Not much more demanding than yesterday’s, and as far as I can tell lacking the extraordinary NINA in the first letters of the across clues. I polished this off in 13.37. It helps if you have a list of British Prime Ministers to hand, are familiar with British children’s TV and sitcoms, and have some familiarity with bits of London. The film is (or should be) pretty well known, as is the songwriter, who even has an award named after him. In all these instances, the wordplay is pretty generous, and I would venture that those who took tentative steps from the Quickie yesterday will not find this demoralising.
For what it’s worth, I have provided my commentary on the clues and their answers below, and have stuck to my normal practice of formatting the clues in italics, in addition underlining the definitions, and providing the answers in BOLD CAPITALS.
1 PM, previously to resign, remains around (7)
ASQUITH To resign is QUIT, and remains are ASH. Plonk one into t’other. Herbert Henry Asquith served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916.
5 Pepper pot: mine needs to be shaken (7)
PIMENTO Needs to be shaken is the giveaway anagram indicator: apply to POT MINE
9 Husband bearing heavy item of furniture is one giving you a wave? (11)
HAIRDRESSER Husband conventionally round here is represented by H, bearing is AIR and unless you are in possession of a lightweight one, a DRESSER is a heavy item of furniture. The definition is mildly cryptic
10 Deckhands finally got out of sweeping vessel (3)
VAT The last letter of deckhandS (finally) is removed from VAST answering to sweeping
11 Peg, getting stuck into beer, on the slippery slope? (6)
ALPINE Peg is PIN and beer is ALE. Once again plonk one into t’other.
12 Runner reflecting on the subject of large clogs (8)
SMUGGLER Quite tricky to reverse engineer the wordplay from the obvious answer. On the subject of: RE, large LG (not just the expected L) and clogs GUMS as in up the works. Reverse the whole lot (reflecting)
14 Director, in extremis, fought to secure financial backer for film (2,11)
DR STRANGELOVE In which Peter Sellers plays almost everybody. In extremis (ie, both ends) DirectoR gives the DR bit. Fought is STROVE and a financial backer is an ANGEL. Correctly assemble.
17 Be reconciled, after brush with assembly (4,3,4,2)
KISS AND MAKE UP After brush: KISS, place with: AND, and assembly: MAKE UP
21 Touched, as doctor, friend and parent meet with young delinquent (8)
PALPATED Friend is PAL, parent is PA (avoid MA, gives a an inappropriate solution) and the young delinquent (sorry Jimbo) is TED
23 Race the eccentric run in mostly (6)
ETHNIC What appears to be an adjective clued by a noun. “The” eccentric provides the ETH, and run in is NICK (as in episodes of the Sweeney) from which you dock the last letter
25 Light headed? (3)
LED I’m going to say the definition is headed, because the light is an L.E.D. though sources have it without the dots
26 Hiker settles by forestry worker (11)
FOOTSLOGGER Simple enough: settles is FOOTS (the bill) and the forestry worker is a
27 Subject of treaty dubious at best, note (4,3)
TEST BAN The Comprehensive version, passed by the UN in 1996, still awaits complete ratification and is not yet in force. Here it’s an anagram (“dubious”) of AT BEST and N(ote)
28 Long to be back on stage in the London area (7)
STEPNEY Stage is STEP, and long: YEN is reversed (back) onto it. Stepney is either a tiddly bit of Tower Hamlets with no really defined borders, or it’s (currently) an Episcopal area of the Diocese of London covering Tower Hamlets, Islington and Hackney. Arguably it’s your actual East End
1 From memory, after a quiet retreat (6)
ASHRAM Memory is RAM, as A and SH for quiet makes up the rest. I’m not sure what “From” is doing. Perhaps the most famous ashram was Gandhi’s at Ahmedabad.
2 Heading off armed, made a sally (7)
QUIPPED Armed is equipped. Knock its head off
3 Daughters entering singly at first, in a state (9)
INDONESIA You only need one of the D(aughters). I think then singly is IN ONES, into which the D enters, and the at first In A gives the rest
4 Reclusive industrialist, speaking for the Greens, perhaps (4)
HUES My last in, because although I thought of Howard Hughes I couldn’t make him fit. Speaking, however, tells you this is a homophone, and Greens (preferably without the capital) are just one variety of our answer
5 Job on staff, just right for animated deliveryman (7,3)
POSTMAN PAT A cartoon character who does his rounds in Greendale with his black and white cat Jess. Job: POST, staff: MAN , and just right: PAT
6 Second charity event the Scottish miss (5)
MORAG Second is MO, and charity event is RAG, as practised by Universities over a week (still?)
7 Unusual request to look for songwriter (7)
NOVELLO Unusual is NOVEL, and I think LO is pretty well defined as a request to look.
8 Accurate, but somehow not great (2,6)
ON TARGET Another simple anagram (somehow) of NOT GREAT
13 Right in attempt to obtain private capital (10)
BRIDGETOWN Capital of Barbados. Place R(ight) into attempt: BID. Add obtain GET and private: OWN.
15 Conductor when chosen went up (9)
ELECTRODE Chosen obviously gives the ELECT bit. RODE is less obvious, but if you went “up” you rode a horse
16 Chaplain to put up with holy bunch! (3,5)
SKY PILOT Put up is SKY, as a batsman might do, and the holy bunch are the PI LOT. Dated (?) military slang.
18 Slash cover to access petty cash (7)
SOLIDUS The proper name for the forward slash /, Cover is LID, which “accesses” SOUS for just about the pettiest of cashes.
19 Drink quietly, repeatedly, at home, gaining weight (4,3)
PINK GIN mmmmmmm. Quietly P, at home IN, which is repeated around KG foe weight.
20 What sailors caught, close to divers with the bends? (6)
SCURVY The effect of lack of vitamin C brought on by the poor diet of, eg, sailors. Close to (end of) diverS and CURVY, with (the) bends
22 Old sitcom initially featuring in ratings (2,3)
AB FAB Not that old – it ran from 1992 to 2012, and a feature film version was released in 2016. The F of Featured (initially) finds itself between two AB ratings
24 What only child might want unaltered (2,2)
AS IS A single child might want A SIS. Redistribute.