August 9th, 2020

Mephisto 3127 - Don Manley

Greetings all - this was a rather fun puzzle from Don Manley, and I can only see a little bit of scribble in my grid where I had an original incorrect answer at 5 down (I think I confiently put in PRIMPS thinking that PIMPS were abbreviations for PIMPERNELS.

It is an elegant grid this week with 90 degree symmetry.

Definitions (the most obvious of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, so I am going to be focusing on the wordplay in this blog.

Away we go...

1 Tree with a pole (6)
WABOOM - W(with), A, BOOM(pole)
5 More and more you’ll see this Maori skirt (6)
PIUPIU - PIU(more in music) twice
9 In speech girl favouring a rhetorical device (8)
ANAPHORA - sounds like ANNA(girl), FOR(favouring), A
11 Break up resistance fighting with doom all around (11)
FRACTIONATE - R(the symbol used for resistance in some physics equations), ACTION(fighting) inside FATE(doom)
13 Bishop grabbed by fascinating woman coming round in animal skin (6)
NEBRIS - B(bishop) inside SIREN(fascinating woman) reversed
14 Islander to become ill reportedly (5)
SICAN - sounds like SICKEN
16 Part of England known to Scots (4)
KENT - KEN(known) and 'T
17 Fish landed ultimately on short vessel (6)
DARTER - last letter of landeD, then ARTERY(vessel) missing the last letter
18 Most wise and godly person having a long time inside (6)
SAGEST - ST(saint, godly person) with AGES(a long time) inside
19 According to nature, uncertain or doubtful (6)
SNIFFY - SN(secundum naturam, according to nature), IFFY(uncertain)
22 Religious code of unorthodox maharishi? Not him, somehow (6)
SHARIA - anagram of MAHARISHI minus HIM
25 Fencer’s cry when repeatedly coming back (4, two words)
SA SA - AS(when) reversed twice
27 Organic compound, one to dig out (5)
IMINE - I(one), next to MINE(dig out)
28 Fellow in Highland attire keeping cold and unemotional (6)
PLACID - PLAID(highlander) with C(cold) inside
29 Like a sort of belief — isn’t it cheap somehow? (11)
30 Sacred travelling around about biblical city? I fought for that (8)
CRUSADER - anagram of SACRED containing UR(biblical city) reversed
31 Feature of test — learner has problem get round nailing it (6)
LITMUS - L(leaner) then SUM(problem) reversed containing IT
32 Fabric getting chaps in tangle? The opposite (6)
MOREEN - ORE(tangle) in MEN(chaps)
1 Hooligan after fighting could be this? (6)
WARNED - NED(hooligan) after WAR(fighting)
2 Rendering corrupt couple of musical sections, I celebrate (11)
BARBARISING - the musical section is a BAR, repeat that and add I SING(celebrate)
3 Abstract style of old district (5, two words)
OP ART - O(old), PART(district)
4 Sort me out — big windfall needed? (6)
MOTSER - anagram of SORT ME for a lovely piece of Aussie slang to go with the ART UNION from a few weeks ago
5 Freshens up flowers with water finally poured in (6)
PRINKS - PINKS(dianthus flowers) containing the last letter of wateR
6 Gay rarely getting heard (6)
URNING - sounds like EARNING(getting)
7 Wooden decoration from India artisan fashioned (8)
INTARSIA - I(india) then an anagram of ARTISAN
8 Lots of online groups offering advice to fisherman? (6)
USENET - the advice is USE NET. One of the first places I learned to solve cryptic clues was rec.puzzles.crosswords back in about 1987
10 Mostly support unusual rice diet as contribution to healthy living (11)
BACTERICIDE - BACK(support) mising the last letter, then an anagram of RICE,DIET
12 Fabric that’s fine for hanging up (4)
CIRE - the fine is ERIC, reversed
15 May I moan about people now being deprived of their forests? (8)
YANOMAMI - anagram of MAY,I,MOAN
19 Botanical bit left below stalk (6)
STIPEL - L(left) under STIPE(stalk)
20 Enthusiast, little man being under this illusion (6)
FANTOM - FAN(enthusiast) with TOM(little man) below
21 German attendants could be greasy (6)
YAGERS - anagram of GREASY
22 Shell, one covered in nasty spume (6)
SEPIUM - I(one) inside an anagram of SPUME
23 Time off in German region half wasted (4)
HOLS - half of HOLSTEIN(German region)
24 Sort of wooden local dignitary to put mum off (6)
ALDERN - the local dignitary is an ALDERMAN, remove MA(mum)
26 Leaves Arabia or just one of its countries (5)
QATAR - QAT(tea leaves), AR(arabia)

Sunday Times 4914 by Robert Price - source for the gander

12:28. Another really entertaining puzzle from Bob this week. I particularly liked 12ac, with its deceptive wordplay, and the cryptic definitions. These often attract negative comment but I thought both examples in the long down clues were excellent.

There will no doubt be the usual discussion about homophones like that in 3dn, which works for non-rhotic speakers like me but not for others. If homophones are unacceptable on that basis though they would have to be banished entirely, which would certainly make setters’ lives harder.

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

1 Fraud helping to hide bank payment
10 Wife’s left at Crewe, due to change train again
11 Share clobber
WHACK - DD. I think of the first sense as just meaning a (large) amount. When intended to mean a share it is usually (always?) preceded by the word 'fair'. Close enough, anyway.
12 Relative of Bonnie wanting half the case about Clyde
NIECE - tricky wordplay here: bonNIE (Bonnie wanting half), ClydE (the case about Clyde). Super clue.
13 One from a huge range of greetings from Kuala Lumpur?
HIMALAYAN - HI, MALAYAN (from Kuala Lumpur?). Note the question mark indicating a definition by example, because there are other places in Malaysia. Unnecessary IMO.
14 VIPs and why they stand at the bar?
NOTABLES - they stand at the bar because there are…
16 Cold youth crossing a river shows great bottle
CARBOY - C(A, R), BOY. This word for a large bottle was familiar but only very vaguely so I needed the wordplay.
19 Cream unfinished fish is next to
20 All over pong surrounds one type of cheese
HALLOUMI - H(ALL, O)UM, I. Aka squeaky cheese, excellent grilled on a barbecue. What did the cheese say when it saw itself in the mirror?
22 Inclined to admit suspect is a mugger
ASSAILANT - ASLANT containing (IS A)*. Another DBE, this time with no indication.
24 Live dance music
BEBOP - BE, BOP (dance).
25 Anxiety about old man’s housing
DREAD - D(RE)AD. This clue uses the same deceptive construction to indicate containment as 20ac.
26 Keep going private say, only with 50 per cent off
27 Who really has the power in emergencies at sea?
2 Work by a setter disguised as light entertainment
3 Nerve of informant in speaking out
SAUCE - sounds like ‘source’. Cue howls of outrage from rhoticists everywhere.
4 The last place one would retire to
5 Loveless, your home turned cold and damp
6 Drier beginning to leak oil mixed with water
TOWEL RAIL - (Leak OIL WATER)*. I was a bit puzzled by this because a towel is a drier, but quis siccat ipsos siccates? As they don't say in Latin.
7 Organ and piano ultimately are not the same
OVARY - pianO, VARY.
8 Providers of support for those with decreasing work?
IRONING BOARDS - CD. I initially thought the second word here would be STANDS, so I put that in, and then when I realised the first word was IRONING I almost didn’t reconsider it, which would have left me with IRONING STANDS. Fortunately I noticed in the nick of time that this was nonsense.
9 Being unsuited, out of one’s depth perhaps?
SKINNY-DIPPING - another CD, and another good one.
15 Unwell, ordered to swallow tablet by doctor
17 Singers of music, keeping time
BLUEBIRDS - BLUE(BIRD)S. ‘Time’ in the prison sense here.
18 You might chew this gum, eating badly
21 Stepping up to pluck the last fruit
RAISIN - RAISINg. Slight MER at ‘fruit’ as a definition here. It is a fruit of course, but the dried characteristic strikes me as pretty fundamental.
23 Cook leaves handwritten text about sandwiches
STEAM - reversal of MS (manuscript) containing TEA (leaves). I got a bit confused here because I considered STEAM but thought that ‘sandwiches’ was indicating ‘tea’, which made it rather tricky to parse the rest.
24 Pipe band’s top revolutionary resistance song
BRIAR - Band, reversal of R, AIR. Also spelled BRIER sometimes, so watch out!