Monthly Club Special 20,262: The Compleat Solver

Great puzzle, above-averagely clever things to enjoy in almost every single clue, and some valuable new additions to anyone’s vocabulary. I think my COM might be 4dn, where “unfencing” the yard is a very neat taking of a conceit to its logical conclusion. Thank you setter!

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

1 Player who blows smoke ring not drinking first (9)
FAGOTTIST – FAG [smoke] + O [ring] + TT [not drinking] + 1ST. A fagottist is someone who blays the bassoon (or the fagotto, in Italian)
9 Learning from experience, canton’s blocking border (7)
HEURISM – URI’S blocking HEM. A canton in central Switzerland, William Tell’s manor apparently
10 One you might catch napping? Pole with blade and unknown stimulant (7)
ZEDOARY – ZED [one you might catch napping, as in catch some Zs] + OAR [pole with blade] + Y [unknown]. Zedoary rhizomes have “aromatic, stimulant and carminative properties”, blimey
11 One initiated into the mysteries of exercise after turning plump (5)
EPOPT – reversed P.E. + OPT [plump].  Eleusian, not Miss Marplish, mysteries
12 Novel (A Time to Depart) that of early Irish author (9)
O’FLAHERTY – (TH{at} OF EARLY*). Liam, “one of the foremost socialist writers in the first part of the 20th century”, though it doesn’t seem like his works are remembered as much as those of his pals Aldous Huxley and D.H. Lawrence
13 Mammoth remains perhaps across a river, that are sunk into bog? (7)
TUSKARS – TUSKS across A R. Peat-shovels
15 Old driver at the wheel, fast and animated (5)
MOSSO – (Stirling) MOSS + O [the wheel]
17 Back pains I quite regularly massage (3,2)
TUI NA – reversed, {p}A{i}N{s} I {q}U{i}T{e}. Chinese innit
18 Location of matching outfits, uniform having to go back (5)
SITUS – take SUITS, and put the U(niform) closer to the end
19 Flier for which commercial recalled (5)
WHYDA – WHY [for which] + reversed AD. African weaver finch; if you see one you should definitely say “whyda long tail?”
20 Sweet stuff having come again into hummed notes? (7)
TREHALA – EH? [come again?] into TRA-LA. The delicious-sounding “sweet edible substance constituting the pupal covering of an Asiatic beetle”
23 On one side of stream, two types of well? (5-4)
RIGHT-BANK – RIGHT [well] + BANK [well, as in supply, I guess]
25 Stray across both far tip of Brittany and later one bit of Iceland (5)
EYRIR – ERR, “across” {brittan}Y, and later, I. A subunit of the króna, I believe this is the only currency subunit in the modern world that begins with an E; prove me wrong
27 How bright one is, name-dropping incomparable port! (7)
IQUIQUE – I.Q. [how bright one is] + U{n}IQUE. Chilean coastal city to the west of the Atacama
28 Conceivable location for sheriff’s men? (2,5)
IN POSSE – double defined with where you might find some old-time law enforcers
29 Someone originally ok is then turning most dubious down under (9)
SHONKIEST – S{omeone} + (OK IS THEN*). Australian informal; like there’s such a thing as Australian formal
1 Mug of lemonade for one upped vitality (6)
FIZZOG – FIZZ + reversed GO. I found someone on the internet claiming this is “clearly a corruption of the French visage“, but I rather think it might come from “physiognomy”
2 Mineral from a party left after opening alcoholic drink, I note (10)
GADOLINITE – A DO L(eft) “opening” GIN + I + TE. See the better known element Gd
3 Viewer’s complaint overturned in the morning, appeal to “conveyancer”? (8)
TRACHOMA -reversed, A.M. [in the morning] + OH, CART! [an appeal to a thing that conveys]. Nothing whatsoever to do with tracheas
4 A month and two days to “unfence” garden one paved oneself? (5)
IYYAR – a D-I-Y YARD is a “garden one paved oneself”; unfence it as such, {d}IY YAR{d} to obtain a Hebrew month
5 Generation of females only see in that approval missing answers (9)
THELYTOKY – the see is every setter’s favourite, ELY; put that in TH{a}T OK{a}Y, i.e. “that approval” but missing both A(nswer)s
6 Person in Walton hawking gold mushrooms (6)
AUCEPS – AU [gold] + CEPS [mushrooms]. A character in Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler, alongside Piscator and Venator; it’s just the Latin word for a bird-catcher, too
7 Primate one announcer might talk into descending on middle of flock (4)
MICO – MIC [one announcer might talk into], written from top to bottom, on {fl}O{ck}. Heaven help you if you are bad at directionality and just enter CIMO with a shrug
8 Vain family member spitting blood (8)
EMPTYSIS – or EMPTY SIS. A word destined from birth to be in a crossword clue
14 Farcical interlude where protesting Covid restriction broadcast? (10)
16 Indian trains engineers in true fighting, English spirit primarily (9)
SOWARREES – R.E. in SO WAR E S{pirit}. A sowarree is an Indian mounted retinue or cavalcade
17 Squealing taxpayer’s contribution: “it’s up over eight pence, disgracefully!” (5-3)
TITHE-PIG – reversed IT, atop (EIGHT P*). Literally the one in every ten pigs paid as a tithe, so it’s the contribution that is squealing, not the taxpayer
18 Sailor on vessel from Asia bringing his beef (4-4)
SALT-JUNK – a SALT on a JUNK, simple as that
21 Softish rock and stone houses current and past (6)
AORIST – A(dult) O(riented) R(ock) and ST(one) “houses” I [electric current]. A past tense in e.g. ancient Greek
22 On a slope in the Cairngorms, appropriate way to travel, one going fast! (6)
SKLENT – SK{i} + LENT [fast]. “in the Cairngorms” just implying a Scottish word (for “slant”), here
24 One ribbed for playing universal banking system stocks (5)
GUIRO – U(niversal) “stocked” by GIRO [banking system]. A guiro is a notched gourd used as a percussion instrument in Latin America
26 Touching very soft type of cloth (4)
REPP – RE [touching] + PP [pianissimo]

One comment on “Monthly Club Special 20,262: The Compleat Solver”

  1. Thanks for the reminder of an excellent puzzle, which, with a lot of pondering, I think I managed to parse completely. I got all the way to AUCEPS before I managed to find an answer and then TITHE-PIG (one of my favourites), but it was a steady solve from then on. I was flummoxed by a few I couldn’t find in my paper copy of Chambers, but the online dictionaries saved the day. WOM for me was IQUIQUE… “Surely not, I thought” is what I wrote against the clue. Thanks V and clever setter.

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