November 11th, 2020

Times 27819 - light relief, and another 72 days to wait.

A fairly gentle challenge for a Wednesday, I thought. I had to think about how to make 1a have 13 letters, not just 11, but it really does. 7d is a bit medical but quite a well known posh word for hives. 6d is a bit odd if you haven't learnt about the printers' ENs and EMs which often appear in crosswords. And even I had heard of the French novelist, who for some reason is usually only referred to by her surname. Perhaps because Sidonie-Gabrielle is a bit of a mouthful. For once, I don't think I have any issues with the parsing unresolved here. But a legal challenge is open to you, even if there are no grounds whatsoever for it!

1 Foreign noble at a fine high-class French palace (13)
FONTAINEBLEAU - (NOBLE AT A FINE)* + U for high-class.
9 Governed as certain lines may be (5)
RULED - double definition
10 Shocking weapon to put out by extremities of tower (9)
TRAUMATIC - TR (extremities of tower), AU(TO)MATIC.
11 Payment hard old woman initially invested in drink (10)
HONORARIUM - H(ard) O(ld) NORA (woman) RUM insert I(nvested).
12 Repeat part of speech occasionally (4)
14 Humdrum character given note by European national (7)
MUNDANE - MU (greek character), N(ote) DANE.
16 Endlessly respect a Liberal naval commander (7)
ADMIRAL - ADMIR(E), A, L(iberal).
17 Woman touring hot area north of a desert (7)
SAHARAN - SARA = woman, insert A, H(ot), add N(orth).
19 Unleavened bread originally ideal with tea and a little butter (7)
CHAPATI - CHA (tea) PAT (a little butter) I(deal).
20 Become tedious letter-writer, by the sound of it? (4)
PALL - sounds like PAUL as in St Paul who wrote letters to Ephesians, etc.
21 Philosopher with authority becomes factory designer (10)
MILLWRIGHT - MILL (philosopher) W(ith) RIGHT (authority).
24 Tough soldiers tight-lipped about start of invasion (9)
RESILIENT - RE (sodiers) SILENT (tight-lipped) insert I(nvasion).
25 Follow Europe’s directions to return (5)
ENSUE - Reverse: EU, S,N,E.
26 Stealthy new Tories stir up unions at first (13)
1 First pair of thespians engaged in leading role, mainly (3,3,4,4)
FOR THE MOST PART - FOREMOST PART (leading role) insert TH(espians).
2 Synthetic polymer unknown in northern half of capital (5)
NYLON - N(orthern) Y (unknown) LON(don).
3 Tree a woman planted outside new councillor’s office (10)
ALDERMANRY - ALDER (tree) MARY (woman) insert N(ew).
4 Teachers meeting with old actor: that bears fruit (3-4)
NUT-TREE - NUT (teachers' union) TREE (old actor, Herbert Beerbohm Tree).
5 A snag over admitting curtailment of party spirit (7)
BRAVURA - A RUB (snag) reversed - BURA, insert RAV(E).
6 Mutton graduate gives girl (4)
EMMA - EM = mutton, an old printing term; MA = graduate.
7 Rash old city teacher primarily in charge of some music? (9)
URTICARIA - UR (old city) T(eacher), IC (in charge of) ARIA (some music).
8 Teacher takes train, overcoming motorway tension (14)
SCHOOLMISTRESS - SCHOOL (train) M1 (motorway in England) STRESS (tension).
13 Flaw in flyers plugging this writer’s point (10)
IMPAIRMENT - I'M (this writer's) PT (point) insert AIRMEN (flyers).
15 Negative thinkers sit in his complex outside Lima (9)
NIHILISTS - Insert L for Lima into (SIT IN HIS)*.
18 Greenness of mineral water upset over ends of table (7)
NAIVETE - EVIAN reversed, T E (ends of table). Another brand name used in The TImes!
19 French novelist briefly keeping island bird (7)
COLETIT - COLETT(E) (French novelist briefly) insert I for island. Apparently a variant spelling of COALTIT, I'd never seen it used before but it's in dictionaries.
22 Travel round America, having time and energy (5)
GUSTO - GO (travel), insert US and T(ime).
23 Smear second book excluded from promotional hype (4)
BLUR - BLURB (promo hype) loses its second B.
EDIT I am inclined to agree with those below who reckoned SLUR parsed as well and fitted a slightly different meaning of smear, but it didn't occur to me at the time. Editor?