June 30th, 2019

Mephisto 3069 - Paul McKenna

I solved this one on an airplane between Washington Dulles and Los Angeles with an electronic copy of Chambers handy, and was glad for the distraction (for those curious, that flight is a Mephisto, an Azed and most of a Listener long).

Paul McKenna usually treats us to a pun in the top row, and this time it is BUFFALOING, which I did not know but since I had the electronic Chambers there, BUFFALO is also a transitive verb - to bewilder or to overawe. Sometimes spotting the pun helps, but it didn't in this case.

Definitions can be confirmed in Chambers, so I will focus on the wordplay.

Away we go...

1 Bosun’s mate that’s used to bull (6)
BUFFER - double definition, for the boatswain's mate and a buffalo hide
5 Around Perth flaming noise of the countryside? (6)
LOWING - another double definition
10 For the biggest part blue, a Conservative is flattering (9)
ADULATORY - remove the last letter from ADULT(blue), A, TORY(Conservative)
11 Serially deceived wife’s husband beside date (4)
HERA - H(husband), ERA(date) - the wife of Zeus
12 Switch is clearly covered in crud (8, three words)
GO OVER TO - OVERT(clearly) inside GOO(crud)
15 River in Slough bearing bracken? (4)
FERN - R(river) in FEN(slough, marsh)
16 Who drummed in poetry? Bill, on and on (7)
TABRERE - TAB(bill), then RE and RE(on and on)
17 Wound up, put out not off (5)
ENDED - OFFENDED(put out) missing OFF
19 Mannerism mostly seen among witty gentry, as a whole (9)
SQUIRALTY - QUIRK(mannerism) missing the last letter inside SALTY(witty)
22 Still see brigade in action round Ohio (9, two words)
VIDEO GRAB - V(see) then an anagram of BRIGADE surrounding O(Ohio)
24 Where to wash tarry tarpaulin's tip (5)
BIDET - BIDE(tarry) then the first letter in Tarpaulin
25 Agent that purifies Georgia with bootlicking servility (7)
GAS-LIME -  GA(Georgia) then SLIME(bootlicking servility)
27 Old turkey going about this mountain (4)
OSSA - O(old) then ASS(turkey) reversed
30 Means of comms is Latin, as if policy (8)
LANDLINE - L(latin), AND(as if), LINE(policy)
31 English torpedo, say, overhauled being no longer ready (4)
YARE - E, RAY(a torpedo is a type of ray fish)
32 I won't use this for f — being delicate (9)
FINGERTIP - little bit of an in-joke for crossword fans in here - an example of clueing the letter F that would not be permitted in ths Times puzzles (but could pop up in the Guardian or elsewhere) would be "fingertip"
33 Trouble with focus? Aim for something to put on (6)
ADDEND - ADD(Attention Deficiency Disorder), END(aim)
34 Passionate picture, perhaps, about pit (6)
ARDENT - ART(picture, perhaps) surrounding DEN

1 Most of focus of activity is in crazy bits of furniture (6)
BAHUTS - remove the last letter from HUB(focus of activity) inside BATS(crazy)
2 Old-timer’s ticked off by hair I’d found round old regal do? (8)
FURIBUND - FUR(hair) then I'D surrounding BUN(regal do)
3 Thief following what you’d think she'd break (4)
FLAW - F(following), then a thief would break the LAW
4 In Chelsea gleaming standard for the military is seen (5)
EAGLE - hidden inside chelsEA GLEaming
5 For this type of folder John feels a rebinding is needed (9)
LOOSE-LEAF - LOO(John) then an anagram of FEELS,A
6 Other ranks struggle for a centre of wine-production (7)
ORVIETO - OR(other ranks), VIE(struggle), TO(for)
7 Yes, outmoded practice by law by Cicero (4)
IURE - I(aye, yes), then URE(old version of USE, practice)
8 Until returning into renamed, rebuilt landmark? (9)
NOTRE-DAME - TO(until) reversed inside an anagram of RENAMED. I thought this was two words, but it is hyphenated in Chambers
9 Last day with a thug (6)
GOONDA - GO ON(last), D(day), A
13 Possibly, I arm squad — j’étais un guérillero (9)
MAQUISARD -  anagram of I,AM,SQUAD
14 Ruler and compass” man, ultimately lacking, clinking crank (9)
GRADGRIND - the last letter in lackinG, then RAD(very good, clinking), GRIND(crank)
18 Novel varied theme but lacking edge is unoriginal (8)
DERIVATE - anagram of VARIED, then remove the middle letters of ThemE
20 Blasted trial because of stimulant (7)
RITALIN - anagram of TRIAL, then IN(because of)
21 This kept Roman warm: a stew containing bit of beef (6)
ABOLLA - A then OLLA(stew) containing the first letter of Beef
23 Opinion surrounding overthrown seat is spoiled by tears (6)
BEWEPT - BET(opinion) surrounding a reversal of PEW(seat)
26 Usher is quiet and always under contract (5)
STEER - ST(quiet), then EER(shortened form of EVER, always)
28 Jimpy college fellows must look up “tosh” (4)
SNOD - two definitions and a wordplay - reverse of DONS(college fellows)
29 Quiet female upset old fighting force (4)
FYRD - DRY(laconic, quiet), F(female) all reversed

Sunday Times 4856 by David McLean

8:30. A nice easy one from Harry this week. Only one unknown (the garment), mostly pretty straightforward wordplay and only one query (at 20dn). Quite a lot of anagrams.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Study oneself in awfully rotten pics
6 Pretty person picked up in Hackney, I'm told
FAIR - sounds like ‘fare’, which is how cabbies sometimes refer (somewhat reductively, I always feel) to their customers.
9 A political group mostly in pieces
10 Quality-assured bananas
12 Defence? I’d resign with e-file lost
SIEGFRIED LINE - (ID RESIGN E FILE)*. The German counterpart of the Maginot Line.
14 Amiability can ultimately grate in service
15 Rush job, but one that lasts for years?
CAREER - is this a DD, or is the second definition a little bit cryptic just because it includes the extraneous words ‘but one’, designed to mislead? More importantly, does it matter?
17 English maiden aboard river boat, say
19 H-pawns and knights, perhaps
HORSEMEN - H is a slang term/abbreviation for heroin: ‘horse’ is another. Pawns are men.
21 Preventive measures to avoid crowning?
24 European wearing no pants
25 Those people taking English as subject
26 Times leads with “Expect riots after secession”
ERAS - first letters of ‘expect riots after succession.’
27 The star act juggled with difficulty

1 State broadcast supports Islamic leader
IRAN - RAN (broadcast past tense) under (supporting) Islamic.
2 Passage from feature about northern society
3 Rising ancient heroes crushed
4 One won’t fight treaty (provided one’s involved)
5 Bit of gear I hung around head of Ronnie Barker?
CORGI - COG (bit of gear), I containing (hung around) Ronnie.
7 Foolish fiend regularly gate-crashes a function
8 Fish bait, of a certain sort
RED HERRING - as well as its figurative sense a RED HERRING can also be, literally, a kipper. I suddenly have a craving…
11 Rate wine soprano and I drunktop
INDIAN SWEATER - (RATE WINE, S, AND I)*. I had never heard of this garment. It’s another name for a Cowichan sweater, originally knitted by the Cowichan people of British Columbia, so not really PC.
13 Menu priced incorrectly could show this
16 Digs daughter with spirit entered into diaries
18 A thousand whales seen around popular island
MINORCA - M(IN), ORCA. I would have said ‘orcas’. Surprisingly it turns out I’m not wrong: both are in Collins.
20 Ex-player squad held in stitch-up!
MAE WEST - reversal of T(SEW)EAM. The wordplay seems the wrong way round here: 'held in' can mean 'contained', but it is highly unusual to use the past tense like this in wordplay. 'Squad holds in stitch' would be more conventional, and work just as well. Hmm. This former actress is usually clued by reference to the life jacket named after her.
22 One that could raise army to protect India
23 Short chaps getting son and husband fit together
MESH - MEn, S, H.

Monthly Club Special 20,225: Levi Stubbs' Tears

Crikey, is the year half over already? This was another quality MCS displaying the usual delight in the mad, bad and dangerous to define words bulking out our dictionaries, all clued with the usual precision and flair - thanks be to the awesomely talented setter! I think my favourite clue for wordplay was the semi-unhinged 28ac, but kudos also to 18dn for having a truly amazing entry in my dictionary, and 26ac for word of the day despite some stiff competition. I bet if we hunted long enough we could find an English accent where QUACKSALVER was a homophone of mercury...

1 In well-known tragedy, mischief left one in Jock’s possession (7)
MALICHO - L I in MACHO [Jock]. The "well-known tragedy" is Shakespeare's Hamlet.

5 Refer to what I said months back about transmitted ideas (7)
MEMETIC - CITE ME [refer to what I said] + M [months], the whole reversed

9 Study ditch height across odd parts of gully for cutting in wood (11)
DENDROGLYPH - DEN DROP H [study | ditch | height] "across" G{u}L{l}Y

10 For Romans, this is almost Rhenish (3)
HOC - HOC{k}

11 Not clever to smother constant sound of
TCHICK - THICK [not clever] to "smother" C

12 To grasp location of grand mausoleum, cursorily
study photo of shadows (8)
SKIAGRAM - To "grasp" AGRA [location of the Taj Mahal], SKIM [cursorily study]

14 In lead, recovers alchemised gold, by reports (6-7)
PROCES-VERBAUX - In PB [lead], (RECOVERS*) ["alchemised"] + AU X [gold | by]

17 Gasbags for some British planes carrying sweats (13)
BLATHERSKITES - B KITES [British | planes] "carrying" LATHERS [sweats]

21 Developed cities, DC for example, here and now (8)
DEICTICS - (CITIES DC*) ["developed"]

23 I try to spoil Filipino miner (6)
IGOROT - I GO ROT [I | try | to spoil]

25 Polynesian drink: in local dress you’ll want large one double (3)
AVA - The local dress is a LAVA-LAVA - L AVA times two.

26 Once I faked noise from bird tray (11)
QUACKSALVER - QUACK SALVER [noise from bird | tray]

27 Poet’s to make productive politician prevail, putting the writer first (7)
IMPREGN - MP REIGN = politician | prevail, but take I [the writer] and put it to the beginning.

28 Send cuckoo with both wings replaced by a diving bird (7)
ANHINGA - send cuckoo is UNHINGE, replace both its first and last letter with an A.

1 Hearts, the ones for taming Tweedsmuir Scotsmen (6)
MIDSTS - {ta}MI{ng} {twee}DS{muir} {sco}TS{men}

2 Bouncer’s close before ejecting one in circle (4,3)
LONG HOP - N{I}GH [close, "ejecting" I = one] in LOOP [circle]

3 Church play area unwilling to display historical shroud
CERECLOTH - CE REC LOTH [church | play area | unwilling]

4 In other words, Gray depicts a revel (4)
ORGY - OR, GY [in other words | Gray (the SI unit for absorbed dose of ionizing radiation)]

5 Futurist Communist leader restricting chatter against outer space (10)
MAYAKOVSKY - MAO [Communist leader] "restricting" YAK, against SKY [outer space]. Vladimir Mayakovsky was amongst the signers of The Communist Manifesto. He wrote Talking With The Taxman About Poetry, which may be better known in these parts as the title of a Billy Bragg album.

6 Raising this liquor made from flowers is a big hit (5)
MAHWA - A WHAM [a | big hit] reversed

7 From main character’s angle, a green soup (7)
TOHEROA - TO HERO [from main character's angle] + A. Toheroa is a distinctively green New Zealand shellfish soup.

8 American native strips in California (8)
CACOMIXL - COMIX [strips] in CAL. An American relative of the raccoon.

13 Sprite before tea drunk by Parisian’s the French one (10)
LEPRECHAUN - PRE CHA [before tea] "drunk" by LE UN [Parisian's the | French one]

15 Reverse picture of dress trim in Covent Garden venue (9)
ROTOGRAPH - TOG RAP [dress | trim] in ROH [Royal Opera House = Covent Garden Venue]. I think TRIM means RAP in the sense of "rebuke".

16 A half-hearted religious founder born originally in sheikhdom (3,5)

18 One-eyed northerner with snake touring border area (7)
ARIMASP - ASP [snake] "touring" RIM A [border | area]. Perhaps you never knew you needed a synonym for "one-eyed northerner". The Arimaspians were at perpetual war with the griffins for their gold hoards, as the ever-reliable Herodotus informs us.

19 Ben’s name comes up, admitting personnel confessed (7)
SHRIVEN - reversed NEVIS, admitting HR

20 Private broadcast over meeting points on head (6)
PTERIA - PTE [private] + AIR reversed

22 Sri Lankan monkey said to pull on grass (5)
TOQUE - homophone of TOKE [pull on grass]

24 Rocket man regularly inspected amount of obscured
OKTA - {r}O{c}K{e}T {m}A{n}