Mephisto 3201 – Paul McKenna

Greetings barred-grid fans.

For the new year, Paul McKenna has given us a fairy gentle Mephsisto puzzle, with the customary pun in the top row  (SALT AWAY).

The grid has 90 degree symmetry, and with fewer long entries it did feel a bit like solving two puzzles – I had the entire bottom half filled with not a lot on top.  I guess that describes me anway!

With Mephisto puzzles, definitions can be verified in Chambers, so I will focus on wordplay here.

Away we go…

1 Jack engrossed in a hymn-book (7)
PSALTER – SALT(jack, sailor), inside PER(a)
6 Consider carefully with French leaving most of cargo (5)
WEIGH – W(with) then FREIGHT(cargo) missing FR(French) and the last letter
10 Succeeded with a truck? Nope, starting to slide in grassy places (9)
SAVANNAHS – S(succeeded) with A, VAN(truck), NAH(nope) and the first letter of Slide
11 Yard must accept swindle as shown in the past (5)
YCOND – YD(yard) containing CON(swindle)
12 Ranker to commandeer carrier? (6)
MANBAG – MAN(ranker, soldier), and BAG(commandeer)
14 Game of throwing gag on porter, say (8, two words)
BEER PONG – PONG(gag – second definition of PONG in Chambers), with BEER(porter, say).  A game ridiculously popular in US Universities about 20 years ago.  Each player sets up 10 plastic cups in a triangle like pool balls, and half fill each one with disgusting American beer. Then you have to throw a ping-pong ball at your partner’s cups (when I played, it had to bounce on the table). If the ball lands in your cup, you have to drink the (by now warm) beer. The winner is whoever can hold on to their lunch.
15 Ape standard kibosh (6)
PARROT – PAR(standard), ROT(kibosh)
17 Spenserian chap who works undercover plays fast and furious (5)
SPYAL – anagram of PLAYS
18 One who tries Pope, amongst others, I’d like to think (7)
ESSAYER – double definition, the second referring to Alexander POPE
20 Punk with pale, but new, turban (7)
PUGGREE –  PUG(punk, prostitute) and GREEN(pale, sick) missing N(new)
22 Grey rope used for hanging — one’s no longer needed (5)
LIARD – LANIARD(rope used for hanging) minus AN(one)
26 Net returns on iron road’s first carrier going overhead (6)
TELFER – LET(net – tennis term), reversed then FE(iron), and the first letter of Road
28 Phoney old court caretaker (8)
SHAMMASH – SHAM(phoney), MASH(court, flirt with)
29 Escoffier’s dainty is minute, good number getting stuffed (6)
MIGNON – MIN(minute) containing G(good) and NO(number)
30 Doctrine is in Democrat (5)
DEISM – IS in DEM(democrat)
31 Martial’s lung? Otherwise unsure to involve rib (9, three words)
RUS IN URBE – anagram of UNSURE and RIB. LUNG is an open space in a town
32 Charlie’s chunter is the stuff to irritate (5, two words)
CS GAS – C’S(Charlie’s), CHUNTER(gas)
33 Adult guided round branch is in a flap (7)
ALARMED – A(adult) then LED(guided) around ARM(branch)
1 A hearts and minds program, say, is possibly soppy (5)
PSYOP – anagram of SOPPY
2 Perversely holding on to very old legal acknowledgement (6)
AVOWRY – AWRY(perversely) containing V(very) O(old)
3 This type of shot could find you swearing if take were universal (8)
LANGRAGE – LANGUAGE(swearing) with R(recipe, take) replacing U(universal)
4 Barely register endless flow of infatuated Parisienne? (7)
ENTETEE – ENTER(register) missing the last letter, then TEEM(flow) also missing the last letter
5 Start of refection, so let it be soup (5)
RAMEN – first letter of Refection, then AMEN(let it be)
6 Wife rushes husband packing goods in houses for Maoris (6)
WHARES – two wordplays – W(wife) and HARES(rushes) then H(husband) inside WARES(goods)
7 Popular border for beds? Mail here (5)
IN-BOX – IN(popular), BOX(border for garden beds)
8 Grotesque greed encompassing nation is diseased (9)
GLANDERED – anagram of GREED containing LAND(nation)
9 Intractable writer of Victorian adventures (7)
HAGGARD – double definition, the second refering to Rider HAGGARD
13 Salute scallies removing last of their hoodies? (9)
CAPUCHINS – CAP(salute) and URCHINS(scallies) missing the last letter of theiR
16 Matching two-piece? It combines with allure marvellously (8)
TAILLEUR – anagram of IT and ALLURE
17 Resort’s trick is to lose key — this is intermittent (7)
SPASMIC – SPA’S (resort’s), then MICKEY(trick) missing KEY
19 Leave classes over trouble (7, two words)
SET SAIL – SETS(classes) and AIL(trouble)
21 Being barbed Prince nipped short precursory document (6)
RAMOUS – RAS(prince) containing MOU(memorandum of understanding, precursory document)
23 Swear about following stable (6)
AFFIRM – A(about), F(following), FIRM(stable)
24 Last of two giants — a success found in Morris Garages (5)
MAGOG – A, GO(success) inside MG(Morris Garages). Found in Chambers under GOG AND MAGOG
25 Chinese national is accepted in German league (5)
HANSA –  HAN(Chinese national), ‘S(is), A(accepted)
27 Clear about Middle English being in verse as formerly used (5)
RIMED – RID(clear) outside of ME(Middle English)

4 comments on “Mephisto 3201 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Thanks glheard for the blog and to the setter for great puzzle. parsing of weigh, liard and ramous eluded me, and interesting to hear what beer pong is. didnt find the puzzle so easy, thought it was normal difficulty for a mephisto.
  2. I thought this was of about average difficulty, perhaps a touch on the tricky side. I’ve heard of BEER PONG but didn’t really know what it was so thanks for the cultural education!
  3. Thanks for explaining LIARD – I had seen the word in another puzzle within the last few months, so I got it, but without knowing why.

    Incidentally, online solvers had a distinct advantage, as the print version omitted the indicators of answers with two or three words. Fortunately, there weren’t many, but it did add to the difficulty of finding CS GAS and RUS IN URBE.

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