August 16th, 2020

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Mephisto 3128 - Do you remember July 24, 1983?

This one was pretty easy for the most part, although teasing out the last few was a little tricky.    Every crazy-seeming word derived from the cryptics turned out to be in Chambers, and I made liberal use of my classical knowledge, as well as a few words from Spenser and Shakespeare.   I did biff a few, and I hope I can figure out the cryptics for these - Mephisto is never easy, even with your Chambers in hand.  

I'll admit, I have become completely addicted to Mephisto, and print it out as soon as it become available.   Tonight I sat on the porch with  my clipboard and the big red book, and solved away until it became too dark to see.    But that's one for my co-blogger, who will probably whip through it fairly quickly.

1 Old Italian with very large buttocks (5)
OSCAN - O.S + CAN.   If you are familiar with the Osco-Umbrian language family, this will seem quite obvious. 
6 Politician’s dry externally always (6)
SEMPRE - SE(MP)RE, an Italian word from the world of music, as is often the case.
10 Old druggists accepted endless fuss associated with tooth decay (12)
11 Large number you once found on beach (9)
12 Bob and Hal recalled reciprocal units (6)
YRNEHS -  S (shilling) + HENRY backwards.  I was quite surprised this word actually existed, until I saw its etymology. 
13 African’s money lost in a sweep (6)
PESEWA - Anagram of A SWEEP.   Ghana, to be exact.
15 Spirit shown by Welshman second to none initially (6)
DAIMON - DAI  + MO + N[one], the stock word in classical Greek for a spirit, now slaving away in Unix.
20 Act as lookout in stronghold chamber underground (8, two words)
KEEP CAVE - KEEP + CAVE, referring to the caveo sort of cave. 
21 Chasing odd character seen around island railway (8)
CISELURE - C(IS EL)URE.   I was determined to put -RY at the end, but not so.   I had to look up this meaning of cure, too.
23 Guide perhaps not party’s leader abroad (6)
SHERPA - anagram of [p]ERHAPS, one I just biffed, as will most solvers.
25 Rather silly how the Queen is represented (6)
26 Exclusive about rector making harsh noise (6)
SCROOP - SC(R)OOP - you could look it up, and I did.
28 Stick with combine for field in the Caribbean (9, two words)
CANE PIECE - CAN + PIECE, as in piece together.
29 Amazement with heartless JFK shooting before ultimately utter distress in Dallas (12)
KATZENJAMMER -  Anagram of AMAZEMENT + J[f]K + [utte]R.   Yes, amazing.
30 Roman officer appearing before wives returned (6)
SBIRRO - OR + RIBS backwards.   Not hard if you know the word, but the meaning of OR is not the first you would normally think of.
31 Will’s faith on show (5)
FAYRE - FAY + RE, where the archaism goes unannounced.
1 Firm approval after King dropped (4)
OAKY - OKAY with the K moved down.
2 Ghostly procession showing eager desire but failing to start (9)
SPIRATION - [a]SPIRATION, referring to "the act by or manner in which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son."   I couldn't find the actual word in Chambers, but it's probably there somewhere.
3 Old-fashioned sounding instruments (5)
CORNI - sounds like CORNY.   This is the plural of corno, the Italian word for what we would call a French horn. 
4 Moderate administrative trainee’s fit (8)
5 Leaders in part of string section missing gut (4)
C.E.O.S - CE[ll]OS, very simple once you see it.
6 Does for clubs sharing meals (8)
7 Relaxed and satisfied having given up place (5)
EASED - [pl]EASED, a couple of easy onees here.
8 Long set on oily stuff used in medicines (7, two words)
PINE TAR -  PINE + TAR, in different senses - this TAR is from Old English tergan.
9 Trying person in lower tier heads off (7)
ESSAYER - [l]ESS [l]AYER - I nearly put assayer, but an ass doesn't low, it brays!
14 Energy change accommodating English and Scottish poll (9, two words)
WAVEPOWER - WAV(E, POW)ER.   Yes, POW is a Scots form of poll.
16 New dancing routine that comes without a charge (8)
NEUTRINO - N + anagram of ROUTINE.   A word we all know - fortunately, there is no leaderboard in Mephisto.
17 Part of muscle remarkably showing hardening of tissues (8)
SCLEREMA - [mu]SCLE REMA[rkably].
18 Sounds like a smart person cracks awkward task amateur ignored (7)
TCHICKS -  T(CHIC)KS, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of T[a]SK.   I didn't believe this word would exist, although the cryptic points to it, but there it is.
19 Ghanaian people from a ramshackle hut spoken of (7)
ASHANTI - Sounds like A SHANTY, but I hardly needed the cryptic.
22 Regret endlessly boosted electrical unit (5)
NEPER - REPEN[t] upside down.
24 Opener for England gets outside of mark for wide (5)
ROOMY - I'm not too sure here, maybe RO(O' M)Y?   Jason Roy, I suspect.   At least the answer is obvious.
26 Jack in house mostly, a lower one (4)
SEJM - SE(J)M[i], another one I constructed but didn't quite believe - this time, it's Poland.
27 Do without missing van for dock (4)
PARE - [s]PARE, a clue that you might see in the Quickie.