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August 9th, 2019

Red Scare, Blue State

I little bit late with the blog tonight as I solved the crossword in a departure lounge in Oakland Airport, and am posting this from the other end of my flight, in lovely damp Seattle. It's good to be back in my American home from home! If only for the weekend.

Anyway this seemed adequately Fridayish, with a lot of definition parts that bore plenty of thinking about before their synonyms were revealed - unless of course you're the sort of human thesaurus who instantly converts "slyboots" to "serpent". FOI 13a, quickly followed by 20ac; LOI quite possibly 1dn which was obscure in all its component parts. COD to 26ac, which I got from the crossers, and only realised it was a beautifully constructed anagram much later, so limpid and unassuming was its surface. My thanks to the setter - but for now it's time for bed, need to be fresh and rested in the morning to go roving in the Emerald City...

ACROSS
1 Feverish patient scoffing cold trifle (8)
PITTANCE - (PATIENT*) ["feverish"] "scoffing" C [cold]

5 Slips as one runs away from beasts on the savannah (6)
GAFFES - G{ir}AFFES [beasts on the savannah], subtracting I R [one | runs]

10 Wines administered by man in debt reversed capitalist's suspicion (4,5,3,3)
REDS UNDER THE BED - REDS UNDER [wines | administered by] + HE [man] in DEBT reversed

11 Lash out, catching end of trowel in shrub (7)
SPLURGE - {trowe}L in SPURGE [shrub]

12 Slyboots told to go, before sneaking back inside (7)
SERPENT - SENT [told to go], PRE [before] reversed inside

13 Never mind what landlords do unaided (3,5)
LET ALONE - LET [what landlords do] + ALONE [unaided]

15 Third ball struck regularly, moving due to gravity (5)
TIDAL - T{h}I{r}D {b}A{l}L, with letters regularly struck out

18 Transporter, one in particular (5)
ARTIC - hidden in {p}ARTIC{ular}

20 Edit punctuation a little to impress with one's style (3,1,4)
CUT A DASH - or an editor might cut an em- or en-dash

23 Top-quality type of UK bond of no interest? (7)
PREMIUM - double def

25 What Carmen did with melody, returning her drink? (7)
SANGRIA - SANG [what Carmen did] with reversed AIR [melody] - Carmen being Spanish

26 Exterior protection especially designed to be hardwearing (15)
WEATHERBOARDING - (TO BE HARDWEARING*) ["especially designed"]

27 Team of engineers apparently to stay (6)
RESIDE - an RE SIDE could be... a team of engineers

28 Name, after sprinkling, initially, in church service? (8)
CHRISTEN - N [name], after S{prinkling} in CH RITE [church | service] &lit

DOWN
1 Express contempt over first couple of errors, and depart (6)
PERISH - PISH [express contempt] "over" ER{rors}

2 Smallest doll, oddly with sprucest clothing (9)
TIDDLIEST - D{o}L{l}, with TIDIEST [sprucest] "clothing"

3 Area covered by sign early in year after loss of US tanks (7)
AQUARIA - A [area] "covered by" AQUARI{us} [(star) sign early in year (Jan/Feb), minus US]

4 Squad's days in custody (5)
CADRE - D [days] in CARE [custody]

6 Dying artist injured outside hotel (7)
ATHIRST - (ARTIST*) ["injured"] outside H [hotel]

7 Basic material to lie on (5)
FIBRE - FIB [to lie] + RE [on]

8 Journalist put away, passing through arch with dignity (8)
SEDATELY - ED ATE [journalist | put away], "passing through" SLY [arch]

9 Chance to thrive when king leaves court (8)
PROSPECT - PROSPE{r} [to thrive, minus R = king] + CT [court]

14 Previously keeping mum about gunners getting shot? (2,6)
ON CAMERA - ONCE [previously] "keeping" reversed MA, + RA [gunners]

16 Seizure, and doctor's initial effort to stop it (9)
DISTRAINT - D{octor} + STRAIN [effort] "to stop" IT

17 Available workers brandishing weapon in masculine style (8)
MANPOWER - (WEAPON*) ["brandishing"] in MR [masculine style, as in designation I suppose]

19 Overused noun dropped by secure editor (7)
CLICHED - CLI{n}CH [secure, "dropping" N = noun] + ED

21 Old coins from Asian land turned up in heart of Madeira (7)
DENARII - IRAN [Asian land] reversed in {ma}DEI{ra}

22 Glass of beer? Fortified drink from south, in trade terms (6)
JARGON - JAR [glass of beer?] + upside down NOG [fortified drink]

24 On reflection, cut written work for assessments (5)
EXAMS - reversed AXE [cut] + MS [written work]

25 Languorous animal assigned position close to hearth (5)
SLOTH - SLOT [assigned position] + {heart}H

Quick Cryptic 1414 by Wurm

So, not straightforward I would posit; took me well over 10 minutes. Rather rewarding in the end though. There's a great example of an important device that beginners should all learn from: the familiar two-word phrase which needs to be separated to unlock the clue. See 'European Union' in 7dn. There's arguably another example at 13ac where 'Standing up' has to be dismantled to solve the clue.

Across
1 Income in year unfortunately reversed (6)
SALARY - YR + ALAS all backwards
5 Society very large for instance (6)
SAMPLE - S (society) + AMPLE
8 Agreement makes sense (13)
UNDERSTANDING - Double definition
9 Go without nookie? (4)
EXIT - EX (without) + IT (sex)
10 Nuts on plane carrying old emperor (8)
NAPOLEON - Anagram ('nuts') of ON PLANE + O
11 Demon drink? (6)
SPIRIT - double definition
13 Standing up tree, swaying (6)
REPUTE - Anagram ('swaying') of  UP TREE
15 Taken and treated, keeping fit (8)
CAPTURED - CURED with APT inside
17 Banish some nervous tension (4)
OUST - hidden word: nervOUS Tension
19 Harbour Dutch pirate? (4,2,7)
HOOK OF HOLLAND - jokey double definition
21 Group about to fix old instrument (6)
SPINET - SET (group) around PIN (fix)
22 Sitting in punt, ask for picnic hamper (6)
BASKET - ASK inside BET (punt)

Down
2 Join woman on Times (5)
ANNEX - ANNE + X
3 Criminal assistant one to have flutter? (7)
ABETTER - double definition of sorts
4 Ultimately Mary Seacole was right (3)
YES - last letters of marY seacolE waS
5 Fish in tangled reeds escaped (9)
SCARPERED - CARP inside an anagram ('tangled') of REEDS
6 One demonstrating fashion line? (5)
MODEL - MODE (fashion) + L (line)
7 Ruffian entertaining in European Union move (4-3)
LINE-OUT - This is my favourite. Spent ages trying to wedge 'EU' in the answer somehow, before the penny dropped. A Line-Out is a set-piece play in rugby UNION, hence 'union move'. LOUT (ruffian) with IN + E (European) inside.
10 Web expert able to make money after tax (3,6)
NET PROFIT - NET (web) + PRO (expert) + FIT (able)
12 Aesop cooked up dish (3,4)
PEA SOUP - Anagram ('cooked') of AESOP + UP
14 Papa has many dogs (7)
POODLES - P (phonetic alphabet) + OODLES. A frequent flyer, this one.
16 Nominal figure all right to be accepted (5)
TOKEN - TEN with OK (all right) inside
18 Son in church from that time onwards (5)
SINCE - S + IN + CE
20 Major Bloodnok hosts ball (3)
ORB - hidden word: MajOR Bloodnok