Mephisto 3249 – Paul McKenna

Greetings barred-grid fans.

While I didn’t find this puzzle particularly difficult to complete, there’s some deep dives in Chambers that make writing this up a challenge. I am also a little befuddled about the top row. Paul McKenna usually puts a word treat in the top row, mostly a pun, but the best that I can make of this is maybe a pun on restaurant?

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

Away we go…

1 Joint document formally endorsed to accommodate son (5)
WRIST – WRIT(document formally endorsed) containing S(son)
5 Process involving former sovereign land (7)
TERRAIN – TRAIN(process, a series of things) surrounding ER(former sovereign)
11 On satire’s puzzling claim (9)
12 Place to put away some extra tagliatelle (4)
TRAT – hidden inside exTRA Tagliatelle
13 Chap appearing in alternative music show (8)
INDICATE – CAT(chap) inside INDIE(alternative music)
15 Designated driver taking on jump rolled (7)
DOLLIED – DD(designated driver) containing OLLIE(a jump on a skateboard)
16 Nob embracing English eccentricity to get things going (6, two words)
TEE OFF – TOFF(nob) containing E(English), E(eccentricity)
17 Doctor merely left out mineral (5)
EMERY – anagram of MERELY minus L(left)
19 Fiddler’s action? Dry wit with adult near (7)
SALTATO – SALT(dry wit) and A(adult), TO(near)
24 Scrivener, say, dipped into this jar? Debtor is relieved, rightly (7)
INKWELL – DRINK(jar) minus DR(debtor) then WELL(rightly)
25 Acting hardly to be believed in any circs (5, two words)
AT ALL – A(acting), TALL(hardly to be believed)
26 Be furious about King and I’s animation (6)
SPIRIT – SPIT(be furious, think of “spit the dummy”) surrounding R(the king) and I
28 Club rings daughter who came out — it’ll draw no satisfaction (7, two words)
BAD DEBT – BAT(club) surrouding D(daughter) and DEB(who came out)
30 Ploughing acre is on plan (8)
SCENARIO – anagram of ACRE IS ON
31 Couturier’s director spending with reference to court (4)
DIOR – DIRECTOR minus RE(with reference to) and CT(court)
32 Now I’m done, buffet before noon is excessive (9)
OVERBLOWN – OVER(now I’m done, think ham radio), BLOW(buffet) and N(noon)
33 Holding back on style rudely and in an abrupt way (7)
TERSELY – RE(on) reversed inside an anagram of STYLE
34 Understanding escort entertaining non-smoker (5)
SENSE – SEE(escort) containing NS(non-smoker)
1 Dance with a tush swaying, husbands are straying (7)
WATUTSI – anagram of WITH A TUSH minus both H’s(husbands)
2 Is a call about dingy drab? (8)
ISABELLA – IS, A, BELL(call), A(about). Quite possibly the greatest entry in Chambers, so thanks for putting it in the puzzle, Paul!
3 Regular loads for boilers (7, two words)
SET POTS – SET(regular), POTS(a lot, loads)
4 Excellent time with figure repeatedly heard (5)
TRIFF – T(time) and RIFF(figure regularly heard)
6 Oldie being revamped at the expense of image (7)
EIDOLON – anagram of OLDIE, then ON(at the expense of)
7 Biden’s irritated pleasant Republican in the top slot (6)
ROILED – OILED(tipsy, pleasant) with R(Republican) at the front
8 A cold afternoon and one finds nutritious fruit (4)
ACAI -A, C(cold), A(afternoon), and I(one)
9 Lay to rest a storyteller leaving out finish among other things (9, two words)
INTER ALIA – INTER(lay to rest), A, LIAR(storyteller) minus the last letter
10 Very poor donkey daughter exchanged for last of these (5)
NEEDY – NEDDY(donkey) with D(daughter) replaced by the last letter of thesE
14 Get a load of, eg, Charlie’s sorrow (9)
HEARTACHE – HEAR(get a load of), TACHE(Charlie, moustache type made famous by Charlie Chaplin)
18 US poet accepting current comeback? (8)
EMERSION – The US poet Ralph Waldo EMERSON containing I(current)
20 Brother, absorbed by rhythm, beginning to larrup drum (7)
TIMBREL – BR(brother) inside TIME(rhythm) and the first letter of Larrup
21 Antique bucket is dark red, filled with what borders on dreadful (7)
SWINDLE – ‘S(is), WINE(dark red) containing the exterior letter of DreadfuL
22 Transform north-eastern community concerning botanist (7)
ALTERNE – ALTER(transform), NE(north-eastern)
23 Split stick to hold chop (6)
CLEAVE – four definitions
25 Rating is just what’s sought for the green light to go (5)
ABSIT – AB(rating), ‘S(is), IT(just what’s sought)
27 Price of Branston’s first special pickles (5)
PROBS – PR(price), O'(of), the first letter in Branston and S(special). I’m not a fan of pickles, but Branston’s is a UK brand of them
29 Posh wife binned flask (4)
DEAR – remove W(wife) from a DEWAR flask

14 comments on “Mephisto 3249 – Paul McKenna”

  1. Well, my third, and almost all correct… I guessed DWINDLE for the “antique bucket,” but neglected to try to find it online (and I still don’t have Chambers). Ah, well…
    I knew EIDOLON from Hart Crane, “Legend”:
          Twice and twice
          (Again the smoking souvenir,
          Bleeding eidolon!) and yet again.
          Until the bright logic is won
          Unwhispering as a mirror
          Is believed.
    A few things I didn’t know before: ISABELLA as a color, SET POTS, and the flask in 29.
    Still don’t see the relevance of “Biden’s irritated” in ROILED. (I had a theory…)

  2. I found WATUTSI online as a spelling for the people for whom the dance is named, but not for the dance itself—near as I can tell: Most of the entries on the barely four pages of Google results are not in English.
    But must be in Chambers… everything is…

    1. It is in Chambers as “a dance popular in the 60’s”. I remember it from an early episode of the Adam West Batman show where he was dancing the batusi (if I recall correctly, at the end of the episode his dance partner falls into the nuclear pile in the batcave and Adam West says “what a way to go-go”).

      1. The dance is generally called the “watusi.” Is WATUTSI given in Chambers as an alternative, or does it have an entry all its own?

          1. Aha. If one searches WATUTSI in Collins Online, it offers the page for TUTSI, but read the fine print: “Also called…” That is for the people, however, not the dance. Collins Online doesn’t have the dance at all. Nor does I think the name of the fad dance would be less likely to vary.

            And I’ve known about the watusi forever.

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