## Shorthand Crosses by Aragon

### Puzzle explanation

Class I clues were those containing U, in which the letters immediately following the Us spelt “The English Aristocracy, Nancy Mitford”; in that essay she promoted the terms “U” and “non-U”. Class II constituted the “non-U” clues, whose grid entries had all occurrences of U omitted. The initial letters of clues for the entries with two Us omitted could be arranged as BETJEMAN. Sir John Betjeman wrote the ditty:

The Mitford Girls! The Mitford Girls
I love them for their sins
The young ones all like ‘Cavalcade’,
The old like ‘Maskelyns’

SOPHISTICATION, Blessed dame,
Sure they have heard her call
Yes, even Gentle Pamela
Most rural of them all

The first line is taken cryptically to describe a substitution of THEMIT for DGIRLS in the fifth row of the grid, while the second line describes substituting ILOVETHEM for THEIRSINS in the central column. These changes (with no others) reveal the first names of Nancy Mitford’s sisters: Diana, Pamela, Deborah, Unity and Jessica. The puzzle’s title cryptically represents MIT(t) + FORDS.

### Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Answer (omitted letters) Explanation
Across
1 SCREEN D(U)MP SCREED around N + MP
7 H(U)MO(U)R HM + OR
10 H(U)MBOLDT H + MB + OLD + T
12 NAURU URN < around AU
15 HAGDOWN H(ue) + AG + DOWN
16 REINS(U)RE REINS + R(ob)E
17 NOCT(U)ID NOD around (C + TI)
19 G(U)I GI
20 (U)RLS RL’S
21 STENTOR S + ROTTEN *
27 (U)S(U)RESSES STRESSES − T(aming)
29 DEB BED <
30 O(U)R OR
31 AIOLIS AIS around OIL *
34 NARCOMA RAN < + COM(e) + (brouhah)A
37 DISC(U)RS(U)S DISS around SCR
38 ME-TOO MET + O + O
39 HIRSUTE H + (TIRE US) *
40 J(U)MPS JPS around M
41 CAMANACHD (AN MC HAD) * around AC(tion)
Down
1 (U)SHERESS SHERE + S + S
2 C(U)MBENT C(lai)M + BENT
3 EOAN (ONE + A(ragon)) *
4 (U)NDERTOW (ROD WENT) *
5 MAAED MAD around AE
6 P(U)NGA (gree)N in PGA
7 HADJIS (A + DJ) in HIS
8 MUON U(ndergraduate) in MON
9 ORWELL O + R + W + SELL − S
11 (U)LM(U)S LMS
13 UNIS ((India)N (men)U (yield)S (jalfrez)I) *
14 PINES N in (PIE + S)
18 C(U)TER (st)RETC(hing) <
19 GR(U)EL GEL around (pensione)R
22 CROATIA C + OAT in RIA
23 ASSOT homophone of A SOT
24 Y-SHAPED (HEAD SPY) *
25 REQ(U)IEM R.E.M. around (E + QI)
26 CO(U)SCO(U)S ’COS + COS
28 EXMO(U)TH EX-MOTH
29 D(U)M-D(U)M D + MDM
31 A(U)G(U)STA (Exp)ATS GA(mbling) <
32 B(U)ST-(U)P BST + P
33 CROC homophone of CROCK
35 R(U)HR R + HR; ref. 22dn
36 CA(U)SA CAA’ around S
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