Mephisto 3263 – Robert Teuton

Greetings, barred-grid fans.

For Robert Teuton’s second Mephisto offering, I believe he ratcheted up the difficulty a touch. I liked the quirky clueing. particularly the long charades (2 and 17 down for example), and would like to give a hat-tip to the grid, with the large all-checked region in the middle and 90-degree symmetry.

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

Away we go…

1 Mushroom with squid, the best recipe out? (8)
PUCKFIST – PUCK(a squid is the weighted puck in underwater hockey), then FIRST(the best) minus R(recipe)
7 Stubborn sort’s reason to get the hell out (4)
CUSS – DISCUSS(reason) minus DIS(hell)
10 Bombay duck’s fate in Mumbai when out of form (9)
BUMMALOTI – LOT(fate) inside an anagram of MUMBAI
11 Decline to discard jack going after West (4)
WILT – JILT(discard) minus J(jack) after W(west)
13 Unproductive investing tip from Reader’s Digest (5)
LEARN – LEAN(unproductive) containing the first letter in Reader’s
14 Spanish highness dancing late with Margherita perhaps (6)
ALTEZA – anagram of LATE with ‘ZA(abbreviation for PIZZA, of which Margherita is a type). ‘ZA for pizza is not in Chambers but is popular in the USA
15 Porridge is one being broadcast in instalments (6)
CEREAL – sounds like SERIAL(in instalments)
16 Love yielding to tone in stringed instrument (guitar) (7)
VIHUELA – replace O(love) with HUE(tone) in VIOLA(stringed instrument)
19 Drama school right to cut short monologues, they’ll catch those going too fast (10, two words)
RADAR TRAPS – RADA(Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), R(right cut short), T'(to cut short), RAPS(monologues)
20 Formation of pus, a little yellow and seeping so badly (10)
PYOGENESIS – anagram of the first letter of Yellow and SLEEPING,SO
24 Made no money backing Cinderella pantomime (7)
CHARADE – MADE minus M(money) after CHAR(Cinderella, scullery-maid)
25 Men in East London are around fire (6)
AROUSE – OUS(South African men) inside ARE
26 French fiddler arranged score before start of concerto (6)
ESCROC – anagram of SCORE and the first letter of Concerto
28 No time to blame European duplicity (5)
GUILE – remoce T(time) from GUILT(blame), then E(European)
29 Good nursemaid, a goddess (4)
GAIA – G(good), AIA(nursemaid)
30 I see favourite’s last, heading for local butcher’s after losing Grand National! (9)
ICELANDER – I, C(see) and the last letter of favoritE, then the first letter of Local and GANDER(butcher’s, look) minus G(grand)
31 Some mistake elderberries for Caribbean fruit (4)
AKEE – hidden inside mistAKE Elderberries
32 Communique about University estate (8)
MESSUAGE – MESSAGE(communique) containing U(university)
1 Shell out spending last penny on return trip (4)
PAWA – AWAY(out) missing the last letter and P(penny) all reversed
2 I’ll pick up as I settled that old fight (12, two words)
UTILITY TRUCK –  UT(as), I, LIT(settled), YT(that, old), RUCK(fight)
3 International player entertaining league by way of defensive device (8)
CALTHROP – CAP(international player) containing L(league) and THRO(by way of)
4 Worried about Thailand and Zambia involved in terrible feud (6)
FUTZED – T(Thailand) and Z(Zambia) inside an anagram of FEUD
5 I can blame blundering on small discrepancies (10)
IMBALANCES – anagram of I,CAN,BLAME with S(small)
6 I appreciate that fast ability (6)
TALENT – TA(I appreciate that), LENT(fast)
7 Onset of coronary left aircraftman in office job (5)
CLERK – first letter of Coronary, L(left), ERK(aircraftman)
8 Quickly dropping Beefy when admitting hoo-ha (12)
STRAPPADOING – STRAPPING(beefy) containing ADO(hoo-ha)
9 Start to stay out more? Not guilty! (7)
SINLESS – first letter of Stay, and if you are out more you are IN LESS
12 Conservative beset by shivering as he reads what’s on sensational front pages? (10)
SCAREHEADS – C(conservative) inside an anagram of AS,HE,READS
17 After closure of Barclays banks are finally gone, a blow to locals (8)
SASARARA – last letter of barclayS, then ASAR(eskars, banks), ARE minus the last letter and A
18 Inability to eat a half haggis wrapped in plant (7)
APHAGIA – A, then half of HAGgis inside PIA(plant)
21 To contain old men fighting, marine moves in (6)
ENSEAM – anagram of MEN containing SEA(marine)
22 Numpties after seconds is cheeky (6)
SASSES – ASSES(numpties) after S(seconds)
23 Pollute river discharging foul material (5)
TULLE – anagram of POLLUTE minus the PO river
27 Staff canteen’s deserted by 10 (4)

7 comments on “Mephisto 3263 – Robert Teuton”

  1. Many thanks to setter and blogger.
    Regarding the wonderful 2d, should you add that “I’ll” is actually Ill. (for Illinois) so as to refer us to US vocabulary?

    1. My interpretation was that “I” was being used to mean the answer, in the style of old-style quiz questions and/or quizzy clues. “I am a composer of 9 symphonies but only one opera” for example. I had a vague notion that it was part of William G Stewart’s style on Fifteen to One, but a Youtube sample had no examples, so perhaps older than that. I don’t think any of the Mephisto setters would use I’ll for Illinois and make me wonder whether to allow it.

  2. Re. RADAR TRAPS: I had R = right and T = ‘to’ cut short, though that may or may not have been the setter’s intention.

    1. I agree. I don’t think ‘right to cut short’ can indicate an abbreviation of ‘right’.

  3. After enjoying Robert’s previous one, I found this too hard to be fun and was defeated by SASARARA which I transcribed wrongly from the dictionary, unparsed. I only have Chambers so didn’t get ‘ZA for pizza, and I couldn’t parse CUSS either, so thanks for the enlightenment, George.

  4. VIHUELA. As a classical guitarist I saw the word right away, but was fixated on ‘tone’ being E-LA, which I already had, so went looking for something like BANJELA, which unfortunately doesn’t exist. Link to El Cancion del Emperador, or Milles Regretz, with some stunning singing, accompanied by the solo adaptation by de Narvaez. Despite what the credit at the start says, the instrument is a reconstructed vihuela, not a lute.

    One in Huelva played this (7)

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