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Mephisto 3039 - Paul McKenna

Odd-numbered Mephisto time! The grid has 90-degree symmetry with four clues running all the way across the 12x12 grid to stop it from separating into four mini-puzzles. All good fin.

I however made a real mess of this, having been utterly convinced that 1 across was PIDDLES, and somehow coming up with ICE DANCE with a question mark for 2 down. Maybe I was on to the start of a whole new crossword.

I think the pun in the top row is for a place?

Wordplay is hopefully explained, definitions are in Chambers and are underlined.

Away we go...

1 Dwelling in the Borders is taking on direct debit for trifles (7)
PEDDLES - PELE(peel-house, fortified dwelling) 'S, containing DD(direct debit)
7 Silky net I stripped from inside leg armour (5)
TULLE - remove I from TUILLE (leg armour)
11 Always in, so toppled out-going turn (8)
EVERSION - EVER(always) then an anagram of IN,SO
12 Aged manner to perturb (6)
AERATE - AE(aged), RATE(manner, mode)
13 Know about new habit (4)
WONT - WOT(variant of WIT, know) surrounding N(new)
14 Crab on Skegness beach is near place for lobsters (6)
SCRAWL - 'S, CRAWL(lobster pen)
15 University College going through moderate interest in Shakespeare (6)
USANCE - U(university), then C(college) inside SANE(moderate)
16 Doctor here — let’s try keeping active (12, two words)
HARLEY STREET - anagram of HERE,LET'S,TRY containing A(active)
18 Strands in blasted lies about friendly pug (7)
INISLES - anagram of LIES surrounding NIS(friendly spirit)
22 Bug Mike then hide (7)
MICROBE - MIC(Mike), then ROBE(bison hide)
24 Basically broken lines, term for poetry voiced bit by bit (12)
SYLLABICALLY - anagram of BASICALLY, then L,L(lines), and the last letter in poetrY
26 Tree where the King first appeared (6)
TUPELO - double definition, based on Elvis being from Tupelo, Mississippi
27 River that’s been cleared for all produces Chinese tea (6)
CONGOU - CONGO river, then U(cleared for all)
29 Resisting a drink (4)
AGIN - A, GIN(drink)
30 Indian mogul’s nightmare curbing ID on Uzbeki motors (6)
HUZOOR - HOOR(nightmare, difficult person) containing UZ(IVR code for Uzbekistan)
31 Clare, say, one breaking into the middle is beyond the TUC, eg (8)
NONUNION - NUN(Clare), I inside NOON(middle)
32 Keynote article on Middle East (5)
THEME - THE(article), ME(Middle East)
33 Stay away from hen with this? (7)
CUTLASS - CUT(stay away from, as in "cut carbs"), LASS(hen)

1 Softly blow a drop of water (5)
PLASH - P(softly), LASH(blow)
2 Entrance on horse? It’s a pleasure to see (8, two words)
EYE CANDY - EYE(mine entrance), CANDY(horse, heroin)
3 Drone earlier died on top of rocky height, time to escape (4)
DORR - D(died) on TORR(rocky height) missing T
4 Upsets for East Londoner’s wife getting into tossed salad (6)
DWAALS - W(wide) inside an anagram of SALAD.  East London in South Africa in this case
5 Don’t interfere — put only open space up for lease (12, three words)
LET WELL ALONE - WELL can refer to an open space in the middle of buildings, so you can LET(put up for lease) it ALONE
6 African confrère in south-east is to bask in uprising (7)
SENUSSI - SE(south-east) then a reversal of IS, SUN(to bask in)
7 Banking service tucked up, as they say, over a $100 matter (12, two words)
TRUST ACCOUNT - sounds like TRUSSED then A, C($100), COUNT(matter)
8 Around Berlin, etc, a rural dean coming straight in our direction (6)
USWARD - USW(und so weiter, etc), A, RD(rural dean)
9 Heraldic beast is first in detailed fleur-de-lis (6)
LIONEL - ONE(first) in side LILY(fleur-de-lis) with the last letter missing
10 Barely begin endless gush of infatuated Parisienne? (7)
ENTETEE - ENTER(begin) missing the last letter, then TEEM(gush) also missing the last letter
17 Decks with flowers take shape among hollowed, sculpted beams (8)
EMBLOOMS - LOOM(take shape) inside an anagram of BE(a)MS
18 Present minute coffee, say (7)
INSTANT - three definitions (if you consider instant as coffee)
19 Barmy mobile call’s first connected to a clot (7)
EMBOLIC - anagram of MOBILE, then C(all)
20 Mountain elder in Massif Central holding record (6)
ALPINE - AINE(elder) containing LP(record)
21 Shorter of dashes into cushy chamber (6)
PLENUM - EN dash inside PLUM(cushy)
23 Learn about absorbing unknown point of Whisky Galore! (6)
RANZEL - anagram of LEARN surrounding Z(unknown). Recovering stolen goods.
25 Try us when travelling in the Steppes? (5)
YURTS - anagram of TRY,US
28 Thug ignoring difficult white man in Chennai (4)
GORA - GORILLA(thug) missing ILL(difficult)


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2018 06:38 am (UTC)
Pedal stool?
Dec. 2nd, 2018 08:13 am (UTC)
I'm thinking pedestal .. either way, groanworthy!
Dec. 2nd, 2018 07:29 am (UTC)
I found this very hard work with some of the definitions in themselves or in the wordplay rather a stretch. A few clues relied on finding obscure words or definitions in both the wordplay and answer (e.g. INISLES and HUZOOR), which I find off-putting. I did manage to complete this eventually but with more aids than just my Chambers. Thanks for explaining those I still didn't understand even when I had the answers, George. Yes I thought the pun was pedal stool too. George you have a typo in 21d - EB instead of EN.
Dec. 2nd, 2018 08:15 am (UTC)
No problems with this. 1A a write in as I knew PELE for peel house from days of yore (from Azed I think George when PELE was playing for Brazil)

The puns are getting worse and I took this to be "pedestal"
Dec. 2nd, 2018 01:43 pm (UTC)
Tough on for me with aids needed throughout. Thanks George for explaining AERATE, HUZOOR, ENTETEE and GORA which I just couldn’t see the wordplay for
Dec. 2nd, 2018 05:05 pm (UTC)
A way to go.
Had a gander at this, and the blog. I knew 19 of the answer words, out of 61, the rest would have needed much Looking up possibilities, which I don't much enjoy. Impressed nonetheless by those of you who not only finished this but found it a pleasure. I'll keep on looking and learning.
Dec. 2nd, 2018 05:06 pm (UTC)
RE: A way to go.
Sorry that was me the owl, pip, logged out by VPN on tablet.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )