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May 5th, 2019

Mephisto 3061 - Don Manley

I rather liked this puzzle, it was not too difficult, and the grid design led to a pretty even solve, with lots of scattered crossings of words.

I hope everything is in the blog, as I am traveling this weekend (I am in Washngton DC as I type this), and will not be able to make any corrections until I get back home which will be early Monday morning GMT.  Check comments if you have any quibbles.

Definitions are underlined and can be confirmed in Chambers, so I will focus on the wordplay in the clues.

Away we go...

Across
1 Hour of prayer in winter ceremony (5)
TERCE - hidden in winTER CEremony
5 Knight taken by chess champion in school (7)
BORSTAL - this was my last one in and the one I had the most difficulty with. The knight is the Arthurian Sir BORS de Ganis, and the chess champion is Mikhail TAL. Put them together and you get a youth detention center, which is about an accurate description of a school.
11 Learned man in house across promenade set back (6)
OLLAMH - HO(house) surrounding MALL(promenade), all reversed
12 Travelling box ripped apart — drug found inside (6)
PETARA - anagram of APART containing E(drug)
13 Miss at home always is a dish (9)
MUFFINEER - MUFF(miss as in fail), IN(at home), EER(always)
16 Bits of foreign money are collected by little members (5)
TOEAS - A(are, unit of measurement) inside TOES(little members)
17 Desperate to move, having to abandon area denuded of trees? (8)
ESTREPED - anagram of DESPERATE minus A(area)
19 Relevant vision ace brought to the fore (5, two words)
AD REM - DREAM(vision) with the A at the front
21 Pear mum cut the wrong way (5)
NELIS - SILENT(mum) missing the last letter and reversed
22 Fish near danger, avoiding current (5)
TORSK - TO(near), RISK(danger) missing I(current)
24 A hat, one old award to be returned (5)
TERAI - I(one), ARET(award) all reversed
27 Alarm about cat in fight once (8)
SCARMOGE - SCARE(alarm) surrounding MOG(cat)
29 A Conservative nut seen in retrospect as a mug (5)
BOCCA - another reversal, this time of A, C(conservative), COB(nut)
32 Ship repair brings trouble and anger, not right (9)
CAREENAGE - CARE(trouble) and ENRAGE(anger) missing the R(right)
33 Staff given fish — what a surprise! (6)
TAIAHA - TAI(fish), AHA(what a surprise)
34 More revolutionary, even after revolution (6)
REDDER - a palindrome
35 Chaps losing head with foxy female lacking self-control (7)
ENCRATY - MEN(chaps) missing the first letter, then CRAFTY(foxy) missing F(female)
36 Plant, something brownish-yellow I uprooted (5)
SENNA - SIENNA(brownish-yellow) without I

Down
1 Cat on plot getting below ground level? (6)
TOMBED - TOM(cat) on BED(plot)
2 Month with little energy, mostly quiet (4)
ELUL - E(energy), then LULL(quiet) missing the last letter
3 Depression very much evident in bounder (6)
CAFARD - FAR(very much) inside CAD(bounder)
4 Issue of US magazine held up (4)
EMIT - TIME magazine reversed
6 Tree people chucked with Noel finally gone (5)
OPEPE - anagram of PEOPLE missing the last letter in noeL
7 Pet is quiet with mist falling (6)
STROKE - ST(quiet) and ROKE(mist)
8 Roman scribe not liable to err (9)
TABELLION - anagram of NOT,LIABLE
9 Architectural feature with modern design encompassed by a circle (8)
ARCADING - CAD(computer-aided design) inside A RING(circle)
10 Slip made by you and me after drinks (6)
LAPSUS - US(you and me) after LAPS(drinks)
14 A sailor with a cold, twitching, gets tranquilliser (9)
ATARACTIC - A TAR(sailor), A, C(cold), TIC(twitching)
15 Drop of rain ultimately bothers pussy? (4)
SPET - last letter in botherS, then PET(pussy cat)
18 Form of martial art Hans took up (8)
SHOTOKAN - anagram of HANS,TOOK
20 Anthropologist enthusiastic about first bit of evidence (4)
MEAD - MAD(enthusiastic) surrounding the first letter in Evidence for the anthropologist Margaret MEAD
22 Like cannelloni in food container getting devoured (6)
TUBATE - TUB(food container), ATE(devoured)
23 Jock’s firm, so compassionate, not half (6)
SICCAR - SIC(so) and then half of CARING(compassionate)
25 Fine fellows in port abandoning navy (6)
AMENDE - MEN(fellows) in the port of ADEN missing N(navy)
26 Ivy can be explosive, dear, when upset (6)
HEDERA - HE(high explosive) then an anagram of DEAR
28 Bit of old armour fashioned to protect artist (5)
CURAT - CUT(fashioned) containing RA(artist)
30 Deposit five hundred away from city (4)
LEES - remove D(500) from the city of LEEDS
31 Poet’s once more taking time over noun (4)
AGEN - AGE(time) over N(noun)

Sunday Times 4848 by Robert Price

9:55. Not too hard a puzzle from Myrtilus this week. Well either that or I’m getting attuned to his ways as a setter, which seems unlikely after such a short time. A really fun one, though, with some very nice touches. I particularly liked 1dn, once I’d figured it out, which took a while.

There's an Elton John biopic out at the moment: is the top line of this puzzle a suggestion for the sequel?

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

Across
1 Supply pot into schools
FURNISH - F(URN)ISH.
5 Rent for one American in Michigan state
MUSICAL - M(US)I, CAL. Rent was a successful musical in the 90s, based on La Bohème, apparently.
9 Bad practice to ignore the doctor
ILL - drILL.
10 Once, tourism involved covering the same area
COTERMINOUS - (ONCE TOURISM)*.
11 By no means how a tap-in is scored?
NOT BY A LONG SHOT - two definitions, one very mildly cryptic.
13 Heaps of ties? About six
LAVISHES - LA(VI)SHES. Heaps is a verb here, as in to heap/lavish praise on someone.
15 Regrettably, sent back motorway food
SALAMI - reversal of ALAS, M1.
17 Drawing device damages iPhone screens
SIPHON - contained in ‘damages iPhone’.
18 Pain like this maybe, Descartes’s son reveals
SORENESS - SO, RENE’S, S.
20 Perhaps like a 1970s filling for spring chicken? No!
LONG IN THE TOOTH - if you still a filling that had been put in in the 1970s, it would be… geddit? I had quite a few fillings in the 70s, but they were all in my baby teeth so they aren’t there any more and I have never had a filling in my adult teeth. True story.
23 Craftsmen’s mothers working in pits
STONEMASONS - STONE(MA'S, ON)S. ‘Pits’ as found in stone fruit.
24 Title taken from orbits regularly rotating
SIR - alternate (regularly) letters of ‘orbits’ backwards (rotating).
25 Politician hiding at a Spanish address
SENATOR - SEN(AT)OR. The word order is back to front but still makes sense. If you were trying to make it comprehensible you’d put a comma after ‘at’, but of course that’s the exact opposite of what the setter’s trying to do.
26 Tomboys study Olympic cyclist’s circuits
HOYDENS - HOY(DEN)S. A reference to Sir Chris Hoy, and a funny word for ‘tomboy’ I don’t think I’ve ever come across outside crosswords.

Down
1 Sat seemingly unreachable and alone
FRIENDLESS - Sat(urday) seems unreachable because Fri(day) is endless. It took me a while to twig what was going on here, and I doubt I was alone in that.
2 Who, say, is lover involved with piano tuner?
RELATIVE PRONOUN - (LOVER PIANO TUNER)*.
3 After the first minute becomes restless
ITCHY - tITCHY. 'After the first minute' is a very neat device, particularly as 'minute' doesn't mean what it appears to mean.
4 Innkeeper’s spicy pork pie eaten by Edgar on vacation
HOTELIER - HOT, EdgaR containing LIE.
5 Church members losing heart are fools
MORONS - MORmONS. A word I avoid.
6 Trim fruits covered by mould
SHIPSHAPE - S(HIPS)HAPE. ‘Mould’ here being a verb, of course.
7 It’s terrible, see, cola’s much too sweet
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE - (SEE COLAS MUCH TOO)*.
8 Least likely to survive
LAST - DD.
12 Bishops shifted around before making homes for life
BIOSPHERES - (BISHOPS)* containing ERE.
14 During short nap, smell most like foam rubber
SPONGIEST - S(PONG)IESTa.
16 Slight echo of backing band
POOH-POOH - reversal of HOOP twice (echo). The required meaning of POOH-POOH is explained clearly here.
19 Not just Macron’s a moderate
UNFAIR - UN, FAIR.
21 Cross river close to Romsey
TESTY - TEST, romseY.
22 Pants, no good for snakes
ASPS - gASPS.