Mephisto 3183 – Paul McKenna

Greetings barred-grid fans!

Tricky workout from Paul McKenna this week – a few clues with multiple components and a 90-degree grid which led to some answers being fully-checked, but the 12-letter entries all having three unchecked letters.  It was a rare example of me completing the top row pun as a part of solving the puzzle, since I got 4 across at a first reading, and there was an obvious word to complete the pun on NON SEQUITURS

In Mephisto puzzles, definitions (the most direct of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers so I will focus on wordplay here.

Away we go…

1 Quondam top pigeon (3)
NUN – tricky double definition – a NUN can be a spinning top, and a type of pigeon.
4 ____ in southeast are involved with cuts (9)
SECATEURS – anagram of SE(southeast), ARE and CUTS
11 Sweet talk tart, foolish sort short on deceit (7)
FLANNEL – FLAN, then NELLIE(foolish sort) minus LIE(deceit)
12 Store on disc legal document or the equivalent in return (7, two words)
WRITE TO – WRIT(legal document) and OTE(or the equivalent) reversed
13 Oh to hold centre-half in persistent pain (4)
ACHY – AY(Oh) containing CH(centre-half)
14 Right before food stuck into Scots supplement for chuckie? (6)
EIRACK – R(right), AC(ante cibum, before food) inside EIK(Scots version of EKE, supplement). Chuckie is a small hen.
15 The Devil is behind European law degree (5)
EBLIS – IS after E(European) BL (Bachelor of Law)
17 Work up lather and put one in a wide-awake state (12, three words)
18 Process of disengaging clapped out trailer (7)
RETIRAL – anagram of TRAILER
23 Previously bullied having wheels punctured by one (7)
TYRANED – TYRED(having wheels), containing AN(one)
24 Backing one Rector up beat international chorus making moral (12)
PURITANISING – reverse I(one), R(Rector) UP then TAN(beat), I(international) SING(chorus)
26 Those of an inferior sort body-swerving good old hostel (5)
ENTRY – GENTRY(those of an inferior sort) missing G. I don’t think I’ve seen “body-swerving” as a deletion indicator before
27 Lord! A party returned Hislop, for example (6)
ADONAI – A DO(party) then a reversal of IAN Hislop. At the time I couldn’t remember where I knew that name from, but he wrote a lot for Private Eye in the 80s.
29 Tincture or a material used by Lock & Co, et al (4)
SOLA – SOL(tincture of god, sence or) and A. Thanks to Midas for clearing up a little group confusion.
30 Sharing a parent’s computer I network in limited scope (7)
UTERINE – hidden inside compUTER I NEtwork
31 Most calm prime of womenkind beside comfy home (7)
EVENEST – EVE(prime of womenkind) next to NEST(comfy home)
32 Primate’s reach ain’t appointed (9)
33 Flesher’s dead meat is close to rank (and for les bouchers?) (3)
KET – last letter of ranK, then ET(and in French). Another Scots word indicated by a Scots term for butcher
1 We’re one up playing some states from the east (9, two words)
NEW EUROPE – anagram of WE’RE ONE UP
2 Stupidly ruin a word for less mature? (7)
UNRIPER – anagram of RUIN, then PER(a)
3 National broadcast for some Keralans (4)
NAIR – N(national), AIR(broadcast)
4 Mephisto, eg, is natural when rising (5)
SATAN – NAT(natural) and AS(when) all reversed
5 I could feasibly make letter copy well? (12)
ELECTROTYPER – a nice all in one – anagram of LETTER,COPY then ER(well?)
6 Single embracing friend? No, without anybody as it as was (7)
ALONELY – ONE(single) inside ALLY(friend)
7 Be diligent about appropriate apparent outing at work? (12, four words)
TAKE A PRIDE IN – TAKE(appropriate), AP(apparent), RIDE(outing), IN(at work)
8 Sanction overturning misery that’s in plea (6)
ENABLE – a little stuck on the wordplay here – i think it is BANE(misery) reversed, then and then the middle letters in pLEa, but that seems awkward
9 Relative before being grubby (7)
UNCLEAN – UNCLE(relative) AN(before)
10 Cunning owl leaving leisurely (3)
SLY – SLOWLY(leisurely) missing OWL
16 Most heavy sod, it gets rotavated (9)
19 Biting rent in an open case full of sweet bits? (7)
TARTLET – TART(biting), LET(rent)
20 Only just about accepted pressure in can (7, three words)
AT A PUSH – A(about), then A(accepted), P(pressure) inside TUSH(can, American for rear end)
21 Hardship in western port when zone is closed off (7)
PENANCE – the western port is PENZANCE, remove Z(zone)
22 Ferocious fish set up an absolute slaughter (6)
PIRANA – AN, A(absolute), RIP(slaughter) all reversed
25 Rail is very much supported by port of entry (5)
SOREE – SORE(very much) and the left(port) letter of Entry
28 Rob can bust with deuce! (4)
NICK – four definitions – steal(rob), jail(can), arrest(bust) and the devil(deuce)
29 Dry secretary’s party dumping it (3)
SEC – two definitions and a wordplay – dry as of wine, abbreviation for secretary, and SECT(party) minus ‘T(it)

5 comments on “Mephisto 3183 – Paul McKenna”

  1. I found this pretty hard.
    I’m not happy with 29ac. What is the word ‘or’ doing?
    Agree with you about 8dn: technically I guess it works but “that’s in plea” seems unsatisfactory as an indication of ‘that which is inside plea’.
    I didn’t understand the last part of the wordplay for SECT, so thanks for that.
    Small point but at 2dn it’s an anagram of RUIN not RIPE.
    1. Oh – prompting from that I looked up “or” and I think it is meant to indicate the a via or -> before -> a
      1. Ah yes! I’m surprised I haven’t seen that before. Or perhaps I’ve just never noticed it.

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