Monthly Club Special 20,257: Blue Suede Clues

In shock news, best crossword of the month continues to be best. I loved the surfaces of the brace of Presley clues at 20 and 21dn, and revelled in the audacious cryptic constructions and excellently mad vocab choices elsewhere. 3dn is beautifully elaborate and all hinged around “backwards” in such a good way, but my COD has to be 22dn for its hilarious services to Franglish. And of course I’m doing a massive disservice to all the many other clues, shorter perhaps but just as innovative. Thanks to the excellent setter!

Definitions underlined, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Taking in cream bun — belt out! (8)
CHOUSING – CHOU [cream bun] + SING [belt out]. To “chouse” is to swindle
5 Leather lump masks front of heavy cotton fabric (6)
NUBUCK – {d->NUB}UCK. The heavy cotton fabric is “duck”, its first letter being masked by NUB to create some interesting suedy cowhide.
10 Deficiency of lanthanum in normal black soil (5)
REGUR – REGU{la}R. Just take a word for normal, and deduct the chemical symbol for element 57, to locate this Indian “cotton soil”.
11 A fanatic group admitting one deception about emitter of light in waves (9)
NOCTILUCA – A CULT “admitting” I + CON, the whole reversed. A phosphorescent marine creature
12 Drink with the Speaker’s carrying forward deal to pay for another’s suit (9)
CHAMPERTY – CHA with MY [the speaker’s] “carrying” PERT [forward]. This kind of contract (for a cut of the profits of litigation) is unenforceable in law, so be warned.
13 Muslim scholar and Buddhist priest backing university (5)
ULAMA – LAMA at the back of U. FOI
14 Greek entertaining the PM in Perth caught little fish in the Clyde (7)
GARVOCK – GK “entertaining” ARVO + C. A Scots sprat
16 Old-fashioned trap in Forester painting (6)
ENTOIL – ENT [Forester, in Tolkien] + OIL. Hands up anyone who did what I did and semi-confidently enter “ESTERP”
18 Composition of song by experts in female parts (2-4)
20 Long-necked woman from interior Alaska, to the west (7)
KARENNI – INNER AK, all reversed. Yes they are the ones who elongate their necks with brass collars
22 HQ of la Commission européenne could make you sell this US residential area back (5)
EXURB – SELL EXURB reversed is BRUXELLES, ou est située la Commission européenne
23 Australia’s litter collection worries are made up (3,6)
EMU PARADE – (ARE MADE UP*). A bunch of folks walking along picking up the trash or similar, in Australian parlance, charmingly
25 In real life, restraining one stops Frank living in husband’s home (9)
VIRILOCAL – IRL “restraining” I, in turn “stopping” VOCAL [frank]
26 Is a rorqual one that’s migrated east across the Pacific? (5)
ISSEI – IS SEI? Japanese immigrants in America
27 Windfall no longer displacing misfortune with classy, luxury car (6)
28 I’m hesitant to cut snake without first bursting out (8)
ERUMPENT – UM… “cutting” {s}ERPENT
1 Conveyance with uniform enclosure and feudal land tax (8)
2 Low dog hasn’t got caught before a frantic spree (5)
ORGIA – {c}ORGI before A
3 Seeing things backwards — thus trouble old boy, brother very cheeky in high school (15)
STREPHOSYMBOLIA – from back to front, AIL O.B. MY! SO + PERT in H.S. “Backwards” is doing (properly indicated) double duty here, as strephosymbolia is seeing items or letters in mirror image. Blimey!
4 Certain Scandinavian writers’ medium, fermented non-skyr (7)
6 Depart with operatic highlight aboard customised minibus, believing in presence everywhere (15)
7 American capital supplanting first name in Confederacy, invoking squatter’s rights? (9)
USUCAPION – US + U{n->CAP}ION. Pretty crazy word
8 Sound of laughter in conversation after lifting ceremonial robe (6)
KHALAT – HA in reversed TALK
9 Extreme aspects of exotic toy poodle reproduction (6)
ECTYPE – E{xoti}C T{o}Y P{oodl}E
15 Shakespeare’s possibly coarse metre not used by French poet, a revolutionary (9)
RIBAUDRED – RI{m}BAUD + RED. Another crazy word, possibly even a misprint by that wacky Bard
17 Uphill labours besetting Isaac who once settled in Sicily (8)
SIKELIOT – reversed TOILS “besetting” IKE, and not as I originally entered, ICE. I bet some Isaacs call themselves Ice, in a fairly insufferable manner
19 A woman heading off by far ditch in Dunfermline (6)
20 King who’s on throne eating large fried cake at Graceland (7)
KRULLER – K + RULER “eating” L. “At Graceland” actually just suggesting “in America”, here
21 The King mostly corseted by copper type of girdle (6)
PELVIC – ELVI{s} “corseted” by P.C.
24 Dickensian sampled northward territory of France (5)
AISNE – hidden reversed in {dick}ENSIA{n}. You will find Aisne in the NE of France

One comment on “Monthly Club Special 20,257: Blue Suede Clues”

  1. THE MCS is taking a bit longer for me these days, and this one stretched to 1.12.23, but some of them at least were gettable from wordplay. Yes, 13d was well constructed, but one I had to work out from crossers and liberal use of Chambers before I could get down to the serious business of cracking the wordplay – going from “brother” to MY is OK once you see it but is a hard step before that.
    Very few answers in my readily available vocab, but EMU PARADE is one that will be added: such an evocative image.

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