Mephisto 3259 – Robert Teuton

Greetings barred-grid fans.

And welcome Robert Teuton to the setting team for the Mephisto! The Mephisto crossword was originally set by Richard Kilner, followed by Richard Whitelegg.  I started doing the puzzle in 1996, when the setting team was expanded to the trio of Chris Feetenby, Mike Laws and Tim Moorey.  Paul McKenna replaced Chris Feetenby, then when Mike Laws passed away it was a two-person team for a short time until Don Manley joined.  With Don Manley stepping down, it is now a four-setter team.

I don’t think I have solved a complete puzzle by Robert Teuton before, and I enjoyed this one.  I needed a second session to complete it, but it will take some time to see where Robert fits in the relative difficulty of the solvers.

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

1 There’s opening to nick lags with dragnet cast around here (12)
GANGSTERLAND – anagram of the first letter of Nick, LAGS and DRAGNET
10 Wood stove’s inside (4)
RIMU – the interior letters of a PRIMUS stove
11 Environmentalists with prominence creating a stink (6)
FOETOR – FOE(Friends of the Earth, environmentalists), and TOR(prominence)
13 Any food that can be cured. (Turkey excluded) (7)
EATABLE – TREATABLE(that can be cured) minus TR(Turkey)
14 Part of bride’s outfit? It’ll arrive after June 30, and the rest apparently (9, two words)
JULIET CAP – the day after June 30 is JUL 1, then ETC(the rest), AP(apparently)
15 Celtic hooligans due to leave Dundee’s ground (4)
NEDS – remove DUE from DUNDEE’S, then jumble
16 More smart meters ultimately produce recipe to cut excess usage (7)
SPRUCER – last letter of meterS, then R(recipe) inside an anagram of PRODUCE minus OD(excess usage)
17 Summerhouse view that’s amazing overlooking Yarmouth’s front (6)
GAZEBO – GAZE(view), and BOY(that’s amazing) minus the first letter in Yarmouth
20 Let off a bit of steam, but you’ve no right to swear (5)
SCUSE – first letter of Steam, then CURSE(swear) minus R(right)
22 Not hard to get to the answer (5)
REACT – remove H(hard) from REACH(get to), then T'(the)
24 Finishes off latte and exits after breaking cafe stools (6)
FAECES – last letters of lattE and exitS after an anagram of CAFE. I got a giggle out of this clue
26 Yahoo stocks leak circulating — may fall in autumn (7, two words)
OAK LEAF – OAF(yahoo) surrounding an anagram of LEAF
28 Forces to drop good practices (4)
ISMS – GISMS(forces) minus G(good)
30 Monks pronounced Daniel’s boast on leaving lion’s den? (9)
CENOBITES – sounds like what Daniel might say – SEE, NO BITES
32 A Spain trip? Essentially too homey maybe for Spaniard (7)
PAISANO – anagram of A,SPAIN then the last letter of toO. I’ve only heard this term from Italian-American mobster movies, but Chambers says it is also Spanish
33 Stir crazy, very close to insane inside clinks (6)
RIVETS – anagram of STIR containing V(very) and the last letter of insanE
34 Play this possibly for a calypso (4)
SOCA – anagram of CALYPSO minus PLAY
35 Back from dentist, sister is struggling with her canines (12, two words)
IRISH SETTERS – anagram of the last letter of dentisT, SISTER,IS and HER
1 What was rank and ranker when picked up? Aussie bug (11)
GREENGROCER – GREEN(rank, low-level, new), and sounds like GROSSER(ranker). I think I have the right sense of rank here, but may be wrong.  Edit:  and when something doesn’t quite fit it certainly does not – thanks to dcrooks in comments for pointing out that the second definition of GREE in Chambers is “Degree, rank (obsolete)”.  So it is GREE(rank), ‘N'(and), GROSSER(sounds like ranker)
2 Web designers earn a smashing wage on a regular basis (7)
ARANEAE – anagram of EARN,A then alternating letters in wAgE
3 Bard’s merry old poem recalled after new one (5)
NITID – DIT(old poem) reversed after N(new), I(one)
4 Problem boarding public transport around outskirts of town (6)
SUBURB – RUB(problem) inside BUS(public transport) all reversed
5 Sell slips in fashion shops (7, two words)
TELLS ON – anagram of SELL inside TON(fashion)
6 Drifters wear oversized trousers (6)
ROVERS – hidden inside weaR OVERSized
7 Rent reduction withdrawn, last in house leaves (7)
LETTUCE – LET(rent), then CUT(reduction) reversed and the last letter in housE
8 Animal — three letters — beginning with A (4)
ATOC – the three letters are A TO C
9 Stars back on TV in a one off (5)
NOVAE – last letter in tV inside an anagram of A,ONE
12 Inhibitions about gift almost bewildered son (11)
REPRESSIONS – RE(about), then PRESSIE(gift) minus the last letter and an anagram of SON
18 Ant does this when first appearing, Dec starting late fails (7)
ECLOSES – DEC minus the first letter, LOSES(fails)
19 Launch of newspaper, a vital year to come out (7)
OFFTAKE – OF, FT(newspaper), A, KEY(vital) minus Y(year)
21 Meeting overran, I messed up somewhat (7)
SEMINAR – hidden reversed in overRAN I MESsed
23 Back in the shivering parts of December and January (6)
TEBETH – BET(back, support) inside an anagram of THE
25 Collage is toneless to some extent, I’m not keen on the greys (6)
AGEIST – hidden inside collAGE IS Toneless
27 Scandinavians idolised these famed skiers regularly (5)
AESIR – alternating letters in fAmEd SkIeRs
29 Health resort with one sharing a room (5)
SPACE – SPA(health resort) and ACE(one) overlapping at the A
31 US moles name corrupt leader of Liberia exiled (4)
NEVI – N(name) then EVIL(corrupt) minus the first letter in Liberia

10 comments on “Mephisto 3259 – Robert Teuton”

  1. Looking back over this before opening the blog, I didn’t see anything that still wanted explaining. My copy is really clean, too. (Haven’t bought Chambers yet, either! Ha.) Very satisfying solve and entertaining puzzle. Welcome to Mr. Teuton!

    1. Aha! Collins has an entry for GREE, obsolete, chiefly Scottish, meaning “superiority, preeminence, or victory,” or a prize, to come to an agreement (form of “agree”), good will, and, in one entry, under “American English,” “a step,” which equals “degree.” But I’d better get Chambers.

  2. Welcome Robert- I too really enjoyed the puzzle- particularly liked cenobites and the web designers!

  3. Thank-you Robert for a great puzzle (and George for the blog). I enjoyed this a lot and finished in less than 45 minutes, so it was just a nice level of difficulty for me. LOI RIMU, but only because it was the last one left. Plenty of entertaining clues (I have more than 1/2 dozen approving ticks on my copy), my pick of which was the one for CENOBITES. I’m looking forward to the next one already!

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