A rather entertaining number which kept me scrabbling around for almost 26 minutes and sent me hunting more often than usual for the J key. In the end, there are only (only!) 5 in the grid, but it feels like more. You will see in my commentary that I credit Yoda with assistance in compiling the clues, there being quite a few with the “around A B you must place” sort of structure, which cunningly adds confusion around the business of what goes in where.
I imagine the two “foreign” place-names in the grid will be more familiar than the Scottish one; for the latter you may have to just trust the wordplay, as some of us will need to do for the satirist.
At least one of our number will be peeved that there’s yet another avian in the mix and no astronomy, though there is a bit of Star Trek pseudo astronomy in the lower reaches of the grid, from the movie When Jean Luc Met James Tiberius.
My ramblings are located below, accessed by pressing the Just Here button. Clues are in italics, definitions underlined as well, and solutions in BOLD CAPITALS[Just Here]
1 Not right when there’s sauce for Cockney to go after sandwiches (6)
UNJUST One of those clues where some imaginary extra grammar can help. So: there’s SAUCE that GOes AFTER (for Cockney) sandwiches. Go after for the legendary Cockney would be ‘UNT, and that sandwiches JUS as a kind of sauce. Hello to J1
4 Flyer found in grate, next to something black (8)
NIGHTJAR I had J2, so naturally something black had to be JET. Wrong, It’s NIGHT, and grate is a verb, JAR
10 Offer made by barman in dramshop eagerly? (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT The first definition is whimsical, and our laconic barman ignores conventions by omitting “would you”
11 Disappointing outcome that must hold little girl back (2,3)
NO JOY The innocent and missable THAT translates to YON, the little girl is the random JO, inserted and the whole reversed. J3
12 Traveller left in vessel — set out early (7)
PREPLAN Set out as in map out rather than start out. Traveller is REP, left is L, put them both into (cooking) vessel PAN
13 National symbol, not that large, wrapped in note (7)
THISTLE I do like this. Split “not that large” into two: not that is THIS, Large is (also)L, which is “wrapped” in random sol-fa note TE
14 Method of counting back only partially useful at court (5)
OCTAL A reverse (back) hidden (only partially) in usefuL AT Court. Counting in base 8, but you knew that
15 Be specific about sabbatical? (5,3)
SPELL OUT A sabbatical is time away from your normal work, so (a) spell out
18 World of Don, Adam, Erica, somehow not close to sister (8)
ACADEMIA An anagram (somehow) of ADAM and ERICA, without the last letter of sisteR
20 City jobs bank has periodically cut (5)
OSAKA Cut every other letter in jObS bAnK hAs
23 Old satirist, easily bribed, going to jail briefly (7)
JUVENAL Solvers will be divided between those who see “old satirist” and biff the answer, and those who have to rely on the cryptic and crossers. Easily bribed is VENAL, and it’s attached to an incomplete (briefly) JUg for jail. J4
25 Feel being outside on vacation usually means stay at campsite (3,4)
GUY ROPE Another bit of Yoda grammar: GROPE for feel, is outside UsuallY when it’s been vacated.
26 Rock group backed number selected to play new recording? (5)
REMIX The popular music combo is R.E.M, and the number selected (to play in a team) is 11, in Latin XI but here backed to become IX. Assuming a baseball team would shorten the clue.
27 Schedule one can track after time (9)
ITINERARY One: I, can: TIN, track R(ailwa)Y, time: ERA. Rearrange slightly
28 American can celebrate with an encore (4,4)
SING SING Naughty: a different can for the definition. Celebrate is SING, with its own encore. Sing Sing is the fifth prison built by New York State and opened in 1826, and still functions as a maximum security prison. Possibly the only one in the world with a railway running through it.
29 British actor recalled ladies inside hotel, not outside (6)
O’TOOLE Peter of that family, who I once saw in a magnificently over the top performance as M***** in The Scottish Play in Bristol. Wordplay: ladies is LOO which is “recalled” and set inside HOTEL with its outside (letters) missing. Crosswords don’t care tuppence for apostrophes.
1 Heading north, go round quite posh Scottish town (8)
ULLAPOOL Go round is LOOP, quite (here entirely) posh is ALL U, the whole lot reversed as indicated by “heading north”. Despite being rather small, with 1500 inhabitants, Ullapool counts as a town because there’s nothing bigger for miles around
2 Very full of cracks, is jet ok to fly? (7)
JOKIEST A kind anagram (to fly) of IS JET OK. J5 has already been counted as J1
3 Racing employee across lake, go direct (6,3)
STABLE LAD Go is STAB, direct is LEAD, and they “go across” (crossword speak for round) L(ake)
5 Too keen on profit, barristers generally admitted (4,3,7)
INTO THE BARGAIN A definition so short you could miss it. Keen on gives INTO, profit is GAIN into which pair THE BAR, barristers in general, is admitted
6 Capital hotel: what every pop star wants? (5)
HANOI H(otel) plus what every pop star wants, A NO. 1
7 Jack and I getting sticks out as shield, united in selfdefence (7)
JUJITSU Jack is just J (as in the card), I is I, sticks out is JUTS which “shields” them both and the U comes from United
8 For which very long-term use results ultimately in wear and tear, say (6)
RHYMES The first six words’ lasts letters (ultimately) spell out our answer, which wear and tear exemplify.
9 Cheers a tallish monk in, wildly (6,1,7)
THANKS A MILLION Another anagram (wildly), of A TALLISH MONK IN
16 Trots out to lunch? (5,4)
LOONY LEFT A pejorative term coined by the more conservative sections of politics and the British Press to vilify socialists and the Labour party. Most of the stories were pure invention, not that that would happen today, dear me no. Our clue is just a cryptic definition
17 Work your English electrical engineer secures after a month (4,4)
JANE EYRE Be alert to that sneaky definition, a (literary) work. Yet another J (I’ve lost count, sorry). And another example of Yoda grammar: Y(ou)R is “secured” by E(nglish) E(lectrical) E(ngineer), the lot jotted down after JAN for out random month.
19 Climbing holiday at end of term for ancient art master? (7)
CAVEMAN Once I gave up on the idea of going through my list of Pre Raph artist, and settled on someone who, if he was an artist, was definitely ancient, I took NAME for “term” and put VAC for holiday on its end and then reversed both (climbing)
21 Eggs sent up: not exactly party food (7)
AVOCADO Eggs are OVA, which is reversed (sent up) followed by no exactly: CA (circa) and party: DO
22 Judge comes across cases familiar to Scandinavians? (6)
FJORDS Yet more Yoda grammar. Comes across is FORDS, which “cases” J(udge). Pined for by the Norwegian Blue
24 Link we’re to follow? There’s no time (5)
NEXUS If we’re to follow, it’s NEXT US. Drop the T(ime)