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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!

  1. Women's magazine on hold, losing design chief after having first child (4,4)
  2. Uncle's unstable thug minion to go about Conakry rioting (7,1'1,5,4,3)
  3. Grandpa explained, "The Navy's discharging leaders by duplicity, left empty but keeping a thick skin" (5,4)
  4. Berry concoction with mixed reaction from grandma (4,3,4,8)
  5. Niece evenly rides a wild mare to Aunt (7)
  6. Cousin gives hints about traveling and packs (4,3,5)
  7. Statement on background instantly becomes headlines about husband (3,6)
  8. Brother to obtain pistol after first wife arrives in San Francisco (3,4)
  9. Sister splices thymine into sticky end on the third mutated gene, below primary helix (10)
  10. Mom eyeing memos distributed to Dad (5,4,5)
  11. 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.

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These

go to 11

because these are

Spinal Tap songs. (Specifically, the 11 songs on "This is Spinal Tap", in order of appearance.)

Women's magazine on hold, losing design chief after having first child (4,4)

HELL HOLE (ELLE containing HOLD minus D, after first letter of HAVING)

Uncle's unstable thug minion to go about Conakry rioting (7,1'1,5,4,3)

TONIGHT I'M GONNA ROCK YOU (anagram of THUG MINION TO GO around anagram of CONAKRY)

Grandpa explained, "The Navy's discharging leaders by duplicity, left empty but keeping a thick skin" (5,4)

HEAVY DUTY (THE NAVY without first letters, plus DU(-plici)TY -- "thick skin" because two letters at each side)

Berry concoction with mixed reaction from grandma (4,3,4,8)

ROCK AND ROLL CREATION (ROCK AND ROLL was arguably created by Chuck Berry; plus anagram of REACTION)

Niece evenly rides a wild mare to Aunt (7)

AMERICA (IC, alternate letters of NIECE, inside A + anagram of MARE)

Cousin gives hints about traveling and packs (4,3,5)

CUPS AND CAKES (CUES around an anagram of AND PACKS)

Statement on background instantly becomes headlines about husband (3,6)

BIG BOTTOM (MOTTO on BG, then first letters of INSTANTLY BECOMES, all reversed)

Brother to obtain pistol after first wife arrives in San Francisco (3,4)

SEX FARM (ARM after EX inside SF)

Sister splices thymine into sticky end on the third mutated gene, below primary helix (10)

STONEHENGE (T spliced into S + ON, then (third letter of THE and anagram of G) after first letter of HELIX)

Mom eyeing memos distributed to Dad (5,4,5)

GIMME SOME MONEY (anagram of MOM EYEING MEMOS)

Father to eat up before hosting reforming pope and local cardinal (6,6)

FLOWER PEOPLE (WOLF< before ERE containing POPE* + L, the first letter of LOCAL)

Oh, and the title?

Ian Faith was the manager of Spinal Tap.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Crushed in detail! No stone left unturned...a perfect solution! $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Aug 1 at 13:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well, the thing about this one is that as soon as you have one solution the others are all pretty immediate. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 1 at 14:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ (The way in for me was "Mom eyeing memos...".) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 1 at 14:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From a puzzle perspective, I did have some qualms about constructing it the way I did. However, it is almost definitely my favorite theme :-) $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Aug 1 at 15:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I was greatly amused when I saw what was going on. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 1 at 15:39

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