June 30th, 2021

Times 28017 - transport for the chop

 I worked through this steadily with no real problems, knowing the ancient card game at 23d and the forest at 24a, and the rest; then struggled to explain how 22d works, even though the answer is obvious enough. I also spelt 5a wrongly (ending -IL) until I came to write this and had to parse it. I didn't know the second part of 2d was an inn, had to look it up, although the whole answer was clear. Overall a nice puzzle but not a memorable one.
I'm on a road trip today so won't be attending to any errors, moans and groans, or compliments, until later, if at all.

Across
1 Henry goes in to scrub choir here (7)
CHANCEL - to CANCEL = to scrub, insert H for Henry.
5 Leaving hospital, hitch lift on large revolutionary cart (7)
TUMBREL - THUMB = hitch lift; remove the H for hospital, RE = on, L = large. A tumbrel is a two wheeled cart, well known for its use brinning prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution. I had it as TUMBRIL, an alternative spelling, until I came to parse it for the blog.
9 Golden go-getter? (9)
RETRIEVER - cryptic definition, as in the dog.
10 It may charge rupees in Home Office cases (5)
RHINO -  R for rupees, then IN inside HO.
11 Republican packed in celebrity ball game (5)
FRAME - R inside frame; as in a frame of snooker I assume.
12 Can't stand gong in calm houses (9)
ABOMINATE - ABATE = calm, insert OM (gong) and IN.
13 Absurdly elaborate waste containers in airport cut leg (5,8)
HEATH ROBINSON - HEATHRO(W) = airport cut, BINS are waste containers, ON for leg as in cricket.
17 Californian's currency is hidden in hospital toilet (3,10)
SAN FRANCISCAN - SAN CAN for hospital toilet, insert FRANC (currency) IS.
21 Greeting a female diver naked? (9)
AFTERNOON - A, F for female, TERN a diving bird, O ON = nothing on, naked.
24 Forest where you might catch large cat? (5)
TAIGA - sounds like tiger. Originally a Russian word; snowy forests.
25 Perfect card distributor's job description? (5)
IDEAL - "I deal" says the card distributor.
26 In British hotel, he asks drunk about European tip (9)
BAKSHEESH - B H = British hotel, insert (HE ASKS)* with E inserted. Originally a Persian word, shouted out by beggars looking for alms, later meaning a tip or a back-hander.
27 Update design of the French on remoulded tyres (7)
RESTYLE - (TYRES)*, LE = the in French.
28 Poles wearing no vest without a break (7)
NONSTOP - N S = poles, inside NO and TOP = vest.
Down
1 Gunmen invading eatery that stocks wine (6)
CARAFE - RA (gunmen, Royal Artillery) inside CAFE.
2 Fleece Roman stars at Eastern inn (9)
ASTRAKHAN - ASTRA Latin for stars; KHAN an inn or resting place for a caravanserai.
3 Agree on academician's idle fancy (7)
CHIMERA - CHIME = agree on RA = Royal Academy member.
4 Following line, I haven't managed to net a monster (9)
LEVIATHAN - L, (IHAVENT)* with A inserted.
5 Trunk's sort of square, give or take (5)
TORSO - T (sort of square) OR SO (give or take0.
6 Caribbean island bans that Parisian cocktail (7)
MARTINI - MARTINIQUE loses QUE = French for 'that'.
7 Ignoring odd bits, irradiate a dish in India (5)
RAITA - Alternate letters of i R r A d I a T e A. A yogurt based sauce or dip.
8 Ducks spotted in vacant land? It's unexplained (5,3)
LOOSE END - L D = vacant land; insert O O (ducks) SEEN (spotted).
14 After removing page one, views family paper (9)
ONIONSKIN - OPINIONS = views; remove P I = page one, add KIN for family.
15 Attitude of one male in small clinical speciality twice (9)
SENTIMENT - I M = one male, insert into S (small) ENT ENT (clinical speciality twice).
16 Framework for growth regularly gets less healthy-looking, I admitted (8)
ESPALIER - E S (regularly gEtS) PALER (less healthy-looking), insert I. Wires or frame used for growing e.g. apple trees along.
18 You are stopping recovery in the countryside (7)
RURALLY - U R (you are) inside RALLY = recovery.
19 Grasp chain running under boat (5,2)
CATCH ON - CAT (catamaran boat) CH (chain) ON (running).
20 Work after meal with a drink husband sent in (4,2)
WASH UP - W (with) A SUP (drink) insert H for husband.
22 Lock down leader abandoning state (5)
TRESS - I could be wrong (!) but I think this is STRESS losing S for state; but why 'down'? Does stress mean down?  I toyed with MATRESS being down-filled losing MA for the state, but matress is a rare alternative spelling of mattress and it seems too complicated. Answers below please.
23 Old game medic slices Danish bread (5)
OMBRE - MB (medic) inside ORE or correctly ØRE (the letter Ø in Danish is different from O, like Ö in German or Swedish); 1 Øre being a hundredth of a krone. Ombre is an early form of whist, originating in Spain.


Times Quick Cryptic 1907 by Mara

Mid-difficulty for me. The biggest challenges were the two 11-letter answers in the middle of the grid, so much so that I ended up working around them until the very end of the solve. Lots of classy stuff here to enjoy - hope you did. My COD to 8dn for a much-needed original anagrind.


Definitions underlined.


Across
1 Minister’s previous tour oddly cancelled (6)
PASTOR - PAST (previous) and even letters from (oddly cancelled) tOuR.
4 Very little reworking of models (6)
SELDOM - anagram (reworking) of MODELS.
9 Generous sprinkling of Braille (7)
LIBERAL - anagram (sprinkling) of BRAILLE.
10 Regularly concerned with all the Commandments, perhaps (5)
OFTEN - OF (concerned with) and TEN (all of the Commandments, perhaps).
11 Red scarcely seen (4)
RARE - double definition.
12 As bell sounding, fight! (4-4)
DING-DONG - double definition.
14 GP innovates, after redesigning flag (6,5)
PAVING STONE - anagram of (after redesigning) GP INNOVATES.
18 Last metal: it gets processed after uranium (8)
ULTIMATE - anagram of (gets processed) METAL IT, after U (uranium).
20 Bread head! (4)
LOAF - double defintion.
22 Stage yet to be erected, back to front (3,2)
PUT ON - NOT UP (yet to be erected) reversed (back to front).
23 Turn very morose in the end after sweetheart returns (7)
REVOLVE - V (very) and the last letter of (in the end) morosE, after LOVER (sweetheart) reversed (returns).
24 Shoot messenger (6)
RUNNER - double definition.
25 Times editor removed (6)
ERASED - ERAS (times) and ED (editor).

Down
1 Little buddy with taste (6)
PALTRY - PAL (buddy) and TRY (taste).
2 Southern peninsula in part of modern Russia (7)
SIBERIA - S (southern) and IBERIA (peninsula).
3 Seen in fog, really hideous monster (4)
OGRE - hidden in (seen in) fOG REally.
5 Stretch out with a gentle novel about love (8)
ELONGATE - anagram of (novel) A GENTLE, containing (about) O (love).
6 The same part of depot tidied up (5)
DITTO - hidden in (part of) depOT TIDied reversed (up).
7 Bloke has time for run (6)
MANAGE - MAN (bloke) and AGE (time).
8 Initial success as gnat, firstly, squished (6,5)
FLYING START - anagram of (squished) GNAT FIRSTLY. Love it - without the mental image of a squashed fly, this anagram indicator wouldn't work nearly as well.
13 I am into Italian writer — sparkling stuff (8)
DIAMANTE - I AM contained by (into) DANTE (Italian writer).
15 Far Eastern food, loads under chin in the end (7)
NOODLES - OODLES (loads) after (under) the last letter of (in the end) chiN.
16 Top flea, perhaps? (6)
JUMPER - double definition.
17 Upset with rotten conclusion (6)
OFFEND - OFF (rotten) and END (conclusion).
19 Colossus: it appears in bronze (5)
TITAN - IT contained by (appears in) TAN (bronze).
21 Part of cricket match finished (4)
OVER - double definition.