Which is not to suggest I didn't appreciate the setter's work. I enjoyed the smorgasbord of vocabulary, the Cook's Tour around the Mediterranean, and the nod to the original and arguably the best valuer of junk in people's attics at 23 across. A flying visit to Blighty last week added to my education in two ways, at least: first, that Antique Roadshow style progs are still all the rage, and second that the word Blighty is derived from Hindi (via Arabic).
Talking of progs, on the flight home I watched the latest Coogan/Brydon vessel, a feature length docufilm called A Trip to Spain. The highlight for me, just edging out the segment where Coogan's attempt to educate his mate on the Moors is stillborn when the mention of Moor sets Brydon off on a Roger Moore impression that becomes a stream that won't be staunched, is when the two recreate an iconic sound of the 80s, at least for erstwhile listeners of Radio 2. Coogan's Wogan is uncanny, while Brydon handles the less enviable task of doing Ken Bruce (AKA Bruce Kent) with aplomb.
26 minutes for me, which will improve my NITCH, but how will it stand up against other regulars?
1. SANDBANK - The Rev's 'band sank'.
5. GRATIS - RAT in GIS.
9. DIAPASON - an organ 'stop'; reversal of AID followed by PA and SON.
10. EMBRYO - an anagram* of BY ROME gives this battlefield word in 'debates' between pros and antis.
12. CUBAN - CUB + AN.
13. LINEAMENT - AN in LINEMEN + T. 'A facial outline or feature' is the first sense of three given by the dictionary. Embarrassingly, I knew none and thought it was a lotion spelled 'linament'. I was wrong again there, of course, as that is spelled 'liniment'.
14. LAISSEZ FAIRE - SALE IS* + F in ZAIRE.
15. ROUGH DIAMOND - sounds like RUFF followed by DIAMOND.
21. BROADCAST - CAST by B-ROAD (a scenic type of highway in Britain, which it is fun and relaxing to drive on till you get stuck behind a tractor. I took the B3134 in the Mendips twice last week and can recommend.
23. NEGUS - Collins has 'a tile of the Emperor of Ethiopia' for this, and since he was designated 'King of Kings' that passes muster, which may be obtained by reversing GEN and adding US (a British slang word for useless, deriving from unserviceable).
24. BORAGE - O in BRAG (card game) + E.
25. PEDIGREE - PE + DI (generic female) + GREE[n].
26. ENTRAP - ENT + RAP.
27. STARGAZE - Z (the third unknown quantity in an algebraic expression) in A STAGER*.
1. SEDUCE - CUD reversed in SEE.
2. NEARBY - NEARLY with L 'forked out' (removed) in favour of B.
3. BRAINWASH - IN + W + A in BRAS + H.
4. NEOCLASSICAL - Sir John Soane was an English architect who specialised in the Neo-Classical style, flourishing 200 years ago. Now, mostly known via the museum named after him.
6. RUMBA - U + MB in RA.
7. TURMERIC - sounds like TERM (appellation) followed by ERIC[a] (a type of heather).
8. SHOETREE - HO in SE + TREE (Herbert Beerbohm - British actor). I had SHOEHORN, courtesy of Kenneth Horne (sic) for a while.
11. INTERMITTENT - IN + TERM + IT (Italian) + TENT (a deep red sweet wine chiefly from Spain, used especially as sacramental wine and in crosswords).
15. FINANCIER - 'gnome' (as in gnomes of Zurich); IN in FANCIER. The day may come when GNOME is clued as 'garden ornament in the form of a bearded man with a pointy hat', but probably no time soon.
16. PROBABLE - OB in PAR[a]BLE (or P[a]RABLE, for those with OCD).
17. AUTOCRAT - AUTO + R (abbreviation for run(s) in cricket or baseball) in CAT.
19. EGERIA - a nymph attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as divine consort and counsellor of Numa Pompilius, the second Sabine king of Rome - eponymous for a female adviser; EG + reversal of RE 'about climbing') + I + A (initial letters ('peaks' rather good) of 'in Alpine'. I plucked this out of somewhere - eventually - which perked me up no end.
20. ESSENE - 'ascetic' (member of an ancient Jewish ascetic sect of the 2nd century BC–2nd century AD in Palestine, regarded as the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls); ES ('French art', as in Tu es belle) + S[c]ENE (SCENE without the final letter of [academi]C).
22. DOGMA - G (central letter of reliGious) in DO [an] MA.