• glheard

Times 27880 - horses for courses

Time taken: 15:59.  I struggled with this one, and crawled my way around the grid, relying heavily on checking letters, and in one case I only have half of the answer, but I hope I can figure it out before I'm done writing this up.  Since I am solving a little later than usual, I had a look at the SNITCH, and there is quite a distribution - those of us who are usually in the 10ish minute range found it hard, and those with longer solving times found it easier, so there may be some benefit to being on the setter's wavelength.

Hope you did well!

Away we go...

Postscript (added Thursday about 4pm GMT).  As many of you know, I live on the East coast of the USA, so at the time comments come thundering in, I am passed out, so I only get interactive with early comments. I'm going to add a postscript of comments on comments when I blog.  It seems the clue causing the most difficulty is 4 down, where I had a bit of an advantage.  One of the things you need to memorize for the US Citizenship exam, which I took in 2014, is the names of the recognized Native American tribes and languages, so CREEK came quickly. Similarly CREEK meaning estuary is listed in Collins as a chiefly American usage, though I think it is the case in Australia that the terms are interchangeable.  For those of you wanting the author Kingsley Amis, who will return to crosswords soon enough, I would be surprised if the Times clued an author by their first name unless that is their most common pseudonym. Collins also confirms NICE as "calling for great care, accuracy, tact etc".  I often mess up LICENCE/LICENSE but I don't think there's any way you could come up with NSE from the last part of the wordplay.

1 A source of energy and relative growth (9)
CARBUNCLE - CARB(carbohydrate, a source of energy), and UNCLE(relative)
6 Most important horse is fed carefully at first (5)
FOCAL - FOAL(horse) containing the first letter of Carefully
9 More than a couple of Italians running late (7)
OVERDUE - OVER(more than) and DUE(two, or a couple, in Italian)
10 Address mostly full of comic potential in epic style (7)
HOMERIC - HOME(address) then remove the last letter of RICH(full of comic potential)
11 Keep time or we go wrong (5)
TOWER - anagram of T(time), OR, WE
13 Novelist, not English, has new name for town (5,4)
KINGS LYNN - The novelist is Charles KINGSLEY (Hereward the Wake, Westward Ho!).  Remove the E(English) and then N(new), N(name)
14 Real logic dealt badly with hidden meaning (9)
16 Nielsen, perhaps omitting start of chorus from ballet (4)
DANE - remove the first letter of Chorus from DANCE(ballet), referring to the Danish composer Carl NIELSEN
18 Card from company doctor (4)
COMB - CO(company), MB(doctor) - card can mean to comb wool
19 Memorial for Bradley? (9)
HEADSTONE - This was one of my last in, and now I see - Bradley HEADSTONE is a character in Our Mutual Friend, which is one of many Dickens pieces I have not read
22 Statement offering little put detail awkwardly (9)
PLATITUDE - anagram of PUT,DETAIL. Nifty clue!
24 Gold jaguars Inca regularly displayed (5)
AURIC - alternating letters in jAgUaRs InCa
25 Reduced voucher against wine (7)
CHIANTI - remove the last letter of CHIT(voucher), then ANTI(against)
26 Test chemical engineers by proxy (7)
REAGENT - RE(engineers), and AGENT(proxy)
28 A number really get Information Technology (5)
DIGIT - DIG(really get) IT(Information Technology)
29 Note former cane plant with yellow flowers (9)
GOLDENROD - G(musical note), OLDEN(former), ROD(cane)
1 Island area or cape — climbing country (7)
CROATIA - AIT(island), A(area), OR and C(cape) all reversed
2 Eggs coming inside from hen (3)
ROE - the middle letters of fROm and hEn
3 Anger after nude running showing a lack of necessary maturity (8)
UNDERAGE - RAGE(anger) following an anagram of NUDE
4 Estuary language (5)
CREEK - double definition, the language being that of native Americans of the southeast
5 European friend keeping very good herbal remedy (9)
ECHINACEA - E(european), CHINA(friend) containing ACE(very good)
6 Go very hungry dividing food around a million (6)
FAMISH - FISH(food) surrounding A, M(million)
7 Hot dish suggestion — learner’s left to seek approval (5,6)
CURRY FAVOUR - CURRY(hot dish) and FLAVOUR(suggestion) missing L(learner driver)
8 Freedom from parasites requiring careful attention getting rid of one (7)
LICENCE - LICE(parasites) and NICE(requiring careful attention) missing I(one)
12 With good intentions, PM’s lacking style going round poor (4-7)
WELL-MEANING - the prime minister is Arthur Wellesley, Duke of WELLINGTON. Remove TON(style) and insert MEAN(poor)
15 Finding new home for unfortunate neighbours losing billions (9)
REHOUSING - anagram of NEIGHBOURS minus B(billions)
17 Exploit computer key to copy both sides of advert (8)
ESCAPADE - ESC(computer key), then APE(copy) containing AD(advert)
18 What’s outstanding in New England? Better eastern seafood (4,3)
CAPE COD - CAP(better), E(eastern), COD(seafood)
20 Very active Conservative splitting left (7)
EXCITED - C(conservative) inside EXITED(left)
21 Songbird left where it could be trapped? (6)
LINNET - L(left) and it could be trapped IN NET
23 Record single rising — around number four in chart (5)
ENROL - LONE(single) reversed, containing the fourth letter of chaRt
27 Mistake taking rook with queen (3)
ERR - R(rook) with ER(queen)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1793 by Hurley

I feel a little surer of declaring this on the easier side today, particularly after a tough week of QCs thus far.  Only one piece of fairly esoteric General Knowledge got in the way of an ‘easy’ assessment.  I think this should encourage most of our newbie solvers and produce some fast times from the more experienced hands.  It took me just inside 10 minutes (at the easy end of the Rotterometer scale).  I’m sure you will let me know if you disagree with my assessment.

SIGNATURE was my FOI, KEYPAD my LOI, and my general impression was one of quiet satisfaction and steady progress throughout.

Yesterday, we saw what our friends across the pond made of the inauguration of the new POTUS.  I really hoped for calm and quiet, but feared that may not have been the case.  As it happens, as I write this, my fears were unfounded, and things seemed to go smoothly enough, and I thought that Biden's message was appropriate, and, hopefully, conciliatory.  My big fear was that we would see something alomg the lines of what happened on this very day in 1793 (see the number of this puzzle), when, after being found guilty of treason by the French National Convention, Louis XVI of France was guillotined in Paris as a consequence of the French Revolution.  I sincerely hope that no such violent uprising follows in the USA, and that Biden can do what he appears to be promising, and that the US population get behind him in that endeavour.

Politics over, let's get back to the crossword!


1  Certain to include bizarre giant identifying mark (9)
SIGNATURE – This is an anagram (bizarre) of [GIANT] inside SURE (certain).
6  Copper, British – he’s young (3)
CUB – CU (copper, chemical symbol) and B{ritish}.  Could be either a young boy scout or any of many young male animals.
8  In from France, joke with editor, busy (7)
ENGAGED – EN (French for ‘in’) with GAG (joke) and ED{itor}.
9 Delay sales booth (5)
STALL – Double definition.
10  Not bright, extremely dopey, to cross Welsh river! (5)
DUSKY – D{ope}Y (extremely means take extreme letters, first and last) surrounding (to cross) USK (Welsh river).  My first thought was DOSEY, but I couldn’t think of a River Ose!
12 In truth referring to supporter (6)
REALLY – RE (referring to) and ALLY (supporter).
14  Be wet – then area unfortunately showing effect of climate (7,6)
WEATHER-BEATEN – Anagram (unfortunately) of [BE WET – THEN AREA].
16  Set of buttons important at home (6)
KEYPAD – KEY (important) and PAD (home).  My Last One In, misled by the cryptic definition of a KEYPAD.
17  Some bikinis and shorts in beach area (5)
SANDS – Hidden answer (some) in {bikini}S AND S{horts}.
19  Australian individual, a gas! (5)
OZONE – OZ (Australian) and ONE (individual).
20  Indicate approval of a Parish Priest and Archbishop (7)
APPLAUD – A (a) P{arish} P{riest} and LAUD (William LAUD, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 until arrested and eventually executed in 1645).  I think the General Knowledge regarding William LAUD is a step too far for a QC, but the answer is definitely biffable.
22  Northeastern team’s first score (3)
NET – N{orth}E{astern} and T{eam’s} (first letter).  To NET is to score in a number of sports, including football, basketball and netball.
23  One with leading role moved fast to trap a bird (9)
SPEARHEAD – SPED (moved fast) trapping (surrounding) A (a) and RHEA (bird).  SPEARHEAD as a noun is the front of an attack, defined here as ‘one with a leading role’.


Resign from raising pets, not happy (4,4)
STEP DOWN – STEP (pets, reversed or raised) and DOWN (not happy).  To STEP DOWN from a post or position is to resign it.
Performance of US serviceman, good (3)
GIG – GI (US serviceman, derived from Government (or General) Issue), and G{ood}.  Whilst very common these days, GIGs were unheard of in my youth, where we referred to them as a HOP, DANCE or a SHOW.
Furious article on golf railway (5)
ANGRY – AN (article) on G (golf in the Nato phonetic alphabet) and R{ailwa}Y.
Student’s unusually guarded nature (13)
UNDERGRADUATE – Anagram (unusually) of [GUARDED NATURE].
5 This guy Sue, uplifted, thanks before Church (7)
EUSTACE – SUE reversed (uplifted) to give EUS, followed by TA (thanks) and CE (church, i.e. C{hurch of}E{ngland}).
6  Cleaner brought over the French bronze – a fake (9)
CHARLATAN – CHAR (cleaner) ‘over’ LA (French for 'the') TAN (bronze).
Frank, off to protect learner (4)
BALD – BAD (off) around (to protect) L{earner}.
11  A pact goes wrong – he’s blamed unfairly (9)
SCAPEGOAT – Anagram (wrong) of [A PACT GOES].  SCAPEGOAT has a biblical origin (Leviticus 16) and refers to a goat, on which, once a year, the Jewish high-priest symbolically laid the sins of the people.  The goat was then allowed to escape into the wilderness, which I find rather poignant.
13  With a team completely on top? Indeed so, for a change (3-5)
ONE-SIDED – Anagram (for a change) of [INDEED SO].
15  Poor leaders in his August papers – like every silly season? (7)
HAPLESS – First letters (leaders) in H{is} A{ugust} P{apers} – L{ike} E{very} S{illy} S{eason}.
17  Wonderful evening meal: one starter of prawns less (5)
SUPER – SUP{p}ER (evening meal dropping one p – starter of P{rawns} (less)).
18  Rent but not from Royal Navy (4)
TORN – TO (not from) and R{oyal} N{avy}.  Nice to see the Senior Service getting a mention.
21  Part of pay, especially?  Yes (3)
AYE – Hidden (part of) {p}AY E{specially}.

Yours Aye! (as we used to say, or sign-off in the RN)


Times 27879 - not the battle of Θερμοπύλες, but into power, stations.

A pleasant twenty minutes for this offering, nothing too contentious. I liked 4d, once I'd got past thinking about Ezra, and liked 6a, as a word; we have owned a few.
No politics allowed, but I hope all goes well today in DC for our American friends.

1 Two items butcher supplies quickly (4-4)
CHOP-CHOP - Two chops from the butcher.
6 Corvid circling crop heap (6)
JALOPY - A jay is a member of the corvid family, along with crows and such. Into it, insert LOP = crop. Heap as in old car.
9 Efficient medical treatment out of bounds (4)
ABLE - Probably more than one option for this, I see it as TABLET without its T-T bounds.
10 Hat covering lady's hair essential in power station? (10)
THERMOPILE - TILE (hat) covers HER MOP (lady's hair). A thermopile is a thingy that converts heat into electricity, used for measuring temperatures, so I expect they have them in power stations.
11 Dissertation from expert, not an original member? (10)
PROSTHESIS - A thesis from a pro, a pro's thesis.
13 Couple I ran into knocked over (4)
ITEM - I, MET reversed. Seen before I think.
14 Motor close to exit after employee pushed vehicle (8)
HANDCART - HAND (employee) CAR, T = close to exit.
16 Tried to take a catch leaning over (6)
ANGLED - double definition, fishing and leaning.
18 Wind power extremely handy, almost nothing eclipses it (6)
ZEPHYR - P (power) HY (extremely handy) eclipsed by ZER(O).
20 Man-made item contaminated tart, limiting restaurant's turnover (8)
ARTEFACT - (TART)* has CAFE reversed inside.
22 A technique abroad (4)
24 Trade union wrangling revolted flyer (10)
26 New World rodent, plain, with tail (7,3)
PRAIRIE DOG - PRAIRIE = plain, DOG = tail, follow.
28 Concerned with uneven features of ignition? (4)
INTO - alternate letters of I g N i T i O n.
29 Rogue I've confined to the nick (6)
THIEVE - (IVE)* inside THE.
30 Malice long disheartened editor in Times (8)
BITCHERY - BY (Times) has ITCH (long) and ER (EditoR disheartened) inside.
2 Breathe in, out, sleep long and deep (9)
3 Happy prisoners, only the first let out (7)
PLEASED - P (first of prisoners) LEASED (let out).
4 Pound for one's bucks? (5)
HUTCH - a buck is a male rabbit, so a hutch is a 'pound' or pen for one.
5 Author's online work taken up? (3)
POE - E-OP would be online work, reverse it.
6 Right adopting politician with knack for successful transfer of power? (4,5)
JUMP START - insert MP into JUST (right) then ART = knack.
7 Errant mate returned to confess (7)
LAPSING - PAL reversed, SING = confess.
8 Beat province's top university, one in capital (5)
PULSE - P (province's top) U, LSE (London School of Economics).
12 Table d'hote menu they say's favourably established (3,4)
SET FAIR - sounds like SET FARE an English version of a table d'hote meal.
15 Wartime offensive a cause of radio silence? (3,6)
AIR STRIKE - double definition, one cryptic.
17 Eg archaeologist's short axe to carve ground (9)
EXCAVATOR - (AX TO CARVE)*, where AX = short axe.
19 Confused husband always takes Telegraph (7)
HAYWIRE - H (husband) AY (always) WIRE (telegraph).
21 Particular protein-rich food tot tucks into (7)
FADDISH - FISH (protein-rich food) has ADD (tot) inside.
23 Contents of bungalow, or their value (5)
WORTH - today's hidden word.
25 Far from strenuous match (5)
LIGHT - double definition
27 Flipping rotten fish (3)
DAB - BAD (rotten) is flipped.


Times Quick Cryptic 1791 by Oink

Well, I have to say I made a real pig's ear of this one and put it down to a bad day at the office. I would be telling porkies if I said I found it easy - at my usual target time, the grid was still littered with unsolved answers. There was a lot of grunt work to grind out some answers (including the two hiddens) and there was a sting in the curly tail when I just couldn't see loi 22ac until the 'vacation' clicked. I, naturally, now expect everyone to say how easy it was. For me it was hats off to Oink who left a calling card at 20dn. 18 (long) minutes it took in the end. COD 7dn.

So let's chop to the chase and see the answers.

Collapse )

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1790 by Orpheus

Solving time: 10 minutes with one wrong answer. When blogging I noticed there are rather a lot of containment clues - 7 out of 14 Acrosses and 3 Downs. I don't think the puzzle would be easy for all so I look forward to reading how you all got on, especially those of you who are still finding your feet in the world of cryptic puzzles.

Our aim here is to encourage and support all solvers who wish to improve their skills, regardless of their current ability, and I'd like to thank all bloggers and commenters, new and old, who contribute to that.

Note:  04:30 GMT 19 January 2021. I have taken the rare step of disabling further comments since discussion of the crossword  puzzle has long ceased and there is argument continuing about other matters. That is not what this forum is for.

Collapse )
Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27877 - QAnon anyone?

I have just completed the move to my retirement home (not a retirement home as such - I still have some marbles) in the picturesque island of Cheung Chau. Certainly a change of pace, but I have brought a portable oven, so I will be looking to churn out killer banana bread, carrot cake and various other delights, which I will be looking to prevail upon the local independent eateries to flog. Does that make any sense?

Not assuredly as much as this puzzle, which kept me entertained for the best part of 24 minutes. A nice mix of topics, I thought (easy on the sciency stuff, which is always a plus in my book), and some smooth surfaces. Just the thing to start the week with.


1 Company receives order beginning to march with soldier (8)
COMMANDO - OM (Order of Merit) M[arch] AND (with) in CO
5 Refuse amorous advance at university (4,2)
10 Time with dad on settee taking in English sitcom (5,2,1,7)
BIRDS OF A FEATHER - BIRD (time, as in time in jail) SOFA (settee) E in FATHER; a British TV show with 129 episodes - all of which I missed
11 Among cunning old people there’s one mathematician (10)
ARCHIMEDES - I in ARCH (cunning) MEDES (rarely seen without their mates the Persians, together they were big into legislation) for the bloke in the bath
13 Hawk comes from lake shrouded in mist (4)
FLOG - L in FOG; 'hawk' as in shift dodgy gear
15 Greed seen when fresh caviare’s presented (7)
AVARICE - anagram* of CAVIARE; never seen it spelt like this. One of a number of delicacies (also oysters and abalone) I'm happy to let others eat. Give me a cheese and marmite sandwich any day.
17 Hampshire river flow trial (4,3)
TEST RUN -TEST (river that flows through Soton) RUN (flow)
18 Botched rescue involves knight in condemnation (7)
19 Greek bread once provided by church, intervening in crisis? (7)
DRACHMA - CH in DRAMA; the insurance company's whose tagline was 'We don't make a drama out of a crisis' might baulk at the definition
21 Sloth maybe stopping halfway across garden (4)
EDEN - EDEN[tate], which literally means toothless ('a mammal of an order distinguished by the lack of incisor and canine teeth, including the anteaters, sloths, and armadillos, all of which are native to Central and South America'). Who needs teeth when you've got a tongue like that, anyway?
22 Bloomingdale's gets one out to a shopper (10)
APOSTROPHE - TO A SHOPPER*; took me a while to see this, and even then I missed the anagram
25 Collection of native gods here? (8,7)
NATIONAL GALLERY - I reckon this is a cryptic definition, with the 'collection' pointing you towards the paintings and the 'gods' directing you to the gallery, as in the cheap seats in a theatre. But, as always, I am open to offers.
27 Wayward monarch right to be seen by social worker (6)
28 Like Arctic fish that wriggles in lock (8)
TREELESS - EEL (fish that wriggles) in TRESS


1 Taxi by Welsh lake seen in esoteric lore (7)
CABBALA - CAB BALA (Bala Lake is the largest lake in Wales, I believe); secret this-and-that (together with its bedfellow, loony conspiracies) is like caviar to me. Can't be bothered with it.
2 Old woman on run causes harm (3)
3 Promising a fishy with head removed (10)
4 One who wrote in defence of editorial sent up (5)
DEFOE - reverse hidden in words 5-7
6 Sadly Liberal brought into sober group ultimately drinks (4)
ALAS - L in AA [drink]S
7 Grant for student beginning to rake in counterfeit Polish cash (11)
8 Soldier likely to drop — almost dead — reveals pattern (7)
PARAGON - PARA (soldier likely to drop) GON[e]
9 Moved camp? (8)
AFFECTED - double definition, and a rather good one
12 Fraudulent scheme placing restraint on tenant (5,6)
CHAIN LETTER - CHAIN (restraint) LETTER (tenant)
14 European detective crossing stream in canvas shoe (10)
ESPADRILLE - E RILL in SPADE (as in Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammett's fictional dick)
16 Former barrister killing time sees model (8)
EXEMPLAR - EX [t]EMPLAR; 'Templar', as in a member of the lego-judicial industry who works in one of the so-called temples in London - not Simon or the ruffians who went crusading
18 Remove sin from learner Seneca corrupted (7)
20 Animals in rainforest or at sea, understood, succeeded (3-4)
AYE-AYES - AYE-AYE (at sea, understood) S (succeeded); lemurs
23 Tease American over sweetheart (5)
SUGAR - reversal of RAG (tease) US (a country much in the news of late)
24 Might this be secured without partner given mention? (4)
LOAN - sounds like LONE (without partner given mention, i.e. sounds like)
26 Farm female uses pitcher, avoiding river (3)
EWE - EWE(r)
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3150 - Double your words, double your fun!

I found this Mephisto quite difficult, and was stuck for a long while with only about 1/3 of it done.  I really needed to grind to get going again, and even then each answer had to be squeezed out.    Paul McKenna is working in a very unusual asymetrical grid, with four long answers scattered about.   Unfortunately, only one of them was immediately obvious to me, and the one at 4 down proved particlurly elusive - until I saw it, of course, and then it was obvious, and opened up the whole puzzle.  I ended up biffing Abbasid as my LOI - yeah, that looks right, that must be it.

An interesting feature of this puzzle is the two wordplay words that have two meanings, and two etymologies, but only one spelling and one pronunciation.   With all the various bits and pieces English has picked up over the centuries, there are quite a few words like this, the most common ones being boss, tattoo, and groom.   But when you come across a new one, you are quite likely to be a bit nonplussed, and go scurrying for you Chambers.     Well, it's all in there, although if you really want to read up on etymology and usage history, you will have to switch to the OED.

1 Metaphor turned on a lime, say (6)
TEMPER - MET backwards + PER.  Defined in Chambers as "lime or other substance used to neutralize the acidity of cane juice".
5 Loud husband standing in for lecturer is frightening (5)
HAIRY - (-l,+H)AIRY, a letter-substitution clue using a Scots dialect word.
9 Fool with stiff carriage, mostly little sticks with one (9)
10 Extraordinary bit of info I have is able to be refined (11)
11 Oddball daughter is to be more tanky than Trotsky, say (6)
12 I delivered plant (4)
IRID - I + RID, yes, a plant of the iris family.
13 Secular subsidiary finding deposit in South Africa (6)
15 Time for journo to joke in new essay about hurtful disciple (11, two words)
SILLY SEASON - S(ILL)YSEA + SON, where an anagram of ESSAY is used.
16 A welcome bit of sashimi? (3)
AHI - A + HI, yellowfin tuna, to be precise.
20 Work's unit extracting boron from mountain (3)
ERG - [b]ERG.   Berg entered the English language by way of Afrikaans.
21 Bundle broken twigs for plant cleaner (11)
BOTTLEBRUSH - BOTTLE + BRUSH.  The first of our double words,  derived from botel, not boteille, meaning a bundle of hay.    The clue features two literals as well, as a bottlebrush can be either. 
24 German that is behind weak letter to Hebrew (6)
LAMEDH - LAME + D.H, from das heisst.   I'm not sure what this is doing in an English dictionary, but it's in Chambers. 
25 Drink’s flipping sex and sex appeal (4)
ASTI -  IT + SA backwards, cocking a snook at those who want these two banned from Crosswordland.
26 Suffering complete dirty look (6)
27 Small boggy pool (good tip of yours) conceivably means fungi (11, two words)
SHAGGY MANES - S + HAG + G + Y[ours] + anagram of MEANS.   Our second double word, HAG, from Old Norse hogg, and not related to the word for witch. 
28 Must go with patchy start to enalapril … it boosts good blood (9)
PHAGOCYTE - Anagram of GO + PATCHY + E[nalapril].   A white blood cell that eats invaders. 
29 Transfer a hundred bucks in trade (5)
DECAL - DE(C)AL, as in a C-note.
30 Tonic drink of two unknowns not quite blending (6)
OXYMEL - O' + X,Y + MEL[d], I think.
1 Crown in commotion causes a crux (6)
2 Death is time to get into ethics (9)
3 Skin on poultry, say, is pale, try tossing (7)
PTERYLA - Anagram of PALE, TRY.   A pteros is a wing in Greek, so some solvers will know where the letters go.
4 This is what gets races off — tip off each new day with stable bet (13, three words)
READY, STEADY, GO - R(aces) + E(ach) + anagram of DAY + STEADY + GO.  I'm not sure what's going on with the first letter, but it can't be [p]ER backwards, can it?
5 Chipmunks pick up experience (7)
HACKEES - HACK + SEE backwards.   Chipmunks are surprisingly common in crosswords considering they are a US critter.
6 Haulage rig? It reversed in something like a curve (5)
ARTIC - AR(IT backwards)C.
7 She crams on old mask (7)
8 Once the English knock getting going in Spenser (7)
YEEDING -  YE + E + DING, familiar to readers of the Faerie Queene. 
14 My! Pun does flop — Lewis Carroll’s one (9)
16 Caliph’s offspring picked up discontinued female garment (7)
ABBASID - DIS + ABBA upside down, more usually spelt ABA. 
17 Lord Snowdon made flashy connections here in Oxford, eg (7, two words)
HOT SHOE - HOT + SHOE, where you attach the flash gun to a film camera.
18 Barred absent member first to be beset by trouble (7)
ILLEGAL - IL(LEG,A)L, where A is a valid abbreviation for absent.
19 Smart about relative’s ecclesiastic authority (7)
22 Many amongst Sturgeon’s sort relish getting fresh order (6)
HIRSEL - Anagram of RELISH.   Whether the leaders of the SNP use obscure Scots dialect words, I cannot say. 
23 Indian surveyor uses this pompous snort of scepticism, say (5)
BIGHA - BIG HA, a land measure.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4937, by Dean Mayer — Crumbs of comfort

This time I’m writing this up almost a week after the working. The character of my marks indicates that I filled it in pretty quickly—when there’s a tough one, I like, for some reason, to inscribe the letters carefully, artfully with my Uniball Ultra Micro pen, but on an easier one (especially the Quickie), my calligraphy approaches a scrawl. This one is somewhere in between. In any case, I remember having it all worked except one when I climbed out of the tub (it’s hot bath season).

I indicate (gas an arm)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Spot hiding fish in strong current (4,4)
 5 Tabloid needs right journalist to pressure (6)
REDTOP — R(ight) +ED(itor), “journalist” + TO + P(ressure)
10 Fat pig eating starters of raw greens — wow! (11)
FLABBERGAST — FLAB, “fat” + BE(R)(G)AST… unusual to see this form of the word, isn’t it? “This will flabbergast you!”
11 Sheep — English people generally (3)
EWE — Hey, who you callin’ sheeple? E(nglish) + WE, “people generally”
12 An example of this is not uncommon (6,8)
DOUBLE NEGATIVE — CD, if just barely… it’s not uncryptic.
15 Guy that mixed a new cocktail (9)
MANHATTAN — MAN, “Guy” + (that)* + A + N(ew) I can see its glimmering shore just across the East River when I walk on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, but I haven’t been to the eponymous isle since mid-March.
16 Man possibly following a path taken by bride? (5)
AISLE — A before ISLE, “Man, possibly”
17 Holy text published on approval from the east (5)
KORAN — OK<=“from the east” + RAN, “published”
19 Cleansing tractor, horse and lorry (9)
CATHARTIC — CAT, “tractor” + H(orse) + ARTIC, “lorry”
21 Row of buildings, factories etc. (5,9)
NOISE POLLUTION — CD, playing on two senses of “row” Also appeared in this Wednesday’s puzzle, also clued with a (somewhat better, or at least more C) CD.
23 Crumbs eaten by binge eater (3)
GEE — Hidden This was for me this puzzle’s most educational clue. My first thought was that GEE and “Crumbs” aren’t the same thing, but it turns out that their uses do overlap, GEE being an expression of surprise, enthusiasm or sympathy, and “Crumbs” expressing dismay or surprise. But I was only familiar with the former of the latter’s senses, seeing it as equivalent to Charlie Brown’s “Rats!”—and I was quite unaware that it, like GEE (from “Jesus”), is a euphemistic way to take the Christian Lord’s name in vain. Apparently, it started out as “Crums,” and substitutes for “Christ!” “Crumbs, you know it ain’t easy / You know how hard it can be-e-ee…”
24 Exciting? Alas, one isn’t excited (11)
SENSATIONAL — (Alas, one isn’t)*
26 Official witness that holds informer back (6)
NOTARY — Y(RAT)ON <=“back”… “by that tree,” “by YON tree”
27 Saw knees trembling in passion? (8)
WEAKNESS — (Saw knees)* Wins this episode’s Creative Anagrind Prize.

 1 Hard to lose opening argument (4)
 2 Continue guarding old soldier (7)
DRAGOON — Who’s guarding the guardians? DRAG O(O)N
 3 Pull a leg bone (3)
 4 Feature of bank statement, of course? (7,7)
CURRENT ACCOUNT — CURRENT is “course” and ACCOUNT “statement”; I guess this qualifies as an &lit. (No, it’s an &lit. after all. Thanks to keriothe for making up my mind.) There are two senses to the term, one being your personal holdings at your financial establishment and the other referring to a nation’s trade balance.
 6 Lavish living to hide ruin, mostly (11)
 7 Temperature cool — it’s horrible (3,4)
THE PITS — T(emperature) + HEP, “cool,” daddy-o + literally IT[’]S
 8 Will start to provide testimonial (10)
PREFERENCE — P[-rovide] + REFERENCE, “testimonial” My LOI, because it was hard for me to see “Will” as equivalent to PREFERENCE. “Where there’s a PREFERENCE, there’s a way,” anyone? However, there is a weaker sense of “Will” that is appropriate, and the two words are found together in synonym lists.
 9 Female worker expects to be given this (9,5)
MATERNITY LEAVE — CD, playing on the double sense of “expects”
13 Be in tears about crossing a river — it’s a problem (5-6)
BRAIN-TEASER — (Be in tears + A)* + R(iver)
14 A report’s conclusive evidence? (7,3)
18 Try to get into torn dress (7)
20 Extremely tender bit to lick (7)
TROUNCE — T[-ende]R + OUNCE, “bit”
22 Stops losing good advantage (4)
25 One oddly like (3)
ILK — I, “One” + odd letters in LiKe… at first, I underlined the whole clue; there is overlap between wordplay and definition, but on a second look, the last word supplies the definition all by itself (ILK being a type, not one example of the “like”). Collins (online) has, in American English, ILK meaning “same, like,” but marks this as Obsolete. The current definition, “kind; sort; class” is said to be used “only in of that (or his, her, etc.) ilk, of the same sort or class: from a misunderstanding of the phrase of that ilk as used in Scotland to mean ‘of the same name…’…often used disparagingly.” The American and British entries differ only insignificantly.