40 minutes, so slightly meatier than your average Monday. Since I'm reading Gargantua and Pantagruel at the moment, I was pleased to see Rabelais pop up. A couple of centuries later, across the Channel, he was to exert a considerable influence on another madcap tome, Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Back to the puzzle, and the top half was a lot easier than the bottom. For those who haven't done it, Dean Mayer pulled out all the stops yesterday.
1 BRICKBAT - RICK ('strain') in B + CLUB.
9 HEAT WAVE - anagram* of HAVE WE around A[bnormal] + T[emperature].
10 AMEN - the literal is 'I agree', and the wordplay first-rate (simply A here, rather than AI) + chaps > MEN.
11 JULIUS CAESAR - the Ides fell on the 13th day of the seven months with 29 days and the one with 28, but on the 15th of the four months with 31 days, including March, when JC bought it; after the dictator's death, the fifth month 'Quintilis' was renamed Julius (July).
13 VIENNA - my last in, though it's pretty simple, actaully: V + ANNE+I reversed.
14 HELIPORT - HER + PILOT*.
16 ACTRESS - C (musical key) in A TRESS.
20 SECONDER - simply, SECOND ER, as in the second king called Edward.
22 REMARK - RE ('spiritual instruction') + MARK (his gospel - 'part of NT'); the literal is 'say'.
23 CROSS-SECTION - CROSS (irritated) + NOTICES*.
25 TRAP - PART reversed to give you a slang term for the mouth.
26 RACINESS - as Python might say, Rabelais was a very naughty boy - as well as a doctor and a monk - with lots of jokes about flatulence and procreation. On the other hand, his creation of the 'liberal' Thelemite monastic order with its motto 'Do what you will' (which he borrowed from Saint Augustine) shows him at his satirical best, reacting against the hypocrisy of 'ascetic' orders, which he'd experienced first hand.
27 SINGLETS - SING ('to celebrate') + LET'S ('we should!')
2 REMEDIAL - ME ('the writer') is 'appropriated' by REDIAL ('call again').
3 CONJUNCTIONS - CON + J + UNCTIONS; they say that should never start a sentence with a conjunction. But lots of people do it.
4 BALL GAME - GAMBLE* around A+L.
5 THOUGHT - THOUGH ('allowing') + T; 'performed brain operations' is a nice literal.
6 PASCAL - PA[y] + SCAL[e] for the mathematician turned Christian philosopher, best known tome-wise for his Pensées.
7 BASS - for the fish and the voice at the bottom of the SATB scale.
8 DETRITUS - another anagram... IT+RUSTED.
12 EXPERIMENTAL - and another one... IN+EXPERT+MALE.
15 POST CARD - DR + ACTS + OP all reversed.
17 CARDIGAN - Lord Cardigan made the charge at Balaclava; Lord Tennyson made the poem just a few weeks later.
19 SERGEANT - the US painter is John Singer Sargent, who sounds like 'sergeant' to my ears at least.
21 DASHED - I wasted time trying to fit in a tar or an AB , but in the end it's just a double definition, with 'dashed' used in a Wodehousian sense, as in 'Dashed fine filly, that one!'. Rabelais would have known what to do with her...
24 OUCH - [p]OUCH.