Mephisto 3284 – George Martin, producer

I didn’t find this difficult, as there were quite a few easy ones to get started.     The vocabulary was well suited to those who like to read Middle English and Early Modern texts.    Words like yclept and sdeign are pretty easy for those who have trudged through Chaucer, Skelton, and Spenser.

The ones I didn’t know were quite simple, at least for a Mephisto.  Tsuba, solenodon, and mallee hen gave very little difficulty, and I wrapped this one up in one sitting.


1 Decline to abandon Latin where praetor presided (4)
6 Called old personal trainer after bike’s failing to start (6)
YCLEPT – [c]YCLE + P.T, a word often found in Chaucer
11 Anaesthetic for tooth needing a number (8)
PROCAINE – PRO + CA[n]INE.    This was actually used by dentists, I believe.
12 Partly open dynasty of Iran allowing no queen (4)
AJAR – [q]AJAR.    I didn’t have a clue about the parsing, but the answer was easy enough.
13 One caring about lack of education (9)
15 What was slight plot getting advancement for son (6)
SDEIGN –  DESIGN with the S moved to the front.   We have advanced to the 16th century.
17 Household abandoned by a veteran couple (5)
MENGE – MEN[a]GE.   Archaic language again.  Couple is a verb.
18 Captivating “South Pacific” (7)
19 Publicly announce the “Ying Tong Song”? (10, three words)
GO ON RECORD – GOON RECORD, which it was.
22 Old gainsay unfortunate lack of correspondence (10)
25 Work round regional confusion over marsupial (7)
OPOSSUM – OP + MUSS  O backwards.   No muss, no fuss.
27 Ornamental plate flipping American broke (5)
TSUBA -A + BUST backwards.
30 Membrane in man developing around embryo ultimately (6)
AMNION – Anagram of IN MAN around [embry]O
31 Part of foot’s reversed in cock northern megapode (9, two words)
MALLEE HEN –  MAL(HEEL backwards)E + N
32 English poke fun at nouns? (4)
ECOD – E + COD – you could look up this meaning of nouns, it’s there.
33 Regretted partners having trouble in bed (8)
34 They locally, say, prosecute returning Athenian leader (6)
AEGEUS – A + E.G. + SUE backwards.
35 Feel heartless? Enough said, perhaps, in the past (4)
SESE –  SE[n]SE.
1 Essayist’s foolishness dreaming there’s no escape (5)
2 Height of eagle’s flight disturbed a crippled foe (12, three words)
3 Only drowse, concerned with venomous creature (9)
SOLENODON – SOLE + NOD + ON.   Chambers doesn’t say they’re venomous, but apparently they are.
4 Sheeting of thin metal section being moved a long way on reel (7)
TAGGERS – STAGGER, with the S moved all the way to the end.
5 Spirits or spirit? Not specified (5)
GINNS – GIN + N/S.   More often spelt djinns.
7 Fish roe crackers topped with piece of chive (4)
CERO – C + anagram of ROE.
8 Royal’s returning to guard a temporary camp (6)
LAAGER – REGA(A)L upside down, a Mephisto chestnut.
9 Seals preparing to move home? (12, two words)
PACKING BOXES – Double definition.
10 Force leaving tense Gallic border (6)
14 Like hypnotic force of elaborate lyrics (4)
ODIC –  Double definition.
16 What’s inside Nando’s nut filled sausage? (9)
ANDOUILLE – [n]ANDO'[s]  [n]U[t] [f]ILLE[d].   This form doesn’t seem to be in my Chambers, which only gives andouillette.
20 Mexico’s ultimate tamale, cooked light brown (7)
OATMEAL – Anagram of [Mexic]O +TAMALE
21 Company money going into main plant (6)
23 Operatic heroine is accustomed to gain Met’s heart (6)
ISOLDE – IS + OLD + [m]E[t].
24 Old French measure, a local one (4)
26 Alcohol lifting a punch? (5)
MAHWA – A WHAM upside-down.
28 Junction of lines close to a terminal (5)
29 Ethiopian fly killing a black ox (4)

4 comments on “Mephisto 3284 – George Martin, producer”

  1. I felt slightly hard done by with ANDOUILLE not being in Chambers. It’s not in the latest edition or the missing words supplement. But l guess it became obvious enough as time went by. ISOLDE was entered early on, but didn’t fully understand the parsing. So ACCUSTOMED = OLD. I must remember that.

    LOI AEGEUS – NHO, but became the only likely possibility.

    Thanks for the explanations. Another enjoyable Mephisto.

  2. Rather pleasant Mephisto, in 46 minutes. Like Richard, crossed fingers on the presumably larger ANDOUILLE. I pondered long over PACKING BOXES, even looking up the well known Packing Seal, kin to the walrus. I gather it’s actually plumbing. Much appreciated the Go On Show (sic, BBC Home Service) reference.
    I think I’ve seen the MALLEE HEN before in this parish: I looked it up after solving to see if it justified its megapode ID. Personally, I don’t think it does.
    Good to have antiques like YCLEPT and SDEIGN which I actually knew. And thankful for getting AEGEUS right when that unchecked G was easily mistaken.

  3. I found this pretty tricky.
    I parsed 25ac as OP, O (round), reversal of MUSS. Works fine either way!
    Isn’t 5dn an error? GINN is the plural of ‘genie’, just as ‘djinn’ is the plural of ‘djinni’.
    I knew of Andouille. Revolting stuff.

    1. You are correct, but I suppose the setter has a get-out in Chambers: ‘The jinn are often called genii by a confusion and jinns sometimes occurs as a plural in non-standard use.’

      Presumably there is an inference that the same would apply to GINNS.

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