A moderate puzzle after yesterday’s eccentric offering, with fewer tricky words and definitions. I still managed to trundle off down the wrong track at a couple of places, and came home in 16.42.
The mutilated creature appears to be making its debut appearance, and was pretty much my last in on wordplay alone. I can only hope that the rest of the required GK in this grid was a much within your ken as within mine. I trust any MPs who do this thing are suitably grateful to our Dear Leader for the extra time off to devote to solving during the next month or so.
I have shown clues in italics, definitions in underlined italics, and solutions in BOLD CAPITALS
1 Check through newspaper reports — of Cinderella? (4-2-6)
RAGS-TO-RICHES CH(eck), when it’s given in chess notation, goes through (crossword for inside) RAG (newspaper) STORIES (reports).
8 One resisting work has a problem (7)
OPPOSER Work is OP, short for opus, Latin/music for (a) work. Problem is POSER
9 Like a Pope’s pedigree, covering a long time (7)
LEONINE There were thirteen Popes Leo, their adjective illustrated by pedigree: LINE “covering” a long time: EON. The setter managed to resist the one about the propreantepenultimate pope of that name.
11 Bohemian needing some pictures met an artist (7)
SMETANA A particular Bohemian, by nationality rather than disposition, Bedrich Smetana (Mr Sour Cream to you) is perhaps best known for his Vltava, a splendid symphonic poem tracing the river from source to sea. Today’s hidden (some) in pictureS MET AN Artist
12 Function of bank not so obscure (7)
CLEARER A sort of double definition. Clearing banks are responsible for the processing of financial transactions, such as cheques (remember them?) so a function of a bank is to act as a clearer. Chambers says clearer is another name for a clearing bank, which makes the function bit redundant and the clue then slightly less clunky.
13 With a huge pot and medals at end of race (5)
OBESE Pot as in belly, the medals are OBES (other bu***rs’ efforts) and E from the end of racE
14 The Devil not good in graveyards, dancing (9)
ADVERSARY From Compline, the ancient night prayer: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion” as if the night didn’t hold enough terrors already. Take the G(ood) out of GRAVEYARDS and let the remaining letters dance.
16 Mother holds hand at length after firm pledge (9)
COMMITTAL So MITT is hand, which MA (mother) holds after CO(mpany) from firm and before A L(ength)
19 Chief with new bird (5)
CAPON Chief is CAPO (as in di tutti capi) plus N(ew). I cleverly reversed the clue as CROWN (definition chief) made up of with N(ew), CROW (bird). Works until it doesn’t.
21 Vicar, one ladies turned to for dramatic entertainment: that’s not new (7)
REVIVAL Priest supplies the REV, one the I, and ladies the LAV to e turned
23 A fresh set of hands making US policy (3,4)
NEW DEAL Double definition, one from cards and one from Roosevelt countering the Great Depression
24 Place of exile is backed by head of secret police (7)
SIBERIA How fortuitous that the head of Stalin’s NKVD, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, had most of Gulag country for his name. You just add IS backwards.
25 Stiff manner is singular, taking in sort of film (7)
ICINESS The sort of film is CINE, taken in by IS S(ingular)
26 Former spinner almost scores four (7-5)
SEVENTY-EIGHT I was briefly persuaded the was a golfing clue, with EAGLE the second word. But it’s the old shellac records we’re being referred to, and I think the 78 here comes from its being almost scores four (four score), 80.
1 Full pelt, running through endless grass (7)
REPLETE “Running” instructs you to rework the letters of PELT, then place them in REED for grass minus its ending.
2 Slowly develop, say, upset condition (7)
GESTATE Say clues EG, then upset, and condition translates to STATE
3 Her target, man to abuse? (9)
TERMAGANT An &lit of sorts, an abuse of TARGET MAN for the abuser who targets men. An easy word to misspell made easier to spell correctly by counting the As
4 Sacred object in half of Islam, say? Christianity, primarily (5)
RELIC Islam is an example of a religion, of which you need the first half. Christianity primarily provides the C
5 Inside vehicle, tie mutilated animal (4-3)
CROP-EAR Chambers gives this as obsolete for any creature with – um – cropped ears. I saw quickly that the vehicle was probably CAR, but there’s not enough letters in TIE to mutilate for the rest. Not an anagram, then, just another word for ROPE in its verbal form.
6 Run through ceremony in each country (7)
ERITREA R(un) goes through (see 1ac) ceremony: RITE in EA(ch)
7 A fragile construction, so UFO crashed on the rocks (5,2,5)
HOUSE OF CARDS, an anagram, on the rocks, of SO UFO CRASHED
10 Norman’s successor Henry is generally eccentric (5,7)
EARLY ENGLISH Which form of architecture followed Norman, and is here a reconstruction (eccentric) of H(enry) IS GENERALLY
15 Regularly mean with money contributed to farewell card (9)
VALENTINE Regularly mean invites you to take the E and the N from mean, then add TIN for money (not common slang outside crosswords, these days) and place the lot inside VALE for (Latin) farewell
17 Presumably not “stick” of furniture? (7)
MOVABLE Furniture which does not stick is movable, and movable(s) is a generic legal(ish) term for furniture anyway.
18 Holding volume, in Irish, upside down (7)
INVERSE IN ERSE for in Irish. Slightly confusingly, Chambers gives “formerly, and still occasionally, the name given by Lowland Scots to the language of the people of the West Highlands, as being of Irish origin; sometimes used for Irish Gaelic”. Whatever, it holds V(olume) here
19 Facing down, put in large cover (7)
COWLING Facing down: COWING with L(arge) inserted
20 Quietly take exception to what one’s given (7)
PRESENT Tricky while I had CROWN rather than CAPON to provide the first letter, easy once I twigged. P music for quietly, RESENT simple translation of take exception to.
22 Inclined to have answer in forty days (5)
LEANT LENT is one example of forty days, slip in A(nswer)