Mephisto 3306 – No pictures, please

I found this a relatively approachable Mephisto, and finished it in one sitting.    I biffed more than a few, including calmer, eidola, impi and moro.    As a result, I had to do quite a bit of research for the blog, but I think I have it down now.   The HTML problem in 21 was most unfortunate – I imagine the editor will be avoiding angle brackets in the future.


1 Catholic dresser for the most part is more assured (6)
CALMER – C + ALMER[y].     An almery is a cupboard in a church, so the literal is a bit of a giveaway.
6 Stitch up’s certainly trapping you in Perpignan (6)
11 A Brief Encounter? Route’s redone with hot mate about (9)
AMOURETTE – AM(anagram of ROUTE)TE, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of MATE.
12 Jack in Jozi spinning German’s one film (7)
NIKSNIE – EIN + SKIN backwards.   Jozi is slang for Johannesburg,  and jack is slang for nothing.
13 Loyal wife of legend, one enthralled by purpose (4)
ENID – EN(I)D.   Arthurian legend, to be more specific.
15 Is cracking prize, figuratively, a song? (5)
PSALM – P(‘S)ALM.   As in to win the palm.
16 A crowd starts to know instinctively what goes on after play? (8)
APRES-SKI –   A + PRESS + K[now] I[nstinctively]
18 Exploitative profit-maker beside a horse-drawn carriage (4)
ARBA – ARB + A, i.e. an arbitrageur.
19 Explosively out, instanter — such is sneezing (12)
STERNUTATION – Anagram of OUT, INSTANTER, a sort of semi-&lit.
21 Medicine is surprisingly hard on us  <ugh>  (12, two words)
HONDURAS BARK – Anagram of HARD ON US + BARK.   The last element of the clue is in the print version, but is not visible in the online view because your browser treats it as an unknown HTML tag – the editor should have escaped the angle brackets.   It is present in the online page source.
23 Capacity of Sephardim? (4)
EPHA – Hidden in [s]EPHA]rdim.   Not an &lit, because the Sephardim were Iberian diaspora Jews, living a long time after Exodus was written.
24 Very small item or an object a long way away? (8)
26 Ribbing husband seen in greasy spoon (5)
29 Tax bar historicallyit often sounds the end (4)
TOLL – Simple double definition.
30 Live pro tem by river with archetypal selfie pose (7, two words)
31 Cultured pearl, pure Natal (9)
32 Old Scottish harbours on fixed terms finally (6)
RESETS – RE + SET + [term]S.    Harbour in the sense of willingly conceal.
33 Estate that is overturning confusing reflections (6)
EIDOLA – ALOD + I.E. backwards.   An allodium, or an alod, is an estate not subject to a feudal superior.
1 Tropical background in which jolly Jacks climb? (6)
CANVAS – Double definition, where tropical is from trope and means figurative.
2 Local’s narrow lane is left clipped all right (4)
LOKE – L[eft] + OKE.   You might think OKE  is the clipped form, but it does exist as shown.
3 Biden’s confusion on leaving sweet dish (5)
MUSSE – M[o’]USSE.   Chambers confirms that o’ can mean either of or on.
4 Predator’s back amidst drunken revelry (4)
ERNE – Backwards hidden in [drunk]EN RE[velry].
5 Covers put in place again somehow increase runs (12)
6 Take a starter that’s been minced — this (12, two words)
7 Sadly it’s up to a believer in a brave new world? (8)
UTOPIAST – Anagram of IT’S UP TO A.
8 Lake held by peacekeepers — area to freshen up bones (7)
ULNARIA – U(L)N + A + AIR backwards, or up in a down clue.
9 Protest about new nuisance — like those on HS2 say (9)
RAILBORNE –  RAIL BOR(N)E, where about is an enclosure indicator.
10 Last in line? Sort to stop atop (6, two words)
ENDMAN – END + MAN, a very simple clue for Mephisto.
14 Classicist’s very well indeed with work to sharpen reading aid (9)
OPTOPHONE – OPT + OP + HONE.   An interesting early gadget – read about it here.
17 Blow away tips of unfading flowers found hidden in grass (8, two words)
SNUFF OUT – SN(U[nfading] F[lowers] F[ound])OUT, a grass in the sense of a police spy.
20 Being outside stop wasting time round rings with light (7)
ENHALOS -EN(HAL[t], O}S.   Some stock Mephisto cryptic elements here.
21 So this huff could find you chewing up cheroots (6)
HECTOR – Compound anagram &LIT, CHEROOTS is an anagram of HECTOR + SO.
22 Finding assembly go and talk freely (6)
KGOTLA – Anagram of GO and TALK.   I was convinced this wouldn’t exist when I looked it up, but there it was.
25 Second of three virtues daughter trusted (5)
27 One Redcap on top of independent fighting group (4)
IMPI – I + MP + I.  M.P. here means Military Police, known as Redcaps in the UK.
28 Girl of the east, old Philippine native (4)
MORO – MOR + O.    Mor is a diminutive form of mauther, a big awkward girl.   The term is from East Anglia.

10 comments on “Mephisto 3306 – No pictures, please”

  1. A very enjoyable time, but ultimately disappointing, and frustrating, to have it all correctly filled in (biffing only MORO) except for a few (short!) answers in the NW, which I think would have been difficult to find even if I had Chambers. I might have found “almirah” even in Collins, and assumed\ that Chambers would have it spelled with an E, but first I would have had to think of CALMER as “more assured,” which is far from the first, or fourth, thing to come to mind. I’ve never seen NIKS for “nix” (had NIE). And it seemed that you’d have to have come across LOKE in the wild sometime to see that one.

    I know EIDOLA from the singular form in Hart Crane’s “Legend”: “(Again the smoking souvenir, /
    Bleeding eidolon!)”

      1. I’m sure! And I assume it’s only one payment for use on my phone and both my computers as well.
        I just haven’t gotten around to it.

    1. Walt Whitman preferred the plural Eidolons instead of Eidola for the title of his poem.

  2. Much easier this week. KGOTLA, IMPI and MORO have all appeared in very recent Mephistos. 5dn, 6dn, 19ac and 21ac came very early, which was a considerable help.

    Slight error in the parsing of 6ac: SU(TU)RE surely?

  3. I found this quite hard, and had CANNAS at 1dn. I always check my answers but there are so many funny words in Mephisto that mistakes like this (and I remember looking up CANVAS in Chambers so it was just a typo) can be hard to spot.
    21ac is odd. Why use angle brackets like this? Inverted commas would have done the job, ‘ugh’ being a ‘representation of a cough’, also one of the meanings of BARK.
    I thought the definition of ARB was a bit harsh. In the move from ‘exploitation of market imperfections’ to ‘exploitative’ the term seems to acquire a more pejorative sense. Arbitrage is a valuable (indeed essential) activity which contributes to price transparency and efficiency in financial markets.
    As Richard says 6ac is SU(TU)RE.
    29ac is a triple definition: one of the meanings of TOLL is ‘to bar’, a historical legal meaning.
    In 2dn it is ‘OK’ that is ‘clipped’. The definition in Chambers is literally ‘a clipped form of OK’.

    1. You’ve got company – I also had CANNAS thinking that the plant might be making up the background in the tropics.

      1. I think I considered that, which may be why I typed it in even after seeing ‘the background against which events occur’ for CANVAS in Chambers.

  4. Nice clear Paul McKenna pun along the top this time (Kama Sutra).

    21ac. I did this puzzle online. As normal, I got to it by Times>Today’s Sections>Puzzles>MephistoNo3306. Going that way the “<ugh>” appeared properly in the clue. I see that getting to it through the “Crossword Club” the “<ugh>” doesn’t appear. I know most people use the Crossword Club. The layout of the page is slightly different depending on the route you use, and obviously <ugh> survived online in one format, but not the other.

    In terms of the clue itself, I thought the use of the angle brackets was quite fun. I believe they can be used to denote a thought, rather than something spoken out loud. So, the surface suggests that when considering the effect of some medicine you think to yourself – yuck! I guess using inverted commas in the clue would suggest an audible exclamation/onomatopoeia, that might lead the solver too quickly to BARK.

    I liked the modern “archetypal selfie pose” in 30ac, and ever-topical reference to HS2 in 9d.

    Thanks for the blog, interesting comment about the Sephardim.

Comments are closed.