March 8th, 2020

Mephisto 3105 - Paul McKenna

Greetings all,

   Thanks for everyone who helped me with not being able to use the blog generator template - it turned out that something had changed in copying and pasting from the website where the template was hosted, so I couldnt get the clues. I have a text version now and it works just fine!

   Paul McKenna usually treats us to a pun across the first row but I must admit I had no idea how to pronounce the answer at 1 across, and it wasn't until a trip to Chambers until I realised it was a pun on FURNITURE. That one went way over my head.  This was a pretty tricky crossword, I thought.

    In a Mephisto crossword all definitions (which are underlined) can be checked in Chambers unless otherwise noted, so I will focus on the wordplay.

     Away we go!

Across
1 Enemy banks on hidden blast (5)
FOEHN - FOE(enemy) then the outer letters of HiddeN
5 Who thumbs that woman taking up passion? (7)
HITCHER - HER(that woman) cotaining ITCH(passion)
10 New hoard found beside river pub (9)
ROADHOUSE - anagram of HOARD beside the river OUSE
11 Bread, a loaf (4)
NANA - NAN bread then A
12 Echo standard piffle (6)
PARROT - PAR(standard) ROT(piffle)
13 Virtually disengaged retreat is most perfect (8)
CLEANEST - CLEAR(disengaged) missing the last letter, then NEST(retreat)
15 No longer together, everyone returned pack animals (6)
LLAMAS - SAM(Spenserian word for together) and ALL(everyone) reversed
18 Writer’s book I take round (4)
BIRO - B(book), I, R(recipe, take), O(round)
19 Sauce got hot inside close to grill (8)
BECHAMEL - BECAME(got), with H(hot) inside, then the last letter of grilL
21 Right fool donning Celtic poet's armour (8)
BRASSARD - R(right), ASS(fool) inside BARD(poet)
24 Finally ignored farce following first from All Souls for French (4)
AMES - MESS(farce) missing the last letter after the first letter of All
25 One of the options for a busy (6)
ACTIVE - because A can be an abbreviation for ACTIVE according to Chambers
27 This connects room mostly over lower deck, eg (8, two words)
CAPSCREW - SPACE(room) reversed, missing the last letter, then CREW(lower deck can mean a ship's CREW)
29 Better put Golden Delicious, or similar, on Newton (6)
NEATER - a Golden Delicious is an EATER apple, put it after N(Newton)
30 A discussion about change seen in Istanbul (4)
PARA - A RAP(discussion) reversed
31 Rude wean snapping back of kimmer’s knickers, say (9)
UNDERWEAR - anagram of RUDE,WEAN then the last letter in kimmeR
32 Pupil left with somebody who’s salaried (7)
LEARNER - L(left) and EARNER(somebody who's salaried)
33 One who’ll benefit from exercises — Rab C’s always included (5)
PAYEE - PE(exercises) with AYE(always) inside
Down
1 Loyal group is cool with Billy (7, two words)
FAN CLUB - FAN(cool) and a billy CLUB
2 Across the military board nothing cultivates the lot captured (9, three words)
OF ALL ARMS - O(nothing), and FARMS(cultivates) containing ALL(the lot)
3 Such as Mnemosyne’s daughters, name each in odd piece (6)
ENNEAD - N(name), EA(each) inside END(off piece) - Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine Muses
4 Middle England dispensed with lightweight (4)
NOON - remove E(england) from NO-ONE(lighteight)
5 Hearts are on brand in plant (8)
HARESEAR - H(hearts), ARE and SEAR(brand)
6 First of two children could give you a shock (6)
THATCH - first letter of Two and HATCH(children)
7 Rustic Don escapes diet being a wild dancer of old (8)
CORYBANT - CORYDON(rustic) missing DON then BANT(diet by cutting fat and starch). One of the few times being an Andre Gide fan comes in handy in a crossword
8 About to abandon once rustic project (4)
HURL - remove C(about) from CHURL(another rustic, this one being better known from Shakespeare than Gide)
9 Redolent of old caretaker discharging power when upset (5)
RETRO - PORTER(caretaker) missing P(power) and reversed
14 Indecent and very Irish form of writing (9, two words)
FREE VERSE - FREE(indecent), V(very), ERSE(Irish)
16 Muscle shown by rushing steamers (8)
MASSETER -  anagram of STEAMERS
17 Write off a fighter (8)
SCRAPPER - SCRAP(write off), PER(a)
20 East-west indicators in desert causing concern for pilots (7, two words)
LEE WAVE - E-W(East-West) inside LEAVE(desert)
22 Byzantine censer is separate (6)
SECERN - anagram of CENSER
23 What got Pericles going? Uninhibited freebootery (6)
PIRACY - the first letter of Pericles is P which would be PI in Greek, then RACY(uninhibited)
24 Cashier turning a blind eye to second to last in yearbook (5)
ANNUL - remove the second last letter of ANNUAL(yearbook)
26 A comic pilot lifted nothing (4)
NADA - A, then DAN Dare(comic pilot) all reversed
28 Love being wrapped in soft flannel (4)
SOAP - O(love) inside SAP(soft)

Sunday Times 4892 by Dean Mayer - déjà vu

14:49. This one started very easy (1ac went straight in) but then got trickier, culminating in a very long pause at the end over 3dn. When I eventually figured out what was going on, it rang such a deafening bell that I searched for the answer in LJ and discovered that pretty much exactly the same clue had appeared in exactly the same place in a puzzle set by the same setter and blogged by the same blogger less than a year ago. Read my comment here if you want to know exactly what it was about this clue that held me up.

It turns out though that my biggest problem was 13ac, which I didn’t understand when I put in OXYGEN TENT as the only recognisable phrase that fitted the checkers. I think I even considered the actual answer but rejected it on grounds of non-existence. It just goes to show that when in doubt you should follow the wordplay.

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

Across
1 Something precious from old friend
OPAL - O, PAL.
4 Undermine reason to keep current literature
DEBILITATE - DEB(I, LIT)ATE. The definition seems a little loose to me but I suppose debating is collective reasoning.
9 Doorman’s voice after calling in advance
COMMISSIONAIRE - COM(MISSION, AIR)E.
10 Person initially into dental work out of touch?
IN PLAY - IN(Person)LAY. In rugby if the ball is ‘in touch’ it is out of play, so…
11 Mercenary run, a run to intercept goods
GRASPING - G(R, A SPIN)G.
13 IO2U?
OXYGEN DEBT - a clever clue: too clever for me. It's IOU (a debt) with the O repacked by O2, the usual form of oxygen. ‘A temporary oxygen shortage in the body tissues arising from exercise’.
15 Hum — create sounds like this
REEK - sounds like ‘wreak’.
16 Alien is on the way — leave it!
STET - ST, ET.
18 Wanting equaliser, puts away header for Man City
SQUARE MILE - I think this is (EQUALISER)* containing Man, but that means the anagram indicator must be ‘wanting’. ‘Wanting’ means specifically deficient, lacking, which I don’t think works as an anagram indicator. Am I missing something?
20 Pawn most of first teeth
PEARLIES - P, EARLIESt.
21 Can it eat when cabin opens?
SHUT UP - S(HUT)UP.
22 Notice places where slugs hide in food
BULLETIN BOARDS - BULLET(IN, BOARD)S.
24 Prolonged parking worked in streets
PERSISTENT - P, (IN STREETS)*.
25 Make a spike point
EARN - EAR, N.

Down
2 With mobile phone I’ll get by in desert city
PHOENIX - (PHONE)*, I, X (by).
3 Spill pickle? More flimsy sandwiches
LAMPLIGHTER - LAM(PLIGHT)ER.
4 Perversely I had fling, being attractive
DISHY - reversal of I’D, SHY (fling). ‘Perversely’ here is a reversal indicator, which I also find odd.
5 Number he sings in funny duo’s closing piece
BRING ME SUNSHINE - (NUMBER HE SINGS IN)*. This was of course the ‘closing piece’ of Morecambe and Wise. ‘Funny’ is the anagrind so in the definition they are just a duo.
6 House with shed in road on river
LANCASTER - LAN(CAST)E, R.
7 Japanese fish that is regularly seen
TAI - alternate letters in ‘that is’.
8 Couple carrying tiny new child
TWEENIE - T(WEE, N)IE.
12 Walk for a mile through exotic tableau
PERAMBULATE - PER (for a), (TABLEAU)* containing M.
14 When metal is found in loch, is this pollution?
NASTINESS - N(AS, TIN)ESS.
17 Shudder as male breaks into soprano
TREMBLE - TRE(M)BLE.
19 Almost lay beneath trough
LAUNDER - LAy, UNDER. ‘A water trough, esp one used for washing ore in mining’.
21 Shoe to briefly knock up
SABOT - reversal (up) of TO, BASh.
23 Lions, but not on heraldic device
LIS - LIonS. AKA fleur-de-lys.