Mephisto 2424/Chris Feetenby – An excuse for an old (bad) gag

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Solving time: 37:04

I found this a lot tougher than normal for a Chris Feetenby Mephisto.  After 23 minutes I noted that I had only entered 16 answers along with a few parts of wordplay I had “worked out” (and as I was to discover, a few of these were wrong!), so I decided that it was time to get Chambers out!  Once I had confirmed a few thoughts and, more importantly, corrected my errors, I quickly got going again.

I always advise trying to put parts of answers in the grid that you might be able to deduce from the wordplay, so as to help with other answers.  However, the danger is if you make wrong assumptions it can hinder rather than help!

This was certainly the case with 1A.  As I had penciled in TRAMP as the “walk heavily” part, this prevented me getting the otherwise straightforward 1D CHRISTCHURCH and 4D MARC.  I also wrongly assumed that 12D was going to end in –ISED.  All in all, this completely clogged up the left hand side of the grid for me, so the Big Red Book had to be dusted off for this week!



CLOMIPRAMINE (I in CLOMP + MARINE*) – as I was thinking of TRAMP rather than CLOMP for the wordplay this did not help with the first few downs!  I was also guessing the ending as –PARMINE so that baulked me on 6 down as well.  Must have been thinking that TRAMAP- looked a likely beginning for a drug (along the lines of Temazepam?).


IMAM – (A in I + MM) – hurrah!  IMAM makes yet another appearance!  Nice to see it not clued as an & lit for a change!


SACK (‘S + A + CooK) – this clever little clue had me foxed for a while.  I was looking for a 5-letter chef with the heart (or an H) removed.  No, IS and A formed part of the wordplay.


COLLUDER (RE + DULL + OC all rev.) – bit naughty this one.  The word “overconcerned” has to be separated out by the solver to give “over” as the reversal indicator and “concerned” to equal “re”.  I would not expect to see this device in a Mephisto, and consequently I only worked out the wordplay retrospectively.


HALIMOTE (LIMO in HATE) – this one held me up as I could not move away from thinking RR (Rolls Royce) was the superior car.  Should have dismissed it quicker as RR in a 6-letter word did not look promising for the wordplay.


MANILLA (MANtILLA) – visions of the nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill” here – can’t think of any other usage of brown paper as a head covering – except for this one:

“Wanted: The Brown Paper Kid – Reward $10,000”

Why’s he called the Brown Paper Kid?

Because he wears brown paper boots, brown paper chaps, a brown paper shirt, brown paper jacket and a brown paper Stetson.

What’s he wanted for?



Now there’s a timeless gag!


CREE (CREEp) – clever wordplay again a 4-letter answer, I was fooled into thinking that “Indian movement” was the definition.


SULAWESI (LAW in ISSUE*) – Sulawesi is one of those (large number for me!) places that I have heard of, but seems difficult for me to recall in a crossword environment!




LEMNACEAE (MEN* + ACE in ALE*) – good definition here – had me looking for “kin “ or something similar to mean family in the wordplay.  It can also be difficult to prise oneself away from “one” equals “A” or “I”.  In this case “ACE” was required.


ITHACA (AITCH* + A) – not the Greek island but a New York city .  I had not heard of this but the wordplay provided what looked an unlikely answer.


ABOIL (i.e. A BOIL) – I liked this clue, the definition worked very well – favourite clue.


MIXTURE (i.e. if you MIX the letters of TURE you can get TRUE) – one of those clues where the answer is to be read as an instruction.


IMPUDENTLY (IMPrUDENTLY) – straightforward clue but took me ages to spot for some reason.


ESCALLOPED (POLLACk + ‘S in DEE all rev.) – very tricky wordplay here, I did not help myself by presuming that the answer ended in –ISED, which also looked plausible form the “is in river” part of the clue.  Should have been able to get this straight from the definition though.


PERGOLESI (SLIGO PEER*) – Pergolesi, like Sulawesi, I had heard of but found difficult to dredge up “under pressure”. 


KENYAN (NEK rev. + ANY*) – last clue entered as I was looking for an alternative East African country.  Could not justify KEN equals “pass” and then I realized that “over” was a reversal indicator, not placement indicator – it can be either in a down clue.


MOSSO (kate MOSS + O) – I thought of Kate Moss immediately but I felt sure I should have come across a word like MOSSO before in crosswords, but I could not recall it, so I had to await confirmation for this.


IOWA (IOW + A) – IOW equals Isle of Wight where The Needles are to be found.  Perhaps again a bit naughty as “needles” really needs a capital. 


7 comments on “Mephisto 2424/Chris Feetenby – An excuse for an old (bad) gag”

  1. You’d think more people’d heard of Ithaca since it’s where Cornell University is (one of the Ivy Leagues).

    I guess Times rules about living people doesn’t apply to Mephisto (apropos Kate Moss)?

    BTW, this was my first M — found it quite a bit easier than the typical (ok, any) Azed I’ve done.

  2. I can never remember which classical place names are also towns in the US. With Syracuse, Utica and Ithaca all in New York state, my gut instinct is that they’re all a US town somewhere.

    1. And not just in NY either (I wish I hadn’t gone there now, but here goes…)

      There’s also an Ithaca in Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

      There’s also a Syracuse in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah.

      There’s also a Utica in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio (twice), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin (3 times)!

      They must like the Greeks!

  3. Mephisto 2425 wasn’t a problem for me today. The ST 4212 is maddening though – I’m one short (11 across).
    1. I won’t say any more as it’s a competition puzzle, but my solution to 11ac isn’t found in any dictionaries I have available (Chambers, Collins, Shorter OED). Seems to be an anagram though…
      1. it is maddening indeed — i only found it on google with some inspired guesswork (had to add a word).

        Next step Mephisto which I haven’t looked at yet.

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