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March 10th, 2019

Mephisto 3053 - Tim Moorey

I found this one kind of a struggle and I'm not sure if I have everything 100% sussed out.

There are an unsually large number of clues that require reversal of wordplay components here.

The first definition is underlined in the clues. Definitions can be verified in Chambers, so I'm only going to comment on definitions if there is something unusual.

Away we go...

Across
4 Certainly boring church conference, say — it reduces one to silence (9)
CHOKE-PEAR - OKE(certainly) inside CH(church) and a conference PEAR
10 Shock with bag — one should keep locks in order (8)
HAIRGRIP -  HAIR(shock) and GRIP(bag). This is given in Chambers as one or two words
11 Bury up north picked up — Hearts knocked out (4)
EARD - HEARD(picked up) missing H(Hearts)
12 Short service before mass presages rejoicing (8)
ASPERGES - anagram of PRESAGES
13 Gurnard in cans, Australian not English (4)
TUBS - the cans are TUBES, remove E(English)
14 Miss Right, very small (5)
PETTY - remove the R(right) from PRETTY(very)
15 Spotted swine without heads and hound without owner (6)
PIEDOG - SPIED(spotted) and HOG(swine) missing the first letters
17 No little following for gala occurring in Washington summer? (7)
ESTIVAL - remove F(following) from FESTIVAL(gala)
21 One mocks Stokes put in difficulty (7)
SCORNER - S at a CORNER(difficulty)
23 With openings say, around one, ring first (7)
OSTIATE - STATE(say) surrounding I(one) with O(ring) at the front
26 Prohibition covering liquor and one’s backing revolution (7)
INQILAB - BAN(prohibition) surrounding LIQ(liqur) and then I(one) - all reversed
27 Fine arresting extremes of opulent love poem (6)
EROTIC - ERIC(a blood fine) surrounding the outside letters in OpulenT
28 Opening line forgotten, almost disastrously (5)
STOMA - remove L(line) from ALMOST, then anagram
31 Berks doctor removed braces (4)
DUOS - the berks are DUMBOS, remove the MB(doctor)
32 Rachel disturbed about case of poorest in capital (8)
CHAPTREL - anagram of RACHEL surrounding P(oores)T - the capital of a column
33 Amateur move on and off the straight at Gleneagles (4)
AGEE - A(amateur) and GEE(move on)
34 Leaving railway, deliberate about getting drunk (8)
EBRIATED - anaram of DELIBERATE missing EL(railway)
35 Troops caught by night in preparation as before (9)
PARASCEVE - PARAS(troops), C(caught), EVE(night)

Down
1 Endless cod for each individual and my charges are small (9)
CHAPERONE - CHA(p) (cod), PER ONE (for each individual)
2 Pressure-relieving pad rejected? Bin it! (4)
WASE - WASTE(rejected) missing 'T
3 Description concealing rent out of date (4)
RIPT - hidden in descRIPTion
4 Charlie on brass is soft (6)
CRETIN - C(charlie, NATO alphabet), RE(on), TIN(brass)
5 Wild reveller, alternatively huge person getting a change of direction (7)
ORGIAST -  OR(alternately), then GIANT(huge person) with N changing to S
6 No speech impediment Earl picked up from Greek character (7)
EPSILON - NO, LISP(speech impediment), E(earl) all reversed
7 Fellow safe till down under (5)
PETER - three definitions
8 Did stuff on Emirates put over in pale-green colour (8, three words)
EAU DE NIL - LINED(did stuff, or stuffed), UAE(United Arab Emirates), all reversed
9 Gardens conveyed in painting first class (8)
ARBORETA - BORE(conveyed) in ART(painting), A(first class)
16 Soldier eats a blue biscuit (9)
GARIBALDI - GI(soldier) containing A, RIBALD
18 Absolute tenacity while ascending outside run in ice ridge (8)
SASTRUGA - A, GUTS(tenacity), AS(while), all reversed
19 Murphy holds very colourful skin marker (8)
TATTOOER - TATER(Murphy) containing TOO(very)
20 Changes brought about 100 enlarged vessels (7)
VARICES - VARIES(changes) surrounding C(100)
22 One square metre area adopted by resort (7)
CENTARE - A(area) inside CENTRE(resort)
24 Irritate transvestite turning around in colourful stripes (6)
VITTAE - EAT(irritate), TV(transvestite) all reversed surrounding I(in)
25 Lost? Take a satnav regularly when going north (5, two words)
AT SEA - alternating letters in tAkE a SaTnAv, all reversed
29 Enthusiasm’s shown up with no little energy in scraps (4)
ORTS - ESTRO(enthusiam) reversed, missing E(energy)
30 Moslem ruler is male, always (4)
MEER - M(make), EER(always)

Sunday Times 4840 by Dean Mayer

14:29. This was another very straightforward puzzle by Dean’s standards, I thought. There’s the hint of a theme in here: something about an INIQUITOUS place where there are NO HALF MEASURES and HEDONISTs and HOOLIGANS DRINK LIKE A FISH listening to NINA SIMONE. ESPRESSO and ASPIRIN to follow in the morning. My kind of place.

I don't often nominate a clue of the day/puzzle, because that's not really how I think about these things, but I can't help mentioning 12ac today, which I think is particularly neat. It looks like, and could be, a straight definition, and it took me a while to figure out why it wasn't. Hiding the cryptic structure of the clue in plain sight like this very clever.

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


Across
1 Fantastic beat in chorus
SMASHING - S(MASH)ING.
5 Makes incisions around firm plaster
STUCCO - reversal (around) of CUTS, CO.
10 Fleet's pressure in attack
RAPID - RA(P)ID.
11 More than one tough problem I see over hotel backing
HOOLIGANS - reversal (backing) of SNAG, I, LO, O, H.
12 Quaff many pints of Bass?
DRINK LIKE A FISH - my reading of this clue is that it’s an &Lit in which ‘quaff many pints’ gives DRINK and ‘of Bass’ gives LIKE A FISH. So it is a cryptic clue, in spite of appearances.
14 Singer at home while I’m cutting new single
NINA SIMONE - N(IN, AS, I’M), ONE. Also a very accomplished pianist.
15 One loving the sound of a violin player?
BEAU - sounds like ‘bow’. Here the violin player is the physical object playing the violin rather than the person holding it.
17 Left somewhat short
QUIT - QUITe.
19 Old Italian ready to eat a new bread for cheese
LANCASHIRE - L(A, N, CASH)IRE. Kirkham’s is magnificent cheese. I’m told Shorrock’s is also excellent.
22 Forgive me for what?
I BEG YOUR PARDON - DD.
24 Please hold books about captain and crew
ONE MOMENT - O(NEMO, MEN)T. NEMO being the captain of the Nautilus, of course.
25 Enclosure made by hedge
STALL - DD.
26 Retreating soldiers capture seal
SIGNET - reversal of GIS, NET. Most often seen in the form of a ring on the pinky finger of a posh Englishman.
27 Underwear for boobs
BLOOMERS - DD.

Down
1 Small rescue vessel needed for small island
SARK - S, ARK.
2 Aiming to get rid of good drug
ASPIRIN - ASPIRINg.
3 Playboy in robbery framing mafia boss
HEDONIST - HE(DON)IST.
4 Shameful reason for changing full-on approach
NO HALF MEASURES - (SHAMEFUL REASON)*.
6 Pilot restrains British family
TRIBAL - TRI(B)AL.
7 Cup of tea left on rocks
CHALICE - CHA, L, ICE. ICE and rocks are both words for diamonds.
8 Doctor has to operate in huge Kent properties
OAST HOUSES - OS (huge) containing (HAS TO)*, USE. Kent is famous for these distinctive round brick buildings with conical tile roofs topped with white cowls.
9 Ready to trade on A1?
WORKING CAPITAL - WORKING (on), CAPITAL (excellent, A1). A slightly inaccurate definition because WORKING CAPITAL doesn’t consist only of cash (ready) but it’s close enough and the intention is clear.
13 In one capital city, US base
INIQUITOUS - IN, I, QUITO (capital of Ecuador), US.
16 Leaving motorway premises drunk, getting very strong coffee
ESPRESSO - (PREmiSES)*, SO.
18 I caught diver’s upturned frozen body
ICEBERG - I, C, reversal of GREBE.
20 Maroon tie, also pants
ISOLATE - (TIE ALSO)*.
21 Good acting parts see you getting past
BYGONE - BYE (see you) containing G, ON (acting, as in on stage).
23 Benefit of luxury slightly reduced
PLUS - PLUSh.