12:16 and I felt glad to finish! Tough Quickies are, to my taste, much more frustrating than tough 15x15s, as there are fewer ways to work your way into the grid.
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 is otherwise irrelevant. Proper nouns will appear capitalized, but otherwise capitalization is irrelevant as well.
- 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 Wasted energy involves everyone as a rule (9)
GENERALLY = anagram of ENERGY around ALL
6 Something valuable quietly presented to lord (5)
PEARL = P + EARL
8 Mechanic [showing] skill if joined by decorator (9)
ARTIFICER = ART + IF + ICER
9 Couple / who wrote American novels? (5)
TWAIN = double definition
This took me much longer than it should have.
10 Shortens / more than one agreement (9)
CONTRACTS = double definition
I could only think of ABRIDGES!
12 Numbers including crazy folk who can't settle? (6)
NOMADS = NO.S around MAD
13 State [of] old character residing in British India (6)
BRUNEI = RUNE in B + I
16 Joining a couple of hundred, accompanied by / rebellious noises (9)
ACCESSION = A + CC + anagram of NOISES
18 The best / ointment? (5)
CREAM = double definition
19 Cleaner to fix / plant outside / entrance to bathroom (9)
NAILBRUSH = NAIL + RUSH around first letter of BATHROOM
21 Taken in [and] punished — not the first (5)
EATEN = BEATEN without the first letter
22 Boy, / turning ten, / always poetic [as] writer of verse (9)
SONNETEER = SON + TEN reversed + E'ER
Down1 Looked [to have] organ around church (7)
GLANCED = GLAND around C.E.
2 Marking zero — that's heartless! (6)
NOTING = NOTHING without the middle letter
Tricky, excellent, and my last in.
3 Apply to go up and down (5)
REFER = palindrome
I believe the sense here is, "What does that word apply/refer to?".
4 Resin [supplied by] servant releasing key (3)
LAC = LACKEY without KEY
'A dark red transparent resin', according to Chambers.
5 North-country folk irksome Henry upset (12)
YORKSHIREMEN = IRKSOME HENRY anagrammed
6 Holy figureheads transformed into Spartans (6,6)
PATRON SAINTS = anagram of INTO SPARTANS
7 A / bad person / in charge holds me up at university? (8)
ACADEMIC = A + CAD + I.C. around ME reversed
11 Conservative on mission [for] mastery (8)
CONQUEST = CON + QUEST
14 Farmer, an / Argentinian who fought between rivers (7)
RANCHER = AN + CHE between R and R
15 Very small / interval — much less than an hour (6)
MINUTE = double definition
17 Sword penetrates a breast — just part of it (5)
SABRE = hidden in PENETRATES A BREAST
20 Where to drink during November (3)
INN = IN + N