Monthly Club Special 271 – Feb 2024

Phew! That was quite a workout! It took me just over 1 1/2 hours. I managed only 1A, 11A and 2D on a first pass and finished with 24D and 25A. The usual esoteric vocabulary and some very clever and inventive wordplay, but I think I’ve managed to work it all out. Favourites include the word at 9A, the wordplay at 10A the combination hidden and homophone at 15A and unlikely looking 4D. I had to construct my own version to print as the online print didn’t work when the puzzle was published – I don’t know how anyone can solve these without lots of paper to work out the answers on. Thank-you clever setter. How did you all get on?

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

1 Second top growth leaves behind a S African succulent (8)
SPEKBOOMS (second) PE{a}K (top) BOOM (growth) without the A. I remembered BOOM for tree from living in South Africa for 4 years when I was at primary school where a derogatory term for those unfortunates who were a little overweight was “Fatty boomsticks”.
6 Stock bound by a hostile choreographer (6)
FOKINEKIN (stock) in FOE (a hostile). I hadn’t heard of this choreographer but I’m no balletomane.
9 We don’t believe drama with unconvincing grand opera piece not specified (13)
NOTHINGARIANSNO (Japanese drama) THIN (unconvincing) G (grand) ARIA (opera piece) N/S (not specified). A neat 5-part assembly.. and a great word.
10 Hungry Shakespearean actor wants this sausage coated with pecan (6)
KISHKE – Good grief! I’m not sure how I managed to work this one out! It’s PECKISH (hungry) KEAN (Shakespearean actor; this one) with PECAN outside the answer, KISHKE. Nope I hadn’t heard of him. Had you?
11 Sacrificing the lead, queen with three of diamonds played, not in a match (8)
UNWEDDED – ({q}ueen w DDD)* [played]*. W = with and the “three of diamonds” DDD.
13 Help with cost, holding note as one provides edible nuts (10)
CHINQUAPINN (note) QUA (as) in CHIP IN (help with cost).
15 Horny beast caught in historic scene? (4)
ORYX -Another tricky one it’s a hidden homophone! [Caught in] hostORIC Scener, sounds like ORYX.
16 Have will affected by contractions in stomach (4)
VELL – {ha}VE {wi}LL [affected by contractions].
18 Possible sound of typist’s beat stopping carbon copy shortage (5-5)
CLICK-CLACKLICK (beat) in CC (carbon copy) LACK (shortage).
21 Spain’s water to supply what’s wanted, endless tropical fruit (8)
AGUACATEAGUA (Spain’s water) CATE{r} (supply what’s wanted) without the final letter.
22 Prevent development of surrounding West African people (6)
CHOKWEW (West) in CHOKE (prevent development).
23 I can relate rather engaging published following lines in two notes (4,2,5,2)
TELL ME ABOUT ITLL (two lines) in TE ME (two notes), OUT (published) in A BIT (rather). Rather easier to biff than to parse!
25 Worried to splice with variable input (6)
TOWZEDZ (variable) in TO WED (splice).
26 Cloth covers for head carriage, stipulation Britain backs (8)
KUFIYAHSSHAY (carriage) IF (stipulation) UK (Britain) all reversed.
2 Bone-splicing rod to replace cap in place of femur, at the right length but missing cup? (3-4)
PIN-HIGH – A golfing term. PIN (bone-splicing rod) replacing the first letter of {t}HIGH (femur).
3 Cookware equipment, one way to serve up tea cups? (11)
KITCHENALIAKIT (equipment), I (one) LANE (way) upwards -> ENALI, in CHA (tea).
4 Twisting short little bit in two ways, one of us threaded fastener (5)
OJIME – Another tricky one… JO{t} (little bit) [short], [twisting] -> OJ, I ME (one of us in two ways).
5 An American independent stooge with USA’s top elected representative (7)
MUGWUMPMUG (stooge) U{sa} [‘s top] MP (elected representative).
6 Triumphed in South Carolina, within branch overworked by old writer (9)
FORSWONCK – A double inclusion… WON (triumphed) in SC (South Carolina), all in FORK (branch). “By old writer” indicates its an obsolete term.
7 Acacia tree’s durable timber with raised finish (3)
KOA – OAK (durable timber), raising the last letter -> KOA.
8 Café refurbished in Hornsey (7)
NOSHERY – (Hornsey)* [refurbished]. Phew. An easy one!
12 Tory lord who could become very fit (11)
DROOLWORTHY – (Tory lord who)* [could become]. And another!
14 Freed from spells of constant injury during nude wrestling (9)
UNCHARMEDC (constant) HARM (injury) in (nude)* [wrestling].
17 Book that is about half-forgotten Ibsen play with interior set (7)
EIGHTVO – IE (id est; that is) [about] -> EI, TV (set) in GHO{sts} (Ibsen play) [half forgotten].
19 Point raised in mostly overemotional gathering by a Pole? (7)
ICEPACK – CAPE (point) [raised] -> PACE, in ICK{y} (overemotional) [mostly].
20 Fellow wise woman apparently irritating climber (7)
COWITCHCO WITCH whimsically defined as (fellow wise woman).
22 Having lost Arabic article, cancel wholesale allowance (5)
CLOFFC{al}L OFF (cancel) without the AL (“the” in Arabic; Arabic article).
24 Bone up incomplete final part in radio series (3)
LUZ – ZUL{u} (last letter in the phonetic alphabet; final part in radio series), [incomplete], [up] -> LUZ.

5 comments on “Monthly Club Special 271 – Feb 2024”

  1. Yes another good set of clues. Thankfully, your explanations tally with mine. My LOI was PIN-HIGH which took me a long time to crack as I am not a golfer and I didn’t even know the cup was the hole. A well-disguised clue. You did well to solve it in 90 minutes. I took rather longer.

  2. As MCSs go, this one was in places quite kind, with words I actually knew and, as John says, occasionally generously clued.
    On the other hand, I don’t think I worked out KISHKE, vaguely remembering and confirming the Yiddish sausage.
    I liked the addition to my vocab of the excellent FORSWONCK, a perfectly cromulent word which deserves resurrection.

  3. Thanks, John.
    Re 6dn, “by old writer” specifically refers to Edmund Spenser, who had his own idiosyncratic spelling of the past participle of FORSWINK.

    1. Thanks. By the way…. I believe I have you to thank for Jumbo 1662 too, which, as it happens, is mine to blog. The style is unmistakeable, I think.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *