I thought this was pretty straightforward fare, which I completed in my pretty straightforward fare par time of 17 minutes. Sharp eyed students among you will notice this is my third outing in as many weeks: George and I have been juggling assignments to mutual benefit.
If there is a trap for the unwary, it’s the very first clue, where the random woman herself has two acceptable versions giving two possible words, and you have to decide which is the rarer – tough if you’re a contract lawyer.
We’re short on anagrams again, only 2 and a half that I can count, one of them (wouldn’t you know it?) to the one word in the grid that might be unfamiliar.
Here’s how I resolved the issues, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS
1 Rare aversion concerning woman with dog (10)
REPUGNANCY The rare is there because it’s more often encountered with an E at the end. Chambers avers it’s now mostly a legal term relating to inconsistency in contracts. Shakespeare used it, but probably only when he needed the extra syllable. Anyway, here it’s about: RE, random woman: NANCY with dog: PUG slightly rearranged
6 Jewel a girl finally displayed after work (4)
OPAL Nice ‘n’ easy: A and last letter of girL after OP, work.
10 People with no following invited into old man’s dance (5)
POLKA People with no following are FOLK without the F, old man is PA. Insert one into the other
11 Constant inclination to take in son’s washing (9)
CLEANSING C(onstant) LEANING with S(on) taken in
12 Outstanding hospital department engaging mean manager (14)
SUPERINTENDENT Outstanding: SUPER, hospital department the venerable ENT (ear nose and throat, now otorhinolaryngology, much harder to fit in) with INTEND for mean “engaged” therein.
14 Old poem about Greek character backing Arab territory (7)
EMIRATE Two reversal indicators here, about and backing. Apply to RIME (as in of the Ancient Mariner) and ETA.
15 Piece of furniture employed in one theatre or another? (7)
DRESSER Possibly a triple definition: the theatres are thespian and surgical.
17 Like a simple song, perhaps, developing mostly nice mood (7)
MONODIC One meaning would be a song for a single voice, so simple. Our first anagram (developing) of NICe MOOD
19 Crooner once accepting bad position in publicity (7)
BILLING Our crooner is BING (Crosby, of course, as in Bing sings but Walt Disney). Insert Ill for bad. Position is part of the definition, such as top billing.
20 Aerial display soldiers and sailors ultimately recall in dark periods (8,6)
NORTHERN LIGHTS Soldiers OR (don’t make me explain that again), sailors THE R(oyal) N(avy) plus (recal)L all in NIGHTS, usually dark periods.
23 Miser’s second family to west of North Wales town (9)
SKINFLINT S(econd) family: KIN placed west of FLINT, just about in North Wales
24 Brawny wartime fighting force unknown outside European capital (5)
BEEFY The British Expeditionary Force is/was deployed to France whenever we think a World War is brewing. Unknown Y and capital of Europe –um- E. Assemble
25 Cross, and discourteous to listeners (4)
ROOD Specifically a crucifix, but sounds like rude, discourteous.
26 City man in underworld row accommodating in case (10)
CHARLESTON I like this one. The man in underground row (using oars, that is) is CHARON, your ferryman across the Styx. Today he has to carry LEST, in case.
1 Absorbed — and made into a parcel, it's said (4)
RAPT Another nice ‘n’ easy. Sounds like (it’s said) wrapped.
2 Cut up over airport concealing current contamination (9)
POLLUTION LUTON, the airport you need, cropped up on Tuesday and indeed the previous week: perhaps we are being subliminally urged to eschew Heathrow and Gatwick. Cut up is LOP reversed, stick in I for (electrical) current.
3 Unsocial work period solemn detectives change (9,5)
GRAVEYARD SHIFT A straight charade. Solemn: GRAVE. Detectives: (Scotland) YARD. Change: SHIFT
4 Turn up, dropping round primarily for church records (7)
ARCHIVE Turn up is ARRIVE. Remove R from Round (primarily) and replace it with CH(urch)
5 Rose to a high point, like some tits (7)
CRESTED Here’s an example.
7 Composure one’s discovered in American writer (5)
POISE Edgar Allan, the American writer you’ve heard of, surrounding 1S, one’s
8 Less demanding time for conveyance of cargo (10)
LIGHTERAGE Less demanding LIGHTER plus time AGE. “Loading, unloading and ferrying by lighters; the payment for such service.”
9 Obscure military group reportedly qualified to arrest knight (14)
UNINTELLIGIBLE The military group is a UNIT, sounds like they’re qualified or EL(L)IGIBLE, and they have arrested a N, ches notation for knight.
13 Preacher abused Morse, upset about wrongdoing (10)
SERMONISER An anagram (abused) of MORSE, plus RE: SIN (about wrongdoing) “upset”
16 Most bad-tempered Italian brought up in county street (9)
SHIRTIEST Your Italian is IT, who is “brought up” and placed in SHIRE (county) and ST(reet)
18 Like some pasties — and grain, give or take (7)
CORNISH grain is CORN, more or less suggests ISH. Uxbridge English Dictionary: Cornish: A bit like corn.
19 Support British pensioner abandoned by daughter (7)
BOLSTER B(ritish) OLDSTER (pensioner) loses his D(aughter) King Lear, anyone?
21 Thick-skinned type playing horn around India (5)
RHINO An anagram of HORN around I(ndia) (NATO)
22 Half of capital Yankee invested in French city (4)
LYON The capital you want half of is LONdon. Y(ankee) (NATO again) is “invested”. Lyon is, of course, famous for its corner houses.