Mephisto 3051 – Paul McKenna

I thought this was a notch up in difficulty in comparison to the last couple of weeks. Paul McKenna has also given us a slightly different grid, 11×13 with three across answers going right across the grid.

Another pun in the top row, this time for OVERTURE.

Definitions can be confirmed in Chambers and are not always discussed – they are underlined in the clues.

Away we go…

1 ____ is able to be seen on French green (5)
OVERT – O(on), VERT(French for green)
5 Cold axeman who’s keen to get a plug, I guess (6)
CHEWER – C(cold), HEWER(axeman). The definition comes from one who chews tobacco which is just about the most disgusting habit I have encountered, and is unfortunately popular where I live. The school I teach at banned it about 10 years ago, but I used to have to deal with students and their revolting spit cups in class on a daily basis. Thanks for reminding me, Paul.
10 Let Romeo tie up fallen star? (11)
11 A whiff of Mumbai? Live and die curried (5)
BEEDI – BE(live) and an anagram of DIE – “whiff” can mean a cigarette in Chambers. Hmm… chaw, and smokes, will there be a vape before the end of the puzzle?
12 Old suit in lodgings daughter chucked out (5)
BESIT – the lodgings are a BEDSIT, remove the D(daughter)
13 Transport integral to major orders from the east (4)
RO-RO – hidden reversed in majOR ORders
14 Lake monkey, we hear, showing tender softness (7)
LANGUOR – L(lake) then sounds like ANGER(one of the meanings of “monkey” in Chambers)
16 Lie about trooper, say, back to trudge around the Trossachs (6)
TAIGLE – TALE(lie) surrounding GI(trooper) reversed
17 Small box close to unknown classy dog (6)
SHITZU – S(small), HIT(box), beside Z(unknown), U(classy)
19 We mess up willfully still true to form (11, two words)
23 Time to celebrate son moving in usherette, or some such (6)
EASTER – move the S in SEATER(usherette)
26 Turkish commander almost let slip trumpeters (6)
AGAMIS – AGA(Turkish commander), then MIS(s) (let slip)
28 Greetings following present Sikh guardian (7)
GRANTHI – HI(greetings) after GRANT(present)
29 Core of unpretentious poems (4)
ODES – the middle letters of MODEST(unpretentious)
30 Heart of harangue in proportion (5)
RATIO – strange to see these two clues side by side, this time it is the middle of ORATION(harangue)
31 A deposit which gets blown — not so much about nothing (5)
LOESS – LESS(not so much) surrounding O(nothing)
32 A fee piously thrown over, certainly ironically (11, three words)
33 Special hair dyes in fixed amounts (6)
STINTS – S(special), TINTS(hair dyes)
34 Bette, say, axing male who can’t motivate himself (5)
IDLER – the actress Bette MIDLER missing M(male)

1 Solo players are dismal when opening ends (6)
OMBRES – SOMBRE(dismal) with the first letter moved to the end
2 Without Conservatives city centre declined seemingly forever (8)
ETERNITY – anagram of CITY and CENTRE missing both Cs(conservatives)
3 Flying circus pilots do this concerning fear when Baron flies (6, two words)
RED OUT – RE(concerning), DOUBT(fear) missing B(Baron)
4 John finally trimmed cheap prototype (5)
TOILE – TOILE(t)(John)
5 Conditions of being like Noah’s arks? (13)
6 Walk over roughly being sadly fashionable but safe anyhow (7)
7 English hurry writ of execution no longer (6)
ELEGIT – E(English), LEG IT(hurry)
8 Eliot rocking on a rocker went pale (9)
ETIOLATED – anagram of ELIOT on A, TED(rocker)
9 Retain at all times flipping wonky paper (6)
RETREE – RET(retain), then EER(at all times) reversed
15 With joint shady tricks gardeners cut into stock to make this (9, two words)
WHIP GRAFT – W(with), HIP(joint), GRAFT(shady tricks)
18 Come to understanding clue a tad differently (8, three words)
CUT A DEAL – anagram of CLUE,A,TAD
20 Uplifting trend over blooming excise (7, two words)
EDIT OUT – reversal of TIDE(trend) then OUT(blooming). The wording here would only work for a down clue
21 Pop on old fur turbans (6)
PAGRIS –  PA(pop), GRIS(old grey fur)
22 Film about site of early growth in Minoan trading places (6)
AMNION – anagram of MINOAN
24 Drove away from Slough round a couple of roundabouts (6)
SHOOED – SHED(slough) surrounding O,O(roundabouts)
25 A nark amongst Nero’s servants (6)
ROSSER – hidden in neRO’S SERvants
27 Carminative “seeds” I bag in the outback? (5)
DILLI – DILL(carminative seeds), I

3 comments on “Mephisto 3051 – Paul McKenna”

  1. ….with the help of Google on my Smartphone in around 25 minutes. Thanks George for parsing RATIO, LANGOUR and RETREE. Otherwise I found it slightly more accessible than of late.

    My late father worked for a tobacco company, and dealt with their sales figures in the 1950’s and 60’s when I was growing up. Cut plug was a chewing tobacco that was favoured by sailors, and was only sold in places like Bristol and Plymouth.

  2. The first one I’ve completed in quite a while. And since I was away from the internet for a couple of days, I couldn’t check on a half-dozen, but I felt fairly confident. (RETREE was my LOI; I still don’t know what it means, but I [finally!] got the wordplay.) Fortunately during my alphabet trawl for _ILLI, I found that dill seeds are supposed to be carminative (during my search for ‘carminative’, I found out what it means).

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