PLEASE: To be fair to other solvers, for this puzzle, do not post partials until you've got (almost) all of the wordplays correct.
The answer to this puzzle is a list of eleven thematically related words or proper names or phrases. Each of these is clued cryptically, and the theme is to be determined. Since the definition part of a cryptic clue would give away the theme, these cryptic clues use a family member (e.g., mom, sister) to stand in for the definition part of the clue. So for example, if the theme of the puzzle were chemical elements, "Sister picking at nit" would clue "tin". I hope you enjoy!
- Women's magazine on hold, losing design chief after having first child (4,4)
- Uncle's unstable thug minion to go about Conakry rioting (7,1'1,5,4,3)
- Grandpa explained, "The Navy's discharging leaders by duplicity, left empty but keeping a thick skin" (5,4)
- Berry concoction with mixed reaction from grandma (4,3,4,8)
- Niece evenly rides a wild mare to Aunt (7)
- Cousin gives hints about traveling and packs (4,3,5)
- Statement on background instantly becomes headlines about husband (3,6)
- Brother to obtain pistol after first wife arrives in San Francisco (3,4)
- Sister splices thymine into sticky end on the third mutated gene, below primary helix (10)
- Mom eyeing memos distributed to Dad (5,4,5)
- Father to eat up before hosting reforming pope and local cardinal (6,6)
Solver Note: The length of the puzzle and order of the clues are part of the theme, and explanation is needed for the checkmark.