August 16th, 2020

New RCA
  • vinyl1

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.

Across
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)
APOTHECARIES - A + POTHE[r] + CARIES.
11 Large number you once found on beach (9)
THOUSANDS - THOU on the SANDS. 
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)
INANER - IN AN E.R.
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.
Down
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)
ATTEMPER - A.T. + TEMPER.
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)
SCUPPERS - S(C)UPPERS.
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.