Mephisto 2494 – Mike Laws

Posted on Categories Mephisto
Solving time 24:20 – without Chambers except for 5D. An easy Mephisto for me (especially for Mike Laws, often the hardest of the three), as you can guess from the time. The main reason for the speed is probably fairly easy clues for most of the long words, and remembering Brunelleschi. Perhaps also some fairly familiar barred-grid words like teledu, tarsi, and Ixion.

The ‘starter’ clues seem to be: 11, 12, 15, 24, 26, 29, 31, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 21. The ones involving words or meanings I didn’t know: 1, 18, 19, 24, 27, 5, 9, 20, 22, 23. As you can see, these aren’t quite mutually exclusive lists.

1 VERS-LIBRIST – S in liver*, BRIST(ling) – a free verse poet, from ‘vers libre’
11 CLUE IN – I in uncle*
12 (b)EATER
14 UN,GILT=”guilt”
15 SENT,INEL=line*
16 S(TIN)K – SK=Slovakia is today’s IVR code
18 MONADELPHOUS – (also, undo, hemp) – a technical term about flower stamens, worked out from monad- and -ous.
19 OPHTHALMITIS – (that, spoil him)* – the sufering of the inflammation, as well as the inflammation itself
24 AGA = “abroad, chief commander”, IN = “on the spot” – which is one of the def’s in C
26 ANNALIST=”analyst”
27 MI,DRIB=bird rev.
28 C=circa=about,YES,IS
29 IS,OLD – “Isold(e) the fair” is one of two Isoldes in at least some versions of the Tristan/Isolde story.
30 HEL,IO’S – Hel is a Norse goddess of the underworld
31 CONEY=rabbit,ISLAND – Coney Island is a place near NY City known for funfairs etc.
2 ELECT – rev. hidden
3 RUM,KIN – about which C says no more than this clue
4 SEMINATE = matinees*
5 INDEFEASIBLY – A replacing N in indefensibly, which I should really have seen without looking anything up.
6 BRUNELLESCHI – architect best known for the dome of the duomo in Florence.
7 RENTE – ‘enter’, with first letter moved
8 S = “to start with, someone”,TIN,GO=try
9 TELED = delet(e) rev.,U – the “stinking badger of Java” which is a fairly frequent visitor to barred grids.
10 ARTLESSNESS – def. and cryptic def.
11 CHASMOGAMIC – (comic mag has)* – another botanical term
17 C(H)IG,WELL – place in Essex, on the tube map.
20 PAN,IS,C – an inferior god attending Pan
21 HINDOO = (in hood)* – easy example of the kind of variant spelling you need to watch for in barred grid puzzles
22 TARSI,A = intarsia = a type of wooden inlay or knitting imitative of it
23 GLID = slippery,E
25 I,X,I,ON – a character in Gk myth who got himself into hot water twice and was given a long-term punishment for it. Full detail here. I just remembered the name and a link with Gk myth.

6 comments on “Mephisto 2494 – Mike Laws”

  1. I thought this a good puzzle for new solvers because as Peter has indicated it contained a higher than usual set of starter clues and no really contorted word plays.

    These days I always do outline blogs for these puzzles (I need the practice) and in so doing came up with two versions of 29A. There’s ISOLD as described by Peter but after I’d put that down it occurred to me that you can see the answer as I-SOLD, the on line e-bay market place. That gives a parsing of Fair=definition; woman maybe=old (the old woman=slang for wife); I’S in front of that=joined early. Fascinating stuff. Jimbo.

    1. I doubt that any but the really well-known web sites would be used as answers – eBay, Amazon, Google and the like – the last of which is the only one to make it into Chambers (2006) so far. This one seems to actually call itself “Isold It”, not just ISOLD. I’m also extremely doubtful that any Mephisto (or Times) setters would use “old woman” to justify {woman => OLD}. Ximenes would turn in his grave!

      Edited at 2008-06-22 10:10 pm (UTC)

      1. Just a bit of fun Peter. I think poor old Derrick is already rotating at great speed.

        Did you do the famous puzzle when he clued every answer in the NW corner so that it had two possible answers or am I misjudging just how long ago that was? Jimbo.

        1. That April Fools day puzzle, like all X puzzles, was before my time – he died about five years before I started looking at any cryptic xwds. I’ve seen and solved a few of his puzzles, and have a Penguin book of them which I dip into sometimes, but someitmes find him very difficult – I usually like Printer’s Devliry puzzles, but really struggle with his ones.
  2. My best effort to date with only one or two word matches required at the end. I was very pleased that I managed to “make up” several words (eg verslibrist, monadelphous, brunelleschi, cyesis and chasmoganic) and finding that they actually exist. Of the 6 or 7 I’ve tackled so far, I enjoyed this the most.
  3. I found this one also on the easier side of Listeners, got most of it on the first run-through and a litle hunt-and-pecking to get the last couple. It helped a lot to know IXION.

    31A made me laugh a lot… a few years ago I was in NYC with a friend and we realised that neither of us had ever been to Coney Island. A tortuous subway ride and an eternal bus transfer later, we found it to be a complete dump – filthy, uninteresting, and the tourist season must be for about three days a year, as most of the “attractions” were closed down at the start of September. There were a few flea markets selling what couldn’t have been offloaded on Canal St, and a mini golf course which was pretty busy, presumably full of people like us, wondering what the big deal was.

    I can’t believe I don’t write for Lonely Planet…

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