Mephisto 2459 – Tim Moorey

Solving time: about 90 mins

I guess one of the advantages of egg-head crosswords is that because there are fewer solvers to shock, you can get away with some fairly ripe language. This puzzle takes a few such opportunities.

1 PISSASPHALT – AS=for instance, P=quiet, in PISS-HALT = comfort break. It’s a semi-liquid bitumen, and the piss comes from the Gk. pissa = pitch. I was held up for ages on this, stupidly refusing to believe there could be any long words starting piss-. I should know by know that in this kind of puzzle, “that can’t be a word!” is a thought never to be thought.
12 VARE – a wand of authority. Wordplay is (era,v.) reversed, but I’m struggling to defend the “a” in the clue, which is neither def. nor wordplay., and doesn’t seem a fair link-word.
14 T(OP.)UP – op. = operator was a new abbrev. for me
16 W(EAR)ISH – a word for insipid, derived from Middle English
17 GERIATRIC = “Jerry ‘at-trick” – punch-line of umpteen shaggy dog stories.
20 ARCHI(tect),L – archi=”architect. mostly” is a just true
22 THE,RIA=air rev. – an animal grouping including mammals, marsupials and their ancestors, so “old man” gets in. Not totally sure about {our=the}
24 FIA(t)S,CO. – I guess the car company is “(Signor) Fiat’s Co.”, to justify the S.
26 ANTI,S,PAST – any time you see “foot”, you should probably be thinking about poetic metre before body parts.
28 PHAEDRA – A=academician in harped* – on=drunk is an old favourite barred-grid anag. indicator. A Phaedra complex is trouble between a step-parent and step-child.
30 AR(D)EA – the heron/bittern genus
31 IT(A)C,IS,M=butt of criticisM – not an Italian way of speaking Greek, as I thought, but one based on the modern way of pronouncing iota.
32 REGO = Aussie slang. ‘reggo’, which came up elsewhere recently. I thought it meant regular petrol, but it’s actually a vehicle registration.
33 SON,S,Y = plump in Scots. “Relative beginners” is a “lift and separate” which I only noticed when doing this write-up …
34 DEVIL DODGER – someone who “attends churches of various kinds, to be on the safe side”
3 SUM(m)ER – part of ancient Mesopotamia.
5 S.M.((n)OWT)S. – SMS = short message service, the technology underlying texting.
6 PATER,A=Advanced – a round flat ornament in bas relief, inter alia
7 HETAIRIST – a prostitute (= pro) of a superior class
8 LA(PITH)S(t) – people of Thessaly who fought the Centaurs, says C.
9 TRUSS – 2 mngs, one being Lynne T of Eats, Shoots and Leaves fame.
10 CEPHALOTOMY = dissection of the head = loaf. heap* in clot, then “My!”
15 ZAMINDARI = (IN,MADRA(s),Z.,I)* – but according to C. it’s the zamindar who’s the tax-collector – zamindari is his jurisdicion or a system of tax-collection.
19 REBADGE – (agreed,B=bass)* – ‘plan’ is the anag. indicator, in its “design” def. I guess
21 C.,APE,COD – part of MA = Massachusetts
23 A.,TRIAL – an atrium being an entrance hall
24 FIATED = sanctioned – swap F=fine for L=lecturer in rev. of DETAIL = item.
25 SH(R=take)ED
27 AKIN,G=”term for festering” when term = an end

3 comments on “Mephisto 2459 – Tim Moorey”

  1. The = our troubled me also, but Chambers has, under “The”, “my, our (informal or facetious)”.

    Quite agree about ZAMINDARI. This seems a mistake.

  2. vare

    A very is one very or V + ERA (reversed).

    our = the

    For example, in phrases such as:

    How is the back this morning?


    A jurisdiction or authority, such as the Inland Revenue, could be referred to as a tax collector, could it not?


    1. I think I have to cave in on all three, though on the first I wonder how many other setters would do this. (So hit me with examples from Azed & X …).

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