Mephisto 3038 – Tim Moorey. Inland from Oban again.

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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. 9A is a perfect example.

This was a very pleasant puzzle of below average complexity.

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

2 End of speech about France is a bore (11)
9 Love to secure tailed antelope in India (6)
NILGAI: NIL-GAI(n); The NILGAI or blue bull is the largest Asian antelope
11 Balance of wordplay first lady’s recalled (6, two words)
EVEN,UP: PUN-EVE reversed;
13 Back trouble remains in mind (7)
TAILEND: T(AIL)END; is “remains” padding – clue works without it.
14 Leaves note showing weight in Asia (5)
KATTI: KAT-TI; leaves=KAT; obsolete form of “catty” a Chinese weight;
15 Bury guy worked as trainee (8)
INTERNED: INTER-NED; Seagoon presumably;
17 John has one dog’s lead — for this? (5)
CANID: CAN-I-D(og); John=toilet=CAN; a member of the Canis family
18 Behind or first in taxi rank (6)
20 Centre’s deserted in low cloud (5)
MIDST: MI(D)ST; deserted=D (Military abbreviation I believe);
21 Penny has smooth stone in ring (5)
23 Ivy and the man had a great time (6)
25 Memorial for terrier? (5)
CAIRN: two meanings
28 At part of hospital taking drug for heart treatment (8)
ASTATINE: A(STATIN)E; an element in the halogen series, chemical symbol At; it is the rarest naturally occurring element in the Earth’s crust
29 Scrap sort of TV box losing power (5)
SET-TO: SET-TO(p); Freeview tuner is a Set Top Box;
30 Oldie wants a Tory initially to replace Independent politician (7)
SENATOR: oldie=senior then change I to A-T(ory);
31 Refurbish entire compound (6)
TRIENE: (entire)*; a hydrocarbon containing three double bonds between carbon atoms
32 Sister takes against Asian dulcimer (6)
SANTIR: S(ANTI)R; a Persian musical instrument resembling a dulcimer
33 Liberal with time takes hour to probe fellow political journalist (11)
PAMPHLETEER: P(AMP(H)LE-T)EER; old means of influencing public opinion much in evidence during for example the French Revolution

1 Fanatic sits uneasily with political activist (11)
ANTI-FASCIST: (fanatic sits)*; political movement that started in 1920s Europe;
2 Investigators ring a number — they’ve traditionally relied on wires (6)
3 Pick needed for some concrete tiles from the south (5)
ELITE: hidden reversed (s)ELIT-E(tercnoc);
4 Working hard, avoiding golf repeatedly shows age-old spirit (5)
FAERY: FA(gg)ERY; abhorrent public school practice of junior boys doing menial tasks for senior boys
5 Free room found around English river (6)
6 Bear to keep a credit account? Its contents go to pot (8, two words)
7 Concentrated where refugees may be housed, they say (7)
INTENSE: supposedly sounds like “in tents”;
8 Not in appropriate business house (6)
10 Small hotel’s appeal isn’t it for some (5)
12 Fancy dates embraced by a Frenchman herein? (11)
PIEDS-A-TERRE: PI(dates)*ERRE; small living units usually located in a large city to remove the need for a daily commute and empty at weekends – they are admirable for office romances
16 Could be a Frenchman’s pain / threshold (8)
DOORSTEP: two meanings, the first whimsical; “pain” is French for “bread” and a DOORSTEP is slang for a very thick slice of bread;
19 This surprised me in wood (7)
SHITTIM: (this)*-TIM; reference setter Tim Moorey; wood from the acacia tree
21 Dad overlooking a round flat ornament (6)
22 Fewer are disheartened, turning up from a certain direction in Scotland (6)
EASSEL: LESS-A(r)E reversed; inland from Oban. It appeared as recently as two weeks ago. The definition used here is rather better;
23 These broken promises of yesteryear (5)
HETES: (these); old word for promises in Perth
24 Film director’s take ending in the colour associated with bleak movies (6)
RENOIR: R-(th)E-NOIR; take=R; reference Jean RENOIR 1894-1979
26 Shrew on cue showing up in underground tunnel (5)
QANAT: TANA-Q reversed; shrew=TANA; cue=Q; an irrigation tunnel;
27 Old-fashioned song was more convenient mostly (5)

12 comments on “Mephisto 3038 – Tim Moorey. Inland from Oban again.”

  1. Never got ASTATINE or KATTI, not knowing KAT (QAT) or At. I had PAPERO initially–PA PER (a) O (round), gave up the O once I had PAMPHLETEER, but forgot to go back and figure the clue out. If I recall, Noah built his ark out of shittim. Do you think ‘intense’ doesn’t sound like ‘in tents’, Jim?
    1. I pronounce “in tents” as two quite separate words “in” pause “tents”. I also sound the final “t” of “tents”

      I pronounce “intense” as one word with only a single “t”

      The clue gave me no problems – just made me wince a little

      1. This may be a US/UK (RP?) difference; t-epenthesis (now there’s a Mephisto word for you) is well-attested in American English, so that intense/in tents, or prince/prints etc. are homophones. Evidently they’re not in South African English, but are in some British dialects. (The P in ’empty’, by the way, is the result of a similar process; the word derives from ‘æmtig’.) And nobody pronounces ‘in tents’ as two separate words, at least in normal speech.

        Edited at 2018-11-25 01:32 pm (UTC)

        1. “And nobody pronounces ‘in tents’ as two separate words, at least in normal speech”.

          Are you trying to tell me something?

          1. Just that: the speech stream is continuous, and there’s nothing equivalent to the spaces in writing between words. Aside from the t, “they’relivingintents” is the same as “they’relivingintense(lives”).(And in some dialects, as I said, there’s a t in ‘intense’ so that it’s a homophone of ‘in tents’.) One of the problems facing a young child acquiring its language is separating the input into words. (“You must behave.” “I am being have.”)
  2. I find I had one letter wrong…RATTI instead of KATTI for 14A. I feel a bit miffed as RATTI is also a measure of weight (in India). I’d never heard of KAT, KATTI either and decided there must be something called RAT leaves… or maybe the RAT leaves my sinking ship of on answer? Grr!
    1. This is one of those times that looking in Chambers would help. It has the Chinese catty/kati/katti but not the Indian ratti.
  3. A rare completion for me, as I mostly do the Meph in instalments as I drop off to sleep at night, which limits my brain power and time!

    I must’ve been more awake than usual this week. From the comments, it’s also lucky I’d heard of “kat”: I seem to remember there being something of a scare about it in London back when it started becoming a thing in the UK, though back then they spelled it “khat” in the headlines.

  4. Thanks Jerry, that’s exactly what I thought of when I read Kevin’s comment. Terrific stuff.
  5. I thought this was going to be my first Mephisto completion without using a word finder as I had all but four answers in having just checked Chambers for what I took to be the answer where a word was unknown. The final 4 (KATTI, ASTATINE, PAMPHLETEER and SHITTIM) wouldn’t come though and I needed a solver to get those. Even then only KATTI made sense so thanks Jumbo for the parsing of the others.
  6. Some things come in waves, and I think this was the fourth puzzle I’d done in a few days where AT = astatine, so I was well on my way. The difficulty is upped this week, stay tuned for next Sunday to see what sort of bish I can make of the next post.

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