September 3rd, 2021

Quick Cryptic 1954 by Teazel

I enjoyed this one. I've given up pronouncing on difficulty because I always seem to have the opposite view to the rest of you. Nothing unfair in the wordplay, though perhaps a slightly dodgy anagrind* in 1dn. My favourite probably 4dn. 6 and a bit minutes for me.

(*Anagrind = word or phrase signalling an anagram. Anagrist = the words used to form the anagram)

Across
1 Take exercise, a drug (4)
DOPE - Do P.E.
3 Introduction before gentle walk (8)
PREAMBLE - PRE (before) AMBLE (walk)
9 Heading for the main prize after serious effort initially (7)
SEAWARD - AWARD after S(erious) E(ffort). 'Main' means the sea in crosswords.
10 Japanese fighting finish in knockout (5)
KENDO - END inside KO
11 After work can choose to take part (3,2)
OPT IN - OP (work) + TIN (can)
12 Our country rejected, hold on for another (6)
KUWAIT - UK backwards + WAIT
14 In helpful spirit, one financing our competitor? (8,5)
GUARDIAN ANGEL - An angel is a financial backer, especially of a theatrical production. The Guardian is a competitor to the Times. 'Us' or 'our' generally refers to the newspaper
17 Doctor was not bad (6)
WATSON - anagram ('bad') of WAS NOT
19 Country clipped its old coin (5)
FRANC - FRANCE shortened
22 Finally coppice thin wood (5)
EBONY - E (last letter of COPPICE) + BONY (thin)
23 Clothes start to look old rubbish (7)
GARBAGE - GARB + AGE
24 In this port regularly sail over entrance (8)
PLYMOUTH - PLY (regularly sail a particular route) + MOUTH
25 A little grape, a ripe fruit (4)
PEAR - Hidden word: graPE A Ripe

Down
1 Force out idle dogs with a kick (8)
DISLODGE - anagram ('with a kick') of IDLE DOGS
2 Organise time in factory (5)
PLANT - PLAN + T
4 Thinks tragedy out of order — prospect of a fine day? (3,3,2,5)
RED SKY AT NIGHT - anagram ('out of order') of THINKS TRAGEDY
5 Like gardens to be asymmetrical (5)
ASKEW - AS (like) + KEW (gardens)
6 Possible republican slogan in the finance industry (7)
BANKING - "BAN (the) KING" is what a republican might say
7 London statue painful to knock over (4)
EROS - SORE backwards
8 Advised in fighting retreat having to be reversed (6)
WARNED - WAR (fighting) + DEN (retreat) reversed
13 Safe signal fully understood (3,5)
ALL CLEAR - double definition
15 Physical structure of a defensive alliance: goodness! (7)
ANATOMY - A + NATO + MY!
16 Supply a fine car (6)
AFFORD - A + F + FORD
18 Authority is silent? (3-2)
SAY-SO - SAYS O (nothing)
20 Native American leaving hospital fast (5)
APACE - APACHE minus H for hospital
21 Little pressure to mourn (4)
WEEP - WEE + P