Monthly Club Special No 20267 – December 2022

A Happy New Year to everyone! It being the first of the month, the previous month’s solution is revealed. So here is my blog of December’s Monthly Club Special where it is my privilege to attempt to unscrew the inscrutable. As usual there is a cornucopia of exotic vocabulary matched by some devilish cluing in places, of which 3D is my pick. The three linked clues were all helpfully answered by a single dictionary entry which gave me a few useful checkers. My LOI was 14D, where I saw the answer early but took an age work out why it was right. No time recorded, but probably over 2 hours – I had to stop with 5 left to cook the evening meal. 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 Town known for tick-borne disease admits average body full of enzymes (8)
LYSOSOMELYME (the town in Connecticut giving the tick-borne disease its name) [admits] SO-SO (average).
5 Toff in Sun means to manipulate text (6)
SNOBOLNOB (toff) [in] SOL (sun). Blimey! I’ve not come across Snobol for decades.
10 Guy briefly entering nerve centre in Anchorage who’s not been there long (9)
CHEECHAKOCHA{p} (guy) [briefly] in CHEEK (nerve), [centre in] AnchOrage.
11 Ape with extra loop at the stern channel for draining deck (5)
CHIMBCHIMP (ape) adding an extra loop to the last letter, i.e. P -> B. I don’t think I’ve seen that wordplay before. Nice one.
12 See, primarily in East London, receding shallow lake there (4)
VLEIV (videlicet; see), first letters of  [primarily]  In East London [receding] -> LEI.
13 Lay fellows surrounding bishop must separate 15 (9)
WAMBENGER – The first of 3 linked clues. I solved  17A first and the dictionary helpfully gave me the answers to the other 2.  This one’s a double inclusion – MEN (fellows) [surrounding] B (bishop) inside [must separate] WAGER (lay a bet).
15 Australian native holds tooth with light-coloured coating (10)
PHASCOGALEHAS (holds) COG (tooth) in PALE (light-coloured) [coating].
17 13 regularly visited Touraine (4)
TUAN – Alternate letters [regularly visited] of ToUrAiNe.
19 “Horrible year” for a number in Elizabeth’s reign ? (4)
AYRE – [Horrible] ( year )*. An old spelling of AIR (song; number) from Elizabethan times.
20 Punch mate, losing head over plugging angry companion, heavily once (5,5)
UPSEY DUTCH – {j}UDY (Punch mate) [losing head] reversed, [over], -> YDU, inside, [plugging], UPSET (angry) CH (Companion of Honour). An old phrase for drinking heavily… lots of punch, perhaps?
22 Master remains one holding a king’s short sword (9)
WAKIZASHIWIZ (master) ASH (remains) I (one), [holding] A K (king).
24 Aged duke mostly having ruled lines going back (4)
NIEF – An old name for a fist (duke). FEIN{t} (having ruled lines on paper) [mostly], [going back] -> NIEF.
26 Note containing attention-seeking word is source of new information (5)
RHEME –  RE (note) [containing] HEM (attention-seeking word). The part of a clause that gives information about the theme.
27 Perhaps aid group with word of doubt during awkward teen infatuation (9)
ENGOUMENTNGO (non-government organisation; perhaps aid group) UM (word of doubt) [during] [awkward] ( teen )*.
28 Assume tree is in parade (6)
SASHAYASH (tree) [in] SAY (assume; make a hypothesis)
29 Hill-dweller went higher across river, facing upward (8)
ANTRORSEANT (hill-dweller; ho-ho!) ROSE (went higher) [across] R (river).
1 Pike’s not compact according to commentator (4)
LUCE – Sounds like LOOSE (not compact) [according to commentator].
2 Ordeal (standard scrape) in places for birds (5,10)
SHELL PARRAKEETSHELL (ordeal) PAR (standard) RAKE (scrape) [in] SETS (places).
3 Swallowing drink quickly, was disgusting, all told in few words (8)
SUCCINCT – The answer seemed obvious, but it took me ages to see how the clue works. It’s a homophone of, [all told], SINK (drink quickly) -> CINC, inside SUCKED (was disgusting) -> SUCT [swallowing] . Very clever.
4 Longhairs say this without point being raised (5)
MIAOW – WO (without) AIM (point) [raised] -> MIAOW.
6 Northerner’s guffaw apparently appealing to a more specialised group (6)
NICHER – Double definition. The first a form of NICKER (a loud laugh).
7 Is last pub to host rounds on an equal high level? (6,2,3,4)
BRINGS UP THE REARBAR (pub) outside, [to host], RINGS (rounds) UP THERE (on an equal level).
8 Ear parts, bristly, almost hang out (10)
LABYRINTHS – (bristly han{g})* [out].
9 Room in unpleasant A&E providing prescriptions? (8)
FORMULAERM (room) [in] FOUL (unpleasant) A E.
14 Bloomers as clothing for exercise, tucking in nearly half at the bottom before cycling (10)
SPEARWORTS – My LOI. Another that took me quite a while to decipher. Starting with SPORTSWEAR (clothing for exercise), take the last 4 letters [nearly half at the bottom] WEAR,  insert them , [tucking in], into the rest SP  WEAR ORTS  [before] rotating those letters [cycling] ->  SP EARW ORTS . Crikey!
16 Unusual sight of mountain pass to view within England’s borders (8)
GAPESEEDGAP (mountain pass), SEE (view) [within] E{nglan}D [‘s borders].
18 Retreat into rehabilitation group with employer dismissing second former Chancellor (8)
ADENAUERDEN (retreat) [into] AA (Alcoholics Anonymous; rehabilitation group), U{s}ER (employer) [dismissing second]. Konrad Adenauer was the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
21 Trapped by hurricane, Azoreans brought up condition of hooter (6)
OZAENA – Reverse [brought up] hidden [trapped] in  hurricANE AZOreans. A disease of the nose in which the bony ridges and mucous membranes of the nose waste away
23 Small hotel incorporates good, ace ingredient in bridie (5)
INGANINN (small hotel) [incorporates] G (good) A (ace). A Scottish dialect word for onion.
25 Hot season in Paris stifles a picnic for old poets (4)
ETHEETE (season in Paris) is outside [stifles] H (hot).

2 comments on “Monthly Club Special No 20267 – December 2022”

  1. Yet again another excellent and enjoyable but not easy puzzle. Thankfully your explanations tally with mine.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you agree with my parsings. Hopefully that means we are both right!

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