Mephisto 3280 – If you didn’t do it, try it

This was one of the easier Mephistos I’ve done.   I definitely gained confidence when I found the first two across answers were write-ins for me, and some of the next few were also rather easy.   I suppose it helped a little to be from New England, as we tended to pick up Pequot and Narragansett words back in the day.

I might have been possible to me to finish without using Chambers at all, but as long as I had it out I checked a few things.     I don’t expect this trend will continue, as I turn today’s Mephisto, but that’s for George to worry about.


1 Reformed zodiac without date, without animals (5)
AZOIC – Anagram of ZO[d]IAC.
6 Take more than a fair share after wharf cut round clam (6)
11 Plainsong format once composed (10, two words)
13 Help over turning back sea — Canute’s power, say (6)
DIADEM – AID backwards + MED, also backwards.
14 Very packed salon? Um … floor is failing (7)
ROOMFUL – Anagram of UM … FLOOR.
15 Froth on beer? Pub server’s no help (4)
BARM – BARM[aid].
16 Go away! I am one after quiet (5)
IMSHI – I’M + SH + I.
17 Seed pod, coloured, carried by wild lilies (7)
SILICLE – Anagram of LILIES around C for coloured.
20 Commander mounted reprisal, daring to lose some on the flanks (8)
RISALDAR – Hidden in [rep]RISAL DAR[ing].
22 Sad and low to note rare event (8, two words)
25 Enclosure restraining missing canine (7)
27 Work protecting a little over forty hybrid species (5)
OXLIP –  O(XLI)P – Roman numeral time!
28 In the year Hannibal’s son abandons capital (4)
ANNO – [h]ANNO.    See the Battle of Agrigentum.
29 Excellent drug support worker (7)
ELEGANT – E + LEG + ANT, a compendium of cryptic cliches.
31 Girl the reverse of game, for example (6)
YASMIN – NIM, SAY backwards.   Not a female name that I knew.
32 Like the first book a Cingalese composed (10)
33 Defendant before law to bow down (6)
DEFLEX – DEF in front of LEX.
34 Returning barges glide smoothly (5)
SLEEK – KEELS backwards.
1 What’s active in biting? (6)
ACARID – AC(A)RID, an &lit.
2 Mine worker once locally gathering cobalt (6)
3 Also old pair of lovers (4)
ITEM – Double definition, referring to an old usage where item was a separater in a list of miscellaneous things, as item, a pair of shoes, item, a hammer, item, a teapot….
4 Establish conservation company (7)
5 Endure endless revolutionary ego over outpouring of speech (8)
EFFUSION –  SUFFE[r] backwards + NO I backwards – i.e. number one, yourself.
7 Himalayan native funeral British avoided (5)
URIAL – [b]URIAL – a wild sheep, to be exact.
8 Sweet child nurse running short on humour (7)
AMABILE – AMA[h] + BILE, one of the four humours in medieval medicine.
9 What’s not good for lorries ruined a long drive (10)
10 A piece of cake? I want it! (5)
GIMME – Double definition, the first from golf.
12 Made even compiler woolly (10)
18 Language divide is very great around Gloucestershire (8)
19 Drink with honey, orange rind and melon blended (7)
OENOMEL – Anagram of O[rang]E + MELON.  It is just wine-honey in Greek, so easily solved by classicists.
21 Puzzling emotion as one is flustered (7)
ANOESIS – Anagram of AS ONE IS, more Greek.
23 Gander finally swallowing eel (6)
24 Seeming to question SNP’s understanding about pound (6)
UPTALK – UPTA(L)K, where SNP merely indicates a Scots dialect form.
25 I am surprised retiring milkmaid did dance (5)
HAYED – HA + DEY backwards.   Knowledge of the Shepherd’s Hay may be helpful here.
26 Reactive substance, one mostly dug up (5)
IMINE – I + MINE[d].   I originally had amine, but finally discovered one really means one.
30 Girl’s accommodating over early game of hockey (4)
GOAL – G(O)AL.   Even if you don’t know the usage, a very likely-seeming answer.

8 comments on “Mephisto 3280 – If you didn’t do it, try it”

    1. A diadem or crown is, in archaic use, a symbol of the authority or dignity of a ruler. Canute is used to confuse since he tried to turn back the sea (the Med.) but he’s really there as an example of a ruler.

      How does 24 d work? I see the synonym part but don’t get “understanding about pound”. If pound is L, then understanding is uptak(e)?

      When I first looked up Hanno, Wiki showed him as one of Hannibal’s ancestors rather than his son. Must be more than one!

      Many thanks to Messrs. Grimshaw and Vinyl.

      1. UPTAK is in Chambers as a Scots version of UPTAKE, understanding, mental apprehension.

  1. Thanks for the explanations. Didn’t know Hanno but got haining. I knew Yasmin variant of Jasmin. There were a sufficient number of obvious or non-obscure words to complete this Mephisto with relative ease. I enjoyed it.

  2. Fun puzzle, did not have to look up too many things in Chambers, though did confirm the bits of UPTALK. I thought I remembered a bizarre actress named YASMIN, but it had an E on the end of it. There is a long list of names and variant spellings at the back of Chambers.

  3. I meant to say earlier that the Shepherds Hay I think you mean (the tune arranged more than once by Percy Grainger) is usually “Shepherds Hey”, using an alternative spelling.

    1. Another route to this answer is via Aldous Huxley, who spells it Hay, taking his title from “with their goat feet dance the antic hay”.

  4. I completed this successfully after taking up the Mephisto challenge a month or two ago. I now find that I usually can complete them, but with quite extensive reference to Chambers or similar. I did think at the time of solving that this one included some relatively easy entry points. Thanks all.

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