Mephisto 2487 – Paul McKenna

Posted on Categories Mephisto
Two new things – this is the first Paul McKenna Mephisto that I’ve blogged (I know he comments occasionally on the Crossword Centre and so may well be looking in here, so “hi Paul”), and welcome to dorsetjimbo on joining the Mephisto blogging squad!

I thought this was going to be on the easier side of Mephistos, I got started while sitting at a classical concert, and by the end of the first half, I had most of the top and a good deal of the bottom finished, with just a few gaps. However the last few words were absolute beasties, there’s one or two guesses and a few that needed some hunt-and-pecking to get in there.

1 ALPHABET: (r)ALPH,ABET(=make good). Hmm, I guessed this from the definition and ABET. A printer’s(sic) devil according to chambers is a young apprentice. Google comes up with a Twilight Zone episode. I’m guessing RALPH is an apprentice somewhere, sometime, and await your comments. Edit: Ralph is a printer’s devil, and the word is in Chambers
11 F,LANGE(=ANGEL with the L moved to the front)
13 C(h)ANCEL
15 DORTER: (RET(=retired),ROD(=switch))<= a monk’s dormitory. Had to look this one up.
17 LITOTES: (TOILETS)*. Ironic understatement (I’ve been accued of overusing this)
18 CAIRN: I in CARN(age). Nice construction
19 ST,RIDE: Got this from a definition, a stride piano is a long piano for jazz. According to Chambers, ST is an expression to get someone’s attention, and RIDE is to improvise, wouldn’t have gotten this from wordplay.Edit: did I make up the piano? It’s a style of piano playing
20 ABETTOR: (BARE,TOT)* – abet twice?
25 PORT,(s)AGE
26 DROOBS: The plural of DROOB isn’t in Chambers. Australian slang for scoundrel (blackguard)
28 SITAR: nicely hidden in iS IT A Rook
32 ROSARY: SA(?) in RORY(=too bright)
33 TANNIN(g): not just the tannins giving the flavour, but they’re there
34 OVERED: another hidey-clue, alcOVE REDuced
2 LLAMA: LAM in LA(=Louisiana). Double coincidence, I was recently in Louisiana, and I have a picture of myself with a statue of a llama.
5 BELL,H,OP(=out of print): American form of Bellboy
6 TROTTER: R in TOTTER, cryptic definition
7 PERORATION: (OPERATOR,IN)* – I was stuck for a while looking for something that started with RE
8 KATTI: reversed in profIT TAKer. Easily guessed from wordplay, I didn’t know it was a SE Asian unit of measurement, about 1.3 pounds. Not sure what it’s used to measure.
9 STEEDS: two definitions
10 PER,SEVERE: this also took a while, was looking for another RE word
14 CERTIORARI: (CRITERIA,FOR – F)*. A few Listeners under my belt and subtracted anagrams hold no fear
16 SCALD-CROW: SC, then L in (COWARD)*
23 MATINEE: IN,E in MATE(=deputy). Nice construction
24 GROOVE: O in GROVE. Closest definition in Chambers would be “to experience great pleasure”
29 AMI(=cher friend),S,S

9 comments on “Mephisto 2487 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Congrats, and I feel sufficiently chastened, on both the Ralph and stride piano parts.
  2. “Roary” is an alternative to rory, so ROSARY is gotten from S(obriety) in ROARY.

    RALPH of course is the very imp that’s mischief brings us PRINTER’S DEVILRY puzzles!

    Wasn’t it TS Eliot who discovered that “toilets” is an anagram of “litotes”? Good definition for the old chestnut though.

  3. Just a small point about 26: Somewhere in the introductory material in Chambers (Using the Dictionary – 9. Inflections in the 2003 ed.), you’ll find the statement that ‘plural forms and verb participles, etc are only shown if they are irregular in form or warrant special clarification. ‘irregular’ presumably means ‘contrary to the “Spelling rules” section’.

    This is one result of a design principle in Chambers: to cram the maximum of material into the available space. Hence the system by which compounds are so often listed under a headword rather than having their own entry.

    1. That is true, but Chambers Word Wizards brings up neither DROOB nor DROOBS as words, which is where I started wonding if it was a correct answer or not. DROOB is in 2003 Chambers.
      1. I think your problem here is probably that Word Wizards uses Chambers 1998 or earlier – droob isn’t in C 1998.
        1. That would clear it up – I didn’t know that, the only Chambers I have is 2003. Funny how a word that seems to have long dropped out of usage pops up in a relatively recent reference book.
  4. Thanks for the welcome George, I’m looking forward to it. Don’t beat yourself up over RALPH. He was mainly around in the days of hot metal type setting. Now that it’s all electronic he’s become a software bug! My experience of this puzzle was much the same as yours with 10% of the clues taking about 30% of the solving time. I particularly liked “PM’s performance” for MATINEE. Jimbo.
    1. I’m beating myself up for not looking up RALPH in Chambers. Poor blogging technique.
  5. Welcome dorosatt. Good to see new people tackling Mephisto. I was about 18 when I first tried Ximenes and it must have taken me 6 laborious months before I finished one. Today the existence of this blog would speed that time up greatly. You’re obviously an experienced solver but we should try to recruit some of the newer solvers into the world of the bar crossword. Jimbo.

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