June 6th, 2021

Unicorn
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3170 - The evangelical bloc!

Although I made fairly good progress at first, there was some tough stuff here.   After two hours I had all but one, and decided to go to bed.   In the morning, the phrase 'ledger beam' popped into my head, and I looked it up and there it was!    As usual, a wide vocabulary and considerable reading of pre-19th-century texts, such as Spenser and 18th- century diarists and letter-writers, is very helpful.

Added later: It seems like this was more difficult than I had supposed.   So how did I manage to solve it?   Well, moorcocks and mocha went in almost immediately as obvious answers, so I had some starting letters right at the beginning of my solve. It was not hard to see rheas, cart off, snap on, and the tempting but incorrect clarion.   Eilat was pretty obvious, and the anagram for Nostratic only had a few positibilites - I remember thinking it very likely ended in -atic, and you can place the other letters with the likely endings of the crossers before you have the crossers.   So I had nearly the whole top half before long.   It was the bottom half that was really tough, although there were some helpful starters like empaire, turnscrew, and moxie.   I was strangely slow with masterate, constructing it from the cryptic without recognizing it as a word.   I finished up with the rather obscure basnet, acroter, axinite, and herdic, but my LOI was actually the very obscure leidger. 

Across
1 Grouse about splitting low diamonds (9)
MOORCOCKS - MOO + R(C)OCKS.   No, not ice, as I tried for a bit.
11 In conversation one derides instant tea and coffee (5)
MOCHA - Sounds like MOCKER, and MO + CHA - two cryptics for the price of one.
12 On reflection, suppose record dated envoy (7)
PLENIPO - OPINE LP backwards.   The word is typical of early 18th-century slang, the sort of coinage Swift was always mocking.
13 Recurrent note for all to see on large sticker (5)
GLUER - RE + U + LG backwards, or recurrent.
14 Monkeys provided by US agency on schedule snubbed (7)
NASALIS - NASA + LIS[t].
15 Millions wanting taste of preservatives relish salt (6)
MALATE - M + [p]ALATE.
16 China in case of silver-gilt is apt to break (5)
SPALT - S[ilver](PAL)[gil]T.
17 Very good person on a roll is one up for a turn (7)
PIVOTER - PI VOTER.
18 Russian cloak seen in part of China on a supporter (7)
SARAFAN - SAR + A FAN.   A Special Administrative Region, in China.  A sarafan is more a dress than a cloak.
24 Knock that’s taken by party evident (7)
CONFEST - CON + FEST, a slangy use of con as an objection or weak point.
25 European politician’s broadcast backing off past damage (7)
EMPAIRE - EMP  + AIRE[d].   I had trouble accouting for the E for a while, but then I saw broadcast was an adjective.
29 Praise that's vague after change of direction (5)
ROOSE - (-l,+R)OOSE.
30 One’s heard the lady’s fellow getting a carriage (6)
HERDIC - sounds like HER DICK.
31 Times follows article enjoying success: start of excavation revealing mineral (7)
AXINITE - A + X + IN IT + E[xcavation].
32 Mount horse on ring from behind? For starters bit of luck’s needed (5)
LOGAN - NAG + O + L[uck] backwards.   The second highest mountain in Canada, not in Chambers, of course.
33 Lieder rendered by tenor of colour (7)
TILERED - T + anagram of LIEDER.
34 University hospital riddled with difficulty? Repeatedly as before (5)
UNETH - U(NET)H, where the literal is a backwards reference to the final two words of the cryptic.
35 Driver rotates group in charge of bus, for example (9)
TURNSCREW - TURNS + CREW.
Down
2 Love to get on lake shortly with a spot of net-fishing for this? (7)
OOLAKAN - O + O[n] +LAK[e] + N[et-fishing].   More commonly known as eulachon, but what fun is that?
3 Eyes field glasses out of pocket (7)
OCULARS - [bin]OCULARS, where pocket is a slangy verb, and so is bin
4 Man goes into headland for the birds (5)
RHEAS - R(HE)AS.   Yes, besides being an Ethiopian price, ras is a headland.
5 Take away recipe of cracking eatery (7, two words)
CART OFF - CA(R, TO)FF.
6 Trumpet class dropping behind on air embarrassed (7)
CLARINO - CL + anagram of ON AIR.   I had first put CLARION, which fits the wordplay and the literal, but comes a cropper with the crossers.
7 Relatives packaging work up like things quickly attached (6)
SNAPON - N(OP)ANS backwards, giving what is a registered trade-mark here in the US.
8 Narrative made up about one foreign resort (5)
EILAT - TAL(I)E backwards.   In Israel, to be precise.
9 Fencing post is large stake (5)
SPILE -  A double definition, although I have a feeling something else may be going on here.   Comments invited.
10 Hypothetical language not racist happily (9)
NOSTRATIC - Anagram of NOT RACIST, a write-in for philogists.
15 Rank bad teams, head of rugby scoffed (9)
MASTERATE - Anagram of TEAMS + R[ugby] + ATE..
19 Do care about rubbish in base of statue (7)
ACROTER - Anagram of CARE around ROT, with do as the anagram indicator.
20 Supporters ringing unionist bell (7)
ANGELUS - ANGEL(U)S, angels in the sense of early investors.
21 Resident’s one to stop part of timber scaffolding (7)
LEIDGER - LE(I)DGER.
22 Losing lead in chess cost one upset with openings (7)
OSTIATE - [c]OST + I + ATE, a write-in for Latinists.
23 Headgear absent for a change (6)
BASNET - anagram of ABSENT.
26 Missouri team’s energy? (5)
MOXIE - MO + XI + E, a clever &lit.
27 Soldier turned up bearing news from down under (5)
POILU - P(OIL)U, i.e. UP backwards, and oil as the slang term for information from Australia.
28 Tips for Toulouse waiter attached to club? (5)
TRONC - T[oulouse waite]R ON + C, another &lit, referring to a Continental system of sharing gratuities.