Mephisto 2503 – Mike Laws

Posted on Categories Mephisto
I started this on a plane, and had most of the right-hand side filled in without much trouble. The left side ended up being a disaster for a long time, with two rather silly guesses keeping me from getting the long entry at 11 down. Mike Laws usually throws in one ultra-obscure word, and I think this week it might have been SNASTE at 11, which would have gotten me except it appeared in a Listener I blogged just a few weeks ago (ML isn’t Lavatch, is he?).

1 MICROWRITER: CROW in IR in MITER(=American spelling of mitre). The writer part of this came well before the micro.
11 SNAS,TE: SNAS being SANS backwards. A device for snuffing out candles
13 GAS-CARBON: BRA<= inside GASCON, a name I need to add to ALAIN and RENE when Frenchmen appear in a crossword
16 PEE(r): It looked pretty odd when I just had -EE here and was trying to fit either half of the clue
18 PILAW: I,L in PAW. The rice dish with the versatile spelling – Chambers lists PILAW, PILAU, PILLAU, PILAF, PILAFF and even PILLOW as accepted spellings, it’s a 6-course meal in one!
19 PUR,SUIT,PLANE(sounds like plane): The PUR is the jack in the game of post and pair, which boasts a rather dull Wikipedia entry
22 RISHI: Hmm, the wordplay sounds backwards to me, isn’t this IRISH whiskey with the I at the end? Or is that what happens if you drink enough of it?
27 EC,HID,NINE: a snake poison, that I had rather stupidly entered as ACHIDNINE, thinking it was HID in A,C,NINE. A trip to Chambers fixed me up
29 LOVAT: AV(Authorised Version) in LOT
2 INANE?: not sure I understand the wordplay here…
3 CAUTERISM: Another iffy one, not sure if this should be CAUTERISE from SIRE<= in CAUTE (a river in Cuba), or SIRE,TU in CAM. The definition is hinting at CAUTERISM, so I’ll stick with it.
4 (n)OTARY: a word that caught me a year or so ago
5 WEST VIRGINIA: ebbW Vale has the postal abbreviation
7 ITA: The miriti palm, but since there were no unchecked letters I suspect most solvers got it from the acrosses
9 RYOKAN: OK in RYAN (O’Neill – “Paper Moon”)
11 SLIPPERY ELM: My final entry, and I don’t really get the wordplay
17 ISTHMIAN: (HINT,AIMS)* but a tricky anagram, didn’t get it until I had all the checking letters
25 ETH,NA: guessed this one and confirmed it with the list of names in the back of the big red book
28 DTS: Delerium Tremens, and STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialling) reversed

5 comments on “Mephisto 2503 – Mike Laws”

  1. Methinks there may be something wrong with the clue. The actor spells his name O’NEAL.
    Mike, Skiathos
  2. One of the easier ones. I managed to finish with just a couple of dictionary checks – snaste,for one, not a word coming readily to mind.
    Can anyone give me the online address for the Mephisto puzzle?
    1. I access it by typing the current week’s puzzle number (yesterday’s was 2504) into the search facility on the Times’ home page.


  3. 2d IN[s]ANE – ‘s’ being section
    3d UT (as, when) SIRE reversed in CAM
    11d SLIPPER (mule) YE (the old) LM (Lord Mayor)


  4. Certainly not a difficult puzzle but the quirky O’Neill gave me pause. From Google I learned there is a Ryan O’Neill – an Irish footballer who plays for West Ham. Surely not the intended reference but I can’t believe Mike Laws didn’t check the spelling. Luckily with ?YO?AN and OK being obvious it couldn’t be much else. I also couldn’t get my mind round 22A where the wording surely indicates HIRIS but again with RISH? in the grid it had few alternative solutions.

Comments are closed.