Monthly Club Special No 20270 – Mar 2023

Yet another cracking puzzle of delightfully unlikely looking words and clever wordplay. I found this a little easier than usual having all but 6 clues done in an hour. I finished in the SW corner with 18D which conjured up an entertaining image. I particularly liked the “nitrogen that’s apparently turned” in 17D, but word and clue of the month go to 1A. Thank-you once again clever setter.

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

1 Literally the last couple, retired, each awfully shy, visiting privates’ joint (12)
ZYGAPOPHYSIS – YZ (last 2 letters of the alphabet; literally the last couple) [retired] -> ZY, A POP (each) [awfully] ( shy )*, inside GIS (privates). Phew! A humdinger of a word to start with.
8 City where Miss Clare and Jarndyce originally come together in Dickens (7)
BADAJOZADA (Miss Clare, character in Bleak House) J{arndyce} [originally] (another character from Bleak House) in BOZ (penname for Charles Dickens, author of Bleak House). Nice literary wordplay. The city is in southwest Spain. It’s known for its Moorish historic quarter with the fortresslike Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.
9 First person with book to pay for one of eg Donald’s plates ? (7)
WEBFOOTWE (first person plural) B (book) FOOT (pay for). Donald as in Duck.
11 State there’s some merit rearming (7)
ERITREA – Hidden in, [some], mERITREArming.
12 Small family with dad shooting up (4-3)
SKIN-POPS (small) KIN (family) POP (dad).
13 Class member read from the right commercial reading material (5)
DALIT -AD (commercial) [read from the right] -> DA, LIT (reading material).
14 Answer shortly coming back on pensioners wanting a thing for a dish (9)
OPSOMANIAO{a}PS (pensioners) [wanting A], A (answer) IN A MO (shortly) [coming back] -> OMANIA .
16 Minister’s office requiring alternative to wits and class (9)
VIZIERATEVIZI.E. (alternative abbreviations for ‘to wit’) RATE (class).
19 Quote you might pick up is great deal (5)
SIGHT -Sounds like CITE (quote). A clue that’s dropped in from Quick Cryptic land!
21 Marine mammal tailed ferry, perhaps, by virtue of being close to hull (7)
RORQUALROR{o} (Roll On Roll Off; ferry) without the last letter, [tailed], QUA (by virtue of) [close to] {hul}L.
23 Stratford constable’s blunder : bad omen arresting corporal? (3-4)
NON-COME – [Bad] ( omen )* outside NCO (corporal). A malapropism by Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing.
24 Do buy in fragments for moulded component (7)
UNIBODY – ( do buy in )* [fragments].
25 Pinkish weed — ruby if turned at intervals — in American’s jar? (7)
BREWSKI – Alternate letters in the reverse of [if turned at intervals] pInKiSh WeEd RuBy.
26 Shocked into moving from Home Counties, leads a cloistered life? (12)
SEISMONASTICSE (Home Counties) IS MONASTIC (leads a cloistered life).
1 What’s not unique in puzzles these days? Like fresh compiler for star publication (7)
ZADKIEL – Z (letter that’s not unique in puzzle) AD (these days) ( like )* [fresh]. Nice wordplay.
2 State to jail revolutionary and an informant (7)
GUJARAT – JUG (jail) [revolutionary -> GUJ, A RAT (an informant).
3 Ten large square sandwiches, ace kept until last with a rich tomato sauce ! (9)
PIZZAIOLAPIAZZA (square) [sandwiches] IO (10; ten) L (large), moving the first A to the end [ace kept until last]. A favourite dish at home is Steak Pizzaiola. Yum!
4 Aberdonian dodges pledges with alternative tip from notebook (5)
PAWKSPAW{n}KS (pawns; pledges) replacing one of the end letters (alternative tip ) of NotebooK for the other. Clever wordplay.
5 Aggressive behaviour of brother rising to grab pupil once again! (7)
YOBBISMMY (brother!) [rising] outside OB (pupil) BIS (twice; once again). Tricky!
6 A number of physics standards people present favourably (7)
ISOSPINISO (standards people) SPIN (present favourably).
7 Artefact of value to Victor, but jeered outrageously (5,2,5)
OBJET DE VERTU – ( Victor but jeered )* [outrageously].
10 Touches on-screen key, weirdly unsettling confused Glaswegian (12)
TAPSALTEERIETAPS (touches on screen) ALT (key) EERIE (weirdly unsettling). Great word!
15 Segment of bone from back: in time, black (9)
STERNEBRASTERN (back), B (black) in ERA (time).
17 Compound of nitrogen that’s apparently turned yellow above cottage (7)
ZORGITE – N (nitrogen) [apparently turned] -> Z, OR (yellow) GITE (cottage). I liked that clever device of turning the letter 90 degrees.
18 Goes down to clean up unemployment money: euro, initially, then two shillings (3-4)
EMU-BOBSUnemployment Money Euro [initially], [up] -> EMU, BOBS (two shillings).
19 Celebrated driving supporter in need of lift for pre-match do (7)
SANGEETSANG (celebrated) TEE (driving supporter; ho-ho) reversed, [in need of lift] -> EET.
20 Way of spelling sound defeat: one’s packed golf clubs! (7)
GLOSSICLOSS (defeat) I (one) inside G (golf) C (clubs).
22 Stop second melody being broadcast? (3,2)
LAY TO – Sounds like LAY (melody) TWO (second).

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