July 28th, 2019

Mephisto 3073 - Don Manley

Strange solving process for this one, as I started at the bottom and worked my way up. On a first reading of clues I could not get a single one in the top half of the grid, and I think the bottom half was complete before any of the entries poking up into the top half gave me a fingerhold.

Overall I found this a touch more difficult than recent Mephisto puzzles.

Definitions can be confirmed in Chambers and so I will focus on the wordplay in this report.

Away we go...

1 Plants are having stems, therefore needing to be pinned (10)
ACANTHUSES - A(are, unit of measurement), then CANES(stems) containing THUS(therefore)
10 Maybe like organ passage with tweaking of a gut (6)
FUGATO - anagram of OF,A,GUT
12 The French place, a strange island (6)
LAPUTA - LA(the in French), PUT(plac), A. Strange due to its connection to Gulliver's Travels
13 Severe old people affected somehow by contact with insect (11)
STERNOTRIBE - STERN(sever), O(old), TRIBE(people)
15 Article about terrible ruler very unacceptable in a Greek location (6)
AONIAN - A(article), ON(about) and then IVAN the terrible missing V(very)
16 What's odd in old company, looking back? Shut up! (6)
IMMURE - RUM(odd) in EMI(old musical company) all reversed
17 Stopping short, come to river or lake (4)
MEER - shorten MEET(come to) then R(river)
18 Weed became tainted (6)
STALED - double definition, the first being relatied to cattle urination
19 Advice before putting back sheets or mattress? (6)
AIRBED -  before you put back the sheets you should AIR the BED
20 Embrace one getting cross, needing to gather support (6)
ABRAZO - A(one), then ZO(cross) containing BRA(support)
24 Gravedigger’s therefore getting it wrong — one wild creature? (6)
ARGALI - if you check in Chambers, ARGAL is a bungled attempt by a gravedigger in Hamley to say ERGO(therefore), then I(one)
28 Act involving three thousand outside university (4)
MUMM - M,M,M (three thousand) surrounding U(university)
29 Need, say, to get from ’ere (6)
EGENCE - EG(say) then get from 'ENCE
30 Juniper to preserve outside home (6)
SAVINE - SAVE(preserve) containing IN(home)
31 Rash I sorted out in medical treatment (11)
32 Having less rain than anywhere else, stride out (6)
DRIEST - anagram of STRIDE
33 Insist on providing very small amount for beggar? (6)
THREEP - the beggar in The Threepenny Opera would want THREE P
34 When in trouble, rangers eat ants (10)

2 Copper to advertise safety device (6)
CUT-OUT - CU(copper), TOUT(advertise)
3 Particular opening’s marked by song in the Netherlands (6)
NARIAL -  ARIA(song) in NL(the Netherlands)
4 Got hold of by Bob in Perth, I acted like a lout (6)
HOONED -  HOD(bob, Scottish) containing ONE(I)
5 Superior officer meets foreign friend turning up in den in garden? (6)
ULTIMA -  U(superior), LT(lietenant, officer), then AMI(foreign friend). The definition is that DEN is the ultima of GARDEN
6 Use this chemical compound next in novel experiment (6)
EPIMER - anagram of EXPERIMENT minus NEXT
7 Bring new development to old city and don’t allow one to have buses running round (11)
SUBURBANISE - UR(old city) and BAN(don't allow) I(one) inside an anagram of BUSES
8 What’s harvested sadly had to be ditched — go very hungry, as before (6)
STERVE - anagram of HARVESTED minus HAD
9 German chemist has a meal — fish (10)
HABERDINES - Fritz HABER(German chemist) then DINES(has a meal)
11 Foreign officers with inside information meeting challenge outside club (11)
GENDARMERIE - GEN(inside information) then DARE(challenge) surrounding MERI(a kiwi club)
13 Serve salad spiced up with sauce (10, two words)
14 Head giving audible refusals (4)
NAZE - sounds like NAYS
21 Graffiti in the gents showing actor (6)
BOGART - graffiti in the gents could be BOG ART
22 East End ghost maybe in old-style escapade (6)
AUNTER - remove the aspirant from HAUNTER(ghost)
23 Thanks after measure is laid down in code of honour (6)
OMERTA - TA(thanks) after something that sounds like HOMER(a Hebrew measure)
24 Idiot getting too much infatuated, as of old (6)
ASSOTT - ASS(idiot), OTT(too much)
25 Attack has a couple of characters turning up in Moroccan house (4)
RIAD - jumble the middle characters of RAID(attack)
26 Good knight embracing maiden possibly gets control (6)
GOVERN - G(good), N(knight) containing a maiden OVER
27 Having more rows maybe in boat around island (6)
LINIER - LINER(boat) surrounding I(island)

Sunday Times 4860 by Robert Price

23.32. I’m on holiday this week, so will keep it brief. I found this puzzle quite hard, but a lot of fun to solve.

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

1 Gelding coming from shed to allotment
CASTRATION - CAST, RATION. A snake can be said to CAST its skin.
6 Short period without a female companion
9 A composer’s decision to avoid court
10 In video, a Sixties film originally has become clearer
TAKE SHAPE - T(A, KES, Has)APE. I struggled a bit with this one: I could see TAKE SHAPE fitted the definition but it took me ages to see how the wordplay worked.
12 Meet with us and get hammered?
WEST HAM UNITED - (MEET WITH US AND)*. &Lit. West Ham are known as the Hammers.
14 A lot is happening to garden tools
IN SPADES - IN (trendy, happening), SPADES.
15 Country vegetable, never ever thrown away
SWEDEN - SWEDE (or rutabaga as it’s known in North America), Never. Another where the wordplay eluded me for a while.
17 Execution site brought back large stake
GIBBET - reversal of BIG, BET.
19 Appearances of rock groups put on abroad
OUTCROPS - OUT (abroad), CROPS. I hesitated over this because I thought ‘groups’ was a bit loose for CROPS, but it’s there in expressions like ‘the current crop of politicians is profoundly depressing.’
21 Eco-friendly rabble I goaded to riot
24 Prisoner’s honest, witness finally explains
25 Where mourners might be attentive
26 Spring arrest
27 Wrong about herb with duck after mushroom turnover
PECCADILLO - CA (about), DILL, O after a reversal of CEP (mushroom).

1 Hoover up a drink
CAVA - reversal of VAC, A.
2 Goes slowly after son carelessly dashes off
3 Recalling testimony, under control
REINSTATEMENT - REIN (control), STATEMENT (testimony). A football player might be recalled/reinstated to a team after being dropped.
4 Row about high tech becomes more peevish
TETCHIER - TIER (row) containing (TECH)*.
5 Ropy stuff for sealing wood, I’m thinking
OAKUM - OAK, UM. ‘Loose fibre obtained by untwisting old rope, used especially in caulking wooden ships’, ‘caulk’ being a ‘waterproof filler and sealant, used in building work and repairs.’ A rather obscure word I have learned from crosswords.
7 How soldiers might be saluted
TOASTED - the secondary definition refers to the kind of soldiers you dip in a boiled egg.
8 Rocky edge with Sirens being rapacious
11 Ads for carrier go on to support submarine?
SANDWICH BOARD - BOARD (go on) underneath SANDWICH, of which a submarine or sub is a variety.
13 On foot, little one promotes rides from friends
PIGGYBACKS - PIGGY (the little toe), BACKS (promotes).
16 Wrongly accused Liberal’s entered Downing Street perhaps
CUL-DE-SAC - L contained in (ACCUSED)*.
18 Cheese stores have cake
20 More than a couple of lines in total
OVERALL - OVER (more than) A, LL.
22 After defeat, evil leader gives way
23 Turn down a little love token
VETO - contained in ‘love token’.