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September 22nd, 2019

Mephisto 3081 - Paul McKenna

Hmmm... I struggled with this one, and although I'm pretty sure I have a correct grid, it is more through the definitions than the wordplay. I'm going to try to piece the last few together while writing this up, if you feel dandruff it is from my head-scratching.

Paul McKenna usually gives a pun in the top row, and the 13x11 grid, rather than the usual 12x12 would seem to indicate something, but I'm lost this time. It is also two words that I suspect, as an Australian living in the USA, I pronounce differently to Paul.

Just to make matters worse, I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so I won't be able to fill in the gaps until late Sunday or Monday. I'm writing this up early and scheduling it.

Well here goes my best shot...

Across
1 Gregarious solicitor collaring security outfit (6)
SOCIAL - SOL(solicitor) containing CIA(American security outfit)
5 Writer turned into fat cat (7)
LEOPARD - POE(writer) reversed inside LARD(fat)
11 Rumble practically spoils retreat (7)
TWIGLOO - TWIG(rumble can mean to grasp, to see), then LOOT(spoils) missing the last letter
14 Get the better of equestrian lacking aspiration, like her say (9)
OUTDOORSY - OUTDO(get the better of), then HORSY(equestrian) without the H
15 Hot Bovril leaving black discoloration (5)
LIVOR - anagram of BOVRIL minus B(black)
16 Do put your foot down, run away briskly (7, two words)
CON MOTO -  CON(do, swindle), then MOTOR(put your foot down) missing the last letter
17 Rest up after test I’ll go to meeting (7)
TRYSTER - anagram of REST after TRY(test)
19 We care for crook (13, two words)
PASTORAL STAFF -  double definition based on he meanings of PASTORAL
21 Whiten just what you want of soft underwear (7)
CAMITOP - CAM(whiten with limestone), IT(just what you want), TO(of), P(soft)
23 As heard translate poetically that chunk of book (7)
TERNION - I think this is a homophone of TURN(translate), YON(that, poetically)
24 A stack of papers question resentment (5)
QUIRE - QU(question), IRE(resentment)
26 Mineral gypsum mostly round yonks? (9)
PLEONASTE - PLASTER(gypsum) missing the last letter around EONS(yonks)
28 Pacific island in fantastic increase, as expressed (7)
EIRENIC - I(island) inside an anagram of INCREASE minus AS
29 Valve succeeded passing check and remained unchanged (7)
TETRODE - remove S(succeeded) from TEST(check) then RODE(remained unchanged, particularly of a bet)
30 You dive into this because sunshine finally is back (6)
COSSIE - 'COS(because), then the last letter of sinshinE and IS reversed. Modesty and physique mean I think I last wore a cossie in the early 80s and the world is a better place for it.

Down
1 ____ keeps small hut out of water (5)
STILT - odd clue - the whole does appear to be the definition, wordplay is S(small) TILT(hut)
2 New Conservative Party upset para on going for life after service? (11, two words)
CIVVY STREET - anagram of CONSERVATIVE,PARTY minus PARA,ON
3 At heart The Big Bopper is of some people (4)
IGBO - hidden inside the bIG BOpper
4 Beloved poet adopting uniform and old cover for opening (11)
LOUVER BOARD - LOVER(beloved) and BARD(poet) containing U(uniform) and O(old)
5 French department’s prize (3)
LOT - double definition
6 Limit on credit card? Like some basic living structure (11)
ENDOPLASTIC - END(limit), O(on), PLASTIC(credit card)
7 Suggest short esplanade near port (6)
PROMPT - PROM(esplanade), PT(port)
8 Acts of axing and reversal go with bonsai art strangely (11)
ABROGATIONS - anagram of GO,BONSAI,ART
9 Cordlike it is rising through mend (9)
RESTIFORM - IT'S reversed inside REFORM(mend)
10 Rest in shed, yes inside (6, two words)
DAY OFF - DOFF(shed) with AY(yes) inside
12 Mostly good doctrine reversing crime in crowd (6)
BONISM - SIN(crime) inside MOB(crowd), all reversed
13 Plum before roar in Slough (9)
MIRABELLE - A(before), BELL(roar, bellow) inside MIRE(slough)
18 Regularly knocking back sauce in need of wallop’s last drop (6)
TOPING - TOPPING(sauce) missing the last letter of walloP
19 Stone perfectly makes step (6)
PIT-PAT - PIT(stone), PAT(perfectly)
20 Old course found by nurse during shift (6)
TENOUR - EN(nourse), inside TOUR(shift of duty). Course meaning drift here
22 Quiet exercises are core wanting gold (5)
PEACE - PE(exercises), A(are), then CORE missing OR(gold)
25 Instruments blowing the lid on microwaves (4)
UKES - NUKES(microwaves) missing the first letter
27 Date gave the appearance of being without medicine (3)
SEE - SEEMED(gave the appearance of) missing MED(medicine)

Sunday Times 4868 by David McLean

17:01. I have had a very busy week so left this very late, and now can’t remember much about it. I also can’t see why it took me so long: looking at the clues now they all seem very straightforward. But then it’s always easy when you know the answer, isn’t it?

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



Across
1 Passion killer that’s a cause of problems
HEADACHE - DD.
5 Wearing head coverings is restricted
CAPPED - and another straight DD.
9 Ever sat in theatre’s cheapest area?
STEERAGE - ST(EER)AGE.
10 Eat mostly in the morning, knocking back veg
MARROW - reversal of WORRy, AM.
12 Country Lawrence revolutionised without trouble
EGYPT - reversal of TE (Lawrence of Arabia) containing GYP (trouble).
13 What male angler will do on front to secure catch?
SHELLFISH - Secure, HE’LL FISH.
14 Commute into Acapulco due to work
OCCUPATIONAL - (INTO ACAPULCO)*.
18 Group of stars seen with the Artful Dodger?
LITTLE DIPPER - two definitions, one a reference to the Dickensian pickpocket (dipper).
21 European dons scathing about doctrine
TEACHINGS - E contained in (SCATHING)*.
23 Club foot’s swelling, but not at the tip
UNION - bUNION.
24 Where one might see a comic during Glastonbury set
INTENT - IN (a) TENT being where you might see a comic at Glastonbury. Do they have comedians at Glastonbury? I only know it as a music festival but I have never been.
25 He priced up crack
DECIPHER - (HE PRICED)*.
26 Ancient teacher, after essential bit of surgery, gets well
GUSHER - surGery, USHER. An archaic word for an assistant teacher, apparently.
27 When cream turned thus, one mustn’t sniff it
ASBESTOS - AS (when), BEST (cream), reversal of SO. A slightly odd definition but no doubt accurate.

Down
1 A way to get cuddle off Scots lass? Do it quickly!
HASTEN - H(A ST)EN.
2 Yes, ITV primarily broadcast repeats
AYE AYE - sounds like “I” (first letter of ITV), twice.
3 Somehow impractical PM leaves without crisis
ACRITICAL - (ImpRACTICAL)*.
4 Grandiose way to describe a soprano?
HIGH-SOUNDING - two definitions, one barely cryptic.
6 A bit of vehicle trouble could result in exercise
AVAIL - A, Vehicle, AIL. I was puzzled by this definition but it is in Lexico, albeit marked as 'Indian'.
7 Medicines entertaining doctor finally distributes
PORTIONS - PO(doctoR)TIONS.
8 Declining personal mount, duke takes the van
DOWNHILL - D (duke) is in front of (takes the van) OWN, HILL.
11 Trousers for big organ players?
PEDAL PUSHERS - again one straight definition (for women’s calf-length trousers) and one mildly cryptic one.
15 Lacking in education? I endure it, surprisingly
INERUDITE - (I ENDURE IT)*.
16 Conservative hating taking off a dress
CLOTHING - C, LOaTHING.
17 Books one found amongst maps for city below sea level
ATLANTIS - ATLA(NT, I)S.
19 Sharp intellect leads to happiness (in theory)
WITH IT - WIT, first letters of happiness in theory.
20 Island with very large harbours close to Timor
ANDROS - AND (with), OS (very large) containing timoR. I’m not sure if I knew this island or not. There are lots of Greek islands ending OS.
22 Horse dealer who’s bent must avoid force consequently
HENCE - H, fENCE.