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July 21st, 2019

Mephisto 3072 by Paul McKenna

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 welcome any thoughts on 7D – am I missing something clever?

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

ACROSS

1 Loch close to trapping a sub (4)

LOAN: L-O(A)N;

4 She sets up airman recruit, right monkey (8)

ARRANGER: AR-R-ANGER; AR=Airman Recruit; monkey=ANGER (slang);

11 Blue mimic inside rose likewise (10, four words)

A,PEG,TOO,LOW: APE-G(TOO)LOW; not a phrase I’m familiar with – it means sad and refers to pegs that were inserted into draughts to measure how much alcohol had been consumed. If the peg was low, there wasn't much alcohol left to drink

13 Fish I shift per pound on the front (8)

ALBICORE: A-LB-I-CORE; a gang or shift=CORE; the long-fin tuna

14 Lichen's relative pervading fence (7)

PARELLE: PA(REL)LE; once used in the preparation of litmus;

15 Store with name that's hot for Scot (5)

STOWN: STOW-N; stolen in Stirling;

16 What gets readers going in, eg, epic? (5)

PROEM: PO(R)EM; R from R(eaders); an introduction; nice clue;

19 Film hot-dogger blowing away the first half (5)

OATER: (showb)OATER; slang for a Western;

21 Owls do this very bad thing, losing what's left behind (7)

ULULATE: (L)ULU-LATE; to hoot; a bad mistake is a LULU;

23 Outmoded hiring fair is bust, perhaps about time (7)

STATUTE: STATU(T)E; Hiring fairs were also called STATUTE, or mop fairs. They date from the time of Edward III, and his attempt to regulate the labour market by the Statute of Labourers in 1351 at a time of a serious national shortage of labour after the Black Death.

24 Somewhat feebler nearing swamp (5)

LERNE: hidden (feeb)LER-NE(aring); Greek mythology;

27 Dog wanting barrel is what’s well worth having (5)

ASSET; (b)ASSET; B=barrel;

29 Influencer is loco and also an obstacle (5)

MOGUL: three meanings;

30 If really necessary chuck uniform in when hot (7, three words)

AT,A,PUSH: A(TAP -U)S-H; chuck=TAP (under the chin);

31 Deeply I impress English sort who’s liberated? (8)

ENGRAVER: ENG-RAVER;

32 Butterfly finally flying, metamorphosed into such wonder (10)

ADMIRATION: ADMIRA(L)-(into)*;

33 Colouring in perm running with it on (8)

ORPIMENT: (perm + it on)*; an orange-yellow mineral

34 Celebrated Scots blood by flag about end of Bannockburn (4)

SANG: SA(N)G; two meanings + cryptic;


DOWN

1 A mass by proxy among fallen that provides illumination (8)

LAMPPOST: L(A-M-PP)OST; what George Formby leant on;

2 Blind rage to a T — a degree of some incapacity? (8)

AEGROTAT: (rage to a T)*; a degree granted without examination because of a medical impairment;

3 No good little coin (5)

NGWEE: NG-WEE; Zambian kwacha;

5 Fuss about lines on launch (7)

ROLL-OUT; RO(LL-O)UT;

6 Invested in stiff editor (5)

ROBED: ROB-ED;

7 The greatest's on it (5)

A-LIST: looks like a straight definition?

8 New cryptic clue to “bat” (7)

NOCTULE: N-(clue to)*; a bat;

9 I testify based on sound satire mixed with news (10)

EAR-WITNESS: (satire + news)*;

10 SW channel blowing the lid on chippy’s craft (4)

REEN: (t)REEN; a channel in Chard;

12 Hear Tom ran — could be he’s a ____ (10)

MARATHONER: (hear Tom ran)*;

17 Thousand au pairs rallying in developing places (8)

MARSUPIA: M-(au pairs)*; the pouches where marsupial young develop;

18 Judge slight phobia as a state of perturbation (8)

SEETHING: SEE-THING;

20 Being foolish in France I’d outré trips (7)

ETOURDI: (I’d outré)*;

22 Rigsby, say, close to time-worn reading desk no more (7)

LETTERN: LETTER-(time-wor)N; (Rupert) Rigsby=reference TV series Rising Damp;

25 Old-fashioned pancake is fine as exiting fruit festival (5)

FLAMM: F-LAMM(as);

26 In grotto I’ll find a source of Scotch eggs? (5)

CAVIE: CAV(I)E; a hen-coop in Hawick;

28 Locates where to get buses going north (5)

SPOTS: STOPS reversed;

29 A certain bit of malarkey turned up less for scorers (4)

MENO: ONE-M(alarky) reversed; musical term for less;