On Thursday blogging days I do the puzzle in the Times edition version, because that turns up a few minutes after midnight, and the club version some hour or so later, so don’t expect to find my time of 22.19 on the leaderboard. Easy enough (in my probably controvertial opinion) with only 21d giving pause because of its unfamiliar spelling, and the wordplay for 11a not sussed until after solving, though it works just fine. The setter can be congratulated for not making 15d a dodgy cricket clue, though I rather think the England team could do with a few to test the wonderfully resurgent Windies at Lords next week.
My workings are reproduced below, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS
1 Total cancellation of debt (5,3)
WRITE OFF This is total as a verb, which is what you do to your vehicle by wrapping it round a tree so that it becomes a write off. Our other definition is to cancel debt.
6 Flirt? Mademoiselle’s that, in bed (6)
COQUET And this is flirt as a noun, made up of our Mlle’s word for that, which in some circumstances would be QUE, in a rather inappropriate bed, in this case a COT
9 Work repulsing American setter (4)
EMMA This is work as in literary work, Jane Austin’s Emma, comprising AM(erican) and ME, the setter (well, not me, obviously) joined and reversed
10 Jam and salt picked up … from this trader? (10)
WHOLESALER. “picked up” means you’re looking for a soundalike, here HOLE and SAILOR sounding like the items in the brief Chopin Liszt
11 Unrelaxed, yet in shape after exercise? (8,2)
BUTTONED UP Alternatively spaced as “but toned up” for the rest of the clue after the definition
13 Recurrent spot of bother (2-2)
TO-DO I think this is DOT for spot backwards plus O’ for of.
14 A right noise in centre of Asian island (8)
SARDINIA A: A, right: R, noise: DIN packed into the middle bit off ASIAN
16 Arranged seat with sailors at back of ship (6)
ASTERN An anagram (arranged) of SEAT plus the RN, Senior Service, a nice nautical flavour for the whole clue
18 Brief dog-like whine, base and cowardly (6)
YELLOW Dogs when they whine may YELP. Lose the end (brief) and and LOW for base
20 About to go, ordered the attack with such belligerent words? (4,4)
TAKE THAT Which as well as being a popular if indefinitely staffed beat combo, is our belligerent phrase. Take the C (about) out of THE ATTACK and rearrange
22 Good former service for women? The reverse, for men (4)
STAG The ATS was the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the army for ladies, subsequently (in 1949) the Women's Royal Army Corps, abolished in 1992 when the Army decided mean and women were pretty similar really. In the clue, add G for good and reverse. I wonder why a hen night is not a doe do?
24 Stress concerning Southern transport (10)
OVERSTRAIN Southern Railways are a major source of stress, as I understand it, so this clue rather works on two levels. However, the wordplay is about: OVER, southern: S and transport: TRAIN
26 Soda maker's horrendous bloomer (6,4)
DAMASK ROSE An anagram of SODA MAKER’S, for the “fragrant pink or red variety of rose” (BRB)
28 Final parts of regular journey for old ship (4)
ARGO The vessel of choice for Jason and his surprisingly similarly named Argonauts. The final parts of regular are A and R, and journey gives GO
29 It's a pity organ accompanies spoken verse (2,4)
OH DEAR Another partial soundalike this time of ODE (“spoken” verse) plus EAR as a bodily organ.
30 Purpose of crenellations, maybe indefinitely (3,5)
FOR KEEPS Crenellations are the zig-zaggy bits of castle walls, so KEEPS are what they’re FOR
2 Our meal composed of French creamy sauce (9)
REMOULADE OUR MEAL is composed in a different order with the FRech for of, DE, tacked on.
3 Browned off for a start, tried going outside (7)
TOASTED Tried gives you TASTED, and inset the start of OFF.
4 Welsh girl taking fresh look around (5)
OLWEN Trust the cryptic if you haven’t heard of Olwen Kelly, star of new release The Autopsy of Jane Doe and “a dead cert for an Oscar” (the Independent.ie). It’s NEW (fresh) and LO (look) joined and reversed. Olwen Kelly is Irish, mind.
5 Hairstyle cut at front and back (3)
FRO I think this is AFRO hairstyle with its front missing and FRO as in to and fro, there and back.
6 Shoddy hat worn by man given lift (9)
CHEAPJACK HE, the man, is wearing a CAP and standing on a JACK though here a verb meaning lift
7 Group extremely exuberant after a couple of pints (7)
QUARTET If you remember your Imperial measures, there are indeed a couple of pints in a QUART, and the extremes of exuberant are the E and T.
8 Half of them object to change (5)
EMEND Half of THEM is either TH or EM, and object is END. You choose.
12 Divisional leader wants support of course, guarding RAF conscript (7)
DRAFTEE D from Divisional leader, TEE from support of (golf) course, and RAF for, um, RAF. Assemble.
15 Publication of pay finally accepted by Tyneside labourer (3,6)
NEW YORKER Now available, complete with distinctive Art Deco headline font online. Pay finally is Y, Tyneside traditionally the NE, labourer WORKER. Assemble as instructed.
17 Acquiring information at university, after fearing missing first (7,2)
READING UP Fearing would be DREADING, but here loses its initial letter. At university is UP.
19 Alpine transport loaded with funny cases (7)
LUGGAGE A LUGE is one of those suicidal sleddy things for sliding down icy slopes at terminal velocity. It here embraces a GAG, or funny, here being a noun.
21Travellers initially go astray again, dodging western rocky area (7)
TERRANE Today’s dodgy (but sanctioned) spelling. Travellers initially gives T, go astray ERR, and again ANEW, from which you scrub the W(estern)
23 Train apprentices principally in college (5)
TEACH Colleges used to be TECHs and need an A inserted to provide their function
25 Asparagus portion, small, served with avocado? (5)
SPEAR Asparagus comes in spears (think shape, sort of): S(mall) plus PEAR as a familiar companion to avocado.
27 No opening for idle dunce (3)
OAF Idle therefore would be LOAF. No opening.