Mephisto 3021 – Paul McKenna

Posted on Categories Mephisto
The Mephisto is usually a 12×12 grid, but the setters have some leeway with size, as long as the number of cells and number of clues fit within a publishable space. This time we have a 11×13 grid with 180-degree symmetry. I rather liked it, there are four across clues that span the entre grid and runing from the top to the bottom in the middle.

As usal, Paul McKenna has treated us to a pun across the top row, though it took me a few readings to see it as CUBE ROOTS.

The first definition is underlined in clues.

Away we go…

1 This line comes from outspoken centre of growing excellence (5)
QUEUE – sounds like the gardens at KEW
5 Northern island’s full of right beasts (6)
BRUTES – BUTE’S(Northern Island’s) containing R
9 Previously grave and quiet soak to open up (9)
INTERPRET – INTER(bury, grave as a verb), P(quiet), RET(soak)
10 High canto nicely done (11)
ANTICYCLONE – anagram of CANTO,NICELY. It takes a little peeking to find it, but “anticyclone” is given under “high”
11 Lean on reserve fund for bit of protection (4)
REST – this clue is made from all three definitions of REST in Chambers
12 Alternatively such as could be a threat (6, two words)
OR ELSE – double definition
14 Ultimate in mistaken dalliance (6)
END-ALL –  hidden in mistakEN DALLiance. In Mephisto clues, hyphens in answers are not indicated
15 iPod with various changes — weight perhaps (11)
AVOIRDUPOIS – anagram of IPOD,VARIOUS, and a word I cannot spell to save my life
16 Return iron and stand (3)
NEF – reversal of FE(iron), ‘N’ – a stand you might find on a dinner table
19 Snapper’s stultifying stuff? (3)
PAP – double definition, the snapper being a PAPPARAZZO
22 We keep back storage space during blights (11)
WITHHOLDERS – HOLD(storage space) inside WITHERS(blights)
23 Lubricious bunch in case of skullduggery (6)
STEAMY – TEAM(bunch) in S(kulldugger)Y
25 In Marseilles and bound to enthrall one African as before (6)
ETHIOP – ET(and, in French), and HOP(bound) containing I
26 Case of seeds showing no hint of propagating in a month (4)
ARIL – remove the first letter of Propagating in the month of APRIL
27 Palaeographer, say, may be happier with gist unravelling (11)
28 Mince is another miss in Lisbon (9)
29 Hamper next to stone trough (6)
HOGTIE – the HOG is a stone in curling, and a TIE is a trough for washing ore, found in Chambers under TYE
30 Tipped ciggie is rough (5)
ASPER – remove the end of GASPER(cigarette)

1 Question knowhow over an affliction which repeats (7)
QUARTAN – QU(question), ART(know-how) over AN
2 Macron’s one sadly never put out (7)
UNNERVE – UN(French for one), then an anagram of NEVER
3 Concert in place of study borders on tetchy (5)
UNITY – UNI(university, place of study), then T(etch)Y
4 Carvers and the rest belonging to that girl? (7)
ETCHERS – ETC(and the rest), HERS(belonging to that girl)
5 Dopey dopey bromance is without rival (13, two words)
BEYOND COMPARE – anagram of DOPEY,BROMANCE (despite dopey bromance being a redundancy)
6 United excuse personal trainer that’s risen rapidly (7)
UPLEAPT – U(united), PLEA(excuse), PT(personal trainer)
7 Swagger in hat — old-fashioned dress (9)
TROLLOPEE – ROLL(swagger) in TOPEE(hat)
8 Guides spread amongst Saints (6)
STEERS – TEER(spread) inside S,S(saunts)
13 Fog’s swirling about l-light — it’s not a problem (9, two words)
SOFT THING – anagram of FOG’S surrounding T-THIN(light)
17 Expression of joy over boat being up once (7)
AHEIGHT – AH(expression of joy), EIGHT(eight-oar boat)
18 Ignoring what’s second, just male and female spiritual games venue (7)
OLYMPIA – remove the second letter from ONLY(just), M(male), PIA(pious, spiritual in the female form)
20 One involved with extravagant treats? (7)
ARTISTE – I inside an anagram of TREATS, an all-in-one clue
21 Wit in a devotional book (7)
PSALTER – SALT(wit) in PER(a, each)
22 Scots zip it with hands, learn about going in (6)
WHEESH – W(with), H,H(hands) containing SEE(learn) reversed
24 Crackers with added hot Thai greens (5)
BAHTS – BATS(crackers) containing H. Greens meaning money in this case

14 comments on “Mephisto 3021 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Took me ages to see “cube roots” as well. No problems with the puzzle

    Can’t access today’s 3022 at the moment as the Crossword Club’s website seems to have lost it!

  2. Almost perfect; I realized when I looked up the solution that I’d never filled in the initial square of AHEIGHT, but I doubt I’d have settled on an A anyway. It took me a while to get away from TROLLOQUE and remember TOPEE. WHEESH on faith, PAP and HOGTIE from defs. DNK SOFT THING. Rather a dearth of NHO words.
    It’s not enough that the Club staff evidently doesn’t bother to check on something as basic as whether they’ve posted the puzzles for the day, they tell us this without a trace of apology.
    1. Well in case there’s any doubt, I’m not happy that the puzzle didn’t work first time, but early on a Sunday morning I gave you an alternative way of finding the puzzle, and within an hour or so of doing that, the problem with the version on this site was fixed by someone else. I could park some stock apology text somewhere for future use, but for me prompt action is more important.
  3. Rather breezed through this one, enjoying the quirky shape. Now that I know about the punning top lines, I’ll look out for them in future, but I didn’t spot this one.
    I did spot (fully barred) ASCOT across the middle, and wondered whether there was any significance. One of the delights of Mephisto is to spot the “could be” lights and the possible vestiges of earlier setting attempts: respectively in this puzzle, perhaps, BETA and TRSY (diametrically opposite). We mat never know.
  4. After failing on 1 across in the same day’s 15×15, I at least had the consolation of coming here and finding I’d finished this one off correctly! I’m not going quickly enough on these to record my times with any accuracy, but I probably took around three hours over three sessions, which is definitely my fastest time for a Meph so far…

    I remember the bottom half took a lot longer than the top half, especially AHEIGHT, HOGTIE and WHEESH.

    Thanks for the explanations!

    PS: “In, in French” in 25’s explanation should be “and”.

  5. Fastest ever Mephisto for me and all correct. Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of them now. Thanks for the explanation of 20d, which I still think is a very strange definition and 21d, where I just biffed it. PER for ‘a’ has flummoxed me before! I might remember it now. Thanks Paul and George
    1. I have occasionally questioned the definition readings of &lits, but the one in 20D seems fair on the basis of definitions in Chambers. For “artiste”, these include “entertainer”, and for “treat” they include “a free entertainment”.
  6. Thanks for the corrections – I’m in a show right now and have an early call, so this blog was written in advance, and the way LJ does scheduled posts makes it difficult to proof-read (I usually post it and do a scan-through to make sure I haven’t missed anything, I also missed underlining a definition).

    My early call also meant I missed the “oh noes the puzzle isn’t there!” moment. For what it’s worth, the Sunday Times has been a lot more consistent in getting the puzzle up at the stroke of midnight, as opposed to another popular barred-grid Sunday puzzle.

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