February 16th, 2020

Jim and Mo

Mephisto 3102 - Paul McKenna

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.  10A is a perfect example.

An interesting puzzle of average difficulty that involves a pantomime character, a fictional French café owner, a flying ace and Inspector Morse. At 11D I’ve given you the parts Ikea style and left you to assemble the parsing of the clue.

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

ACROSS

1 Discern dithering in one acting dogged by drudgery? (7)
CINDERS: (discern)*; reference Cinderella;
6 Blunt’s black book or similar (5)
BREAD: B-READ; blunt and bread are slang terms for money;
10 Emotion with no notion — perplexed as one is (7)
ANOESIS: (as one is)*;
12 Frequently born into fattening way of doing eggs (11)
SOFTBOILING: S(OFT-B)OILING;
13 Around Kinross each kind being close to accepted (4)
ILKA: ILK-A;
14 Pretentious wartime cafe-owner returned cross (7)
BIGENER: BIG-RENE reversed; reference TV programme ‘ello ‘ello cafe owner Rene; a hybrid animal
15 Infernal place — company dance (5)
DISCO: DIS-CO;
17 Rub out mobster as enemy to some extent (5)
ERASE: hidden (mobst)ER-AS-E(nemy);
20 Sun and Earth circling depresses, as Menenius Agrippa had it (8)
UNHEARTS: (sun + earth)*;
22 In rococo manner stage dispensed with nothing — vainly (8)
FLORIDLY: FLO(o)R-IDLY;
23 Cheese carnival where son goes for it (5)
FETTA: carnival=festa then change “s” to “t”;
25 Thus little dictionary finally expressed “like bicarb, eg” (5)
SODIC: SO-DIC; bicarb is sodium bicarbonate;
27 Such a telling blow? SOS could be desperate last resort (7)
RATTLER: (last resort – SOS)*;
29 Bother about squeezing in end of tour? It was spent in Malta (4)
LIRA: AIL reversed contains (tou)R;
30 In debauched way devour leg in binge (11)
OVERINDULGE: (devour leg)*;
31 A term for fall in local amount of herring causing despondency (7)
MALAISE: M(A-L)AISE; L from (fal)L; MAISE = herring catch;
32 Audacious impertinence is unknown in Scots market (5)
TRYON: TR(Y)ON;
33 Enthusiastic about favourite secret of Italians (7, two words)
IN,PETTO: IN(PET)TO;

DOWN

1 Warm spiritual leader welcoming day for female (5)
CALID: spiritual leader = calif then change “f” to “d”;
2 With green light refused and exhausted, cornered as before (11)
NOOKSHOTTEN: NO-OK-SHOTTEN;
3 Brilliant and outstanding take for graffiti artist, some say (7)
DEFACER: DEF-ACE-R;
4 France’s trouveur is full of this (5)
ESTRO: hidden (Franc)ES-TRO(uveur); trouveur=French poet; ESTRO=poetic enthusiasm;
5 Wife facetiously sticks together herald’s decorations (8)
RIBBANDS: RIB-BANDS;
6 Oatmeal bread roll left out (5)
BEIGE: BEIGE(L);
7 Disheartening rattle? (4)
RALE: RA(tt)LE;
8 Johnson, say, burying old cabinet gives immunity? (7)
AMNESTY: AM(NEST)Y; reference flying pioneer Amy Johnson;
9 Dissertation about Greek eccentricity to go off at a tangent (7)
DIGRESS: DI(GR-E)SS;
11 Like the finger which either is or isn’t bit (11, two words)
BINARY,DIGIT: a BINARY DIGIT is either 0 or 1 and is shortened to “bit”; BINARY means twofold; a DIGIT is a finger; see if you can make sense of it!
16 Old ranch transferred insecticide (8)
CHLORDAN: (old ranch)*;
18 Slight American following prom (7)
AFFRONT: A-F-FRONT;
19 Chopper caught by one to quit (7)
CLEAVER: C-LEAVER;
21 From within aged black jar Hadrian dished these out (7)
ABOLLAE: A(B-OLLA)E; Roman military cloaks;
24 Baleful master going to agree (5)
ALIGN: (m)ALIGN;
25 Carve up advantage gaining century (5)
SCULP: PLU(C)S reversed;
26 Colin Dexter, eg, often played this European in little disguise (5)
CAMEO: CAM(E)O; CAMO=camouflage; reference to Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, making cameo appearances in the TV programmes;
28 Hilarious chap back to front Porthos, Athos, and Aramis, say (4)
TRIO: hilarious chap=RIOT then move “T” to the front;