October 30th, 2019

Times 27495 - when the railways were fast (they still are in France).

Once again, after a reasonably challenging Monday this week, I find Wednesday is more in a Monday vein. I worked steadily through the clues with no hold-ups and not even a mild ER. 20 minutes not rushing. It's a pleasant puzzle with some nice surfaces but nothing special; Jimbo might say 'vanilla'. I think 19d gets my CoD vote for linking Aden and Suez in a neat way.

Definitions underlined. Anagrams thus (FODDER)*, anagrists in italics.

Across
1 Flagrant European aspect in Shakespeare? (9)
BAREFACED - Shakespeare is our BARD, into him insert E and FACE = aspect.
6 Drop clean brush (5)
SCRUB - Triple definition.
9 Appearance of hole in wounded insect's wing (7)
SECTION - O for hole in (INSECT)*.
10 Carrier taking off with one bachelor aboard (7)
MINIBUS - MINUS = taking off, insert I B.
11 Scheduled worktime unknown for husband? Not mine! (5)
YOURS - HOURS = scheduled worktime, swap the H for a Y (symbol for an algebraic unknown).
12 Second editor leaving, reprimanded (6,3)
TICKED OFF - TICK (second) ED(itor), OFF = leaving.
14 I object when old craft's brought back (3)
BUT - TUB reversed.
15 Where travellers accumulate strain that can't be recovered from? (3,8)
AIR TERMINAL - Strain = AIR, song; TERMINAL = can't be recovered from.
17 Less than attractive enterprise (11)
UNDERTAKING - UNDER = less than, TAKING = attractive, as in 'I'm very taken with her'.
19 Shrinking firm close to bankruptcy (3)
COY - CO = firm, Y = end of bankruptcy. Shrinking as in violet, perhaps.
20 Seeing fiery criminal in tie, one's enamoured (9)
BOYFRIEND -  BOND = tie, insert (FIERY)*.
22 Range woman designer has on display (5)
ANDES - Hidden word in WOM(AN DES)IGNER.
24 Chance losing face when hugging old flame devoid of passion (7)
ASEXUAL - CASUAL = chance, as in encounter; drop the C (losing face) and insert EX (old flame),
26 Go with disdain, having no time for feral cat (7)
FLOUNCE - FL = FERAL without ERA (no time), OUNCE a cat.
27 Investigate key vote, centre having fallen away (5)
DELVE - DEL = key on keyboard, VE = VOTE without its centre.
28 Neighbours often share this celebration with everyone (5,4)
PARTY WALL - PARTY = celebration, W = with, ALL = everyone.

Down
1 Arrest Yankee, needing a lot of support upfront? (5)
BUSTY - BUST = arrest, Y = Yankee.
2 One making frequent court appearances: fraud only spoken of? (7)
RACQUET - Sounds like RACKET which could be fraud.
3 That's just Clement, Saint Clement (5,4)
FAIRS FAIR - CLEMENT weather is fair weather, so we have FAIR, S(aint), FAIR. I did wonder initially if there was some famous Fair named after said Saint, but no.
4 Dismay as prisoner at the back put away (11)
CONSTERNATE - CON (prisoner) STERN (at the back) ATE (put away). A word not often used as a verb, more familiar to me as the noun CONSTERNATION.
5 Gloomy doctor holds one up (3)
DIM - MD insert I and reverse all.
6 Lapse before church and after (5)
SINCE - SIN (lapse), CE (church).
7 Sand treatment post-exercise (7)
RUBDOWN - double definition.
8 Deliver a thorough whack, looking sheepish (9)
BASHFULLY - If you BASH FULLY you deliver a good whack.
13 Put off after clubs restrict game (6,2,3)
CHEMIN DE FER - C (clubs), HEM IN (restrict), DEFER (put off). Chemin de Fer is a version of Baccarat; apparently so named because it was a faster game than the original and when the game was devised the railway was then the fastest means of transport. (Seems a dodgy explanation to me).
14 Sporting student to take on uxoricide (9)
BLUEBEARD - BLUE as in Oxford or Cambridge Blue, one who represents the university; BEARD = take on, as in 'beard the lion in his den'. BLUEBEARD, according to the folk tale, was a rich nobleman who repeatedly killed off his wives. Bartók wrote an opera about the story called Bluebeard's Castle: I like Bartók's music but this is a bit heavy going even for a Bartók fan.
16 A grim, drunken politician on the move (9)
MIGRATORY - (A GRIM)* then TORY.
18 Plain accommodation in order for current provider (3,4)
DRY CELL - DRY could mean plain, e.g. without gravy or sauce. a CELL can be accommodation, albeit penal. A dry cell is a form of battery.
19 Noted passage roughly skirting port close to Suez (7)
CADENZA - CA = circa, roughly. Into that insert ADEN (a port) and the Z = close to Suez. Violin concertos usually have a cadenza near the end of the first movement, where the soloist shows off.
21 Broadcast foundation course (5)
ROUTE - Unuslally a second homophone clue; sounds like ROOT = foundation.
23 Sense deception when Frenchmen comes in (5)
SMELL - a 'SELL' can be a form of deception; into that insert M(onsieur).
25 End of classical work cut (3)
LOP - L = end of classical, OP = opus, work.