Monthly Club Special 20,261: Atokic Bomb

Some gobsmackingly good clues in here – I would point you towards 8ac, 11ac, 18ac and 22ac as examples that just feel “next level”. The MCS is the laboratory in which the innovations of the crossword’s future are forged.

Thank you monthly club setter for knocking it out of the park yet again!

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

1 Iron horse provided heads, cost of use varying regularly (13)
EQUIDIFFERENT – FE [iron] headed by EQUID IF [horse | provided], plus RENT [cost of use]
8 Repeating this change would make sauna such a stinker (4)
ATOK – take SAUNA, and repeatedly change A TO K to make SKUNK; an ATOK is a type of SKUNK. Absurdly brilliant
9 Chipper article about Britain; in the same source, vegan diet item (6,4)
ADZUKI BEAN – ADZE AN [chipper | article] about UK IB [Britain | in the same source]. Can confirm that as a vegan I have eaten these
10 Dull purple beam spans shop (8)
11 S African native plant used in cooking, its second half absorbing the first green light (6)
RHEBOK – take HERB [plant used in cooking]; RB [its second half] absorbs HE [its first] to make RHEB; plus OK [greenlight]. Hopefully nobody bunged in REEBOK with a shrug
13 Diminutive tunneller demolished raw eggs in thick sauce (6,4)
16 Peak half-visible on climber’s route diagram (4)
TOPO – TOP + O{n}
17 Backward idiot no longer, eh? (4)
ANAN – reversed NANA
18 Quits last part of heptathlon after central switch? (4-6)
EVEN-STEVEN – take EVENT SEVEN [last part of a heptathlon, presumably!] and swap the two central letters. Brilliant
20 Ancient metric guide, universal among the ones with degrees (6)
22 Khan’s hybrid fowl to complement “picken”? (8)
CHOULTRY – Chicken and poultry -> picken and choultry (!). A khan is a caravanserai is a choultry
24 Tupelo gym hog’s back, possibly after vitality (10)
PEPPERIDGE – P.E. RIDGE [gym | hog’s back, possibly] after PEP. A pepperidge is a tupelo is an American gum tree
26 Grass spliff to use as a drug outside broadcast (4)
DOOB – DO [to use as a drug] + O.B.
27 Corny Belgian cartoon character turned around anti-Euro manoeuvring (13)
FRUMENTARIOUS – reversed SMURF (!) around (ANTI-EURO*)
1 One squeezing part held by Morse inventor with both leads cut off (11)
EXTORTIONER – {p}ORTION held by (Colin) {D}EXTER
2 Northerner’s lonely bachelor banished from occupied bed (5)
3 Wicked activity showcased by irremediable Riefenstahl (9)
DIABLERIE – hidden in {irreme}DIABLE RIE{fenstahl}
4 Unsettled area surrounding new estate in Paraíba (7)
FAZENDA – FAZED A [unsettled | area] surrounding N(ew). Paraiba is in Brazil, not TOO far off my guess of Suriname
5 Grabbing spades, scrape up residue of retreating glacier (5)
ESKAR – grabbing S, reversed RAKE
6 To inspire older brother to cut English beef, say it (9)
EMBREATHE – BR cutting E MEAT + HE. I’m not quite sure how an it is a he EXACTLY, but as parts of speech go it’s certainly pretty close
7 Scottish cardinal excusing FA from religious legal judgment (3)
TWA – {fa}TWA
12 What for contrary men ages old string instruments? (11)
ORPHEOREONS – reversed EH PRO [what | for] + O.R. [men] + EONS [ages]
14 Common people injecting speed foolishly into knee (4,2,3)
15 Papa will look sideways for lost gunner (9)
19 Interrupting departure, copper had made this (7)
EXCUDIT – interrupting EXIT, CU’D
21 N American rail industry’s first to abandon party (5)
23 India’s sweet man behaving immaturely over nothing (5)
LADOO – LAD [man behaving immaturely] + O O [over | nothing]
25 Seeing regular losses, redraft plot in Pretoria (3)
ERF – {r}E{d}R{a}F{t}

6 comments on “Monthly Club Special 20,261: Atokic Bomb”

  1. Some lovely words, as usual. I particularly liked CHOULTRY and FRUMENTARIOUS. Some great wordplay too – especially ATOK and EVEN-STEVEN. I see I’m not alone, then, in wondering how “say, it” can be “he”, but a dictionary check this morning found this… “noun: he; plural noun: hes
    2. British (in children’s games) the player who has to catch the others; ‘it’.
    ” Thanks V and setter.

    1. Aha! That idea, that “it” could also be “he” in a game of tag, did occur to me, but thanks for the verification!

  2. Thanks for the blog.
    As John says, Collins defines “he” as both a name for the children’s chasing game (tag) and the person doing the chasing (it).
    In 26a there are two definitions, as doob is “dog’s-tooth grass” in Chambers and “a cannabis cigarette” in Collins. My original clue for this was the straightforward “Grass that is removed from the end of a joint” [DOOBIE – IE] before my colleague pointed out that the answer was given as a short form of “doobie” in Collins.

    1. So is Scooby Dooby Doo so-named because he has dog’s teeth or is a massive stoner? The world needs to know for sure.

  3. A little over an hour for this, though for once a lot of the words were at least semi-familiar. I hesitated over EVEN-STEVEN because I have only ever seen it with an S on the end, but Chambers allows.
    CHOULTRY is a delightful word which should head up the aisle in Tesco’s sometime soon.

  4. Not having ever stumbled across the Monthly Club Special before, I gave it a whirl this weekend and after 10 minutes of catatonia assumed I’d finally had a stroke.
    Luckily this forum has reassured me that I’m merely stupid, for which much thanks…

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