Mephisto 3018 – Paul McKenna

Posted on Categories Mephisto
No problems with this straightforward puzzle. The setter’s customary play on words across the top of the puzzle refers to Wykehamist – an old boy of private school Winchester College such as Oswald Mosley

In the blog, the definition in the clue is underlined and followed by the answer; the parsing; any comments


1 Whippy osier in creek for some focus of interest (6)
WICKER; WICK-(int)ER(est); creek for some=WICK; focus=centre; is there such a thing as a rigid osier?
6 Edition by school ma’am left out (6)
11 In the morning and certainly berserk (4)
12 By the way is pickle dark? (7)
OBSCURE: OB-S-CURE; OB=obiter=by the way; is=’S; pickle=CURE;
13 Quiet old woman during day is battling eating condition (9)
DYSPHAGIA: (day is)* surrounds P-HAG;
14 Trump and right senses cut: excellent in the ’hood (7)
SLAMMIN: SLAM-MIN(d); ‘hood=US slang for neighbourhood;
16 We go through Metamorphosis in Latin, a Bible of its age (6)
18 Outrage of flaming frontiersman heading off (5)
ARSON: (c)ARSON; reference Kit Carson 1809-1868
20 Large backing devoted to Labour expelling first trio — wonderful (8)
GLORIOUS: LG reversed-(lab)ORIOUS;
22 Stone lying on the ground is hardly ever noisy (8)
25 Botswanan coughs it up — girl pouring wine stands by it (5)
THEBE: ‘T-HEBE; money in Botswana, to cough up is to pay;
26 A kid is relaxed (6, two words)
29 Wig is leading fashion (7, two words)
30 Royal exes accommodating by choice (9, two words)
CIVIL,LIST: CIVIL-LIST; abolished in the UK in 2011;
31 This whips up rent trouble (7)
32 Potty for one not old (4)
33 Spain with special housing estate, say demanding inclination (6)
34 One who picks on new form of protection (6)
NAGGER: N-AGGER; an AGGER is a defensive mound


1 In Holyrood struggle with earls needing a shake-up (6)
WARSLE: (w + earls)*;
2 One’s easily influenced, one’s quitting graft? (7)
3 Fallen crew adore lack of courage in Spenser (9)
COWARDREE: (crew adore)*;
4 Variety magician is revealing sources (5)
ETYMA: hidden (vari)ETY-MA(gician)
5 Char is overhead fitting one inside shelter (8, two words)
7 Tease this Aramaic goddess of war (6)
ISHTAR: (this)*-AR;
8 Who wouldn’t strike director over being near-the-knuckle once? (7)
9 Fine grass with root pulled up (4)
ERIC: grass=rice then move the “e” to the top;
10 Beloved non-smoker finds secrecy and hiding once (6)
15 Is old language good for establishing a pure culture? (9)
17 Privates dropped from start of reign? This leads to firm action (8)
CONATION: C(or)ONATION; OR=Ordinary Ranks
19 US ref including fashionable plant (7)
ZEBRINA: ZEBR(IN)A; refs in US football wear zebra striped shirts;
21 Trained girl, thus not sweet as before, becomes neurologist, possibly (7)
UNSOOTE: (neurologist – girl)*;
22 Pompous about pinch of curry spice used by Moses (6)
STACTE: STA(C)TE; C from C(urry);
23 Unruly lad stuck into a salesman (6)
PEDLAR: PER = a contains (lad)*;
24 Designed, as they say, gold trainer (6)
MENTOR: sounds like “meant”-OR;
27 Drum when rested up (5)
TASSA: AS-SET reversed;
28 Prejudice getting nothing for anonymous short stories (4)
BIOS: prejudice=bias then change “a” to “o”;

8 comments on “Mephisto 3018 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Agreed – nothing too out there, lots of clear wordplay. SLAMMIN’ over here is generally used to refer to physical appearance
  2. Dorset Jimbo – no problems with this straightforward puzzle. He definitely beats the ever arrogant George Heard. Jackt gave as good a defence as possible last tie that I blogged in this ilk but frankly straightforward and this crossword are a world away from these bedfellows.I challenge Dorset Jimbo to publish within the Times for the Times blogsite more than twenty people who can solve this critter.
  3. While I am in ranting and raving mode I would like to say to Dorset Jimbo and George Heard the extent to which they are outliers on this bog. Almost everyone else is absolutely brilliant and incredibly helpful to those of us who seek to improve. You two are just smug, smug and smug. Hats off to Verlaine, Mr
    Magoo, Mohn, Kevin and so many others who are just trying to help.
  4. Could Heard or Dorset Jimbo explain, for example, to people like me who can do about 3/4 of the 15×15 why fine as the definition equates to eric as the solution Those mentioned above would have done that.
    1. If you bothered to look up ERIC in Chambers you could answer your own question.
  5. Oh anonymous, you’re welcome. And if it makes you happier I’ll be back on Thursday and Sunday to be even more unhelpful by parsing clues. On Thursday there might even be a little explanation. And all the arrogance you can handle, plus some extra just for this week.

    Anyhoo… Mephisto is generally a much more difficult baseline crossword, however the definitions are meant to be unambiguous, which is why we don’t really cover definitions much, and focus on the wordplay. Since there are many more obscure words, the wordplay is the key to the puzzle.

    Added to that, comparatively few tackle Mephisto, so there’s not usually that many commenters here.

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