August 19th, 2020

Times 27747 - In 1492, the natives discovered they were Indians; they learnt they lived in America

I enjoyed this, my best Wednesday for a while. Not too tricky, not too obscure, not too easy, and quite witty in places. There were enough easy or chestnut clues to get you some crossers for the harder ones. For a moment I thought we had a mini-theme, Grauniad style, but that would be exaggerating. Twenty-five minutes and nothing too hard to parse. I liked the definition at 2d and the tasty anagram at 13d.

1 Underworld girls in sacks (9)
DISMISSES - DIS (underworld, hell) MISSES (girls).
6 Plant leaf half destroyed by insect (5)
BUGLE - BUG (insect) LE(AF). Common wild flower ajuga reptans.
9 Force one to put in team (7)
MANITOU - Put I and TO into MAN U a football team. Manitou is a spirit or life force, among American native peoples.
10 Native Americans here — gosh, a soldier is retreating! (7)
ARAPAHO - We're on a theme now: all reversed, OH ! A PARA
11 Small drink, peg, knocked back (3)
NIP - PIN reversed.
12 Actors get twitchy — heavens, there's a loss of stomach! (11)
14 Hospital department facing rebuke for trick (6)
ENTRAP - ENT then RAP = rebuke.
15 What may return to haunt woman, part of Bible introduced by cleric (8)
REVENANT - REV (cleric) ENA (woman) NT (part of Bible).
17 Repaid and rather embarrassed about it (8)
REQUITED - RED (embarrassed) around QUITE (rather).
19 Like husband with memory going into retreat (6)
ASHRAM - AS, H(usband), RAM = memory.
22 Revealing prominent feature of tough parson being unorthodox (11)
PROGNATHOUS - (TOUGH PARSON)*. It means having a prominent jaw.
23 Man needing a change of heart and belief (3)
ISM - The Isle of Man, known as IOM, changes its A to S.
25 Transport going back a few feet taking time (7)
DRAYAGE - YARD reversed, AGE = time.
27 A very old city friend coming across in conversation? (7)
AURALLY - A, UR (very old city), ALLY (friend).
28 Cut interest you might pick up (5)
STEAK - sounds like STAKE = interest.
29 New form of power then made widely available (5,4)
1 Fellow's love with doom around (5)
DAMON - Insert O into DAMN = doom.
2 Paper's fund for something relatively dark (7)
SUNSPOT - SUN'S (paper's) POT (fund).
3 Not “tearing apart”, one's gathered! (11)
INTEGRATION - (NOT TEARING I)* where I = one's gathered into the anagrist.
4 Scotch or soft drink? (6)
SQUASH - double definition.
5 Rough leather: can it match calfskin, ultimately? (8)
SHAGREEN - SH ! (can it!) AGREE (match) N (end of calfskin).
6 False god inadequate? Cry (3)
BAA - BAAL is a false God, it loses its L. BAA as in the cry of a sheep, for example.
7 Female relative has nothing with the Continental breakfast cereal (7)
GRANOLA - GRAN (female relative) O (nothing) LA (the, Continental).
8 Ultimately nice and comfortable bit of shrub for biological set-up (9)
ECOSYSTEM - (nic)E, COSY (comfortable) STEM (bit of shrub).
13 Cashew trees supply something to get your teeth into (6,5)
14 Conveyor of tragedy in English university with final message before fateful day (9)
EURIPIDES - E(nglish) U(niversity) RIP (final message) IDES (of March for example). Greek chap who wrote tragedies.
16 Feeling ecstatic about money, grabbing fortune finally (8)
SENTIENT - SENT (ecstatic); insert TIN (money) insert E (end of fortune). SEN(TI(E)N)T.
18 What some meetings need to be when Queen gets to speak (7)
QUORATE - QU (queen) ORATE (speak).
20 One mistake at the end of game somewhere in London (7)
RUISLIP - RU (Rugby Union) I SLIP (one mistake). Ruislip used to be in Middlesex until it became part of the London Borough of Hillingdon in 1965. Its MP is Boris Johnson.
21 Shock maybe about old books offering nonsense (3,3)
HOT AIR - HAIR = shock maybe; insert OT (old books).
24 One of the old people with a refusal in the morning to get up (5)
MAYAN - All reversed; NAY (a refusal) AM.
26 Sacred box that housed survivors (3)
ARK - double definition; Ark of the Covenant, and Noah's Ark.