April 12th, 2020

Unicorn
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3110 - Then you eat him?

I have to admit partial defeat.   While I was able to get about three-quarters of the puzzle without reference books, in the end I got most thoroughly stuck, and had to pull out all the stops to be able to finish and post a blog.   Even so, I ended up with one or two  answers which were highly plausible, but wrong.  There were just a few things I didn't know, that prevented me from finishing, or even attempting to finish.

On the other hand, I was pleased to be able to figure out some very tricky ones unaided, that turned out to be quite correct.  I could still use another two hundred thousand words in my vocabulary, but I can't say where I would find the space to store them.   I have the same problem with my record collection.

There are one or two things I'm still not quite sure of, so feel free to chime in.

Across
1 Old crock struggling with Mephisto? Not me! (6)
PITHOS - anagram of [me]PHISTO, the stock storage jar of the ancient Mediterranean kingdoms.
7 Baldrick stokes remains of fire (4)
SASH - S + ASH.  The stoke here is evidently a unit of kinematic viscosity that can be abbreviated as S.
10 Quality of dwelling within unopened semi men can supply (9)
IMMANENCE - anagram of [s]EMI MEN CAN.
11 Juveniles with yen for a little room in dwelling (4)
YOOF - (-r,+Y)OOF.   A UK term, in Jamaican they would say yoot.
13 Indian clerk about to get annual return (6)
CIRCAR - CIRC + A + R, more usually spelt SIRCAR.
14 Dull person, sort one rebuffed (6)
NUDNIK - KIND + 'UN backwards, a common Yiddish word around here.
16 Chooses old points (4)
OPTS - O + PTS, a starter clue.
18 Chance missed by inside left on the wing (6)
LETOFF - LE[f]T + OFF.  I'm not really sure about this one; discussion invited.  'Letoff' is a technical term from archery, but I don't think that's it. OK, here we go.   It's OF inside an anagram of LEFT, and 'chance missed' is the definition.
20 Jumping Jack, an Irish Catholic (9)
SALTATORY - SALT, A TORY.    It may be helpful to understand the 17th-century origins of 'Tory', as applied by Titus Oates to his opponents.
21 Number missing exploding golden rain firework (9)
GIRANDOLE - Anagram of GOLDE[n] RAIN, and a 'firework' in the sense of a pre-electric light fixture.
24 Muslim students in strain without lecturer (6)
SENUSI - The right answer, but not the one I had.   I still don't see the cryptic, so feel free.  Here we go, NUS inside SEI[l], and the definition is simply 'Muslim', in this case a particular sort of Muslim, more often spelt 'Senussi'.
25 Nothing’s accepted in supplements, causing dispute (4)
ODDS - (-a,+O)DDS), as when you are at odds.
28 Old dukes finished with party, Times put out (6)
NEAFES - NEA[t] FES[t], I believe, where the old word for fists is more often spelt nieves.
30 High official abroad accepted bill, for example (6)
ATABEG - A + TAB + E.G, an easy cryptic if you don't know this position.
31 Drive miles into remote parts of Asia for this tree? (4)
AMLA - A(ML)A, I think, although I can't find that abbreviation of miles.  The Indian gooseberry.
32 A lot of civility shown by adjutant and one Balkan guerilla (9)
COMITADJI - COMIT[y] + ADJ + I.   If you wasted time with 'polite', join the club.   This word is a Turkish version of committeeman, although it appears the Bulgarians had a rather different idea of committee work than we do.
33 Buffalo’s belly uncovered (4)
ARNA - [c]ARNA[l]....I think.   A Biblical or 17th-century usage?
34 Always stick around for Indian millet (6)
BAJREE - EER JAB backwards, more often spelt BAJRI.   Mephisto constructors apparently need a lot of words ending in -EE.
Down
1 Complaint hits Posy badly (8)
PHYTOSIS - anagram of HITS POSY, a rather easy clue to a fungal disease.
2 Tipped number agreed with tabloid image (4)
IKON - N + OK + I, all upside down.   I'm 40 years out of grad school, and I still thought of Robert Adams' book.
3 Fish: tons turning up around lake (9)
TROUTLING - T + ROUT(L)ING, avoiding the two fish into one clue.
4 Body folds and ladies headed to another primarily (6)
OMENTA -  0 MEN + T[o] A[nother].
5 With stuff on board for return, area block dead silly (10)
BACKLOADED - Anagram of A BLOCK DEAD.
6 Attacker up on legs (6)
SNIPER - RE PINS upside-down.
7 Scottish shirt is on one in the RAF (4)
SERK - 'S ERK, more usually sark.  
8 Opening of station eatery on former platform (8)
SCAFFOLD -  S + CAFF + OLD.
9 Fly after having left for day in harbour (4)
HERL - HER(-d,+L), a very specific type of fly for fly-fishing.
12 Row about boring Norfolk town almost leads to writ as before (10)
DISTRINGAS - DI(STRING, A)S[s].   A writ directing a sheriff to distrain.
15 Person who is promising to protect cypher is a nut (9)
COCODEMER -  CO(CODE)MER, often written as a COCO DE MER.  
17 Nothing in new-fangled pattern? I would assess that (8)
PATENTOR - Anagram oif PATTERN around O.
19 Frank carries a lot for a cool walk (8)
FRESCADE - FRE(SCAD)E.  Nowadays, we usually use more than one scad. 
22 Rising hostel singers not entirely in minor keys (6)
ISLETS - backwards hidden in [ho]STEL SI[ngers].
23 African one’s seen in two neighbouring US states close to Canada (6)
NYANJA - NY(A)NY + [canad]A.   Fortunately, I tried nearby states first.   This group is also known as the Chewa, watch out for that.
26 Rodent picked up a toadstool top (4)
PACA - A CAP upside down.
27 Charm previously Poles missed in bustling Bosnia (4)
OBIA - anagram of BO[sn]IA.   It will help with the variant spelling if you know how obeah is pronounced.
29 Black and slack by the sound of it (4)
SLOE -Sounds like SLOW.   The fruit of the blackthorn, hence black, as in sloe-eyed.