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September 8th, 2019

Mephisto 3079 - Don Manley

My main hold-up here I suspect is a typo in Chambers. Since I wasn't familiar with the language I looked up the answer to 7 down. In my copy of Chambers it is given as ESKUARA (which fits the wordplay). EUSKARIAN is there for Basque, and after an online search I can't find any support for ESKUARA. So that settled my problems with also being sure that 15 across was SIMMON, and we were away again.

With Mephisto, definitions can be verified in Chambers, so I will focus on wordplay elements. The definitions are underlined.

Away we go...

Across
4 In windows see pets eating seed (9)
CASEMENTS - CATS(pets)... ahem... eating SEMEN (seed)
11 Phone order sent the wrong way leading to anger (6)
MOBILE - OM(Order of Merit) reversed then BILE(anger)
13 Memory coming back to old member of tribe (4)
MORO - ROM(Read Only Memory) reversedm then O(old)
14 Perverted hope to live as a goddess (6)
PHOEBE -  anagram of HOPE then BE(live)
15 Simple fellow having mark inscribed in tree (6)
SIMMON - Simple SIMON containing M(mark) - short for PERSIMMON
16 Dawn's taking a very long time to pen article (4)
EOAN - EON(a very long time) containing A(article)
18 Stop loveless marriage somehow — I want a realistic approach (11)
PRAGMATISER - anagram of STOP missing O(love) and MARRIAGE
19 Colourful stuff gives Spooner’s American friend trouble (7)
CUDBEAR - spoonerism of BUD(American friend) CARE(trouble)
21 Hesitation by artist to make pilgrimage (4)
UMRA - UM(hesitation), RA(artist)
22 Drug cut into small pieces (4)
HASH - double definition
25 Isn’t ale newly brewed outstanding? (7)
SALIENT - anagram of ISN'T,ALE
27 Remonstrate as old lover having claim (11)
EXPOSTULATE - EX(old lover), POSTULATE(claim)
30 Uncivilised person irritated husband (4)
GOTH - GOT(irritated), H(husband)
32 Girl appearing at end of drama inadequate, “not authentic” (6)
PLAGAL - GAL(girl) after PLA(y) (drama) refering to the musical cadence
33 A terrible maiden being held in respect (6)
ADMIRE - A, DIRE(terrible) containing M(maiden)
34 Vile ground, a swamp (4)
VLEI - anagram of VILE
35 Wine? This writer gets to deteriorate when consuming litres (6)
MERLOT - ME(this writer), with ROT(deteriorate) containing L(litres). I get the feeling Don Manley and I have the same opinion of this wine blend which is ridiculously popular over here
36 What one expects to observe is head of monastery showing faith (9)
PARSEEISM - PAR(what one is shooting for on a golf course), SEE(observe), IS, M(onastery)

Down
1 One accusing troublemaker, a revolutionary disrupting monarch (9)
IMPEACHER - IMP(troublemaker), then A, CHE(revolutionary) inside ER(monarch)
2 Instruction to stop — it’s extremely hot inside (4)
TOHO - TOO(extremely) containing H(hot)
3 Sailor has ’idden stock — smuggled thus? (6)
ABOARD - AB(sailor) and HOARD(hidden stock) missing the aspirant
5 A glib, insane, unorthodox member of a sect (11)
ALBIGENSIAN - anagram of A,GLIB,INSANE
6 What’s said to secure good fortune (4)
SEEL - sounds like SEAL(secure)
7 Basque language unusual in UK areas (7)
EUSKARA - anagram of UK,AREAS
8 English maiden getting married, a nineteenth-century story (4)
EMMA - E(English), M(maiden), M(Married), A
9 Insistence on observance of law upsetting 15 (6)
NOMISM - anagram of SIMMON, the answer to 15 across
10 The wanderer — he carried out legal procedure once (6)
TROVER - 'T, ROVER(wanderer)
12 Very good poems nevertheless included useless “flowery” bits (11)
PISTILLODES - PI(very good) ODES(poems) containing STILL(nevertheless)
17 The crafty drunk inclined to quarrel (9)
FRATCHETY - anagram of THE,CRAFTY
20 Measure of brightness seen in aged plant (7)
ASTILBE - STILB(a derived unit of brightness) inside AE(aged)
23 A team completely upset in a sort of depression (6)
AXILLA - A, XI(eleven, team) then ALL(completely) reversed
24 Old ball with harps playing around entrance initially (6)
SPHAER - anagram of HARPS surrounding E(ntrance)
26 French star to work with energy first and last (6)
ETOILE - TOIL(work) with E(energy) at the start and end
28 One knowing about law denying outsiders US protection (4)
EGIS - remove the outside letters from LEGIST(one knowing aout law)
29 King has foreign friend, a lord (4)
KAMI - K(king), AMI(foreign friend)
31 Trust cut price will go up (4)
TROW - WORT(h) (price) reversed
17:35. Due to an oversight at the Times this puzzle didn’t appear until Monday, and I didn’t get round to solving it until a day or two later. I found it quite tricky, for reasons that are completely lost on me as I write up the blog. Whatever they were they were nothing to do with wilful obscurity, because there was nothing in here I didn’t know and as we all know, the definition of 'obscurity' is 'something I don't know'. I do enjoy working out funny words from wordplay, but I also admire a puzzle like this that manages to be challenging without resorting to them.

So thanks once again to Bob for a lovely puzzle, and here’s how I think it all works…

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

Across
1 Luxurious hotel’s abandoned asset
PLUS - PLUSh.
4 Upset all odds and catch one?
COELACANTH - (AlL, CATCH, ONE)*. ‘All odds’ being an instruction to take only the odd letters of ALL. I thought these fish were extinct, but it turns out there are still a couple of species knocking about. They are however very rare, so to catch one would very much be against the odds. &Lit, and an excellent one at that.
9 Hot bread one left out
STOLEN - STOLlEN.
10 Indignant child may be raised here?
UP IN ARMS - two definitions, one mildly cryptic.
11 Special gardens suffered in a motoring accident
ARBORETA - A, R(BORE)TA. RTA stands for ‘road traffic accident’. It has come up in these puzzles before, I don’t think I’ve ever come across it in the wild.
12 Actors wanting the lead in films
LAYERS - pLAYERS.
13 Avoid spring visiting desert unescorted
LEAVE WELL ALONE - LEAVE (desert) WELL (spring) ALONE (unescorted).
16 A sailor they say runs tests for soldiers
ASSAULT COURSES - homophone of ‘a salt’ followed by COURSES (runs).
20 Draw a ring round the capital of Peru
APPEAL - A, P(Peru)EAL.
22 Finish fish, squeezing over piece of fruit
ENDOCARP - END(O), CARP. ‘The inner, usually woody, layer of the pericarp of a fruit, such as the stone of a peach or cherry’.
24 They blow rent knocking back drink
TORNADOS - TORN, reversal of SODA.
25 Present at birth tucked away behind tavern
INNATE - INN, ATE (tucked away).
26 Parties of runners, maybe drinking quickly to absorb energy
BEANFEASTS - BEAN(F(E)AST)S. A matryoshka clue.
27 Genuine Caravaggio’s first shown in the retrospective
ECHT - reversal of THE containing Caravaggio.

Down
2 Side that’s after Arsenal’s wingers
LATERAL - LATER, ArsenaL.
3 Burst lotion almost beginning to ooze
SALVO - SALVe, Ooze.
4 Fish basket that’s gone rotten inside
CONGER EEL - CREEL (basket) containing (GONE)*. I knew CREEL as a sort of lobster trap but it can also just be a basket, especially if it’s holding fish.
5 Bird unable to fly behind mirror
EMULATE - EMU, LATE (behind).
6 A college not displaying its old spirit
ARIEL - A, oRIEL.
7 It’s unwise to force a climbing plant
AMARYLLIS - reversal (climing) of SILLY, RAM, A.
8 Tropical tree deserted by its last monkey
TAMARIN - TAMARINd. Bit of a chestnut.
14 Hero soon has bold maiden imprisoned
AGAMEMNON - A(GAME, M)NON.
15 They’re steamy in Paris, the king wears lingerie
LAUNDRIES - LA (in Paris the), UND(R)IES.
17 Expect to be affected by drink
SUPPOSE - SUP, POSE (be affected).
18 Where bats display evidence of iron deficiency?
CREASES - a double cryptic definition: the first disguising a cricket reference as a statement about flying mice, the second disguising a household appliance as a nutritional necessity.
19 Tax period
STRETCH - a straight DD this time.
21 Room register
LODGE - and another one. ‘Room’ here has to be a verb, I think.
23 Sort of ocean craft
CANOE - (OCEAN)*.