Woodstock

Times Quick Cryptic 1726 by Izetti

Firstly, may I point you to jerrywh's blog yesterday on the Leap of Faith crossword - in case you missed it and, like me, had no idea there was one, let alone two, new Wodehousian books to look out for.

I found today's Izetti puzzle enjoyable, as usual, and on the easier side but I'm kicking myself for stumbling at the last and going over my 10 minute target on two of the easiest clues in the grid - 1 and 2dn. I'm very obviously not a Jeeves - a coincidental (surely?) reference can be found at 16dn.



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  • jerrywh

Jeeves & the Leap of Faith Crossword 19 October 2020

We have a new, one-off crossword today and finding it interesting, I thought I would totter off the subs bench and blog it for you.
I have been a fan of PG Wodehouse for many years. Whether you respond to his style of writing or not, he was a complete master of it, arguably our best ever comic novelist. I haven't read anything by Ben Schott and I wish him well, but he certainly has big boots to fill.

As he does with the crossword, popping it up here in The Times premier league. But I think it holds together quite well, taken as a '30s crossword with a modern twist. Those of us who do these things daily will look askance at one or two of the clues, but being an easygoing bunch I am sure we will give credit where it is due. I don't care much about convention, so it is right up my street and if my first published crossword is as good and clear as this one is, I shall be quite happy.

The article that explains the background is here. It says that this is the grid for Times Crossowrd 829, published in the first week of October 1932. I note that although it looks quite standard, it does give us 38 clues, which is eight or nine more than usual.

So, we will take off our Ximenean hat, and put our unwritten rules to one side, and off we go:

anagrams are shown as *(anagarm)

ACROSS


1 Upset ear doctor, one who changes rooms (9)
decorator - *(EAR DOCTOR)

6 Finding a penny during repast gets an award (5)
medal - D, the sort of penny they had in those days, in MEAL

9 Just past eight, you get squiffy! (3,4)
one over - as in, "one over the eight." For me it only takes about three, these days

10 Encountered after choice fruit fall (7)
plummet - PLUM (choice fruit) + MET (encountered)


11 Soar out of prison almost (4)
excel - as in EX CEL(L)


12 Weirdly alert sons learn to draw etc. here (3,6)
art lesson - *(ALERT SONS) .. a purist might say the "etc." is not really needed

15 Point out ineptitude, partially (4)
tine - hidden in ouT INEptitude


16 Polygamist agreeing with 26 (2,2,1)
so do I - see 26dn. Well, here we are half way through the acrosses and so far, there has been nothing to scare the horses. I am not sure this quite works.. though I can sort of see where he is coming from


17 Forecast front will come off wicker vessel (6)
oracle - (C)ORACLE .. I liked this clue .. but isn't an oracle a forecaster?

19 After adjusting tie, can’t blink (7)
nictate - *(TIE CAN'T). I did know nictation, though I'm not sure where from

21 In the distant past, silver article I must hide (3,3)
age ago - AG (silver) + A in EGO (I) .. The 1930s were an age ago .. it does work, I think

23 Exhaling very very loudly during exercise (5)
pffft - FFF (very loudly) in PT (exercise). None of the usual sources have pffft, but all of tham have pfft, even the OED. And I am sure we can allow Bertie an extra F, can't we?


25 Place to convalesce, not quite (4)
lieu - LIE U(P) another one pushing the boundaries a little, but again, the answer is clear, especially with three crossing letters..


27 Silly pater, nearly dead drunk (9)
fatheaded - FATHE(R) + *(DEAD)


30 Look to include uranium for fine fabric (5)
gauze - U(ranium) in GAZE

32 A pro putt almost acceptable (2,2,3)
up to par - *(A PRO PUT(T)) .. seems to be missing an anagrind


33 One not grabbing snake, cornered (2,1,4)
in a spot - ASP (snake) inside I NOT. Bertie was in one of these most of the time ..


34 Such a bore! (5)
tidal - what can I say? A very old Times clue... and it needs more than an exclamation mark to make it acceptable nowadays


35 Agitato’s played. Why aloud? One needs to speak! (1,5,3)
I gotta say - *(AGITATO + Y) .. the Y being "why" aloud. Hmmm//


DOWN
1 Medic with singular low hum (5)
drone - DR (medic) + ONE (singular). A write-in, for anyone who knows even the first thing about Bertie


2 Made over poetically in cricket club by editor (7)
coerced - OER (over, poetically) in CC (cricket club) + ED(itor)


3 Nasty vicar’s lot drunk with gin (9)
revolting - REV (vicar) + *(LOT + GIN)


4 Coat of black and yellowish-brown material (6)
tartan - TAR (black) + TAN (brown). I will accept tar = black, but is tartan a coat? Discuss .. On edit: as Sawbill points out, the definition is "material," and the TAR is a "coat of black."


5 Transplant for one who drinks up (5)
repot - TOPER reversed. a neat clue, though the surface a little strange perhaps. But liver damage, we've all been there, haven't we?


6 Just one of James’s Madame’s family in the shade? (5)
mauve - don't ask me how I know this, but Henry James wrote about Madam Mauve


7 Death before a hundred is dry enough (4,3)
demi sec - DEMISE + C. I put an X against this clue, because demi sec is nowhere near dry enough these days. In the Thirties though, maybe..


8 Classic exam, most recent containing one set of books (5,4)
latin test - I + NT (one set of books) in LATEST (most recent)


13 Salesman put on hat, snakeskin? (7)
reptile - is a reptile snakeskin, or just a snake?


14 Spin tool for ill-gotten gains (4)
loot - TOOL reversed


16 Trust fair to supply something juicy (9)
starfruit - nearly an anagrind, but not quite. And I must take the setters word that a starfruit is juicy, I don't think I've ever eaten one


18 Disrupt urgent nap? Disgusting (9)
repugnant - *(URGENT NAP)


20 Some affection admitted for island (4)
iona - hidden, guess where?


22 Landed after expedition initially declared (7)
estated - E(xpedition) + STATED (declared). Yes, it really is a word


24 Fake father, I hear, is tactless in France (4,3)
faux pas - FAUX (fake) + PAS (sounds like Pa) .. tactless in England too, I think. :-)

26 He said, she said — get knotted (1,2,1,2)
I do I do - what you both must say to be legally married. Taken together I thought this and 16ac a bit much but hey, it's the 1930s crossword, right? Still I didn't quite know what to underline as the definition


28 Drive away dead skin (or most) (5)
expel - EX PEL(T)


29 Risk attempting Prufrock’s peachy question? (4,1)
dare I - "
Do I dare, Disturb the universe?" .. from the love song of J Alfred Prufrock

31 Short dash to attempt admission (5)
entry - EN (short dash, not to be confused with an EM) + TRY (attempt)

New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27799 - Lenehan is back!

Time: 27 minutes
Music: Ravel, Daphnis and Chloe, Munch/BPO

Another easy Monday?   Well, easy if you follow the cryptics.    We're not allowed to use the answers in the blog titles (you bloggers do remember this rule, right?), which is too bad as there are some interesting phrases in here, such as the muntjac autocar and the taurine chianti. 

I did race through most of the puzzle fairly easily, before being slowed down by some of the more chewy parts.   But even the deer rang a vague bell, and the cryptic was very clear, as is usually the case with the more obscure words.   It was actually the old soldier that gave the most trouble, before I started to consider all the possible meanings of all the words.

Across
1 Go, for example, outside of the cell (6)
GAMETE - GAME + T[h]E.
4 A mite invading cloche possibly where a plant is growing (7)
HABITAT - H(A BIT)AT.
9 Understanding directions for pen strokes to draw F on its side? (5)
SENSE - S + E + N + S + E - take your pen, and follow the instructions!   Has anyone seen this device before?
10 Highly regard including unknown trade union in amalgamation process (9)
ADMIXTURE - ADMI(X + T.U.)RE.
11 Sharp reply concerning new member duke introduced (9)
REJOINDER - RE + JOIN(D)ER.
12 Dangerous, like a yeti (5)
HAIRY - Double definition, one far-fetched.
13 Robin needs bravery when second flees (4)
PUCK - P[l]UCK.
14 Junction layout of west end of Central Line covering page (10)
CLOVERLEAF - C[entral] L[ine] + OVER + LEAF.
18 Bush to refuse to accept letter from old England (10)
BLACKTHORN - BLACK + THORN, which along with eth was one of the two letters that represented TH in Old English.
20 Brand of small vehicle (4)
SCAR - S + CAR, a Quickie escapee.
23 Many grabbing uniform: one forgot taking it (5)
LOTUS - LOT(U)S.
24 Regularly uncertain about dodgy refit for African Queen (9)
NEFERTITI -  [u]N[c]E[r](anagram of REFIT)T[a]I[n], also, one of the better Miles Davis albums.
25 Oven I am returning — beware, bank is involved (9)
MICROWAVE -  I'M backwards + C(ROW)AVE.   Caveat solver, that is. 
26 In this year one receives no capital (5)
HANOI -  H[oc] A[nno] (NO) I.
27 Cry out, seeing loose weathered stones on front of church (7)
SCREECH - SCREE + CH.
28 Difficult time with Yankee in boxing venue (6)
TRYING -  T + R(Y)ING.
Down
1 A grub stop when travelling? (9)
GASTROPUB - Anagram of A GRUB STOP, an &lit.
2 Deer climb where oxygen’s lacking, initially judging by account (7)
MUNTJAC - M[o]UNT + J + AC.
3 Statement from UK spying agency (6)
THESIS - THE S.I.S, the Secret Intelligence Service.   Nowadays, the government keeps all its intelligence secret.
4 Author O Henry turned up minutes before the Queen (5)
HOMER - O + H backwards, + M + ER.
5 Container mostly problematic for spiny shrub (8)
BOXTHORN - BOX + THORN[y].   I would have avoided two thorny bushes in one puzzle.
6 Bully, perhaps, volunteers what everyone passes (7)
TAURINE -  TA + URINE, where the literal is the tricky part.
7 Little support over location of UN headquarters (5)
TEENY - TEE + NY.
8 One at the Boar’s Head pub upset old Prince Hal, initially (8)
BARDOLPH - BAR + anagram of OLD + P[rince] H[al].
15 Backed up? However if I edit that will show (8)
VERIFIED -  hidden in [howe]VER IF I ED[it].
16 Understanding what the present is? (9)
FORGIVING - FOR GIVING, another Quickie clue.
17 Badly out of skill, pole is broken here? (3,5)
SKI SLOPE - anagram of SKILL, POLE, a semi-&lit.
19 Court upset with AA and one of their responsibilities (7)
AUTOCAR - Since the magazine is not associated with the AA, this must be the archaic term for the actual vehicle.
21 Official note, mostly opposed to red wine (7)
CHIANTI - CHI[t] + ANTI.
22 Old soldier often looking for a quarrel (6)
ARCHER - CD, looking for a quarrel of arrows.
23 Puts up with masses (5)
LUMPS - LUMPS - like it or lump it!
24 Excellent American hotel down under (5)
NEATH - NEAT + H.
  • glheard

Mephisto 3137 - Tim Moorey

Vinyl1 posted after last week's puzzle that he had a few questions over this one. I didn't fare too badly, though there was one abbreviation that I didn't find in Chambers and had to look up to verify a term. It might have been in my favor that there are a number of US-centric terms, and a few I run into on a regular basis.

The run of grids with 90-degree symmetry continues! There's some generous checking here which made it easier to figure out the longer entries.

With Mephisto puzzles, definitions (the first of which is underlined) can be verified in Chambers, so I will focus on the wordplay here.

Away we go....

Across
1 Southerner’s horse securing a start in hunt (8)
SCALAWAG -  SCAG(heroin, horse) containing A, LAW(the start of a hunt)
7 Marine creature going round in shallow pool endlessly (4)
SALP - the shallow pool is a PLASH, remove the last letter
10 Two chaps prepared meat in eg Dubai (5)
HALAL - the chaps are HAL and AL, and prepared is an adjective
11 Rock tackles panic arising from gas shortage (7)
ACAPNIA - AA(rock) containing an anagram of PANIC
13 Police releasing pirates as before (9)
ALGERINES - anagram of RELEASING
14 No honeyed drink brought back or spirit (6)
DAEMON - NO and MEAD(honeyed drink) all reversed. By funny coincidence, there is a meadery just around the corner from me, and I stopped in to pick up a few bottles just before solving this puzzle.
16 Scratching face, old Scotsman with a beard (4)
AWNY - remove the first letter from SAWNY(old Scotsman)
17 Emerge from fence, villain finally nicked (6)
ECLOSE - ENCLOSE(fence) missing the last letter of villaiN
18 Evil is found in trade by exchange — sign of a bastard (11)
BAR-SINISTER - SIN(evil) and IS inside BARTER(trade by exchange)
20 Molar apt to play up? Ingest one (11)
PARACETAMOL - anagram of MOLAR and APT containing ACE for an all-in-one clue
23 Neighbour swallows Liberal line pretty much (6, two words)
ALL BUT - ABUT(neighbour) containing L(Liberal) and L(line)
25 Favourite place for relatives (4)
BROS - double definition
27 An event touring Alaska shows rare horses (6)
TAKHIS - THIS(an action, event or circumstance) containing AK(Alaska)
29 Champ rallies on getting eagles (9)
ALLERIONS - anagram of RALLIES,ON for heraldic eagles
30 Work with willow is comparatively dense (7)
GOOSIER - GO(work) and OSIER(willow)
31 Skirt length one backed for dancing girl (5)
ALMEH - HEM(skirt), L(length), A(one) all reversed. Remember one = A is OK in Mephisto, but not in the daily Times
32 Troops used after ending of police protection (4)
EGIS - GIS(troops) after the last letter in policE
33 They arrange meets and after removing wheel, sort tyres out (8)
TRYSTERS - anagram of SORT,TYRES minus O(wheel)
Down
1 Some in school went halves on leaving (4)
SHAD - SHARED(went halves in) with RE(on) removed, the school being of fish
2 Red wine catalogue taken by a Midlands soccer team (7)
CATAWBA - CAT(catalogue), A, WBA(West Bromwich Albion, midlands soccer team). I had to look up the soccer team. I live less than 100km from the Catawba river and the major growing region for this grape. I can't say I'm a fan, red wine is a stretch, it is a funny-smelling rose.
3 Nearly all changed? Only for fiscals (9)
ALLENARLY - anagram of NEARLY,ALL
4 The French come with volumes, no end of reading (6)
ALLONS - GALLONS(volumes) minus the last letter in readinG
5 Thorny stuff catching pedestrian jogging in a wet Beijing (11)
WAG-N-BIETJIE - anagram of A,WET,BEIJING and I was glad almost all the letters were checked
6 Fish unknown in US port (4)
GARY - GAR(fish), Y(unknown). I've stopped for a break in Gary, Indiana on my way to Chicago once, and I have a distinct memory. It is a drab port on Lake Michigan, birthplace to a number of Jacksons, and I remember seeing a beach that I thought looked nice, and then saw it was right next to a nuclear reactor.
7 Old scouts very good in shortened Latin-American dance (6)
SPIALS - PI(very good) in SALAS(Latin-American dance) missing the last letter
8 Stories about ending of human rights (5)
LIENS - LIES(stories) containing the last letter of humaN
9 Changes going round about order of birds (8)
PASSERES - PASSES(changes, as in passes down ownership) surrounding RE(about)
12 Concerned with a strong Union, unlimited state ceremony organised (11)
CEMENTATORY - anagram of the inner letters of sTATe and CEREMONY
15 Triplets, primarily accommodated in space done up, stop me moving house (9, two words)
MOTOR HOME - first letter of Triplets inside ROOM(space) reversed then HO(stop), ME.  Terrific clue.
16 Perk up Dad, and face time of being old (8)
APPANAGE - reverse PA(dad) then PAN(face) and AGE(time of being old). Perk is an abbreviation for perquisite
19 Always storing cut of meat in old conveyor (7)
ELOINER - EER(always) containing LOIN(cut of meat)
21 One born Elizabeth to become senior sister (6)
ABBESS - A(one), B(born), BESS(Elizabeth)
22 Fruit and nuts unopened (6)
ANANAS - BANANAS(nuts) missing the first letter
24 Looks good for mathematician’s term (5)
LOLOG - LO and LO(looks) then G(good). Found in Chambers under LOGLOG
26 Small fly found in cored apples perhaps (4)
FRIT - remove the middle from FRUIT(apples, perhaps)
28 Second year students issuing positive notes (4)
SOHS - in the US, second year students are SOPHOMORES, abbreviated to SOPHS, remove the P(positive)

Sunday Times 4924 by David McLean

7:43. A pretty easy one from Harry this week, without much by way of talking points. Mostly familiar vocabulary although I don’t remember coming across 8dn before. I’m not entirely sure of my parsing of 16ac so any alternative views welcome.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.



Across
1 No time for food, getting fit
ABLE - tABLE.
4 Hopeful dance with rogue’s lamentable
ENCOURAGED - (DANCE, ROGUE)*.
9 Holidays in Split close to beaches
BREAKS - BREAK, beacheS.
10 One providing relief for engineers upset about employer
EMBOSSER - reversal of REME (engineers) containing BOSS.
11 Mess about with pint to get wasted
MISSPENT - (MESS, PINT)*.
12 South African animal trainer?
REEBOK - I’m going to treat the second part of this clue as very slightly cryptic because while I can imagine someone referring to their REEBOKs I don’t think anyone would ever use it in the singular.
13 I handled orders badly, being chicken
RHODE ISLAND RED - (I HANDLED ORDERS)*. Nice anagram.
16 Fine deceitful European captain of ship
FLYING DUTCHMAN - F, LYING, DUTCHMAN. I’m not sure how to parse this one. The FLYING DUTCHMAN is a legendary ghost ship, and as far as I can tell from looking at Wikipedia extensive research the phrase doesn’t apply to its captain. But if ‘captain’ is not part of the definition it has to be part of the wordplay, so it has to mean ‘man’, leaving ‘European’ to indicate just DUTCH rather than DUTCHMAN. But I can’t find any justification for captain = MAN. Hmm. Edit: see comments below: it's the captain of the ship, who is also sometimes referred to this way, including in the opera of the same name by Wagner, which I had never heard of.
20 One tip to lure in bloke with a smoke
MANILA - MAN(I, Lure), A. A type of cigar made in the city.
22 Drop swimmer as he’s short and fat?
DUMPLING - DUMP, LING.
24 Where you put flowers around four is disturbing
INVASIVE - IN VAS(IV)E.
25 One dropping a line to get hold of Sturgeon?
ANGLER - CD.
26 Girls, you’ve changed in a severe way
GRIEVOUSLY - (GIRLS YOUVE)*.
27 Part of Dynasty elicits viewer’s complaint
STYE - contained in ‘Dynasty elicits’.

Down
2 Bird dropping head below black fence
BARRIER - B, hARRIER.
3 Old manuscript contains answer for tests
EXAMS - EX(A), MS.
4 Segregate criminal that’s hunted in spring?
EASTER EGG - (SEGREGATE)*.
5 Boxes jammed with European coins
CREATES - CR(E)ATES.
6 Brown horse possibly unseats knight
UMBER - nUMBER. Horse as in heroin, an opiate and hence NUMBER.
7 Star made off with millions in capital
AMSTERDAM - (STAR MADE)* containing M.
8 I announced a little fair
EYESOME - sounds like ‘I’, SOME (a little).
14 Rise and speak at length about one with spirit
ORIGINATE - OR(I, GIN)ATE.
15 Play along with a group who perform acoustically
ACCOMPANY - sounds like ‘a company’.
17 Student leader to land head of house, perhaps
LEARNER - Land, EARNER
18 Strip or uniform associated with northern outfit
UNDRESS - U, N, DRESS.
19 Place for those with habits like The Priory?
NUNNERY - CD. The Priory is a clinic that does rehab (for ‘those with habits’) among other things, just round the corner from me.
21 A motorway turn in China
AMIGO - A, MI, GO. China plate, mate.
23 Port and a shot downed by vacuous lads
LAGOS - LadS containing A, GO.

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1462 - 3rd October

I think this may be the most entertaining Jumbo crossword I've had the pleasure of blogging. Packed full of amusing and inventive wordplay and deceptive definitions, it was, I think, significantly harder than usual, taking me about 1 1/4 hours compared to my usual 35-45 minutes. Between drafting the blog and finishing it for publication one of the best clues, 21A, reappeared in almost identical form in this Tuesday's daily cryptic, prompting some comments about having seen it before recently. Was it the same setter, perhaps?

My copy is littered with approving ticks and questionmarks that I had to resolve for the blog. It's hard to pick a favourite, and I did like 16A a lot, but I will go for 53A, which took me the longest to parse. Great stuff! More like this please, editor! How did everyone else get on?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27792 - Saturday, 10 October 2020. Now don’t kick up a fuss!

After an easy puzzle the previous Saturday, this one restored the balance in definitive fashion! It had some general knowledge gaps for me, and many clever clues and cunning definitions. My favourite was 9dn, with honourable mentions to 14dn and 15ac, and a very special groan for 16dn!

Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. Let’s take a look.

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.
Across
1 University visits as yet unscheduled, blow it! (4)
TUBA – U for university ‘visits’ T.B.A.
3 Fans of number one casino game milling around (10)
EGOMANIACS – anagram (milling around) of CASINO GAME.
10 Local has got away to see poet’s desert island (9)
INNISFREE – INN IS FREE, so to speak. The poem is The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by W.B.Yeats. I didn’t know it.
11 Smooth coming back from across the pond, then hail (5)
SUAVE – SU for U.S. ‘coming back’, then AVE is ‘hail’ in Latin.
12 Sort of strain you get reversing in volleyball, ultimately (7)
LULLABY – reverse hidden answer.
13 As pyjamas often tear, put in tip (6)
STRIPY – RIP in STY.
15 Don famously did this list: a double dose, initially, of philosopher! (4,2,9)
TILT AT WINDMILLS – TILT is list, A TWIN is a double, D is Dose ‘initially’, and MILL’S=of the philosopher.
18 Artist, English youth and composer meeting in German city once (7-8)
MUNCHEN-GLADBACH – MUNCH is the artist, ENG for England, LAD, BACH. I vaguely knew there was a soccer (football) team called Borussia Mönchengladbach, but that doesnt help so much since, as the clue suggests, the name of the city changed at some point.
21 New male doctor comes in to treat mummy (6)
EMBALM – anagram (new) of MALE, with M.B. coming in.
23 A case to be made for the car — stick with it? (7)
GEARBOX – a cryptic definition.
26 Judicial decision by which land legally returned (5)
ARRET – I was puzzled by this until I twigged TERRA for ‘land’. Reverse it to get the answer. But, wait a minute … I seem to dimly remember that that’s a word for ‘ridge’? No, the dictionary says that’s spelled ARȆTE. A little learning is a dangerous thing!
27 Something fizzy a comrade’s drunk (5,4)
CREAM SODA – anagram (drunk) of A COMRADES.
28 Remiss in supporting worker (10)
BEHINDHAND – BEHIND (supporting) HAND (worker).
29 Boy to gradually fade, but avoiding rout (4)
PETE – gradually fade would be PETER OUT. Drop the ROUT out!

Down
1 Journey allowed me to maintain current tempo (6,4)
TRIPLE TIME – TRIP, LET, ME all ‘maintaining’ I for current.
2 Enforce a general embargo, mostly lacking impact (5)
BANAL – BAN, AL{L}, almost.
4 Kick up a row, clashing with grey knight (9)
GARRYOWEN – anagram (clashing) of A ROW GREY N, where N is for knight in chess. Clever definition: it’s a rugby tactic, known hereabouts as an up-and-under. Made famous by the Garryowen Rugby Club, apparently, which won three championships in a row in 1924-26 and used it a lot.
5 Faces no longer fitting, sadly, at the top (5)
MEETS – MEET is an obsolete term for fitting, followed by an S, for S{adly} at the top.
6 Normal, presumably, to inject sulphur to bring pet relief (7)
NOSTRUM – NOT RUM might amount to ‘normal’, presumably. Insert S for sulphur, which I believe is now officially spelled SULFUR!
7 Like barbershop, the creation of R Smythe Fitzgerald (1,8)
A CAPPELLA – I had no idea who R Smythe was, but it was easy to guess he must have created Andy Capp. So we have A. CAPP, followed by ELLA.
8 Go after — and get — piece for a mate (4)
SEEK – I assume we are talking checkmate in chess, and what we need to do is SEE the King. Is there more to it, anyone?
9 Where you’ll find eg Madrileños with no common sense gossip (6)
ESPANA – E.S.P. is a very uncommon sense, if it exists at all. ANA is a collection of gossip.
14 Do in marquee finally finishes when public house axes it, sealing off area (10)
ASPHYXIATE – AS for when, P.H. is for Public House, Y and X are the axes of a graph, IT is the ‘it’ in the clue, ‘sealing off’ A for area. Finally, we finish with E for ‘marquee finally’. Assemble as directed!
16 What’s maybe experienced by impatient practical joker in military retreat (4,5)
LONG MARCH – a whimsical suggestion that practical jokers might spend the whole of March impatiently waiting for April Fool’s Day. Like it or loathe it!

The LONG MARCH was a tactical retreat by the Chinese Communist Red Army, in 1934-35. Apparently they travelled 5,600 kilometres in 370 days!
17 A duck, for example, at no time turns this colour (4,5)
NILE GREEN – NIL (duck), E.G. (for example), NEER (at no time) ‘turned’.
19 Pick up catch: that’s raised cheer (7)
HEARTEN – HEAR (pick up), NET (catch) that’s ‘raised’.
20 Expression of dismay in note written by beloved (4,2)
DEAR ME – DEAR (beloved), ME (a musical note).
22 That man’s gripping account turned into short book of verses (5)
MICAH – HIM (that man) gripping AC (account), all ‘turned’. Verses of the biblical king, not verses of poetry.
24 In barracks picked up drink (5)
BOOZE – sounded like (picked up) BOOS.
25 Shot protecting leader in military post (4)
JAMB – M in JAB.

Quick Cryptic 1724 by Pedro

Generally straightforward with a couple of chewy ones. 3d took me a while to spot. Just over 6 minutes for me

Across
1 Left excellent, decorative fabric (4)
LACE - L + ACE
4 Encountered feathers around Lake, indication of disaster (8)
MELTDOWN - MET + DOWN with L for lake inside
8 Game of golf a rep organised (8)
LEAPFROG - anagram ('organised') of GOLF A REP
9 Cricketer first for honours in Somerset city (4)
BATH - BAT with H (first of Honours)
10 Following a religion, entirely on the radio (4)
HOLY - sounds like 'wholly'
11 Assortment: possibly it’s cheap (8)
PASTICHE - anagram ('possibly') of ITS CHEAP
12 Supporters surrounding Rolls Royce in search (6)
FERRET - FEET around RR
14 Contaminate fin, etc, when swimming (6)
INFECT -anagram ('swimming') of FIN ETC
16 Learning well, horse breeder promises to pay (8)
STUDIOUS - STUD + IOUs
18 Horribly evil! (4)
VILE - anagram ('horribly') of EVIL. And an &lit of sorts
19 Competent brewer initially brought in beer (4)
ABLE - ALE with B for Brewer inside
20 Records office, say, is to attempt tracking source of records (8)
REGISTRY - EG (say) + IS + TRY all after R (first letter of records)
22 Staff touring area wrong to limit good advice to motorists (4,4)
ROAD SIGN - ROD (staff) around A for area + SIN round G for good
23 Speed last of dinner gets consumed (4)
RATE - R + ATE

Down
2 Chaps upset, caught in a single bloomer (7)
ANEMONE - MEN upside down inside A + ONE
3 Attract topless lady, ultimately vain (5)
EMPTY - TEMPT minus its top, + Y
4 Harm horse, docking tail (3)
MAR - MARE minus the last letter
5 I almost stop probing firewood delivery arrangements (9)
LOGISTICS - I STIC(k) inside LOGS
6 Fed up about bride forgetting day, ask for details of service? (7)
DEBRIEF - FED backwards with BRIE (BRIDE minus D for day) inside
7 Seductive woman with a teasing desire (5)
WITCH - W + ITCH
11 Fragrant stuff in Italian river upset our trip (3-6)
POT-POURRI - PO + anagram ('upset') of OUR TRIP
13 Left-wing teacher, one with ginger hair (7)
REDHEAD - RED + HEAD
15 Criminal, say, heads for priest, really intending to enter religious group (7)
CULPRIT - P + R + I (first letters of Priest Really Intending) inside CULT
17 Ban cheers and a more hostile expression (5)
TABOO - TA (cheers) + BOO (hostile expression)
18 Eyeshade? Guest has dropped it (5)
VISOR - VISITOR minus IT
21 Success, declining a drink with tonic (3)
GIN - GAIN minus A. Biffed WIN initially as I expect many others did,