Mephisto 3313 – Tim Moorey

Posted on Categories Mephisto

Greetings, barred-grid fans!

Tim Moorey brought the challenge last week, with some rather fun surfaces and overall not too difficult a puzzle on the Mephisto scale. I got through this in a single session during a very cold late Saturday night.

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

Away we go…

1 Hunt encourages tax cut for fellow MPs as before (12)
COMBURGESSES – COMB(hunt), URGES(encourages), then SESS(tax) minus the last letter
9 Shower dividing Labour producing material that smears (8)
TRAIN-OIL – RAIN(shower) inside TOIL(labour)
11 Former Liberal coming round to praise highly (5)
EXTOL – EX(former), L(liberal) surrounding TO
13 Navy worker you heard getting the bird (6)
NHANDU – N(navy), HAND(worker) then a homophone of YOU
14 No good eating fried onion for midday meal break (7)
NOONING – NG(no good) containing an anagram of ONION
15 Hesitation not fully shown around river boats (5)
PRAUS – PAUSE(hesitation) minus the last letter surrounding R(river)
18 A lot of drink for group of friends (5)
POSSE – POSSET(drink) minus the last letter
19 No power mentioned for feudal district (5)
SOKEN – remove P(power) from SPOKEN(mentioned)
20 Independent is carrying leader on Rupert Murdoch (4)
IRIS – I(independent), IS containing the first letter of Rupert. I wonder if the author Iris Murdoch did crosswords, and if she ever knew how her name was regularly associated with the media magnate? Given her political leanings, I don’t think she would be impressed.
23 Head outside Italy for normal drowned valleys (4)
RIAS – RAS(headland) surrounding I(Italy)
24 Disturbance in jet, tense for pilot upfront (5)
STURT – SPURT(jet) with T(tense) replacing the first letter in Pilot
26 Boys saving energy for Guides! (5)
LEADS – LADS(boys) containing E(energy). What are they saving their energy for, I wonder?
29 Some older referees returning made mistakes (5)
ERRED – hidden reversed in olDER REferees
30 Foot specialist treated my tibias? Not unknown (7)
IAMBIST – anagram of MY,TIBIAS minus Y(unknown)
31 Learn about one American nurse, a gem (6)
GARNET – GET(learn) surrounding A(one), RN(registered nurse, a US abbreviation)
32 Second experiment, soprano unused in choral music (5)
MOTET – MO(second), then TEST(experiment) minus S(soprano)
34 Drunk and terribly irate learned types (8)
LITERATI – LIT(drunk) and an anagram of IRATE. A truly wonderful clue!
35 Formal protest organised from Roman centres (12)
1 Parts of jellyfish sometimes seen caught with time at sea (6)
CTENES – anagram of SEEN,C(caught) and T(time)
2 Staple food one accepted in the borders of Mbale? (7)
MATOOKE – A(one), TOOK(accepted) inside the external letters of MbalE. MBale is a city in Uganda
3 Odd bits of Briton’s story (3)
BIO – letters in odd positions in BrItOn
4 No big building complex open (5)
UNLID – anagram of BUILDING minus BIG
5 Doctor raking in high earnings gets a small snack (10)
GINGERSNAP – GP(doctor) containing an anagram of EARNINGS. This is a single word in Chambers
6 Trots, say, struggled with noble’s domain in Poland (8)
7 Rudeness lost customers (8)
8 Pickled onion’s first consumed after seconds (6)
SOUSED – first letter of Onion, then USED(consumed) after S(seconds)
10 Middle Eastern capital picked up lots of gossip (4)
ANAS – SANA(capital of Yemen) reversed. Wikipedia says that the city I know as Sana’a is also spelled SANA, but I can’t find it anywhere else
12 Opposed to opening Iceland briefly? Leads to complaint (10)
ANTIADITIS – ANTI(opposed to), ADIT(opening), IS(IVR code for Iceland)
16 Reporting again in prison (8)
COVERAGE – OVER(again) inside CAGE(prison)
17 Rattle pondered getting slower and softer (8)
21 Extremely strict girl cracking joke (7)
PURITAN – RITA(girl) inside PUN(joke)
22 Sour liquid accepted on a recipe? (6)
ALEGAR – A(accepted), LEG(on side in cricket), A, R(recipe)
25 Bond admits going too far for hot stuff (6)
TOTTIE – TIE(bond) containing OTT(over the top, going too far)
27 Jovial Londoner, ’es managed West ’Am (4)
‘ARRY – I think the rest is an indication of (H)ARRY REDKNAPP, former manager of West Ham United
28 Crop that’s novel spoken of (5)
EMMER – sounds like EMMA (Jane Austen novel)
33 Openings in journal regularly taken (3)
ORA – alternating letters in jOuRnAl

11 comments on “Mephisto 3313 – Tim Moorey”

  1. Still being somewhat soft boiled (less than 12 months experience), I appreciated a Mephisto I could get through relatively quickly – in one sitting in this case.

    I parsed 10d slightly differently: picked up lots = SANA(‘A) reversed. With the definition being GOSSIP.

  2. 10D: San’a is one spelling in Collins English Dictionary, which is one of our main references for proper nouns. Though not easily found on the web site version – you have to include the apostrophe to find the Collins def rather than a US dcit one.

    1. I guess I’m going to have to invest in a Collins much as it pains me to do so. Chambers is short on proper nouns and rather out of date.

    1. I got off to a really good start, filling in the whole SE, but on returning to this late in the week found I didn’t know a few words it seems others here are acquainted with from earlier Mephistos. Still utterly mystified by the “Jovial Londoner,” (H?)arry.

      1. ’Arry is defined in Chambers as “a jovial vulgar Cockney” — the apostrophe suggests Cockney speech in a way sometimes used in cryptic clues. According to the OED, this term was popularized in late 19th century Punch cartoons. It’s described as rare and historical, but one citation is dated 2014.

  3. Definitely over easy, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done a Mephisto without even opening Chambers. Some of the clues, such as EXTOL and ERRED, seem to have escaped from the Quickie. What am I going to do for the rest of the afternoon now? (I do these a week in arrears so I can remember what I was thinking when I read the blog)

  4. 20ac IRIS was a fun, elegant clue. But also intriguing seeing the full name “Rupert Murdoch” in a clue in the Times (or more precisely, in the Sunday Times, where I understand the names of living persons may appear).

    It led me to wonder if that full name has been used before. As far as I can tell (from a little search of this blog), only once, in Mephisto 3149 (Jan 2021): again by Tim Moorey, who does the same clue word for word.

    Looking over at fifteensquared, I can see that – predictably – certain other publications delight in using “Rupert Murdoch” in rather irreverent clue surfaces (often bringing in the names of his newspapers or TV stations).

    All good fun of course. But those clues do seem to privilege a mordant surface reading over the wordplay and the clue as a whole.

    So, I think Tim’s clue is a very good idea, well-executed. And, therefore, is deserving of the occasional repetition. (And unnecessary to attempt to tweak it slightly to make it “different”).


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