November 30th, 2020

Astarte1

QC 1755 by Breadman

I thought this was just a touch more difficult than the usual Monday morning fare and so I found myself jumping around a bit rather than following the largely sequential course of most recent weeks. Did anyone agree? Either way thank you very much to Breadman for some interesting clues that were a bit above the average for the Monday QC as far as I could tell.

FOI with hindsight certainly should have been 1A but sadly it wasn't. The answer lurked there on the edge of my consciousness just a fraction of a second too long before I ticked over to 5A which went in straight away. LOI was 20A I think. For COD I liked both 13A and 15A which had a bit of a Carry On/On The Buses vibe which had me nudging and winking like Eric Idle. They both also had very natural surfaces but probably 15A wins it by a nipple.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

Across
1 Slipping on hard fish (7)
HERRING - H (hard) + ERRING (slipping).
5 I've messed up zero operations (4)
OOPS - O (zero) + OPS (operations).
7 Junk that is ignored by husband (3)
TAT - ThAT 'ignored' by H (husband).
8 Fighter plane tilts over before burning (8)
SPITFIRE - TIPS (tilts) reversed ('over') gives SPIT. Add FIRE (burning) to give SPITFIRE.
10 Somewhat windy ahead, knocking back Austrian composer (5)
HAYDN - reversed hidden word: 'somewhat' wiNDY AHead 'knocking back'.
11 Rated new company's architectural style (3,4)
ART DECO - anagram of RATED ('new') + CO.
13 American Society occupying congress area in SE England (6)
SUSSEX - US (American) + S (society) 'occupying' SEX (congress).
15 Go away to live with a bird (4,2)
BEAT IT - BE (to live) + A TIT (a bird).
17 Companion with cake failing to open large country house (7)
CHATEAU - CH (Companion of Honour) + gATEAU (cake 'failing to open').
18 Crime Harry scorns regularly (5)
ARSON - take regular letters from hArRy ScOrNs.
20 Arm perhaps supporting priest with doctor (8)
FORELIMB - FOR (supporting) + ELI (a high priest in the Biblical Books of Samuel) + MB (doctor, Bachelor of Medicine).
22 Silver ring gone (3)
AGO - AG (silver, chemical symbol Ag) + O (ring).
23 Observed envoy on vacation with newsman (4)
EYED - EnvoY ('on vacation') + ED (editor, newsman).
24 Dog that is left on bridge (7)
SPANIEL - SPAN (bridge) + IE (id est, that is) + L (left).
Down
1 At work, Kath itches to retire (3,3,4)
HIT THE SACK - straight anagram ('at work') of KATH ITCHES.
2 Again hear about score at Twickenham? (5)
RETRY - RE (about) + TRY (score at Twickenham). RETRY in the sense of re-hearing a trial, thus 'again hear'.
3 Lying, perhaps, in wrong church with religious class (9)
INSINCERE - IN (in) + SIN (wrong) + CE (church (of England)) + RE (religious class).
4 Instrument leaders of group used in the auditorium rarely (6)
GUITAR - take the 'leaders of' Group Used In The Auditorium Rarely.
5 Old female repeatedly absent (3)
OFF - O (old) + FF (female 'repeatedly').
6 Sign left on hospital department (7)
PORTENT - PORT (left (on board a ship)) + ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat department. Hospitals in Crossworld only ever seem to have this department so if you are ever visiting I suggest you make sure you have cast-iron comprehensive health insurance).
9 Stuffing own loot casually under child's bed (6,4)
COTTON WOOL - TON WOOL (anagram of OWN LOOT ('casually')) 'under' (in this down clue) COT (child's bed).
12 Article by magazine about graduate crossing one African country (3,6)
THE GAMBIA - THE (definite article) + GAM (MAGazine 'about') + BA (graduate) 'crossing' I (one). The Gambia is that long, thin finger of a country poking into Senegal along the Gambia river that is a result of one of those colonial carve-up thingies that resulted in straight lines all over Africa and other places. This combines two of my great general knowledge black holes, geography and history (I somehow managed effectively to avoid both at school), which I know will seem like impassable canyons to most of you, but which with the help of crosswords I am gradually managing to pave over. I did actually know this because I have been using various aids over the years to help me hold my head up in general knowledge quizzes and the countries of Africa (along with American States, countries of Europe, British Prime Ministers and American Presidents) have been one of my belated revision targets to try to make up for the proverbial misspent youth.
14 Mysterious flash around plug (7)
SHADOWY - SHOWY (flash) 'around' AD (advertisement or 'plug').
16 Nothing disturbs even throwing game (6)
QUOITS - O (nothing) 'disturbing' QUITS (even - as in let's call it quits).
19 Hindu instructor moved through water against current (5)
SWAMI - SWAM (moved through water) 'against' I (physical symbol for electric current).
21 Finish part of bowls match (3)
END - double definition. Football and Rugby matches are divided into halves. Polo matches are divided into chukkas. Cricket matches are divided into inningses (although Baseball matches are divided into innings). Bowls matches are divided into ends.
verlaine

Monthly Club Special 20,242: Christmas Comes Early

I thought this was hard but most entertaining - 15ac being worth the price of admission all on its won. I also very much liked 22ac, an audacious word to try to clue at all, to be sure. Good luck doing this one without the aid of a dictionary! So many words that barely look like words at all... and that, of course, is what we love about the MCS. Thanks as ever to the setter!

ACROSS
1 Sea getting at other times called on for fish (6)
MEDAKA - MED [sea] getting AKA [at other times called] on. I saw MED quickly, AKA took a lot longer to resolve (as obviously I'd never heard of the fish)

4 Drug swallowed, now losing weight: I’m laughing! (8)
ATENOLOL - ATE [swallowed] + NO{w} + LOL [I'm laughing!]. Once I saw that this was going to end with LOL it fell quickly into place.

10 Dad managed pub in Morecambe, perhaps, close to vital waste filtering facility (11)
PARANEPHRIC - PA RAN + PH in ERIC. FOI

11 Circuit of Doone country, missing odd parts (3)
XOR - {e}X{m}O{o}R

12 Is one who’s permitted initially satellite dishes with lights? (7)
HASLETS - HAS LET [is one who has permitted] + S{atellite}. This is lights as in the lungs of an animal, as haslets are cakes of pig entrails, lovely!

14 Ring within ring, close to anther elsewhere? (7)
COROLLA - so I think this is O [ring] within COLLAR [ring], having moved its {anthe}R. In any case it's all in the service of being an &lit.

15 A number from Berlin recycled which Stasi term (it is Wehrmacht’s, also)? (5,9)
WHITE CHRISTMAS - (WHICH STASI TERM*) or (IT IS WEHRMACHT'S*). Once I realised that this was Berlin the person rather than a German song it became much easier.

17 German engineer, old one in shock, before long becoming calmer (14)
BENZODIAZEPINE - BENZ + O + I in DAZE + PINE. Once you think of BENZ you're pretty much there.

21 One gives support to organ, not to Scottish miners (7)
FRAENUM - FRAE [Scottish from, not to] + NUM

22 Jealous, with last letter being the very last, and after a Scrabble tile! (7)
AZULEJO - (JEALOUZ*). Nice anagrind

23 Make more of Shakespeare, less of dramatic heroines (3)
ICH - hidden in {dramat}IC H{eroines}. Shakespearean for "eke" or "augment"

24 One leading different parties, all on the same side (11)
IPSILATERAL - I + (PARTIES ALL*)

26 State control, shadowy, about to tamper with lives (8)
DIRIGISM - DIM "about" RIG + IS

27 When very dry, becoming drunk? (6)
ASSOTT - AS SO TT

DOWN
1 Aussie howler upset visiting Brit? What a week! (8)
MOPEHAWK - reversed POM + EH? A WK

2 Old rag added to waiter’s tips (3)
DOR - {adde}D {t}O {waite}R. This is an archaic word for "scoff" or "mock", and not a beetle, for a change.

3 What Finn plucks from leaping deer impaled on stake (7)
KANTELE - I had the ANTE in before I found the reversed ELK to impale on it. A kantele is some kind of Finnish zither!

5 Indian city’s current police, once welcome, blame everyone in it after rising (14)
TIRUCHIRAPALLI - I + RUC + HI + RAP + ALL, in reversed it. If you weren't up on your Tamil Nadu geography you might have had to look this up to check you had all the right pieces in the right order.

6 Bright colour cheers one handy with paint tin up (7)
NACARAT - TA + RA [one handy with paint] + CAN, all reversed. A bright orange-red, I'm told.

7 Rare stone is indulgence after changing hands over an evening, informally (11)
LUXULYANITE - LUXU{r->L}Y + A NITE

8 Old chest or “box” used by speaker, not unknown around area (6)
LARNAX - LAR{y}NX, "around" A

9 Back rooms requiring work: one’s nonetheless to be suitable for lawgiver (14)
OPISTHODOMOSES - OP + I'S + THO + DO + MOSES

13 Crack heard every so often under small wooden sleeper in Victoria (5-6)
SPINE-BASHER - BASH [crack] + {h}E{a}R{d}, under S PINE. That's Victoria Australia of course.

16 Old friar’s touching prayer, second about to be forgotten (8)
RECOLLET - RE COLLE{c}T. A recollet is a Franciscan friar who aims for detachment from creatures and recollection in God, much like many crossword solvers.

18 Old-fashioned clowning to go with some butting in (7)
ZANYING - ZING [go] with ANY "butting in"

19 Mostly being just low grades for class fluent in Latin? (7)
EQUITES - EQUIT{y} + E'S

20 No longer trusted, if deaf to reform (6)
AFFIED - (IF DEAF*)

25 Auditor’s rank that’s used for a spell in Greece (3)
RHO - homophone of ROW. Greeks use rho to spell words with