Mephisto 2490 – Paul McKenna

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Solving time: 25 mins without Chambers to get all but 2 answers (11D and 27D), with two mistakes – 23A, 29A. Say 40 minutes in the end including checks in C for any other mistakes.

10 ANA,TO,MY – A florilegium is an anthology of choice extracts – so “florilegium of chit-chat” is a definition of ANA = a collection of table-talk etc. Then for = TO and my= MY. Anatomy in archaic usage is a skeleton, mummy or various other dead bodies.
12 TOTE,M – tote = carry is marked as ‘orig US’. M = money, especially in the seven measures of money supply used in the UK, which I dimly remember from studying macroeconomics – M0-M5, plus M3c – all are listed in Chambers if you want to know more.
16 RURAL – ‘agrestic’ is the def. (lar,ur-) all rev. Lar = a Roman household god, possibly familiar from ‘lares et penates’, and ur- is the “original prefix” as in urtext
18 TA=thanks,YR=your,A=are – measure of land area. Seems like a mistaken clue though, as C calls this a “large S American member of the weasel family” – the clue has “small weasel”.
19 PRONAOI – ((tr)oparion)*. I remembered that naos was something to do with Gk temples (it is in fact a temple), then saw pro- as a plausible prefix, and -oi as a possible plural ending by analogy with discoi = more than one discus. A troparion, by the way, is a stanza or short hymn – one of those clues where the surface meaning is as erudite as the answer.
22 WOO = court, M=maiden over, ERA=important date. A woomera is a “stick for launching a spear with greater force” (and ooph = vigour/force)
23 L=left,AUF=lout,S=head of snow. auf is a variant of oaf. One of the ones I got wrong, forgetting a German word I should have remembered, and putting ‘laups’, maybe from ‘lope’.
24 PIN,OT=to rev. pin = something of little value – think of “for two pins …”
25 LIN=cease (Spens. and therefore ‘forgotten’),HAYS = country dances. I assume the “open shed” in the def was intended to be “open sheds” = linhays (Possibly a slip-up in creating the online version…)
29 ADD,IO=cry of joy
30 OC = only child,TAG ON=to follow behind.
31 CHOLESTEROL – (closer hotel)* – possibly worth checking the def. if like me you can’t remember exactly what cholesterol does.
1 CATER,PILLAR – standard=an upright post/pillar/stick
2 SNOB – bon,S all rev.
3 I(TE)RANT – rant = a lively tune
4 COM,PLAI(SAN)CE – com. = common, and San = a Japanese form of address like Mr or Mrs – in Madam Butterfly, Butterfly is Cio-cio San
5 LYRA-VIOL – (all ivory)*
6 ELECTROPLATE – (et al, port, cele(b)) rev.
7 BATE – 2 defs., one from Edmund S again
8 ACETYLENE – (EEC neatly)* –
9 CH.,E.E.,RY. – three abbrev’s
11 I,N(DAG)ATIONS – dag=eccentric (Aussie slang), and indagation = a searching or hunt (archaic)
14 PRO,NUN,CIO(n) – “a papal ambassador of lower diplomatic status than a nuncio”
17 HOWDYDOS – (why so odd)*. Unusually, refers back to the young American in the previous clue, this being an American expression. (Or at least that’s the implication, as it’s under howdy in Chambers, which is labelled as American. I’m not totally convinced that it is, as Gilbert and Sullivan used “Here’s a pretty how-de-do!” in The Mikado.)
20 A.(MILD)A.R. – one of those Indian officials who quite often come up in barred-grid puzzles
21 TAISCH – a Scots apparition or voice, esp. of someone about to die
27 DIOL = rev. of loid – to open a spring-lock with a strip of celluloid

4 comments on “Mephisto 2490 – Paul McKenna”

  1. A straightforward Mephisto. At 18A Peter I wondered if the “little” referred to “your” rather than “weasel”, otherwise I agree an error as is 25A where I think as you do. I thought 17D was a strange how-dy-do and struggled to explain the “his”. If you are correct I’m not sure I like referring back to “young family member in US” which is part of the wordplay of 14D rather than the answer. I’m also not wholly convinced that how-dy-do is US speak. Jimbo.
  2. three quarters completed eventually – gave up when i found myself looking through chambers for words with 3 or 4 concurrent letters without much idea of the wordplay – indagations being the stopping point – I and NATIONS all well and good but would never have got dag
    – still an enjoyable exercise.

  3. I confidently wrote INDOLATION for 11 and TAYRO for the weasel without checking them. D’oh. Funny thing on LAUFS was that I originally had pencilled in LOIKS and LOAFS, but when PRONUNCIO and TAISCH came, I liked the look of LAUFS and lauft it there.

    Some nice wordplay though, Paul McKenna is settling in pretty nicely to the Mephisto rotation.

  4. My best yet but still two missing, ANATOMY and LAUFS. I’d considered both but couldn’t fully justify them so left blank spaces. I “cheated” on a few others too by doing word searches and then justifying the answer. I promise to stop doing this once I get into the swing of things.

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