Times Quick Cryptic No 1623 by Oink

A nicely accessible puzzle from Oink, which took me 14 minutes to complete.  I had to write the anagrist down before seeing the answer at 10a, but otherwise it was all plain sailing, if slightly slow.

I thought I detected a slightly dark mood with the inclusion of setbacks, abuse, torture, cocaine, opium, tramp, scoundrel, choke, dreariest, pirate, et al in both clues and answers, but maybe I am being overly-sensitive.

Thanks Oink.  Readers, I look forwards to my fortnightly feedback on your experiences in your comments.

Across

Dripping, a kind of fat (9)
SATURATED – Double definition, the first an extreme of wetness, the second referring to saturated fats, which like most things at the moment divide scientific opinion.  Somewhere, there will be a university research team researching to find a topic that doesn’t divide scientific opinion.  The nearest I can think of is pepper – I’ve never heard anyone with a bad word for the stuff!
6  Party hard? What an idiot I am! (3)
DOH – DO (party) and H{ard}.  I think this is an expression popularised by the Simpsons cartoon series, but I can’t be sure, as I have never seen a minute of it.
8  Choke, spitting out large rum (7)
STRANGE – STRANG[l}E (choke) with the L removed (spitting out L{arge}).
9 Start to plead: I must have name (5)
BEGIN – BEG (plead) with I and N{ame}.
10  Confirm aunt is at best confused (12)
SUBSTANTIATE – Anagram (confused) of [AUNT IS AT BEST]
12 Appear to notice favouritism, finally (4)
SEEM – SEE (notice) and {favouritis}M (finally).
13  Stern bachelor meeting cook on vacation (4)
BACK – BA (bachelor) and C{oo}K (on vacation, i.e. removing the inner letters).  Did anybody else get caught out by the typeface and read this initially as “S t e m bachelor…”?
17  Ability to reason at the heart of MI6 (12)
INTELLIGENCE – It’s what the ‘I’ stood for in the abbreviation MI6 (Military Intelligence Section 6), although now more often referred to as the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service).
20  Found black stuff in the street (5)
START – TAR (black stuff) inside ST (street).
21  High-rise accommodation for social workers (7)
ANTHILL – Cryptic clue describing ants as social workers.  I suppose if one had no checkers, one may be tempted to biff BEEHIVE, but ANTHILL better fits both the checkers and the cryptic.
23  Go on to suffer setback (3)
YAP – To YAP is to go on, whilst to suffer can be to pay (reversed – setback).
24  Extremely dull criminal I arrested (9)
DREARIEST – Anagram (criminal) of [I ARRESTED].

Down

Cheek of son visiting famous regiment (4)
SASS – S{on} inside SAS (Special Air Service – famous regiment).
2  Tutor upset about abuse (7)
TORTURE – Anagram (upset) of [TUTOR] followed by RE (about).
Scarper, arguing occasionally (3)
RUN – Alternate letters (occasionally) from {a}R{g}U{i}N{g}.
4  Article on drinking den for barristers? (3,3)
THE BAR – THE (the definite article) and BAR (drinking den).  THE BAR is a term for the legal profession generally, but is also a collective noun for Barristers.
5  Posh girl acquiring top-class place to eat?  That’s a matter of opinion (9)
DEBATABLE – DEB (posh girl – debutante) with A (top-class) and TABLE (place to eat).
6  Follow only half of Marx’s doctrine (5)
DOGMA – DOG (follow) and half of MA{rx}.
Composer’s name announced  (6)
HANDEL – Homophone, sounds like (announced) HANDLE (name) as in my HANDLE / name on this blog is ‘therotter’.
11  Pretend to be excited, wasting time (9)
SIMULATED – S{t}IMULATED (excited) losing / wasting T{ime}
14 Illegal substance CIA once concocted (7)
COCAINE – Anagram (concocted) of [CIA ONCE].
15  Untidy room from which Oink might emerge? (6)
PIGSTY – Here we have Oink’s usual self-referential trademark in a cryptic definition.
16  Nick dangerous chap in the main (6)
PIRATE – double definition, as in to nick something might be to PIRATE it, and a PIRATE is a dangerous chap to meet at sea (in the main!).
18  Loose woman putting last of opium in gin (5)
TRAMP – TRAP (gin, as in a gin trap) containing last of {opiu}M.
19  Charlie leaping initially into bed (4)
CLOT – L{eaping} (initially) inside / into COT (bed).
22  Sailor putting scoundrel up (3)
TAR – RAT (scoundrel) reversed (putting up).

Times 27676 - where a factotum meets a teetotaller

Time taken:  12:58, but with one very silly typo.

What a difference a day makes? Yesterday was a biff-fest that led to my fastest time ever, today was a day where many of the answers had to be pieced together from the wordplay, and there was misdirection and some clever hiding of the definition. I really enjoyed this puzzle (even though I got the dreaded pink square).

I hope everyone is keeping safe and sane.  We just entered "phase 2" here and I sat at an outside table at a brewery on Monday and had a beer from a tap for the first time in nearly three months! Wearing a mask of course.

Away we go...

Across
1 Buddy maybe sharing a lift in a sort of tunnel? (6)
CARPAL - the buddy sharing a lift could be a CAR PAL - an anatomical tunnel
4 Vehicles going head to head at game (8)
BACCARAT - CAB and CAR (vehicles), the first one reversed, then AT
10 Runs away at bedtime? (6,3)
LIGHTS OUT - double definition
11 Run across traveller (5)
ROVER - R(run), OVER(across)
12 Helpful-sounding woman (3)
ADA - sounds like AIDER(someone who helps)
13 Fortune-telling character, fantastic (11)
CHIROMANTIC - CHI(character), ROMANTIC(fantastic) - got this one from wordplay alone
14 Manager retains old craftsman (6)
COOPER - COPER(manager) containing O(old)
16 Box female soldiers, with police car outside (7)
PANDORA - OR(soliders) with PANDA(police car) surrounding - by far my favorite clue for the definition
19 Find a description of each other planet? (7)
UNEARTH - other planets would be UN-EARTH
20 Finish off better stand-up routine (6)
IMPROV - remove the last letter from IMPROVE(better). There's a legion of actors that will tell you improv is not stand-up, but plenty of stand-ups don't do rehearsed material and rely on audience cues.
22 Endlessly fooling around in fun, I admit (2,9)
AD INFINITUM - anagram of IN,FUN,I,ADMIT
25 Computer obsessive’s good to go — that’s scary! (3)
EEK - GEEK(computer obsessive) with the G(good) removed
26 One’s under canvas to relax at length (5)
EASEL - EASE(relax), L(length)
27 Very simply, the opposite of a surrender demand? (5,4)
HANDS DOWN - the surrender demand would be HANDS UP so this is the reverse. Silly me didn't check properly and had HANDS SOWN
28 Top driver’s support to corporation (8)
TEETOTUM - TEE(driver's support in golf), TO, TUM(corporation) - another one from the wordplay. A spinning top
29 Inducement to serve in unhappy ship (6)
BOUNTY - double definition, the second referring to a mutiny
Down
1 Wine collection merchant picked up (6)
CELLAR - sounds like SELLER(merchant)
2 Fix function for parent that’s boringly complicated (9)
RIGMAROLE - RIG(fix), and the function for a parent could be a MA ROLE
3 Room’s window having no frame (5)
ATTIC - LATTICE(window) missing the outer letters
5 Drippy work of war artist? (6,8)
ACTION PAINTING - a war artist could produce an ACTION PAINTING, but it is best known as the Jackson Pollock style
6 From rudely impatient indigenous people, pressure for start of entertainment (7,2)
CURTAIN UP - CURT(rudely impatient), AINU (indigneous people of Japan), P(pressure). A close second in favorite clue
7 Firmly fix hedge, trimming the top (5)
RIVET - a PRIVET hedge missing the start
8 Move round bed to corner a rat (8)
TURNCOAT - TURN(move round), COT(bed) containing A
9 Patronising houri, health not suffering (6-4-4)
HOLIER-THAN-THOU - anagram of HOURI,HEALTH,NOT
15 Extent of responsibility left one fool struggling (9)
PORTFOLIO - PORT(left) then an anagram of I(one),FOOL
17 Working at the double, circle in all directions unaided (2,4,3)
ON ONES OWN - ON and ON(double working) then O(circle) in the directions E,S,W,N
18 Call up to have a trial for City (8)
BUDAPEST - DUB(call, name), reversed, then A, PEST(trial, annoyance)
21 Hotel where there may be pie? But without fat (6)
SKINNY - INN(hotel) inside the pie in the SKY
23 Can woman be producing children? (5)
ISSUE - IS(can), SUE(woman)
24 Do wrong, offering paste, pocketing diamonds (5)
MISDO - MISO paste containing D(diamonds)

Times 27675 - what the doctor ordered.

I thought this was a pleasant middle of the road puzzle, not quite as 'vanilla' as last Wednesday's (which some of you thought was more Neapolitan than vanilla). There are some unusual words - a dog, a couple of plants, an insect, a dance, an old fashioned word for a shoemaker - none of them too obscure but all fair play in crosswordland. I hope you enjoyed it and that below I can explain any parsing that might have passed you by.


Across
1 Free Latin book a Greek character returned (8)
LIBERATE - LIBER is Latin for book, (and free!) and ETA a Greek letter is reversed.
5 Popular retired doctor initially under such a cloud? (6)
NIMBUS - IN (popular) reversed, MB (doctor), U S (initial letters of under such).
9 Mother’s ruin? It’s a trap (3)
GIN - double definition.
10 Problem supporter in east restrained by immobilising device (5-6)
BRAIN-TEASER - BRA (supporter - that familiar one), TASER has E for east inserted.
12 Amount of liquid woman, about 51, took regularly at first (10)
MILLILITRE - MILLIE (a woman) has LI (51) then TR (initial letters of took regularly) inserted.
13 Shoemaker, one who behaves condescendingly (4)
SNOB - double definition. See Wiki etymology.
15 Bacon, for example, sent back in restaurants I traduced (6)
ARTIST - Francis Bacon is hidden reversed in RESTAURAN(TS I TRA)DUCED.
16 Joy Orwell originally found in European language (7)
ELATION - E, LATIN, insert O for Orwell.
18 Enclosure outside old abstainer’s rural dwelling (7)
COTTAGE - CAGE outside O and TT.
20 Unknown East Ender’s assistant, one emitting shrill cries (6)
YELPER - Y (unknown) (H)ELPER droppng its H as East Enders are reputed to do.
23 Tyneside area containing popular square (4)
NINE - three squared; the NE has IN (popular) inserted.
24 Extremely low in tree-trunk, harmful beetle (4,6)
BOLL WEEVIL - BOLE (tree trunk) has L W (extremely low) inserted, then EVIL = harmful.
26 Domestic employee’s husband taking ring across river (11)
HOUSEKEEPER - H (husband) KEEPER (ring) has the river OUSE inserted. A keeper ring is e.g. an engagement ting.
27 Deserter? Not in the desert once! (3)
RAT - The second part refers to the Desert Rats being the British 7th Army in North Africa in WW II.
28 Raunchy crew in outskirts of Salisbury (6)
STEAMY - Crew = TEAM inserted into S Y the outside letters of Salisbury.
29 Alienate new sergeant (8)
ESTRANGE - (SERGEANT)*.
Down
1 Pulse member finally ate with hesitation (6)
LEGUME - LEG (member) E (finally ate) insert UM (hesitation).
2 Inept type, one playing outside entrance to nightclub (7)
BUNGLER - BUGLER (one playing the bugle) has N (first letter of nightclub) inserted.
3 Like some religious leaders, babble endlessly in upset state? (10)
RABBINICAL - RABBI(T) = babble, endlessly; IN reversed; CAL a state.
4 Dine at hotel abroad, eating most of hot baked food (4-2-3-4)
TOAD-IN-THE-HOLE - (DINE IN HOTEL)* then insert HO(T).
6 Shrub identified by the Italian divorcee (4)
ILEX - IL (Italian for 'the') EX (divorcee). Ilex is holly.
7 Graduate nurse in the past, one keeping judge’s dog (7)
BASENJI - BA (graduate) SEN (State Enrolled Nurse qualification) J (judge) I (one). A hunting dog breed originating in Africa.
8 Dance with girl born first (8)
SARABAND - AND (with) has SARA (a girl) and B (born) in front.
11 Shaky persons, surely, skiing here? (7,6)
NURSERY SLOPES - (PERSONS SURELY)*.
14 Mourner possibly, one putting up with oppressive atmosphere? (10)
PALLBEARER - Someone putting up with a PALL an oppressive atmosphere, for the second part of the clue.
17 Shrub head of arboretum is able so to provide (8)
ACANTHUS - A (head of Arboretum) CAN (is able) THUS (so).
19 Characteristic of monk to start to swim in northern river (7)
TONSURE - TO; N URE = northern river; insert S = start to swim.
21 Surround new visitor initially received by English club (7)
ENVIRON - E (English) IRON (golf club) nsert N V (new visitor initially).
22 Heading for ball, supple and cheerful (6)
BLITHE - B(all), LITHE (supple).
25 Smile broadly, seeing supporting member (4)
BEAM - Double definition.


Woodstock

Times Quick Cryptic 1621 by Izetti

I saw the setter's name and took it carefully, only to gradually realise that this was one of the milder examples of the genre. I was happy to complete in a little over 9 minutes.
No particular comments from me - just the good, tight clueing we've come to enjoy. Please ask any questions.

Collapse )

verlaine

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1439: All Moustache And No Top Hat

Sorry this is a little late - the recent spate of Bank Holidays have discombobulated me quite.

Found this quite enjoyable to write up the parsings for, thank you setter! While I quite enjoyed the image and classical credentials of A CHILL EEL, my COD (another point against 41ac - an EEL cannot really be a COD) was 11dn, both for being a very good word and also the creativity of "visitor with another singular". Good stuff.

How'd the rest of you fare?

1 Shock viewpoint presented by Judge (6)
JANGLE - ANGLE presented by J

5 Pinch place, returning to see some bowling (7)
TOPSPIN - reversed NIP SPOT

9 Shocked I get offer, nothing less — this? (4,4)
FREE GIFT - (I GET {o}FFER*), semi-&lit

13 Failing to match boasts, mount horse around stall awkwardly (3,5,3,2,8)
ALL MOUTH AND NO TROUSERS - (MOUNT HORSE AROUND STALL*)

14 Bird with territory ultimately capable of expansion? (8)
STRETCHY - STRETCH [bird, as in prison time] + {territor}Y

15 Boat journey, not quiet with engineers! (7)
TRIREME - TRI{p} + REME (the ever-popular Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers)

16 Recalled work to celebrate taking a stance? (6)
POSING - reversed OP + SING

17 Easy to get to account, else head of bank is distressed (10)
ACCESSIBLE - ACC + (ELSE B{ank} IS*)

20 Start eating — to ingest excitedly will involve food (3,5,4)
GET STUCK INTO - (TO INGEST*) will "involve" TUCK

23 Very satisfied with return of trees (4)
SMUG - reversed GUMS

24 Get on top of those not wanted by market (8)
OUTSMART - OUTS [those not wanted] by MART

26 French fiend holding in Parisian? That can be disproved (8)
DENIABLE - DIABLE "holding" EN

29 Mere outline’s developed for dramatic show (3,2,7)
SON ET LUMIERE - (MERE OUTLINE'S*)

30 Fully appreciating approach involved in bringing up? (10)
EMPATHETIC - PATH "involved" in EMETIC

32 Praise I applied to place in remark (10)
COMPLIMENT - I applied to PL, in COMMENT

34 Come across appropriate attachment to jacket (6,6)
BREAST POCKET - BREAST [come across] + POCKET [appropriate, as in "trouser"]

36 Marine creature I brought in on a regular basis, without love (3,5)
SEA SNAIL - I "brought in" SEAS{o}NAL

38 I’d headed back into Biblical land, coming from part of America (8)
CANADIAN - reversed I'D in CANAAN

39 Dam displacing English river insect (4)
MOTH - MOTH{e}{r} [dam, minus E and R]

41 Quiet energy suppressed by a cold fish is a weakness (8,4)
ACHILLES HEEL - SH E "suppressed" by A CHILL EEL

43 Frenchman, say, embracing person seen in flat (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE - PIERRE "embracing" DATE [person seen]

44 Composer, irrational to abandon carnival city (6)
DELIUS - DELI{rio}US [irrational, minus RIO]

46 Worker on strike for payment (7)
HANDOUT - HAND OUT [worker | on strike]

48 Drink after broadcast involving hard confrontation (8)
SHOWDOWN - DOWN [drink, as in swallow] after SOW [broadcast] "involving" H

50 Approximate location of return address? (2,3,4,2,2,8)
ON THE BACK OF AN ENVELOPE - double def

51 Famous lover caught entering path leading to area of land (8)
LANCELOT - C "entering" LANE, leading to LOT

52 Happen to be behind comic, mostly — reading about me? (3,4)
DAN DARE - ARE [happen to be] behind DAND{y}, semi-&lit. I must stress that Dan Dare, renowned Pilot of the Future, graced the pages of The Eagle, and not a mere funny paper like the Dandy, which was more Desperate Dan territory.

53 Stone slipping into line making a quiet sound (6)
RUSTLE - ST "slipping into" RULE

DOWN
2 Craftiness keeping old man estranged (5)
APART - ART "keeping" PA

3 Bird of prey alleged gone, having flown (6,5)
GOLDEN EAGLE - (ALLEGED GONE*)

4 Action against evil spirit — head of church has six more dancing around (8)
EXORCISM - C{hurch} has (SIX MORE*) around

5 Crumpled Times wrapping a last piece of crockery (5)
TATTY - T T T [(three) times] "wrapping" A, plus {crocker}Y

6 Gas power leading to shock? (7)
PRATTLE - P leading to RATTLE

7 Student following course getting an E is source of flaming disaster (7,4)
PUDDING LANE - L following PUDDING, getting AN E. Famous location where Terileptils started the Great Fire of London, in 1982 Doctor Who adventure "The Visitation".

8 Marriage, some say, almost immediately raised energy (5)
NOOSE - reversed SOON, plus E. Bit harsh!

9 Excited and honoured to welcome King and soldiers (9)
FERMENTED - FETED to "welcome" R + MEN

10 Picked up confusion about Queen’s outfit (5)
EQUIP - reversed PIE "about" QU

11 Reckoning visitor with another singular friend will embrace one (11)
GUESSTIMATE - GUESST - visitor, with two S-for-singulars + MATE, will "embrace" I

12 Fixed trawler accessory in area of ocean (7)
FASTNET - FAST NET [fixed | trawler accessory]

18 Military leader to turn up, bringing in modern troops (9)
COMMODORE - COME [to turn up], bringing in MOD O.R.

19 Stranger’s last to go after British city-dweller (7)
BRUMMIE - RUMMIE{r}, after B

21 Expression of ownership, like a lord claiming river (5,4)
TITLE DEED - TITLED [like a lord] "claiming" DEE

22 Elevated single drum in church is a memorial (8)
CENOTAPH - reversed ONE + TAP in CH

25 Speculation story about Conservative will be something worth seeing (9)
SPECTACLE - SPEC TALE "about" C

27 City allowed to import summer desserts with support of Queen (9)
LEICESTER - LET, to "import" ICES, supported by E.R.

28 Drained a couple of Lakes, considering everything (3,2,3)
ALL IN ALL - ALL IN [drained] + A L L

31 Cost of delivering naval officer on coach (7)
POSTAGE - P.O. [petty officer] on STAGE

33 I almost failed to climb street in photo, favouring the downward direction? (11)
PESSIMISTIC - reversed I MISSE{d} + ST, in PIC

34 Rabbit found elf dancing, a jolly figure (6,2,3)
BUNDLE OF FUN - BUN [rabbit] + (FOUND ELF*)

35 Concise committee very good about conclusion (11)
COMPENDIOUS - COM. + PIOUS "about" END

37 Try to enter small room with opening barred and give up (4,5)
LOSE HEART - HEAR [try (a case)] to "enter" {c}LOSET

40 Hacker, perhaps, regrets getting upset about a program (8)
SABOTEUR - reversed RUES "about" A BOT

42 Historic Italian city mostly best around Monday (7)
CREMONA - CREA{m} "around" MON. Isn't it funny that this best could be as in CREAM of the crop, or as in CREAMING/besting someone by giving them a good thrashing?

43 Potential energy I observed in fish and plant (7)
PETUNIA - PE + I in TUNA

45 Hum a few lines, omitting start of oratorio (5)
SMELL - S{o}ME + L L

47 Twisted, dropping head, being without cover (5)
NAKED - {s}NAKED

48 Reason bridge team is participating in match (5)
SENSE - N + S [North and South, bridge partners], "participating" in SEE [match, e.g. in poker]

49 Roll with slope (5)
WHEEL - W HEEL
Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27673 - WHO's THAT medical journal?!

Very Mondayish, with lots of biffing, a smattering of chestnuts and one or two escapees from the Quickie. For all that, though, a fun, quirky and generally well-wrought puzzle, which held me up in my incredibly busy schedule for 23 minutes and 37 seconds.


ACROSS

1 Making Mark proud of himself, impressing duke with drink (8)
SMUDGING - D GIN in SMUG
6 Rubbish musical about Heart of Midlothian (3,3)
HOT AIR - OT [middle letters of midlOThian] in HAIR
9 Journos get shot of Republican parties in affair (2-11)
CO-RESPONDENTS - CORRESPONDENTS (posh journalists) minus one R
10 Window that opens in theatre (6)
LANCET - The first of three clues that all feature this not that commonly seen device (i.e. a clause starting with a determiner - in our cases, 'that' and 'what'); a LANCET is one of those narrow, pointy, often stained-glass, windows in a Gothic church, and also a knife that opens people up in an operating theatre. My last in.
11 Leggy bird, alert, finding similar prey? (8)
CRANEFLY - a cryptic definition that aspires to be an all-in-one? CRANE (leggy bird) FLY (alert), followed by a bit of a leap to get to CRANEFLY, which cranes do eat, apparently, if frogs and fish are in short supply, or if they just want to snack between meals. A CRANEFLY might also be described as leggy if compared with, say, your average centipede.
13 Fool mending faulty carpeting (10)
CONDEMNING - CON (fool - verb) anagram* of MENDING
15 Launch hotel address online (4)
HURL - H URL
16 Beat team driver for one (4)
CLUB - triple definition, with club as in 'Manchester United, the world's greatest club'. One is allowed to dream...
18 Investigator dealing with Home Counties radio serial briefly (10)
RESEARCHER - RE SE ARCHER[s]
21 A trio made a mess of broadcast between planes (3-2-3)
AIR-TO-AIR - A TRIO* AIR (broadcast)
22 Daily, say, sent back fee (6)
CHARGE - CHAR EG reversed
23 Blue Berets merited one story paper put in without reason (13)
UNJUSTIFIABLE - UN (UN peacekeepers wear blue berets - while they can) JUST (merited) I (one) I (the i is arguably Britain's least known newspaper) in FABLE (story)
25 North Sea port offering little work during peak (6)
BERGEN - ERG in BEN; BERGEN (or Bjørgvin) is a port in SW Norway that fancies itself as a bit of a spa, given it's warm(ish), Gulf Stream influenced climate.
26 What invading Spaniards sought in field or a domain (8)
ELDORADO - hidden

DOWN

2 Miserly old city council imported construction kit (7)
MECCANO - CC in MEAN O; I had both Lego and Meccano as a kid and didn't much care for either. If pushed, I would choose Lego, as it couldn't cut you and what you made had a chance of looking like something.
3 Frank girl coming out with appeal for regular transfer (6,5)
DIRECT DEBIT - DIRECT DEB (girl coming out) IT (sex appeal); a bit of a retro clue. I don't think my uber-woke daughter (whose birthday it was yesterday, which I celebrated by baking an orange and white chocolate sponge) would approve.
4 Chic clique that often appears in magazine (5)
INSET - IN SET; see 10a
5 Service head devouring new Greek character's food (7)
GNOCCHI - now, the service head appears to be part at any rate of GOC in C (General Officer Commanding-in-Chief); which contains N (new) and is followed by CHI (Greek character). GNOCCHI is/are a type of pasta sometimes made from potatoes and sometimes not.
6 Backer mostly into monster plot feature (9)
HYDRANGEA - ANGE[l] in HYDRA; 'plot' as in flower bed
7 Get brown belt (3)
TAN - DD
8 After brief verbal abuse, a caller finally gets cut off (7)
INSULAR - INSUL[t] A [calle]R
12 Ring gong in cleaner, sound lab (4,7)
ECHO CHAMBER - ECHO (ring) MBE (gong, AKA honour) in CHAR (cleaner - again!)
14 It's normal getting thrown out for the likes of adultery (6,3)
MORTAL SIN - IT'S NORMAL*
17 Cash in Europe guaranteed time off (7)
LEISURE - LEI (currency of Romania) SURE
19 Endure nasty virus very close to home (7)
SURVIVE - VIRUS* V (very) [hom]E; our topical clue
20 E for expert? (7)
EGGHEAD - cryptic definition lite, with E being the initial letter of E[xpert]
22 Kid scolded once, having crossed line (5)
CHILD - L in CHID (I think I'd still use 'chid' if I was minded to; Collins suggests it's more common in American English than British, but this type of statement usually starts a spat, so sit back and enjoy the show)
24 What Rose may do, or cat? Not half! (3)
JAG - A rose might jag or cut you, if you didn't observe social distancing rules, and a cat might cut (or scratch) you too, especially (drum roll) if it were a JAG[uar]!! Oh, and see 10a.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3116 - "His pegleg got woodworm, and broke into three....

Well, this time I managed to solve it.   That's the good part, an all-correct grid.   However, I did a fair amount of biffing, and now I have to try to figure out why the correct answers are the correct answers.   It's a nice problem to have.   Since I haven't  gotten to the bottom of every clue, some audience participation may be needed.

I didn't think this Mephisto was that difficult, and there are a lot of easy entry points.   I was able to put in quite a few answers on my first go-rounnd, starting with 'Circassia'.   After that, it got a little harder, but it always does.  

Across
1 Ask repeatedly about recluse on missing old governor (9)
BEGLERBEG - BEG + L[on]ER + BEG.   More often beylerbey - the "bey of beys".   O bey!
11 What’s odd about a lot of Asian drink used in plant (7)
WARATAH -  Anagram of WHAT around ARA[k].   A flowering shrub from Austalia, of course.
12 More formal club, very isolated (5)
DRIER - DRI[v]ER, as in what you tee off with.
13 Measure said to be in letters from abroad (4)
PSIS - P.S.I'S, I would think - but maybe not.  Other solvers think is sounds like SIZE, but in Greek the initial P would have been pronounced, and the I would have been given the traditional Continental pronunciation, not the one from the Great Vowel Shift.
14 Sanction a vehicle in perfect condition for river (8)
OKAVANGO - OK A VAN G/O, I suspect - good order?  Chambers indicates 'go' means 'in perfect condition', but I'd like to see a usage example.  
15 Union etc out to protect male employees (6)
CEMENT - Anagram of ETC around MEN, a definite starter clue.
16 Foreign tongue mostly not acquired (5)
UNGOT - anagram of TONGU[e].  
17 Leader of Remain probing Leave’s superficial showiness (7)
VARNISH - VA(R[emain]NISH, another easy one.
19 Corrected version embarrassed a large number (7)
REDRAFT - RED + RAFT.  
24 Endless milk is so fantastic for a ravenous appetite (7)
LIMOSIS - Anagram of MIL[k] IS SO, a word we had just a few puzzles ago.
26 A volume’s picked up for parties (7)
ATHOMES - Sounds like A TOME'S.
28 Grass snake’s first and last to waken in the field (5)
SNOUT - S[nake's} + [wake}N + OUT.  
30 Lighters accepted in carriages (6)
PRAAMS - PRA(A)MS, a type of flat-bottomed sailboat.
31 Old pros see Caribbean island overtaken by South America (8)
SUCCUBAS - S + U (C CUBA)S, where I think the C is textspeak. 
32 School retains lecturer, a woopie (4)
GLAM - G(L)AM.  I'm not sure exactly how the literal works, but the cryptic hands it to you.   Two acronyms, a Well-Off Older Person and Graying, Leisured Affluent Married.
33 Wild fashion regularly on show in a state (5)
IDAHO - [w]I[l]D [f]A[s]H[i]O[n].  
34 Too lax at sea to keep line for aquatic creature (7)
AXOLOTL - Anagram of TOO LAX + L, a salamander popular in crossword puzzles.
35 Call number back catching Golf driver (9)
ENGINEMAN - NAME  NI(G)NE backwards.  Perhaps what you need to solve 12 across?
Down
2 A softly-softly falling out, conciliation brings peace (8)
EASEMENT - [a pp]EASEMENT.
3 Soiled goods primarily frozen (6)
GRIMED - G[oods] + RIMED.
4 Light beer special for German (5)
LASER - LA(-g,+S)ER.  
5 PM perhaps somehow contained spending limits? (7)
ETONIAN - anagram of [c]ONTAINE[d].  PM, certainly!
6 Arab breaking dodgy habit in Indian republic (7)
BHARATI - BH(AR)ATI, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of HABIT.
7 Whitewash up north for cap on chimney pot (6)
GRANNY - Well, you've got me, I just biffed this one.    Double definition, to defeat totally and a revolving top on a chimney.
8 Minister overlooks scheme that’s unpleasant (6)
MINGIN - MIN + GIN, apparently a bit of Scots slang.
9 Aussie car owners shouldn’t drive without it on call (4)
REGO - RE + GO.   Also a section of Queens, watch out for that.  
10 Table argument for strong position in bar (9)
PROTHESIS - PRO -rogue,+THESIS.  PRO + THESIS, where the arsis is the upbeat and the thesis is the downbeat in a bar of music.
15 A crisis evolved in Central America and Black Sea region (9)
CIRCASSIA - C(anagram of A CRISIS)A.
18 A fool’s shown up about carpet marks that are disgraceful (8)
STIGMATA - A GIT'S upside-down around MAT.  
20 F Field and B Silver to get distasteful lodgings (7)
FLEABAG - F + LEA + B + AG.
21 US writer coming out? I must come out too (7)
EMERSON - EMERS[i]ON.
22 Seals step around this (6)
PHOCAS - P(HOC)AS, the stock  Greek word for seal, found in the Odyssey. 
23 Catering staff book for first of classes in evening reception (6)
BOUCHE - (+B,-c)OUCHE.   The food supplied to a nobleman's retinue.
25 Henry cutting a great deal for Nixon almost gets peace in the Middle East (6)
SHALOM -  S(HAL)OM[e].  
27 Cowslip leaf found around lake (5)
PAGLE - PAG(L)E, an easy one if you trust the cryptic.
29 Person seen in new Cornish resort, topless? (4)
NUDE - (-b,+N)UDE, the obvious answer, even if youu've never heard of Bude.