Another gentle Wednesday I think; pleasantly satisfying while it lasted, which was around 15 minutes before writing the blog. I managed to find a way to bang on about one of my favourite books in reference to 9a; I had to ask Mrs K if 5a was indeed a plant; otherwise not much else to say.
1 Cajolery frequently succeeded in ongoing saga (4,4)
SOFT SOAP - OFT (frequently) S (succeeded) in SOAP.
5 Attempt to save plant (6)
THRIFT - double defintion. Thrift is a flowering evergreen, Armenia maritima also called sea pink. You've probably seen it but not known what it was. Like me.
8 Scheming felon caught in Vienna in disguise (10)
CONNIVANCE - CON (felon) (VIENNA)* with C inserted.
9 Two parties that never got off the ground? (4)
DODO - DO (party) twice. Extinct bird endemic to Mauritius, and a character (a caricature of the author C L Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll) in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
10 Where to see scholars getting on train? (8,6)
BOARDING SCHOOL - Cryptic &lit.
11 Warning about echo in that place (7)
THEREAT - THREAT about E.
13 Children ultimately in pathetic fight for play area (7)
SANDBOX - N (end of children) in SAD, BOX = fight
15 Tentative article replaced by another in journal (7)
DITHERY - DIARY, replace A by THE.
18 Rope seaman primarily leaves alone (7)
STRANDS - STRAND = rope, S = seaman primarily.
21 Biographer's material, what's known of it? (3,5,2,4)
THE FACTS OF LIFE - double definition, the second referring to 'it' as sex.
22 Source of light to cry over (4)
BULB - BLUB reversed.
23 Flavouring ingredient, mixture of melon and peach (5,5)
LEMON GRASS - (LEMON)*, peach meaning to inform as a verb = grass.
24 Four outsiders in theatre with unfinished business (6)
TETRAD - T E (outsiders in theatre) TRAD(E).
25 Revolutionary went off round city, one finds (8)
DETECTOR - ROTTED = went off, 'revolutionary' = DETTOR, insert EC for the City.
1 Under fire, however, players blew it (7)
SACKBUT - SACK = fire, BUT = however.
2 Mine, I agree, finally hit bottom (9)
FUNDAMENT - FUND = mine, as in 'mine of information', AMEN = I agree; T = end of hiT.
3 Rotters hosting oddly dull do (7)
SWINDLE - SWINE (rotters) has D L (odd letters of dull) inserted.
4 In contact with foreign leader this month (7)
AGAINST - AGA = foreign leader' INST = this month.
5 Powerful transport turning right to start with (9)
TRENCHANT - RT = right, 'turning' = TR; ENCHANT = transport.
6 Timber cross we'd erroneously inscribed (7)
REDWOOD - ROOD (cross) has (WE'D)* inserted.
7 Contrarily put on Grease though opera's wanted (7)
FIDELIO - Reverse OILED IF (put on Grease, though).
12 Sent by plane across India, member was sick (9)
AIRMAILED - insert I (India) into ARM (member), AILED = was sick.
14 Foodie heading for tavern after exam in postwar capital (3,6)
BON VIVANT - BONN (postwar capital of W. Germany) insert VIVA (exam) add T (heading for tavern). French literally 'good living'.
16 Enter unwanted suggestion, commonly coarse (7)
INTRUDE - (H)INT = suggestion commonly, RUDE = coarse.
17 Lean over counter in repair shop (7)
HEELBAR - HEEL (lean over) BAR (counter).
18 Internal contraction due to extremely speedy boa? (7)
SYSTOLE - S Y (extremely speedy) STOLE (boa). Contraction of the heart muscles; the word systolic is more commonly heard, in reference to blood pressure.
19 Judge associated with the top people: I'm surprised he's been driven out (7)
REFUGEE - REF (judge) U (top people) GEE ! (I'm surprised !).
20 Poet's son writes about uprising (7)
SPENSER - S (son) PENS, RE (about) reversed.