Mephisto 3304 – Shift logical right – don’t fall into the bit bucket!

This was a moderate Mephisto, and I mostly did pretty well with it, but I ended up struggling in the NE.    It’s pretty easy to get stuck when you know how a clue must work, but can’t manage to get all the right pieces in the right place.     It didn’t help that I had sirdar instead of sardar, but eventually I just erased the whole thing and tried again – bingo!

There were some clever clues here, and I did like the cipher clue – that’s almost as good as taking the prime-number positions from a phrase.    The vocabulary was quite moderate considering, although of course if I had known elaeagnus I would have just biffed it.


1 Tree very much planted in more than one area (5)
5 Returning north I take second grade antimalarial (7)
ATEBRIN – N + I + R + BETA backwards, where R = recipe.
10 Revolutionary in aluminium, my old trumpet (7)
ALCHEMY – AL (CHE) MY, with a deceptive literal – you could look it up.
11 Cipher Joby made to shift alphabetically (4)
ZERO – Take JOBY and shift each letter forward 16 letters, wrapping around the alphabet.     This is the principle of simple ciphers, and yields a different sort of cipher.
12 Regular features of green conservation survey (5)
RECON – [g]R[e]E[n] + CON.   I nearly biffed recce, but couldn’t parse it.
13 Radical head backed Indian leader (6)
SARDAR – RAD RAS backwards, where ras is either a headland or an Ethiopian prince.
15 Pacific theological system is nicer somehow (7)
IRENICS – Anagram of IS NICER,  obvious to students of Greek.
16 Like natural logs not available from area of Mount Olympus (9)
NAPIERIAN – N/A + PIERIAN, where the springs that inspire the Muses are located.
18 Currency Turkish chief’s introduced following backing at home (7)
AFGHANI – A(F)GHA+ IN backwards.
22 I’m adult taken in by Christian Union — look who suffers (7, two words)
CUI MALO –  C.U. (I’M A) LO.   An easy jump from cui bono.
26 What might Cupar host serve up? (9)
STROUPACH – Anagram of CUPAR HOST, an &lit.    A pot of tea, and not a disgusting dish as some might expect.
27 Pagan poet embracing northern independence (7)
ODINIST –  OD(N.I)IST, not the generalized term I was expecting.
29 Way of viewing warped space and time (6)
ASPECT – Anagram of SPACE + T.
30 Courts of record formerly backed trustworthiness (5)
STEEL – LEETS backwards.
31 What holds swimming pike? (4)
KIPE – Anagram of PIKE, another &lit clue.
32 Glazed pottery thrown out in English café (7)
FAIENCE – Anagram of IN E CAFE.
33 Some eating nothing, concerned with variable former lack of appetite (7)
34 Prayer Dalradians regularly expressed (5)
ARDAS – [d]A[l]R[a]D[a]A[n}S.    The Dalradians were Scotsmen, not Sikhs, so they’re only here for the cryptic.
1 On air broadcast has split account of the priesthood (7)
AARONIC – A(anagram of ON AIR)C.
2 Ran away from local flat (4)
FLEW – Double definition; flue or flew can mean flat.
3 Understand a Catholic church point (6)
ACCEPT –  A + C  + C.E. + PT, where each word must be interpreted separately.
4 Pewterer’s blowpipe, one in strange metal (7)
5 Absurd alarm about Military Intelligence officer in the past (7)
AMMIRAL – Anagram of ALARM around M.I. – a 16th-century spelling.
6 Eastern open country antelopes eating a small tree (9)
ELAEAGNUS – E + L(A)EA + GNUS, where the main trick is where to put the A.   It does go in an unlikely place.
7 One giving help over a form of parasite (5)
REDIA – AIDER backwards, where more elaborate cryptics may tempt the unwary solver.
8 Badly tempered copper put in current gold coin (7)
9 Tongue rook kept inside beak (5)
14 Liverworts pa planted apart during warmth and coldness (9)
HEPATICAE – HE(P)AT + IC(A)E.  How far apart is for you to figure out.
17 Substance offence in a good place (7, two words)
QUIDS IN –   QUID + SIN, where  we have quid as in quiddity.
19 Walk round in Faeroe Islands with old couple (7)
20 Beatnik, he trips out (7)
HIPSTER – Anagram of HE TRIPS, a very appropriate one.
21 Gets a whiff of uncovered language of Sri Lanka (7)
INHALES – [s]INHALES[e], easy if you know the two languages spoken there – it’s not Tamil!
23 What may terminate thread? Hit transmit soundly (6, two words)
WAX END – Sounds like WHACK SEND.
24 Pole — also known as stilt in NZ (5)
POAKA – PO + AKA.   Is po a valid abbreviation for a pole?   Yes, it is!
25 Lighter aquatic mammal lacking height, unknown previously (5)
ZIPPO – Z + [h]IPPO.
28 Caught hole in one on going over pouches from abroad (4)
CECA – C + ACE backwards.     An ace in golf is a hole in one.


3 comments on “Mephisto 3304 – Shift logical right – don’t fall into the bit bucket!”

  1. This week’s was one of my fastest solves (personal best, not fast by expert standards). I was ready and primed for ZERO having just completed the GCHQ Christmas puzzle. But it was the SE corner that caused me most trouble, particularly the parsing of CECA. Thankfully I eventually arrived at C+ACE backwards.

    Very enjoyable puzzle. COD 11ac ZERO.

  2. I found this pretty easy, but had PANDAR at 13ac. I see now that I was confusing ‘nap’ with ‘napper’ and mixing up SIRDAR/SARDAR (familiar from past Mephistos) with PANDIT.

  3. I actually can’t look up ALCHEMY = “trumpet” in any dictionary at hand. Is the former another word for the latter, or is it other way round?


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