Mephisto 2465

Posted on Categories Mephisto
Solving time 33:14

I had a marathon solving session the other night, finishing last week’s Times Jumbo, Azed, Spectator and Mephisto one after the other, starting just after midnight and finally going to bed at about 3am. I do crazy things like that sometimes…

I was helped by having seen some of the words clued similarly before in Azed or Listener, e.g. 13a, 19a, 3d.

Update: I was one of the prizewinners for this puzzle, having just received a postcard from the Sunday Times telling me that there would be a delay in posting my prize. Which just turned up a few hours after the postcard! The Bloomsbury English Dictionary – strange prize, I’ve had a look through it, and it wouldn’t be any help in solving the Mephisto. It does have proper names (some with photos) though, so it might come in useful one day.


1 C((t)ART)OUCH – this spelling surprised me, as I only knew it with an E on the end.
7 COWP(at) – either “you’d avoid” or “concealed” is superfluous here, as both seem to be indicating that “at” should be removed.
13 OCT,A – a measure of one-eighth of the sky area, used for denoting cloud cover in airfield weather reports.
15 GOP(HE)RS – HE inside sprog* – found easily in Bradford’s, but I had to go to the entry for goferĀ² to find it in Chambers.
16 U(BO)LT – A U-bolt is a bolt shaped like a U. I can’t think of anything that would be used for, but I expect a plumber could!
19 EKPWELE (we keep,l)* – this came up recently in the Listener I think. It’s the former currency of Equatorial Guinea.
21 MAT,ILDA(laid*) – The song “Waltzing Matilda” nearly became Australia’s national anthem.
23 STALL – two meanings
24 A(re),MOR(C)ES – these are the percussion caps on toy pistols. Who’d have thought there’d be a word for that?!
26 LE,TOUT – a tout is someone who spies on racehorses in training.
28 MO(o)NS – moon is a literary word for a month.
30 CALANDO – (close at hand)*, minus Seth. A musical term meaning “gradually slowing”.
31 PERSIFLAGE – fireplaces*, but with the C swapped for a G.
32 SMEE – sounds like ‘s me!


1 CATO – octa*, and the Roman censor.
2 A,POCO,PATE,(bloo)D – it means cut off the last sound or syllable of a word.
3 T(AIA,H)A – I’ve seen this before recently, but still tried to get T(AMAH)A to fit.
4 (m)ORGUE
6 HIGH-UPS – P inside (Hugh is)*
7 C(L)UE – nice and simple but requires a bit of lateral thinking. I think I might have seen it somewhere before though.
8 OLYKOEK – (cakey look)*, minus CA (California). An American doughnut, so the clue is &lit too.
15 GYM(“Jim”),SLIPS – unusually, this was enumerated as (3,5) in the online version rather than the (8, two words) we’d normally get.
18 ILL,UP,IS – another name for the mahwa tree.
20 KAM(PAL)A – capital of Uganda.
22 A,RM,(A),G(ood),H(our) – jolly=RM for Royal Marine
25 OFLAG – a German POW camp for officers, or a punning “regulator of prisoners” in the the same way that we have OFGAS, OFCOM or OFWAT etc.
27 OISE – hidden rev in cohESIOn
29 SO,(W(ith)),N(ewsnight) – a bit complicated for a little 4-letter word!

One comment on “Mephisto 2465”

  1. Thanks for the oflag description, that kept me from finishing this, I had gulag as a guess which kept me from getting 24ac. I had to look up many more words on this one than usual, fun searching.

    I think I’m going to start a poll for “next obscure currency to show up in the Mephisto”. My money is on the cedi (Ghana).

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