Mephisto 3285 – Tim Moorey

Greetings, barred-grid fans!

I found this one a few notches up in difficulty from the last few weeks.  Tim Moorey’s style of clueing often includes sport and cultural references and they both appear early on here.  Hopefully I’ve got it all sorted out.

Away we go…

1 Heard storyteller getting a stringed instrument (4)
LYRE – sounds like LIAR(storyteller)
4 Cuts coming from Man C and Man U? (8)
TOPSIDES – in football, the two teams from Manchester could be TOP SIDES
10 Line manager briefly ordered change in Eswatini (10)
EMALANGENI – anagram of LINE, MANAGER minus the last letter
11 Ring back on catching British artist in shot (5)
GEMEL – reversal of LEG(on side in cricket) containing the artist Tracy EMIN minus IN
12 What you sit on with a soft base? (6)
CANAPE – brilliant all-in-one.  you sit on your CAN(especially in the USA), then A, P(soft), E(base in natural logarithms). CANAPE can mean a sofa. Speaking of which…
14 Sleeper in Washington great penetrating secret service department (7, two words)
SOFA BED – I don’t see this definition explicitly in Chambers, but SLEEPER and more commonly SLEEPER SOFA are terms for a fold-out bed in the USA. The wordplay is FAB(great) inside SOE(Special Operations Executive, a secret WWII organization), D(department)
15 Concealed in confinement, a sister’s small bulge (7)
ENTASIS – hidden inside confinemENT A SISter’s
16 Kind and unassuming saint coming unstuck (4)
MODE – MODEST(unassuming) minus ST(saint)
17 Career impressed head of employment (8)
STAMPEDE – STAMPED(impressed) and the first letter of Employment
21 Colonnades in designs from Brussels? (8)
EUSTYLES – the designs from Brussels are EU STYLES
23 In short as before head’s beginning to drop off (4)
ONCE – BONCE(head) minus the first letter
24 The old claw back facilities associated with relative (7)
TALAUNT – LAT(facilities, latrine) reversed, with AUNT(relative)
27 Ornate piece of material developed for needle holder (7, two words)
TONE ARM – anagram of ORNATE and the first letter of Material
29 Little people appearing in miscellanies out of step (6)
TICHES –  PASTICHES(miscellanies) minus PAS(step)
30 Glenn’s encounter in Shakespeare (5)
CLOSE – the first part refers to the actress Glenn CLOSE of Fatal Attraction
31 Liaison set up leading to serious complaint (10)
32 Crack and ecstasy with time bringing on this? (8)
DEMENTIA – anagram of AND,E(ecstasy),TIME
33 Talk about tree finally cut down (4)
REAP – RAP(talk) surrounding the last letter of treE
1 Bargeman clearing river dregs (5)
LEGGE – LEGGER(bargeman) minus R(river)
2 Derby side needing energy at full speed up north (7)
RAMSTAM –  Derby County FC are the RAMS, then TEAM(side) minus E(energy)
3 Mephistopheleans can’t do without this Greek city! (4)
ELEA – hidden inside mephistophELEAns
4 Tesla sadly in Samoa smash (5)
TALAS – T(Tesla, the unit), ALAS(sadly). Smash is slang for money
5 Single last letter in US spoken of for leisurewear (6)
ONESIE – ONE(single), then sounds like ZEE(the letter Z in the USA)
6 Fog in the London area after warming up (7, two words)
SEA FRET – london is in the SE(southeast) and then an anagram of AFTER
7 Sibelius was one keen to scrap introductions as a false formality? (6, two words)
IN NAME – Sibelius was a FINN, then GAME(keen), both missing the first letters
8 Shift work texted omitting double time and inept (9)
EXPEDIENT – anagram of TEXTED minus both T’s and INEPT. EXPEDIENT can mean contrivance or shift
9 Some plants in coniferous woods, we hear (7)
SEEDERS – sounds like CEDARS(coniferous woods)
13 Contrary to reports, worker’s at home on French river (9)
ANTINOISE – a worker ANT, IN(at home) and the river OISE
17 Sort of plant needing sun picked out (7)
SPOTTED – a POTTED plant with S(sun)
18 A very long time to get part for fiddlers? (7)
PERAEON – PER(a), AEON(very long time).  The fiddlers are crabs
19 Stick around Greek island — it’s sweet (7)
GLUCOSE – GLUE(stick) surrounding this island of COS
20 Shirt present right away causing a laugh (6)
TEE-HEE – TEE shirt, then HERE(present) minus R(right)
22 Indian committee is about keeping a lot of friendship (6)
SAMITI – IS reversed containing AMITY(friendship) minus the last letter
25 Woman left union with people of intelligence (5)
LUCIA – L(left), U(union) and CIA(people of intelligence)
26 Our special is ham (5)
THESP – THE(our), SP(special)
28 Short warning is needed for a crop retardant (4)
ALAR – ALARM(warning) minus the last letter

12 comments on “Mephisto 3285 – Tim Moorey”

  1. I had TALAS as T (tesla) + ALAS (sadly). (It certainly can’t be an anagram of Tesla!)

      1. I initially had TAELS, which is both an anagram of TESLA and a word meaning money. Just not from Samoa.

        1. Mark Twain (‘To the Person Sitting in Darkness’) makes a bitter joke alluding to the American missionaries’ demands for reparations after the Boxer Rebellion: taels I win, heads you lose.

  2. I did complete it, but with a few constructions not fully understood at that time. All is clear now – thank you!

  3. Re. 12a: I had CAN = toilet, without checking. Now I’ve looked it up, that meaning plus the buttocks bit are both listed in Chambers.

    1. Same here: and I chuckled at this when solving. Slightly sorry to discover the “N Am Slang”!

    1. In Chambers, one of the definitions for THE is “my, our (colloq or faecatious)”.

      1. …and I believe Chambers is normally the authority for Mephisto.
        For examples of usage, the OED gives “the wife, the boss”.
        Apart from polyandrous situations, “the wife” would always be equivalent to “my wife”.
        (“What shall I say to the wife?”)
        But with “the boss”, it could be equivalent to “my boss” or “our boss”.
        (“Yeah man, it’s Friday. I waited for the boss to go to the toilet and whoosh I was gone.”)

  4. For 14a I spent a while wondering if “Washington” was a type of sofa. Not finding anything in Chambers, I went to Collins online to find in the American English Dictionary section that SLEEPER is “9. a sofa, chair, or other piece of furniture that is designed to open up or unfold into a bed; convertible”. [“convertible” in that usage I think is also American English].

    I spent several days trying to understand 29a! That was entirely due to my ignorance of the word PASTICHE, which I had always thought just meant imitation. But I eventually saw that all dictionaries give the first definition as “mixture” (hence miscellany), and the etymology bears that out.

    All this meant that I had the Mephisto open on and off, with a time of over a thousand minutes! I don’t know if that caused a problem, but I was unable to submit it for the competition. I normally get to the crosswords directly in the “Puzzles” section. Therefore, I tried the “Crossword Club” section, and retyped my answers, completing the grid in 5 minutes (!), which it did let me submit.

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