Mephisto 3054 by 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. 10A is a perfect example.

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

1 Gallon of tea (5)
5 Hounds wound up starter (7)
RATTERS: (starter)*;
10 Old quack? Wit I am to proscribe cobalt (11)
12 Lace drink guy pushed forward (8, two words)
STAY,TAPE: booze (slang)=TAPE; guy=STAY;
13 Hidden danger behind changing ends (4)
TRAP: behind=PRAT then swap the P and the T;
14 Such as you may get in manuscript headed by Edgar? (5)
POEMS: POE-MS; reference Edgar Alan POE;
16 Virginia left with prayer for stiff escort? (8)
VALKYRIE: VA-L-KYRIE; stiff=dead;
18 Picking up sledge at last I relax here (7, two words)
ICE,HILL: I-C(E)HILL; E from (sledg)E;
20 Jaguar‘s boast brushing book aside (5)
22 What Scots farmers avoid is coarse linen (5)
SHARN: ‘S-HARN; cowpats in Cowdenbeath;
23 Howls English held back in ages entering French gents (7)
YAMMERS: ages=years then “hold back” the “e” = YAERS; MM=Monsieurs
24 Place (classy) with sound units for some concertgoers (8)
27 Icons ducking special procedures (5)
29 Apostle quietly leaving a Roman hall (4)
30 Tramp collecting money in dump finds diamond (8)
RHOMBOID: R(HO(M)BO)ID; a parallelogram in which adjacent sides are of unequal lengths and angles are non-right angled giving a diamond shape.
31 Speak the same lingo as throne and aim to brood no more (11, four words)
SEE,EYE,TO,EYE: SEE-EYE-TO-EYE; throne=SEE;  aim=EYE; a brood of pheasants=EYE
32 Silent about embedded doughboy’s kitbag (7)
33 Ludicrous false thumbs (5)
LEAFS: (false)*;

1 We benefit from trust in being protected by mitre (7)
2 Refusing to face facts in resort I risk hotel adding $100 (11)
OSTRICHLIKE: (I risk hotel + c)*;
3 Sculptured character is reassuringly phat (in part) (5)
GLYPH: hidden (reassurin)GLY-PH(at);
4 This pitches high — way too magniloquent about plonk (8)
OTTAVINO: OTT-A-VINO; a piccolo;
5 Rope with noose is up, voice curt term of gratitude (5)
RIATA: AIR reversed – TA;
6 Before noon draw a flask (7)
7 Knitted tea cosy? Possibly this Mexican wrap, yes (4)
TACO: (tea cosy – yes)*;
8 Conceal in shell nut near spinning in hull? (8)
ENKERNEL: EN-KE(RN)EL; nut=EN; near=RN then reverse;
9 Wash in southern river (5)
11 Rich judge accommodates press for charity event (11, two words)
15 Dandy lashes purple passages? (8)
17 Mom looks up movement of commies (8)
KOMSOMOL: (mom looks)*;
19 String up over every other bit of gent’s boundary marker? (7)
21 Especially down about rising matadors (7)
ESPADAS: ESP-(SAD-A reversed);
24 What’s on Dark Side of the Moon is in place of old concert (5)
PRISM: concert=PROM then change O to IS; The Dark Side of the Moon is a studio album by the rock band Pink Floyd famous for its picture of a PRISM;
25 Ham is withdrawn after being tipped (5)
26 Eclectic Persian arts grad Auntie cut short (5)
28 Foil for riposte? It’s between sublime and peerless (4)
EPEE: hidden (sublime)E and PEE(rless);

7 comments on “Mephisto 3054 by Paul McKenna”

  1. ….was what I needed to wade through this stinker. I eventually finished and submitted yesterday morning after five sittings, and an abnormal amount of biffing.

    Jim : you have a rogue final T at 1D. That was one of seven clues that I “solved” with no understanding of how I got there.

    I saw the parsing of PLUS ONES early on, but totally failed to realise it was two words. It was eventually my LOI with some trepidation when “plusone” wasn’t in Chambers and, of course, I hadn’t checked the sub-headings for “plus”. Is there a standard as to when a clue is shown as more than one word (eg 31A, 11D) or when it isn’t ?

    Never saw the use of “rich” in COMIC RELIEF, an event I avoid like the plague.

    COD PRISM – it felt as if I was on the Dark Side of the Moon for much of the time I spent on this one !

    Edited at 2019-03-17 07:03 am (UTC)

    1. The rule for multi-word clues (shared with other barred grid crosswords) is effectively that words are separated by spaces, not hyphens. So “plus-ones” counts as one word, and “Comic Relief” as two.
    2. Thanks for spotting the typo

      Good to see you kept going. Used to take me several days to do Ximenes puzzles when I first started on the bar crosswords.

  2. Like Phil, I found this rather hard work and needed more help than just my Chambers to finish. No time as I stopped my timer for a break after an hour and forgot to restart, but probably at least an hour more… and more breaks due to the amount of coffee consumed (rather than Phil’s tea). CESTUIS, which I’d never heard of clued by mitre=CESTIS, which I hadn’t heard of either, was needed to complete the NE corner. I didn’t understand STAY TAPE or SEE EYE TO EYE nor the parsing of PRISM, but I should have seen that. So thanks for the help Jimbo. Sadly I had a typo in transcribing from paper to online, so wont have a chance to be rewarded for getting it all right. Grr.
    1. I have doubts about the definition of CESTUS – Chambers does tell me that it can be Aphrodite’s girdle, and it also mentions that Pope ‘mitre’ as a word for a girdle from Homer – but I need to check that both refer to a like girdle to make the definition work.

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