Mephisto 3256 – In which Don Manley has the last word

I did not find this too bad for the most part, and got pretty far in one session.   The next morning, I polished off most of the rest except for one stubborn hold-out.   This one had the dreaded unchecked first letter, making the dictionary trawl very tedious.   I tried for a long time adding an E in various places in Portia, but to no avail.   Fortunately, the word I was looking for started with a G, so at least I didn’t have to search for too long.

As stated, this is Don Manley’s final Mephisto.   I can see why, if you wished to cut back a bit, you might chose to drop Mephisto, as these types of puzzles must be very demanding to construct, and the prospective audience is rather small.   I would like to thank Mr Manley for his fine run of 200 Mephistos, which I always enjoyed solving.   Soon either George or I will be struggling to figure out the style of the two new Mephisto setters, so stand by for that.

1 Merry and encouraging, not revolting (8)
10 Dancers getting relief, stifling expression of joy? (6)
ALMAHS – ALM(AH)S, one I was able to biff.
12 One of the Scots embracing the goddess (6)
ATHENE – A(THE)NE, one I entered in the wrong place at first.
13 Animal in hollow place nipped by nasty adder (8, two words)
RED PANDA – RED(PAN)DA, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of ADDER.
14 My note about true origin of word (6)
ETYMON – Anagram of MY NOTE.
15 African shelter by university (4)
HUTU – HUT + U, a starter clue.
16 Faculty making some money once (6)
TALENT -Double definition, another easy one.
17 Afflictions when banking pounds or bucks (6)
SORELS – SORE(L)S.   Bucks in Shakespeare only, apparently.
18 Volcanic material destroying reptile (7)
PERLITE –  Anagram of REPTILE.
21 Time off — trade’s abandoned with family finally seen? (7, two words)
REST DAY – Anagram of TRADE’S followed by [famil]Y.
26 Tree worker, one by a river? (6)
ANTIAR – ANT + I + A +R, a compendium of cryptic elements.
29 African community was backing chamber orchestra (6)
ECOWAS –  E.C.O. + WAS, where E.C.O. = English Chamber Orchestra.   ECOWAS itself = Economic Community of West African States.
30 Worm getting rid of a goat (4)
31 Broadcast by a jolly lot, flying fighters (6)
32 Fibre shown by female, English monarch dismissing Spain (8)
HENEQUEN – HEN + E QUE[e]N, where E is the one-letter country code for Spain.
33 Show with Eastern wickedness — any number enthralled (6)
EVINCE – E + VI(N)CE, another starter clue.
34 Standard set by good Scottish cricket side (6)
GUIDON – GUID + ON, a type of banner.
35 The ____? His art and poet’s will be different (8)
PROSAIST – An &lit compound anagram, where HIS ART + POET’S is an anagram of THE PROSAIST.
1 Bird has turned up to grab catch, taking more risks (12)
SAGETHRASHER – SA(GET)H + RASHER, where HAS is reverse for the enclosing letters.
2 Tree map involving appropriate technology (6)
PLATAN –  PL(AT)AN.  Yes, AT is a valid abbreviation for appropriate technology.
3 Striker in school for swats wanting head dismissed (6)
RAMMER – [c]RAMMER.   Swat is an alternate spelling of swot.
4 Horrible rodent has bitten Henry in the seat (7)
THRONED –  Anagram of RODENT around H.
5 Perform in vessel in underground water (6)
6 Wife and husband almost glow at what location in Scotland? (5)
WHAUR –  W + H + AUR[a], another biffable one.
7 African money invested in serious entertainment (5)
SENTE – Hidden in [seriou]S ENTE[rtainment.  From Lesotho.
8 Papal licence, one not dated, with bits of unusual Latin terminology (6)
INDULT – I + N.D. + U[nusual] L[atin] T[erminlogy].   Knowing indulgence, you are likely to see this.
9 New marking fools on square may get in army unit, US soldier excepted (12)
REASSESSMENT – RE(ASSES, S)[gi]MENT.   A complicated cryptic that will probably be only partially understood while solving.
11 Around edge of country spots old hybrid animals (6)
MOYLES – MO([countr]Y)LES.   Old because the word is archaic.
19 Herbs and grass, mostly in America (7)
20 Private home with hospital facility (6)
INWARD – IN + WARD, another easy one.
22 Fantastic eleven getting carried away? (6)
ENLEVE –  Anagram of ELEVEN, a French term adopted in English.
23 Debater stirring our rage, nothing less (6)
ARGUER –  Anagram of [o]UR RAGE, a starter clue.
24 Girl lacking energy in improvised singing (6)
25 Fish — a shiny group brought aboard ship (6)
SARGOS – S(ARGO)S.   The Argo is a former constellation.
27 Top-notch fabric used up to make ribbon (5)
TENIA – A I NET upside down.
28 Tribe shows formality leading province (5)

6 comments on “Mephisto 3256 – In which Don Manley has the last word”

  1. I’m very happy to report that you must be right and this is not “too bad,” because I finished Mr. Manley’s last—just now! Just this minute! Had set it aside for a whole week. I did not, however, fully parse PROSAIST (and I find the parsing rather convoluted, to be honest…)— actually my POI, despite a very obvious definition. It was great to find so many words that I had never seen before—even if I’m likely to never come across them again… SENTE, VADOSE, WHAUR, INDULT, ANTIAR, HENEQUIN, PERLITE, RICINUS, TENIA, SOREL, GORGIA… I think that’s the entire list!

    GUIDON I knew (like ENLEVÉ) because it’s French, of course (Vexillologie! Now, there’s a word for Mephisto. Twelve letters, just fits!).

    But SAGE THRASHER (two words everywhere I looked) is an addition to my ornithological knowledge.

    SOREL in this sense is found in Merriam-Webster, and as British (“a male fallow deer”)…
    —although it is not found in Collins or Go figure!

    I don’t think I missed anything, Jonathan, when parsing REASSESSMENT. 😉

  2. I should also like to say thank you to Mr. Manley. By no means do I ever finish a Mephisto without resorting to aids but I find the dictionary trawl part of the pleasure.
    I wonder whether 21 ac is his way of saying that he needs a day off – appropriate as the M falls on the day of rest?
    Many thanks to vinyl for the blog.

  3. Ridiculously, SPORTIVE was the one that took me an age to parse after I’d finished. PROSAIST was great, the sort of clue that wins DM prizes elsewhere, and I think THRONED was my second favourite.
    Apart from the usual handful of unknown words, the SAGE THRASHER was new to me. Sounds like a headmaster who quotes Protagoras before picking up the cane.
    I was looking for a hidden farewell message, but couldn’t see anything apart from the GuiDON in the bottom right. Thank you to Mr Manley for all his entertainment from the Mephisto chair.

  4. Fun puzzle and I thought a notch up in difficulty compared to the normal Don Manley Mephisto. Looking forward to the future and thanks for all the fun, DM.

  5. Not too hard, this. Thanks so much to DM for all the superb puzzles and all the best for a happy Mephisto-retirement.

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