Mephisto 2435/give me a breek

Posted on Categories Mephisto
Solving time: 2h

Haven’t done one of these for a while – and I had to resort to Chambers fairly quickly. The usual smattering (flood?) of archaisms and Scots and a couple of murky wordplays. I’ve left out the few clues that were relatively straightforward, leaving nonetheless quite a lot to look at!


5 F(A)ILLE – needed Chambers to confirm that FAILLE is a type of silk.
9 TENE,RIFE – Again Chambers to confirm that TENE is alt. TEEN which is Scots “grief”.
11 ATHLETES FOOT – (E, felt hat’s too)*. Good consistent surface but needed Chambers yet again to confirm that “trilbies” is also “feet” (ref. Du Maurier).
13 GOA,LIES – Didn’t need Chambers for a change: “defence people” is a slightly cryptic def of GOALIES.
14 TAN,TO – My last clue: even with ?ANTO I had to scour Chambers: the definition is an Italian musical term for “so much” and “hit” is TAN.
16 J,U,GAL – Cheek-bone: needed Chambers to confirm.
17 REEST – Alt. spelling of REAST, which is Scots for a “fit” of stubbornness. I don’t see the rest of the wordplay: “In Scotland, fit leaders running come out on top”. (R=”running”?).
22 L,[b]IEN – Nice clue with good surface and reasonable wordplay. Note BIEN is “well” (French but in Chambers).
23 STILB – rev(blits=”blitz”). Needed Chambers to confirm that STILB is a “unit” of luminance.
25 CELOM – Def is “body cavity, between the body wall and intestine”. Not sure about wordplay: “See small spot around area near intestines.” C=see? LO=see? EM=small spot? Linxit notes that it’s indeed C=”see” but with rev(mole=small spot”).
30 LO(OP)ERS – OP in roles*. LOOPERS loop the loop (in the sky).
31 RUSE DE GUERRE – This was an Azed competition recently – I wonder if this was one of the clues? ([t]rain use urged)* — note how “almost totally” decapitates rather than de-tails in this case.
32 PROD,ROME – cryptic def of “what Catholic activists may do”, def is indeed “introductory treatise”, appropriately from the Latin.
33 B,REEKS – Scots breeches.
34 F,AT,TEN – I think that F stands for folio, a type of “book” and the “time when the news is on” is typically 10PM.


1 STAG,ER – rev(gats=straits, re=on).
3 F,ELLY – The wordplay leads to FELLY but not sure how the definition leads to “guy” (FELLY can be part of a wheel rim or adj. from fell, as in cruel or severe).
4 T(RE)IF[f] – TREIF is non-kosher meat (from the Hebrew).
5 FF,ESTI=site*,NI,OG – Fortunately all but two letters were checked otherwise would never have got this. Needed Chambers to confirm that FF can be “lines”. Wordplay is a bit complex: “up” is the reversal indicator and ENTER-“go in”.
6 IN,FAUST – Mephisto can indeed be found in the Faust legend. Also, “unlucky” (rare) according to Chambers.
7 LOOT,ABLE – LOO is a card-game and a LOO-TABLE upon which it is played. LOOTABLE is a rather arch way of describing something that be looted, i.e. “can be taken away”.
8 EXT.,OLD – Definition is “lauded” where Spenser is our “poet” and EXT is abbrev(“extract”) and OLD as in “familiar”. My 2nd to last clue since it involved an unfamiliar abbreviation and a Spenserian term!
10 RONG=”wrong” – archaic past tense of ring (I used Chambers to check).
12 TEA,SELLERS – Chambers confirms that to TEASEL is to work with cloth.
15 BEDE,GUAR – needed Chambers to confirm that it’s a type of sponge, which with BEDEGU?R was easy enough. And, by gum, turns out that GUAR is a type of Indian “gum”.
18 S(LOVE)NE – LOVE in ens*, which is Latin existence and it’s spoken in Slovenia.
21 SCAR,AB – AB is in fact abbrev(Autobahn).
24 BE(SEE)N – BEN is the best room in Scots (as well as being a mountain: presumably unrelated). To BESEE is archaic “treat” (“as before” indicates the archaism).
26 LAST – nice triple meaning: 4000lb. “cargo” (Chambers), “stay fresh” and if you’re LAST, you’re “after all the others”.
28 A,PERT – this time, A for Australian and APERT is archaic “in public”, with the archaism indicated by “previously”.

2 comments on “Mephisto 2435/give me a breek”

  1. 25ac CELOM – C=see, ELOM=mole rev = “small spot around”.

    As for 17ac, my best guess is that it’s FREEST with the first letter removed, but if that’s the case it’s a bit weak.

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