Mephisto 2477

Posted on Categories Mephisto
I solved this on Tuesday, when it was still not available from the Crossword Club pages but could be found using the Search facility from the main Times website. Actually I sent in a complaint to the Bulletin Board on Tuesday afternoon and the link from the Crossword Club Mephisto page appeared shortly afterwards, although my message didn’t (it was there by the following day though). Coincidence? Possibly…

This was a bit easier than last week’s Mephisto, although there are 2 or 3 where I haven’t quite worked out the wordplay, and one (25ac) where I’m TORN between two possible answers.


9 MIDINETTE – M1,DINETTE. So-called because they’re often seen in cafés at lunchtime.
10 BERETS – ER in BETS? I’m not entirely certain of this, but a special bet in bookmaking is one that they wouldn’t normally give odds for, such as a “win and distance double” in horseracing or a “correct score and first goalscorer double” in football. That doesn’t explain the plural though.
12 CONGII – CON=show (see con³ in Chambers), so it’s G in CON,I and I’ve no idea where the second I comes from. The answer also means gallons, which I was familiar with as it appeared in this month’s Magpie.
13 ORION – FOR LION with the first letters removed, although I can’t find any support for LION=champion in my dictionaries.
14 HERM – HER + M. A herm is a head or bust on a square base, often double-faced.
15 SPAM – S,PAM. Pam is the jack of clubs, highest card in the game of loo.
16 CAMP – double def. Camp David is the US President’s mountain retreat.
18 SANDPIPER – how a Cockney would pronounce “sandpaper”.
21 PRESCIENT – (apprentices)* without the ap, which is apparently a legitimate abbreviation for apparently, acording to Chambers.
25 TORE/TORN – both can mean rent, but I can’t work out the rest of the wordplay. Might be T + ORE (Norwegian money), but that makes “to be put into extra” superfluous.
26 ANTA – ANT + A. Anta is another name for a tapir.
27 OP-ED – COPED – C. Chambers says this is so-called because it’s printed opposite the editorial, usually expressing the personal opinions of the author. I had also assumed it just meant “opinion editorial”.
29 SCONE – S (short for is) + CONE
30 PEEWEE – Sounds like “weepie” said back to front.
32 INDIANIST – IN, AID both reversed, inside INST (this month).
33 CRYSTAL BALLS – spar is a crystalline mineral, BALLS = rocks = testicles.


1 EMBASSY – SS inside maybe*
2 ADRIAN – N,AIR,DA all rev. There have been six popes called Adrian, the last of whom died in 1523.
3 ENTRAP – almost “partner” reversed.
6 IN GEAR – hidden in “lookING EARnest”. All I can think of for the rest is that a heap is an old, dilapidated car, which would move if it was in gear (possibly).
7 NAIR – Nigerian currency is naira. The Nair are a Hindu people from Kerala.
11 EL PASO – hidden backwards in “amigOS APLEnty”.
12 COUPS D’OEIL – See=C, publisher=OUP (Oxford University Press) + (Oldie’s)*
17 MANTIC – MAN + TIC(k). “To dot” is the last meaning of tick¹ in Chambers.
19 STARETS – RE (on) inside STATS. A religious adviser in the Eastern Orthodox Church
23 CONFAB – NF,A in COB. The abbreviations are NF for “no funds” and A for advanced – I’d have thought NFA might be a bank manager’s notation on your file after a failed loan application!
24 ENTAIL – a legal term for an estate entailed, i.e. settled on a series of heirs such that the immediate possessor may not dispose of it. Nothing about it being an archaic or obsolete word in Chambers though.
25 TOPIC – T.O. (telegraph office) + PIC
28 PEAR – SPEAR (reed) minus S (a bit of stick). A pear-shaped brilliant in gem-cutting.

4 comments on “Mephisto 2477”

  1. 1OA B(ER)ET,S: Absorb ER=Queen, into BET=Elizabeth, by S=Special to get BERETS
    12A Could the the second I come from I=Aye, and Aye=Indeed (both in Chambers, but no I=Indeed)?
    25A T(m)ORE: Replace T=Time for M=money in MORE=extra to get TORE

  2. Aye, my understanding was the same as anon. I was desparately hoping you would find something clever to explain 18 across but my worse fears are confirmed. Where in the english speaking world do they make piper sound like paper? Not in any part of London I’ve ever visited and I lived there for 25 years.

    Note a small error in the e-version of 2478 today. 18A has the wrong word length (says 7 and should be 11). Jimbo.

    1. Although the Times and other xwds label this as Cockney, I think it’s old rather fashioned Cockney – like the v/w mixing when Cockneys speak in Dickens. There’s a site here which reports a WWI Cockney talking about a ‘piper-chise’. I think your best bet for this sound today might be Australia – the name ‘Strine’ used by some humourist in books 30-odd years ago for Aussie talk was the way ‘Australian’ was supposed to sound.
  3. I had TORE as T for M in “MORE”. I had to look a few up in this one, COUPS D’OEIL bugged me, since the singular is in Chambers.

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