I trundled though this in 17.56, with a good three minutes of that wondering what to put in at 11 across and being dense about it. Throughout there is a veritable compendium of standard abbreviations, balancing the rather low anagram count, arguably only two.
Not all the vocab is in the more familiar reaches of the dictionary, and the setter acknowledges two archaisms, one of which I’m not convinced is. But for the most part the wordplay is kind, and doesn’t leave too much by way of ambiguity.
Today is local election day in the UK, with elections also for Scottish and Welsh parliaments and for metropolitan mayors. I’ll be playing my part checking the polling numbers of those voting to see if the party vote is holding up. This means I may not be able to attend much to corrections and comments, though I will try to keep one eye on those more important returns.
Here, for what its worth, are the clues, the definitions and the SOLUTIONS together with my commentary.
1 Instrument that’s initially good for Parisians in foreign capital (8)
TROMBONE You get the T from That’s (originally), and good for Parisians is BON. Put this latter into ROME, a foreign capital.
6 Do well with riveting? Not entirely (6)
THRIVE Time lost trying to think of something that means riveting (entrancing? Line of Duty?) rather than looking for the hidden word suggested by “not entirely”. There it is, in wiTH RIVEting.
9 Useful gift for doctor having fish in county estate, we’re told (7,6)
BEDSIDE MANNER The fish is the IDE, the county Bedfordshire, abbreviated to BEDS, and the estate is MANOR, which sounds like (we're told) our answer.
10 Control deliveries in centre of Bognor (6)
GOVERN Today’s cricket reference: an OVER is 6 legal deliveries of the ball. In Oz it used to be 8. Put the centre of BoGNor round it.
11 Plain individual, but partial (8)
OVERTONE ONE is obviously there for individual, and terribly tempting then to try and find something that means partial giving an answer plain. ONESIDED was almost plausible, until I tried the clue the other way round, saw OVERT for plain and that ONE. Does OVERTONE mean partial? Chambers says it is: “a harmonic or upper partial” in music, where partial is a noun and a component of a musical sound.
13 Son educates parent finally about minute part of engine (5-5)
STEAM-CHEST “A chamber above a steam boiler serving as a reservoir for steam and in which the slide valve works”. There you go. S(on) educates: TEACHES plus parenT (finally) about (surrounding) M(inute)>
15 US state uniform and headgear making comeback (4)
UTAH NATO Uniform and a backwards (making a comeback) HAT for headgear.
16 Princess, one travelling east in Gulf State (4)
RANI Take your Gulf State, call it IRAN, and sent the I (one) on an eastward journey to the other end of the word.
18 He appears confused at first adapting old crosscountry event (5,5)
An anagram (adapting) of HE APPEARS plus Confused at first. I don’t know if such things still happen, but there’s one in The Railway Children
when Jenny Agutter’s potential love interest gets stuck in the tunnel.
21 Standards of service right for inclusion by agents (8)
CRITERIA RITE for service plus R(ight) are included in the CIA, a bunch of agents.
22 Maintain a fine business (6)
AFFIRM Nice and easy. A F(ine) and FIRM for business
23 As loose dogs may be, or doctors driven to patients, do we hear? (7,2,4)
BROUGHT TO HEEL A pleasant charade: a doctor may be brought to heal a patient (ah, the far off days of chauffeur driven GPs making home visits). If you hear it, you hear our answer.
25 Leader of Oxford Group keeping church cat (6)
OCELOT The leader of Oxford is indeed O, the group is (a) LOT, and the inserted church is represented by CE for Church of England.
26 Motor sport competitor’s friend is right outside (8)
RALLYIST Not a wholly familiar word but a deducible one. Friend is ALLY, is is IS, and then put that other abbreviation for right, RT, ouside.
2 Plant without root’s outside under bone (7)
RIBWORT So the random bone is a RIB, WithOut gives you the WO, and root’s outside the RT. Again, a plausible deduction from the wordplay. It’s a weed with (you might guess) strongly ribbed leaves.
3 Historian in press register digesting English verse (11)
MEDIEVALIST I spell it with an extra A, but didn’t have enough room. Press is MEDIA, and register is LIST, into which you insert E(nglish) V(erse)
4 Hunter about to imbibe port (5)
ORION He with the starry belt. The setter’s favourite port, RIO (when it’s not tawny) taken in (imbibed) by ON for about
5 Monstrosity has detective angry (7)
EYESORE Detective give EYE (think “private”) and angry SORE.
6 Old sycophant, one taking courses with demon driver? (9)
TOADEATER Chambers chucks in a hyphen and confirms its archaic status. We get it from the demon driver of the Wind in the Willows, the incorrigible Mr TOAD (poop, poop!) with an EATER, literally one taking courses, tacked on.
7 Game finally given outdoor enclosure (3)
RUN My guinea pigs used to have the relative freedom of a wooden framed run with chicken wire to keep them in and foxes out. R(ugby) U(nion) is the game, with N from the end (finally) of giveN.
8 Gallery about to be erected in museum (7)
VERANDA The museun is the Victoria and Albert, abbreviated to VANDA, with RE for about (this time) “erected” and inserted.
12 Irritable lady gutted about charge, needing physical contact? (6-5)
TOUCHY-FEELY I’ll leave you to decide whether that sort of physical contact is welcome or not. Irritable here is TOUCHY, LadY gutted gives LY, and charge therein is FEE.
14 Unreproducible chit Porgy composed (9)
COPYRIGHT Yes, an anagram (composed) of CHIT PORGY. For the clue to be strictly true, there really needs to be a word unlegallyreproduciblewithoutpermission. I bet there is in German.
17 Like certain exercises with a crashing bore in charge (7)
AEROBIC A is A, “crashing” bore gives EROB, and In Charge gives the IC.
19 Pair consuming coffee and course of meal (7)
PLATTER Pair abbreviates to PR, and coffee adulterates to LATTE, which is “consumed”.
20 Extra place by ancient city in South America (7)
SURPLUS Here place abbreviates to PL, placed beside UR the ancient Chaldean city, within S(outh) and US for America. A lesson in the importance of lifting and separating.
22 Bikini, possibly, demanding a tax (5)
ATOLL Before it was a two piece swimsuit, Bikini was the group of islands used for nuclear testing by the US. A tax is A TOLL.
24 Work hard, sacrificing time for painting (3)
OIL Work hard is TOIL. Knock off the T(ime)