Monthly Club Special No 20265 – October 2022

Hello and welcome to my first Monthly Club Special blog. The MCS is a crossword that is like a Championship course in comparison to the local 9-hole Quick Cryptic I mostly blog. I do love tussling with these, though. They take me a long time but I have a lot of fun unveiling the delightfully wacky words, like 1A and 26A in this puzzle and unravelling the masterful wordplay, like 10A here. I hope you all enjoyed this too. Thank-you clever setter!

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

1 Gushing from breast of young female thespian Titan accepting Oscar (13)
GALACTORRHOEAGAL (young female) ACTOR (thespian) RHEA (one of the Titans) [accepting] O (Oscar in the Nato alphabet). A great word to start with.
9 British pianist seeing Beck turn back (5)
OGDONNOD (Beck; beckon) GO (turn) [back].
10 Elfin forest spirit maiden in Tolkien’s Middle Earth ultimately left in fantasy land (9)
KRUMMHOLZRUM (spirit) M (maiden) [in] TolKein [‘s middle] eartH [ultimately], L (left) [in]  OZ (fantasy land). Cracking charade.
11 US boss of transport arrangements could make trams ready (10)
YARDMASTER – [could make] (trams ready)*. My FOI. Nice surface.
12 Obsessive admirer ignoring the archenemy’s earlier article (4)
STANS{a}TAN (the archenemy), losing the first [earlier] A (article). My LOI.
14 Liberal in Edinburgh college knocks the rough edges off (7)
FETTLESL (Liberal) [in] FETTES (Edinburgh college). My second one in.
16 Returning prisoner has months inside, not having been assessed (7)
UNMETEDM (month) [inside] DETENU (Indian prisoner) [returning] -> UNETED.
17 Turn of Britain to get into American basketball? They don’t plan to do it (4-3)
HOOK-UPS – Reversal [turn] of UK (Britain) ->KU in HOOPS (American basketball). The cryptic definition refers to the  hook up culture of casual (i.e. unplanned) sexual relationships (hence the ‘it’).
19 Shooter of archduke and king included in hit with bullet (7)
PRINCIPR (rex; king) INC (included) [in] PIP (hit with bullet). Referring to Gavrilo Princep, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.
20 Appears to be heartless, withdrawing toast (4)
SKOLLO{o}KS (appears) [heartless], reversed.
21 Make light, short journey with overnight bag across India (10)
TRIVIALISETRI{p} [short] (journey), VALISE (overnight bag) [across] I (India).
24 Incongruously raw and Lionel Blairesque? (9)
ORWELLIAN – [Incongruously] (raw Lionel)*. Lovely misdirection. You have to split Lionel Blair. The Blair referred to is, of course, Eric Blair, aka George Orwell. A favourite author of mine and there is a large mural of him at my favourite Suffolk seaside town of Southwold.
25 Crossbeam’s reduced range of movement (5)
TRAVETRAVE{l} (range of movement) [reduced].
26 Climate protesters about to fret old lady and everyone in France with very dry skin (13)
XERODERMATOUS – Another cracking word to finish the acrosses, and some juicy wordplay to go with it. XR (Extinction Rebellion; climate protesters) [about] ERODE (fret), MA (old lady) TOUS (everyone in French).
1 Early bloomer’s brilliance involving bent for honesty (5-2-3-4)
GLORY-OF-THE-SNOWGLOW (brilliance) [involving] (for honesty)* [bent].
2 Detection system needs days to break someone dishonest (5)
LIDARD (days) inside, [to break], LIAR (someone dishonest).
3 Monkey and Swan getting central makeover with broken loom installed (10)
CYNOMOLGUSCYGNUS (Swan) swapping middle letters [central makeover] outside [broken] (loom)*. Tricky!
4 Founders of early punk rock band with provocative image — time to split (7)
OIKISTSOI (early sub-genre of punk) KISS (rock band with provocative image) split by T (time). OIKISTS were founders of colonies in Ancient Greece.
5 Gold standard precedes hoarding old stack of coins (7)
ROULEAURULE (standard) AU (Chemical symbol for gold) [hoarding] O (old).
6 Durban nanny’s phrase giving permission to leave unknown things behind (4)
OUMA – {y}OU MA{y} (phrase giving permission) leaving out the Ys (unknown things). Biffed at the time and only parsed when doing the blog.
7 Involving death of cells, each accompanied by involuntary action (9)
APOPTOTICA POP (each) TO (accompanied by) TIC (involuntary action). I worried a bit about the “to” but the dictionary has “indicating that two things are attached or linked.‘he had left his dog tied to a drainpipe’
8 Split into regions dividing refined petrol, see their damage is stratospheric (5-9)
OZONE-DEPLETERSZONED (split into regions) [dividing] [refined] (petrol see)*.
13 A medical scan covering small screen, see you living forever! (10)
AMRITATTVAA MRI (medical scan), TATA (see you) [covering] TV (small screen). This one took me a while to crack.
15 Yellow-flowered plant that stings wife in the chest (6-3)
THOROW-WAXOW (that stings) W (wife) [in] THORAX (the chest).
18 Second, third and fourth Mrs Barlow losing a daughter turned up close together (7)
SERRIEDS (second), DEIR{d}RE (third and fourth Mrs Barlow) [losing] D (daughter), [turned up] -> ERRIED. I’ve never watched Coronation Street, but I had heard of the character. Read all about her here if you are interested.
19 Architectural historian against knight being embraced by nobleman (7)
PEVSNERVS (versus; against) N (knight in chess notation) [embraced by] PEER (nobleman).
22 Forest often flooded, first floating around Georgia (5)
IGAPOIPO (Initial Public Offering; first floating) [around] GA (Georgia).
23 Fine goodness that makes sherry taste nutty (4)
FLOR -A neat one to finish. F (fine) LOR (Goodness!)

11 comments on “Monthly Club Special No 20265 – October 2022”

  1. Welcome to your new blogging slot, John. As it’s many years since I looked at a Monthly I wondered if I might have a go at one of these but I’m afraid having read through the answers to this one I’m put off before I start. I found only four answers I recognise with reference to the definitions in the clues, and the majority of answers are words I’ve never even heard of, so I imagine I’d spend most of my solving time using aids and probably making very little if any progress. Still I hope that some of your other followers will be encouraged to have a go to increase interest in the format, and that they will have more stamina for a prolonged battle than sadly I possess.

    1. Thanks. I have been doing these for a while and I do the Mephisto too, which helps with the technique of “construct a word from the wordplay and look it up to see if it exists”, the very opposite of biffing.

  2. Welcome to the Club Monthly slot, John, and thanks for the comprehensive blog.
    In case it’s not clear, “it” in the definition of 17ac refers to sexual activity.

    1. Thanks for dropping in, and thanks for the comment on 17A. I was being a bit coy about the definition. I will update to make it clearer.

  3. Many thanks for the blog.
    I managed most of this, but the ones that defeated me made me feel ancient and out of the loop, like 17ac and the Barlow reference. And please, am I the only one not to understand STAN?

    1. The definition for STAN in the clue matches the definition I found online , but it isn’t in Chambers. Or is it that my explanation of the wordplay that isn’t clear?

    2. The American rap musician from Detroit, Eminem, had a very popular hit song and video back in the 90’s featuring an obsessive fan called Stan and this must be where the definition originated.

  4. Like jackkt, I dropped by to see if I fancied trying these again as I used to try and get stuck rather often. Seems to be just as obscure as ever, but time permitting I’ll give some a go. The appetite for the ‘construct a word then see if it exists’ routine is limited in my case. But I like learning new words. Good luck to our new blogger.

  5. I am so pleased you are keeping the Club Monthly blogs going, John, welcome aboard. You are only the third MCS blogger after Verlaine and me.
    I accept they are not to everyone’s taste, but for anyone who is competent at the cryptics but wants to improve towards Championship level I think they are really helpful. The need to focus on and trust the wordplay is very good training.

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