Mephisto 3287 – Robert Teuton

Posted on Categories Mephisto

Greetings, barred-grid fans.

OK – I found this one TOUGH! I was not able to finish it on Sunday morning (there may have been some recovery from Saturday shenanigans involved), and it took me three sittings to get to the end. I think I have everything figured out, but in most cases it is unfamiliar words clued with tricky wordplay components.

In Mephisto, answers can be confirmed in Chambers, so I will focus on the wordplay here.

Away we go…

3 Illustrated work’s US authors entertaining new read (10)
PHOTO-ESSAY – POE’S(US author’s) containing HOT(new) then SAY(read aloud)
10 Exposed one taking drugs losing head (5)
AIRED – A(one), and then WIRED(taking drugs) minus the first letter
11 Avid Merrion’s first to go bunking off to the local (7)
ITCHING – the first letter of Merrion missing from MITCHING(playing truant). Avid Merrion was a recurring character in a rather weird sketch comedy show from the early 2000s, Bo’ Selecta!
12 Watercourse often dried up in this hot terrain (5)
SHOTT – hidden in thiS HOT Terrain
13 Blokes over 30 in Orkney (4)
SKIO – OIKS(blokes) reversed – reference to the answer to 30 across which is SHED
15 Computing expert supposedly hacking terminals in reports from Russian news agency (8)
ITAR-TASS – IT(computing) then SMARTASS(expert supposedly) minus the external letters in reportS froM
16 Force in absent staff overturning company doctor? (7)
ADVISOR – VIS(force) inside A(absent) and ROD(staff) reversed
18 Stones forming basis to copy hip-hop CD? (6)
RIP-RAP – if you copied a hip-hop CD, you might RIP RAP
20 Irrigation device largely not working, has worked before (6)
SHADUF – DUFF(not working) minus the last letter, after an anagram of HAS
22 Vehicle parking by edges of enormous steep slope (6)
ESCARP – CAR(vehicle) and P(parking) next to the external letters of EnormouS
24 Get enthusiastic about Epiphany gift? (6)
BEFANA – if you get enthusiastic, you might BE FAN, then A(about)
27 Poetry reciter effectively clear (7)
HOMERID – HOME(effectively), RID(clear)
28 A flap with which you’d fly around? (8)
PATAGIUM – A TAG(flap) inside PIUM(a fly)
30 Slough, butt of Betjeman’s parting reproach in poem (4)
SHED – last letter of BetjemaN removed from SHEND(reproach)
31 Watered nothing in marshland (5)
MOIRE – O(nothing) in MIRE(marshland)
32 Get cottage perhaps for temporary accommodation (7)
TWIGLOO – TWIG(see, get), and LOO(cottage)
33 Bing used to finish off genealogic list from Scotland (5)
CROON – last letter of genealogiC, then ROON(selvage, list)
34 Special Italian essence and Scottish toffee mixture (10)
SALMAGUNDY – S(special), ALMA(essence in Italy), GUNDY(Scottish toffee)
1 Snakes biting one below backside? Get potent antiseptics (10)
CASSAREEPS – CREEPS(snakes) containing A(one) after ASS(backside)
2 Fervent campaigners judge is to incarcerate I understood (7)
JIHADIS – J(judge) then ‘S containing  I HAD(understood)
3 Served up nuts and raisins for US TV show (4)
PROG – GORP(trail mix in the USA) reversed
4 Arranged the broadcast supported by excellent Greek entertainers (8)
HETAIRAI – anagram of THE, then AIR(broadcast) above AI(excellent)
5 Champion showing how to make pot? (6)
TIP-TOP – you can make POT by TIPping TOP
6 Start to cook with foremost of olive oils (6)
OTTARS – anagram of START and the first letter of Olive
7 Model stripped to show muscles, European and a remarkable specimen naked (7)
ECORCHE – E(European) then SCORCHER(a remarkable specimen) missing the outer letters
8 Monkeys climbing up deer spotted in summer (5)
SIKAS – SAKIS(monkeys) reversed
9 Plant drifting in sea (5)
ANISE – anagram of IN,SEA
14 Seven anthems of Chesterfield perhaps, voice to embrace God (10, three words)
O’S OF ADVENT – O(of), SOFA(Chesterfield perhaps) VENT(voice) containing D(God)
17 What’ll halt your masochistic practices, Peter? (8, two words)
SAFE WORD – peter is a WORD for SAFE
19 Plant carpet in hall (7)
ARUGULA – RUG(carpet) inside AULA(hall)
21 Buddy at Oxford, say with unparted hair across forehead (7)
UNIBROW – your buddy at Oxford could be a UNI BRO, then W(with)
23 Face the unknown and go around after breaking hip (6)
PHIZOG – Z(the unknown) and GO reversed after an anagram of HIP
24 Yogi’s acolyte heard bird (6)
BOUBOU – Sounds like BOO BOO(the acolyte of Yogi Bear)
25 Regularly moan how bad butter is produced from this (5)
MAHWA –  alternating letters in MoAn HoW bAd. I thought this was in New Jersey?
26 Shaft of old mine finally shrouded by silence almost (5)
STEIL – last letter of minE surrounded by STILL(slience) minus the last letter
29 Firework device left out for one (4)
PIOY – PLOY(device) with L(left) replaced by I(one)

14 comments on “Mephisto 3287 – Robert Teuton”

  1. Finally finished it on Thursday. Tough indeed. I’d marked six clues of which I didn’t understand the parsing:3,15,30,7,14 and 17. The last of which I read Peter as stop. Clearly the reference to safe is the correct interpretation. I got 3/4 of this done the was stuck on the right hand side. Not until I stumbled across Os of Advent did I get to the finish. Thank you for your explanations- all very helpful.

  2. In 1A, I somehow destroyed an apostrophe in “author’s” – apologies for that.

    In 25D the NJ location George wondered about seems to be Mahwah. Our def is a “butter tree” which apparently produces mahwa/mahua butter.

    I found it a much tougher solve than Robert’s other puzzles so far, but my conclusion from checking was simply that he had found more material from Chambers that I’d not seen before (or forgotten about).

  3. Yes indeed, extremely tough. This took me over an hour and a half all told, in several grinding sessions. I never did manage to parse ITAR-TASS or SHED so thanks for those explanations George.
    I had MOHWA for ages, which fits the wordplay and is given in other dictionaries but not Chambers. Should have known!

  4. Are eyebrows part of the forehead or rather just below the forehead ? I never thought they were part of the forehead myself but investigating sites on anatomy hasn’t helped me find a definite answer.

      1. Thanks, that’s definitive. Some anatomical sites said yes, some no. To say what was or wasn’t part of scalp, face, forehead whatever they mostly went by underlying bone structure. Anyways actual usage and Chambers certainly trump anatomy for our purposes.

  5. The Mahwah comment was meant to be a joke, maybe should have been more descriptive. I once dated someone from Hackensack and used to have a ball with the funny (to me) place names around Bergen County such as Ho-Ho-Kus, Teaneck, Cresskill (I explained kill as watercourse in a previous Mephisto blog), and Mahwah. There is a chain of convenience stores in the area called WaWa, so I particularly enjoyed the presence of the Mahwah Wawa.

  6. Yes the toughest of Robert’s so far. Don’t continue to make them harder, please! I had all completed correctly, I see from checking, but I failed to parse AIRED, SHED, ECORCHE and O’S OF ADVENT, so thanks for explaining those, George.. and for the strenuous mental workout, Robert.

  7. Funnily enough, I didn’t find this too bad, completing in less than a hour in a single session. MITCHING (though without the T) I know from Hamlet “Merry, this is miching mallecho, it means mischief.” I think that hindered, rather than helped!
    I mildly miffed to find that TWIGLOO is not a word created by me and my grandchildren for the spectacular tepees we built in Epping Forest.
    Nice to see the O’s of Advent: might I recommend Choral Evensong at least so that you can answer clues like that with confidence?

  8. I had decided in advance last Sunday that I would allocate more time to really get my teeth into the Mephisto.
    So, a lucky week to choose to do this. But that meant I really enjoyed the range of territory covered: from (clever use of) Avid Merrion to Homeric recitation; Advent liturgy to cottaging. I also liked the reference to Betjemen’s poem Slough, the use of scorcher and smartass in wordplay, and the fun clues for rip-rap, tip-top and safe word.

  9. I too found this a slog, and not an enjoyable one. I thought ONE = A – cropping up in two clues -was discouraged. (I think it should be outright banned.) Too many clues relying on ‘take the last letter of X and the first letter of Y and dump them in a stripped version of Z’, in the kind of laboured formulaic way that makes me want to take up jigsaws. Too many alphabet trawls, followed by a scramble to decipher the clue. And that was with knowing the likes of SKIO and ECORCHE and SIKAS and BEFANA and GUNDY, which prompted me to remember SALMAGUNDY. The OS OF ADVENT came by luck. I’d guessed ADALTO, presuming he was a pre-Renaissance Italian hymn composer, and found ADVENT after checking. So, no, not for me, though I have enjoyed Robert’s previous puzzles.

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