Mephisto 3048 Paul McKenna – Saucy Postcard Edition

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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. 12A is a perfect example.

Some help needed please parsing 7A, 21A, and 27D.

Some diverse GK required from Edwardian postcards to Narnia via a Waggle-dagger apple.

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


1 This is missing pocketbook for machine which screws up? (8)
7 Gent is full of it and can go forth (4)
STIR: S(‘T)IR; “can” doesn’t appear to serve any purpose?
10 Redolent of English case (9)
11 Stay for opening of Parliament (4)
PROP: PRO-P(arliament);
12 Charles and one Commonwealth economic association (7)
CARICOM: CAR-I-COM; Charles=CAR; Caribbean Common Market;
13 Discount place pictured by McGill? Time to enter (8, two words)
SET,ASIDE: SE(T)ASIDE; reference Donald McGill (1875 – 1962) an English graphic artist whose name has become synonymous with the genre of saucy seaside postcards. “Do you like Kipling? / “I don’t know, you naughty boy, I’ve never kippled!”
15 Flourish of letter with frame circling (5)
18 Pleasure carrying about Mr Tumnus or his ilk (4)
FAUN: F(A)UN; Tumnus is a fictional character in the Narnia books
19 Potentially big lad or I should be shut up (8)
GAOLBIRD: (big lad or)*;
21 Troparion about parent who’s close? (8)
CATHISMA: CA-THIS-MA; not sure I understand cryptic;
22 This African language we hear in railway junction (4)
KROO: sounds like Crew – site of major rail junction;
24 Pilot is stumped continually being contracted (5)
STEER: ST-EER; stumped=ST (cricket);
26 No more chop chop, poppycock (8)
CLAPTRAP: CLAP,TRAP: chop=old word for CLAP; chop=mouth=TRAP;
29 Our town represented as a dead cliché, for example (7)
WORNOUT: (our town)*;
30 Black stuff left in barbie box (4)
31 Unusual ancestor so far wonderfully decent about note (9)
ASCENDENT: AS-(decent)* surrounds N=note;
32 One intake of undergrads ultimately pay attention (4)
YEAR: (pa)Y-EAR;
33 Deserted rescue vessel west of promontory poses a mystery (8)
DARKNESS: D-ARK-NESS; deserted=D (military)


1 Bugle-call at GI’s burial/ is piercing (4)
TAPS: two meanings
2 You say this on finding His Eminence outside before show (9, three words)
3 City understanding what constitutes warning (7, two words)
4 Birds gather moving south as far as poss (4)
AVES: gather=save then move “s” to the end;
5 Disco may pass drug test (8)
DOCIMASY: (disco may)*; pass=become=anagrind
6 Comparatively sparse portion of land fenced off by Bishop (5)
RARER: R(ARE(a))R; RR=Right Reverend;
7 Small pet cut item of tack (8, two words)
8 Moniker for the very tall (?) child who chases up centre-half (4)
TICH: IT reversed; CH; reference game of “It”; CH=centre-half
9 Prompt monarch’s up above PA (8)
14 Flipping pound reduced wealth and shilling stops in the past (9)
SURCEASES: CRUS(h) reversed-EASE-S; pound=crush; wealth=EASE; shilling=S
15 Save blade on plough — accepted and established routine (8, two words)
SOCK,AWAY: SOCK-A-WAY; blade on plough=SOCK;
16 Glass is more readily filled by Chaplain (8)
SCHOONER: S(CH)OONER; measure of sherry;
17 War poet troubled about bit of miracle fruit in LLL (8)
POMWATER: (war poet + m)*; m from m(iracle); an apple, presumably in Love’s Labour’s Lost;
20 Practice head-rhyme, say, with everybody going for repeat (7)
23 Yard accepted conclusion previously acknowledged (5)
25 Predator in the main features in “An Inspector Calls” (4)
ORCA: hidden (inspect)OR-CA(lls);
27 Peer / to give special edge to / exquisite huntswoman? (4)
PINK: three meanings, I think – not sure about “exquisite huntswoman”
28 Shop dished out soups favoured by Asians (4)
PHOS: (shop)*;

10 comments on “Mephisto 3048 Paul McKenna – Saucy Postcard Edition”

  1. For 7ac – I assumed it was a triple definition? And can=stir=prison.
    21ac – is there some way that “who’s” can be a synonym for “this”? Which is just stating the obvious, I realise.
    27d – one of the definitions of “pink” is “intense or extreme, as of pain or pleasure” – which would find parallels with hunting, wouldn’t it?

    Many thanks to setter and blogger.

  2. I’m not sure if you’re saying what I thought, but I took TI in TICH to be ‘child who chases’–‘it’ in tag–reversed. Do you call the game ‘it’ on that side of the pond?
    1. 70 years ago it was “IT” where I grew up but “TAG” is probably the correct designation Kevin
  3. I presume 21 across is simply: about/ca and this ma (not that ma over there)…

    Love the outrageous pun: Fred Astaire (Threader Stir)!

    Many thanks for the blog (and a testing puzzle).


  4. I needed aids for six unknown words, and struggled in the SE corner. About 70 minutes work in three sittings at a guess.

    Thanks for parsing TICH Jim – I was convinced for ages that it was “tiny” but once I’d used Chambers for CARICOM it was obviously right – just couldn’t see why.

    At 21A, “THIS MA” would be close, but “that Ma” wouldn’t.

    I think “PINK” may actually be four separate definitions, but can’t prove it !

    Edited at 2019-02-03 09:09 am (UTC)

    1. I think you are right about PINK. Chambers has “an equisite (obs.) and “a scarlet huting-coat or its colour; the person wearing it”
  5. It doesn’t involve area but simply are, 100 sq metrengs. And doesn’t 27d refer to riding pink?
  6. I found this hard going getting only 4 answers on a first read through of the clues. In the end I needed more help than my paper Chambers for 5 clues – 7A,12A,26A,30A and 14D (my LOI)as I ran out of stamina after an hour and a half. NHO CAR for Charles and didn’t see ‘T for it, nor CLAP for chop – must take more care on checking in the dictionary! Thanks for explaining my mysteries, Jim.

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