5 minutes... no, wait, 9:48... grrrrrrrrrrr.....
A brief summary of cryptic crosswords —feel free to skip— :
- Each clue has at least one "definition": an unbroken string of words which more-or-less straightforwardly indicates the answer. A definition can be as simple as a one-word synonym; but it can also be a descriptive phrase like 'I'm used to wind' for REEL or SPOOL. A definition by example must be indicated by a phrase like 'for example', or, more commonly, a question mark (?). Thus 'color' is a definition of RED, while 'red, for example' or 'red?' are definitions of COLOR. Punctuation (and capitalization) is otherwise irrelevant.
- Each clue may also have an unbroken string of words which indicates the answer through wordplay, such as: using abbreviations; reversing the order of letters; indicating particular letters (first, last, outer, middle, every other, etc); placing words inside other words; rearranging letters (anagrams); replacing words by words that sound alike (homophones); and combinations of the above. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the general theme is to reinterpret ordinary words as referring to letters, so that for example 'lion's head' indicates the first letter of LION: namely, L.
- Definitions and wordplay cannot overlap. The only other words allowed in clues are linking words or phrases that combine these. Thus we may see, for example: "(definition) gives (wordplay)" or "(definition) and (definition)" or "(wordplay) is (definition)".
- The most common clues have either two definitions, or one definition plus wordplay, in either order. But a single, very misleading definition is not uncommon, and very occasionally a definition can also be interpreted as wordplay leading to the same answer. Triple definitions (and more) are also possible.
My conventions in the solutions below are to underline definitions (including a defining phrase); put linking words in [brackets]; and put all wordplay indicators in boldface. I also use a solidus (/) to help break up the clue where necessary, especially for double definitions without linking words.
After the solutions, I list all the wordplay indicators and abbreviations in a Glossary.
Across1 Bond is on alert breaking / in! (12)
RELATIONSHIP = IS ON ALERT anagrammed + HIP
Didn't parse this while solving. Quite tricky!
8 Regressing predictably involves this drink (5)
CIDER = hidden reversed in PREDICTABLY
9 Dad swallowing an excellent remedy for ills (7)
PANACEA = PA around AN + ACE
10 Eagle in whirling descent (7)
LINEAGE = EAGLE IN anagrammed
11 Grimace [when] church pursues gain (5)
WINCE = CE after WIN
12 Xmas booze g-g-gone astray! (6)
EGGNOG = GGGONE anagrammed
14 Clearly providing an example of this! (6)
ADVERB = cryptic definition
'Clearly' is an adverb.
17 Short story / being broadcast — it could be gripping! (5)
TALON = TALE without the last letter + ON
19 Island in / unsettled US area, [or] continental one? (7)
EURASIA = I in anagram of US AREA
Continental area, that is.
21 Musical drama / extremely tiresome work (7)
OPERATE = OPERA + first and last letters of TIRESOME
22 Love trapped by one obscure colloquialism (5)
IDIOM = O in I + DIM
23 Poor place the owner soon abandoned (3-5,4)
ONE-HORSE TOWN = THE OWNER SOON anagrammed
Down1 Royal Engineers gathering [in] memory (12)
RECOLLECTION = R.E. + COLLECTION
2 Charged a lot [in] Los Angeles retreat (5)
LADEN = LA + DEN
3 Whirlwind [is] to trouble, sucking in Royal Navy (7)
TORNADO = TO + ADO around RN
4 Duck small victim [for] large bird (6)
OSPREY = O + S + PREY
5 Southern / wine brewed [for] strength (5)
SINEW = S + WINE anagrammed
6 Anger / that smoulders in RC service? (7)
INCENSE = double definition
7 One like Noah, after flood, [finding] insect? (5,7)
WATER BOATMAN = BOATMAN after WATER
This clue alone took me 4 minutes. Never heard of the bug.
13 Left in strong wind on ship (7)
GALLEON = L in GALE + ON
15 Little animals [in] sleeping quarters freeze (7)
DORMICE = DORM + ICE
16 Falling star, remote, exploded (6)
METEOR = REMOTE anagrammed
18 Elegantly simple / opener from Hitchin Town (5)
NEATH = NEAT + first letter of HITCHIN
20 Sneaky-sounding / attempt [to see] Irish county (5)
SLIGO = SLY homophone + GO