Mephisto 3314 – Earful swordplay!

I didn’t have much difficulty solving this one, and I finished in my Saturday night session – although I nearly hit Sunday.    Getting the answers was only part of it, though, as I had to do a bit of research in order to be able to blog the wordplay.    The subtractive clues can be very tough if you don’t know what the desired word starts with; fortunately, I was able to dig up drabler, and remember what a clinch was to Pope and Swift.    But papula was very tough, as I tried the usual synonyms for photograph such as pic and PH.

I hope the usual crew found this one enjoyable – I’m off to check out the latest from Robert Teuton.


1 Half of eulogy covered flipping elfin stunner, for example (6)
EYEFUL – E(FEY backwards)UL.
6 Gift given by daughter in excess to Scots (5)
10 Appearances of stars born British with pimples, no photograph (7)
NEBULAE –  NE + B + [pap]ULAE.   A pap is apparently what a paparazzo produces.
11 Extraordinary take on modern art (4)
RARE – R + ARE, i.e. you are instead of thou art.
12 Girl nabbing merchant without a name of court to adjudicate (11)
TRIBUNICIAN – TRI(BUNI[a])CIA + N.   A bunia or a bunnia is an Hindu merchant.
13 Most luxurious drink grabbed by irksome oik (8)
14 Bleat about backing trendy desire that’s OTT (5)
MANIA -MA(IN backwards)A.
16 Forgotten charm of Britain in afternoon (4)
OBIA – O’ B I’ A.
18 Concerned with opening most face away from openers? (6)
OSTIAL – [m]OST + [d]IAL.
19 It’ll aid tuna swimming over a north-south range (11)
21 Divine sort accordingly returned showy flower (6)
OSIRIS – SO backwards + IRIS.
24 Performances by one country where league steps up (4)
SOLI – SOIL with the I moved to the end.
26 Small winch’s old-fashioned claw (5)
28 By Mussolini I advanced within legal time limit in the north? (8)
29 Special fruit mostly with fresh oil about hollow pouches (11)
SPORANGIOLA – SP + ORANG[e] + anagram of OIL + A.
30 So disappearing sickies changed supplements for Scots (4)
EIKS – Anagram of [sic]KIES.   Scottish version of ekes, which is cognate with Latin augeo.
31 More iron from southern US gymnast, as reported (7)
STERNER –  S + sounds like TURNER.   Tyler Turner, the Turner Society, who knows?
32 Scyther’s grip is briefly back, hard to beat (5)
SNATH –  ‘S + H TAN backwards.
33 Knitted stuff husband pulled off basket, say (6)
1 Possibly some neologist studies ephemera and the such (13)
ENTOMOLOGISES – Anagram of SOME NEOLOGIST.   Here, an ephemera is a green drake mayfly.
2 To some extent lawyer banjaxed mate (5)
YERBA – Hidden in [law]YER BA[njaxed].   The clue would be easier if a diacritic were added to the literal.
3 What one seeks in wonderfully nice bio of early Christians (9)
EBIONITIC – Anagram of NICE BIO around IT.
4 With time not available especially bad sort turned up screeching (7)
ULULANT – T + N/A + LULU upside-down.    A lulu is an outstanding example, not necessarily bad.
5 One from Vientiane packing spinning tool down (6)
LANUGO – LA(GUN backwards)O.
6 Believers side awkwardly over empty threats (6)
DEISTS – Anagram of SIDE + T[hreat]S
7 Mythological monsters about to come upon one male issue? (8)
ORCHITIS – ORC(HIT, I)S.   Mythical, since found in LOTR.   You can look up the literal.
8 Take out Times beginning from Easter (5)
ERASE – Anagram of EASTER – T[imes].
9 Run bairn, really excited, around opening of this book store (13, two words)
RENTAL LIBRARY – Anagram of R + BAIRN, REALLY around T[his].
15 My people accepting playwright’s musical interval (9, two words)
17 Busy bursar with it causes a bang high up (8)
AIRBURST – Anagram of BURSAR + IT.
20 Cook is yonks coming up with portions (7)
22 With brass chains being reset (6, two words)
IN CASH – Anagram of CHAINS.
23 Quiet and enthusiastic about religion (6)
25 Free clinch Penny dodged, nearly rather blue (5)
UNPIN – [p]UN  + PIN[e] – I think.   Other interpretations for the second element may be possible.
27 Extra bit of bonnet driver ripped off being fitter (5)
ABLER – [dr]ABLER.   A drabler is “a piece of canvas laced to the bonnet of a sail to give it more drop”.

8 comments on “Mephisto 3314 – Earful swordplay!”

  1. I thought this one was a step up in difficulty from the last one, but not too tricky, finished in one short session.

  2. 10ac. I am more familiar with pap as a verb. “To pap” = “To photograph”.
    Harry and Meghan ‘papped more in four months than Wills and Kate in four years’. (Headline from The Daily Star).

    31ac. Chambers has “turner: a member of a gymnastics club (US from Ger).”
    There is more detail on the Wikipedia page “Turners”:
    “The high point in membership came in 1894, with 317 societies and about 40,000 adult male members, along with 25,000 children and 3000 women.”
    “…the movement declined after 1900, and especially after 1917.”
    “Like other German-American groups, the Turners experienced suspicion during World War I, even though they now had very little contact with Germany.”

    25d. I couldn’t work out why “nearly rather blue” = PIN. Will be interesting to hear the explanation for that one.

  3. Thanks vinyl for the blog and to paul mckenna for an enjoyable puzzle. I think its PIN(K) for nearly rather blue as one of the Chambers definitions of pink is somewhat blue (film etc)

    1. Thanks very much! I missed that one, but it’s clear there in Chambers:
      pink (3) “…adj…slightly pornagraphic, somewhat blue (cinema, etc)”.

      That’s now explained everything to me. Thanks all!

      Very nice puzzle. Several shortened forms of two letter words (o’, i’, ‘s), with which I am now getting more familiar. And the Paul McKenna pun across the top “Eyeful Dower” = “Eiffel Tower” was good and clear to spot.

  4. 8d is simply ERAS + E.

    Hats off on working out PAPULAE in particular, and getting somewhere with UNPIN.

    1. “Face” is DIAL, and the “openers” of both “most” and “face” are removed (“away”).

      1. Ah, got it. I made the mistake of reading ‘face away’ as the instruction to remove the front of MOST. That left openers dangling. Mr McKenna lured me into his trap.


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