Mephisto 2422 – fairly tough

Solving time: 50 mins without Chambers, followed by one look-up (7D).

Maybe I wasn’t in quite the right mood, but this seemed like one of those times when the setter’s odyssey through the further reaches of Chambers threw up a fair number of words I can’t get that excited about – drugs, compounds, bits of protozoa. You can show me up by spotting the right wordplay for a couple of the clues mentioned below. Thanks to Andy for a copy of the puzzle while the Mephistos on the Times xwd club site are unavailable, but I can’t claim that’s the only reason for a late report. I’ve tried to comment on the words I woudn’t expect a fairly competent daily paper solver to find unaided.

1 (n)OB(STAC = cats rev.)LE – cats are bits of wood used in the game of tipcat (corrected post-comment)
10 YELL,OW,CAKE = gateau = 30 – it’s uranium ore. “compound” is a bit of a loose def if you think too hard about it, but non-giveaway accurate defs can be tough to find for some of these words
13 HERS – don’t get the wordplay here – any offers?
14 N(g)IGGLE,R – possibly an example of something “dyste” mentioned the other day – “titter that’s no good” meaning just one G removed from giggle, by xwd convention. Removing all the G’s would still make more sense to me.
15 A,BRI(CO)CK – archaic ‘apricot’
18 B(RAV(e)U(p)RA – EP = extreme pressure – a nice change from the usual ‘record’.
24 HEAT,HER,Y – not totally convinced by she’s = her, as “she’s” is AFAIK never a possessive
25 E(SER.)INE – it’s a drug – finding out exactly what drug needs more than one look-up in C, and frankly my dear, …
28 IN,RO=or rev. – a small Japanese box, for use when you’ve lost your etui.
33 SHE,CHIT,A – slaughter according to rabbinical law (one of several spellings) (corrected post-comment)
2 B(LUEBR=brule*)EAST – if you can have a redbreast, why not? – Didn’t bother to look this up to check.
3 TE(N.S.,IV)E – I remember N.S. from some economics journal I looked at in college days. Liked the accuracy of “the fourth” = IV as in “Henry IV Part 1”
4 ALE,W (21 being BREWER) – Spenser’s creative spelling of “halloo”
5 LOR(I.C.A.)E – the cases of very tiny creatures – C has more if you care – one of the dull words for me
6 E,WIG,K(E)IT – much more like it – anyone who’s heard the end of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde will know “ewig”, and a little bit of lingo-nous does the rest.
7 S(C)OG – well it means shelter, but I can’t see SOG = attempt to sell. Any ideas (possibly using different wordplay)? See comments
8 EA(GLE(d))T – the gled is the “common kite” – if this means the “red kite”, “common” is pretty accurate round here – if you stand in our high street for fifteen minutes in daylight, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see one.
9 NECROPSY – crops in rev. of yen.
15 ABSTERGE – (best gear)* – to clean, in medical lingo
16 CUS(H(I)ON)S – cuss = fellow, esp. an awkward one
19 R(HEN)ISH(i) – a rishi is an Indian sage or poet
26 (mu)RIEL – the monetary unt of Cambodia
27 L,AIC = Cia. rev. Instant language lesson: English – Co. = company; Italian and Spanish – Cia. = Compagnia / Compañia; French – Cie. = Compagnie
29 O.U.P.,A – an oupa is a grandfather in Afrikaans – nearly as good a source of wacky words as Scotland or Edmund Spenser.

4 comments on “Mephisto 2422 – fairly tough”

  1. 7d – answer is SCUG, not SCOG. Alternate spelling of same word, but sug is “attempt to sell something” in Chambers (from Selling Under the Guise, apparently).

    13a – I’m sure I figured this out at the time, but I’m blowed if I can remember it now!

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