Mephisto 3206 – “In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin…

There’s nothing more annoying for a Mephisto blogger than to discover it is time for the blog, and you put the puzzle away on Tuesday with three unsolved, meaning to get back to it.   Apparently, even the retired are still lacking the elusive round tuit.   Naturally, the clues I couldn’t solve were the most difficult ones, and finishing off the puzzle involve some tedious alphabet trawls and Chambers searches.   However, all is good so far as the answers are concerned – now to explain them.

If you ask me if this puzzle was difficult, I will have to say yes.   There are many obscurities, and I hope I can answer your questions rather than ending up having to ask you.  OK, let’s give it a shot.

PS.   Thanks for the comments, blog corrected for TRANTS and RABI.   The parsing of ANONA was correctly explained in the blog, but evidently was not very well understood.  

1 One gets credit in car club for decorative braid (6)
RIC-RAC – R(I,CR)AC, the Royal Automobile Club.
5 Opening with code right away, absorb stuff gradually (6)
OSMOSE – OS + MO[r]SE – having heard of osmosis will undoubtedly help here.
10 I reckon hospitals hit badly — ignoring variant risk is not for me (10)
ACHITOPHEL – Anagram of I RECKON HOSPITALS HIT minus RISK IS NOT.   Part of the anagram instructions, I believe, does double duty to indicate a cautious person.
13 They succeed in shooting pigeons (7)
14 With little space in suite, work in front of curtain (6)
15 International bank backing India’s spring crop (4)
RABI – RAB + I, possibly – would the setter really use the Regional Australian Bank?   Comments invited. Not that kind of bank at all, but just BAR as in sand bar, with the I from international and not India.
16 Source of fruit coming with it locally (5)
ANONA – ANON + A.   Readers of the Falstaff plays will get this – Anon, my lord, anon!
17 Keen blogger, say uncertain regularly? Meditation needed ultimately (7)
NETIZEN – [u]N[c]E[r]T[a]I[n] + ZEN.
18 Mentally prepares dodgy Dickens character on the radio (7)
PSYCHES –  Sounds like Bill SYKES, from Oliver Twist.
24 Jewish leader sat out with clergyman? That’s one side of Qatar (7)
TSADDIQ –  Anagram of SAT + DD + I + Q[atar].
25 US bass singer dressed for ceremony? (7)
27 Settle in Italy, say (5)
STATE – As far as I can determine, this means settle down or be quiet in Italian.
29 Front removed from car in struggle (4)
AGON – [w]AGON, as on a train.
30 Clumsy idiot fathoms out puzzle (6)
32 Piscina utilised only partly for swimmers (7)
NAUTILI – Hidden in [Prisci]NA UTILI[sed].
34 Inmate’s record shows person enjoying rights forever (10)
35 Stokes gossips as before with exceptional people in Perth? (6)
SAUNTS – S + AUNTS, where stokes is a unit of kinematic viscosity – what did you think it was?
36 Most timid getting jab indeed for nothing (6)
SHYEST – SH(-o,+YES)T, a clever replacement clue.
1 West Indian repelled one old despot (5)
RASTA – A TSAR upside down, a chestnut.
2 Ceremony with tea that’s served up by university (7)
CHANOYU –  CHA + YON upside-down + U, a semi &lit.
3 Female traffic warden turned up in area with international transport (4)
RITA –  A + TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers).   Yes, lovely Rita, meter maid makes an appearance.
4 Lord’s school dead reserved (3)
COE –  COE[d].
5 Burden of proof initially with some of the media (7)
OPPRESS – O[f] P[roof] + PRESS.
6 This works about right for “close covering” (5)
SHIRT – Anagram of THIS around R.
7 Yours truly’s sullen with vertigo (6)
8 Bosnia sent new clothes with Red Cross (10)
9 More reduced insurance for tools (6)
11 Maori staff nurse joins hospital among cheers (6)
12 Dressed-up Romans love going out, scrambled egg on toast first of all (10, two words)
GENS TOGATA –  Anagram of EGG ON TOAST  minus O, plus A[ll].
19 French stars going topless are hot in Riviera summer sun (7)
20 Unbacked seat catches erect American soldier (6)
NASUTE – NA(US upside-down)TE[s].   An obscure insect, what did you expect?
21 A lady going around city unclothed? (7)
ADAMITE – A DAM([c]IT[y])E, a brilliant &lit, this time complete.
22 Hawks beginning to shoot inspiring end of western (6)
TRANTS – TRA([wester]N)TS.  I’m not sure this is right, trats are a series of baited fishing lines, but they’re not in my Chambers.   Anyone else? Of course it’s START upside-down – I never considered the possibility that shoot might indicate inversion in a down clue.
23 Batted flipping insect not seen before (6, two words)
WENT IN – NIT, NEW upside down.
26 Fleet Street’s written about old woman oozing eccentricity (5)
28 Use crack to relieve pressure (5)
31 Some supporting Sondheim’s finale in vintage Company (4)
MANY –  [Sondhei]M+ ANY.
33 Indian mister turned up for tax collectors (3)
IRS – SRI upside down, easy for US solvers in tax season.

12 comments on “Mephisto 3206 – “In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin…”

  1. Many thanks to both setter and blogger.

    A couple of comments/suggestions:

    16 ac. – anon = coming + a = it.
    27 ac. – state = settle is in Chambers (12th). It’s the last word before the listing of the words derived from state.
    22d – could it be the beginning of T(o) + rats = shoot (mild expletives) plus the inserted N?

  2. Thanks tim moorey and vinyl1. Found this hard, but very enjoyable- had to give up after 45 minutes with 3 unsolved. Particularly liked the use of nates for seat in 20 down, but also adamite.
    I think 20 down is START (beginning) reversed around wester(N). Think shoot is a reversal indicator- perhaps from dart back definition.
    Please could someone explain the cryptic for 16 ac- is it something to do with an honour pronounced colloquially?
    1. Agreed re TRANTS. ANONA is as described in the previous comment. The dialect “it” meaning of “a” in Chambers can also be “he”, “she”, or most surprisingly, “they”. You have been warned …
  3. This was a real slog, though a pleasurable one, in retrospect. I think a couple of us have commented on one or two of Tim’s previous puzzles as being quite easy by his standards. Was this revenge?
  4. Re 34 across Life-Renter, I don’t understand how “forever” fits in this clue. If a legal situation terminates with the death of one party isn’t that the opposite of “forever”?
  5. This was a tricky one, and I also did not solve it until this morning and coming to look at the blog, been a crazy busy week. TRANTS was my last in and I smacked my head when I was the wordplay was obvious. Along the way I managed to imagine there was a place in Qatar called Jastrev.

    For Chambers purists – WENT IN is not in Chambers, but GO IN is with the cricket definition.

  6. Hefty enough for me, and I ended on 35 with the (presumably not said in Perth) SAINTS for exceptional people with no clue how the rest fitted. Pity.

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