Monthly Club Special No 20268 – Jan 2023

It’s that time of the month again when the answers to the Monthly Club Special are unveiled and a new challenge is provided…. although I create and publish this blog before I get to see the answers, so I hope I haven’t embarrassed myself by getting something wrong! As ever we got some wonderfully exotic vocabulary (17A was my favourite) and devilish wordplay. It took me just over 2 hours (I think – I don’t time myself) completing the bottom first and finishing in the NE corner with 8D. As usual, I was slow to start but then then speeded up once I got a few checkers. Some lovely PDMs(!) and a great feeling of achievement to finish. 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 Emerging in arms of kid clutching small article (7)
JESSANT -A heraldic term (hence “in arms”) – JEST (kid) [clutching] S (small) AN (article).
5 Chicory bark catches frightfully regularly (7)
WITLOOFWOOF (bark) [catches] frIghTfuLly [regularly].
9 This side’s passed on gold rings as symbol of eternity (9)
OUROBOROSOUR (this side’s) OB (obiter; passed on) OR (gold) OS (o’s; rings).
10 Gets absolutely revolting short stocking mask finally (5)
GROKSGROS{s} (absolutely revolting) [short], outside, [stocking], masK [finally].
11 Note to decline when turning down supplier? (5)
EIDER – RE (note) DIE (decline) reversed -> EIDER. Nicely disguised  definition.
12 Sign of hesitation in principle marks haughtiness (9)
BASHAWISMHAW (sign of hesitation, as in humming and hawing) in BASIS (principle), M (marks).
14 List associated with diet? (10-4)
PARLIAMENT-HEEL – Cryptic definition. Nothing to do with a weight-watcher’s shopping list (of course). The slight careening or heel (list) of a ship, with diet referring to a national or federal parliament.
17 Images recalled welcome buzz about returning boxer’s muscle (14)
XIPHIHUMERALIS – PIX (images) [returned] -> XIP, HI (welcome), HUM (buzz), RE (about) [returning] -> ER, ALI’S (Muhammed Ali’s; boxer’s). Great word and a masterfully baroque wordplay to go with it.
21 One revealingly dropping clanger speaking in cheap theatre (5-4)
PENNY-GAFFPENNY (one revealingly dropping), GAFF, sounds like GAFFE (clanger) [speaking]. I had to laugh when, after being stuck for a while on this, I had a Penny-Drop Moment when the PENNY dropped!
23 Round buildings all the same: then there’s large one (5)
THOLITHO‘ (all the same) L (large) I (one).
24 Time for high speed’s going to end after Scot’s ever further from Highlands (5)
AYONT – A word from the Highlands for further. The high speed is a TON. Move the T (time) to the end -> ONT and put it after AY (Scot’s ever).
25 Uniform on private in Polish-British hospital getting blade pulled from leg? (5-4)
SGIAN-DUBHGI (private) [in] SAND (polish), U (uniform) B (british) H (hospital). I remember when, as an usher at my renowned uncle’s wedding in Inverness in full highland dress, being told it had been agreed we wouldn’t wear them and was then a little nervous when I saw the bride’s family all had them in their socks. Fortunately it was an entirely amicable affair.
26 Ridge has lighter side crossing a thoroughfare (7)
YARDANGYANG (lighter side of Ying and Yang) [crossing] A RD (road).
27 Changes to coastline around US, as yet to be revised (7)
EUSTASY – (as yet)* [to be revised] [around] US.
1 Did duck for Glaswegian his sweetheart approved of (6)
JOOKEDJO (Scottish word for sweetheart) OKED (approved of). This reminded me of the famous Rabbie Burns song, “John Anderson my Jo” – hear it here sung by Eddi Reader.
2 Wound charity up, finding simple means to regenerate (7)
SOREDIASORE (wound), AID (charity) [up] -> DIA.
3 Jars of weedkiller ablaze — not all going up (9)
ALBARELLI – Reverse hidden, [not all going up], in weedkILLER ABLAze.
4 Marine life form that’s rare — but late in development (11)
TEREBRATULA – (rare but late)* [in development]. “Terebratula is a modern genus of brachiopods with a fossil record dating back to the Late Devonian. These brachiopods are stationary epifaunal suspension feeders and have a worldwide distribution.”
5 Tips on how you address pal in Gwent (3)
WUS -Lasts letters, [tips on], of hoW yoU addresS. Not to be confused with the American slang word WUSS for weakling.
6 Pull top drawer to find sultan’s letters put together? (5)
TUGRATUG (pull) R.A. (Royal Academician; top “drawer”). Ho ho.
7 Preparation of old work otherwise evidently delayed? (7)
OPORICEOP (work) OR (otherwise) on ICE (evidently delayed). Innovative piece of wordplay deriving the positional indicator on from part of the synonym of the wordplay element.
8 Measurement of hand of hooker ultimately leaving initial scrum short (8)
FISTMELE – hookeR (ultimately) [leaving] FI{r}ST (initial), MELEe (scrum) [short]. Tricky!
13 Dramatic climax as a new ceasefire is arranged (5,1,5)
SCENE A FAIRE – (A new ceasefire)* [arranged].
15 Over month one close to wastebasket can empty ginormous wax pens (9)
TJANTINGS – [close to] wastebaskeT, JAN (month one) TIN (can) [empty] G{inourmou}S. Another great word with precise wordplay.
16 Former husband into yoga quietly somehow avoiding family at dinner (8)
EXOPHAGYEX (former), (h (husband) yoga p (piano; quietly))* [somehow]. Cannibals have morals too.
18 Robber of ferry company, spelling it out before jury drops case (7)
PANDOURP AND O (P&O) (ferry company) [spelled out], {j}UR{y} [drops outside letters; case].
19 Popular part of computer firm turning up possible antivirus materials (7)
INOCULAIN (popular), ALU (Arithmetical Logic Unit, part of computer) CO (company; firm) [turning up] -> OCULA.
20 Local shed hot tears left at home, indeed (6)
LINHAYH (hot) inside, [tears], L (left) IN (at home) AY (indeed).
22 After raising yen, busy with some light religious procession (5)
YATRAAT (busy) RAY (some light), raising the Y (yen) to the top -> YATRA.
25 Sneakily make sales puff up, briefly (3)
SUG – GUS{t} (puff) [briefly], [up] -> SUG.


2 comments on “Monthly Club Special No 20268 – Jan 2023”

  1. I’d parse 15d’s JAN as ‘month one’ (on the calendar). This was my LOI, and there was a lot to ponder before that. (Although being Scottish does help with advanced puzzles – FOI was JOOKED.)

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