Mephisto 2509 Mike Laws

Posted on Categories Mephisto
This is a relatively easy puzzle with both simple constructions and key clues that can be solved direct from the definition. This is true of 1A,10A and 11A, giving an excellent start to the NW corner. The long 11D and 15D likewise as well as 16D and 22D, which open up the SW corner and make 19A an obvious solve. In creating a hypothesis as to the construction of a clue deciding upon the definition is obviously vital. When that leads directly to the answer and reverse engineering confirms the wordplay, make the most of it! I have one query at 32A where my ignorance of freeware may be my undoing.

I usually try to help new solvers by indicating starter clues but that is not necessary with this puzzle. Clues marked (C) mean that Chambers was used to verify some part of the clue.

1 BIRTHDAY – B-(third)*-AY;
7 STUB – “buts” reversed;
11 SAHARA – SAH-A-RA; A=Australian+HAS, all reversed; RA=Royal Academican=artist;
13 ECTROPIC – (cite crop)*; the turning out of the eyelid (see “ectropion” in Chambers); (C)
15 RES – hidden word di(RE S)traits; briefly=short form; RES=reservation;
18 STEVENGRAPH – STEVEN-G-(harp)*; STEVEN=a voice; G=good; a woven silk picture; (C)
21 RACON – RAC reversed-ON; forward=ON; a radar beacon;
24 TWO – ar(TWO)rk; “Item” being a couple is the definition;
25 TREESHIP – (the pries)*; plane perhaps=a type of tree;
27 SESTERTIA – (treatises)*; a Roman money of account (see “sesterce” in Chambers);
29 ALMERY – (early)* arround M=meridiem=noon; ALMERY=ambry=a recess; (C)
30 COMER – COM-ER; COM=comedy; ER=HM the Queen; a promising individual;
31 LAUD – “dual” reversed; dual is a grammatical form indicating duality;
32 FREEWARE – FRE(AWE reversed)RE; Wonder about=AWE reversed; FRERE=brother; I can’t see the definition
1 BALE – B-ALE; a group of turtles; (C)
2 ILICES – I-(fi)L(ly)-ICES; plural of “ilex” the holm-oak; The Oakes is a classic race for fillies; nice clue
3 ROOTSTOCK – R-(toots)*-OCK; nice clue
4 HANOY – HAN-OY; HAN=native Chinese people;
5 DRAP-DE-BERRY – D(RAP-DEB)ERRY; RAP=chat; DEB=girl coming out; DERRY=Aus slang for dislike; a woolen cloth; (C)
6 YAP – PAY reversed;
7 SHAKIRAH – SH(A-KIR)AH; KIR=a drink; SHAH=king (of Persia); a woman’s name meaning “grateful” see Chambers names section at the back ;
8 URENT – U-RENT; burning; (C)
11 SPINNERETTE – S(PINNER)ETTE(r); PINNER=pinafore=apron (see PIN in Chambers); I=SETTER; (C)
14 EXANTHEMA – EX(ANTHEM)A(ms); brief tests=shortened form=exams then remove “ms=manuscript”; a skin eruption; (C)
20 TWINER – T(WINE)R; TR=Turkey; a double limerick by de la Mare (see twin-1 in Chambers);
22 AKELA – hidden word (b)AKE LA(sagne); Scout leader;
23 DE-ICE – DE(I)CE(mber);
26 PORE – two meanings;
28 ERF – (s)ERF; a garden plot; (C)

4 comments on “Mephisto 2509 Mike Laws”

  1. I wondered about 32a as well. The definition had to be the final word ‘problem’ but I could find no way of linking this to ‘freeware’. In the end I came to the conclusion that perhaps there had been a misprint and that the last word should have read ‘program’. This would have been a suitable definition and would also have improved the surface.


    1. Thanks and good thinking. It would fit well with “hacking”. That would make two clue misprints in recent weeks!
  2. Jimbo having dropped a couple of hints in the week that this was “easy” in Mephisto terms I made it my first genuine attempt at the puzzle. (previous efforts have generally been limited to looking at the first few clues and deciding I’d be way out of my depth, or even just looking at the previous weeks answers and fleeing in terror).

    Anyway, I “finished” the puzzle but with two errors – I had STEREOGRAPH at 18 on the basis that stereo might = voice in a technical sense and I think I’ve heard of a stereograph (3d image?) and this then made 11d a bit tricky so I ended up with spirometre, a French device for producing filaments (at least in my imagination).

    Anyway, I enjoyed the experience so I’ll be trying again today.

    1. Well done Penfold and welcome to the club. I think STEREOGRAPH could be justified but as you say it makes SPINNERETTE difficult. If there is anything we can put into the blog to help you, let us know. 2510 is harder so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish it.

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