Mephisto 3213 – Paul McKenna

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Welcome barred-grid fans!

A change is as good as a holiday, so I am always happy when there is something a little different about the grid. Paul McKenna has given us an 11×13 grid anchored by two long entries running through the middle. It is my understanding that Mephisto setters have some control over the size of their grids, so long as the grid and clues all fit within a specified region.

I got through this pretty readily, and even got the pun in the top row at a first glance.

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

Away we go

1 Paemani’s leader seized by Caesar’s without conviction? (5)
SPINE – first letter in Paemani inside SINE(without, in Latin). Bit of classics here, I did not know that the Paemani was a Gallic tribe taken by Caesar. Time to brush up on my Asterix!
5 Scoop second to last kennels (6)
HOVELS – SHOVEL(scoop) with the S(second) moved to the end
10 Streamlined income with a yard being restructured (11)
11 Group gathering opinions about a language (5)
MAORI – MORI(Market and Opinion Research International) surrounding A
12 Silver coin child plucked out in staged action (5)
DRAMA – DRACHMA(silver coin) minus CH(child)
13 Thin lad that’s fed (noun) (4)
BONY – BOY(lad) containing N(noun)
14 Wandering salesman’s tense facing Holy Roller? (7)
TRANTER – T(tense) and RANTER(extravagant preacher)
16 It is so for Latinists before entering current viva, exempli gratia (6, two words)
ITA EST – A(before) inside I(current) and TEST(viva, for example).
17 Sad about moving out for gallery as declared (6)
STATED – SAD with A(about) leaving and TATE(gallery) coming in
19 Discourteous driver’s wife who shoots round English front (11, three words)
WHITE VAN MAN – W(wife) and HIT MAN(one who shoots) surrounding E(English), VAN(front)
23 Trusty creditor is dropped — it’s safe to scoff (6)
EDIBLE – CREDIBLE(trusty) minus CR(creditor)
26 Fine and warm and dry back in eastern clubhouse (6)
ERIACH – AIR(dry) reversed inside E(eastern), CH(clubhouse)
28 Love identity on a vehicle? Like something smaller than a tick (7)
ACAROID – O(love), ID(identity) after A, CAR(vehicle)
29 Markets once upon a time left out plants during afternoon (4)
FORA – two wordplays – L(left) removed from FLORA(plants) and FOR(during), A(afternoon)
30 Old small cannon is small old pain, right? (5)
SAKER – S(small), AKE(pain), R(right)
31 Earl beginning to use tincture or antiseptic (5)
EUSOL – E(earl), the first letter of Use and SOL(solution, tincture)
32 Record is listed happily close to the south of altar (11, two words)
EPISTLE SIDE – EP(record), IS, then an anagram of LISTED, and the last letter of thE
33 Fly in cliques for one in bind (6)
TSETSE – SETS(cliques) replacing I(one) in TIE(bind)
34 New name and it’s intended (5)
MEANT – anagram of NAME, then ‘T
1 Dances being held up deliberately destroy French farm (6)
SAMBAS – reversal of SAB(sabotage) and MAS(French farm)
2 Spot on cloot is somehow minor trouble (8)
IRONMAIL – anagram of MINOR, then AIL(trouble)
3 Grass featuring in preposterous fashion and also not (6, two words)
NOR YET – RYE grass inside the reversal of TON(fashion)
4 Cooks up to walk over recipe getting lost (5)
EDITS – STRIDE(walk) reversed minus R(recipe)
5 Among others BMW 330e is hot and run out by veiled rich (13, two words)
HYBRID VEHICLE – anagram of H(hot),R(run),VEILED,RICH. Not familiar with the BMW 330e, but I have had a hybrid Honda Civic for nearly 10 years and could not love it more, particularly with current petrol prices!
6 Destructive creature wandering at random mostly (7)
ONDATRA – anagram of AT,RANDOM minus the last letter
7 With Hindu’s heart lifted monitor special castes (6)
VARNAS – raise the middle letter in hiNdu up in VARAN(monitor lizard), then S(special)
8 Unwelcome deposit where camel lies rotting (9)
9 Scottish bird is quiet circling dray (6)
SCARTH – SH(quiet) surrounding CART(dray)
15 Our rector enters room that’s put up for Highland web designers? (9)
ETHERCAPS – THE(our), R(rector) inside SPACE(room) reversed
18 Sweet something that’s pleasing Indian carer holding male sibs (8)
AMBROSIA – AIA(Indian nurse) surrounding M(male), BROS(brothers, sibs)
20 What’s now commonly used for escape remains for armed guards (7)
ESCORTS – ESC(the abbreviation on the escape key on a keyboard), ORTS(remains)
21 Bit of theology holding up mock afternoon service (6, two words)
TEA SET – first letter in Theology after TEASE(mock)
22 Most slight and gutless bacchant embracing bellicose deity (6)
BAREST – exterior letters in BacchanT containing ARES(bellicose deity)
24 Fashionable iron grabs me in disused shed (6)
INFUSE – IN(fashionable) and FE(iron) containing US(me)
25 Indeed looking north, hill rises in Ottoman province (6)
EYALET – AYE(indeed) reversed, then TEL(hill) reversed
27 Cancel legacy, say, by destruction — a reward must be toppled (5)
ADEEM – A, then MEED(reward) reversed

5 comments on “Mephisto 3213 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Damn, somehow managed to type MOORI. Quite straightforward apart from that.
  2. Took me quite a while to see WHITE VAN MAN, and I don’t think I parsed it. Mephisto just tells you the number of words, not their length, and I was expecting something less prosaic. Mind you, wasn’t there a Labour politician who lost her job sneering at WVM? Maybe Paul should be careful who he calls “discourteous”, especially since he almost certainly drives a HYBRID, or even a pure electric.
    A sprightly 40 minutes.
    1. To be fair Chambers says ‘inconsiderate and aggressive’ so if anything ‘discourteous’ is relatively mild!

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