Mephisto 3152 – Welcome to the MephistoFest!

Yes, we have two Mephisto blogs this week.    This one is by Paul McKenna, and offers moderate difficulty.   I solved it in one sitting, taking a little over two hours.   As often happens, I was strangely slow on some that should have been rather straightforward.   I don’t see the usual Paul McKenna pun – just a routine piece of equipment that you need to take your horses to the horse show.


1 Knight might ride on this barren area (5)
HORSE – Double definition, the second of which may require a dictionary check.
5 Yankee caravan? One jeering behind it (7)
10 Nine-pillared building neatly seen (10)
ENNEASTYLE – Anagram of NEATLY SEEN, easily accessible to classical scholars.
11 Secretary’s first to mind about King’s presumed misprint (6)
SCARRE – SCAR(R)E, a misprint from All’s Well the Ends Well.
12 Such as a group of maids a-milking joining only child, little ’un (5)
OCTAD – O.C. + TAD.   For some reason I thought it was five maids, not eight, slowing me up.
14 Ludicrous poem is about Loch’s lustreless gem (8)
SEMIOPAL – Anagram of POEM IS + A + L.
16 Desert conflict contained by anarchist (6)
17 Cue story about chivalry (8)
19 Whirling tender god? (4)
EROS – SORE backwards.
21 In a rarely used way preposterously do West African (4)
KROO – ROOK, with the ROO moved to the back – the pre becomes post.
22 Diverting a niece with an Oxonian celebration (8)
ENCAENIA – Anagram of A NIECE + AN.
24 Eg, Fred Baron — chap who adds value (6)
BASSET – B + ASSET.   The literal refers to the comic strip.
28 Freak freed in a prank played by French (8)
29 With moving welcome we will take off old Native American (5)
OLMEC – Anagram of WELCOME – WE.   I didn’t know it, but it sounded likely enough.
30 Act central to Whisky Galore! managed by Scots personality (6)
RANSEL – RAN + SEL, where the literal refers to the action in the movie where the islanders’ homes are searched.
31 Notorious mimic’s dull and standard blah (10, two words)
32 Keen pen displays integrity without prejudice (7)
33 First schoolgirl finding service in Rome (5)
MISSA – MISS A, where the second schoolgirl must be Miss B.
1 Cushion punch after embraces (7)
HASSOCK -HAS + SOCK, with embraces in the sense of includes, consists of.
2 Finally, transport cafe — roll on (10)
ONCE-FOR-ALL –  Anagram of CAFE – ROLL ON.
3 Outmoded field of study concerning French soul (5)
REAME –  RE AME, an archaic spelling of realm.
4 Vagrant, true one in transit (7, two words)
EN ROUTE – Anagram of TRUE ONE.
5 Renovating three-piece could make this dwelling rich (6)
TEEPEE –  Anagram of THREE PIECE giving TEEPEE and RICH.
6 Location finder is bidirectional and excellent on most craft (5)
RADAR – A palindrome, and RAD on AR[t].
7 Hellebore fascinating woman — pip is lost with being dropped (8)
ITCHWEED – [w]ITCH + WEED.  I’m not sure how the second element works – comments invited.
8 Worm is two times circled by old hound disregarding master (5)
9 Free to include edition that’s worked up again (5)
13 Up-to-date ingenuity replacing ads in store (10)
ADROITNESS – Anagram of ADS IN STORE.   I think up-to-date indicates current usage.
15 Being peevish in speech I squint (8)
CROSSEYE – CROSS + sounds like I.
18 Cart rolling up during morning run is early drinker’s datum? (7)
YARDARM – DRAY upside down + A(R)M.     When the sun has passed the yardarm, the ship’s bar is open for business.
20 “Without date” classically put on temple’s interior monuments (7)
SACELLA –  S[ine] A[nno] + CELLA.
23 Blubber about that woman’s new ball (6)
24 Rising celestial body with good height makes a halo (5)
BROGH – ORB upside-down + G + H.
25 According to art chaps will be identical in Scotland (5)
SAMEN – S[ecundum] A[rtem} + MEN.
26 Delight as little Italian embraces eccentricity (5)
TREAT –  TR(E)AT.   E is a valid abbreviation for the eccentricity of a conic section.
27 King replacing line tips cases for northerners (5)
KISTS – (-l,+K)ISTS, where tips is a verb, and so is lists.

16 comments on “Mephisto 3152 – Welcome to the MephistoFest!”

  1. As I still haven’t bought Chambers, I could not find any dictionary that explains the last meaning of HORSE (unless that’s the one from mining, “a mass of rock enclosed within a lode or vein,” which doesn’t quite seem the same thing). But there are actually three definitions here; Collins has HORSE as an informal synonym for “knight,” so it’s the chevalier and his cheval.

    SA in SAMEN was a total mystery, thanks!

    Regret that I didn’t get to the bottom of how the clue for TEEPEE works, which was certainly within my capabilities!

    I found separate definitions for CHERRY corresponding to “new” and to “ball.”

    Apparently, a LYTTA is a “worm”-shaped thing, not really a worm. Just now found the obsolete term for a sort of bloodhound. But I had the answer!

    Figured E must mean “eccentricity” in some specialized lexicon.

    That SCARRE is a “misprint” in one particular Shakespeare play, and not a rare word meaning “misprint,” is rather specialized knowledge that I am happy to have acquired thru this.

    But I still don’t understand how ONCE FOR ALL can be enumerated (10). Special Mephisto rule?

  2. I haven’t chastised him, but I am disappointed Paul McKenna did not save that pun for an odd-numbered Mephisto. AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fun puzzle.

    1. Oh, my goodness!

      Interesting… The two words make up a perfectly good (if not dictionary-status) phrase together, without needing a pun to yoke them. The pun appears, if it does, only because solvers have become conditioned to look for one in the first two words. Now, I’ve only started working these regularly, so I don’t know if this has happened before, or if the first two clues have always heretofore been utterly unrelated, aside from the pun.

      1. The puns, sometimes quite tricky to identify, have been in Paul’s Mephistos for about seven years – opening a few old Mephisto files, I can see one in a 2016 puzzle but not a 2015 one. He’s not alone in doing this – it used to happen (and maybe still does – I haven’t solved one for ages) in the top row of the Daily Telegraph’s quick crossword. Similar puns are in Robert Prices’s TLS crosswords.

        1. Yes, I knew Paul puts puns in the first two words. I was just idly wondering how unusual it’s been for those two words to also seem to go together well in a plausible phrase aside from the pun (which, of course, solvers of his puzzles have been trained to look for). A trivial point, for sure.

      1. As I assumed, with Chambers coming through with an initial letter, A in this case, being an abbreviation for whatever is needed.

  3. Happy New Year to all setters and loggers. You do a great job!
    Most grateful if someone would explain fully how 7d works?

    1. The closest I could get was the S [is=’s] of SEED is lost, and W[ith} drops into its place. Not that close, maybe.

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