June 13th, 2021

Mephisto 3171 - Paul McKenna

Greetingd barred-grid fans.

Paul McKenna sometimes experiments with grids other than 12x12, and this is an example of an 11x13 grid.  With there being one long vertical entry, the grid design breaks it up almost into two mini-puzzles, and I found I had the bottom half completed before moving up to the top.

Was it your cup of coffee?

In Mephisto puzzles the definitions can be confirmed in Chambers so I will focus on wordplay here.

Away we go...

1 Hack is caught looting first from the necessary (5)
COUGH - C(caught) and "the necessary" can mean money, so DOUGH missing the first letter
5 Amongst classicists this prize competition is to falter (6)
HICCUP - HIC(this, in Latin), CUP(prize competition)
10 Riyadh’s fresh water transporter (6)
HYDRIA - anagram of RIYADH
11 Point of culmination with Enigma’s earliest cipher? (5)
NO-ONE - NOON(high noon - point of culmination), and the first letter of Enigma. Cipher can mean a nobody
12 Left with advantage after American fits tool for forger? (11)
ABOUTSLEDGE - L(left) and EDGE(advantage) after A(American), BOUTS(fits)
13 Mother facing new outburst of impatience (4)
DAMN - DAM(mother) and N(new)
14 Trat’s cut alternate handle in news broadcast? (7)
ITALIAN - ALIAS(alternate handle) missing the last letter in ITN(Independent Television News)
16 Some feel doyenne’s spinning a special sort of song (5)
YODLE - hidden reversed in feEL DOYenne. Even though the wordplay was clear, I wrote YODEL in first out of habit
17 Queen, eg, is out of bed and dressing (6)
CATSUP - CAT'S(queen's), UP(out of bed)
19 Such as connects sugary treat with a shake (11, two words)
23 Moving drama with this colouring could find you daydreaming (6)
26 Obscenities, if said by some yobs they’d be of themselves! (5)
OATHS - I think this is suggesting that some dialect might make this sound like "OAFS"
28 Scratch cold bread that’s a defining part of a pud (7)
CLOOTIE - C(cold), LOOT(bread), IE(that's) and a definition on either end
29 A couple touch with head to the right (4)
ITEM - MITE(a touch) with the first letter at the end
30 Fish with forgotten speed — it’s the bosun’s point (11)
MARLINSPIKE - MARLINS(fish) and PIKE(speed - fifth definition in Chambers)
31 He pushes back nothing when pulling in millions (5)
ADMAN - NADA(nothing) reversed containing M(millions)
32 A country behind good fuel (6, two words)
GAS OIL - A SOIL(country) after G(good)
33 Dress sense is finding capes (6)
NESSES - anagram of SENSE, 'S
34 Keen Yankee gets treasure or similar (5)
HONEY - HONE(keen), Y(Yankee)
1 African language most senior officer experienced inside (6)
CHADIC - CIC(most senior officer) containing HAD(experienced)
2 Old cathedral in grip of violently true measure of storm? (8)
UDOMETER - DOME(cathedral) inside an anagram of TRUE
3 Small things pressured by Government beetle-crushers (6)
GRUNTS - RUNTS(small things) after G(Government)
4 Chance upon answer as Advisory Board goes for it in practice (5, two words)
HIT IT - replace AB with IT in HABIT(practice)
5 Careless dullard has put together simple dishes (13, two words)
HASTY PUDDINGS - HASTY(careless), PUDDING(dullard), 'S
6 Marquetry is what I do in early shifts (7)
INLAYER - anagram of IN,EARLY
7 Lord who ran over what Solomon holds central in inner space (6)
COELOM - lord Sebastian COE and the middle letters of soLOMon
8 Discourteous Macron’s one to irk proverbially busy crawler (9)
UNGALLANT - UN(one in French) then GALL(irk), ANT(proverbially busy crawler)
9 Upset nurse coming in profoundly hammered (6)
PEENED - EN(nurse) inside DEEP(profoundly) all reversed
15 Preserve power a dashing extrovert installed in Middle East (9)
MARMALADE - ARM(power) A, LAD(dashing extrovert) inside ME(Middle East)
18 Unkindly townsfolk standing up changed into joining force (8)
STICTION - CITS(derogatory term for townsfolk) reversed, then an anagram of INTO
20 To do with quattrocento Pope son’s on point (7)
SISTINE - a little stumped on this one - I can see S(son) and TINE(point), but I'm not sure how to get POPE=SI? Thanks to commenters - Pope is part of the definition and it is S, IS then TINE
21 Tenant provided money going into loo (6)
SOCMAN - SO(provided), then M(money) inside CAN(loo)
22 Shellfish soup sweetheart finally cleared away (6)
PHOLAS - PHO(Vietnamese soup) then LASS(sweetheart) missing the last letter
24 With staggering poise Cicero’s last by that very fact of his (6, two words)
EO IPSO - anagram of POISE then the last letter of cicerO
25 In a plucky way cathedral school’s first (6)
GAMELY -  ELY(cathedral) with GAM(school) first
27 Heaps ordered for festival (5)
PESAH - anagram of HEAPS

Sunday Times 4958 by Dean Mayer

12:52. A fairly gentle one from Dean this week, and nothing to frighten the horses. There are a few very well-disguised definitions in here (11ac, 2dn, 6dn) that might cause problems but there’s nothing particularly obscure in the vocabulary or any requirement for arcane general knowledge. Good stuff.

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

1 The French dine from feeding trough
MANGER - two definitions, one not really an English definition as such so I’ll consider it wordplay.
5 Moving slowly or like a shot?
SLUGGISH - again, two definitions, one whimsical (slug = bullet = shot).
9 See and repair device
LOGO - LO, GO (repair, as in to the drawing room).
10 Rock walls enable repression
SWALLOWING - SW(ALLOW)ING. If you swallow emotions, for instance, you repress them.
11 Abandoned airports left one by one?
SELF-PORTRAIT - (AIRPORTS LEFT)*. Great definition!
13 Miss a festival’s main attraction
MAY QUEEN - CD. I had no idea what was going on here but the crossing Q came to my rescue.
15 Husband loves healthy walk
HOOF IT - H, OO (zeroes, loves), FIT.
16 Dean carelessly includes Virginia as a US state
NEVADA - (DEAN)* containing VA. Nice self-reference!
18 Stay young on very good wine
PINOTAGE - PI (very good), NOT AGE.
20 Bad American art turned into rough sketch?
ILLUSTRATION - ILL, US, reversal of ART, (INTO)*.
23 Ready for more artillery, surround country
RARING TO GO - RA (Royal Artillery), RING, TOGO.
24 Timmy Thompson’s secret fantasy
MYTH - contained in ‘Timmy Thompson’. I guess it’s ‘secret’ in the sense that it’s hidden inside.
25 Boss promises to reimburse academic
26 Collided with small vehicle
2 Said sailor and baker made crackers
ABOVE-NAMED - AB, OVEN, (MADE). Very well-disguised definition. Hands up if you wasted time looking for a homophone.
3 Fire exit
4 Food from river is fish
5 Sports reporters jump in with “race is opening up”
STARTING PISTOLS - START (jump), IN, GP (Grand Prix, race), IS, reversal (up) of SLOT. Tricky one this: oblique, misleading, hard-to-spot definition, fiddly wordplay, convincing surface.
6 Heartless relative remains free
7 Don’t have to leave
GO WITHOUT - I’m not sure about the second part of this clue. Is it synonymous with ‘go outside’, i.e. ‘depart’ or is it referring to ‘leaving’ something on your plate, for instance? The latter makes a bit more sense to me but it’s exactly the same meaning as the first half of the clue. I suppose that’s allowed!
8 In which to wash pot
SINK - DD. The second definition is a billiards reference.
12 Detective questioning a PC’s routine
DIAGNOSTIC - DI, AGNOSTIC (questioning).
14 Provisional licence obtained?
QUALIFIED - two definitions, one slightly oblique.
17 Player’s fast, completely runs into self
ALLEGRO - ALL (completely), EG(R)O.
19 New darts channel
21 Island road heading north through rocky outcrop
TIMOR - reversal of MI (road) in TOR. The M1 is a road 'heading north' (or south) but here it's a reversal indicator.
22 Piece covering a needle