Mephisto 3274 – Dial-a-Tory? Laud-a-Tory!

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I started this on Saturday night (that’s Connecticut time) but was just able to get two or three answers.    I decided that either the puzzle must be too hard, or else I was too tired to solve a Mephisto.   The next morning, I took my Chambers, my pencil, and my eraser, and sat on my deck in the morning sunshine until my solution was complete.   There are some tricky things here, but at least the typical Paul McKenna pun helped me along a bit.

While the puzzle was enjoyable, some of the parsing are a bit obscure – perhaps a commenter will step forward with a clarification or addition.

1 Penny looks and wrestles with God (5)
PRAYS – P + RAYS – yep, ray is given as a look or glance in Chambers.
5 Dark gibe about enemy? (7)
SWARTHY – S(WART)HY, where wart is given in Chambers as a general term of insult.
11 Kiwi munchkin literally facing time to be still (7)
12 Eccentricity packing small screen part played by Hitchcock, say (5)
CAMEO – CAM + EO.   EO is not giving in Chambers for ethylene oxide, but that is the most likely meaning here – perhaps the setter picked this up from his day job?   Most solvers will just biff.
13 Mean to go about playing pool — it’s never straightforward (9)
NONLINEAR – N(ON, LINE)EAR.   I think the pool here is a group of people available to perform a specific type of task – comments invited.
14 Maori settlements as focus of docusoap (4)
UTUS – UT + [doc]US[oap].
16 Hard wood with name Calamus (5)
RATAN – RATA + N.   Rata is a hard wood in more than one sense.
17 Tearing miss about to suffer histrionic simpers (7)
SMILETS – Anagram of MISS around LET.
18 Mean shipmate winding up cranks (12)
22 Style used vaguely from Chaucer’s noble mixed dialect (12, two words)
23 Ridiculous losing husband in ripped hat (7)
25 Station in Deolali turning over this auld wifie’s benefit (5)
ANNAT –  TANNA reversed.    Tanna is a variant spelling of tana, an official station in India.
28 Personnel handing over odd letters for redundant servant (4)
ESNE – [p]E[r]S[o]N[n]E[l].   Presumably, redundant means they have lost their job.
29 Judge, pretty much firm at first, backing a Greek island council (9, two words)
LOYA JIRGA – LOYA[l] + J + A GR I backwards.
30 Whole hotel housing old Earl (5, two words)
IN ONE – IN(O)N + E.   Not from Earl-y English!
31 Showing tone of deep and profound waste? (7)
32 Confused about scab being knocked off (7)
33 Section corporal split (5)
SPALL – S + PALL, where corporal refers to a technical term from altar dressing – and so does pall!
1 Pleasure getting tanned is leaving delicate skins (7)
PLEURAE –  Anagram of PLEA[s]URE, with is reduced to ‘s.
2 Occupied with bearing up noosed rope? (5)
RIATA – AT + AIR upside-down.
3 Fantastic trip out in Yankee chopper, no matter what (9, three words)
A TOUT PRIX – A(anagram of TRIP OUT)X.
4 Yah, back round accommodation of a middlingly U sort? (7)
SLOANEY – S(LOAN)EY, where the enclosing letters are yes backwards.
5 Fellow with a way to restrain ruling politician on the left (12)
SINISTERWISE – S([m]INISTER)WISE.   I’m not very satisfied with this parsing – comments invited.
6 Fine guy to miss hoovering first of rooms is house-trained (12)
7 Pips being 75 per cent sour and 50 per cent bad (5)
ACINI – ACI[d] + NI[ff] – the last is just my guess.
8 Gross post that’s officially ordered? (4)
RANK – A triple definition.
9 Forgotten vows in the guise of filling these somehow (7)
HEASTES – Anagram of THESE around AS.
10 Holding tincture Scots lift up bowls (5)
YORKS – Y(OR)KS, i.e. SKY backwards.   Or is a tincture in heraldry.
15 Pen pun and a line’s done (9)
PENINSULA – Anagram of PUN and A LINE’S.   The definition is just the stock abbreviation for peninsula.
19 Stuff up concerning independent radio (7)
MARCONI – CRAM upside-down in a down clue, plus ON + I.
20 Native doctors pack into farm in Provence, say (7)
MGANGAS – M(GANG)AS.    I was a little surprised at mas, but that’s exactly what it is.
21 Quiet French nut left Jewish community (7)
23 In Monaco you kiss a gorgeous girl perhaps (5)
24 Outside broadcast stream shows French item (5)
26 Cashier’s reference possibly clearing second article (5)
ANNUL –  ANNU[a]L, i.e. a reference book.
27 Follower before finding personal prestige (4)
MANA – MAN + A, more Maori.

11 comments on “Mephisto 3274 – Dial-a-Tory? Laud-a-Tory!”

    1. Correct, with “screen” as a verb, meaning “conceal” in particular, and “camouflage” as the larger version.

  1. Familiar with “mas,” having seen it on a sign or two in le Gard or maybe it was Lozère…
    Can’t make sense of the chemical explanation for CAMEO. I think CAM tout court can only be “eccentric,” not “eccentricity,” and AR, above, must have this right.

    1. Just to be sure, “eccentricity” in the clue is not related to “cam”, but indicates the E, which (in lower case), is a mathematical symbol for eccentricity (of a conic section).

      1. Yes, I got that (though I hadn’t looked up “e”=“eccentricity” yet), but my wording wasn’t clear. Had been utterly confused by the common crossword equation of “cam” and “eccentric” before I read AR’s comment.

  2. The pool in 13a is a LIN (you have too many Es, v).
    In 22a the definition is ‘style used vaguely from Chaucer’ (the definition of EE in Chambers is ‘often used vaguely, eg for early Middle English’) and the ‘mixed dialect’ is Yenglish.
    In 28a I think ‘redundant’ just means it’s archaic.
    5dn is SISTER (fellow) containing IN, which Chambers defines as a noun meaning ‘a member of the party in office’.
    I’m not sure about ‘50 per cent bad’ in 8dn. I wonder if it’s half of NICE, since bad can mean ‘good, attractive’.

  3. MAS is a regular visitor to Mephistoland, so file it away in the memory banks. I enjoyed this one, and there were some visits to Chambers to figure out PALL, YINGLISH, RATA and WART.

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