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September 15th, 2019

Mephisto 3080 - Tim Moorey

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. 24A is a perfect example.

Very interesting grid for a puzzle of average difficulty

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

ACROSS

1 Sussex town greets amateur (8)

HAILSHAM: HAILS-HAM; small town in the Wealden district of East Sussex

6 Request for silence from one following leader of Trappists (4)

TACE: T(rapist)-ACE;

9 Column about part of the book accepted (4)

ANTA: A-NT-A; NT=New Testament;

10 Maori staff nurse joins hospital, cheers all round (6)

TAIAHA: T(AIA-H)A; AIA=ayah=nurse;

12 Guard going around my city (8)

FLORENCE: F(LOR)ENCE;

13 Hot press steel? Yes, but not seriously (12, two words)

TOASTING,IRON: steel=sword; facetious term for a sword;

14 One’s leaving French city borders (5)

ORLES: ORLE(an)S;

17 What you need here is the removal of doubt (8)

SOLUTION: two definitions

18 Inter due to be playing together again (8)

REUNITED: (inter due)*;

22 Mining Engineer set upon relating to life with some moisture (5)

MESIC: ME-SIC;

23 Ecologist pal terribly concerned with crop damage (12)

PESTOLOGICAL: (ecologist pal)*;

24 As before, admit one term in examination that’s stiff (8)

INCORPSE: I-(examination)N-CORPSE;

25 Wrinkly’s game by the way (6)

RUGATE: RU-GATE;

26 Sounds like Welsh person clamours (4)

HUES: sounds like “Hughes”

27 Which ruler’s male, always? (4)

MEER: M-EER;

28 Mostly inside info in sack is for outsiders (8)

OUSTITIS: OUS(TI-p)T-IS;

DOWN

1 Bending on touch, papa with young child interrupts odd aphorism (12)

HAPTOTROPISM: (aphorism)* surrounds P-TOT;

2 Withdraw wine from the south that’s totally finished (8, three words)

IT’S,ALL,UP: PULL-ASTI reversed;

3 Misses Berks after introduction to Lancs (6)

LASSES: L(ancs)-ASSES;

4 One on test in robust court (8)

HALIMOTE: HAL(I-MOT)E;

5 Bank’s spread perhaps (5)

MARGE: two definitions

6 The Duke’s beginning to drop off, I believe (6)

THEIST: THE-(f)IST; duke=fist;

7 Very bad about time in prison cell, alongside huge guy unclothed (10)

CACOTOPIAN: CA-CO(T)OP-(g)IAN(t);

8 Paper girl embraces college in this? (12, two words)

EVENING,CLASS: EVENING-C-LASS; EVENING=evening newspaper; C=college;

11 Heroin’s seen wrongly to show natural wisdom (10, two words)

HORSE,SENSE: HORSE’S-(seen)*; HORSE=heroin;

15 Smart fellow wanting power, announces plants for alcohol additives (8)

ALECOSTS: ALEC-(p)OSTS;

16 Prospective flyer exposes cost at Orly (8, two words)

AIR,SCOUT: AIRS-COUT; French for cost=COUT;

19 Well-known Scot still in with runs for team at first (6)

NOTOUR: still in=NOT OUT then change final T to R;

20 See yours truly with poet take away business card (6)

MEISHI: ME-(r)ISHI: take=R; reference poet Rishi Patialvi 1917-99;

21 Do without cast, mostly old (5)

FORGO: FORG(e)-O;

About as straightforward as Jumbos get, which was just as well when I hadn't realised my weekend had come around again so soon. FOI 1ac, LOI 56ac as it took a while for me to confidently separate the definition part from the synonym for "high". I liked the Shakespearean nods in ROBIN GOODFELLOW and ILLYRIA, and the harder GK to be found in LUCCA and LUCINA (both pleasingly Italianate!), but generally this proved a walk in the park, pace the mysterious (to me anyway) definition of 6dn.

Hope you all enjoyed it anyway and thanks for your forbearance in waiting till the very end of the weekend for the blog!

ACROSS
1 But mosaic is in pieces of very small size (9)
SUBATOMIC - (BUT MOSAIC*) ["is in pieces"]

6 Rum delivery in case (7)
ODDBALL - ODD BALL [rum | delivery]

10 Talks idly of tears when husband’s gone (5)
GASES - GAS{h}ES [tears, minus H for husband]

13 Quite happy to study wine (7)
CONTENT - CON TENT [to study | wine]

14 Casual assistance given to cricket side (7)
OFFHAND - HAND [assistance] given to OFF [cricket side]

15 Mediterranean boat’s fine, but not in Tuscan city (7)
FELUCCA - F{in}E [fine, but not "in"] + LUCCA [Tuscan city]

16 Be hopeful and view the less good single? That’s about correct (4,2,3,6,4)
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE - LOOK ON THE B-SIDE [view the less good single], "about" RIGHT [correct]. An apposite question mark, as there are some bands, Suede springing to mind, whose B-sides were consistently as good as or better than their A-sides!

17 Dine on steak, say, but not medium (3)
EAT - {m}EAT [steak say, minus M for medium]

18 Make material that’s woven by demo (6)
EMBODY - (BY DEMO*) ["woven"]

20 Halt alien sea creature (6)
LIMPET - LIMP E.T. [halt | alien]

21 A fatal preparation of polonium’s working on defector (3,6)
RAT POISON - PO IS ON [polonium's working] on RAT [defector]

23 One selling company of men in pursuit of £51 a time (10)
LIQUIDATOR - O.R. [men], in pursuit of LI QUID A T [51 | pounds | a | time]

25 Reason for being editor — earns fantastically (6,5)
RAISON D'ETRE - (EDITOR EARNS*) ["fantastically"]

29 Fish, angler’s first in northern lake (5)
LOACH - A{ngler} in LOCH [northern lake]

30 Cast in one broadcast on “Columbo” misses uniform (8)
MONOBLOC - (ON COL{u}MBO*) ["broadcast"]

31 Move downwards is concerning Papal ambassador (8)
RELEGATE - RE LEGATE [concerning | Papal ambassador]

34 What’s amusing in key National Executive Committee notes (8)
ANECDOTE - A NEC [key | National Executive Committee] + DO TE [(two) notes]

36 Poor Indian chap without an article (8)
INDIGENT - INDI{a} GENT [Indian | chap, minus A (an article)]

37 Place to stay right after golf? (5)
HOTEL - follows Golf in the phonetic alphabet

39 Speeding up wrecked oral cadence (11)
ACCELERANDO - (ORAL CADENCE*) ["wrecked"]

41 Who’s uninterested in the narrow catalogue of species groups? (10)
GENERALIST - or GENERA LIST [catalogue of species groups]

43 Quiet speaker with his quiet and repeated signs of hesitation (9)
WHISPERER - W HIS P [with | his | quiet] + ER ER [repeated signs of hesitation]

45 Went down, to come back gathering oxygen is empty (6)
DEVOID - reversed DIVED [went down], "gathering" O [oxygen]

47 Mostly odd echo with large chimney near bridge? (6)
FUNNEL - FUNN{y} ["mostly" odd] + E L [echo | large]. A chimney near the bridge of a ship.

49 Doctor covering up a breach (3)
GAP - GP [doctor] "covering up" A

50 Variety of round cogwheel which has some falling out (10,2,7)
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION - DIFFERENCE OF O PINION [variety | of | round | cogwheel]

52 Sound the alarm as “whiskey” is adopted for a time for Scots emblem (7)
WHISTLE - take THISTLE [Scots emblem] and replace W [whiskey] with T [time]

53 Off-colour and casual about old Balkan area (7)
ILLYRIA - ILL [off colour] + reversed AIRY [casual]

54 What some dancing fools hold — bishop must take steps to realise it (7)
BLADDER - B [bishop] must take LADDER [steps]

55 Stiff and cold, putting off female (5)
RIGID - {f}RIGID [cold, minus F for female]

56 Where all may go on a trip with style (7)
HIGHWAY - HIGH [on a trip] with WAY [style]

57 Clear former mate and English sailor returning outside unit (9)
EXONERATE - EX [former mate] + reversed E TAR [English | sailor], outside ONE [unit]

DOWN
1 Supposed codes all must be broken (2-6)
SO-CALLED - (CODES ALL*) ["must be broken"]

2 House with rubbish container on drive (5)
BINGO - BIN [rubbish container] on GO [drive]

3 Film bird around ruined lodge (3,4,4)
THE GOLD RUSH - THRUSH [bird] "around" (LODGE*) ["ruined"]

4 Speechless about a temperature change (6)
MUTATE - MUTE [speechless] "about" A T [a | temperature]

5 Plug suiting that’s figure-hugging (5-7)
CLOSE-FITTING - CLOSE [plug] + FITTING [suiting]

6 Test for fixing promotion has ended (5,2)
OFFER UP - OFFER [promotion] has UP [ended]. I was none the wiser about the definition part, but per Collins: "in eg joinery, to position on a trial basis, in order to test for size or suitability before fixing".

7 Swallow perched initially on housetop avoiding gusts of wind (15)
DRAUGHTPROOFING - DRAUGHT [swallow] + P{erched} + ROOFING [housetop]

8 Financial record of motor company on Tourist Trophy track (5,5)
AUDIT TRAIL - AUDI [motor company] on TT RAIL [Tourist Trophy | track]

9 That’s it! Fellow running from the right is where he’s at (7)
LEFTIST - hidden reversed in {tha}T'S IT FEL{low}, &lit

10 Good vintage single turning up, cut out for evergreen (6,5)
GOLDEN OLDIE - G OLD [good | vintage] + reversed LONE [single] + DIE [cut out]

11 Connector on television which needs a wrench to use (6,3)
SOCKET SET - SOCKET [connector] on SET [television]

12 Hardy box bark (7)
SPARTAN - SPAR TAN [box | bark]

19 Body of troops commanded to carry equipment (7)
BRIGADE - BADE [commanded] "to carry" RIG [equipment]

22 What shows movement of old building and every other one in theory (8)
ODOMETER - O DOME [old | building] + T{h}E{o}R{y}

24 Mischievous sprite contrived woe for old goblin (5,10)
ROBIN GOODFELLOW - (WOE FOR OLD GOBLIN*) ["contrived"]

26 Exhaust excessively visible, leading to anger (8)
OVERTIRE - OVERT [excessively visible], leading to IRE [anger]

27 Waugh, perhaps, has name coming up constantly (6)
EVENLY - take EVELYN [Waugh], and move the N for N two positions up

28 Mountain animal covering Andes, primarily (6)
ALPACA - ALP [mountain] + A{nimal} C{overing} A{ndes}, &lit

32 Insides of parts list covers article needed for mechanic? (7)
ARTISAN - {p}ART{s} {l}IS{t} covers AN [article]

33 Gave interior reworking to lend a new vitality (12)
REINVIGORATE - (GAVE INTERIOR*) ["reworking"]

35 Broken-down and obsolete covers one circuit I had (11)
DILAPIDATED - DATED [obsolete] "covers" I LAP I'D [one | circuit | I had]

37 See things mostly stopped when Roman goddess enters (11)
HALLUCINATE - HALTE{d} ["mostly" stopped] when LUCINA [Roman goddess (of childbirth)] enters

38 Diner being given wrong order, a cause of some illnesses (10)
INBREEDING - (DINER BEING*) ["given wrong order"]

40 Fretting under constant and disastrous undermining (9)
CRIPPLING - RIPPLING [fretting] under C [constant]

42 Casual walking enthusiast around Lake Erie (8)
FLANERIE - FAN [enthusiast] "around" L [Lake] + ERIE

43 Worker’s pay was cut back, right? Be belligerent (4,3)
WAGE WAR - WAGE [worker's pay] + WA{s} + R [right]

44 Update reference concerning small hotel (7)
REFRESH - REF RE S H [reference | concerning | small | hotel]

46 Governor’s wicked behaviour over chap (7)
VICEROY - VICE [wicked behaviour] over ROY [chap]

48 Reserve volume endlessly in error (3-3)
BOO-BOO - BOO{k} BOO{k} [reserve | volume, both missing their "ends"]

51 Home help turned up in a state (5)
INDIA - IN [home] + reversed AID [help]