Monthly Club Special No 20274 – July 2023

It’s that time of the month again – the usual entertaining dive into remote corners of the dictionary and inventive wordplay that is the magic of the Monthly Club Special. I took me just over 1 1/4 hours to complete the collection of eventual penny drop moments. I loved the clever arithmetic 17A, but my word of the month goes to the unlikely looking 9D.  “Moi the pretentious artist” gave me the biggest chuckle. 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 Simple life forms in endless danger with measure of acidity and variable weight (10)
PERIPHYTONPERI{l} (danger) [endless], PH (measure of acidity) Y (variable) TON (weight).
6 Mountain agents blowing cover of doctor? (4)
OSSA – {m}OSSA{d} (Israeli secret service; agents) losing the outside letters MD (doctor).
10 Having no issue with answer, fine to interrupt as far as we’re concerned (7)
ATOKOUSA (answer), OK (fine) in TO US (as far as we’re concerned).
11 Note from Donbas personnel, five years back (New York area) (7)
HRYVNYAHR (personnel),  V (five) Y (years) [back] -> YV, NY (New York) A (area). The standard currency of Ukraine.
12 Story maker’s motto ruined with hype (9)
MYTHOPOET – (motto + hype)* [ruined].
13 Grasses turning in sleazy rozzers (5)
ORYZA -Reverse hidden in sleAZY ROzzers.
14 Fossil fuel to be found around wide swamp down under (5)
COWALCOAL (fossil fuel) around W (wide).
15 Clip, if cross, around the ear finally: papa stops mum flipping! (9)
EXCERPTUMX (cross) C (circa; around) thE eaR [finally] P (papa in the NATO alphabet), all in MUTE (mum) [flipping] -> ETUM. Positively Ikean!
17 Six lots of this vital acid, including extra tablet, found in 1854 (9)
THREONINE – With an extra table, E, THRE{e} O NINE, 309, times 6 = 1854. Very clever.
20 Fruit from tropical tree, one planted by designer of London park (5)
NASHINASH (John Nash, designer of Regent’s Park) I (one). The Asian pear.
21 Daily papers returning leaves from a ballot box? (5)
URNAL – {di}URNAL without the ID (papers) [returning] [leaves].
23 Activities of Greek brigands, a thousand, with pronounced socialist principles? (9)
KLEPHTISMK (a thousand), LEPHTISM, sounds like, [pronounced] LEFTISM (socialist principles).
25 Waterlilies after November died — hybrid going west (7)
NELUMBON (November), OB (obit; died) MULE (hybrid), all reversed -> ELUMBO.
26 Half of farmland cold and mostly dry, landing fruit-eater with massive bill (7)
ARACARI – [Half of] ARA{ble} (farmland) C (cold), [most of] ARI{d} (dry). A small sort of toucan.
27 Head cut deal perhaps involving primary requirement for kindergarten (4)
SKAWK{indergarten} [first letter of; primary requirement for] in SAW (cut deal perhaps). Head as in headland or cape.
28 Indian town turned poster out: “A dance ending early (at five)” (10)
VIJAYAWADAAD (poster) AWAY (out) A JIV{e} (dance) [ending early at the V, five] all turned.
1 Lighter article being transported with baby, perhaps (5)
PRAAMA (article) in PRAM (being transported with baby).
2 Part of church constructed to order without elevated blocks (4-5)
ROOD-TOWER – (to order)* [constructed] outside WO (without) [elevated] -> OW.
3 Light source left hood of palmtop damaged (10,4)
PHOTOFLOOD LAMP – (L{eft} hood of palmtop)* [damaged].
4 Jade completely, at last appearing at station with energy falling (2-5)
YU-STONE – CompletetelY [at last], EUSTON (station) moving the E to the end [with energy falling] -> USTONE.
5 Image capturing strike beneath circle of snake admirers (7)
OPHITICO (circle), PIC (image) [capturing] HIT (strike).
7 Son wanting someone else’s mustard now unused (5)
SENVYS (son) ENVY (wanting someone else’s). An obsolete term for mustard.
8 War cries prepared with one inside? Man’s upset (9)
ALALAGMOIA LA (prepared with or in the manner of) LAG (convict; one inside), IOM (Isle of Man) [upset] -> MOI.
9 Poland’s ready to axe its airline travel department: airlines collectively “spineless creatures” (14)
ZYGOBRANCHIATAZ{lot}Y (Poland’s currency; ready) without LOT (Polish airline), GO (travel) BRANCH (department) IATA (International Air Transport Association; airline collectively). My word of the month, and great wordplay too.
14 Injured cycling in company with students, one went on foot (9)
COTHURNUS – HURT (injured) [cycling] -> THUR, in CO (company) NUS (National Union of Students). A sort of boot worn in ancient Greek tragedy.
16 High priest thanks Muslims for securing flight (5,4)
TASHI LAMATA (thanks) SHIA (Muslims), [securing] LAM (flight).
18 Clan leader’s tattoo I note when rising (7)
INKHOSIINK (tattoo), I SOH (note after FAH) [rising] -> HOSI.
19 Top off evening tune, as the case demands (1,2,4)
E RE NATA – {Top off] {s}ERENATA (evening tune).
22 Gorge on maple loaf, leaving odd pieces (5)
NALLA –  Every other letter [leaving odd pieces] oN mApLeLoAf. Hmm. you have to read that as “odd pieces leaving” to leave the right letters.
24 Fate which is often said to accompany pretentious artist (5)
MOIRA – What “MOI” pretentious? RA (artist). Lol.

3 comments on “Monthly Club Special No 20274 – July 2023”

  1. Very straightforward, except when it wasn’t. The IKEA analogy is spot on: just follow the instructions, and you’ll get there.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I was beginning to think the tumbleweeds would just roll on by. Yes straightforward, except when it wasn’t is an accurate description. Now for this month’s.

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