Monthly Club Special No 20273 – Jun 2023

It’s the best crossword of the month again – the Monthly Club Special. Very tricky – it took me nearly 2 hours, but I had lots of fun along the way…. not least in parsing some of the fiendish wordplay. Too many great clues to choose a favourite. 12A was my first one in and 22A my last. Thank-you fiendish setter. How did you all get on?

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

1 Space over capital, which repeats in frieze? (6)
METOPE – EM (space) [over] -> ME, TOP (capital) E (letter) that [repeats in] frEizE That took a lot longer to parse than to solve! A rather good &lit to start with, I think, now I’ve worked it out.
4 Composer of film about return of half-forgotten Wagner festival (8)
SKRYABIN – Not a transliteration of the composer’s name I have see before. SKIN (film) about [return of] BAYReuth (Wagner festival) [half-forgotten] -> RYAB.
9 Owlet caught New Zealand bird in curve downward (7)
NOCTUIDC (caught) TUI (New Zealand bird), in NOD (curve downward).
11 Cry “what jerks”, backing youth in Greece (7)
EPHEBOS – SOB (cry) EH?[what?) PE (jerks) all reversed -> EPHEBOS.
12 The reader almost breaks concealed bone in neck (5)
HYOIDYO{u} (the reader) [almost] in HID (concealed).
13 Embryonic layers developing stem cell without lines and rod (9)
ECTODERMS – [Developing] (stem ce{ll} rod)* losing the L L [without lines]
14 Injecting liquid iodide, modify log for observation (5,5)
VIDEO DIARYVARY (modify) including (iodide)*.
16 Mountain of bones (4)
OSSA – Double definition. Referring to this mountain in Greece.
19 One’s about to follow Egyptian spirit or Japanese one (4)
KAMIKA (Egyptian spirit) I’M (one’s) [about] -> MI.
20 Fiend in charge stops ogreish princess getting into trouble (10)
AFICIONADO – A double inclusion. IC (in charge) in FIONA (ogreish princess), in ADO (trouble).
22 Fiend, not quite without justification, skinned fum, a mythical bird (9)
IMPUNDULU – Two fiends in a row, but this one isn’t a definition. IMP (fiend) UNDU{e} (without justification) [not quite], {f}U{m} [skinned]. The fum, of course, is another mythical bird – the Chinese name for the Phoenix. Nice one.
23 Computer geeks regularly ignored, now thankful (5)
OTAKU -Alternate letters, [regularly ignored], of nOw ThAnKfUl,
25 Possibly gifted property that Jacques Tati exhibits (7)
ACQUEST -Hidden in JACQUES Tati. M. Tati the film-maker.
26 Scottish girl set to work with help (7)
ELSPETH – (set help)* [to work].
27 Joined line in revolution against very regal movement (8)
MAESTOSO – SEAM (joined line) reversed -> MAES, TO (against) SO (very).
28 French con artist is in Barcelona with mugger, say (6)
ESCROCES (is in Spanish) CROC (mugger; an Indian crocodile).
1 Pinko chaps against interrupting Arab leader (9)
MENSHEVIKMEN (chaps), V (against) in SHEIK (Arab leader).
2 Relatively young crater yet encompassing younger crater’s peaks (5)
TYCHOTHO (yet) outside Younger Crater [‘s peaks].
3 Try leaving domestic fowl and assume rook cracks shoulder-plate (8)
POULDRONPOUL{try} (domestic fowl) without the try, R (rook) in DON (assume).
5 Light boots and silk hotel uniform on man accepting post (13)
KLETTERSCHUHEKC (King’s Counsel; silk) H (hotel) U (uniform) HE (man) [accepting] LETTERS (post).
6 Name of violinist striking feet in long barbarian cacophony (6)
YEHUDI -Removing the last letters of [striking feet of] YE{n} (long) HU{n} (barbarian) DI{n} (cacophony). Yehudi Menuhin, of course.
7 Turning up in the part of sandwich containing bone, a wild pig (9)
BABIRUSSARIB (bone) A, in AS (in part of; acting) SUB (sandwich) all [turning up]  -> ABIR in BUSSA.
8 We are Newton, conversely striving (5)
NISUSN (Newton; unit of force) US IS (we are) [conversely] -> IS US.
10 Perishes stateside, making case for soulless doctor’s ill-fated day (4,9)
DIES INFAUSTUSDIES (perishes) IN US (stateside) outside FAUST (soulless doctor).
15 Quip I deem funny in place of earlier rider? (9)
DEMIPIQUE – (quip I deem)* [funny]. An old form of saddle.
17 Subsequent bridge system united most of broad (9)
ACOLUTHICACOL (bridge system) U (united) [most of] THIC{k} (broad).
18 Greek giant dog’s destruction welcomed by tailless rodent (8)
MOLOSSUSLOSS (destruction) in [tailless] MOUS{e} (rodent). A bit harsh on the dog. Wasn’t it the farmer’s wife who cut of the tails?
21 Deep home insulation material, perhaps (6)
INFELTIN (home) FELT (insulation material, perhaps).
22 Prayer leader with one answer breaking silence (5)
IMAUMI (one) A (answer) in MUM (silence).
24 Ancient spook in CIA ultimately following every other in Le Carré (5)
AFEAR – CIA [ultimately] F (following) [every other in] lE cArRé

One comment on “Monthly Club Special No 20273 – Jun 2023”

  1. I managed this in 45 minutes, which is quick for an MCS, though I should have taken longer to insert NISUS instead of NUSIS: not sure what I was thinking and didn’t check in Chambers. Bang goes another hundred quid.
    I actually thought the vocab was less arcane than usual, and a lot of answers went in without the usual checking. I wouldn’t have spelt SKRYABIN like that, but the wordplay made it inevitable. Not all of his music was “challenging” (for which read practically tuneless), but such is reputation.

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