January 26th, 2020

  • glheard

Mephisto 3099 - Paul McKenna

I hope this will get posted, I am fighting spotty internet connectivity in a rather cavernous hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. I thought this was a step up in difficulty from recent Mephisto puzzles.

Paul McKenna typically treats us to a pun across the top row and this one came out rather quickly as PICTURE PALACE.

In Mephisto all definitions can be verified in Chambers so I will be focusing on the wordplay in the clue. The most direct definition is underlined.

And on Australia Day, away we go...


Across
1 He who’s conceited concealing desire to arrive (7, two words)
PITCH UP - PUP(he who is conceited) containing ITCH(desire)
6 She who adventured despite no longer wanting money (5)
ALICE - MALICE(despite) missing M(money)
10 What sets Arfur off? Being into dodgy old wheels flogged to trade (10)
WHOLESALED - first letter of Arfur inside an anagram of OLD,WHEELS. Presumably the clue is echoing George Cole's character in Minder.
11 Half skipping next practical lesson about woodlands (7)
NEMORAL - half of NExt then MORAL(practical lesson)
13 Dire subscription service here could be seen as depravity (5, two words)
PAY TV - anagram of DEPRAVITY minus DIRE
14 Tree’s roll of curled bark, a first sign of illness (7)
QUILLAI - QUILL(roll of curved bark), A, then the first letter in Illness
15 Reduction with extra eccentricity to retail freely (5)
DENET - the reduction is a DENT, insert another E(eccentricity)
16 Blocking prodigal son too (4)
ALSO - hidden inside prodigALSOn
17 Lingual problem — a tendency to comment comically, we may think (9)
GLOSSITIS - double defintion, the second more cryptic
20 Raise chat about what people bitten by, say, spiders should get (9)
THERIACAS - anagram of RAISE,CHAT
21 Fancy moulding of Trump’s suit (4)
OGEE - O(of). GEE(suit, get along with)
23 King before opening to habitually exercise arbitrary decree (5)
UKASE - K(king), A(before) inside USE(habitually exercise)
26 Something which stabilises grass sheltered from the east (7, two words)
FIN KEEL - FINK(grass, informer), then LEE(sheltered) reversed
28 A drummer died, going west, poetically astray (5)
ABORD - A, then DR(drummer), OB(died) both reversed
29 Superlatively stingy are in cosy pad (7)
NEAREST - ARE in NEST(cosy pad)
30 In another way nurse needs instinctive grasp? (10)
UNDERSENSE - anagram of NURSE,NEEDS
31 Poetic plant, mostly Anacreontic, translator picked up (5)
TETRA - TEAN(Anacreonic) missing the last letter, containing TR(translator)
32 Sully infernal place west of Highland royal burgh (7)
DISTAIN - DIS(infernal place) and TAIN(Royal Burgh in Ross County)

Down
1 Humiliated and laid in lavender, afternoon is wasted (5)
PWNED - PAWNED(laid in lavender) missing A(afternoon). I laughed at seeing this term in the Sunday Times
2 Brass, an early Persian bit (5)
TOMAN - TOM(prostitute, brass), AN
3 Miss is in court being incomparably careful (7)
CLOSEST - LOSE(miss) 'S in CT(court)
4 Lamp-lighting lover, an illustrious person (4)
HERO - double definition - Hero would light a lamp for Leander
5 A concupiscence runs through mate coming from The Marshes? (9)
PALUSTRAL - A, LUST(concupiscence) inside PAL(mate)
6 At most in Naples a Latin pulled up round one (5, two words)
AL PIU - A, L(Latin) and a reversal of UP surrounding I(one)
7 Lifting cold coffee — gods, perfect (7)
IDYLLIC - reversal of C(cold), ILLY(a brand of coffee), DI(gods)
8 Climax follows this as cast is at high (10)
CATASTASIS - anagram of AS,CAST,IS,AT
9 Dissatisfied six caught by English common sense (7)
ENVIOUS - VI(six) inside E(English), NOUS(common sense)
12 Big enough to read elegy and believe all but two changes (10)
EYE-LEGIBLE - anagram of ELEGY and BELIE(ve)
14 Shut up quarterly that is bygone grief (close to Duke) (9)
QUIETENED - QU(quarterly), IS(that is), TENE(grief), D(Duke)
17 Greek goddess in part of play rubbed rock, say (7)
GEOFACT - GE(Greek goddess), OF(in), ACT(part of play)
18 Expand on dock forcibly (7, two words)
OPEN OUT - O(on), PEN(dock), OUT(forcibly)
19 Manoeuvre retakes male bird of prey (7)
SAKERET - anagram of RETAKES
22 Sri Lankan verse collection of ancient tales (5)
VEDDA - V(verse), EDDA(collection of ancient tales)
24 Ring up a new date (5)
ARENA - reversal of A, N(new), ERA(date)
25 Worried, starting off on the losing side? (5)
EATEN - remove the first letter from BEATEN(on the losing side)
27 Black behind deep sea fish (4)
BASS - B(back), ASS(behind)

Sunday Times 4886 by Dean Mayer - same number same hood

15:03. A puzzle of medium difficulty, I thought, and of the usual high quality. Quite a high cryptic definition count, at four. This sort of clue isn’t universally liked, so this will not please everyone but 4dn at least is excellent and I liked 2dn too. Actually 12dn isn’t bad now that I think about it… in short it's all good.

Anyway thanks to Dean and here’s how I think it all works…

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

Across
1 Left because of snake’s rattling
FORSAKEN - FOR, (SNAKE)*.
6 Scientist turned in after book
BOFFIN - B (book), OFF (turned, as in rotten), IN.
9 Ask for custody
CHARGE - DD. ‘Ask for’ as in a certain amount for a 50-inch screen or a leather sofa, for instance.
10 Writer takes drink, having trapped wind
TROLLOPE - T(ROLL)OPE. Champagne when you're thirsty, perhaps.
11 Modern art gallery enthralled by plastic bottle
STATE-OF-THE-ART - S(TATE)OFT, HEART.
14 Got tip of foot in door at first
FATHOMED - Foot, AT HOME, Door. This threw me a little because ‘in’ is usually just HOME (or vice versa). AT HOME is also a term posh people use for parties, of course. I once went to an AT HOME that wasn’t at the hostess’s home: make of that what you will.
15 German city using Enigma regularly during combat
WEIMAR - W(EnIgMa)AR.
17 It’s universal, and not about “The Lord of the Rings
SAURON - SA, U, reversal of NOR. I have expressed my opinion of SA for ‘it’ before and the setters don’t seem to be listening (baffling, I know) so perhaps I’ll stop going on about it. Until the next time, at least. I’ve never been able to get beyond about the second page with anything written by Tolkein but what with all the interminably tedious movies there have been in recent(ish) years the name SAURON has pierced my consciousness.
18 Each stupid recipe in The Listener?
EARPIECE - EA, (RECIPE)*.
19 Useful device in a jar?
SHOCK ABSORBER - CD.
22 Bosom I’d removed from cow
INTIMATE - INTIMidATE. 'Bosom' here being an adjective.
24 Died too soon with great suffering
DEARLY - D, EARLY. Indeed.
25 My house almost needs a guide
CRIKEY - CRIb, KEY. CRIB is a slang term for one’s place of abode that features prominently in hip-hop and similar styles of music. And if you don’t know, now you know.
26 Old film set destroyed — object about it
THE STING - THING surrounding (SET)*.

Down
2 A line of people with arrows
OCHE - another (very good) CD. The OCHE is the line you stand at to throw darts, aka arrows, or more correctly arras.
3 One spreading litter
STRETCHER -D. This seemed a little loose to me while solving but I guess if you stretch/spread your arms out it’s the same thing.
4 A thing for lifting
KLEPTOMANIA - reference to a common thief: another CD, and an excellent one.
5 Server error, and so on, in north of Paris
NET CORD - N(ETC)ORD. The definition is a tennis reference, of course.
6 Ball-point pen’s run out producing short life story
BIO - BIrO.
7 Take up English as a French girl
FILLE - FILL (take up, as in space), E.
8 One politician lost race, not standing
IMPORTANCE - I, MP, (RACE NOT)*.
12 An adjustable spanner found near City Hall
TOWER BRIDGE - and another one!
13 Runner hurt another when running
MARATHONER - MAR, (ANOTHER)*.
16 One can shout about English traveller
ITINERANT - I, TIN(E), RANT.
18 Most basic spices oddly found in the Orient
EASIEST - EA(SpIcEs)ST.
20 Get together after cold porridge
CLINK - C, LINK.
21 Incomplete factory blueprint
PLAN - PLANt.
23 One in a US city
ANY - A, NY. It's the Brooklyn way.