Monthly Club Special 20,217: The Gory Locks Zone

Simply a virtuoso puzzle and I’m only sorry that this proved such a busy month that I never found time to sit down and give it the many hours of sweet tortuous agony that I deserved. So many clues that I thought were well above averagely brilliant – 1ac, 2ac, 3ac, 18ac, 22ac, all of which contain cryptic devices of exceptional originality… and that’s just the pick of the across clues. Some marvellously delayed penny-drop moments e.g. at 1ac, but I’ll give my COM (Clue of the Month) to 16dn for its achievements in this field.

So so hard, but just brilliant too. Thanks setter! Up with this kind of thing!

1 Royal couple making double echo over disturbing broadcast (8)
QUONKING – QUEEN + KING [royal couple], making its EE [double Echo] into O [over]

5 Ghost essentially appearing where feast is cut short, twice? (6)
BANQUO – {gh}O{st}, appearing at the end of BANQU{et}, &lit

10 One who “maximises” each height, height embracing possibly dull lives (15)
APOPHTHEGMATIST – A POP [each] + HT HT [height | height], “embracing” EG MAT IS [possibly | dull | lives]. One who “maximises” as in, “constructs maxims”.

11 Reclusive teen and I stun pollsters on short walk (10)
HIKIKOMORI – I K.O. MORI [I | stun | pollsters] on HIK{e} [“short” walk]

13 Hardly an Arabian man suggesting forgiveness? (2,2)
AS IF – Asif is a masculine Arabian name, literally meaning “forgiveness”.

15 Demolish ickiest of human settlements (7)
EKISTIC – (ICKIEST*) [“demolish…”]

17 Previously checked Poles were going out (7)
SNEBBED – S N [(both) Poles] + EBBED {were going out]

18 Related partial U-turn of CTC to those sending signals? (7)
COGNATE – hidden reversed in {charli}E TANGO C{harlie}

19 Desire abnormal purge after census (7)
LUSTRUM – LUST RUM [desire | abnormal]

21 Born fairly recently, having heart defect, feeling cold in some parts (4)
NESH – NE{wi}SH [born fairly recently, with defective “heart”]

22 Part of gullet in oryx, one without parents taking irregular turns? (10)
OROPHARYNX – interleave ORPHAN [one without parents] with ORYX irregularly

25 Not having enough excitement to grip European, a road somewhere in Bedfordshire (8,7)
LEIGHTON BUZZARD – LIGHT ON BUZZ [not having enough excitement] to “grip” E [European], + A RD [a | road]

27 Opening of Bard’s own Shakespearean club (6)
BALLOW – B{ard} + ALLOW [own]

28 Poet’s rule about verse is extremely bombastic? (8)
SOVRANTY – about V [verse] is SO RANTY [extremely bombastic?]

1 Caribbean provincial, apparently one subjected to suppression (7)
QUASHEE – also humorously suggesting “one who is quashed”

2 Mixed-load carrier with breadth limited by wheel shapes (3)
OBO – B [breadth] “limited by” O O [(two) wheel shapes]

3 Relaxed briefly under exotic khaki and white pines (10)
KAHIKATEAS – AT EAS{e} [relaxed “briefly”] under (KHAKI*) [“exotic”…]

4 Bring up Canadian media theorist, then dismiss leftcentre prophet (5)
NAHUM – M{cl}UHAN first reversed, and then losing L C [left | centre]

6 Nanny’s answer affected toff (4)
AYAH – A YAH [answer | affected toff]

7 Royal attendant overlooking leader keeps inches away, lifting blackcurrant plant (6-5)
QUINSY-BERRY – {e}QUERRY [royal attendant “overlooking leader}] “keeps”: INS [inches] + BY reversed [away “lifting”]

8 Terrible discomfort, losing every third in multiple divisions (7)
OCTOFID – (DI{s}CO{m}FO{r}T*) [“terrible…”]

9 Left my aunt to go north, collecting East Germany’s fabulous ash (8)
YGDRASIL – L + I SAY [left | my aunt!] reading from south to north, “collecting” GDR [= German Democratic Republic, the official name for East Germany]

12 Combination of likes and gripes in a form of chess (11)
KRIEGSSPIEL – (LIKES + GRIPES*) [“combination of…”]

14 Rude noise that’s surprising famous person upending huge wine bottle (10)
BELSHAZZAR – RAZZ AH SLEB [rude noise | that’s surprising! | famous person] reversed

16 Opposite of his little snags? (8)
CHEERIOS – The opposite of “hi” being “cheerio”, then pluralise! Snags and cheerios are both Antipodean words for sausages.

18 Cross meeting lack of firmness in jaw (7)
CONFLAB – CON [cross] meeting FLAB [lack of firmness]? Unless it’s C ON [cross | meeting], but I would have thought cross was more likely to be abbreviated as X…

20 Erase fifth letter in a jumble involving third square in anagram form? (7)
MIXEDLY – MEDL{e}Y [a jumble, with its fifth letter “erased”], “involving” IX [third square, after I and IV]

23 Catering chain sinking billions into turning drink container round (5)
PUBCO – sink B [billions] into reversed CUP [“turning” drink container] + O [round]

24 Jerk with resistance measures switching extremes (4)
SHMO – OHMS [resistance measures], swapping its first and last letters

26 Glaswegian personal trainer shedding two layers? (3)
AIN – {tr}AIN{er}, losing not just its first and last letters, but its second and penultimate too

9 comments on “Monthly Club Special 20,217: The Gory Locks Zone”

  1. Well, I thought this was a pig! Got there in the end but it was a real struggle. Be interesting to know how many solutions they got – the website used to provide this information, but sadly no longer does. I have solved all of the Club Monthlies, more or less since they began, and this was the most difficult one that I can remember. Moreover, the website tells me I have 1dn wrong, as I put Quashie instead of Quashee. Chambers allows either spelling, though I suppose quashee does fit the second def. a bit better. Hmph..

    Small typo in 12dn, the setter has used an alternative spelling (that I have never previously seen): kriegsspiel
    re 18dn, Collins has, for cross: “16. slang; a fraud or swindle” which seems to work.

    I did like 25ac.

    1. Thanks for the spelling correction – I had clearly never seen that version of the word before either!
  2. 58 minutes, and for once all correct. Some of the cluing was indeed brilliant: the setter is to be congratulated on the plays for QUONKING and LEIGHTON BUZZARD, for example, the only problem being that I completely missed it. Somewhere in in Bedfordshire (8,7) – it’s not going to be Luton, is it?
    Just to prove I read V’s comments (for entertainment as much as enlightenment): the East Germany reference in 9d, is GDR, though it was always DDR on the stamps.
    Then again, YGDRASIL, fabulous ash, perhaps one of the better known ridiculous spellings.
    Sub note. Why does the spellchecker want Bedfordshire to be Hertfordshire (sic)? I can more easily understand its preference for Futon.
  3. Didn’t do this one, but the clueing looks good. The CHEERIOS one reminds me of the Sabre brilliancy “His work showed little independence” for HOWDIES
  4. We wanted to put in OBO but couldn’t find a definition anywhere that had anything to do with the clue. If someone could explain it would be very kind
    1. The Chambers dictionary app is your friend and I can heartily recommend it. It tells me that an OBO is a carrier of oil and ore, together or separately.
      1. Thanks very much for the tip – we shall certainly follow it up. We are very fond of our ancient Chambers which we get out at the beginning of every month (apophthegmatist is there!) but we need the modern stuff
  5. Stumbled on this following your tag. No chance I could solve a puzzle like this, but I love to gawp at the ingenuity. In 9d, I think it’s GDR (German Democratic Republic — Deutsche Demokratische Republik) which is East Germany. Deutsche Reichsbahn would, I think, be the German State Railway under a Reich. Of course the third and last Reich preceded the formation of the GDR and FRG (Federal Republic of Germany — Bundesrepublik Deutschland). Hope it’s going well in the USA. Happy New Year.

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