Mepisto 3272 – “With razor blades and hand grenades….”

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I didn’t find this too bad, but made very slow progress for a while.   I plodded on from ten until midnight, finishing a few bits here and there.    I was just about to go to bed, when I considered whether the soprano might end in -opf instead of -off as I had supposed, and suddenly I saw who we were talking about.   This breakthrough gave me a large number of new crossing letters, which led to a few more answers before calling it a night.    I still had to finish it off the next morning, end up with yokozuna, yump, and keno.

And you?

1 School contest starts on Zoltan Kodaly work with fine soprano (11)
SCHWARZKOPF –  SCH + WAR + Z[oltan] K[odaly] + OP + F.
9 Court official losing core right that’s long-established (4)
USER – US[h]ER.  A bit of law French.
11 Early evening primrose in Verona graveyard (6)
ONAGRA – Hidden in [Ver]ONA GRA[veyard].
12 What sounds like William Shakespeare’s open ramping of tension (7)
BUILDUP – Sounds like BILL + DUP, a contraction of do up which occurs in Hamlet.
13 Mineral, one with sulphur again found in Delaware (8)
14 Nirvana for such a Buddhist finally (5)
ARHAT – Last letters of [Nirvan]A [fo]R [suc]H A [Buddhis)T – I don’t think the &lit completely works, but close.
16 Appointed authority Zambia introduced to Charles (4)
CZAR – C(ZA)R, that is, Carolus Rex.   Presumably, a lower-case czar.
18 Indian state backing article given to ranting about girl (11)
MAHARASHTRA –  ART H(SARAH)AM backwards, as in a ham actor.   After the recent puzzles, we’re catching on that maha- is an important prefix in Indian words.
20 Beginning on origami cuckoo with inner folds (7)
OMENTAL – O[rigami] + MENTAL, a non-PC clue.
23 View about right university embraced by younger anthropologist (11)
LEVI-STRAUSS – LE(VIST(R)A,U)SS, one I just biffed, having studied at Yale in the 70s.
24 Russian unit of distance, not volume, formerly (4)
ERST – [v]ERST, a starter clue.
27 Female elder, one in outskirts of Entebbe (5)
AINEE – A + IN + E[ntebb]E.
28 Laugh with little weight on female sumo champion (8)
YOKOZUNA – YOK + OZ + UNA – more Spenser!
30 Croft slaughtered piglet around start of Hogmanay (7)
PIGHTLE – Anagram of PIGLET around H[ogmanay].
31 Nearly all accepting Northern Ireland idealist, perhaps (6)
MONIST – MO(N.I.)ST.   An idealist in a highly specialized sense.
32 Airline transferring Lima to Thailand and elsewhere (4, two words)
ET AL – E(-l,+T) AL, a letter substitution clue.
33 A doctor puzzled during loud noise of digestive tract’s end (11)
1 Detail from polling, say, advances Liberal (9)
2 Eighth in house has no time for what dwarves sing? Ah, well (7)
HEIGH-HO – H(EIGH[t]H)O, with two literals.
3 Truss aide’s arranged she’ll attend (9)
AUDITRESS -Anagram of TRUSS AIDE, presumably a lady auditing a college course.
4 Rule out move vigorously (5)
5 Formerly serve church tea thrown together (7)
KACHCHA – KA + CH + CHA, another way to clue the Egyptian spirit – you could look it up.
6 Eye up search on internet with no progress (4)
OGLE – [go]OGLE, of course.
7 Father’s holding extended breath (5)
PRANA – P(RAN)A, as in ran a line.
8 How one can say fairies unsettle (4)
FAZE – Sounds like FEYS.
10 Enzyme reversed deposit in eye seen regularly (7)
SUCRASE – ARCUS backwards + S[e]E[n].
15 A nerd gets awfully alienated (9)
ESTRANGED – Anagram of A NERD GETS, very straightforward and a good starter clue.
17 Pennine cairn he will create noisily (9, two words)
RAISE HELL – RAISE + HE’LL.   A corruption of Old Norse hreysi, if you’re interested.
19 Darwin’s bird came into being all over (7)
ROSELLA – ROSE + ALL backwards, where Darwin is the one in Australia.
21 Dividing cells quickly I’m about to accommodate tons (7)
MITOTIC –  CITO (T) I’M backwards.   Cito is another obscure bit of musical notation.
22 Small horseshoe, mostly something like c (u and n included) (7)
LUNETTE –  L(U,N)ETTE[r], a clue with a vaguely Soupy Sales feel.
25 Eddy under lee wave or over hill (5)
ROTOR –  OR backwards + TOR.
26 Raised capital — nothing to repay as before (5)
QUITO – QUIT O, where as before indicates quit meaning repay is obsolete.
28 Take off in car, certainly covering miles (4)
29 Ace, king given up in game played for dollars? (4)
KENO –  ONE K, upside-down.    Simple, but perhaps difficult.

14 comments on “Mepisto 3272 – “With razor blades and hand grenades….””

    1. Chambers has “ham” as an adj meaning “given to overacting or ranting”

  1. Never got DISTHENE or KUCHCHA, which latter I still don’t get; ‘formerly serve’? YOKOZUNA was easily biffable, although YOK was new to me (ODE says it’s an Americanism; of course the setter chose an alternative spelling). I slowed things down for myself–not that I was speeding along–by bunging in MITOSIS and (duh!) EL AL. What’s the Pennine cairn? (V, you forgot to underline ‘create noisily’.)

    1. From my iPad Chambers on the Pennine cairn:

      raise(2) /rāz/ (N Eng)
      A cairn

      There is at least one northern England fell with “raise” in its name, but whether that’s the same meaning, I’m not sure.

  2. Re. KACHCHA: KA = archaic to serve, as in the phrase “ka’ me, ka’ thee.”

    RAISE in N. English dialect (hence Pennine) is a cairn.

    HAM is maybe a bit loose, as a ref. to ham acting.

    1. Thanks. I didn’t work this, really, but am studying it, and couldn’t see where Vinyl was getting KA as the Egyptian spirit (which term I did know) from the clue. I guess he was just momentarily possessed.

      1. I merely said that formerly serve is another way to clue ka, which is usually clued as an Egyptian spirit.

  3. Hi, vinyl1-I don’t understand the Soupy Sales reference for LUNETTE. I was a big fan of Mr Supman in the 1950’s, enjoying his side-splitting exchanges with White Fang and Black Tooth as I dined on the cheese sandwich and tomato soup which he had the day before recommended my mother to prepare for me. What am I not seeing?

    1. Soupy (from West Virginia, my home state) I’d call indisputably great. As a little kid, I used to go around doin’ the Mouse (yeah! You can do it in your house, yeah!), had a couple albums of his songs. His show was surreal. David Bowie later formed the band Tin Machine with his sons.

      1. I remember an episode where someone knocks on Soupy’s door and complains “Your big white dog just buried my Volkswagen in your front yard”! This was wildly funny as it contrasted the laughably tiny European cars with the normal long and wide gas-guzzling behemoths out of Detroit our parents drove.

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