January 12th, 2020

Mephisto 3097 - Don Manley

Greetings from North Carolina where we are currently under a tornado watch. It's pretty horrible out but I still have power and internet for right now, so hopefully I can get this all written up.

I did most of this on a plane but needed the dictionary for the last few (ending with 20 down where I wasn't sure if it ended in an E or Y).

In Mephisto puzzles all definitions (the first of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, so this write-up will focus on the wordplay.

Away we go...

5 Choose to engage any number, in charge of cross-examination (8)
ELENCTIC - ELECT(choose) containing N(any number), then IC(in charge)
11 A stain to get shifted — not one produced by orange dyes (7)
ANATTOS - anagram of A,STAIN,TO minus I(one)
12 Humble but not leader as member of parliament? (4)
OWLY - LOWLY(humble) missing the first letter
13 Abraham’s father having change of heart (5)
TERAH - anagram of HEART
14 Foot coming down heavily in street approaching slope (6)
STRAMP - ST(street) by RAMP(slope)
15 Born to a true rogue, I admitted being so much the richer (12, two words)
TANTO UBERIOR - anagram of BORN,TO,A,TRUE containing I
16 Get rid of language containing first hint of animosity (5)
ERASE - ERSE(language) containing the first letter of Animosity
17 Savage queen maybe featured in women’s magazine (6)
SCATHE - CAT(queen, maybe) inside SHE(women's magazine)
18 Bird, one coming to river in meadow (6)
LEIPOA - I(one), by PO(river) inside LEA(meadow)
24 Way the old man rolls over in a subhuman condition? (6)
APEDOM - MODE(way), and PA(the old man) all reversed
26 Lord, that is tiny on some islands! (6)
PEERIE - PEER(lord), IE(that is)
27 Holy scriptures not a source of light (5)
VESTA - AVESTA(holy scriptures) missing A
30 Reasons a creationist is misguided (12)
31 Ease old member in time (6)
ALEGGE - LEG(member) inside AGE(time)
32 Sports club has managed to collect money (5)
FRANC - F.C.(sports club) containing RAN(managed)
33 Imbecile decapitated flower (4)
NILE - ANILE(imbecile) missing the first letter
34 Cordial human being cut short, interrupted by one that’s cold (7)
PERSICO - PERSON(human being) missing the last letter, containing I(one), C(cold)
35 Old-style physician a little man probing heart (8)
GALENIST - A, LEN(little man) inside GIST(heart)

1 Be in debt at Oxford? Sounds like a struggle (6)
BATTEL - homophone of BATTLE(struggle)
2 A French female, a revolutionary not able to listen? (7)
UNEARED - UNE(female "a" in French), A, RED(revolutionary)
3 Very small buffalo in an Indian group? (5)
VARNA - V(very), ARNA(buffalo)
4 Position not superior, as shown by data (5)
STATS - STATUS(position) missing U(superior)
6 Having Chambers, find bits of unusual language therein (8)
LOCULATE - LOCATE(find) containing first letters of Universal Language
7 Remark on church devoid of modern gimmickry (6)
NO-TECH -  NOTE(remark) on CH(church)
8 Get worn down, as a record being played (7)
CORRADE - anagram of A,RECORD
9 See some enthusiast wait eternally for a fish (6)
TWAITE - hidden inside enthusiasT WAIT Eternally
10 Tree must be cut as a matter of legal principle (6, two words)
CY PRES - CYPRESS(tree) missing the last letter
17 Specifies about four verbs of a particular type (8)
STATIVES -STATES(specifies) containing IV(four)
19 Through one exclamation of surprise makes an astronomical point (7)
PERIGEE - PER(through), I(one), GEE(exclamation of surprise)
20 Military formation’s rare power (7)
POTENCE - double definition
21 Without kids, made a call — appeared suddenly? (6)
SPRANG - SP(sine prole, without kids), RANG(made a call)
22 Once again explain about Swiss hero (6)
RETELL - RE(about), william TELL(Swiss hero)
23 Element of protoplasm? Big one undergoing change (6)
BIOGEN - anagram of BIG,ONE
25 Arts graduate’s to study lots of dense material (6)
MASCON - MA'S(arts graduate's), CON(study)
28 Signs of sorrow beginning to end formerly, but not now (5)
EARST - TEARS(signs of sorrow) with the first letter moved to the end
29 Scottish colt’s gait’s awkward (5)
STAIG - anagram of GAIT'S

Sunday Times 4884 by Robert Price - galled rocks

19:29. I thought this was quite tricky, but a really interesting puzzle with some excellent clues and a nice range of references. No literature to speak of, but nothing too obscure other than perhaps the rocks: one of them looked very likely but the other was more of a fingers-crossed job even if the wordplay was as clear as it could possibly be.

I have one query at 15ac, which perhaps someone can help me with, but otherwise this was all very clear. Edit: it's not surprising I had a query with this clue as my answer was wrong! See below.

So thanks 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.

1 Change direction about food, say, backing something meat-free
VEGEBURGER - VEER containing (about) a reversal of GRUB, EG. A bit of déjà vu all over again with this one, as the same answer appeared in the same place in puzzle 27,323 (11 April last year) and prompted a bit of comment on the basis that some people would expect it to be spelled VEGGIE BURGER. It can be, of course. There is a new breed of vegetarian burgers (called things like 'miracle') that are supposed to mimic the taste of meat very closely. I haven't tried one.
6 Cease endless pressure or crack
9 Second scorer for West Ham’s drunk
LISZT - CD, because Franz is the second composer (scorer) in the Cockney (West Ham) rhyming slang expression for ‘squiffy’, after Brahms.
10 Soldier in an attempt to win victory for England
AGINCOURT - A(GI)N, COURT (attempt to win).
12 Faultless record held by sailor regarding fish
ABOVE REPROACH - AB, OVER(EP), ROACH. This took a while because 'beyond' is the more familiar form of this expression to me.
14 Canine still loves the fancy collars
EYETOOTH - (THE)* containing YET, OO (loves).
15 Failing, move treacherously from side to side
DEFECT - I’m struggling a bit with the first definition here. Collins has ‘fail (someone) when most needed’ as a definition of ‘desert’, but I can’t get from that to ‘failing’. You could describe a piece of ‘desert’ land as ‘failing’ to produce crops, perhaps? I’m not sure what’s intended though. What do you think? The reason I couldn't explain my original answer of DESERT is, of course, because it was wrong. But it was close enough for me to think I must just be missing something. DOH!
17 Upset tin full of fish
SHAKEN - S(HAKE)N. Sn being the chemical symbol for a can, of course.
19 Laundry instruction one’s left in red lacy pants
DRY-CLEAN - (iN RED LACY)*. Or more accurately perhaps (IN RED LACY)* with an I removed.
21 It’s partly imaginary, this obsession with ketamine?
COMPLEX NUMBER - COMPLEX (obsession), NUMBER (thing that numbs, e.g. ketamine). ‘A complex number is a number that can be expressed in the form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers, and i is a solution of the equation x2 = −1. Because no real number satisfies this equation, i is called an imaginary number.’ I remember doing complex and imaginary numbers at school and finding it all very interesting, but that’s pretty much all I remember.
24 Can the first one in help in the kitchen?
TIN-OPENER - TIN (can), OPENER (the first one, i.e. batsman, in).
25 It’s among the last components of an older explosive
NITRE - aN (IT), oldeR, explosivE. Nitre (saltpetre) is one of the components of old gunpowder, so this is a clever &Lit.
26 Little bother
27 They’re not fair only plugging trendy gelati
INJUSTICES - IN(JUST), ICES. ‘Gelati’ being Italian for ice creams.

1 Animal passion almost rising to ecstasy
VOLE - reversal (rising) of LOVe, E.
2 Blow up a game reserve
GO SPARE - GO (a game), SPARE (reserve).
3 Only undergarment visible after fastening belt up
4 Chemicals are dropping down a toilet
REAGENTS - ARE with the A dropping to give REA, then GENTS.
5 Skip over some novel ideas
ELIDE - contained in ‘novel ideas.’
7 Howl from girl over spilt tea
ULULATE - reversal of LULU, (TEA)*.
8 Rock song originally separating two musical qualities
PITCHSTONE - PITCH(Song), TONE. The first of two rocks that were unknown to me.
11 What might display China’s control over ministers
CORNER CABINET - CORNER (control, as in a market), CABINET (ministers). This one took me a while to see: these items of furniture are not a prominent part of my everyday existence.
13 Did hound rescue pet mistreated by duke?
16 Ornamentation adjusted for uniform twice
18 Nuts topped fish dish every now and again
20 Sort of rock Cartier fashioned
ERRATIC - (CARTIER)*. 'A piece of rock that differs in composition, shape, etc, from the rock surrounding it, having been transported from its place of origin, esp by glacial action.' The second unknown rock for me, and one that looked sufficiently unlikely that I needed all the checkers to believe it could possibly be the answer.
22 Finally, burn energy by turning on gas
XENON - reversal (turning) of burN, E, X (by), then ON.
23 At shed, perspiring, lifting trees
YEWS - reversal of SWEatY.