Monthly Club Special No 20271 – Apr 2023

It’s the Monthly Club Special again and another great challenge of exotic and interesting words and entertaining wordplay. Lots of great clues, including no less than three &lits. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I have ticks against 3D, with its clever historical reference, 8D, 15D and my LOI, 18A. Thank-you clever setter!

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

1 Some baht ’ats on Ilkley recalled setup for plant rotation (9)
KLINOSTAT – Reverse hidden [some… recalled] in bahT ‘ATS ON ILKley. referring to the song known as the Yorkshire Anthem, On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At. Try this version for a bit of a larf.
6 Assume a valley’s shape shows deposits from Alpine glaciations (5)
DONAUDON (assume) A U (valley’s shape). And I suppose, similarly, V would be “ravine’s shape”.
9 Golf ball no longer used in public tee area (5)
GUTTAG (golf in the NATO phonetic alphabet) {o}UT (in public), with the O (ball) removed [no longer used], T (tee) A (area). The first of three &lits and the clue I found hardest to parse. Very clever.
10 With crust of silk, filling of coulis initially baked in a fish pie (9)
KOULIBIACKC (King’s Counsel; silk) outside, [with crust of], all but the last letters, [filling], of cOULIs, [initially] Baked In A.
11 Am I getting frantic with medium emergencies? (9,6)
SCREAMING MEEMIE – A second &lit. ( am I m emergencies )* [getting frantic], with M for medium.
13 Times in animal life, every time seeming simple (4-4)
FAUX-NAIFX (times) in FAUNA (animal life), IF (every time; whenever). A bit of a handbrake turn in the thesaurus to get IF, I think.
14 Pickle left by escaping Soviet spy, having advanced Greek character slightly (6)
KIMCHIKIM PHILBY (Soviet spy) losing the L BY [left by escaping], -> PHI, changing to the next Greek letter [having advanced Greek character slightly] -> CHI. Devious wordplay!
16 Abandoned plantation  ’s cover for a monstrous head? (6)
ORCHATORC HAT (cover for monstrous head).
18 Black medic possibly twisting arm in traumatised state (8)
SHAMROCK – [twisting] ARM -> AMR, in SHOCK (traumatised state).
21 Changing hormone can help with front of brain or its hind part (15)
RHOMBENCEPHALON – ( hormone can help b )* [changing] with [front of] B{rain} giving the B. The resulting word means the hind part of the brain.
23 Hard to feed heavy demand I didn’t hear about — it’s up to Joshua (9)
HEXATEUCH – The first 6 books of the Old Testament. H (hard) CUE (feed) TAX (heavy demand) EH? (I didn’t hear) reversed, [about], -> HEXATEUCH.
25 Punishing task of writing is the author’s bag (5)
IMPOTI’M (the author’s) POT (bag).
26 Hardie’s bland answers had less fringe material (5)
WERSH – Hidden in, [less fringe material], ansWERS Had. A Scottish word. Hardie is probably a reference to Keir Hardie, the Scottish Trade Unionist and a founder of the Labour Party.
27 Bitter cold stress applied to subtropical tree (9)
ALECTRYONALE (bitter) C (cold) TRY (stress) ON (applied to).
1 Objectively we must trail a thousand silver birds of New Caledonia (5)
KAGUSK (a thousand) AG (chemical symbol for silver) US (we objectively, as an object rather than subject of a sentence).
2 Agent to detain United Nations IT director (11)
INTERNUNCIOINTERN (detain) UN (United Nations) CIO (Chief Information Officer; IT director).
3 Where to bath — for Marat it may be fatal (7)
OUABAIN – A toxic compound.  OU (where) A BAIN (to bath) in French (for Marat).  The French political theorist, physician and scientist Jean-Paul Marat was assassinated while taking a medicinal bath for his debilitating skin condition. Nice one.
4 Creole  hotpot’s core containing halved okra enjoys popularity (3,5)
TOK PISIN –  hoTPot [‘s core] containing OKra [halved] IS IN (enjoys popularity).
5 Tough guy primarily after violence? (6)
THUGGO – Our third &lit. ( Tough G {uy})* [after violence].
6 Maldivian  shady bar flanking Hotel Hawaii (7)
DHIVEHIH (hotel) in DIVE (shady bar) HI (standard abbreviation for Hawaii).
7 Indian barber  clipped collar (3)
NAINAI{l} (collar; arrest) [clipped].
8 Poorly  edited cuts to deselect with a mouse (5,4)
UNCLE DICK – Cockney rhyming slang for “sick”. ED (edited) in UNCLICK (deselect with a mouse).
12 Poorly edited with PC if supporting Mac’s earliest form of data storage (11)
MICROFLOPPY – ( poorly PC if )* [edited] under, [supporting],  M{ac} [‘s earliest].
13 Variety of pipe down inside absurdly low roof (9)
FLOORSHOWSH (pipe down) in [absurdly] ( low roof )*.
15 With loss of power, Twitter repeatedly affected (4-4)
CHEE-CHEECHEE{p} (Twitter), without the P (power), twice, [repeatedly].
17 One has a very light trunk  in the morning collection (7)
AMBATCHAM (morning) BATCH (collection).
19 Noah’s son turning on God yet ultimately believing in a Messiah  (7)
MAHDIST – HAM (Noah’s son) [turning] -> MAH, DIS (Roman god of the underworld) yeT [ultimately].
20 Without shortening, cut a ribbon attached to a mitre (6)
INFULAIN FUL{l} (without shortening), losing its last letter, [cut], A.
22 Radioactive gas no longer  standing out, apparently (5)
NITON – Old name for Radon.  NOT IN (out) going upwards [standing] -> NITON.
24 Steer around right circuit (3)
XOR – OX (steer) [arround] -> XO, R (right).


2 comments on “Monthly Club Special No 20271 – Apr 2023”

  1. Everything parsed the same way, for me. 26a may be a reference to Keir Hardie.

    My experience so far of these Monthly Specials is that I can get a dozen or more answers more or less on first read through, and then have to painstakingly put the rest together. By contrast, I found this virtually impenetrable on first read through, but once I’d managed to work out a few clues, the solving pace accelerated.

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