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March 31st, 2019

Mephisto 3056 Tim Moorey

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. 13A is a perfect example.

I found this an easy puzzle

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


ACROSS

1 Philosopher provided packing cases (8)
SOCRATES: SO-CRATES;
6 See string of onions reduced supply (4)
CROP: C-ROP(e);
10 Fish caught by English angler taking day off (4)
CERO: C-E-RO(d);
12 Standards of comparatively racy Sun (8)
SALTIERS: SALTIER-S;
13 Embodiment of justice emerges, catching mood in Scotland (9)
ARISTIDES: ARIS(TID)ES; mood in Murrayfield=TID
16 German playwright has British cast to be authentic (4)
ECHT: (Br)ECHT;
17 Perhaps mountain pasture is reflected in temporary lakes (6)
PLAYAS: SAY-ALP reversed;
18 Byes regrettably brought about expression of shock (6)
ALOHAS: AL(OH)AS;
19 Struggled again losing money – it’s a racket! (10)
BATTLEDORE: BATTLED-(m)ORE;
21 Odd people around winning post facing eastern ornamental trees (10)
GINKGOALES: GINK(GOAL-E)S;
25 Making one Fellow independent head of classics after one-on-one (6)
UNIFIC: UN-I-F-I-C(lassics);
26 One’s bound to follow Bible’s lead? (6)
BISHOP: B(ible)-I’S-HOP;
27 Sealed bid regularly rejected as useless (4)
IDLE: hidden reversed (d)I(b)-D(e)L(a)E(s);
30 Muse about retaining pink in moulds (9)
MUCORALES: (muse)* surrounds CORAL;
31 Uninhibited types during half-term making one cross (8)
TRAVERSE: T(RAVERS)E(rm);
32 Nigerians having success in New England (4)
NUPE: N(UP)E;
33 Cash on No 1 returns, enjoying success (4, two words)
IN,IT: TIN-I reversed
34 Being unable to go to session abroad, ring off (8)
STENOSIS: (to session – o)*;

DOWN

1 Cliff and father run away (6)
SCARPA: SCAR-PA;
2 Review of Stir Crazy brought up (4)
CRIT: hidden reversed (yzar)C-RIT(s);
3 It’s a busy town in Piedmont (4)
ASTI: (it’s a)*;
4 Part of a lathe behind block (9)
TAILSTOCK: TAIL-STOCK;
5 Sounds like sword handle (6)
STEALE: sounds like “steel”;
7 Reverberation from breech? OK (6)
RE-ECHO; hidden (b)RE-ECH-O(k);
8 Ferdinand, say is in ward getting a string instrument (9)
ORPHARION: ORPHA(RIO)N; reference footballer Rio Ferdinand;
9 Saints in port — it should attract attention (4)
PSST: P(S-S)T;
11 Miles away, most prattle in Finno-Ugric tongue (6)
OSTYAK: (m)OST-YAK;
14 Pain lad suffers on outskirts of run is stitch (9)
PLAIN-DARN: (pain lad)*-(ru)N;
15 Is leaving French port with vintage alcohol in jug (9)
CALABOOSE: CALA(is)-BOOSE; old spelling of “booze”; jug=prison;
20 Cave shelters small Russian mammal (6)
DESMAN: DE(SMA)N;
22 Almost reach behind duck and antelope (6)
NILGAI: NIL-GAI(n);
23 Soldiers keeping traditional fiddle for dances (6)
GIGUES: GI(GUE)S; old Shetland viol=GUE;
24 Poetry relaxes right away (6)
EPOSES: (r)EPOSES;
27 Money in Peru once close? No mate! (4)
INTI: INTI(mate);
28 Weapon coming from European capital after internal switch (4)
BREN: capital=Bern then swap “r” and “e”
29 Not entirely luxurious sign of more to come (4)
PLUS: PLUS(h);
A very tough but typically brilliant MCS puzzle, that was a wonderful stew of hard wordplay and pretty high-level knowledge both vocabularian and GK-wise. The down clues were my favourites this time around, with the amazing &lit at 7dn coming in a close second to the pure madcap creativity of 4dn. Honourable mention to 3dn for being my possible Word(s) of the Day. Great work setter and I would definitely say that people who don't bother with this puzzle because of a deep-rooted fear of trawling through dictionaries are missing out! Some of the best clues of the month, on the month, every month!

ACROSS
1 Soldier dropped medal in front of a walled chapel (8)
PARABEMA - PARA [(-trooper), soldier dropped] + BEM [(British Empire) Medal] in front of A

5 Grade maybe acquired in part was unsuccessful (4,2)
BLEW IT - LEW [Grade, maybe (the media baron)] in BIT [part]

10 Unpleasant odour: one given off by composer repelled (5)
NIDOR - take BORODIN [composer], remove B.O. (another unpleasant odor) and reverse

11 Prayer books border on strongly aggressive: an unknown number held (9)
MACHZORIM - RIM [border] on MACHO [strongly aggressive] "holding" Z [an unknown number]

12 Compulsion to shift about — not that one should stop oddly alas (9)
ACATHISIA - CA THIS I [about | not that | one] should "stop" A{l}A{s}

13 Best in combat, ball girl presented with bronze medal, finally (5)
DEBEL - DEB [ball (in the sense of dance) girl], presented with {bronz}E {meda}L

14 Bow, possibly, in presenting brilliant rock bands (7)
CLARAIN - CLARA [Bow, possibly (the actress)] + IN

16 Plea for truce, mostly weak, is coming from the Right (5,1)
FAINS I - FAIN{t} ["mostly" weak] + reversed IS

18 Personification of fairness and belief in God advancing millions (6)
THEMIS - take THEISM [belief in God] and move the M [millions] further forward

20 Romantically sentimental book gorily re-plotted (3-4)
BOY-GIRL - (B GORILY*) ["re-plotted"]

22 Party mostly backed article with colourful flyer (5)
MACAW - reverse CAM{p} [party "mostly"] + A W [article | with]

23 I note gold in a chest they open to let in water (9)
ABOITEAUX - I TE AU [I | note | gold] in A BOX [a | chest]

25 Doorman’s chief time for fooling, taking in appropriate person? (9)
CHAPRASSI - CH [chief] + APR 1 [time for fooling] "taking in" ASS [an appropriate fool]

26 Malay prince returning a huge fan of this country? (5)
TUNKU - reverse all of UK NUT [a huge fan of this country]

27 Old Nazi militia even seen around southern State in the past (6)
SAYEST - SA [old Nazi militia (Sturmabteilung)] + YET [even] "seen around" S [southern]

28 Slaughter of woman impacted on a husband (8)
SHEHITAH - SHE HIT A H [woman | impacted on | a | husband]

DOWN
1 One leading with several others favourite to clinch pole vault (8)
PENTARCH - PET [favourite] to "clinch" N [pole] + ARCH [vault]

2 Parasitic larva touching a hand recoiled (5)
REDIA - RE [touching] + reversed AID [a hand]

3 Voracious herbivores out to lunch having change of heart in place of diet (6,4,5)
BERTHA ARMY WORMS - BARMY [out to lunch] having (HEART*) in + WORMS [place of (1521) Diet]

4 Other half of US pop duo kicking off meeting, standing in for French historian (7)
MOMMSEN - MOM [other half of US "pop"] + M{eeting} S{tanding} + EN [in, for French]

6 Dispersing around top of zone, this salty, acidy product of sewer (4,5,6)
LAZY DAISY STITCH - "dispersing" around Z{one}, (THIS SALTY ACIDY*). Sewer as in one who sews.

7 What Asian restaurant-goers, first of all, try to break in two? (9)
WARIBASHI - W{hat} A{sian} R{estaurant-goers} + BASH [try] to "break" in II [two], and a perfect &lit. Falls into the "I never knew there was a special word for them" category!

8 Cheers fellow bringing Mexican dish (6)
TAMALE - TA MALE [cheers | fellow]

9 Newcastle team wanting leg up following mishit (6)
SCLAFF - take the FALCONS [Newcastle (rugby union) team], remove their ON [leg], reverse and add an F [following[.

15 Firefighting management assisting officer outside house, displaying spirit (9)
ADHOCRACY - ADC [assisting officer (Aide-De-Camp)] outside HO [house] + RACY [displaying spirit]

17 Plant bashful kiss, all atremble (4-4)
FLAX-BUSH - (BASHFUL X*)

19 In short, won’t be going to Central Asia to see Chinese province (6)
SHANSI - SHAN'{t} ["in short", won't be] going to {a}SI{a}

20 Typical of man’s error, guarding appearance half-heartedly (7)
BLOKISH - BISH [error] "guarding" LO{o}K [appearance "half-heartedly"]

21 Union no longer means to be heard more widely in Australia (6)
AMICUS - MIC [means to be heard more widely] in AUS [Australia]

24 Little Herb’s handknit unravels, after spinning and shrinking (5)
ARNUT - hidden reversed in {handkni}T UNRA{vels}