February 9th, 2020

  • glheard

Mephisto 3101 - Tim Moorey

I found the definitions more straightforward than the wordplay in this puzzle, which is the opposite of my usual experience with the Mephisto where I work on the wordplay first and then confirm the definition.

All definitions (which are underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, so this write-up will focus on the wordplay.

Away we go...

Across
1 Rattle off, reportedly on location getting place elsewhere (6)
RESITE - sounds like RECITE(rattle off)
7 Old South American concerned with extremes in Colombia (4)
INCA - IN(concerned with) then the outer letters in ColombiA
10 Grace, Elizabeth and Harry meeting Italian (9)
BETHANKIT - BET(Elizabeth), HANK(Harry), IT(Italian)
11 After changing limits, made application for subscription (4)
DUES - swap around the outer letters in SUED(made application for)
13 Swallow nesting afresh, bottom of garden abandoned (6)
INGEST - anagram of NESTING missing the last letter in gardeN
14 Libya’s high-ranking officer gets increase (6)
LARGEN -  LAR(IVR code for Libya), GEN(General, high-ranking officer)
16 Amphibians once again focus on crossings (4)
EFTS - tricky wordplay, but they are right next to each other in Chambers. EFT also means again (obsolete) and the focus (central letter) of CROSSINGS is S
18 Serve behind edges of line (6)
BUTTLE - BUTT(behind), then the outer letters in LinE
20 Rank bad meal starter, final directions ignored (9)
MASTERATE -  anagram of MEAL and STARTER both missing their final letters
21 Disheartened guide tense over getting back (9)
STERNWARD - STEER(guide) missing the central letter, then DRAWN(tense) reversed
24 Medic sharing military awards in form of crosses (6)
DSOMOS - MO(medical officer) inside DSOS (Distinguished Service Orders)
25 Don’t change from road with central area blocked off (4)
STET - STREET(road) missing the central two letters
28 Historically fine man a great success (6)
HERIOT - HE(man), RIOT(great success)
30 Freak least attached to ecstasy tablets (6)
STELAE - anagram of LEAST, then E(ecstasy)
31 Canadian channel is close by the sound of it (4)
SNYE - 'S, then sounds like NIGH
32 Macedonian affected by liturgy (9)
STAGYRITE - STAGY(affected), RITY(liturgy)
33 Northern tourist destination in conservation area (4)
IONA - hidden inside conservatION Area
34 Opened church in the country (6)
LANCED - CE(church) n LAND(country)

Down
1 Rescued judge in long grass (8)
REDEEMED - DEEM(judge) inside REED(long grass)
2 A month in Tel Aviv? End of June quiet mostly (4)
ELUL - last letter in junE, then LULL(quiet) missing the last letter
3 Factory whose past is shocking (9)
SWEATSHOP - anagram of WHOSE PAST - you could also consider the entire clue the defintion
4 Bond has time for new driver Pat (6)
TEAGUE - LEAGUE(bond) with T(time) replacing L(new driver). Pat is an Irishman here
5 Dog starts to sniff heels nastily biting one? Sue! (10)
SHINBARKER - first letters of Sniff Heels Nastily with I(one) inside, then the tennis player-cum-TV presenter Sue BARKER. I think I only know Sue Barker from jokes at her expense on Absolutely Fabulous
6 Result from past Highland cattle (6, two words)
PAN OUT - PA(past) NOUT(cattle)
7 Reveal Scotch and unopened brandy (4)
INGO - remove the first letter from BINGO(brandy)
8 Chasing minister in Corsica about island railway (8)
CISELURE - CURE(French minister) surrounding IS(island), EL(elevated railway)
9 Lawyer in short is clever, escaping term in prison (4)
ATTY - abbreviation for ATTORNEY - NATTY(clever) missing the last letter in prisoN
12 Money for the bar concerning new students (10)
REFRESHERS - RE(concerning), FRESHERS(first-year students). Referring to an attorney's fee
15 Con artist nervous about the army (9)
STRATONIC - anagram of CON,ARTIST
17 Fixed in fine voice, abnormally high one (8)
FALSETTO - SET(fixed) inside F(fine), ALTO(voice)
19 Needn’t do running as a continuous sequence (8)
END-TO-END - anagram of NEEDN'T,DO
22 Head of tasting approves sweet wines (6)
TOKAYS - first letter in Tasting, then OKAYS(approves)
23 Flag up in new area gastropods with round shells (6)
NERITA - TIRE(flag) reversed inside N(new), A(area)
26 East German or Italian? No answer (4)
OSSI - OSSIA means OR in Italian. Remove A(answer)
27 Lady not entirely shining in retreat (4)
OLGA - AGLOW(shining) reversed missing the last letter
29 Port item subject to inflation (4)
TYRE - double defintion

Sunday Times 4888 by David McLean

20:40. I have left the blog very late this week (I’m typing this on Saturday evening) so I am short of time and don’t remember much about this puzzle. I obviously found it hard but going through the clues now they all seem entirely straightforward. This is often the mark of a very good puzzle and I do remember enjoying this one a lot.

Either I'm missing something (very likely) or there is something funny going on with 12ac. It looks to me like setter and/or editor couldn't decide between two clues and decided to go with both.

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

Across
1 Fruit rot can be a little gross
PLUMPISH - PLUM, PISH.
5 Empty one container into another
VACANT - VA(CAN)T.
9 What could make those kissing turn red?
LIPSTICK - a barely cryptic definition, but it still took me a while to see.
10 Horse leading woman away from her end
HEROIN - HEROINe. ‘Horse’ being a slang term for the drug seen quite regularly in crosswords.
11 Feel bad about sending off one right winger
EGRET - rEGRET. There are two Rs in ‘regret’ but you only have to remove (send off) one of them.
12 Horror of rider failing to start with horse in trial
NIGHTMARE - kNIGHT, MARE. There seem to be two clues combined here: ‘horror of rider failing to start with horse’ and ‘rider failing to start with horse in trial’. I wonder if this is an editing mishap?
14 Very happy nun in cooled pants
ON CLOUD NINE - (NUN IN COOLED)*.
18 Turn and board coach with second to go
ENTERTAINER - ENTER, TrAINER.
21 Ailing leader is dosing up, because of this?
DIAGNOSIS - (Ailing, IS DOSING)*. Semi-&Lit. Nice clue.
23 A quiet residential road in Settle
CLOSE - DD. Initially reading ‘Seattle’ didn’t help me here. Settle/CLOSE as in a transaction.
24 Nurses must protect limb that’s turned red
ENGELS - ENS (EN is enrolled nurse) containing a reversal of LEG.
25 Householder with Hoover, perhaps, but no power
RESIDENT - pRESIDENT.
26 Powerful people settle back to ring Brown
TITANS - TAN contained in a reversal of SIT.
27 Do nut at working on ultimately useless project
STAND OUT - uselesS, (DO NUT AT)*.

Down
1 Kiss and cuddle? That'll get everyone in bed!
PALLET - P(ALL)ET.
2 Drugs take an edge off of evening meals
UPPERS - sUPPERS.
3 Fancy outfit rep presented in a new way
PETIT FOUR - (OUTFIT REP)*.
4 Back girl describing Conservative as “inferior
SECOND CLASS - SECOND, (C)LASS.
6 A man’s shadow?
AGENT - A GENT.
7 A nameless visionary with a distinctive nose?
AROMATIC - A, ROMAnTIC.
8 Tough youth grasping tattooist messed around
TINKERED - T(INKER)ED. The definition of TEDs as variously delinquent or, as here, tough, is not universally appreciated.
13 Awfully huge rodents one found in a tent?
GROUNDSHEET - (HUGE RODENTS)*.
15 Leadership speech full of empty rage
DIRECTION - DI(RagE)CTION.
16 A lazy person might be really tired
DEADBEAT - or DEAD BEAT.
17 Hand over drugs?
STRAIGHT - if you are ‘over drugs’, you might have given them up, in which case you’d be…
19 Don’t bother with warning shot
FOREGO - FORE (warning), GO (shot).
20 Go and have some food in a moment
BEAT IT - B(EAT)IT.
22 Material helping to make many longboats
NYLON - contained in ‘many longboats’.