April 18th, 2021

Mephisto 3163 - Don Manley

Greetings barred-grid fans.

At risk of being smacked down like I was last time, I thought this was definitely on the gentler side of Mephisto puzzles, with the usual clear Don Manley wordplay for obscure words.  This was dusted off in one short session with only the crossing pair at 20 down and 33 across sending me to the dictionary for a check, although it was nice to see one of the more fun wordplay elements at 20, which I will get to in a bit.

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

Away we go...

Across
1 Elite regiment’s foolish talk (4)
SASS - the elite regiment is the SAS, so this is SAS'S
4 Plant shows vitality — another plant is dying (8)
ZINGIBER - ZING(vitality) then IBERIS(plant) missing IS
11 Like mites, being a worry outside home (7)
ACARINE - A CARE(worry) surrouding IN(home)
13 Release the writer’s found at riverside (5)
EXEME - ME(the writer) next to the river EXE
14 Severe state control is met with difficulty by Greek character (8)
ETATISME - anagram of IS,MET after ETA(Greek character)
15 Prisoner is old thief — time to be released (5)
LIFER - the thief is a LIFTER, remove T(time)
16 Having particular shrubs with a certain glow — hard to miss (5)
ALOED - HALOED(with a certain glow) missing H(hard)
17 Scottish stories with particular ending (4)
LARE - hidden in particuLAR Ending
19 Python coils and man dies, OK? (12, two words)
DIAMOND SNAKE - anagram of AND,MAN,DIES,OK
21 See nicest deb excited by words of approval on coming out? (12, two words)
BENE DECESSIT - anagram of SEE,NICEST,DEB
28 Ace singer screeches (not half!) when making comeback (4)
LULU - two definitions, ace and the singer. Wordplay is ULULATES(screeches), missing the second half, reversed
29 Oil on tin removed (5)
NOINT - anagram of ON,TIN
30 Poisonous plant I found by river (5)
URALI - I next to the river URAL
31 Move or don’t move in periods of prosperity? (8, two words)
UP STICKS - STICK(don't move) in UPS(periods of prosperity)
32 Poison from old chemical company conveyed by sailors (5)
RICIN - ICI(old chemical company) inside RN(sailors)
33 Old plant possibly beginning to droop in stone behind house (7)
HORDOCK - first letter of Droop insie ROCK(stone) after HO(house)
34 There’s no cost in refixing part of window-frame? (8)
SCONTION - anagram of NO,COST,IN
35 Last bit of luggage — the blue container for drinks (4)
ESKY - last letter in luggagE, then SKY(the blue)
Down
1 Ancient dish that is blue everyone’s collected (6)
SALLAD - SAD(blue) containing ALL(everyone)
2 Laziness of a French company — hero must be brought in (7)
ACCIDIE - A CIE(compagnie, company in French) containing CID(hero)
3 Unruly fans trashed Corsican city (12, two words)
SAN FRANCISCO -  anagram of FANS then an anagram of CORSICAN
5 Place with abbey having no time to start with for novice (6)
INTERN - TINTERN(place with abbey) missing the first T(time)
6 Name for son secured and toughened (6)
NEALED - SEALED(secured) with N(name) replacing S(son)
7 Bother with rubbish, say, piling up (5, two words)
GET AT - TAT(rubbish) and EG(say) all reversed
8 Seasonal mob’s reconciled — words of respect suggesting kissing of hands (12, three words)
BESO LAS MANOS - anagram of SEASONAL,MOBS
9 Tourist restricted, not the first or last to be upset (5)
EMMET - STEMMED(restricted) reversed, missing the first and last letter
10 Too keen to eat something not good, like grass (5)
REEDY - GREEDY(too keen to eat something) missing G(good)
12 Lifesavers — not wimpish chaps, we hear? (7)
REELMEN - sounds like REAL MEN(not wimpish chaps)
18 Is nude shivering? It’s right to go inside to be covered (7)
INSURED - anagram of IS,NUDE containing R(right)
20 Seaman requires American river anchorage, avoiding delta (7)
KILLOCK - KILL(American river), then DOCK(anchorage) missing D(delta).  Kill is a term for river, particularly in the northeast and the old Dutch areas of the US and is often on the end of the names of rivers, like the Schuylkill and in placenames like the Catskills
22 Ethical abroad? Not acting ambassador (6)
ELTCHI - anagram of ETHICAL minus A(acting)
23 Bird to make bird noise having hatched fifty eggs (6)
CUCKOO - CLUCK(make bird noise) minus L(fifty), then O and O are eggs
24 This Devonian idiot (6)
THICKY - I think the wordplay is referring to Devonshire cream being thickened. Edit: thanks to Don Manley for pointing out that THICKY means "This" in Devonshire. I didn't spot it, but it is in Chambers, under THILK
25 Hard bits of ski-run, with one coming adrift sadly (5)
KNURS - anagram of SKI,RUN missing I(one)
26 What’s the matter with head? In charge minimally (5)
TOPIC - TOP(head), and IC(in charge)
27 Bird’s set task (5)
STINT - double definition

Sunday Times 4950 by Robert Price

12:48. I didn’t find this particularly hard but I did find it particularly delightful. A really super puzzle full of wit and lovely penny-drop moments. Thank you very much Bob for a quarter-hour of great enjoyment.

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




Across
1 Killer’s dossier, one detectives fill in
FILICIDE - FIL(I, CID)E.
5 Jokes about cutting prices
FARCES - FAR(C)ES.
9 Old lady managed to swallow fly in a layer of cake
MARZIPAN - MA, R(ZIP)AN. In this case we do know why she swallowed the fly, because the clue tells us.
10 Old head saw parent after work
TREPAN - (PARENT)*.
12 Church group’s crime not even reported
SYNOD - sounds like ‘sin odd’.
13 Pineapple rings in syrup
GRENADINE - GRENAD(IN)E. ‘Pineapple’ is a (very logical) slang term for a hand grenade. Brilliant!
14 Champion, one with a prize fruit
VICTORIA PLUM - VICTOR (champion), I, A PLUM (prize, as an adjective I think).
18 Eventually got from home to Marathon?
IN THE LONG RUN - IN (home), THE LONG RUN (marathon). The question mark indicates a definition by example since other long runs are available.
21 One scoring away from home?
ADULTERER - CD.
23 Start off haughty meeting a cleaner
LOOFA - aLOOF, A.
24 Cut that’s bound to include page five hundred
LOPPED - LOP(P)E, D.
25 Metal cask to hold gent’s rum
TUNGSTEN - TUN containing (GENTS)*.
26 Operated on ram with anaesthetic
WETHER - W, ETHER. Great definition!
27 Social worker carrying record player to a church next-door
ADJACENT - A(DJ, A, CE)NT.
Down
1 Frequency with which sect members go hungry
FAMISH - F, AMISH.
2 Cat that’s trapped a rook’s airway
LARYNX - L(A, R)YNX.
3 Naïve Democrat taken in by cool president
CHILDLIKE - CHIL(D)L, IKE.
4 It’s in black and white, you can check on it
DRAUGHTBOARD - CD, I think based on the fact that chess is played on one of these: I don’t believe there’s such thing as ‘check’ in draughts even though it's also known as checkers.
6 Argonaut dropping gun parts off vessel
AORTA - (ARgOnAuT)*. Oh that kind of vessel! A superbly clever clue.
7 Top part covering Aintree’s second horse jump
CAPRIOLE - CAP, R(aIntree)OLE. Something horses do in dressage.
8 Strips of light paper with black plastic seam
SUNBEAMS - SUN, B, (SEAM)*.
11 Ride or cycle in tight skirt
MERRY-GO-ROUND - MERRY (drunk, tight), GO ROUND (skirt). I think there are two definitions here, one literal and one figurative.
15 Plant from India I set up in water
AQUILEGIA - I (India) then a reversal of I GEL contained in AQUA. I didn’t know the plant (this applies to most of them) but the assembly instructions were very clear.
16 Bar starts to deep-fry its pasty
DISALLOW - Deepfry, Its, SALLOW (pasty).
17 Tart shop’s beginning to advertise
STRUMPET - Shop, TRUMPET.
19 Some feel too pumped up to travel leisurely
POOTLE - contained reversed in ‘feel too pumped’.
20 Grand artist frames something attractive
MAGNET - MA(G)NET.
22 Keynote article made less commercial
THEME - THE, MadE. A keynote is ‘a central or determining principle in a speech, literary work, etc’.