Mephisto 3036 Paul McKenna

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. 19A is a perfect example.

This was a very pleasant puzzle of average complexity. The PM top row pun is back with “balustrade”. Spare Rib jogged some memories – a magazine that certainly provoked hot debate at the time. Past issues can all be read in digital form via the British Library

In the clues, definitions are underlined. Wordplay explanation is followed by very helpful comments.

1 Ship is steadied by this thing which is round a stone (7)
6 Lit up and ready to burst (5)
RAYED: (ready)*;
10 Racket in fake tax-man’s district (6)
12 Italian company on greeting (4)
CIAO: CIA-O; Italian company=CIA; on=O’; pronounced “chow”
13 Adult clumsily cleans daggers (7)
ANLACES: A-(cleans)*;
14 In error lead oblivion and endless opportunity in decay (12, three words)
RULE,THE,ROOST: RU(LETHE-ROO(m))ST; oblivion=LETHE; endless opportunity=ROO(m); the correct phrase is “rule the roast” but if you said that nobody would know what you meant!
15 What sewer carries is pretty fruity from the central regions (4)
ETUI: (pr)ET(ty) (fr)UI(ty); a sewing basket, nice piece of misdirection;
17 Naval officer’s utter delight rounding the Kentish region? (6)
PURSER: PUR(SE)R; Kent is in SE England;
19 Flower (Chinese), first from the right school (8)
CHENOPOD: CH-(ONE reversed)-POD; Chinese=CH;
21 Unbending stickler’s point in trading place (8)
23 Row about what limits thankful claimant in the past (6)
TITLER: TI(TL)ER; TL from T(hankfu)L;
24 Deaccession book from premium load (4)
ONUS: (b)ONUS; b=book;
26 Mortal turned towards beguiling noise, no? (12, three words)
OFF,ONES,ONION: OFF-ON-(noise no)*; turned=OFF (as in food); towards=ON; mortal means drunk or off ones head
29 Industrious colonist back outside state restaurant in the Aegean (7)
TAVERNA: ANT reversed surrounds AVER;
30 Faraday — outstanding type (4)
31 Daily work by Sergeant-Major on motivational research (6, two words)
MRS,MOP: MR-SM-OP; MR=motivational research;
32 Shakespeare’s mess is intractable (5)
SHARD: ‘S-HARD; cowpat in Stratford;
33 Revamped tablets, such as may be charged in, eg, All Souls Buttery (7)
BATTELS: (tablets)*; student’s accounts at Oxford;

1 Eliot’s opening on sitting under brown shrub seen in poetry (5)
BRERE: BR-E(liot)-RE;
2 Polynesian superman’s indefinable quality set in gold (4)
3 Lodge in luxury college, cohab should ring (12, three words)
LIVE,IN,CLOVER: LIVE-IN-C-LOVER; college=C; sample la vie en rose
4 Colouring anecdotal collection with extreme spinning (6)
ANATTO: ANA-OTT reversed;
5 The Tube left to go by cerebration? (8)
6 Hinder/ nurse (4)
REAR: two meanings
7 Concert is into morphing zydeco comp, perhaps (12)
ACCORDIONIST: ACCORD-(is into)*; Lawrence Welk or Myron Floren presumably.
8 A set of overseas selectors heading west of Wishaw (6)
EASSEL: hidden (overs)EAS-SEL(ectors); a scots word meaning  “eastward” or “easterly”. Wishaw is between and south of both Glasgow and Edinburgh, so I found “west of Wishaw” rather confusing. Heading inland from Oban I would have understood.
9 Harry insulting commie makes steady progress (7)
11 Unconventional unit led agent to weaken? (7)
DILUENT: (unit led)*;
16 Opening in kilt ridicule challenging mag (8, two words)
SPARE,RIB: SPARE-RIB; opening in kilt=SPARE; ridicule=RIB; iconic magazine Spare Rib‘s first issue was published in June 1972. It circulated widely through women’s groups and networks. Its purpose was to investigate and present alternatives to the traditional gender roles for women
18 To bask is in New Mexico’s set of orthodox beliefs (7)
19 Copper swells in recycled jeans? (7)
CUTOFFS: CU-TOFFS; jeans cut down to make shorts
20 Boater, say, to lie about reefer (6)
BIFTAH; HAT-FIB all reversed; a spliff or a joint
22 Timber is extremely artificial (6)
25 Steals wheels from the south (5)
SNIPS: SPINS reversed;
27 Miss providing massage reportedly (4)
NEED: sounds like “knead”;
28 In America wolf up bit of Thucydides (4)
OBOL: LOBO reversed; LOBO=wolf; small Greek coin

6 comments on “Mephisto 3036 Paul McKenna”

  1. Not quite Messrs. Welk and Floren Jimbo. The King of Zydeco, a very specific Creole blues genre, was Clifton Chenier. You might enjoy a quick visit to YouTube.

    Finished this over four sessions, only resorting to Chambers towards the end. Probably just over an hour. My thanks for the parsings of RULE THE ROOST, and OFF ONES ONION.

  2. I’ve resolved to try and tackle Mephisto more regularly so had a crack at this and found it mostly straightforward, only having to resort to the Chambers search function occasionally and not struggling with any parsings. Thanks for the blog Jimbo.
    1. I suspect Wishaw is just a random town, used to infer that EASSEL is specifically a Scottish word.
    2. Other point: one def. of “eassel” is “easterly”, which can mean “from the east” and therefore “heading west”. So there isn’t a “west of Wishaw” involved in the logic, just “heading west” and “of Wishaw”.

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