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March 24th, 2019

Mephisto 3055 - Don Manley

I found this trickier than most recent Mephistos, and solved it largely from the bottom up - I think at one point the entire bottom half was full, but only 7 down was in place in the top half.

Definitions can be confirmed in Chambers.

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...

1 As before, observe flood in which fish flips over (9)
SPECULATE - SPATE(flood) containing LUCE(fish) reversed
10 Word of appreciation by fellow for meat dish (6)
TAMALE - TA(word of appreciation), MALE(fellow). Tamales don't necessarily contain meat, and are delicious.
11 Fibrous plant in very small area east of heath (6)
MOORVA - V(very), A(area) after MOOR(heath)
12 Money pursued by academic sharks (8)
RHINODON - RHINO(money) then DON(academic)
13 Follower of Jesus in Chinese city (4)
XIAN - Double definition, XIAN being short for Christian
14 A story about the old man that took astronomical measurements (7)
ALIDADE - A LIE(story) surrounding DAD(the old man)
15 Language of old group of people enthralling a number (5)
TEMNE - TEME(old form of TEAM, group of people) containing N(number)
18 Growing as twins at home beset by rage (6)
BINATE - IN(at home) inside BATE(bait, rage)
19 Invalid sadly losing pounds — protein required (6)
AVIDIN - anagram of INVALID minus L(pounds)
24 Unpopular doctor with pained expression, college type (6)
FELLOW - FELL(unpopular doctor) with OW(pained expression). The first part was new to me, from "I do not like thee, Doctor Fell"
25 Spiders one’s found in region (6)
ARANEA - AN(one) in AREA(region)
28 Spots patterns (5)
MOLDS - double definition
29 Vessel making speed interrupted by bar (7)
PINNACE - PACE(speed) with INN(bar) inside
30 Playwright’s run (4)
BOLT - The playwright is Robert Bolt, best known for A Man For All Seasons
31 Time to face mistake about charge — legal resolution needed (8)
TERMINER - T(time) with ERR(mistake) containing MINE(depth charge)
32 American food in small East End home we fancy? (6)
OMELET - American spelling of OMELETTE - or 'OMELET
33 What could be boring for Scot? Terrible English — no good! (6)
ELSHIN - anagram of ENGLISH minus G(good)
34 Record chief troublemaker in Greek province (9)
EPARCHATE - EP(record), ARCH(chief), ATE(troublemaker)

1 Vagrant in street, exhausted person (5)
STRAG - ST(street), RAG(exhausted person)
2 Old characters in NZ settlement with toilet on island (7)
PAHLAVI - PAH(Maori settlement), LAV(toilet), I(island)
3 Satire performed receives stick? The opposite (7)
CANDIDE - DID(performed) inside CANE(stick)
4 This old language sounds dull (6)
LEDDEN - sounds like LEADEN
5 A second degree restricts one ultimately — one doesn't have much of a life! (6)
AMOEBA - A, MBA(second degree), containing the outside letters of OnE
6 I'm in a financial scheme with others — there's money in cosmetic stuff (8)
TONTINER - TIN(money) inside TONER(cosmetic stuff)
7 Proper friend in the first place (8)
PRIMALLY - PRIM(proper), ALLY(friend)
8 'ampshire town as before (5)
AVANT - The town is HAVANT, remove the aspirant
9 Cheese in cake always (6)
PANEER - PAN(cake), EER(always)
16 Is everything found in a last resort? (8, two words)
PIS ALLER - IS, ALL(everything) inside PER(A)
17 Position of soldier that's horrible without support — start to panic (8)
FIRE-STEP - FIE("that's horrible") containing REST(support), then the first letter of Panic
20 Polish nails inappropriately inside quiet hotel (7)
PLANISH - anagram of NAILS inside P(quiet), H(hotel)
21 Invention with one not quiet showing vanity (7)
CONCEIT - CONCEPT(invention) with I(one) replacing the P(quiet)
22 Flog WI produce maybe — second-rate/satisfactory? (6)
JAMBOK - JAM(of Jamaica), B(second-rate), OK(satisfactory)
23 Some viewers' areas had planned activities time set up (6)
TAPETA - ATE(had), PAT(Planned Activities Time) all reversed. Areas of the eye
24 Less inclined to show bias as female broadcaster? (6)
FAIRER - F(female), AIRER(broadcaster)
26 Big old footballing boy keeping order (5)
ROOMY - ROY of the Rovers containing OM(order)
27 Old soldier, a bit of a nut left to pass away (5)
KERNE - the KERNEL of a nut missing L(left)

Sunday Times 4842 by Robert Price

24:48. This is the first puzzle from the new setter replacing Jeff Pearce. His name is Bob Price, and as we heard from Peter Biddlecombe last week (see comments here) he is a regular winner of the ST clue writing competition. So effectively I suppose what we have here is a gifted amateur making his first foray into the professional arena. Edit: turns out we have no such thing. Bob Price is apparently Myrtilus, already an established TLS setter and regular commenter here.

And what a debut [narrator: it was not a debut] it was. I found it very tough indeed, and it gave me a strong sense that I was struggling against an unfamiliar and original setting mind. Of course I may have imagined this, knowing as I did that this was a new setter: maybe it was just hard. But in any event I enjoyed the struggle enormously.

I don’t normally nominate a clue of the day, and there are lots of great clues in this puzzle. Some of the surfaces are particularly good. This week though 11dn is the winner for me (by a short head over the brilliant 1ac) just for the sheer magnitude of the penny-drop moment. Even after I had figured out what the answer must be I puzzled over it for perhaps another 5 minutes before I managed to justify it.

So welcome and thanks very much to Bob for a fine debut, and here’s how I think it all works…

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

1 Harry Carpenter's lost pages in boxing volumes
CHIVVY - CHIPPY (carpenter) has lost its Ps (pages) in the process of boxing (containing) Vs (volumes). An excellent clue with a quite original construction, and Harry Carpenter was a boxing commentator, making the surface reading particularly apposite. Brilliant stuff.
4 Work on second at Oxford, drinking a lot
SOFTEN UP - S, UP (at Oxford) contains OFTEN. This clue describes my university career precisely.
9 Recycled material this chap turned into hives?
REHASH - RASH containing a reversal of HE.
10 Dish that's sharp mostly fed unnatural greed
KEDGEREE - KEEn containing (GREED)*.
12 Mop up road spills in High Barnet
POMPADOUR - (MOP UP ROAD)*. Barnet (Fair) being CRS for hair, of course, and the POMPADOUR being a hairstyle in which the hair is brushed high above the forehead. It’s named after Madame de POMPADOUR, mistress of Louis XV, but seems to be mainly a style for young men these days.
13 Get too hot while slicing baloney
14 Something used to focus or intensify a concert not working right
18 Murder trial documents found here
DISPATCH CASE - DISPATCH (murder), CASE (trial). I had DESPATCH for a while, which caused me problems with 15dn for some time.
21 Guy taking time to relax
22 View of skyline or of space for rebuilding
ROOFSCAPE - (OR OF SPACE)*. The arrangement of the anagram fodder here is so close to the answer that I saw it immediately.
24 Top drivers may do this at lay-bys
PULLOVER - two definitions, one slightly cryptic if only because it should be two words.
25 Sweet place to hold the Royal Ball
26 Bishop finally admitted to a slight thirst
27 Last time transport picks up close to home
HEARSE - HEARS, homE. Neat definition.

1 Motor at speed in soft top? Hardly
2 Callous article suppressed by popular philosopher
3 Most gutsy, ejecting supporter before a match
5 Extreme response from more than one class in school conflict
OVERREACTION - OVER (more than), RE (one class in school), ACTION (conflict). Tricky wordplay!
6 He got trim woven for a producer of woolly bears
TIGER MOTH - (HE GOT TRIM)*. A woolly bear being the caterpillar of this particular type of moth.
7 A Christie novel has an added French dialect
NORMAN - N OR M (Christie novel), AN. I had forgotten about this Agatha Christie novel so bunged in the answer from definition and AN and crossed my fingers.
8 At the end stir in sauce very quickly
11 Score over half a century, say
FORTY PER CENT - CD. A score is twenty, half a century is fifty, so the former over the latter is…
15 Cut in diet originally due to nuts
16 Outside US city, dismal saloon provides stop-off for diners
17 Home again, engineers sat on wooden bench
RESETTLE - RE, SETTLE (wooden bench). 'Sat' here means 'sitting', which is arguably non-standard but a very common usage.
19 More work about opiates covered up
UTOPIA - contained in ‘about opiates’.
20 Cod's wasted in rubbish batter
23 Wrap, possibly with fur ripped off