Mephisto 2669 – Paul McKenna

The difficulty appears to have been ramped up a little here – I got most of the bottom half out without needing to resort to aids, but the top half was full of unfamiliar territory! Now I think if I’d known the phrase at 1 across I would have found it a lot easier, but that was one of the last entries in.

I have to give a hat tip to Paul McKenna for the 14 down, which has a spectacular piece of misdirection – even when the answer is staring me in the face I couldn’t put it in the grid becuase I was convinced “not” was part of the definition and ain’t was just there as “contraction”.

Away we go…

1 CU,TO,NESS,TICK: for CUT ONE’S STICK. A new phrase for me
10 A,N,DR,O,MED,A(rt): pretty nice when all the parts of the charade string together this nicely
12 FIZZ: F then IZZAT(reputation) without A,T(Tango) at the end
15 EAU DE NIL: LIE reversed about AUDEN
16 COLIBRI: Strange, written as if it was a down clue? I after COL, I, BR(Bronze)
18 UVAE: V in the United Arab Emirates, plural for a type of grape
20 (g)OWNS
21 SMIT: double definition
22 ROIL: OIL(News) after R
20 (b)OFFS: ices as in kills
25 BISH: one of the meanings of BISHOP is to confirm, so chop off the OP
27 RE,ALT,IE: ALT was the part that gave me the most trouble here – Miltonian word for rest/halt
32 ITEMS: IT’S about E,M
33 ARNA: R in ANA – file ANA away, it’ll return
34 BICUSPIDS: SIB reversed holding CUPID(an american danish-type thing) with S inside
3 ORZO: middle of BORZOI
4 NOTE,BOO,K: DO is the base note of a scale
5 EMBAR: EAR(spike, as in corn) in MB – which Chambers confirms is an abbreviation for “Mark of the Beast”… I guess it was needed for hospital charts?
6 SEQUIN: SEQ(following from SEQUENS), then RUIN without R(take, from RECIPE). That’s a lot of Latin for one queue!
7 TATER: CHAMP is a dish made with potatoes, and it’s TATLER without the L
8 IRONSMITH: more tricky wordplay – IRONY without the Y (all but), then M(start of miff) in (THIS)*
9 COLITIS: IT,IS after most of COLIN(a quail)
11 SELL(saddle, impose upon),THE,P,ASS: another new phrase
14 PLAIN TEXT: PT(point) about LEX with AIN’T (contraction for is not) inside. Definition is just easily legible stuff. I was sure we were looking for something illegible, like a doctor’s note, fine print, or Spenser
17 ES,SAY,1,ST: S is kind of circular, I guess
19 VOLUTIN: VOLUME without the ME and then TIN(greens, money) substituted
24 FRESCO: anagram of CONIFERS – IN
28 (s)END UP
29 I,AND,I: I-AND-I is the West Indian term
31 CAPO: definition is DON and the rest is telling us to take the N off CAPON

6 comments on “Mephisto 2669 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Strange: my solving experience was the exact opposite of yours: I found this the easiest Mephisto I’ve yet tackled, and got bogged down in the bottom half having found the first half easy!
    I picked it up half-heartedly this morning, thinking it might be useful to go through the blog later with a failure fresh in my mind. Then 1ac went pretty much straight in, followed by 1dn and 10ac (although in each case I needed Chambers because I didn’t actually know any of the answers), and I thought I’d better neglect the kids a bit and see if I could crack it. I did crack it, and very quickly by my normal Mephisto standards. To be clear this isn’t very quick at all and there was quite a lot of neglect involved.
    Thanks as ever for the blog: there were a few I couldn’t parse. I must remember the “take” = R thing: it’s come up before even in my limited Mephisto experience.
    I wasn’t entirely sure about 26dn: I can see that “buddy” sort of means “old boy” but I couldn’t find any justification for this in Chambers. Am I missing something?
    1. It’s just BO – American slang for a friend (def 3 in Chambers). Making a comeback in younger black men lately, I’ve been called “Bo” before.
  2. Oh, and by the way ARNA went pretty much straight in (after checking ANRA first). I filed ANA away a few months ago: it sure does return.
  3. I finished it. My third success, I am extremely pleased with myself as these are really out of my league and I usually struggle to get beyond a quarter of the grid. I too found the bottom half less difficult.
    Thanks for the explanations (too many to mention) the blogs are a great help to someone like me.


  4. Nice to see people getting help from these blogs. They take a while to compile but it’s worth it if folk gain some benefit.

    Had no great problem with either half of this one

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