Mephisto 3034 – Don Manley

Posted on Categories Mephisto
Unless you’re very experienced you are unlikely to solve a Mephisto without using Chambers. The idea is that you use the precise wordplay to derive an answer that you then verify in the dictionary. 1A is a perfect example.

This was a very pleasant puzzle of average complexity. It included a memory jog for sixth form maths and a reference to ungentlemanly conduct
In the clues, definitions are underlined. Wordplay explanation is followed by very helpful comments.


1 Clay boxes people left behind, sold initially for pound (8)
SAGGARDS: people left behind=laggards then change “l”=pound to “s” from s(old); pottery baking boxes
6 Man in cave is smart, not revealing name (4)
STAG: STA(n)G; smart=sting=stang; n=name; STAG is a man without a woman hence reference to “man cave”. On edit: see comments: or STIG : STI(n)G; from caveman character in children’s book that I had never heard of!
9 Minister’s office in part of church with parrot (11)
11 Large deer / in grass (4)
RUSA: two meanings;
12 Heading to shelter, struggle in city endlessly (7)
15 Fish sales outside a church (8)
16 Bird of prey gets good old fish (7)
17 Some men not sober, rolling round in daze as before (5)
STONN: hidden reversed (rebo)S-TON-N(em); old word for stun
18 Obstacle putting roamer off (6)
REMORA: (roamer)*;
19 Secrets of a famous wedding venue penetrated by Rector (6)
ARCANA: A(R)CANA; R=Rector; biblical reference to wedding at Cana;
21 Girl and artist about to enter disreputable house? (5)
KAREN: K(RA reversed)EN; artist=RA; disreputable house=KEN; Carpenter perhaps;
23 Wailing female pop singer knocked over worker (7)
ULULANT: (LULU reversed)-ANT;
26 Lout pees freely with rest behind a hedge maybe (8)
SLEEPOUT: (lout pees)*;
27 Cleaner so attached to faddish ideas is full of personality (7)
28 Chatham offering miserable wage after 50% cut (4)
PITT: PITT(ance); reference William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham
29 Nuts, in short, need to be put out of high office (11)
DISENTHRONE: (in short need)*;
30 Get soaked, as proverbially drowned creature crossing island (4)
31 Somehow increase old-fashioned accommodation (8)
RESIANCE: (increase)*; old word for residence;


1 Puny little son needs to eat greedily (5)
2 Grim canoeist flexing muscles (12)
GASTROCNEMII: (grim canoeist)*; calf muscles;
3 Lass not available for one, making one scowl (5)
GNARL: lass=girl then change i=one to NA=not available;
4 Drug making one leaner somehow with unknown content (7)
RELENZA: (leaner)* surrounds Z; drug used to treat influenza;
5 Be off-putting — as cricketers will ultimately, to get advantage? (6)
SLEDGE: (cricketer)S-(wil)L-EDGE; a term used in cricket to describe the practice whereby some players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating an opposing player. For example: Rod Marsh to Ian Botham: “So how’s your wife and my kids?” Ian Botham in reply: “The wife is fine, but the kids are retarded
6 Inexperienced seaman turned up as attendant (5)
SOWAR: RAW-OS all reversed; Indian trooper or attendant
7 Words written and spoken to convey historical medical technique (12)
TRACTORATION: TRACT-ORATION; therapy first used about 1796 involving drawing the points of two small rods of different metals over an infected area. Held to be helpful in curing inflammation or pains such as rheumatism
8 Off-road driver straggles over island (7)
GADSMAN: GADS-MAN; driver of a horse drawn plough
10 Very little money to protect that female group (5)
COVIN: CO(V)IN; a coven of witches;
13 Unfortunate wanderer, ducking head, gets hit on the back (7)
REAR-END: (anderer)*; anagris from (w)anderer; I think hit in the back would be better;
14 Birds as domestic animals relative collected (7)
17 More impudent gentleman outside base undermining special soldiers (7)
SASSIER: SAS-SI(E)R; E=base e; The natural logarithm of a number is its log to the base of the mathematical constant e, an irrational number approximately equal to 2.718
18 Holds back from unruly cluster (7)
RELUCTS: (cluster)*;
20 Soak leg upsettingly in foot-washing ceremony (6)
NIPTER: RET-PIN all reversed; the ceremony of foot washing on Maundy Thursday in the Eastern Orthodox Church
21 Tuck distraught husband in a set of sheets (5)
KUTCH: (tuck)* surrounds h=husband; vellum sheets;
22 Command makes one hurry, energy rising (5)
HEAST: hurry=haste then “raise” the “e”=energy;
24 Part of flower not beginning to shoot up in mealy deposit (5)
LEPRA: (c)ARPEL reversed;
25 Do put in support for learner (5)
TUTEE: T(UT)EE; UT=the scale note doh=do

6 comments on “Mephisto 3034 – Don Manley”

  1. And there was me thinking that 6a was a reference to famous literary cave-man Stig (of the Dump)! D’oh.
    1. I must confess that I had never heard of Stig of the Dump. I’ve just Googled it and you’re correct a caveman character from a children’s book. STIG certainly fits the clue and is probably what the setter had in mind, so thanks
      1. Oh! I didn’t think I was going to be right. I thought I’d got my FOI wrong by overthinking it! I came to the book through the eighties TV adaptation, but it’s been so long I couldn’t remember if the character actually lived in a cave or not…

        (And thanks to the setter for popping by and confirming.)

        Edited at 2018-10-28 03:07 pm (UTC)

        1. The editor couldn’t remember either, but parts of the book text found online confirmed it or made it so likely to be not worth quibbling about.

          I can’t quite buy STAG as an alternative – I’m typing this in my man cave, but that doesn’t make me a “stag” – the noun def in Chambers is a man going to dances etc “unaccompanied by a woman”.

  2. The whole left hand side went in at around 15 minutes, although I didn’t parse ISMATIC (now Jim shows me how, I feel I should have grasped it !).

    The right hand side took around half an hour more. I learned some interesting vocabulary this week, particularly KUTCH, RUSA, and the KEN part of 21A.

    I was looking forward to this week’s but Waitrose had sold out of ST’s by the time I got there, so it’s an Everyman/AZED session this week.

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