Mephisto 3286 – Shopping for some hardware, say?

This one was a little tricky, and my solve stretch into a following day.   The bottom was easy enough, but the top was a bit difficult.   As usual, I missed a few that should have been obvious, only to kick myself later.    I finally conclude that the second word in the pun must be candles, but I was a long way from parsing the clue.

There are quite a few farfetched word meanings here, but this is typical of Mephisto.      I you call your girlfriend peat, you will fit right in.


1 Fine writer expressing Wooster’s prime hoot of disgust (5)
FAUGH – F + [w]AUGH, where W is the first letter of Wooster.
5 Old duck ducking kisses and cuddles for literary luminaries (7)
10 He talks aloud to himself, thus Scots bird follows order of notice (11)
SOLILOQUIST – SO + LILO + QUIST, the ringdove usually spelt qeest.    LILO is often an accounting method, last in last out.
12 With oil finally stopped peat gives her cheer (8)
ATTAGIRL – ATTA[r] + GIRL – yes, peat is a dialectical endearment.
13 Branch of Buddhism with God’s sacred scriptures (4)
ZEND – ZEN + D, a valid abbreviation for Deus.
14 Guide Sybil around Torquay’s front (5)
STEER – S(T[orquay])EER.
16 Liquor’s something delightful with one famed for mischief, right? (8)
 18 Small fillet that’s not used now — sell it anyhow (6)
LISTEL – Anagram of SELL IT.
19 Nymph in return determined entering well without cure (6)
TETHYS – SET backwards around [heal]THY forwards.   There were two nymphs of that name.
21 One in passage westwards makes an observation (6)
ESPIAL – LA(I)PSE backwards.
23 Rumpole’s disputed positive precedent involving English (6)
24 Lumber haulier takes this strangely odd risk around America (8, two words)
SKID ROAD – Anagram of ODD RISK around A.
26 Eg, Scots Guards’ quarters in reversal of fine streak (5)
AIRTS – STRIA backwards.
28 Maenad’s shout “Be out of it” freeing those in odd places (4)
EUOI – [b]E [o]U[t] O[f] I[t].    I read The Bacchae in second-year Greek, so not difficult for me.
29 Lifting upright, clear legislation? (8)
30 One grand fool, one replacing head in, eg, drill’s starter? (11, two words)
31 In flipping sound finesse, mostly you’ll see related series (7)
CATENAS – SANE TAC[t] backwards.
32 Yorkies, gruff ones, gripped by mighty kestrel (5)
TYKES – Hidden in [migh]TY KE[strel]
1 Fray following rowdy romp (7)
2 Inquire about obscure rites in Gabon noting points of omission (11)
3 Clearing up, say, when extrovert’s roped in (5)
GLADE – G(LAD)E, where E.G. is up in a down clue.
4 Dignified and unusually good peak performance (8, two words)
HIGH GEAR – HIGH + GEAR, apparently used as a slang adjective.
5 Crossword’s first left unbegun, conclusive of degrees of form (6)
CLINAL – C[rossword] + L + [f]INAL
6 Tense writer on love cold shouldering male (6)
AORIST –  A[m]ORIST.   For this one, you’d want 1st-year Greek.
7 In some places, sturdy thump (4)
DUNT – Double definition.
8 Freshly formed this talkie is dropped without further ado (8, two words)
LIKE THAT – Anagram of THIS TALKIE without IS.
9 Is dramatic fight being cut short Shylock’s deed to discharge? (5)
STARR –  STAR + R[ow]  ‘S TARR[e].
11 Go with archaic throne — aim to brood in the old way (11, four words)
SEE EYE TO EYE –  SEE + EYE + TO + EYE, a brood of pheasants!
15 Ambitious snake in bombast (8)
17 In a foreign world Deutsch blokes joined assembly (8)
20 Engineer designs for scouts (7)
SDEIGNS – Anagram of DESIGNS, where scouts not what the Boy Scouts are up to, but a different word coming from a different root.
22 Body of water on island accepted discharge (6)
23 Experience going round regular parts of Devon’s promenades (6)
PASEOS – PAS([d]E[v]O[n])S.
24 Frankish? Thus filled with a first hint of legitimacy (5)
SALIC –  S(A + L[egitimacy])IC.
25 Contrivance which makes us drink unknown bubbly (5)
27 Old poet’s to turn out claptrap with no pressure (4)

17 comments on “Mephisto 3286 – Shopping for some hardware, say?”

  1. Thanks for the explanations.2, 12, 19, 9, 15 guessed correctly and now understood. I must remember I’ for IN. That escaped my notice while looking through Chambers. I found this harder than the past 10 weeks of doing these. Left side came more easily than the right, which took a second day to complete.

    I did smile at the pub but only spotted it after I’d finished.

  2. Many thanks as always to setter and blogger.

    4d – I’d taken “unusually good” as meaning goods (per Ch. good = possessions (archaic)) which, in turn, means gear.
    9d – the first half of the clue gives [i]s + tarr[e]. Tarre being Shakesp. for the third meaning of tar in Ch. – which means to incite or fight.

    1. ‘Gear’ is defined specifically in Chambers as ‘unusually good’ so I think that has to be the explanation.

  3. 30a. It’s DRILL for MONKEY, rather than donkey.

    9d. it’s S + TARR(E), which in turn is a version of Shakespeare’s TAR, meaning to incite to fight.

    And there’s a typo – a missing E – in the last one down.

    This Scot has never come across QUIST: wood pigeons are CUSHY DOOS, or more formally CUSHATS.

    1. I don’t recall running across it before, but Chambers has “A luminary (literary)”. Luminary as a noun can also mean a source of light.

    2. Luminary: “a source of light esp one of the heavenly bodies” (Chambers).
      The OED gives examples of “candle”, being used in Old English poetry for the sun “Godes candel” etc.
      I thought of Macbeth (II. i. 4): “There’s husbandry in heaven; Their candles are all out.”

  4. One more. 10a. LILO is an abbreviation for Last In, Last Out, which Chambers describes as ‘a rough guide to likely order of redundancies.’ (Hence NOTICE) As opposed to FILO – first in, last out, which is the more normal way of doing it.

    1. The more normal accounting term is FIFO (first in first out). I don’t remember seeing LILO in that context.

      1. While I am hopeless at completing the Mephisto, I do know that the normal order for redundancies is LIFO. Those with the least service are the first to leave. I have never seen or heard of LILO which seems a most unfair criterion.

  5. This was tricky, for a while I did not think I was going to complete it in one sitting. I did not figure out what was going on with ATTAGIRL, but I couldn’t think of anything else that would go in there.

  6. If there’s one or two Mephisto answers that I can’t parse I tend to keep them in my mind over the week, scribbling them in margins etc, which (sometimes) leads to enlightenment.
    This time though I had about six which I couldn’t work out.
    Therefore, thank you very much to blogger vinyl1, and commenters Adrian Cobb and dcrooks for your help.

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