• brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27774 - Saturday, 19 September 2020. Another Pleasant Puzzle Saturday.

My better half and I agreed this week that the daily sudoku puzzles in our morning paper seem to be getting easier. Is it a coronavirus thing? In similar vein, it’s been quite a while since the Saturday crossword has been a stinker. Happily this wasn’t the week that changed! Still, there was much to like. I particularly enjoyed the choice of anagram indicator at 10ac. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

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}.
1 Most boisterous wife longs to break mould (8)
ROWDIEST – W for wife and DIES for longs, breaking ROT for mould.
5 Chicken a little tough (6)
BANTAM – a double definition, the second relating to a small, aggressive person.
10 Fan must start in line to see player (15)
INSTRUMENTALIST – anagram of MUST START IN LINE. The anagram is indicated by ‘fan’, as in fanning a deck of cards perhaps. I loved it!!
11 Welcome the writer coming back to stay (7)
EMBRACE – ME ‘coming back’, then BRACE.
12 Zeppelin songs extremely cool (7)
AIRSHIP – AIRS for songs, then HIP for cool.
13 Easiest one to crack in my view (2,1,3,2)
AS I SEE IT – anagram (‘to crack’) of EASIEST plus I for one.
15 Saw to test on vehicle in front (5)
MOTTO – TO (second word of the clue) with MOT (test on vehicle) in front.
18 Keeper having depressing experience first dropped (5)
OWNER – the depressing experience was a DOWNER.
20 African alien hides pain, meeting Scotsman (8)
EGYPTIAN – ET, the alien, hides GYP being the pain, then IAN, the Scotsman. This meaning of ‘gyp’ is not familiar to me, but common in England I gather.
23 Italian inventor has brandy on island (7)
MARCONI – MARC brandy, ON, I for island.
25 Spend penny — allowed to go in river (7)
DEPLETE – P for penny and LET for allowed in the river DEE.
26 Time aboard cosy starship is working for scientists (15)
ASTROPHYSICISTS – anagram (working) COSY STARSHIP IS, with T for time aboard.
27 Current that reverses around one Polynesian paradise (6)
TAHITI – I for current, then THAT, all reversed and around I for one.
28 During travels notice region centred on Delos (8)
CYCLADES – AD or notice, in CYCLES or travels. Is it only me, or does this answer sound like a constellation?

1 Attacker one helping to support Resistance (6)
RAIDER – AIDER supporting R for electrical resistance.
2 Hard black blocks used to be bad for fitting (4-5)
WASH-BASIN – H and B in (‘blocking’) WAS A SIN.
3 Progress initially awkward coming into trendy bars (7)
INROADS – A from awkward ‘initially’ in IN (trendy) RODS (bars).
4 Million taken in an unspecified battle (5)
SOMME – M for million in SOME.
6 This might make soccer player score, leap, cry (7)
ANAGRAM – a definition by example, since SCORE LEAP CRY is an anagram of SOCCER PLAYER. Obvious once you see it, but hard to see!
7 Sort of cross having wasted chicken portion? (5)
THIGH – T is the letter you traditionally cross after dotting your Is; then HIGH as in wasted.
8 Symbolic form amazingly apt in revamped Homer (8)
METAPHOR – anagram of APT (amazingly), in an anagram of HOMER (revamped).
9 Child tracks men on foot (8)
INFANTRY – INFANT=child, RY=railway tracks.
14 Sense agreement amongst rowing crew (8)
16 Bridged river that's risen about metre (9)
TRAVERSED – river DART ‘risen’ to give TRAD, about VERSE=poetic metre.
17 Line up male actors in beach formation (8)
WORMCAST – ROW=line ‘up’, to give WOR, M=male, CAST=actors.
19 Rook loves hawk to destroy totally (4,3)
ROOT OUT – R=rook, O+O=two loves, TOUT=hawk.
21 Interesting now hot Romeo coming out (7)
TOPICAL – T{R}OPICAL, minus R=Romeo.
22 Against hoovers using bags (6)
VERSUS – hidden (bagged) in hooVERS USing,
24 Scoundrel giving up whiskey shows strain (5)
RETCH – {w}RETCH=scoundrel.
25 Attractive little girl reticent (5)
DISHY – DI is the girl, she’s SHY.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1709 by Alfie

Today's quick crossword is from Alfie, a setter who always (under that pseudonym) provides a crossword with an alphabetical twist. And indeed this one has too, as hinted at by 1A and 11A. I'll not spoil it for you here if you haven't looked for what's hidden in the grid, but I've summarised what I found at the end of the blog.
As for the clues, one or two are a bit tricky (15D puzzled me the most) and the crossword took me rather over my average time, finishing in 6:40. Some fun clues though. My COD goes to 8A, but the cleverly worked theme is most entertaining. Thank-you Alfie! How did everyone else get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the weekend entertainment. You can find my amateur quick crossword here. Enjoy!

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Times 27,779: Fyodor Trotsky

A little disappointing difficulty-wise at the end of an above-averagely easy week, but I found much in here to enjoy, with some really exceptional surfaces. 17dn was very jolly but I think I'll give COD to 21dn as it's very neat despite being about the mystifying pastime of cricketball. I also very much liked the "unarmed patrol". I don't have too much to say beyond that, it was good, thanks setter.

If anyone wants to look at a lot of my alarming face, I can be seen hosting an OQL quiz at the end of this link; it's not all horror and despair though, the whole thing is much redeemed by regular appearances by topicaltim putting in a typical tour de force performance in seat 4B. Yay!

1 In school, used to be provided with juice (7)
POWERED - in POD [school (of whales)], WERE [used to be]

5 Foreign orchestra given something to play by network (7)
GAMELAN - GAME [something to play] by LAN [(Local Area) Network]

9 Crazy, dropping head to the back (3)

10 Lady not running freely sent in for surgery (11)
VISCOUNTESS - VISCOUS [not running freely], with (SENT*) in. Reader, I cannot tell a lie, I biffed it.

11 Make a friend with ceremony (8)

12 California police try to return pampered pet (6)
LAPDOG - L.A.P.D + reversed GO

15 Christmas returns in part of Spain (4)
LEON - reversed NOEL

16 Party votes to change very high limit for author (10)
DOSTOEVSKY - DO [party] + (VOTES*) + SKY [as in "the sky's the limit!"]

18 Record how long left in permit (3,4,3)
ALL TIME LOW - TIME [how long] + L(eft) in ALLOW [permit]. I was looking for a popular song, most likely All Time High, but I think this is just a record-breakingly bad statistic. Unless there exists a setter who was a really big fan of The Wanted.

19 Lightly hit cold cheek (4)
CLIP - C(old) LIP

22 Run before notice to pick Emma up again? (6)
REREAD - R ERE AD. Good choice of reading material

23 Stung by these perhaps, destroy a nest beside tree (4,4)
FIRE ANTS - (A NEST*) beside FIR, semi-&lit. Painful little stingers

25 Prudent course resulting from successful seance? (5,6)
HAPPY MEDIUM - double defined with a psychic medium who is chuffed after a good communion with the nether realms.

27 One nailed to back of house (3)
TOE - TO + {hous}E. "One nailed" as in, a thing that has a nail

28 Cracking effort: girl hides processor (7)
TANNERY - ANNE, "cracking" TRY. A tannery is in the business of processing animal hides

29 Rolled pastry, extremely short, ruled revolting (7)
STRUDEL - S{hor}T + (RULED*)

1 Jesting, pull a fairy’s wings off (7)
PLAYFUL - (PULL A F{air}Y*). Great/horrible surface!

2 One may be in the office, given this advice if beach too hot? (5-6)
WATER-COOLER - if the beach is too hot, try the water, which is cooler, instead.

3 Have great delight taking in a show (6)
REVEAL - REVEL "taking in" A

4 Failed to fence wood that’s prohibited (10)
DISALLOWED - DIED "to fence" SALLOW, which is like a willow

5 Continue as thug (4)

6 Possibly tiger mother doing more tidying? (3-5)

7 Position of railway not new (3)
LIE - LI{n}E

8 Bunch for one inhibited by lack of authority (7)
NOSEGAY - E.G. "inhibited" by NO SAY

13 Made fresh deal in juggling with dates (11)
DESALINATED - (DEAL IN + DATES*) ["juggling"]

14 Unarmed, patrol population centres for serious crimes (10)
ATROCITIES - {p}ATRO{l} loses its left and right "arms", plus CITIES

17 Lots of data as Times breaks US military scandal? (8)
GIGABYTE - BY [times] "breaks" G.I.-GATE. I caused problems for myself by initially bunging in MEGABYTE. Obviously it's hard to tell me apart from a GI, I mean which one would win in a fight, it could definitely go either way, right?

18 Pretentiousness by extremely attractive miss (3,4)

20 In old-fashioned uniform, line dance (3,4)
PAS SEUL - PASSÉ U L. LOI, partly because I was trying hard to put something "in" something else

21 Cricketer’s entry in Anglo-French dictionary? (6)
SEAMER - if you look up "sea" in a very basic A-F dictionary, you might see SEA: MER

24 Raise up pretty velvet covers (4)
LEVY - covered by {prett}Y VEL{vet}, in an "up" direction

26 God is hurt, abandoned by one (3)
PAN - PA{i}N

Times Quick Cryptic No 1708 by Teazel

A bit of a trickier one today from Teazel - at a minute-and-a-half over target this took a touch longer than yesterday's 15x15, with five fewer clues. That was also with several unparsed until post-solve, and a couple of unknowns given an unceremonious shrug along the way. Some lovely bits of misdirection and clever wordplay made an enjoyable solve and an equally enjoyable post-solve, so many thanks to Teazel!

1 For transplant, scan iris and other flowers (8)
NARCISSI - Anagram (for transplant) of SCAN IRIS
5 Abbreviated state service (4)
MASS - Abbrev. of MASSachusettes (state). Well, that was my attempt at spelling it - I see it doesn't have that final E (which looks wrong). But I got 10d correct, so I'm giving myself a pass in today's spelling test.
8 Good man meets with resistance (5)
STAND - ST. (Saint = good man) meets AND (with). That pesky w/with/and, gets me every time.
9 Cheese and some apricot taken (7)
RICOTTA - "some" of apRICOT TAken. FOI.
11 Judge turned to note (3)
JOT - J(udge) OT ("turned" to). Tripped me up nicely: I was looking for a "judge", which I have a mental block with. I always feel there are a ton of possibilities I can never quite think of.
12 Money’s problematic if in a clan (9)
FINANCIAL - anagram (is problematic) of IF IN A CLAN. As in money/financial difficulties. (I can't think of an example where the possessive "money's" meaning "relating to money" could be swapped with the answer.)
13 Dairy product from goat? (6)
BUTTER - double definition, the second as in a thing that butts.
15 Almost become unable to see mischievous spirit (6)
GOBLIN - GO BLINd ("almost" become unable to see)
18 Insect takes off from pages of book (9)
FLYLEAVES - FLY (insect) LEAVES (takes off). Unprinted pages at the front/back of a book. Oh yes, that's what they're called.
19 Drinking bout in front half of car (3)
JAG - JAGuar (front half of car). News to me. Lexico explains that the original sense of jag "was ‘portion, quantity’, later ‘as much alcohol as one can hold’, hence ‘a binge’."
20 Sage parent accepts head covering (7)
MAHATMA - MAMA (parent) accepts HAT (head covering)
21 Cornish tourist came across me, back at the front (5)
EMMET - MET (came across) with EM (me, "back"), at the front. Also news to me/forgotten. The OED has a quote: " ‘Grockle’ is the Devonian word for tourist, or tripper, or summer visitor. In Cornwall the word is ‘emmet’." An emmet is an archaic/dialect word for an ant, with the tourist idea coming from a large crowd on a beach or the like resembling ants.
22 Ready to eat? Tear back from office (4)
RIPE - RIP (tear) E ("back" from officE)
23 Good for food, for example, which a poet might use? (3,5)
EYE RHYME - Cryptic definition. Made easier by appearing in Tuesday's 15x15 ("Poetic device exemplified in Keats and Yeats"), blogged by Jack, who wrote: "Words that look as if they should rhyme but when spoken they don't."

1 Face operation: expert does, we hear (4,3)
NOSE JOB - "we hear" the same as KNOWS JOB ([what an] expert does). Hmm, close enough; we do get more enjoyable clues if setters are given a bit of latitude.
2 Right oven, for this? (5)
ROAST - R(ight) OAST (oven). And I suppose an oast does roast, so the answer to the clue is yes.
3 Unconcerned to be popular, standing out from the crowd? (11)
INDIFFERENT - IN (popular) DIFFERENT (standing out from the crowd)
4 Shore leave in hopeless place (6)
STRAND - quality double definition.
6 Tiny workers’ high-rise accommodation (7)
ANTHILL - cryptic definition, with the surface reading misdirecting you to think of human workers. The QC will often give an extra hint compared to the 15x15, such as "tiny" here, or "in hopeless place" in the previous clue.
7 Second shopping area is modest (5)
SMALL - S(econd) MALL (shopping area)
10 Stupidly censorious about name for man of taste (11)
CONNOISSEUR - anagram (stupidly) of CENSORIOUS about N(ame)
14 Too shy to play piano in store (7)
TOYSHOP - anagram (to play) of TOO SHY, and P(iano)
16 Close match, one assumed after dark (7)
NIGHTIE -NIGH (close) TIE (match)
17 A change involving one in birdcage (6)
AVIARY - A, VARY (a, change) involving I (one). Not CANARY, then, which I bunged in in haste.
18 See me wrapped up in warm coat, but only part of leg (5)
FEMUR - ME enwrapped in FUR (warm coat)
19 Leap year makes us nervous (5)
JUMPY - JUMP (leap) Y(ear). Well this leap year's doing a good job of it.
Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27778 Thursday, 24 September 2020 It's time to crack open the Bolly

Not much more demanding than yesterday’s, and as far as I can tell lacking the extraordinary NINA in the first letters of the across clues. I polished this off in 13.37. It helps if you have a list of British Prime Ministers to hand, are familiar with British children’s TV and sitcoms, and have some familiarity with bits of London. The film is (or should be) pretty well known, as is the songwriter, who even has an award named after him. In all these instances, the wordplay is pretty generous, and I would venture that those who took tentative steps from the Quickie yesterday will not find this demoralising.
For what it’s worth, I have provided my commentary on the clues and their answers below, and have stuck to my normal practice of formatting the clues in italics, in addition underlining the definitions, and providing the answers in BOLD CAPITALS.

1 PM, previously to resign, remains around (7)
ASQUITH To resign is QUIT, and remains are ASH. Plonk one into t’other. Herbert Henry Asquith served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916.
5 Pepper pot: mine needs to be shaken (7)
PIMENTO Needs to be shaken is the giveaway anagram indicator: apply to POT MINE
9 Husband bearing heavy item of furniture is one giving you a wave? (11)
HAIRDRESSER Husband conventionally round here is represented by H, bearing is AIR and unless you are in possession of a lightweight one, a DRESSER is a heavy item of furniture. The definition is mildly cryptic
10 Deckhands finally got out of sweeping vessel (3)
VAT The last letter of deckhandS (finally) is removed from VAST answering to sweeping
11 Peg, getting stuck into beer, on the slippery slope? (6)
ALPINE Peg is PIN and beer is ALE. Once again plonk one into t’other.
12 Runner reflecting on the subject of large clogs (8)
SMUGGLER Quite tricky to reverse engineer the wordplay from the obvious answer. On the subject of: RE, large LG (not just the expected L) and clogs GUMS as in up the works. Reverse the whole lot (reflecting)
14 Director, in extremis, fought to secure financial backer for film (2,11)
DR STRANGELOVE In which Peter Sellers plays almost everybody. In extremis (ie, both ends) DirectoR  gives the DR bit. Fought is STROVE and a financial backer is an ANGEL. Correctly assemble.
17 Be reconciled, after brush with assembly (4,3,4,2)
KISS AND MAKE UP After brush: KISS, place with: AND, and assembly: MAKE UP
21 Touched, as doctor, friend and parent meet with young delinquent (8)
PALPATED Friend is PAL, parent is PA (avoid MA, gives a an inappropriate solution)  and the young delinquent (sorry Jimbo) is TED
23 Race the eccentric run in mostly (6)
ETHNIC What appears to be an adjective clued by a noun. “The” eccentric provides the ETH, and run in is NICK (as in episodes of the Sweeney) from which you dock the last letter
25 Light headed? (3)
LED I’m going to say the definition is headed, because the light is an L.E.D. though sources have it without the dots
26 Hiker settles by forestry worker (11)
FOOTSLOGGER Simple enough: settles is FOOTS (the bill) and the forestry worker is a LUMBERJACK LOGGER
27 Subject of treaty dubious at best, note (4,3)
TEST BAN The Comprehensive version, passed by the UN in 1996, still awaits complete ratification and is not yet in force. Here it’s an anagram (“dubious”) of AT BEST and N(ote)
28 Long to be back on stage in the London area (7)
STEPNEY Stage is STEP, and long: YEN is reversed (back) onto it. Stepney is either a tiddly bit of Tower Hamlets with no really defined borders, or it’s (currently) an Episcopal area of the Diocese of London covering Tower Hamlets, Islington and Hackney. Arguably it’s your actual East End

1 From memory, after a quiet retreat (6)
ASHRAM Memory is RAM, as A and SH for quiet makes up the rest. I’m not sure what “From” is doing.  Perhaps the most famous ashram was Gandhi’s at Ahmedabad.
2 Heading off armed, made a sally (7)
QUIPPED Armed is equipped. Knock its head off
3 Daughters entering singly at first, in a state (9)
INDONESIA You only need one of the D(aughters). I think then singly is IN ONES, into which the D enters, and the at first In A gives the rest
4 Reclusive industrialist, speaking for the Greens, perhaps (4)
HUES My last in, because although I thought of Howard Hughes I couldn’t make him fit. Speaking, however, tells you this is a homophone, and Greens (preferably without the capital) are just one variety of our answer
5 Job on staff, just right for animated deliveryman (7,3)
POSTMAN PAT A cartoon character who does his rounds in Greendale with his black and white cat Jess. Job: POST, staff: MAN , and just right: PAT
6 Second charity event the Scottish miss (5)
MORAG Second is MO, and charity event is RAG, as practised by Universities over a week (still?)
7 Unusual request to look for songwriter (7)
NOVELLO Unusual is NOVEL, and I think LO is pretty well defined as a request to look.
8 Accurate, but somehow not great (2,6)
ON TARGET Another simple anagram (somehow) of NOT GREAT
13 Right in attempt to obtain private capital (10)
BRIDGETOWN Capital of Barbados. Place R(ight) into attempt: BID. Add obtain GET and private: OWN.
15 Conductor when chosen went up (9)
ELECTRODE Chosen obviously gives the ELECT bit. RODE is less obvious, but if you went “up” you rode a horse
16 Chaplain to put up with holy bunch! (3,5)
SKY PILOT Put up is SKY, as a batsman might do, and the holy bunch are the PI LOT. Dated (?) military slang.
18 Slash cover to access petty cash (7)
SOLIDUS The proper name for the forward slash /, Cover is LID, which “accesses” SOUS for just about the pettiest of cashes.
19 Drink quietly, repeatedly, at home, gaining weight (4,3)
PINK GIN mmmmmmm. Quietly P, at home IN, which is repeated around KG foe weight.
20 What sailors caught, close to divers with the bends? (6)
SCURVY The effect of lack of vitamin C brought on by the poor diet of, eg, sailors. Close to (end of) diverS and CURVY, with (the) bends
22 Old sitcom initially featuring in ratings (2,3)
AB FAB Not that old – it ran from 1992 to 2012, and a feature film version was released in 2016.  The F of Featured (initially) finds itself between two AB ratings
24 What only child might want unaltered (2,2)
AS IS A single child might want A SIS. Redistribute.

Times 27777 - two and the Angel Number will look after us.

This was a fast solve and a not very exciting crossword for me, I can't find much to say about it, except it was disappointing for a Wednesday. So I noticed it was #27777. I Googled 7777 and was transported to some weird websites which told me all about Angels, the Bible and Goodness and luck and that anything else I wished for could be coming my way. Who writes this stuff? Who believes it? Anyway here's the blog.

1 Communicate with bishop over satisfactory primer (8)
TEXTBOOK - TEXT (communicate) B (bishop) O(ver) OK.
6 Doddery old bachelors originally living in outskirts of Whitby (6)
WOBBLY - W(hitb)Y has O, B, B and L inserted.
9 Greek mountain’s huge appeal (4)
OSSA - OS (outsize) SA (appeal, sex appeal). Impressive 2000m mountain halfway up the right side of the Greek mainland.
10 Makes start, sadly, as scourge of workforce? (10)
11 Wavering of ambassador initially inept in post (10)
HESITATION - H.E. (ambassador) STATION (post); insert I being initially inept.
13 Report of sludge in one of three rivers (4)
OUSE - Sounds like OOZE; one of at least three rivers so-called in the UK. Counting the Great Ouse and Little Ouse its tributary as two, there are four.
14 Ignorant, but not tight, do we hear? (8)
UNTAUGHT - Sounds like UN-TAUT.
16 Most balanced article written in small refuge (6)
SANEST - S(mall), NEST (refuge), insert A (article).
18 Italian poet’s heartless noble (6)
ARISTO - Ludovico ARIOSTO was an Italian poet. Take away his centre O.
20 Storyteller from Scottish island returning to centre of Kinross (8)
NARRATOR - Reverse ARRAN, add TO and R being the central letter of Kinross.
22 Fish deft anglers catch easily to begin with (4)
DACE - initial letters of D eft A nglers C atch E asily.
24 Half of them sketch vaguely from beginning to end (10)
THROUGHOUT - TH(em) ROUGH OUT (sketch vaguely).
26 Resident in Hampshire briefly entertaining a little (10)
INHABITANT - IN, HANT (presumably short for Hampshire, although believe it is more usual as HANTS) insert A BIT for a little.
28 Fellow keeping oxen at first for beef (4)
MOAN - O in MAN, beef as in complain.
29 Discharge former partner in robust health (6)
EXHALE - EX (former partner) HALE (in robust health).
30 Quiet, more colourful piece of office equipment (8)
SHREDDER - SH ! REDDER = more colourful.
2 Maybe Chinese festival involving English sailors (9)
EASTERNER - EASTER has E(nglish) and RN (sailors) inserted.
3 Empress’s army once carrying nerve gas (7)
TSARINA - TA (Territorial Army) has SARIN a nerve gas inserted.
4 It thus set up a Roman port (5)
OSTIA - IT SO (thus) is reversed = OSTI add A.
5 Aegean island some seek ostentatiously (3)
KOS - hidden (not very) in SEE(K OS)TENTATIOUSLY.
6 Lothario, perhaps? More like Solomon crossing eastern state (9)
WOMANISER - WISER like Solomon has OMAN inserted.
7 Instrument produced by graduates thus performing (7)
BASSOON - BAS (graduates) SO (thus) ON (performing).
8 City came first, securing last of five goals ultimately (5)
LEEDS - LED has E (last of fivE) inserted then S (goals ultimately) added.
12 Fashionable cosmetic preparation for one vocalising in church (7)
INTONER - IN (fashionable) TONER (cosmetic).
15 Spooky entertainer left president following golf (9)
GHOSTLIKE - G (golf) HOST (entertainer) L (left) IKE (Eisenhower).
17 Finally he hangs out somehow in Japanese governor’s office (9)
SHOGUNATE - (E HANGS OUT)* the E being from finally hE.
19 Scorer’s stock stories about start of match (7)
SMETANA - SET ANA being stock stories, insert M for match.
21 Remorseful American hiding in an outhouse (7)
23 Join a former partner collecting news (5)
ANNEX - AN EX, a former partner, has N for news inserted.
25 Speak indistinctly, losing marks at first, say (5)
UTTER - MUTTER loses its M.
27 A second son, one behaving foolishly (3)
ASS - A, S(econd) S(on).

Times Quick Cryptic 1707 by Orpheus

Nice puzzle - average time. Following on from yesterday's Japanese poetry lesson, I was forced to guess a bit more general knowledge today (18ac, 20ac), and I was slow to think of the required woman at 11ac. I especially enjoyed the two clues with slightly more convoluted wordplay at 5dn and my COD 11dn.

Definitions underlined.

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1 Uncouth old swimmer crossing centre of bay (6)
OAFISH - O (old) and FISH (swimmer) containing (crossing) the middle letter (centre) of bAy.
5 Expression wears thin for listeners (6)
PHRASE - sounds like (for listeners) "frays" (wears thin).
8 Italian citizens coming from same line somehow (8)
MILANESE - anagram of (somehow) SAME LINE.
9 In Tiepolo, a notable advance (4)
LOAN - hiddin in (in) tiepoLO A Notable.
10 Opposed to books being dumped in main road (4)
ANTI - NT (new testament, books) inside (dumped in) A1 (main road).
11 Bitter woman coming in to do a song (8)
SCATHING - CATH (woman) inside (coming in to) SING (do a song).
12 Bloke keen, some say, to establish wine shop (6)
BODEGA - BOD (bloke) then a homophone of (some say) "eager".
14 Cockney building boundary round field, moving slowly? (6)
EDGING - (h)EDGING (building boundary round field) as a Cockney might say it.
16 US politician caught deserter at end of rally (8)
DEMOCRAT - C (caught) and RAT (deserter) after (at end of) DEMO (rally).
18 She was Boaz’s wife? Pity (4)
RUTH - double definition; reference to the biblical story from the book of Ruth.
20 Hindu queen administered island (4)
RANI - RAN (administered) and I (island).
21 Scottish festival always associated with chap minding pigs? (8)
HOGMANAY - AY (always) next to (associated with) HOGMAN (chap minding pigs?).
23 Motto found in record kept by hospital (6)
SLOGAN - LOG (record) inside (kept by) SAN (sanatorium, hospital).
24 Insect originally good at digging for lost young? (6)
GADFLY - first letters from (originally) Good At Digging For Lost Young.

2 Like birds initially imported in a commercial vehicle (5)
AVIAN - first letter of (initially) Imported inside (in) A VAN (commercial vehicle).
3 Envisage instruments originally employed in Enigma variation (7)
IMAGINE - first letter of (originally) Instruments inside (in) an anagram of (...variations) ENIGMA.
4 Shade used in houses regularly (3)
HUE - every other letter from (regularly) HoUsEs.
5 Common old man fed by priest before fast (9)
PREVALENT - PA (father, old man) containing (fed by) REV (reverend, priest) then LENT (fast).
6 Fellow engaged in moral philosophy (5)
RALPH - hiddin in (engaged in) moRAL PHilosophy,
7 Quiet girl on Irish river (7)
SHANNON - SH (quiet), ANN (girl) and ON.
11 Endlessly casting about, catching high-class marine creature (3,6)
SEA URCHIN - all-but-the-last letter from (endlessly) SEARCHINg (casting about) containing (catching) U (upper class, high-class).
13 General deliveries a couple of Liberals assembled (7)
OVERALL - OVER (six balls in cricket, deliveries) then A and two Ls (couple of liberals) all put together (assembled).
15 Fish on estate, perhaps, getting floral decoration (7)
GARLAND - GAR (fish) on LAND (estate, perhaps).
17 Outstanding old part of house (5)
OWING - O (old) and WING (part of house).
19 Track taking dog across river (5)
TRAIL - TAIL (dog) containing (across) R (river).
22 Suppress comedian’s joke (3)
GAG - double definition.