Monthly Club Special 20,264: My First Wish Is For Infinite More Crosswords

I thought this was really very tricky and I am sorry that I left it until the very end of the month to try to tackle! A number of the clues took a LOT of effort to parse even after knowing the solution, especially 15ac, 19ac and 16dn. But with the benefit of hindsight, they were all worth the pain.

19ac in particular’s PDM made it a strong candidate for my COM; but I did also really like the “time-share” device in 18dn and the very brilliant indeed 21dn. How did yourselves all fare on this one? I hope you didn’t find it too agonizing, but equally I hope you didn’t all find it easy, because that might be a strong indication that I’m losing my touch! Many thanks to the setter for the workout.

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

1 Lean across hard, with gusto pushing forward a person without luck (9)
SHLIMAZEL – SLIM [lean] “across” H(ard), with ZEAL pushing forward (to the head of the word) A
6 Seafood to take all for oneself and others? (5)
COHOG – if you HOG something you take it all for yourself, if you take it for yourself and others this might qualify as CO-HOGging? If you squint?
9 Pancake with a little butter in initially might tempt you back (7)
UTTAPAM – with A PAT [a little butter] in, M{ight} T{empt} U, the whole reversed
10 Hear that Switzerland has secured ace Indian spinner (7)
CHARKHA – HARK [hear!] that CH has secured, + A(ce)
11 Stop representing The Ox’s Head pub after drink there? (5)
ALEPH – P(ublic) H(ouse) after ALE. An aleph is indeed a glottal stop and our letter A does indeed derive from a representation of an ox’s head, though it’s kind of spun around a bit since its earliest days
12 Ditches customs after wish for peace in rest of much of Europe? (9)
EURIPUSES – USES [customs] after E.U.[much of Europe] R.I.P.  [wish for peace in rest]
14 Local has to chew on chestnut leaves (3)
MUN – MUN{ch}
15 Gifts for woodcutter, one going for high speed burrowing rodent (11)
WISHTONWISH – I think this is a reference to the fairy tale The Three Wishes which features a woodcutter; represent his rewards for helping a fairy as WISH WISH WISH, replace one of those with TON [high speed] and you get this excellent word for a prairie dog
17 Move ladies especially with ultimate in scent? I might have (5-6)
DAMES-VIOLET – (MOVE LADIES {scen}T*), semi-&lit
19 Maybe a red coverlet civil servants all have (3)
VIN – “coverlet” and “civil” and “servants” all have V IN
20 Milking applause perhaps for surprising sequel (5-4)
AFTER-CLAP – if you are milking the applause, you are AFTER more CLAPping
22 Girl from the right charity, Centre for Change (5)
NADIA – reversed, AID [charity] + {ch}AN{ge}
24 May bug university doctor with endless joyful call to nurse (7)
HUMBUZZ – U M.B., “nursed” by HUZZ{a}!
26 Food’s at home and gives a comfortable retirement? (5,2)
TUCKS IN – TUCK’S [food’s] + IN [at home]. A parent TUCKS IN a child to help them go to sleep
27 Bitterness of NZ writer when another article comes in for slating at first (5)
MARAH – (Ngaio) MAR{s->A}H; the S of S{lating} turns into A [article]
28 Page head for paper with large sign: “Jobs for Sellers” (9)
PEDLARIES – P(age) + ED(itor) + L(arge) + ARIES [(zodiac) sign]
1 Stripper maybe taking fig leaf from statue, bra oddly chosen (5)
SAUBA – S[t}A{t}U{e} B{r}A; a S American leaf-carrying ant, though whether they have a special penchant for figs is unknown
2 Pound note Arthur’s dad has stopped sticking out window (7)
LUTHERN – L [pound] + N(ote), “stopped” by UTHER (Pendragon, father of King Arthur)
3 The boring Victorians in shock: what was corrupt about king? (9)
MOPEHAWKS – MOP [shock] + EH? [what] + (WAS*) about K(ing). Victorian as in from the Australian state
4 Exercise with music mostly that is up on pitch for one at Bayern (3,8)
ZUM BEISPIEL – ZUMB{a} + reversed I.E. + SPIEL [pitch]; German for “for one”
5 A huge amount on the subcontinent raised, not all collected (3)
LAC – reversed CAL{m}. 100,000 rupees
6 Tea in the afternoon after picking up food in Dungannon (5)
CHAMP – CHA [tea] + reversed P.M.
7 Approval American got in greeting Japanese artist (7)
HOKUSAI – O.K. U.S.A. got in HI
8 One not, however, made of the right stuff for holding punch (5,4)
GLASS CHIN – cryptic def. If you have a “glass” chin you might think it’d be good for holding liquids; but in fact it is very bad at taking a “punch”
13 One way to render adept and voluble, but shallow? (6-5)
RATTLE-PATED – reverse cryptic: to render “adept” you could RATTLE (the anagrind) PATED (the anagrist)
14 Commentaries shedding little light, on reflection not considered the writer’s (9)
MIDRASHIM – reversed DIM [shedding little light] + RASH [not considered] + I’M [the writer is]
16 Swimmers looking skyward? A complete absence of air cadets doing that (9)
NOTONECTA – NOT ONE [a complete absence of] + A(ir) T(raining) C(orps) written upwards [“looking skyward”] Notonecta are insects that swim on their backs
18 Compound with alternative arrangement to time-share did come across duller (7)
METAMER – MET TAMER [did come across | duller], but the T has to be shared between the two parts [“time-share”]
19 Observe and say nothing: one’s not Indian (7)
VIDESHI – VIDE [observe] + SH! [say nothing!] + I. Some kind of Indian equivalent of e.g. Japanese gaijin
21 Plenty of Scots left in cold? Consistently the reverse (5)
ROUTH – Scottish word for “abundance”; the opposite of L(eft) IN C(old) is R(ight) OUT H(ot)!
23 It’s unladylike to hide up trees (5)
ALNUS – hidden reversed in {it’}S UNLA{dylike}
25 What may be represented by cipher or code (3)
ZIP – double def; “cipher” used to mean the character 0, which is nothing or zip; and of course Americans have zip codes

3 comments on “Monthly Club Special 20,264: My First Wish Is For Infinite More Crosswords”

  1. I agree it was quite tricky and thanks for the parsing of 15ac which I would never have got, don’t think I know the fairy tale. I think 16d is NOT ONE – a complete absence and then ATC upwards, otherwise you’ve got air doing double duty.

    1. Ooh yes, I concur with that! Though “tone” isn’t a million miles away from “air”.

  2. Judging by the time I spent solving this and parsing all the clues I do concur that it must have been tricky. Good though. I’m glad to see my explanations agreed with yours.

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