July 12th, 2020

Mephisto 3123 - Paul McKenna

A step up in difficulty this week, it took me two sessions to put everything together.  The pun in the top row was helpful (especially so since one of the words is not in Chambers), but there's some trips to the lesser known regions of the dictionary in this puzzle.

I hope this finds everyone being safe and sane. I'm still living in a covid-19 hotspot, three days in a row my state and county had record growth in number of cases. I'm living like a hermit, only leading my apartment heavily masked to get groceries or beer. Meanwhile, as I am writing this, a whole bachelorette party just walked by togther outside my window, unmasked.

Since definitions (the first of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, this report will focus on wordplay.

Away we go...

1 Vacuous cove with valet eagerly pursues soak westwards (7)
WOOSTER - WOOS(eagerly pursues), then RET(soak) reversed, reference to the P.G. Wodehouse character
6 Downright eccentricity (5)
SHEER - double definition, the second referring to geometric deviation
10 Well, I'm struggling with a lot — it’s as bad as it gets (10, two words)
ALL TIME LOW - anagram of WELL,I'M,A,LOT
11 Find tomb by taking little edition out of trunks (5)
SPEOS - remove ED(edition) from SPEEDOS(swimming trunks)
13 Daughter sliced bread getting into fold like the upper class do (6)
POSHLY - remove D(daughter) from DOSH(money, bread), and insert into PLY(fold)
14 Inkling to oust Earl and clear a lounge in the Athenaeum, say (8)
CLUB ROOM - CLUE(inkling) missing E(early) then BROOM(clear)
15 Novice being unable to save most important board man? (6)
INMATE - if you are unable to save the king you are IN MATE. The novice of a religious house
17 American spots fine vino but not dry sherry (4)
NEVI - remove FINO(dry sherry) from FINE VINO
18 Hold down hospital in order to take over in emergency (8)
PINCH-HIT - PIN(hold down) then H(hospital) in CHIT(order)
19 Wine grape behind spending apparently (8)
GRENACHE - GRAPE and NACHE(behind) missing AP(apparently)
21 Surprised shriek over officer's decoration (4)
ODSO - O(over), DSO(Companion of the Distinguished Service Order)
23 Mean point that’s not used now in curt speech (6)
SORDID - ORD(point) inside SIDE(theatrcical speech used for auditions or rehearal) missing the last letter
25 Who goes downhill? Birthday dancer accepting end of trial run (8)
SLALOMER - the dancer is SALOME containing the last letter of triaL, then R(run). This clue gave me a giggle.
26 Bucks? Losers possibly (6)
SORELS - anagram of LOSERS
27 Bleat about no good comic (5)
MANGA - MAA(bleat of a goat) surrounding NG(no good). There was a short-lived comic BANGA in the 70s, but I think this is what was mean
28 Soldier I praise to cope with trial stoically (10, three words)
SWEAT IT OUT - SWEAT(soldier) I, TOUT(praise)
29 Annoy Republican departing with so much levy (5)
TYTHE - TRY(annoy) missing the R(Republican), then THE(so much)
30 In contact with parish church’s chap in charge (7)
TOPARCH - TO(in contact with), PAR(Parish), CH(Church)
1 You can’t replace this wife since a setting's set (12, two words)
WASTING ASSET - W(wife), AS(since) then an anagram of A,SETTING'S
2 Solution which damages floor surface, three top bits scratched (5)
OLEUM - LINOLEUM(floor surface) missing the first three letters
3 Scots stew containing their own cocaine stand-by (8)
STOVAINE - Scots terms for stew - STOVE and own AIN. Insert one in the other
4 Zola, for example, in English middle-distance race (5)
EMILE - E(English), MILE(middle-distance race, though I'd be hard pressed to run one these days)
5 Dramatically oppose old fox in early run (6)
REPUGN -  PUG(fox) in REN(run)
6 Sludgy and cold brash old boy tucking into rasher (7, two words)
SLOB ICE - OB(old boy) inside SLICE(rasher)
7 We must look up that expression of regret used by Rab C (5)
EWHOW - WE revsered then HOW(that)
8 Crude oil is gunge — it gets you making plugs (10)
9 Dashed mad theory involving the plague? (12, three words)
RHYME TO DEATH - an all-in-one, wordpay is an anagram of MAD,THEORY and THE
12 Quiet drink? Duck into misplaced glory for creed of sin (10)
PONEROLOGY - P(quiet), ONE(drink) then O(duck) inside an anagram of GLORY
16 Beastly group limited truck info (8)
CHORDATA - CHORE(truck - second noun meaning in Chambers) missing the last letter, then DATA(info)
18 I’m free! Triumphant expression in dock (7)
PAROLEE - OLE(triumphant expression) inside PARE(cut, dock)
20 It receives and relays, eg, radio comedy bore (6)
COMSAT - COM(comedy), SAT(from sit, bear)
22 Rule in the Orient, formerly but not now (5)
EARST - R(rule) isnside the EAST(Orient)
23 Brush totes vigorously (5, two words)
SET TO - anagram of TOTES
24 Get into what introduces synonym for benefactor (5)
DONOR - DON(get into) and OR could introduce a synonym

Dean Mayer 4910 - déjà vu all over again

12:13. A fun puzzle with a clue (12dn) that is pretty much identical to one that appeared in one of Dean’s puzzles that I blogged in March (4892), that was itself almost identical to a clue in one of Dean’s puzzles that I blogged in May last year (4852). At this point I feel I’m being trolled, but at least it gives me the opportunity to head my blog as I have and it be true, rather than just a gag.

Anyway, really fun puzzle as I said, but Dean please stop lamplighting me!

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

1 Drone, brief solution for US?
HUMANS - HUM (drone), ANS (abbreviation of ‘answer’).
5 Feeble way to refer to reversing
PATHETIC - PATH, reversal of CITE.
9 Please let me go or come again
I BEG YOUR PARDON - I don’t think this quite works. To ‘let go’ is to release, not to pardon. That’s ‘let off’. One might be the consequence of the other but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing.
10 Famous runner carrying her stick
COHERE - Sebastian CO(HER)E.
11 Start broadcasting from, primarily, Golders Green
GO LIVE - Golders, OLIVE. I got very confused by this, thinking LIVE was a reference to the wires in a plug, which meant that ‘primarily’ had to be indicating the first two letters of ‘Golders’, which seemed very odd. The live wire in a UK plug is brown, and of course has nothing whatsoever to do with this clue.
14 Hand over all evidence of monarch leaving throne?
ROYAL FLUSH - ‘throne’ here being a word for the loo, and the answer being the best hand you can get in poker.
16 Spymaster and worried colleague
MATE - M (spymaster), ATE.
17 Covering over swimming pool
18 Fish and chopped nut on ice
20 Gets through customs, then skyward
USES UP - USES (mores, customes), UP (skyward).
22 Word for one turning on soft, small light
PLEDGE - reversal of EG (for one) on P, LED.
24 Taking a long time or a couple of minutes?
LITTLE BY LITTLE - two minutes (LITTLES) next to one another.
26 Crowd wave before English party
JAMBOREE - JAM (crowd), BORE (wave, as in the tidal bore seen on the Severn for example), E.
27 Eager artist’s group
RARING - RA (artist), RING (group).

2 Leader of unruly mob battered boss
UMBO - Unruly, (MOB)*. Collins: 'a large projecting central boss on a shield, esp on a Saxon shield.' An obscure word you are unlikely to come across outside crosswords.
3 A new show holding a vote on old people
ANGLO-SAXONS - A, N, GLOS(A, X, ON)S. I think this is GLOSS as in ‘superficial attractiveness’ rather than ‘explain the meaning of a word or phrase’ although arguably both work.
4 Engaged person OK to dance, embracing female
SPOKEN FOR - (PERSON OK)* containing F.
5 Usual meeting place not quite enough for social climber
PARVENU - PAR (usual), VENUe.
6 Noise from guitar fret? Start to tune up
TWANG - reversal (up) of GNAW (fret), Tune.
7 The purpose of open discussion
END - contained in ‘open discussion’.
8 Pub praises new product
12 Spill jam, given flimsier sandwich
LAMPLIGHTER - see above.
13 Do the first part of it?
TONIC SOL-FA - CD, based on the fact that do (a deer, a female deer) is the first note of the musical scale.
15 New horse boxes are affecting old landlord
HOSTELLER - (HORSE)* containing TELL (are affecting).
19 Old man cutting wire with skill
CAPABLE - CA(PA)BLE. The definition looks like an adverb but it’s an adjective.
21 Icy, or the opposite?
POLAR - ‘polar opposite’ is a recognisable idiom so POLAR is an example of an opposite.
23 Is able to house large family
25 When inverted, only </u>water could be in it</u>
TUB - reversal of BUT (only).