Mephisto 3218 – Churchill’s Island

Although I finished in one sitting of about two hours, I found this pretty tricky. There are a few places where you have to cross-reference variable spellings among different words – for example, stanyel might be staniel or stannel, so you have to go see whether a meadow can be a ley, a len, or a lei. What fun! And just when you think it’s all obscure archaic words from Chambers, the setter throws in Neil Diamond.

I was not able to completely explain STISHIE and SHOTE. It is not clear where the enclosing letters of SIE come from, an I can’t trace SLIP as meaning a piglet. Erudite commentary invited!

1 Very large intelligence service for East German citizens (5)
OSSIS – OS SIS, oversized Secret Intelligence Service, a bit of a chestnut.
5 Hearts sit back in Inverness ground — that’s trouble in Edinburgh (7)
STISHIE – S(H SIT backwards)IE.
10 Lawyer’s briefly right behind drawing (9)
11 Diamond mentioned for a pointer once (5)
NEELE – Sounds like NEIL Diamond.
12 One jolly good hour to go round anonymous town (6)
ARMAGH – A + RM (A) G + H.
13 Enclosure in county for four-wheeled carriage (8)
CLARENCE – CLAR(ENC)E, an obvious biff.
15 Girl’s lines penned by river (4)
16 Months to get case of ecological wine (5)
MOSEL – MOS + E[cologica]L.
17 Extinct reptile goes astray in lax USA? Right (9)
STEGOSAUR – Anagram of GOES inside an anagram of USA RT.
20 Fossilized footprint possibly neolithic (9)
22 Huge sea wave from the east, those on edge off to get a hand (5)
MANUS – [t]SUNAM[i] backwards.
26 Not so many leaving with old mate (4)
27 Child that’s tiny, also mistreated — mother expecting complaint (8)
CHLOASMA – CH + anagram of ALSO + MA, where tiny refers to abbreviation of a word.
28 No tips for unchanging fare in Chinese outfit (6)
29 This guy is merciless, leaving wife (5)
ANTON – [w]ANTON, as wanton boys…..
30 Slops put out in litres, say (9)
31 Relations free from restraint in all sections (7)
AUNTIES – A(UNTIE)S, where A is a listed abbreviation for all, and S is likewise for sections.
32 Society noisy about wanting independence, plump for Sturgeon (5)
SONSY – S + anagram of NO[i}SY.
1 Jaguars seen in parts of pound (6)
OUNCES – You may be surprised if you just knew ounces were some kind of cat, but it’s in Chambers.
2 One is able to get below splinter, thin wooden strip (9)
SPELLICAN – SPELL + I CAN, in a down clue.
3 Henry finally cracked latest secret procedure (7)
STEALTH – Anagram of H + LATEST.
4 Joins up for respect as before (5)
STEEM – MEETS upside-down.
5 Swallow almost over meadow looks up for a kestrel (7)
STANYEL – STAN[d] + LEY upside down.
6 Bit of trouble with slightly indecent lady (5)
7 Quiet member of secret US fraternity for friendly chat (7)
SHMOOSE – SH + MOOSE, as int he Moose Club. We also have Lions.
8 What’s up with flipping endless junk mail? Very much (5)
HEAPS – SPA[m] + EH, all upside-down.
9 The Crown dropped very harmful alcohol (5)
14 Spouts about university protest? That’s the wordplay! (9, three words)
17 Pass on advice for putting out dip (7, two words)
SNUFF IT – Double definition, the second part referring to snuff-dipping.
18 With a change of direction, young women become hunting guides (7)
19 Short match covered in one language (7)
AVESTAN – A(VESTA)N, a language popular in Indo-European philology.
21 Peevish All Blacks briefly involved in brawl (6)
FRANZY – FRA(N.Z)Y, where you need to know where the All Blacks come from.
22 Brazilian racer seen in Tuscan town (5)
MASSA – Double definition – Felipe Massa and a rather obscure town.
23 Term for stubborn fellow supporting nothing? (5)
NO-MAN – [stubbor]N (O) MAN, an &lit
24 Sow’s first once was called a slip (5)
SHOTE – S[ow] + HOTE, a bit of a semi &lit, perhaps?
25 See less hard frosty periods in Shetland seed times (5)
VOARS – V + [h]OARS.

5 comments on “Mephisto 3218 – Churchill’s Island”

  1. 5 ac – I took it as you, H SIT reversed in S and IE. The S coming from the “ground” (the foot) of Inverness and i.e. from “that’s” which is therefore part of the cryptic.

    3 d – the word “finally” threw me, making me think Y had to be in the anagrist. Is it that H(enry) goes to the end of the answer after the anagram of “latest”?

    24 d – S(ow) HOTE (archaic Scot. for “was called”) = shote which is an alternative spelling of shoat (a young pig). Slip is also a young pig (dialect and Austr.). Whether it’s a semi or an &Lit I’m not sure as ever!

    Many thanks as ever to setter and blogger.

    1. In 5ac I read ‘ground’ as an anagram indicator, so you have an anagram of H, SIT, invernesS (back in Inverness). The fact that the anagram happens to be an exact reversal of all those elements is just a coincidence.
      This is exactly how I read 3dn.
      I wouldn’t say 24d is either &Lit or semi-&Lit, it’s just classic wordplay + definition – even if there’s a pig in both bits!
      I found this quite tricky and put in a very careless SLAISTERS so ended with a pink square.

      Edited at 2022-05-08 08:32 am (UTC)

      1. There were a few elephant traps – ETHAL/ETHYL, and the various spellings of STANYEL, plus SLAITERS. So either delightfully clever, or cruelly nasty, depending on whether or not you fell into them. 5a you could read either way, but K’s versio makes more sense.
  2. Also my Middle English ain’t what it used to be, and I remembered the past tense as being HITE, which would have lead to quite a different entry.

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