Monthly Club Special No 273 – April 2024

Once more the Monthly Club Special provides us with a feast of exotic words clued by inventive and entertaining wordplay. I found this a little easier than recent months but it still took me 1:09 – hours:minutes, not minutes:seconds, that is! My LOI was the 3-letter 12A with its clever wordplay. Word of the Month goes to the unlikely looking 15D and most-fun bit of wordplay the ‘stripping curvy characters’ in 24D. Thank-you clever setter.

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

1 Chicken brood’s left a little late in bed of shells and gravel (6)
CULTCH – CLUTCH (chicken’s brood) moving the L (left) back 1 letter -> CULTCH.
4 Psalm for Mass’s one in stony defence of Boers (8)
SCHANTZES{i}ZE (mass) with the I (one) replaced by CHANT (psalm). I had a MER at CHANT for psalm, which is the tune one is sung to, but Collins Thesaurus has it as a synonym.
10 Extreme conservative confusion beginning to ruin friendship (9)
FOGRAMITYFOG (confusion), first letter of Ruin, AMITY (friendship).
11 Of two-party arrangements, just over half repelled fundamentalist (5)
TALIB –  5 of the 9 letters of BILATeral (of two-party arrangements) reversed -> TALIB.
12 Point out ring from radials (3)
RAS – Remove DIAL (ring) from RA{dial}S. My LOI, needing to see to split “Point out” to get the definition.
13 Cause of smell that’s strong or faint, recalled between siblings familiarly (11)
BROMIDROSIS –  OR DIM (faint) reversed -> MIDRO, in BRO and SIS (siblings familiarly).
14 Man turns on doctor who’s closing passages in temple (6)
DROMOI –  DR (doctor), last letter of whO, IOM (Isle of Man; Man) reversed -> MOI.
16 Perhaps a local character taking care of whitefish (7)
INCONNUC/O (care of), in INN (perhaps a local) NU (Greek character).
19 Ferrari’s agreed to stop luxury cars being abnormally thirsty? (7)
LIMOSISSI (Italian for yes) in LIMOS (luxury cars). The dictionaries I use, Chambers and Collins (it’s not in ODE) have the word meaning “An abnormally ravenous appetite”, but I guess a thirst can mean a desire for something other than drink and “hungry” would wreck the neat surface.
20 Brewer’s product protecting business against recession (6)
ALCOVE – Good grief! A normal word and an easy clue. CO (business) V (against), in ALE (brewer’s product)
22 Flexible stone’s desirable quality on both sides of a short pillar by end of arcade (11)
ITACOLUMITEIT (desirable quality) before and after A COLUM{n} [short] (pillar), last letter of arcadE.
25 Marker buoy or tub, locally and at sea (3)
DAN –  Two definitions and an anagram, (and)* [at sea]. “Locally” indicates that the second definition is in dialect.
26 Pared-down Damnation of Faust with intermissions (2-3)
ON-OFF – Hidden in DamnatiON OF Faust.
27 One validates constant, endless burning with instant resistance (9)
CONFIRMORC (constant) ON FIR{e} (burning) [endless], MO (instant) R (resistance).
28 I suggest we turned across river, chasing evasive knave (8)
COYSTRELCOY (evasive), LET’S (I suggest we) [turned] and including R (river) -> STREL.
29 Oil producer’s to appear to bury unpublished text (6)
SEMSEMMS (manuscript; unpublished text) in SEEM (appear).
1 Soccer’s authority is in referee’s colourful reprimand for Blues (6)
CAFARDFA (Soccer’s authority) in CARD (referee’s colourful reprimand).
2 Shrub or flip’s contents: blow and liquor (9)
LIGUSTRUM – fLIp [‘s contents], GUST (blow) RUM (liquor). Both shrub and flip are types of alcoholic drink.
3 Hooded striker’s supporter arises as spiritual successor for Celtic (5)
COARB – COBRA (hooded striker) with the BRA (supporter) reversed -> COARB.
5 Digestive processes disrupted in stomach if icy (14)
CHYMIFICATIONS – (in stomach if icy)* [disrupted].
6 Catch rain after treatment of wool-sorter’s disease (9)
ANTHRACIC – (catch rain)* [after treatment].
7 In retrospect, only time reveals ultimate purpose (5)
TELOS – SOLE (only) T (time) reversed -> TELOS.
8 Slacker to board coach ahead of waiting line, with 40 per cent off (8)
EMBUSQUEEMBUS (board coach) QUE{ue} (waiting line) without the last 2 of 5 letters (40%). A word I recognised from a Mephisto in December.
9 Smallest state twice catching very American smuggler involves scene that can make you smile (8,6)
RISORIUS MUSCLESO (very) in RI (Rhode Island; smallest state in USA) RI [twice], US (American), SC (scene) in MULE (smuggler). Phew. Very Ikean.
15 In greatest quantity, receiving a thousand cases of often fizzy grape syrup (9)
MOSKONFYTK (a thousand) and outside letters of OfteN FizzY, in MOST (greatest quantity).
17 To add difficulty, see about withdrawing Scottish legal charter (9)
NOVODAMUS – SUM (add) ADO (difficulty) V (videlicet; see) ON (about) all reversed -> NOVODAMUS.
18 Sign covering papers held by commander-in-chief protected by shell (8)
CLEIDOICID (papers) in LEO (sign of the zodiac), all in CIC (Commander-in-Chief).
21 Former unenlightened batter is off beam for breaking down doors (6)
INGRAM – {batter}ING RAM (beam for breaking down doors) without the “batter”.
23 Hopelessness in breakdown of society’s physical structure, at being estranged (5)
ANOMYAN{at}OMY (physical structure) without the AT.
24 Erotic feeling when stripping all curvy characters outside for reproductive stuff (5)
EXINE – {s}EXINE{ss} (erotic feeling) without the Ss (curvy characters). Nice one.


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