Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
verlaine
times_xwd_times

Monthly Club Special 20,229: Hallowe'en Special

I'm glad I did this towards the end of the month rather than the beginning as there were some pretty darn scary words in here, so I thought it worked very nicely as a Hallowe'en puzzle, under the bedsheets by the light of a torch. Well worth the workout and there are a good few "easy" clues in the mix so that anyone should have been able to get a foothold in a puzzle like this, even if some of the ten letter monstrosities would make the stoutest solving hearts quail. Thanks to the setter for the distraction from the woes of flu and vasovagal syncope that have been mostly afflicting me this week!

ACROSS
1 Tablecloth expected to cover board for pontoon (8)
DUCHESSE - DUE [expected] to "cover" CHESS [board for pontoon]. What is a "board for pontoon", you may ask? According to my app, a "chess" is "one of the parallel planks forming the deck of a pontoon-bridge". Unwieldy perhaps but presumably there aren't any kinder ways to clue the word CHESS :P

9 Groan maybe, endlessly interrupted by band on the road and loutish toff (6-2)
TITYRE-TU - I was straight onto Groan as a definition for TITU{s}, it's my favourite book after all, and when I saw that the last letter was a U, I knew I was right. I couldn't think past TOUR for "band on the road", but we were looking for TYRE, a more literal type of band yet. Never heard of a TITYRE-TU but apparently it's a 17th century aristocratic hooligan, presumably a bit like a proto-Boris.

10 Partridge nestling, not the second caught by men (6)
CHIKOR - CHI{c}K is a nestling, minus not the first but the second C for caught. Plus the commonplace OR [men].

11 Briefly clash like Sharks and Jets, animatedly in music, over snitch’s spot (3,7)
RUM BLOSSOM - RUMBL{e} ["briefly" clash like Sharks & Jets] + reversed MOSSO [with movement, animatedly, in music]. There is a band called the Gin Blossoms whose name I believe refers to the facial rosacea of drinkers, but this is neither to do with that or the phrase "snitches get stitches" it seems, but just a pimple on one's nose, or snitch.

12 Whale blubber from jerks in Saskatchewan ... (4)
SPEK - PE [physical jerks] in SK [Saskatchewan]. Not to be confused with the nice kinds of cetacean-free spe(c)k you can get in Europe.

13 ... there oil seal (storing one kilojoule) is getting dragged over snow (10)
SKIKJORING - SK O-RING storing 1KJ. I couldn't work out why SK was a place you'd find oil during the solve itself, but now I see that it's the SK from the previous clue and the O-RING is an "oil seal". Skikjoring is what apparently passes for fun in Norway, the practice of being dragged along on your skis by a horse or motor vehicle.

16 With annoyance, earlier generation divided by new railway (7)
ANGERLY - AGE [generation] "divided" by N [new] + RLY [railway]. If you're anything like me you spent a good while trying to understand why ANGRILY didn't *quite* work. But of course we were looking for an archaic form.

17 Say landed gentry’s ultimate in social justice? (7)
EGALITY - E.G. ALIT {gentr}Y. Whew, a relatively straightforward one!

20 Hydraulic cement ingredient, phosphorus, unknown amount in very particular hard stuff made by Greeks from the east (10)
POZZUOLANA - P [phosphorus] + Z [unknown amount] in reversed ANAL OUZO [very particular | hard stuff made by Greeks]. Of course you will have known that pozz(u)olana is a volcanic dust from Pozzuoli near Naples, which forms with mortar a cement that will set in water (hence the "hydraulic" qualifier).

22 Letter returned by Post Office in operations centre (4)
QOPH - reversed PO in HQ. Beloved of Scrabble players everywhere.

23 Primate in gold coat desiring to cycle wearing fluttery boa (10)
ANGWANTIBO - WANTING [desiring], appropriately "cycled" inside (BOA*) ["fluttery"]. This is of course the tailless West African lemur which has a signature gold coat.

25 Rumoured Irish to be excluded from mockery in rebound (6)
NOISED - reverse DERISION [mockery], taking out IR [Irish] from the resultant NOIS{ir}ED. Another 15x15 candidate clue.

26 Scot’s stupid amount of money to send fraudulent email? (8)
SUMPHISH - SUM PHISH [amount of money | to send fraudulent email]. My FOI because although the word is strange and ghastly, "phish" sprang to mind almost immediately as a likely word-suffix.

27 French demanding protection of wild fruit by departure (8)
EXIGEANT - "protect" GEAN [wild cherry] with EXIT [departure]. Why is this French word, clearly marked as such, even in the dictionaries? Seems like a slippery slope...

DOWN
2 Boston’s uncoordinated release includes hot record (8)
UNHEPPEN - UNPEN [release] "includes" H EP [hot | record]. I was thrown off by assuming that Boston was indicating an Americanism, but in fact we are talking about the picturesquely Brexity Boston, Lincs.

3 Two kings Europe brought into New Zealand to support fish as extreme authoritarian emblem (10)
HAKENKREUZ - K R EU [king | king | Europe] "brought into" NZ, supporting HAKE [fish]. I panicked when I couldn't think of any extreme authoritarian emblems other than the clearly not 10-letters-long SWASTIKA, but this is just a synonym thereof.

4 Swimmers err, as almost having outer parts amputated by this piranha (10)
SERRASALMO - a well-concealed hidden in {swimmer}S ERR AS ALMO{st}. I assume "serrasalmo" just means "serrated salmon", pretty much.

5 Forgetting answer, omit puzzling with head like a sieve (7)
ETHMOID - (OMIT + HE{a}D*) ["puzzling"]. I'd heard of the ethmoid bone but didn't know ethmoid meant "like a sieve". Quite exciting!

6 Natural Rastafarian food giving virtually regular eliminations? (4)
ITAL - {v}I{r}T{u}A{l}L{y}, regularly eliminated. A traditional Rasta stew.

7 Salaryman’s business card: one constitutes a greeting (6)
MEISHI - ME IS HI [one | constitutes | a greeting]. And now we all know the Japanese for "business card"!

8 Temperature within my gunge, spread like spiced custard? (8)
NUTMEGGY - T "within" (MY GUNGE*) ["spread"]. Another clue that could fit in the 15x15.

14 Blend of Dijon containing Tabasco water, right for wildcat (10)
JAGUARONDI - (DIJON*) ["blend"] containing AGUA R [water, in Tabasco | right]. I never saw this not spelled "jaguarundi" before, but the letter was even helpfully checked to prevent autopilot errors.

15 Shrine of Rome’s first priest as leading to wrath (10)
RELIQUAIRE - R{ome} + ELI [priest] + QUA [as] + IRE [wrath]. Quairest spelling of "reliquary" *I've* seen.

16 A round plate visible during an intermission (8)
APPLAUSE - PL [plate] "visible during" A PAUSE [an intermission]. 15x15ish.

18 Kind heart of Lysander guarding house of Greek monster (8)
TYPHOEAN - TYPE [kind] + {lys}AN{der} "guarding" HO [house]. Typhon is the monster whose adjectival form is Typhoean.

19 Overrun by infants mostly, check leather straps (7)
BABICHE - CH [check], "overrun by" BABIE{s}. A strange French-Canadian-Algonquian word, but easily findable from the wordplay.

21 Extremes of zoophysiology see red, short part of skull (6)
ZYGOMA - Z{oophysiolog}Y + GO MA{d} [see red, "short"]. Another pretty quick one to fall, as there is no way it doesn't start with ZY.

24 Indian corporal related uprising across area (4)
NAIK - reversed KIN [related] "across" A for area. Bunged in quickly from wordplay.
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