Mephisto 3278 – “Backed by our supreme authority….

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I did solve this puzzle, but I would be the first to admit I don’t quite get some of the trickier cryptics.    Careful research as turned up some of the parsings, but not all of them.

The puzzle itself was not difficult, as most of the words were quite common, and it’s possible to make good progress with the crossing letters, especially if you get the longer ones early on.

OK, I have resolved my difficulties with the ‘text a friend’ option.   I won’t say who the friend is, but he is an experienced Mephisto blogger.

1 Patter about loom for room where priors prattle (7)
PARLOUR – RAP backwards + LOUR.
7 Excellent time is intended (5)
MEANT – MEAN + T, mean in its slang sense – he makes a mean Beef Wellington.
12 Poetically old salt turned round one upside down relationship? (12, two words)
INVERSE RATIO – IN VERSE + TAR backwards + O,I backwards.
13 Problems involving three bones (8)
14 Cheekily question cubic liquid measure (4)
CHIN – C + HIN, a Biblical measure.
15 Duke standing for last of two in warlike imperialistic cloth (5)
KHADI – KHA(-ki,+D) + I for imperialistic.   Well, that’s my interpretation!
17 Feeler C Attlee put out round about outset of Nationalism (8)
TENTACLE – Anagram of C ATTLEE around N[ationalism].
19 Appropriate game for cook (5)
POACH – Double definition.
20 Tell me to stop, for example, with female (7, two words)
22 New site hosting tool mostly for one up on, eg, Homer (7)
EPICIST – E(PIC[k])IST, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of SITE.
23 Ovid’s excluded from thrifty Scots edition (5)
24 Term for ammo tumbling about in most recent armour (8)
LORICATE – L([amm]O,RIC)ATE, where RIC is CIR backwards, another abbreviation of circa.
28 Elderly getting by with staff being absent (5)
AGING – [man]AGING, staff as a verb.
30 Well, pop (4)
SODA – SO + DA, a sort of &lit.
31 Adept son that’s reprogrammed input devices? (8)
32 Open to learning from everlasting God with Bible finally out (12)
INSTRUCTIBLE – IN(-d,-e)STRUCTIBLE, where the last letters of GOD and BIBLE are removed.
33 Seldom encountered cells in US who exploit exporting ducks (5)
CYTES – C[o]Y[o]TES, referring to human smugglers, not the animal.
34 Who saves on kebab, as we gather? (7)
RESCUER – RE + sounds like SKEWER.
1 Spirit is crushed by bad cop (5)
PISCO – IS in an anagram of COP.
2 Hang on! Poetry replaced scrutiny of “The Origin of Man” (12)
3 Before going in katabasis suss out swamp (5)
LERNA –  Move the A of LEARN (suss out) to the bottom.     Katabasis literally means going down, although since it was used in classical Greek to mean retreat, it could indicate backwards.
4 Yellow sap? For Pliny this is to do with birds (8)
5 Certain section getting into one royally a moneylender (7)
USURESS – U(SURE, S)S, the royal we in an oblique case.
6 A unit in old Egypt formed of uncommissioned sappers? (5)
REMEN – R.E. MEN, as opposed to R.E. noncoms or R.E. officers.
8 Run this for every one — it could be a barely defensible upshot (4)
EACH – [-r]EACH, where a reach as a noun is a barely defensible extension of language or thought.    You might say this clue is a reach.
9 A terrier’s gong Charlie perhaps held bound (8)
ATTACHED – A + T(TACHE)D, a Territorial Decoration.   Yes, a Charlie can be a type of mustache .
10 Wag’s new con, slicing fine loaf (12)
11 Turn over explosive that is boxed revealing summer’s count? (7)
TOTIENT –  T(T/O backwards + I.E.)NT.
16 Look into it, he’s possibly dodgy to the max? (8)
HAIRIEST – H(AIR)IEST, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of IT, HE’S.
18 Person overlooking cuttings and similar prepares for press (8)
TYPESETS – TYPE + SETS.   I think I may have missed something here, but maybe not.
19 Force eight or nine wind veering north filling image of the deep (7)
PELAGIC – P(GALE backwards)IC.
21 Note act performing together in Spenser (7)
ATTONCE – Anagram of NOTE ACT.
25 Attractive quality leading couple abandoned for a shabby affair (5)
AMOUR –  (-hu,+A)MOUR.   I was thinking glamour, but humour seems to fit the cryptic better.
26 A well-nigh blue lavender (5)
ASPIC – A + SPIC[y], blue in the sense of erotic, hot.   You could look up aspic, it really is a kind of lavender as well as a gelatin.
27 Stunner posed in a new way, looking up (5)
TASER – RESAT backwards.
29 Reputation is what turns supplier of food into carer (4)
NOTE – NO TE causes caterer to become carer.

15 comments on “Mephisto 3278 – “Backed by our supreme authority….”

  1. I think the D in KHADI replaces just the last of the two Ks in “khaki.”

    How is the A singled out to be moved down in LERNA? “Before” means A, how?

    1. A is short for ante, Latin for “before”, as in AM (ante meridiem – before noon). In my Chambers, I can’t see the definition mentioned by dcrooks below but if it’s there then it would be equally valid.

      1. I can’t see it either! Which came as a surprise, because I’ve had it in my head for the last thirty or forty years that it was there.

  2. I don’t see why T/O needs to be backwards in 11d. Surely it’s T/O + T(IE)NT?
    4d: can someone explain the SAP? NIT equivalence?

  3. 12a: UPSIDE DOWN is part of definition.

    15a: Agree with Guy that we’re invited to substitute the second K.

    32a: D = DEUS

    3d: Guy, Chambers has A as an archaic version of BEFORE. (Have you got hold of the BRB yet, or are we going to have to club together to get you one?)

    8d: Yes, definitely a REACH!

    11d: T/O, as in business Turn Over

    18d: SETS = CUTTINGS and bulbs etc, in one of the several hundred meanings of the word. OVERLOOKING is positional.

    21d: Agree that HUMOUR fits the cryptic better, but suspect the setter intended GLAMOUR.

    And thanks for explaining ATTACHED. I didn’t have a clue about that one.

    1. The “BRB”? I haven’t gotten around to getting Chambers yet, if that’s what you mean. I surprised myself by working a lot of this (at least tentatively) when out in the sun and far from any reference except my phone, which I didn’t use.

  4. Clearing up points not covered above:

    12A is “in verse”, then I inside (O,TAR)<

    18D: maybe the point, er, overlooked is that "overlooking" = being above (not quite stated as a def in C but implied by the "to see from above" one)

    25D is indeed (gl)AMOUR officially

  5. Flooded carpark outside Argos?
    The one that caused me most trouble at the end was LERNA, mostly because the unchecked A at the end could equally well be an E. I failed to work out he cryptic, despite sussing out what katabasis meant and knowing that A often means before. Blind luck won the day.

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