Mephisto 2510 – Tim Moorey

Solving time: 66 minutes – Chambers used after getting the first two or three answers.

As Jimbo said last week, this was a difficult puzzle. Although difficult, it included some answers that are quite familiar barred-grid fare – AGOROT, XOANA, MATLO, IGARAPES,OUSTITIS, CATE and most of all DSOS all seemed like old friends.

1 C(A,STRAT=start*)O.
7 ‘S,HEM – Shem is one of the sons of Noah in the Bible – it’s from his name that ‘Semitic’ comes
11 A,G(O)ROT = pl of agora = 1/100th of a shekel
12 X,O,ANA – pl of xoanon, a primitive statue, said to have fallen from heaven. X = draw on football pools coupon, O = old, ANA = a collection of someone’s table talk, gossip, etc. – a barred-grid cliché for beginners to note.
13 TIMES = daily,LOT = a turn (obs.)
15 LIFER = inmate, ENTER = record (vb.) – a life-renter is someone with the right to rent a property for life
16 MATLO = almo(s)t* – variant of matelot = sailor
19 A,WOL(f) – AWOL = Absent WithOut Leave and hence ‘not present’. A wolf is a tuberculous growth.
20 I,GA(RAPE)S – waterways for canoes in Brazil. rape = refuse left after wine-making
21 DE(PART)ED – note “boring” as a containment indicator
23 PEKE = keep*
25 MARCS = scram! rev. marc is rough brandy made from grapeskins and other wine-making left-overs
27 FAZENDEIRO = (frozen aide)* – an owner of a large estate (fazenda) in Brazil (so that’s two Brazilian words and two bits of wine-making stuff)
30 OUST,I(TI)S = “oustiders” – a tool for opening a locked door from the outside. ti = note, from tonic sol-fa
31 ESNES = slaves – rev. of sense = direction
32 TEN,UT=do,O – ut = the Latin/French version of do(h) in tonic sol-fa
33 DEE=river,P(late) – deep = bass = low-pitched
34 PASS,gAsThAuS – passata is a runny tomato sauce – if it’s a new word, check out the tomato products section of your local supermarket
1 CATE – C for D in date – a dainty = small edible
2 AG.,I,LA! = look! Agila = the eaglewood tree
3 T,REILLAGES = galleries* – “must” qualifies as an anagrind because it means ‘in a frenzy’ from must4. Treillages are frameworks.
4 A(T)LENGTH – you’ll have to ask someone with more cricket knowledge than me exactly how far “a length” is supposed to be, but bowling to it is crucial.
5 THO,R – god of thunder
6 OX(T)ER = your armpit
8 HAG-TAPER – (gather a (tu)p)* hag-taper = mullein = shepherd’s club
9 ENLEVE = carried away – move the V=5 in ‘eleven’. I initially tried moving the D=500 in United, but was rather surprised that ‘undite’, derived from unde or similar = ‘wave’, was not a real word.
10 MADRASES = curries. (red Assam)* – note that ‘hot’ and ‘curries’ are both potential anagrinds
14 IN,CA.,PAR,IN,A – a high-protein dietary supplement
16 M.A.,DEFIED – madefy = to moisten, defy = dislike (obs.)
17 TOP,A,ZINE – like topaz, = a shade of dark yellow – nicely timed for a Q about a yellow gemstone on University Challenge the next day.
18 MA(EWE)STS – Mae West nicely timed for a clue in the Times puzzle the next day.
22 ELAPS,E – elaps = a type of snake – seen quite often in barred-grid puzzles
24 KNOSP – a bud of a plant. son in PK rev.
26 CHITA – a city somewhere the other side of Lake Baikal, I think – T replaces N in good old “china (plate)” = mate
28 DURA = an Indian grass. (A, RUD) rev.
29 (o)DSOS – DSO = ZHO = the yak/cow hybrid beloved of Scrabble players.

5 comments on “Mephisto 2510 – Tim Moorey”

  1. Hard indeed. I managed aboout 5 or 6 answers and all subsequent sessions involved a lot of staring and head scratching and no writing.
    1. If you go to the “Tips and Tricks” section of the blog you will find my account of how I learned to do bar crosswords supplemented with some extra comments from Peter. Being so new to this, you were unlikely to finish this puzzle but the application of the techniques described might have yielded slightly more encouraging results. 2511 is also quite tough but if you stick at it and then use these blogs to learn from I promise you’ll get there in the end.
  2. I very much agree this was a puzzle for old hands with the common “bar crossword words” already mentioned by Peter.

    OXTER was interesting because “oxer” appeared in a Times daily about a year ago and I only solved the clue by hunting through the dictionary. Here I read “hunting obstacle” and immediately thought “oxer” so it shows the worth of researching and remembering these obscure words.

    MAE WESTS nearly got me into trouble because I almost made a comment about it on the daily blog!

  3. I didn’t really take much of a stab at this with a lingering flu during the week, but I don’t think that would have helped, there were a lot of words I’d not heard of. And to make matters worse, I thought 4D was a cryptic definition and wrote in AT STUMPS.

    Since it beat me, I did like AT LENGTH… if you’re a fast bowler, the length is where you pitch it if you want the batsman to be unsure whether to play forward or back, having him (or her – hi Michaele if you’re reading) trying to change from forward to back or back to forward makes it more likely the bat will be hanging out to get an edge.

    While I’m delirious, I’m piloting a five-week module on logic and word puzzles starting tomorrow. Should be brutal.

    1. I thought it a delicious irony that, with 9 of the 36 grid entries plurals, cate appeared in the singular – nearly always cates according to Chambers.

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