Monthly Club Special No 274 – May 2024

Once more the Monthly Club Special provides us with a feast of exotic words clued by inventive and entertaining wordplay. I found rather more difficult than last month’s, although it’s hard to pin down why, taking just under 1 hr 50 minutes. My LOI was 5A with the definition being a bit tricky to spot.  Word of the Month goes to the archaic 6D and most-fun bit of wordplay the ‘one leading Victor in  obviously’ in 3D. Thank-you clever setter.

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

1 Landing vehicle from US to carry old woman westwards (6)
AMTRAC – CART (carry) MA (old woman) all reversed -> AMTRAC.
5 Yank attempts to conceal small cosmetic ops making smile extremely wide (8)
SNOWJOBSS (small) NO{se}JOBS (cosmetic ops) replacing the outside letters, [extremely], of SmilE with W (wide)- > SNOWJOBS. The definition says the word is American slang. My last one in, and it took me a while to parse.
9 Alan once has shattered relative to console (8)
ANCONEAL – (Alan once)* [shattered].
10 Turkish ruler visiting Lincoln finally departing (6)
ATABEG – A word I knew!  AT (visiting) ABE (Abraham Lincoln) and last letter of departinG.
11 American got up to plug tune informally for earthy band (1,7)
C HORIZONRIZ (got up; US slang) in CHOON (tune, informally; English slang). I suppose a wordplay based on CHORIZO + N would be too simple for the MCS, so I’m not complaining.
12 Ass Jack runs out of stuff for cheese (6)
JENNETJ (Jack), {r}ENNET (stuff for cheese) without the R (runs).
13 Get excited by one wearing jacket, most seductive (8)
VAMPIESTAMP (excited) I (one), in VEST (jacket).
15 Vehicle’s valuation oddly overlooked (4)
AUTO – Even numbered letters of vAlUaTiOn. Unlike  11A, a clue that’s invaded from a quick cryptic. My FOI, not surprisingly.
17 Stop pulling horse’s tail (4)
FILLFILL{y} with the last letter ‘pulled’.
19 Singular, powerful piece of board cut by my window cleaner (8)
SQUEEGEES (singular), QUEE{n} (powerful piece on board) [cut], GEE (my!).
20 Judge this lens to be full of cracks? (6)
OCULAR – J (judge) + OCULAR  gives JOCULAR (full of jokes; cracks). Clever.
21 Sacred primate’s case for elevation we demand to know (8)
ENTELLUS – Outside letters of ElevatioN, TELL US (we demand to know).
22 In front of uniform in dark, you there will find fungal spore (6)
OIDIUMOI (you there!), U (uniform) in DIM (dark).
23 Following The Sun, Nick from The Scotsman retains old women’s magazine article (8)
DEISHEALSHE (old woman’s magazine) A (article), in DEIL (Scottish word for devil; Nick). The opposite of widdershins.
24 Reflectively rating track by rock dinosaurs (8)
BARYONYX – AB (rating) reversed -> BA, RY (railway; track) ONYX (rock). I liked the ‘track by rock dinosaurs’.
25 Top horse to back: I agree to do it, too (6)
GANSEY – NAG (horse) reversed -> GAN, YES also reversed -> SEY. Another neat surface.
2 Mostly lacking housing, keep mum at this country guesthouse (8)
MINSHUKUSH (keep mum) UK (this country),  in MINU{s} (lacking) [mostly]
3 Overseas runner Rex over the moon: one leading Victor in obviously (3,5)
RIO BRAVOR (rex) IO (moon of Jupiter), BRAVO (phonetic alphabet word for B) – B being the letter before the V (Victor in the phonetic alphabet) in oBViously. Fiendish! I love it, but it took me an age to see how it worked.
4 Derivative of silk in which different yeomen should dress unknown number up (8,1)
COENZYME Q –  (yeomen)* [different] in QC (silk) reversed -> CQ.
5 Impressively false info to give — the same tip — on a vote (9,6)
SPLENDIDE MENDAXSP (slang for latest info, from Starting Price) LEND (give) IDEM (the same) END (tip) A X(voter’s mark; vote). Impressive charade.
6 No longer know which exam, informally (7)
WOTTESTWOT TEST (which exam, informally). Ho ho.
7 You ban guidebook showing river’s name in French (8)
OUBANGUI – Hidden in yoU BAN GUIdebook. French spelling of Ubangi.
8 “A-list” tag for casting as a requirement for The Archers (8)
14 Carol reading notes, perhaps, pining about gutless Tobias (5-4)
SIGHT-SING – Outside letters of TobiaS in SIGHING (pining).
15 British music award touching a revolving arm dropped (8)
AEROBOMBB (British) MOBO (music award) RE (touching) A all reversed -> AEROBOMB.
16 Estate holder’s university lecture involves ace visiting medic (8)
TALUKDARU (university) in TALK (lecturer), A (ace) in DR (doctor).
17 Egyptian peasants: around 622 formed military lines (8)
FELLAHINFELL IN (formed military lines) about AH (Anno Hegirae; in the year of Hegira (ie from the flight of Mohammed)).
18 A lean cut riddled with holes (8)
LACUNATE – (A lean cut)* [riddled].
19 Rock briefly to loosen, releasing new alloy (7)
SHAKUDOSHAK{e} (rock) [briefly), U{n}DO (loosen) without the N (new).


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