little sign of knight with ruptured spleen (6)
PENSEL: (spleen)*; a small pennon;
14 This Roman, inclined to probe, being tactile (6)
HAPTIC: H(APT)IC; Latin for this=HIC;
15 The likes of Willy Wonka could make Charlie scoot off (12)
CHOCOLATIERS: (Charlie scoot)*; people who make confectionary using chocolate;
17 A stone circle to the east, last of a series (5)
OMEGA: A-GEM-O reversed;
20 Channel with sandy bits regularly spotted (3)
SNY: S(a)N(d)Y;
21 Following distinctive creed could make one so dull inside (7)
ISMATIC: I-S(MAT)IC; Latin forso=SIC;
23 Tenner Jean splashed out — for Jan gift here? (7)
ETRENNE: (tenner Jean – Jan)*; New Year gift in Gironde;
25 Fish would be in newspaper, going back (3)
GAR: RAG reversed;
28 Little creatures in trunk road restricting vehicle (5)
ACARI: A(CAR)I; A1=Great North Road; mites;
29 We wouldn’t like Felix, our bishop, being drunk with ale (12)
AILUROPHOBES: (our bishop ale)*; people with extreme fear of cats;
30 The French group set about constructing tax booth (6)
TOLSEL: LES-LOT reversed; a tolbooth;
32 Flash yellow buttocks briefly appearing (6)
ORNATE: OR-NATE(s);
33 Gladiator’s first to go with old-style sword (6)
GLEAVE: G(ladiator)-LEAVE;
34 Message opposing workers’ rights in African languages (5)
BANTU: BAN-TU;
35 Ceremony — head getting old is slowing down (8)
RITENUTO: RITE-NUT-O; musical term;

DOWN

1 Odd spaces for accommodating a hundred and one old chests (8)
CAP-CASES: (spaces)* contains C-A;
2 Old judge uses gun to protect house (6)
BREHON: BRE(HO)N;
3 Short person losing head admits no shame, according to the Bard (6)
IGNOMY: (p)IG(NO)MY;
4 Jellyfish — some did cause stir (12)
DISCOMEDUSAE: (some did cause)*;
6 Lowly worker is evil-doer, not American but English (7)
VILLEIN: evil doer=villain then change “a” to “e”; a serf;
7 Stretch out in comfortable chair (3)
ECH: hidden (comfortabl)E-CH(air);
8 Pertaining to hopes, when very good and reasonable (12)
ASPIRATIONAL: AS-PI-RATIONAL;
9 Most clever in examination, copper coming first (6)
CUTEST: CU-TEST;
10 Animal, one buried in Meath hill (5)
TAIRA: TA(I)RA; TARA is a hill in County Meath near River Boyne thought to be ancient seat of the High King of Ireland; a large weasel;
16 Flower /for woman who posed as a prostitute (5)
TAMAR: two meanings 1=river that forms border between Devon and Cornwall 2=woman in Genesis who for convoluted reasons pretends to be a prostitute
18 Tower that is ruin outside home (5)
MINAR: M(IN)AR;
19 Exceptional care needed with user manoeuvring surgical instrument (8)
ECRASEUR: (care)*-(user)*; a surgical instrument containing a wire loop that is used to encircle and sever a projecting mass of tissue by gradual tightening of the loop
22 Running water interrupting game in Southampton, say (7)
SEAPORT: S(EA)PORT; running water=EA;
24 Very small stream is bad, soak being needed outside (6)
RILLET: R(ILL)ET; soak=RET;
25 Board game to explode? (6)
GOBANG: GO-BANG; strategy board game also known as Five In A Row;
26 Artiste, one missing out, gets awards no longer (6)
ARETTS: (artiste – i)*;
27 Excellent new oil or mayonnaise (5)
AIOLI: AI-(oil)*;
31 Money for eg petrol, not initially going up (3)
LEU: (f)UEL reversed; money in Moldova;