February 21st, 2021

  • glheard

Mephisto 3155 - Tim Moorey

Greetings barred-grid fans.

I'm writing this up having just learned of the passing of Jim Biggin. Jim and I started blogging the daily puzzle the same week in 2007, and in May 2008 Jim started in the Mephisto rotation, which was a four-person team at the time. By the end of 2008 Jim was doing every other Mephisto after the_od left, and then when Peter B joined the Sunday Times it became Jim taking the even numbered Mephistos and me the odd numbered ones up until 2020.

I'll miss his comments (especially our mutual rage over being accused of being stuffy, elitist and unhelpful in Mephisto blogs) and our occasional hysterical email correspondences when we were trying to line up times we were going to be away from the internet.

Fun puzzle from Tim Moorey, which I solved largely from the bottom up.

In Mephisto, definitions (the most direct of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, so I will focus on the wordplay here. Away we go....

1 West African’s ready in school indeed after dropping round (4)
CEDI -  COED(school) and I(indeed) missing O(round)
4 Ill with a stab wound from weapon in Rome (8)
BALLISTA - anagram of ILL and A STAB
9 Manage Yorkshire area land (8)
RUNDALES - RUN(manage) the Yorkshire DALES
11 Cordial about club twills (10)
CASSIMERES - CASSIS(cordial drink) surrounding MERE(club)
12 Curses keeping party member well back for Europeans (8)
BOSNIANS - BANS(curses) containing IN(party member), and SO(well) reversed
15 Instruments not loud? Get different ones (5)
LUTES - FLUTES(instruments) missing F(loud) for another instrument
16 Off-white in spring returning? Not so (4)
ECRU - SOURCE(spring) reversed minus SO
17 Action around English river in Indian vessels (8)
PATAMARS - PAS(action) surrounding the TAMAR river
18 Youngster put his shirt on horse? Ends with the bookmaker! (8)
TEENAGER - TEE shirt with NAG(horse) and the last lettesr of thE bookmakeR
20 Spurs for example start on goal with Son finishing (4)
EGGS - EG(for example), the first letter of Goal and S(son)
22 One point is vertical at sea (5)
APEAK - A(one), PEAK(point)
25 Fellow with a wife meets a young girl briefly? They can’t be trusted (8, two words)
FAUX AMIS - F(fellow), and A, UX(wide) then A, MISS(young girl) missing the last letter
26 Long forgotten, caught child on tape recorder (10)
DICTAPHONE - remove L(long) from an anagram of CHILD,ON,TAPE
27 Resort village in Greece to get new diggers (8)
SPADEMEN - SPA(resort), DEME(Greek township), N(new)
28 Noble earl behind border district (8)
MARCHESE - E(earl) after the MARCHES (border district)
29 Card digits spoken of (4)
TOSE - sounds like TOES(digits)
1 Mostly difficult to decipher English poet (6)
CRABBE - CRABBY(difficult to decipher, of handwriting), missing the last letter, then E(English) for the poet George CRABBE
Edit: had the wordplay incorrect - difficult to decipher is CRABBED and English is part of the definition
2 Court pieces excited one not wanting to devolve more power (11)
3 Heads to roll, police lack genetic data carrier (5)
IDANT - CID(police) and WANT(lack) both missing the first letter
4 Count that’s supporting polls in by-election and suchlike (5)
BASIE - IE(that is) underneath the first letters in By-election And Suchlike
5 Boss has institution for publicity in part of Ireland (8)
LEINSTER - LEADER(boss) with INST(institution) replacing AD(publicity)
6 Article about ball-game again (6)
ITERUM - ITEM(article) surrounding RU(rugby union, ball game)
7 Flipping hookers wrecked game plan (9)
STRATAGEM - TARS(hookers) revsersed, then an anagram of GAME
8 Stupid people to get second estimate (6)
ASSESS - ASSES(stupid people), S(second)
10 Trips emerge disastrously for fisherman (11, two words)
PETER GRIMES - anagram of TRIPS,EMERGE. A fisherman in a poem from 1 Down made into an opera by Britten
13 Desire for one way to meet Charles (9)
STREETCAR - STREET(way) and CAR(Charles)
14 Boarding head right away gives a tip (8)
LAGNAPPE - LAG(boarding, second definition in Chambers), then NAPPER(head) missing R(right)
18 Vehicle hit them, according to reports (6)
TANDEM - sounds like TANNED 'EM(hit them)
19 Not entirely agreeable covering a do on ships (6)
NAUTIC - NICE(agreeable) missing the last letter, containing A UT(do)
21 Without date and without giving property title to a Scot (6)
SASINE - SA(sine anno, without date) and SINE(without)
23 Out of place, go off last part of Greek drama (5)
EXODE - remove PL(place) from EXPLODE(go off)
24 Girl one’s seen in black (5)
JANET - AN(one) inside JET(black)

Sunday Times 4942 by David McLean

7:21. A pretty straightforward puzzle this week from Harry, but a quirky one, with some unusual vocabulary (1ac, 18ac, 4dn) and some quite oblique definitions. I remain puzzled by one clue – 6dn – where I seem to be missing something, so any ideas welcome. Otherwise all good fun. I think my favourite clue is 22ac: there is something very neat about indicating one word with another single word which actually means something completely different if you read it literally.

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

1 Top American telly
BOOB TUBE - DD. I only knew one of the definitions here but one is enough!
5 Repeal a French act
UNDO - UN (a French), DO.
8 I’m told boatmen go sailing
CRUISE - sounds like ‘crews’.
9 Sad after autumn trip?
FALL DOWN - or, er, DOWN after FALL.
10 Bit of earth on tree shoot
FIRE - FIR, Earth.
11 They help people understand words in Polish sign
GLOSSARIES - GLOSS, ARIES (sign of the zodiac).
12 Give lift to con
TAKE FOR A RIDE - I’m going to classify the first part of this clue as wordplay, because you wouldn’t really say you were taking someone for a ride if you were just giving them a lift, but if you want to call it another definition I won’t sue.
16 Road of Bones
HARLEY STREET - CD, ‘bones’ being a term for a doctor, particularly a surgeon. The only time I’ve frequented this street it was for dental reconstruction work which involved the removal of a small piece of bone from my hip a very large quantity of money from my bank account.
18 Backslider such as Buzz Aldrin?
MOONWALKER - again, I’m not sure whether to classify ‘backslider’ as cryptic or not, but it doesn’t really matter. The moonwalk is a dance move made famous by Michael Jackson that involves sliding backwards on your feet in such a way that it looks from the movement of your legs like you should be going forwards. I used to be able to do it.
20 I fled foreign land
IRAN - or I RAN.
21 Blow striking person
22 Lampshade?
EYELID - CD. Because ‘lamp’ is a word for the eye, and your eyelid shades it. Very neat!
23 Going back 14 minutes is great
MEGA - reversal of AGE (the answer to 14dn), M.
24 Weak royal judgement
1 Air a BBC broadcast on new theatre
2 Possibly sheepish old climber
OVINE - O, VINE. I don’t know why ‘possibly’.
3 Perhaps 7 years in the 18th century?
THE AGE OF REASON - from Wikipedia: ‘The age of reason is the age at which children attain the use of reason and begin to have moral responsibility. On completion of the seventh year a minor is presumed to have the use of reason.’ Also a term for the Enlightenment.
4 Love being sat on by fit comic
BUFFO - BUFF (fit), O. A term from Italian opera.
5 A rude Wren dances in this
6 Might I be one necking booze?
DOWNER - I don’t understand this clue. The best I can think of is that the first words refer to the fact that you might refer to this clue – a down clue – as a DOWNER. But I’m not entirely convinced. Edit: see my comment below: DOWNER can refer to a depressing person (rather than just a depressing experience), who might be drowning their sorrows. I think that's what is intended here.
7 Medical professional paid to make puss better?
PLASTIC SURGEON - CD. No, ‘puss’ is a word for the face, do grow up. The professional body for such practitioners is called BAAPS, yes really, I don’t see what’s funny about that, see me after class.
13 Plant employee China ceases holding
ECHINACEA - contained in ‘employee China ceases’.
14 For instance, a revolutionary period
AGE - reversal of EG, A.
15 Threatening guys passing with no trouble at all?
MENACING - MEN, ACING (as in a test).
17 Black cat swagger
19 Vessel drawing out of foremost of seaports
KETCH - take Seaports from sKETCH.
20 One with terribly nice old folk
  • vinyl1

Times 27907 - Wilco (The Album)

Time: 16 minutes
Music: Bax, Tintagel, Boult/LPO

Another easy Monday, but I biffed so many I'm going to be spending a lot of time figuring out the cryptics as I write the blog.   There are also a number of points I will have to research.   So maybe this shouldn't have been so easy, or maybe we don't need the cryptics.   Well, at least we have a crypt.   There were not many actual chestnuts, although experienced solvers will know decaf/faced, the two sailors in Addis Ababa, the goat with no corn, and the upside-down help in India. 

Since we had Bax last week, I pulled out the Lyrita LP of his tone poems.   These are fine performances by Sir Adrian Boult, highly recommended if you like English-style classical music. 

1 Very naughty boy outside a court, having arrived with large beast (8,5)
BACTRIAN CAMEL - B(A CT)RIAN + CAME + L, referring to Monty Python's Life of Brian.
8 Bird's nest is one being very high (4)
SOUP - SO + UP.   Fortunately, I didn't biff coop.
9 Meat pie, served with coffee, sent back, looking anaemic (5-5)
10 Start to accept fish in sea abroad seem diseased? (8)
11 Fox should cover conflict once in progress (6)
TOWARD - TO(WAR)D, where the "in progress" meaning of toward is obsolescent, although maybe not obsolete.
13 Combine with two sailors in an investment producing capital (5,5)
ADDIS ABABA - ADD IS(ABAB)A.  An ISA is a UK investment; here in the US we have the IRA, but that acronym was already taken over there.
16 Data coming back relating to an Ulster region (4)
INFO - OF N.I.  Northern Ireland is six out of the nine counties in Ulster, so it is properly called an Ulster region.
17 Sudden blast son's taken in belly (4)
18 Trio snatching at Scots hooligan were menacing (10)
20 Snooker break is met with difficulty in the end (6)
STYMIE - Anagram of IS MET + [difficult]Y.
22 Shoot the breeze with blonde in attempt to manipulate (8)
GASLIGHT - GAS + LIGHT, as modern language comes to the Times.   We'll be back to bishops and barristers shortly, however.
24 He painted bishop with bad back gulping too much cold water (10)
BOTTICELLI -  B (OTT ICE) LLI, whichis ill backwards. 
26 Bottomless river associated with Parana's source (4)
DEEP - DEE + P[arana] - fortunately, you don't need to know who or what Parana is.
27 Direction Strehler originally provided in Aston theatre adaptation? (4-5-4)
EAST-NORTH-EAST - Anagram of S[rehler] + ASTON THEATRE - you don't need to know who Strehler is, either!
1 Shilling taken from chest with another in economic cycle (4,3,4)
BOOM AND BUST - BO[s]OM AND BUST.    Inflation and deflation, or something like that.
2 Goat denied grain comes to island (5)
CAPRI - CAPRI[corn]. 
3 Abhorrent ruling to imprison reversed before magistrates (9)
4 Empire once so small and insubstantial to overturn (7)
ASSYRIA - AS + S + AIRY upside-down.
5 Weep over pint in church cellar (5)
6 Malicious trick takes in hospital for now (9)
7 Some colliers are buried (3)
LIE - Hidden in [col]LIE]rs.
12 Royal seen among tree ferns ordered snack (11)
REFRESHMENT - Anagram of TREE FERNS containing HM.
14 Hints from close friends (9)
INTIMATES - Double definition.
15 Economist with German husband supporting second president (4,5)
19 Artillery regiment with gun elevated in routine (7)
REGULAR - RA + LUGER upside-down.
21 One whose time is done in City, working with cross to bear (2-3)
EX-CON - E(X)C + ON.
23 Home help sent up country (5)
INDIA - IN + AID upside-down.
25 Mineral source almost disappeared from Pacific state (3)
ORE - ORE[gon[e]], an obvious biff.