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Times 27985 - Humphry Clinker Rides Again!

A very pleasant Monday offering, which I managed to complete in a little under 20 minutes. Noteworthy I thought were a couple of inchoate chestnuts at 1 and 26 across, as well as an Australian island responsible for Ricky Ponting and a lot of rain. Also popping up is a town in Apulia, which sounds remarkably similar to another town on the heel of Italy - both scenes of naval battles, to boot - if you will pardon the pun. But pride of place must go to the gentleman at 5 across - once described by George Orwell as Scotland's best novelist. He favoured the epistolary kind, which an old codger like me rather enjoys (see also Clarissa, which is a hoot - if a very long one).

Afore ye go!

ACROSS

1 One leaves intact vessel in warehouse (8)
ENTREPOT - ENT[i]RE POT; a warehouse or, as we had it recently, a port. Hong Kong is still referred to as such - if you're brave enough to offer an opinion...
5 Maybe Smollett’s books reflected prejudice (6)
TOBIAS - OT reversed (reflected) BIAS
9 Glaring error primarily confronted by advocates generally (9)
BAREFACED - BAR (advocates generally) E[rror] FACED (confronted)
11 Scene of chaos finally disturbing Sackville-West (5)
VISTA - [chao]S in VITA; Sackville-West is best remembered now as the lover of Virginia Woolf, but she was also an author and a gardener of note
12 Game to pen an ode, oddly, or another poem (7)
RONDEAU - anagram* of AN ODE in RU (rugby union)
13 Rich man angry about drug going round university (7)
CROESUS - U in E in CROSS
14 First barrier’s best, somehow, to minimise one’s risk (5,4,4)
HEDGE ONES BETS - HEDGE ONE'S (a whimsical, crosswordian way of referring to barrier number one) BEST*
16 Dissenting criminal class is German, not French to begin with (13)
NONCONFORMIST - NON ('not' in French) then CON FORM (whimsical way of talking about criminal class) IST ('is' in German)
20 Parting word from esteemed leader in heroic novel (7)
CHEERIO - E[steemed] in HEROIC*
21 Posh theologian visiting landed earl, originally a protester (7)
LUDDITE - U (posh, as in Nancy Mitford's universe) DD (Doctor of Divinity) LIT (landed - as in 'the bird lit on the fence') E[arl]
23 Continue to play, getting stick (5)
BATON - BAT ON - today's obligatory world's greatest game reference
24 Antipodean army chap embraced by Welsh girl (9)
TASMANIAN - TA (Territorial Army - still going strong in Crosswordland) MAN (chap) in SIAN (Welsh girl, see)
25 Cleric’s right to run round City area (6)
RECTOR - EC (City area) in R (right) TO (to) R (run - more cricket)
26 Toothless thank you note written by former PM (8)
EDENTATE - EDEN (benighted former prime minister) TA (thank you) TE (note - we have with bread and jam...);'a mammal of an order distinguished by the lack of incisor and canine teeth, including the anteaters, sloths, and armadillos'. When you have tongues like those guys, who needs teeth?

DOWN

1 Board rescue vessel after English doctor (6)
EMBARK - E (English) MB (doctor) ARK (it rescued Noah and a bunch of animals, didn't it?)
2 City codebreaker briefly identified (5)
TURIN - [Alan] TURIN[g]
3 Aim to secure new life in London suburb (7)
ENFIELD - LIFE* in END
4 Meteorological phenomenon commander took in, in leaving war zone (8,5)
OCCLUDED FRONT - OC (officer commanding) [in]CLUDED (took in minus the 'in', which leaves) FRONT (war zone); occlusion refers to the 'process by which the cold front of a rotating low-pressure system catches up the warm front, so that the warm air between them is forced upwards off the earth's surface between wedges of cold air.' I was vaguely familiar with the dental meaning (the position of the teeth when closed).
6 Old boy and girl taking over American patent (7)
OBVIOUS - OB VI O (over) US
7 Urgent aim to protect little sibling (9)
INSISTENT - SIS in INTENT; as in 'His first avowed intent, To be a pilgrim'
8 Most meagre spring initially spilling into others (8)
SPARSEST - SPA (spring), S (spring initially) in REST
10 Respectable regiment is escorted outside and dispersed (13)
DECENTRALISED - DECENT (respectable) RA (regiment) IS in LED ('is with the word escorted placed outside')
14 An ace involved with this medieval league (9)
HANSEATIC - AN ACE THIS*; I believe Hamburg, which I visited some years ago, was part of this grouping
15 Fire consuming nothing at first, except this eatery (5,3)
SNACK BAR - N[othing] in SACK (fire) BAR (except)
17 In the centre, zlotys were sufficient for a port (7)
OTRANTO - [zl]OT[ys] RAN TO ('our supplies ran to a pretty decent spread')
18 Self-absorbed doctor with a whiskey in pub (7)
INDRAWN - DR A W in INN; not a word I knew, but useful for Scrabble
19 Irishman caught at European spiritualists’ meeting (6)
SEANCE - SEAN C (caught) E (European) for this phooey
22 Spanish island business located in Iowa (5)
IBIZA - BIZ in IA (caucus country)
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  • Times Quick Cryptic 1987 by Joker

    Lots of unusual vocabulary, but only one that left me competely reliant on wordplay and checkers (21ac). Perhaps not quite as pithy, original, or…

  • Times 28113 - no more PDMs for me.

    Well this puzzle is 13d with good things, I think; two types of wine, an antelope, a capital city I knew, and an egg cell which reminded me of my…

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