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Mephisto 3027 - Paul McKenna

Those of you who do not do Mephisto puzzles regularly may get tripped up by one of the differences between the daily puzzles and the specialist puzzles which is not announced. When there is a hyphenated term (and there are multiple in this one), the enumeration does not indicate a hyphenated answer. It does indicate when there is more than one word.

Grid watch:  Mephisto is typically 12x12, this is 11x13, with 180-degree symmetry, allowing for the very long entry right down the middle and three entries running across the rows. I've heard setters tell me that constructing a symmetric grid is more fun with odd-length sides since it allows for features in the middle (and avoids the possibility of an accidental swastika in thie middle).  I liked this grid.

Pun watch: Paul McKenna is at it again, with a tricker one this time, a pun on FREE SPEECH running across the top row.

The first definition is underlined.  Away we go...

Across
1 Band on building? We catch set and what numbers do? (6)
FRIEZE - double wordrplay, since it sounds like FREEZE which can mean set and numb
6 Ground where Beatle’s introduction precedes every one (5)
BEACH - B(eatle's) EACH(every one)
10 Townie’s green? Start of exquisite spring (5)
LUNGE - LUNG(a green in a town), E(xquisite)
11 Help spinning this form of fluke (5)
REDIA - reverse of AIDER(help)
12 Rarely can it develop set between others (11)
INTERCALARY - anagram of RARELY,IT,CAN
13 Pull a funny face about summer’s last drink (4)
GIRN - last letter of summeR inside GIN(drink)
14 Saints amongst those working tapestries (7)
DOSSERS - S,S(saints), insie DOERS(those working) - did not know this definition of DOSSER
16 Scot’s coal-yard close to kirk that is full of smoke (6)
REEKIE - REE(coal yard), (kir)K, IE(that is)
17 Cap is for French least exciting (6)
TAMEST - TAM(cap), EST(that is)
19 Saki’s struggling and writes out examinations (11)
SKIASCOPIES - anagram of SAKI'S then COPIES(writes out)
23 Stirring drama about invasion force (6)
ARMADA -anagram of DRAMA, then A(about)
26 Poet retaining fashionable narrative style ignored by New Wave (6)
LINEAR -LEAR(poet) containing IN(fashionable)
28 One flapping about National Trust sentence (7)
ANTBIRD - A(about), NT(National Trust), BIRD(jail sentence)
29 This woman with BA, say, pulled back a day’s work up north (4)
GRAD - short for GRADUATE - DARG(day's work) reversed
30 A little one’s misrepresented Taggart’s fraud (11)
STELLIONATE - anagram of A,LITTLE,ONE'S
31 Char’s voice beginning to naff off (5)
TOGUE - TONGUE(voice) with the first letter of Naff missing - char is a fish here
32 One passionately disliked pulling off black top (5)
LOUSE - B(black) removed from BLOUSE(top)
33 Turf in resort is back (5)
SWARD - DRAW(resort), 'S reversed. Not a usage of DRAW I'm familiar with, but it is in Chambers
34 Release a new series in Roman type (6)
RANSOM -

Down
1 Fine day for flock (6)
FLIGHT - F(fine), LIGHT(day)
2 Admit Military Intelligence infiltrated popular Red (8)
INTROMIT - MI(military intelligence) inside IN(popular), TROT(red)
3 Queen with this need gives you old Government (6)
EGENCE - if you added R(queen) you would get REGENCE(Government)
4 Bushy-tailed African is bizarrely red in South Africa (5)
ZERDA - anagram of RED in ZA(South Africa).  Don't know about the bushy tail, but this fox has huge ears
5 Take in new Tesco bag — it adds support (13, two words)
ESCORT CARRIER - R(take) inside an anagram of TESCO, then CARRIER(bag)
6 Level in much-loved place where con was done to death (7)
BRASERO - RASE(level to the ground) inside BRO(much loved place, second def in Chambers)
7 Net otherwise closed by Egypt (6)
EEL-SET - ELSE(otherwise) inside ET(Egypt)
8 Dire price paid out for being stuck on rock (9)
CIRRIPEDE - anagram of DIRE,PRICE
9 Old fence rarely gives up half — right time to “do” grass (6)
HAYSEL - HAY(fence) then SELDOM(rarely) missing the last half
15 Assume control over historic pain in cast — aargh! (9, three words)
TAKE IN TOW -  AKE(pain) in TINT(cast), OW(aargh!)
18 Holy humbug! Drink up, a German wife burst in (8, two words)
PIA FRAUS - SIP(drink) reversed, with A, FRAU inside
20 Stormy Daniels went very slowly (7)
SNAILED - anagram of DANIELS, and a topical reference to the pleasant politics of my adopted country... sigh
21 Principal of conservators loads fragments (6)
CLASTS - C(onservators), LASTS(loads)
22 Sharpen up one making first appearance with trumpet (6)
DE-BLUR - DEB(debutante, one making first appearance), LUR(trumpet)
24 Le Manoir’s dainty is minute packing a bit of gorgeousness, agreed (6)
MIGNON - MIN(minute) containing G(orgeousness), ON(agreed)
25 Measure US prosecutor up for erstwhile award (6)
ADDEEM - MEED(measure), DA(District Attorney) all reversed
27 Language with a couple of laughable fallacies (5)
IDOLA - IDO(language) and the first two letters of LAughable

Sunday Times 4814 by Jeff Pearce

9:49. Straightforward stuff from Jeff this week. I found a few of the definitions a bit loose as I solved, but they all turn out to be supported by dictionaries and/or things I hadn’t come across before. Nothing really obscure: even the plant was familiar to me, and the half-known actress came with generous wordplay. 1ac is that bugbear of some, an anagram of a foreign word, but I am more concerned with familiarity than foreignness and I would expect this word to be familiar to most people. Or perhaps not?

Not much more to say really, so here’s how I think it all fits together…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.

Across
1 Barking seller paid for something to put on one of his plates?
ESPADRILLE - (SELLER PAID)*. Plates of meat is Cockney rhyming slang.
7 Direct all the actors in a play
CAST - DD. I was hesitant about this one. The second definition is fine of course but the first seemed weak to me. However for ‘cast’ Collins has ‘to direct (a glance, attention, etc)’, giving the example ‘cast your eye over this’. I don’t really see the equivalence – you wouldn’t say ‘direct your eye over this’ – but I guess I’ll have to take it up with them rather than Jeff.
9 After driver’s test setback attempt to get a lift for little fellow
TOM THUMB - reversal of MOT (driver’s test), THUMB (attempt to get a lift).
10 Struggle with marsupial caught for wife
COMBAT - replace the W (wife) in WOMBAT with a C.
11 Violin’s entertaining number — String of Pearls
STRAND - STRA(N)D. Again I wasn’t sure here but it turns out a STRAND can be specifically ‘a string of pearls or beads’ (Collins again).
13 Pulled everyone in — being covered in fat (8)
TALLOWED - T(ALL)OWED.
14 Chorister apt to go off accompanists here?
ORCHESTRA PIT - (CHORISTER APT)*.
17 Climber prepared last of red salmon with bread
OLD MANS BEARD - (reD SALMON BREAD)*.
20 Click with H?
HIT IT OFF - HIT with IT OFF gives you H.
21 Public business initially concealed pressure to avoid responsibility
COP OUT - slightly odd wordplay here: OUT (public) is preceded by CO to give COOUT, which then conceals P.
22 The bum’s late with the payment
BEHIND - DD.
23 Music I love follows eloquent speech maker
ORATORIO - ORATOR, I, O.
25 The pictures showing “Lawrence of Arabia”?
EPIC - hidden in ‘the pictures’.
26 Titled actress has boring routine with her car
RUTHERFORD - RUT, HER, FORD. Dame Margaret Rutherford. I had vaguely heard of her I think but needed the wordplay and wouldn’t have been able to tell you her first name.
Down
2 Guns? Small alarming things!
SHOOTERS - S, HOOTERS. This clue could have been more controversial.
3 Ancient king drops charioteer’s gift
ART - ARThur.
4 One shot in a full game of golf
ROUND - DD. When solving I thought the first definition was a reference to alcohol, but of course that would necessarily be more than one drink so I think ballistics is the relevant field.
5 Throws aquatic bird endless shellfish
LOBSTER - LOBS, TERn.
6 Cuts and runs after botched case
ESCALOPES - (CASE)*, LOPES.
7 Oppose match being played around rotting vegetation
COMPOST HEAP - (OPPOSITE MATCH)*.
8 Unable to produce tool for the auditor
SPAYED - sounds like ‘spade’.
12 Love potion from Asia? Orchid crossed with poppy, primarily
APHRODISIAC - (ASIA ORCHID, Poppy)*.
15 Small girl returned flipping wine and deer for chips?
SIDE ORDER - S, reversal (returned) of DI (girl), then reversal (flipping) of RED (wine), ROE (dear).
16 Might you see one shuffling to work in Vegas?
CROUPIER - rather obvious CD.
18 A loud guy cutting newspaper’s insult
AFFRONT - A, F, F(RON)T.
19 Bill and Mark appearing for trial
LINE-UP - LINE (mark), UP (before the beak). ‘Mark’ for LINE struck me as a bit vague.
21 Vermin found in church box
CRATE - C(RAT)E.
24 Topless nob’s high
OFF - tOFF. In the ‘gamy’ sense.

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1339: Cracking Toast

One of the best Jumbos I can remember blogging, this - quite often there's the feeling that a Jumbo setter might have (completely understandably, really!) gone into churn mode to get the job done, but there are a lot of clever, original, and/or legitimately hilarious clues here. Big round of applause to the setter. Lots of potential CODs but I've just noticed again that 53ac's surface is a brilliant homage to Morse, so maybe I'll give it to that. What else did you guys enjoy?

1 Reduction in aid given to church body (7)
CHASSIS - ASSIS{t} ["reduction in" aid] given to CH [church]

5 Mazdaist works printed and published secretly (8)
SAMIZDAT - (MAZDAIST*) ["works"]

9 Cheap, silly rings he passed on (3-3)
TWO-BIT - TWIT [silly] "rings" OB [he passed on]

13 Top brickie partnering Greek miss in series of films (7,3,6)
WALLACE AND GROMIT - WALL ACE [top brickie, ha ha] + AND GR OMIT [partnering | Greek | miss]

14 Poor quality gifts? Not from Santa’s place! (6)
GROTTO - GROT TO [poor quality gifts? | not from]

16 Appropriate the second person’s no longer veiled (8)
STEALTHY - STEAL THY [appropriate | the second person's, "no longer"]

17 Reduced pollination from the right shrub (4)
ANIL - hidden reversed in {pol}LINA{tion}

18 Left home after resolving troubles, those often exaggerated? (9)
MOLEHILLS - (L HOME*) ["after resolving"] + ILLS [troubles]. "Making mountains out of molehills"

20 Firm found to be outside law, slightly corrupt (8)
STALWART - START [found] "to be outside" (LAW*) ["slightly corrupt"]

21 Madly in love with Catholic maybe embracing pacifism (11)
NONVIOLENCE - (IN LOVE*) ["madly"], with NON-CE [Catholic maybe] "embracing" it

24 A letter from abroad, apart from anything else making you smile? (9)
AMUSINGLY - A MU SINGLY [a | letter from abroad | apart from anything else]

25 Popular session I vote to join (8)
INTERMIX - IN TERM I X [popular | session | I | vote]

26 Fruit starts off as cold as ice (4)
ACAI - A{s} C{old} A{s} I{ce}

29 Where CO passes, putting fag out in front of churchwarden? (7,4)
EXHAUST PIPE - putting EXHAUST [fag out] in front of PIPE [churchwarden?]

31 Source of energy cuts old British PM’s entertaining? (5,3,3)
NORTH SEA GAS - E [energy] cuts NORTH'S A GAS [old British PM's entertaining], &lit.

33 Did Nick pop back before hotel closed? (11)
APPREHENDED - PA reversed [pop "back"] + PRE H ENDED [before | hotel | closed]

36 Fitting act by doctor, attending sick (11)
DOVETAILING - DO [act] by VET [doctor], attending AILING [sick]

38 Capital made out of party hat being too small (4)
DOHA - DO [party] + HA{t}. Capital city of Qatar.

39 Intended answer not exactly reflecting Oxbridge life? (8)
ACADEMIA - reverse all of AIMED A CA [intended | answer | not exactly]

41 General going with model to get plastered (9)
ROUGHCAST - ROUGH [general] going with CAST [model]

44 Got down without delay, oddly finding nothing (6-5)
DIDDLY-SQUAT - DID SQUAT [got down], "without" D{e}L{a}Y

45 Mass killer one time leaving a pair of graves (4,4)
ATOM BOMB - A + TOMB {t}OMB [pair of graves, with one T leaving]

48 Ace TV show’s without energy however (2,2,5)
AS IT COMES - A SITCOM'S [ace | TV show's] "without" E [energy]

49 Form of agreement extended by adding a second? (4)
OKAY - OK is a form of agreement, which can be extended by adding AY, a second form of agreement, and I guess the whole is a sort of &lit?

50 Satellite receiver to come down after swapping three components (8)
MINIDISH - DIMINISH [come down], with three letters (D, M, N) moving around

52 In position I maybe must make new place base (6)
PLINTH - if position A is 1, B is 2, etc, position I is NINTH. Make N [new] into PL [place] and you have a base. Whew!

53 Old police series with Oxford DCI keen on good puzzling (5,2,4,5)
DIXON OF DOCK GREEN - (OXFORD DCI KEEN ON G*) ["puzzling"]

54 What garden’s left with after hurricane’s finished off? (6)
NOSHED - or NO SHED, what garden might be left with after a hurricane, ha ha.

55 Decline to be seen in a white coat normally (3,5)
SKI SLOPE - cryptic definition, for a usually snow-covered downhill incline

56 Shot provider of duff gen on country at war briefly (7)
SYRINGE - (GEN*) ["duff"] on SYRI{a} [country at war, "briefly"]

DOWN
1 Not merely one’s desire to be as neat? (6)
COWISH - a CO-WISH being a desire shared between two people, ha ha. Neat being a word for cows, "as neat" here = likes cows!

2 Poisoner keeps being sheltered, having got off (6)
ASLEEP - ASP [poisoner] keeps LEE [being sheltered]

3 Composer in obscurity mostly rich, at last (9)
SCARLATTI - (RIC{h} AT LAST*) ["in obscurity"]

4 Fume descending on delicate twig (3,3,5)
SEE THE LIGHT - SEETHE [fume] descending on LIGHT [delicate]

5 Perfume to be picked up and dispatched (4)
SENT - homophone of SCENT [perfume]

6 A long time in reorganising unsuccessful defence (7,4)
MAGINOT LINE - (A LONG TIME IN*) ["reorganising"]. Didn't stop the Germans from invading France in WWII.

7 Life drifting round Australia turned idiot on, crossing desert finally (11)
ZOOPLANKTON - reversed O OZ [round | Australia, "turned"] + PLANK ON [idiot | on], "crossing" {deser}T

8 When a child one must visit the old country (4,5)
ASIA MINOR - AS A MINOR [when a child], I [one] "must visit"

10 Connecting tunnel in theory hard, without right tunneller around (8)
WORMHOLE - H [hard], W/O R MOLE [without | right | tunneller] "around"

11 String player’s jamming style? (10,6)
BOTTLENECK GUITAR - this is a style of playing guitar where bottleneck suggests a different type of jamming, ha ha!

12 Sounds a warning that is for one on foot (7)
TOOTSIE - TOOTS I.E. [sounds a warning | that is]

15 Look up conceivably rather dreadful version of Gaelic (3,5)
OLD IRISH - reversed LO [look "up"] + DIRISH [conceivably, rather dreadful]

19 Genteel field day arranged (8)
LADYFIED - (FIELD DAY*) ["arranged"]

22 Part of Cumbria legend where eg European turns into pack leader (8)
LAKELAND - take the word LEGEND, then turn the EG E in the middle into AKELA [scout pack leader]

23 Carry out raising of platforms, admitting one to have been buried (4,2,3,7)
PUSH UP THE DAISIES - PUSH UP THE DAISES [carry out raising of platforms!] "admitting" I [one]

27 More than one enlightening moment sadly isn’t (sigh) (8)
INSIGHTS - (ISN'T SIGH*) ["sadly"]

28 Sci-fi knights turned up alongside jail guards (4)
JEDI - hidden reversed in {alongs}IDE J{ail}

30 Set of 45s, maybe, but no new instruments (4)
UKES - {n}UKES [set of 45ac = atom bombs, minus N for new]

32 Water deity’s way, protecting quartet thus (5,3)
RIVER GOD - RD [way] "protecting" IV ERGO [quarter | thus]

34 Former copper and spy chief in court getting pardon (6,2)
EXCUSE ME - EX CU [former | copper] + M [spy chief] in SEE [court]

35 Old creatures trampled, breaking into bits across pond (11)
DIMETRODONS - TROD ON [trampled], "breaking into" DIMES [bits, across pond]

36 Do add a dose — a shot — and absolutely no more (4,2,1,4)
DEAD AS A DODO - (DO ADD A DOSE A*) ["shot"]

37 They can be depressed by what it takes to hitch-hike! (11)
THUMBPIECES - cryptic def, you need your thumb to hitch-hike, and you use it to press a thumbpiece

40 Piece of chicken held in the kitchen? (9)
DRUMSTICK - double def, where the "kitchen" is a percussion section

42 Fabulous example of bell doubling as buzzer? (9)
HUMDINGER - a DINGER is a bell, but a HUM is a buzz, so...

43 Formal attire not to have any connection with bishop (5,3)
BLACK TIE - LACK TIE [not to have any connection], with B [bishop]

44 Notice secretary’s put in study unable to be read? (7)
DEADPAN - AD PA [notice | secretary] is put in DEN [study]

46 Old judge of mine, reflecting over a long period (6)
GIDEON - reversed DIG [mine, "reflecting"] over EON [a long period]

47 Beef joint presented by wife (6)
WHINGE - HINGE [joint] presented by W [wife]

51 In speech, throws in something cutting (4)
ADZE - homophone of ADDS [throws in]

Summer Bank Holiday Jumbo 1340

This one required an average solving time but it felt harder than that - there were several answers that I had to biff and then reverse-engineer the parsing. FOI 5A, LOI 47D. I very much liked the surfaces of 19A and 53A - not difficult clues, but also not obviously clues at all.


Read more...Collapse )
I found this puzzle a workout! About a third of the clues were “regular weight” and went in in 10 minutes or so, then I spent another hour or more looking at clue after clue without enlightenment. Couldn’t find the definitions, couldn’t untangle the wordplay.

Even when answers seemed obvious – for example, 1ac, 12ac or especially 8dn – I couldn’t figure out the parsing. And yet once you work it out, every clue works perfectly. I finished it all eventually, and only had to check the old spelling at 15ac for the blog, but I think this is one of the most challenging and enjoyable puzzles I have had the pleasure of blogging. Thanks to the setter!

I’d also like to thank the Crossword Club technos for cleaning up the format so we can paste the clues straight into the blog with minimal tidying up.

Anyway, here we go. Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC', with the anagram indicator in bold italics. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.

Across
1 Nothing right about disgusting feeder (6)
TROUGH: O (nothing), RT (right), all reversed; then followed by UGH (disgusting).

4 Weapon criminal holds level (8)
BALANCED: LANCE in BAD.

10 Heartily sick after leave, rejecting doctor (4,1,4)
WITH A WILL: remove DR from WITH{dr}AW (leave), then ILL (sick). The definition is as in, “they set to with a will”

11 In depression, find a physician (5)
GALEN: a GLEN is a depression. Insert an A. We’ve met Galen here before - he was a Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire.

12 Gather work engrosses old politicians (5,2)
ROUND UP: O (old) “engrossed by” RUN (work), then DUP (the Democratic Unionist Party).

13 Remarkable why restaurant turns one away? (7)
NOTABLE: The restaurant couldn’t seat you if it had NO TABLE.

14 Assassin arrested by Lenin jailed (5)
NINJA: hidden answer.

15 Newly interpret old advice: great (8)
REDEFINE: REDE (archaic spelling of read, meaning advice), then FINE (great).

18 Slender cook with fat children (5,3)
SMALL FRY: SMALL (slender, as in “small chance” - odd that "fat chance" means much the same!), FRY (cook with fat).

20 Closely examining wingless bird (5)
ROBIN: {p}ROBIN{g} without its wings!

23 Bouncy castle I played with (7)
ELASTIC: (CASTLE I*). It's a challenge to work out which end of the clue is the anagram indicator!

25 Argue with one interpretation of ninety degrees? (7)
WRANGLE: W (with), R (right), ANGLE.

26 Peg leg almost put back on Jones’s partner (5)
DOWEL: DOW (Dow Jones index), LE{g} put back.

27 Leading a chosen group, one senior member of it? (9)
ISRAELITE: I (one), SR (senior), all leading A, ELITE (chosen group).

28 Panicking disastrously as a grenade exploded (8)
GADARENE: (A GRENADE*). I didn’t know “Gadarene” as an adjective, but the meaning is obvious enough.

29 Vein runs through meat (6)
STREAK: R (runs) in STEAK.

Down
1 Very violent pull, needing energy to operate bell (8)
TOWERING: TOW (pull), E (energy), RING (operate bell). Definition as in “a towering rage”.

2 Result of a number of voters switching? (7)
OUTTURN: OUTTURN is not a word I’m familiar with, but apparently it can mean “outcome” – logically enough – and hence “result”. Make it by “switching” TURNOUT (number of voters).

3 Barrier, and two other elements of train journey (5,4)
GUARD RAIL: GUARDs and RAILs are features of a train journey.

5 Not unusual to be exhausted by a full shift (3,2,1,4,4)
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK: ALL IN (exhausted), A DAY’S WORK (a full shift).

6 Special terms in old ship announced (5)
ARGOT: sounds like Jason’s ship, the ARGO.

7 Brutish islander, defence finally failing, jailed? (7)
CALIBAN: ALIB{i} (defence, final letter failing), in the CAN (jailed!). Shakespeare.

8 One taking steps and collapsing on ground, getting up (6)
DANCER: an anagram of AND, then REC (ground) backwards (getting up). I really struggled with the parsing of this simple clue!

9 Light reading for one trip thrown in case? (7,7)
AIRPORT FICTION: anagram of FOR I TRIP, inside ACTION (case).

16 Intended to raise a tree metres higher in the sky (9)
FIRMAMENT: MEANT (intended), with the A moved to the top, all with FIR (tree), M (metres) in front (“higher”).

17 Predictable finale from Jack, born fool (8)
KNEEJERK: {Jac}K, NEE (born}, JERK (fool).

19 In revolutionary day, I sounded like a queen? (7)
MIAOWED: I inside MAO (revolutionary), then WED{nesday}. The queen is a cat.

21 Ask for poem, say, and muck it up (7)
BEGRIME: BEG for a RIME (sounds like “rhyme”).

22 Travels up to collect bill for salt (6)
SEADOG: GOES backwards (“up”) around AD (bill).

24 Worker going up the wall perhaps left during row (5)
TILER: L in TIER.
 

Quick Cryptic 1174 by Del Boy

Well, well. I dread to think what any solver would make of this if they had never heard of the TV series Only Fools and Horses. For those of us based in the UK, it is more than familiar, having been repeated mercilessly for 30 years or more. I quite enjoy a good nina, but this one felt rather crowbarred in. The clues are all rather samey, and the usual wit and variety seems to have been sacrificed. The setter's name, I assume is an alias.

Some of the references are obvious - 22ac is the main characters' surname, 15 dn features Cassandra and Raquel, their wives, and a Reliant Robin which was their famous van. Nag's head in 10ac was their local pub. Acrosses 1,6,8,9 and 10 are all insults commonly aimed by Del boy to Rodney. There are undoubtedly others. I see from Wikipedia that the first episode was broadcast on 8th Sept 1981, 37 years ago tomorrow.

Buried amongst it all is the odd nice clue. I liked 2dn


Across
1 Measuring rods to bung in sauces (9)
DIPSTICKS - bung is STICK put inside DIPS
6 Songbird twists oddly (3)
TIT - alternate letters of TwIsTs
8 Idiot trading wonky electricals round Peckham initially (5)
TWERP - intial letters of the rest of the clue
9 Typographical symbol used in recording batches (7)
DINGBAT - hidden word: RecorDING BATches. Printer's ornament
10 Plonker put my rubbish next to Nag’s Head (6)
NUMPTY - anagram ('rubbish') of PUT MY next to N (nag's head)
12 A voting system one left for a month (5)
APRIL - A + PR (voting system) + I + L
13 Athlete having another drink on top of church (13)
STEEPLECHASER - STEEPLE is top of church, CHASER is another drink
17 Thoroughbred’s stark lesson not all needed (5)
ARKLE - hidden word stARK LEsson. Name of a champion racehorse from the 60's
19 Hard worker heartless janitor’s thrown out (6)
TROJAN -  Heartless JANITOR is JANTOR. Anagram it.
22 Foot of pig, maybe, or tail of giant swine (7)
TROTTER - Tail of giant is T, swine is ROTTER
23 Bird used in falconry pastime (5)
HOBBY - double definition.
24 View sound, or larger stretch of water (3)
SEA - sounds like 'see'
25 Having no one in control, slide errs badly (9)
RIDERLESS - anagram ('badly') of SLIDE ERRS

Down
1 Daughter polished off fruit (4)
DATE - D for daughter + ATE
2 Take it before total collapse, finally (7)
PRESUME - PRE is before, SUM is total, E is the last letter of collapse.
3 Raise one’s drink, perhaps, to young setter? (3,2)
TOP UP - TO + PUP
4 One holding tea or tee? (5)
CADDY - non-cryptic definition
5 Bhutan’s unusual way of getting a tan? (7)
SUNBATH - anagram ('unusual') of BHUTANS
6 Root plant, underground, by river (5)
TUBER - TUBE is underground, + R
7 Story about teetotaller — right gossip! (7)
TATTLER - Story is TALE, around TT for teetotaller, right is R
11 Little Terence allowed up (3)
TEL - LET beckwards
13 T-toast’s out for those obsessed with their figures! (7)
STATTOS - anagram ('out') of TTOASTS. Informal word for statistician, particularly someone interested in the statistics of sport.
14 Prelate reorganised cloth folder (7)
PLEATER - i.e. someone who folds cloth. anagram ('reorganised') of PRELATE
15 Cassandra and Raquel originally in Reliant Robin, say (3)
CAR - Initials of Cassandra And Raquel
16 Quiet walk, or unsteady one (7)
SHAMBLE - SH (quiet) + AMBLE
18 Foreign money scattered on ark (5)
KRONA - anagram ('scattered') of ON ARK
19 Exhausted, note, and visibly embarrassed (5)
TIRED - TI (do re me etc) + RED
20 Not the one to upset that woman (5)
OTHER - TO backwards + HER
21 Extra’s parting words (4)
BYES - Double definition. A bye is a type of extra run scored in cricket.
I had a whale of a time with this "proper Friday puzzle", which took me 9 minutes on paper to negotiate its full gamut of cryptic tricks. Loads of treasurable surfaces, and it's always a good sign when there are multiple candidates for Clue of the Day: I absolutely loved the misleading definition and its marriage with the surface at 5ac; but 20dn ran it close for raising two separate smiles with both its definition and wordplay sections; and a mention also to 7dn which has some brilliant and difficult-to-spot wordplay.

FOI was 5ac I think after I really wanted 1ac to be HIGH JUMP; much later to come were the likes of 20ac where I was sure the final X was leading me towards a bit of Latin terminology. (It seemed like there was quite a bit of boxing and punching in this crossword by the way, I hope the setter isn't working out his sublimated aggression on us!) LOI 21dn, which reminded me that I only just learned, at the London meetup last weekend, that "bird" as in "time" is Cockney rhyming slang, "bird lime", well I never! A few clues parsed after the fact, including the obviously very biffable Cumbrian town, the trickily phrased 2dn, and 11ac where I'm ashamed to say I somehow thought INCH was what was being clued by "punch", at time of entry. Thanks so much to the setter for a great and and almost physically punishing workout!

ACROSS
1 Bound to appear at the bar: do this, however? (4,4)
JUMP BAIL - JUMP [bound], to appear at BAIL [the bar], semi-&lit.

5 Pool players might place balls in silence (6)
SPLOSH - PL. O'S [place | balls] in SH [silence]
Definition as in, "people playing at a pool might do this"

10 24 boxes from the East I received (5)
ROGER - R and R (the answer to 24ac) "boxes" EGO [I] read from east to west.
Received and understood.

11 Reel after receiving punch, drawing back (9)
FLINCHING - FLING [reel] after receiving CHIN [punch]

12 Rule on MBE for bungling old statesman (9)
MELBOURNE - (RULE ON MBE*) ["for bungling"]
Our Whig Prime Minister in the 1830s.

13 Baby carriers: the odd ones leaving auntie frail (5)
UTERI - {a}U{n}T{i}E {f}R{a}I{l}, with every odd-numbered character removed

14 Pop back with train set (7)
APPOINT - PA [pop] reversed + POINT [train (a gun, e.g.)]
Set can notoriously mean more things than any other word in the language; I'm sure it can be substituted for appoint in some sentence somewhere.

16 We appreciate that protective coats needed for this race (6)
TATARS - TA TARS [we appreciate that | protective coats]

18 Worthwhile American English teaching outside of university (6)
USEFUL - US EFL [American | English teaching] "outside of" U [university]

20 One protected from early knockout punch — a bit of a bloomer (7)
SEEDBOX - SEED BOX [one protected from early knockout (in tennis, e.g.) | punch]
Bloomer as in a flower (as in a plant not as in a river) not as in a mistake, obviously.

22 Ruler: a timeless measuring device (5)
AMEER - A ME{t}ER [a | measuring device, minus T for time]

23 Grind chickpeas, retaining one tiny amount (9)
MILLIGRAM - MILL GRAM [grind | chickpeas] "retaining" I [one]

25 Clubs getting even with president once (9)
CLEVELAND - C [clubs] getting LEVEL AND [even | with]
Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President (D) of the United States in the 1890s.

CANAL - CANA L [where water miraculously turned (into wine, by Jesus) | left]
26 Ditch where water miraculously turned left (5)

27 Most careless and neglectful, ultimately fell by the wayside? (6)
LAXEST - {neglectfu}L + AXE [fell] by ST. [by the wayside?]

28 A measure of anxiety when confronted with memory (8)
ANGSTROM - ANGST [anxiety] when confronted with ROM [(computer) memory]

DOWN
1 Book’s initially happy end — before Jack turned up (8)
JEREMIAH - reverse all of: H{appy} + AIM ERE J [end | before | Jack]
Second book of the Prophets in the Old Testament.

2 Grand for cast to gather briefly around emperor (5)
MOGUL - G [grand] for MOUL{d} [cast ... "briefly"] to "gather"

3 Sailors opening four wine bars transformed southern town (6-2-7)
BARROW-IN-FURNESS - R.N. [sailors] "opening" (FOUR WINE BARS*) ["transformed"] + S [southern]

4 News hotel’s unfinished: expecting trouble! (2,3,2)
IN FOR IT - INFO RIT{z} [news | hotel ("is unfinished")]

6 Restore equilibrium, perhaps, as able musician should, quickly (4,2,3,6)
PICK UP THE PIECES - double definition

7 There were no survivors, except revolutionary in uniform (5,4)
OLIVE DRAB - O LIVED = ZERO LIVED [there were no survivors] + reversed BAR [except, "revolutionary"]

8 Hamper in corner, by couple (6)
HOGTIE - HOG [corner (e.g. the market)] by TIE [couple (v.)]

9 Turn off after upsetting, lacklustre video displays (6)
DIVERT - hidden reversed in {lacklus}TRE VID{eo}

15 Fresh ad sexed up ballet sequence (3,2,4)
PAS DE DEUX - (AD SEXED UP*) ["fresh"]

17 English flower on minute purple illustration (8)
EXEMPLUM - EXE [English flower (as in river)] on M [minute] + PLUM [purple]

19 Here one might pick up saddle for one’s lower back? (6)
LUMBAR - homophone of LUMBER [saddle (v.)]

20 What healthy dish could have? This one would have had sultanas (7)
SALADIN - a healthy dish "could have SALAD IN". Sultanas can be the female counterpart of a sultan, as well as found in food.

21 Usual place for bird, not quite a box (6)
PARCEL - PAR CEL{l} [usual | place for bird, in the time in prison sense, "not quite" i.e. missing its last letter]

24 Leisure time organised by medic (1,3,1)
R AND R - RAN [organised] by DR. [medic]

Times Quick Cryptic No 1173 by Tracy

I have blogged Tracy a fair few times, enjoying the range of his clue types and difficulty levels.  This one took me 12 minutes from start to finish, so was nicely in the middle of my target range, which should mean that most of you find it middlingly difficult.

Certainly, there was nothing too obscure or difficult here.  I spent a little time looking for an anagram of [FORGED BAR IT] in 10d before recognising that there was no clear anagram indicator in the clue, and re-assessing.  I’m going to plump for 6d as WoD and CoD, but there are other worthy contenders.

Thanks again Tracy.

I am off to Arizona and California tomorrow for 16 days, so my next blog will be done from a distance, and is likely to be briefer than usual as a result..


Across
1  Kind actors playing similar roles continually (8)
TYPECAST – TYPE (kind) and CAST (actors).  Being TYPECAST is where a particular actor becomes strongly identified with a particular character, or characters having the same traits.
Girl in film is seductive (4)
MISS – Hidden in the clue (in) {fil}M IS S{eductive}
Model’s difficult question (5)
POSER – Double definition
9 Anger shown by home clubs seen off (7)
INCENSE – IN (home) C{lubs} and an anagram (off) of [SEEN].  To INCENSE is to anger
11  Diamonds leader lost in French resort (3)
ICE – The French resort is {n}ICE, which loses its leader or first letter.  ICE for diamonds is a bit of a cryptic chestnut worth remembering.
12 Have more than revealed by issue (9)
OUTNUMBER – OUT (revealed, in the modern idiom) and NUMBER (issue, as in the number or issue of a periodical or other item, such as Quick Cryptic number 1173, or issue 1173 of the QC).
13  Unusually small bit players (6)
EXTRAS – EXTRA S{mall} would be unusually small.
15  Visit nurse after a short time (6)
ATTEND – TEND (nurse) after A (a) and T{ime} (short time)
18  Advocate increase, mostly to disrupt trade (9)
BARRISTER – RIS{e} (increase mostly, i.e. drop last letter) disrupting (inside) BARTER (trade)
19  Important American soldier returned after onset of battle (3)
BIG – GI (American soldier) reversed (returned) after onset (i.e. first letter of) B{attle}
20  Hand tool, last of his I removed from bag (7)
SPANNER – {hi}S (last of) PANN{i}ER (I removed from pannier, or bag)
21  Former deed, correct in every detail (5)
EXACT – EX (former) and ACT (deed)
22  Son with contents of hourglass? (4)
SAND – S{on} AND (with).  The question mark is because not all hourglasses are filled with SAND
23  Not this dear French stateswoman (8)
THATCHER – THAT (not this) and CHER (dear in French).  Some might argue that Maggie was no stateswoman, but not me.  Incidentally, her home town appeared in a clue yesterday.

Down
1 Joint best team (7)
TOPSIDE – TOP (best) and SIDE (team)
Spread glue (5)
PASTE – Double definition
3  Chapter on poor reorganisation helping large firm (11)
CORPORATION – C{hapter} followed by anagram of [POOR] (reorganisation) and RATION (helping).
4  Quiet and enthusiastic about religion (6)
SHINTO – SH (quiet) and INTO (enthusiastic about).  SHINTO is the traditional religion of Japan.
Base of British Legion damage externally (7)
IGNOBLE – B{ritish} inside an anagram (damaged) of [LEGION].  Externally is the containment indicator for the B.
Guide soothsayer round Petra’s centre (5)
STEER – Soothsayer is SEER which surrounds (round) the middle letter of {pe}T{ra} (centre)
10 Forged bar – it must contain iron (11)
COUNTERFEIT – COUNTER (bar) and IT (it) around (containing) FE (chemical symbol for iron)
14 Turtle avoiding soft ground (7)
TERRAIN – TERRA{p}IN – type of turtle avoiding P (soft)
16  Follows sailor’s night light (3,4)
DOG STAR – DOGS (follows) and TAR (sailor) to give one name of Sirius, a star in the constellation of Cannis Major (Greater Dog).
17  Celebrity on church formality (6)
STARCH – STAR (celebrity) on CH{urch}.
18  The fundamental ingredient of book without any changes (5)
BASIS – B{ook} and AS IS (without any changes)
19  Head of bank, reckless and cocky (5)
BRASH – B{ank} (head of, i.e. first letter) and RASH (reckless)

Times 27136 - hope you made it to 12!

Solving time: 7:52, and I think this puzzle was very much on my wavelength, almost all of the across answers went in on a first reading, and it was only two sweeps through the clues until things were slotted in. Also helped that a few more obscure words have popped up on my day to blog them.

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go!

Across
1 Bank agent meets huge politician, one to be entertained (10)
REPOSITORY - REP(agent), OS(huge), TORY(politician) containing I(one)
6 Unpopular worker provided with cards ultimately, then taxi (4)
SCAB - last letter in cardS, then CAB(taxi)
9 A Bishop observed to be half-hearted attracts church attendance? No! (7)
ABSENCE - A. B(bishop, chess), then SEEN(observed) missing one of the E's in the middle, CE(church)
10 Place of refreshment in desolate place man found heading west (7)
TAPROOM - MOOR(desolate place) and PAT(man) both reversed
12 Support immoral position taken by sportsman (6,4)
SECOND BASE - SECOND(support), BASE(immoral) - the name can refer to the plate bag on a baseball field, or the player who normally starts behind it and to the left right (looking from the batter)
13 Commander once more abandoning home (3)
AGA - AGAIN(once more) missing IN(home)
15 Hesitation about going by river? Try again (6)
RETEST - ER(hesitation) reversed then the river TEST
16 It's strange, being single, strange not to be hugged (8)
UNWONTED - UNWED(single) with an anagram of NOT inside. This came up once before when I was blogging, it can mean both unaccustomed to and strange
18 Well-known female with question expressing self-doubt about honesty (8)
FAMILIAR -  F(female), and the ungrammatical question AM I LIAR?
20 Rare fright when cold is caught (6)
SCARCE - SCARE(fright) holding C(cold)
23 Good times of quiet embraced by you and me (3)
UPS - P(quiet) inside US(you and me)
24 Sailor has mishap with mind distracted (10)
MIDSHIPMAN - anagram of MISHAP and MIND
26 Return of Communist fury with Russia's leader put out, upset (7)
DERANGE - RED(communist) reversed then ANGER(fury) without the first letter of Russia
27 Party in Cairo is terrific (7)
ROISTER - hidden in caiRO IS TERrific
28 River not in good shape — there's little flow here (4)
RILL - R(river), ILL(not in good shape)
29 Old city that's cheerless, in which sailor eats fish (10)
STALINGRAD - a double container!  LING(fish) in TAR(sailor) in SAD(cheerless)

Down
1 Register money being in short supply (4)
READ - READY(money) missing the last letter.  This was my last in, as I don't usually equate READ=REGISTER, but it does work in the context of indicate
2 Most stylish female in office (7)
POSHEST - SHE(female) in POST(office)
3 No sons of gloom will be excited by this set of love poems (4,2,7)
SONG OF SOLOMON - anagram of NO,SONS,OF,GLOOM
4 Like heavy material getting thin after short time (6)
TWEEDY - WEEDY(thin) after T(time) - when I first read the clue I thought it said "like heavy metal", which is not particularly TWEEDY
5 Prepares again to control son sinking to the bottom (8)
RETRAINS - RESTRAIN(control) with S moving to the end
7 Firm with nothing left -- worker fluid in a hot situation (7)
COOLANT - CO(firm), O(nothing), L(left) and a worker ANT
8 Soldier recalled touching book without one dull moment (10)
BOMBARDIER - RE(touching), B(book) containing I(one), DRAB(dull), MO(moment) all reversed. Clever wordplay!
11 Assumption before the start (13)
PRECONCEPTION - PRE(before), CONCEPTION(the start)
14 Supporting architect is more intelligent (10)
PROFOUNDER - PRO(supporting), FOUNDER(architect)
17 Strongest deer passes away in shelter (8)
HARDIEST - HART(deer) containing DIES(passes away)
19 Bloke lacking energy on a lake is a blow (7)
MISTRAL - MISTER (bloke) minus E, then A, L(lake) - a blow of wind
21 Area covered by minister that gives power (7)
REACTOR - A (area) inside RECTOR(minister)
22 Like some church services more or less hourly (6)
CHORAL - C(more or less, circa) HORAL(hourly)
25 Trained as educationist with grasp of one of the basic subjects? (4)
BRED - the educationalist has a B. ED.  Insert an R (reading, riting or rithmetic)

Times 27135 - That dog again!

I found this a straightforward job, lots of anagrams and 'do what it says' type wordplay, but overall I couldn't get excited about it. Maybe I was just not in the mood, in the middle of moving house and not much time for relaxing with more than one quick coffee. In a word, for me, unmemorable. It took half an hour but would have been less if I was concentrating.




Across
1 Last part of race maybe sorted out (8)
STRAIGHT - Double definition; sorted out in the sense of 'put straight'.
5 Epicurean opponent hosting current party in recession (6)
FOODIE - FOE = opponent, hosts I DO reversed, I = current, DO = party.
9 Latest of restrictions in force affected trees (8)
CONIFERS - (S IN FORCE)*, the S from end of restrictionS.
10 County with the very thing in accommodation (6)
BEDSIT - BEDS as in Bedfordshire, IT as in the very thing,
12 Supremacy accorded local lions? (5,2,5)
PRIDE OF PLACE - Cryptic definition, witty-ish.
15 The writer contributing to series that could be tripe (5)
RUMEN - RUN = series, insert ME the writer.
16 Haggard villain I caught crossing state (9)
CADAVERIC - CAD = villain, IC = I caught, insert AVER = state. Nothing to do with H. Rider Haggard,
18 Official staff previously rung several times (9)
SPOKESMAN - SPOKES = rung, several times, then MAN = staff.
19 Where we meet goddess, making final 90 degree turn (5)
VENUE - VENUS the goddess has her S turned from south to east for an E.
20 Deplorable teenage acts finally destroy business (6,6)
ESTATE AGENCY - (TEENAGE ACTS)*, Y. The Y from end of destroy. After the end of this month, with luck, I may NEVER have to deal with an estate agent again. Someone said, the world's second oldest profession, just as bad as the oldest; I am inclined to agree. Apologies if any honest estate agents  (is that an oxymoron?) are readers of this.
24 Cats — over fifty disposed of by relatives (6)
OUNCES - O = over, UNCLES = relatives, lose their L.
25 Lawman from area still going round collecting rent (8)
ATTORNEY - A = area, YET = still, reversed = TEY, insert TORN = rent.
26 Decoration from Territorial Army without backing (6)
TASSEL - TA then LESS = without, reversed.
27 Disciplined horse moves a long time after groom (8)
DRESSAGE - DRESS = groom, AGE = a long time.

Down
1 Breakaway group declined to let Conservative in (4)
SECT - SET = declined, as in 'set on not letting him in?' Insert a C for Conservative. Not very convincing. Is a sect always a breakaway group? I thought, just a group.
2 Offensive superiors may pull it (4)
RANK - Double definition.
3 What was gathered at the wicket about to penetrate boundary? (9)
INFERENCE - IN = at the wicket, FENCE = boundary, insert RE = about.
4 Both comrades at sea out of action (4,2,6)
HORS DE COMBAT - (BOTH COMRADES)*
6 Rider cryptically having the advantage (3-2)
ONE-UP - Well, one up on a horse is a rider.
7 Hopeless days in Rome, one having left partnership (10)
DESPAIRING - DIES = Latin for days, I = one is removed; PAIRING = partnership.
8 Difficult to shift, as were troops on the Somme (10)
ENTRENCHED - Not very cryptic definition.
11 Breed of dog on street, unusually bearing right? (6,6)
GORDON SETTER - (DOG ON STREET R)*. I think I've seen the same clue recently, but can't remember if in this esteemed organ or another beginning with G. Anyway I'd never heard of this kind of setter until the clue came up before.
13 Badly shod curate flopped spectacularly (7,3)
CRASHED OUT - (SHOD CURATE)*
14 Badgers bring in new disease, ultimately infecting us (10)
IMPORTUNES - IMPORT = bring in, then insert N = new, E = disease ultimately, into US.
17 Animated, like a thug casing V&A? (9)
VIVACIOUS - V A inside VICIOUS.
21 Some particular premises unfinished (5)
THESE - THESES plural of THESIS = premise(s).
22 S American coin cashier's taken in (4)
INCA - not very hidden, in CO(IN CA)SHIER'S.
23 Build up healthily, filling out with exercise (4)
HYPE - HY = healthy with the 'filling' removed, PE = exercise.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1172 by Teazel

Teazel in the morning, Teazel in the evening, Teazel at suppertime; when Teazel's on a puzzle, you can solve Teazel anytime! My second straight week of Teazel. I did this puzzle during a conversation with my wife and a houseguest, so I don't have a time, but it probably took me around 10 minutes. Enjoyable and smooth like the scotch I unfortunately finished last night.

Across

1 Dog I put down [as] fighter (8)
PUGILIST - PUG ("dog") + I ("I") + LIST ("put down")
As in, "put down on paper".
5 Venomous snakes’ power to inject donkey (4)
ASPS - P ("power") in ("to inject") ASS ("donkey")
Couldn't help snickering like a schoolboy at the wordplay here.
9 One in a suit / that digs (5)
SPADE - double definition
10 Fish in basic wrapper that is to be scanned (3,4)
BAR CODE - COD ("fish") with ("in") BARE ("basic") around ("wrapper")
11 Consume what vegetarians avoid? Not at first (3)
EAT - MEAT ("what vegetarians avoid?") without first letter ("not at first")
It's perhaps worth mentioning the convention that '?' may denote 'for example', and does so here.
12 Dismal fen spattered fine leg, perhaps (9)
FIELDSMAN - DISMAL FEN ("dismal fen") anagrammed ("spattered")
I'm more a snooker man than a cricket man, myself, but this chart of cricket positions is stupendous!
13 Was messing with the bandage (6)
SWATHE - WAS ("was") anagrammed with ("messing with") THE ("the")
15 Flail? Success immediately (6)
WINNOW - WIN ("success") + NOW ("immediately")
Here 'winnow' and 'flail' both refer to threshing wheat, I believe. I found this solve immensely satisfying when the penny dropped, for some reason, perhaps just because I like the word 'winnow'. But I wasn't familiar with this definition.
17 Taxing porridge and fish (9)
GRUELLING - GRUEL ("porridge") + ("and") LING ("fish")
19 Somewhere to sit? Not quite: it’s wet (3)
SEA - SEAT ("somewhere to sit?") without the last letter ("not quite")
Is a hot dog a sandwich? I'll just leave this here: http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-water-wet.
20 Gathered leader of government wasn’t upright (7)
GLEANED - first letter of ("leader of") GOVERNMENT ("government") + LEANED ("wasn't upright")
21 Position of switch repeated, introducing current [for] bulb (5)
ONION - ON ("position of switch") repeated ("repeated"), putting in ("introducing") I ("current")
22 Sound disappointed with uniform — of ballet dancer? (4)
TUTU - TUT ("sound disappointed") + ("with") U ("uniform", on the radio)
Note the definition slyly refers to the word 'uniform', which only appears in the wordplay! If you have a hard time swallowing this phrasing, you can imagine it reads, "that of ballet dancer", or something like that. I got hung up in that I thought the definition was 'uniform of ballet dancer' and the wordplay was 'sound disappointed', so I was looking in vain for a synonym of 'disappointed' that sounds like TUTU!
23 Grand relative permitted glove (8)
GAUNTLET - G ("grand") + AUNT ("relative") + LET ("permitted")
I wondered how 'gauntlet' came to mean both 'glove' on the one hand (no pun intended), and 'trials' or 'ordeals' (as in 'run the gauntlet') on the other. It turns out this latter meaning comes from the Swedish 'gatlopp', and was simply confused with the word 'gauntlet' sometime in the 17th century.

Down

1 Have son supporting law teams (7)
POSSESS - S ("son") under ("supporting") POSSES ("law teams")
'Law teams' is a cute turn of phrase.
2 Admit Lincs town is out of ham (5)
GRANT - GRANTHAM ("Lincs town") without ("is out of") HAM ("ham")
Wikipedia informs me that Grantham is a town in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England.
3 Current situation Delilah often misrepresented (3,2,3,4)
LIE OF THE LAND - DELILAH OFTEN ("Delilah often") anagrammed ("misrepresented")
I'm a 'lay of the land' guy, myself.
4 Fur is a blessing, to some extent (5)
SABLE - IS A BLESSING ("is a blessing") contains the answer ("to some extent")
6 Quiet woman failing [to be] exhibitionist (7)
SHOWMAN - SH ("quiet") + WOMAN ("woman") anagrammed ("failing")
7 Small bird [is] back (5)
STERN - S ("small") + TERN ("bird")
The back of a boat or other craft.
8 How they might have financed the Severn crossing? (8,4)
BRIDGING LOAN - cryptic definition
A 'bridging loan' could be humorously thought of as a loan to help with 'bridging', ie building a bridge. On another note, don't get between a Teazel and his Severn references.
14 A copper assay [is] most important (7)
ACUTEST - A ("a") + CU ("copper", on the periodic table) + TEST ("assay")
16 Shelved stand that now is fashionable (7)
WHATNOT - THAT NOW ("that now") anagrammed ("is fashionable")
The anagram indicator is a bit of a stretch for me... I could get on board with 'fashioned', but 'fashionable'?
17 Enlisted man obtained leg of mutton (5)
GIGOT - GI ("enlisted man") + GOT ("obtained")
18 Home help brought up [in] the country (5)
INDIA - IN ("home") + AID ("help") reversed ("brought up")
19 Accidentally tip out second tablet (5)
SPILL - S ("second") + PILL ("tablet")

Solving time: 38 minutes and the second consecutive puzzle very much at the easier end of the spectrum*. I wondered if the setter was hungry when he compiled it as there seem to be a lot of food references one way or another. I've listed them in the hidden part of this intro, so if you haven't yet solved the puzzle don't venture further for now. *Having written that the puzzle was quite easy I neglected to mention there were two Down clues that had me scratching my head as to their parsing and it has since turned out that my best efforts to explain them were incorrect, so thanks to first commenter Paulmcl for putting me right.

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Times Quick Cryptic 1171 by Breadman

A decent time (9:23) but I didn’t find this easy. Towards the end I was faced with gaps in all four quadrants but was relieved that none of these took too long to fall, the last two being 23 and 21 ac. Maybe it was just the excitement of Sunday's cricket, but does anyone else detect a trace of TMS (Test Match Special) about this offering? The 7ac of the final test vs India on Friday is the 8ac and it was very nearly a 6dn 9ac going into this one. Good fun - thank you Bradman - er, sorry, Breadman.

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Times Quick Cryptic 1170 by Orpheus

Solving time: 11 minutes.  I nearly achieved my target 10 minutes but lost time at the end as I had inadvertently spelt 16ac with EI instead of IE and this delayed solving 15dn as my last one in. There's quite a lot of slang and colloquialism today which may cause problems for those not familiar with it all.

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This was the antithesis to Saturday's magnificent beast. That's not to say that it didn't have merits of its own, but that they were not of the order of mind-bending intricacy displayed by that puzzle. A bit of a movie theme in this one - all referencing well known works of considerable merit in their own genres. I wouldn't be surprised if there were not one or two PBs today. I snuck under 15 minutes - a feat almost as rare as the English top order scoring runs.

ACROSS

1 Cycle on the side of a drop and court disaster (4,3,1,4)
RIDE FOR A FALL - RIDE FOR (on the side of) A FALL; I'd never heard of this - only 'head for a fall'
9 Very fine short name for a hedgehog? (5)
SONIC - SO NIC[e]; a sonic hedgehog (which I also hadn't heard of) is a protein that is encoded by the SHH gene. Who said sciency types had no sense of humour?
10 Fully discuss party no longer in the game (6,3)
THRASH OUT - THRASH (party - 'Roger's having a thrash at his place') OUT (no longer in the game - sadly, Manchester United until they, um, change direction)
11 Organ stop in list (8)
REGISTER - double definition; REGISTER is 'any of the stops on an organ as classified in respect of its tonal quality'
12 Appear in an excited state after parade (4,2)
SHOW UP - UP after SHOW
13 Poisonous liquid in alcohol taken by him at the end (8)
METHANOL - [hi]M ETHANOL; I am told by the fount of all knowledge that 'consuming ethanol alone can cause coma and death', so both liquids can be fatal, though METHANOL clearly fataler
15 Watchword of guy painting in retirement (6)
MANTRA - MAN ART reversed
17 In goal blocking shot (6)
TRENDY - END in TRY
18 Female changed, then sat on the fence (8)
FALTERED - F ALTERED
20 Standards concerning rector (6)
PARSON - PARS ON
21 Rank reduced, so resign (4,4)
STEP DOWN - STEP (rank) DOWN (reduced); I think we need to get from RANK to STEP via a three-point turn through LEVEL ('this is the final step in the career ladder' - thanks to Collins synonym generator)
24 Musical passage in film (5,4)
ANNIE HALL - ANNIE (musical) HALL (passage) - my favourite Woody Allen: 'The medium enters in as a condition of the art form itself'. Nice.
25 Fool about to produce gunpowder ingredient (5)
NITRE - NIT RE
26 Out of harm's way, insane criminals (4-8)
SAFE-CRACKERS - SAFE (out of harm's way) CRACKERS (insane)

DOWN

1 Stage right, Oscar to play guitar (7)
ROSTRUM - R O STRUM
2 Please understand term gent now misused when feeding dog (4,3,2,5)
DONT GET ME WRONG - anagram* of TERM GENT NOW in DOG
3 Concentrate following commander, American (5)
FOCUS - F OC (Officer Commanding: 'the commander of a sub-unit or minor unit (smaller than battalion size), principally used in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth') US
4 Betrayed the trust of lecturer after treat misinterpreted (6,2)
RATTED ON - TREAT* DON
5 Plant in bogland across river (4)
FERN - R in FEN
6 Fail to win compassion, become disillusioned (4,5)
LOSE HEART - LOSE HEART; compassion is one of my least favourite words in the English language owing to its tendency to be used as a purr word signifying in-groups (eg compassionate v Thatcherite)
7 What may be a comfort to one who's just retired? (3-5,6)
HOT-WATER BOTTLE - nice cryptic definition; tip to novice solvers: see 'retired' think 'bed-e-byes'
8 More work! (6)
UTOPIA - quirky definition, since Sir (for Prots) or Saint (for RCs) Thomas More's best known (Latin) work was Utopia; his English-language A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, written at the end of his life, is something of a treat
14 Group of stars with capital attorney (9)
ANDROMEDA - AND (With) ROME DA
16 Leader of revolt having measure of power over revolutionary count (3,5)
WAT TYLER - WATT RELY (count, as in 'Can I count on you?')
17 Picture which involves work (3,3)
TOP HAT - OP in THAT; Top Hat is the best known Astaire/Rogers vehicle, with songs by Irving Berlin, some sharp humour and even sharper dance sequences
19 Housekeeper died: ravens flying about (7)
DANVERS - D RAVENS*; referencing the lady played by the Aussie Dame who wasn't very nice to Olivia de Havilland's kid sister
22 Fear of god? (5)
PANIC - tongue-in-cheek clue, requiring only a smidgen of Saturday's antiquarian knowledge; in a different morphological universe, by analogy with Pyrrhic (relating to Pyrrhus), for example, Panic might mean relating to Pan (or 'of Pan')
23 Club's male champion (4)
MACE - M ACE
Unless you’re very experienced you are unlikely to solve a Mephisto without using Chambers. The idea is that you use the precise wordplay to derive an answer that you then verify in the dictionary. 4A is a perfect example.

This was a very pleasant middle-of-the-road puzzle. There’s one questionable definition at 6D. In the clues definitions are underlined. Wordplay explanation is followed by very helpful comments.



ACROSS

1 Energy is absorbed by lucky chap (4)
JISM: JI(‘S)M; reference book and film “Lucky Jim” - nothing to do with me;  American word for energy or force;
4 Close to fibula, peasant hurt foot (8)
ANAPAEST: (fibul)A-(peasant )*; 2 short syllables followed by 1 long one;
10 Labour paranoid enthralling House — it’s all the same to ministers (10)
ADIAPHORON: (paranoid)* surrounds ho=house; an ethical matter of indifference;
12 No dope taking ecstasy about to get reward (7)
GUERDON: NO-DR(E)UG all reversed; a reward;
13 Immature Edward holding duck and carp (7)
NONAGED: N(O-NAG)ED;
14 Lodgings in square, behind European river (4)
INNS: INN-S; the INN is a river that runs through Switzerland, Austria and Germany; S=square;
15 Neat round window? Elliptical actually (5)
OX-EYE: OX-EYE; neat=OX; round window=EYE; an elliptical dormer window;
16 With churchman away, boy shows contempt in tirades (7)
LAISSES: LA(D-D)ISSES; tirades;
18 Summons succeeded for lady about town (6)
CITESS: CITES-S; American contraction used in preference to citizeness
22 Southern whisky in coloured glasses (6)
SMALTI: S-MALT-I’;
23 Supplier of shade and quiet, say (7)
SHUTTER: SH-UTTER;
24 Boil / fish of the cod family (5)
BLAIN: two meanings;
25 Polled in part of central England almost entirely (4)
NOTT: NOTT(s); short for Nottinghamshire;
26 Hypothetical matter reportedly somehow missing red (7)
PROTYLE: (reportedly – red)*; Crookes’ name for a hypothetical base substance from which all chemical elements were believed to have been made
28 Wormwood used in labs in Thailand (7)
ABSINTH: hidden (l)abs-in-th(ailand);
29 Go away packing cold ready-cooked chicken (10)
SCARED-Y-CAT: S(C-(ready)*)-CAT; go away=SCAT; childish word for a coward=chicken;
30 Files circulating were located in place (8, two words)
DATA,SETS: STE(SAT)AD all reversed;
31 Guy’s theatrical? Not good (4)
STAY: STA(g)Y;

DOWN

1 Straightforward southern or northern bread (8)
JANNOCKS: JANNOCK-S; straightforward=JANNOCK; plain bread loaves in Lancashire
2 Heard swans and seals (7)
SIGNETS: sounds like “cygnets”; nothing to do with our blogger George;
3 Month with a person from Central America (4)
MAYA: MAY-A;
4 Adult writings with anecdotes needed on Sabbath? Leave Mephisto! (12, two words)
APAGE, SATANAS: A-PAGES-AT-ANAS; Latin for get behind me Satan;
5 American fathers’ holding out mostly for some wild sheep (7)
AOUDADS: A-OU(t)-DAD’S; the North African Barbary sheep
6 Modern pubs I’m running as investments (12, two words)
PREMIUM,BONDS: (modern pubs I’m)*; Premium Bonds are a savings account you can put money into (and take out when you want), where the interest paid is decided by a monthly prize draw (so the norm is zero interest). They are not an investment.
7 In Paris love oddly is tense — as is this (6)
AORIST: A(m)O(u)R-IS-T; a tense in Greek;
8 Inactive rock group with a kind of rock (10)
STONESTILL; STONES-TILL; TILL=shale;
9 One rejected Mediterranean port wine casks (4)
TUNS: TUN(i)S;
11 Hop it with box on fire close to Iowa, showing fear of dangerous stuff (10)
TOXIPHOBIA: (hop it box)*-IA; Iowa=IA;
17 Frank according to Will entertains with plonk in place of debauchery (8)
SWINESTY: S(WINES)TY; Waggle-Dagger’s pigsty (see frank-2 in C);
19 Respect is high for royal staff (7)
SCEPTRE: (respect)*;
20 Pretend agreement covers sleeping partner (7)
PLAYACT: P(LAY)ACT;
21 Room high up overlooking a Greek region (6)
ATTICA: ATTIC-A;
25 Weed over in ditch I extracted (4)
NARD: DRA(i)N reversed;
27 Turn over case of yoghurts and trifles (4)
TOYS: TO-Y(oghurt)S; TO=Turn Over (accountancy);

Rather a mundane vocabulary for this one. I pick as my COD the clever, though quite easy, 7, which is also probably the most interesting word here. But 6 also stands out, as &lit.s have been rare on my watch (and a perfectly executed one is, in my estimation, rare anywhere). EDIT: Let’s call it a semi-&lit (see below).

(gramanas)* like this, definitions underlined…

ACROSS

 1 Places one can get on with boob jobs, I’m told (3,5)
BUS STOPS — “Bust ops.” Oh, dear. The clue is just as crass as the answer some objected to in Sunday Times Cryptic 4806 (1 down). But it surely put my mind on the right track to get 26!
 5 Pop over to visit son and pop (4)
SODA — O(ver) dropping in on S(on) and DA, which is British dialect, says here, for “father,” “pop,” “dad”… It’s that bit that threw me.
 8 Band name that’s confused A&R (4)
TEAM — TERM with an A instead of R.
 9 The way one pitches things at home to people (10)
INTONATION — “At home” = IN + TO + NATION or “people”
11 Detective leaving gap in policy (6)
STANCE — If the detective, a DI (Detective Inspector), were here, we’d have DISTANCE, gap.
13 Miss turn-off, but carry on regardless? (2,3,3)
GO TOO FAR — Cryptic definition.
14 Beer scam drunk takes to heart (8)
EMBRACES — (Beer scam)*
16 Extras in Cheers (3-3)
BYE-BYE — Double definition, the first relating, as I guessed, to cricket. Cheers was one of my all-time favorite sitcoms, especially in the Shelley Long days.
17 Perhaps one’s intended caretaker (6)
KEEPER — (S)he’s “a keeper”? So put a ring on her, or him (or them).
19 Cold English wife splits, stealing heart of Harry Styles (8)
CREWCUTS — C = “Cold” + E = “English” + W = “wife,” with CUTS = “splits,” swiping [Har]R[y], with the definition Deceptively Capped to make you think this might pertain to an English pop star.
21 Story about member fit to raise Cain? (8)
FARMABLE — FABLE with an ARM stuck in. Second Deceptive Capitalization, I guess to make up for the lack of one on my last outing. However, it's not an alternate spelling of “cane,” as I presumed, or an unsignaled homophone as Kevin, below, suspected. I believe the answer is found in Collins, where we have “cain” (uncapped) “or kain (keɪn  ) | noun | history | (in Scotland and Ireland) payment in kind, usually farm produce paid as rent.” Only “usually farm produce,” hence the question mark.
22 Very pleasant touring eastern city (6)
VENICE — V(ery) + NICE (“pleasant”) going around E(ast). Of course, Nice is a city too. I’ve never been there, strange to relate, though I’ve been to Venice.
23 The French Connection? (10)
EUROTUNNEL — Another cryptic def. La connexion anglaise, de l’autre côté.
24 Bit of opinion vicar rejected as “load of balls!” (4)
OVER — Cricket again. O(pinion) + REV<—
26 Direction one could take being bust post-Brexit? (4)
EAST — If the BRitish were to leave BREAST…! (Good grief.)
27 Superficial secretary upset Young Ones producer (8)
APPARENT — P(ersonal) A(ssistant) <— + “Young Ones producer” = PARENT. More Deceptive Capitalization! In The Nation, we would’ve added italics!

DOWN

 1 Might one buzz in during summer competition (3)
BEE — Double definition.
 2 Religious college? Cut class! (7)
SEMINAR — SEMINAR[y]
 3 Rubbish journey, ending in trouble (5)
TRIPE — TRIP + (troubl)E
 4 17 perhaps tucking in to finish up French soups (7)
POTAGES — The number is not a reference to another clue but only to a random AGE, inserted into “to finish,” STOP <-—going up.
 6 Some about rodeo did this to those they beat (7)
OUTRODE — &lit.! Incorporating a hidden word, “some” of “about rodeo.”
 7 A typical cop raging like there’s no tomorrow! (11)
APOCALYPTIC — (A typical cop)* It’s always irked me that this word is so often used nowadays for any earthshattering calamity, although the literal meaning is an “uncovering,” a revelation, as in the Apocalypse of St. John, which is indeed about the “end times.” These “typical” cops can be a problem, ’nuff said.
10 Celebrity performing with a turn on board (7)
NOTABLE — ON<— + TABLE or “board”
12 Hoisted film cast up a tree with Mr T (11)
TEMPERATURE — Nicely hidden def. ET <— + (up a tree + Mr)*
15 Motor I purchased with 50% off is a beast (7)
CARIBOU — CAR I BOU[ght]
18 Arrogant English cat (according to vocal Aussie) (7)
POMPOUS — A Brit, or “English cat” is a “pom” to Aussies (and New Zealanders) and POUS sounds like “puss”—to most of us Anglophones, no?
19 Make loads of bread and put it all away (5,2)
CLEAN UP — Another double definition.
20 Pardon prisoner number 24 (7)
CONDONE — CON = “prisoner,” and “number 24” refers back to our answer above, OVER, meaning DONE.
22 Very Russian girl—one with a big mouth? (5)
VOLGA — V for “very” again, with OLGA. I hear the Volga is indeed a mighty river.
25 Consume with worry (3)
EAT — Always a lot of double definitions on Sunday, it seems.

Jumbo 1338

I hope this is all correct - we have just moved house and this was completed in a bit of a rush.

I don't have any issues with any of the clues. 47A is a new word, but given the checking letters and the anagram fodder not too difficult to solve. The reference in the first part of 33D may be unfamiliar to some.

Across
1 TIMETABLE - TIM = fellow, ET = film, ABLE = with capacity
6 STEADFASTNESS - S(outhern), TED = man, around A, FASTNESS = stronghold
13 ULTRA - U = upper class, LT = officer, R.A. = gunners
14 IMPINGEMENT - I'M = the writer's, PIN = identification, GET = obtain, around MEN = people
15 TROOP - TROP = PORT = left, reversed, around O(ld)
16 TOBOGGANIST - (GOT BOASTING)*
17 PHILOSOPHER - PHIL = boy, OR around SOPH(i)E = girl
18 EMERALD - (th)EM, (h)ERALD = proclaim
20 ROMANCE - R.E. = army corps, around O = ring, MAN = fellow and C(aught)
21 ORINOCO - OR = yellow, IN = popular, O(ld), C.O. = commander
23 HIT THE GROUND RUNNING - double definition, the second mildly cryptic
27 TUI - TU = you (French), I(ndia)
28 PAMPER - PAM = MAP, PER = traveller, each reversed
29 STOOGE - hidden in seemS TOO GEntle
31 SPARINGLY - SLY = cunning, around PARING = cutting back
34 STONE-COAL - STONE COL(d) = freezing, around A
35 SAPPER - SAP = PAS = step, reversed, PER = a
36 STANCE - (in)STANCE = case
39 NOR - NOR(m) = standard
40 BET ONES BOTTOM DOLLAR - cryptic definition where most inferior = BOTTOM
42 SANDBAR - SAND = polish, BAR = lawyers
43 ADHERED - A, D,D = daughters, around HERE = in this place
45 LETTISH - LETS = permits, around TI = note, H(enry)
47 ARTIODACTYL - (DILATORY ACT)*. The reference to Tamworth is to the breed of pig
49 ALL-AMERICAN - ALLAN = chap, around A M(arried) and ERIC = man
51 RABBI - R.I. = state, around A and B,B = bishops
52 HISPANICIST - (THIS IS)* around PANIC = alarm
53 NETTA - AT TEN = two hours before midnight, reversed
54 WEATHER-BEATEN - WEATHER sounds like WHETHER = if, BEATEN = defeated
55 RACEHORSE - RACE = people, H(ard), OR, S.E. = Home Counties
 
Down
1 TRUSTEESHIP - TRIP = journey, around U.S. = American, TEES = river and H(aving)
2 MUTABLE - MU = Greek character, TABLE = board
3 TWANG - TANG(o) = dance, around W(est)
4 BRIGANDAGE - BRIG = vessel, AND = with, AGE = long period
5 EMPTIER - E(uropean), M.P. = politician, TIER = row
6 SANCTIMONIOUS - SAN = hospital, C(oncealing), TIMON = Athenian, IOUS = evidence of debts
7 EYE-OPENER - double definition, the second mildly cryptic
8 DEESIDE - DEE = girl, S(teaming), IDE = fish
9 ASTRONOMICAL - double definition
10 TATTOOING - TATTING = knotted lace, around O,O = two circles
11 EPOCH - EH = what, around POC = COP = police officer, reversed
12 SUPERIORITY - (YOUR PRIEST)*, around I
19 ACHIEVE - hidden in bACH I EVEntually
22 OCTAGONAL - (A LONG COAT)*
24 TAMBOURIN - TURIN = Piedmont city, around AMBO = pulpit
25 ORTOLAN - ORTON = British dramatist, around L.A. = US city
26 NASCENT - N(icely), AS = when, CENT = a little cash
30 EXPROPRIATION - EX = former, PROP = rugby player, (AT IN RIO)*
32 INTROIT - INTO = enthusiastic about, around R(ome), IT(alian)
33 FOSTER-FATHER - FOSTER = TV Doctor (in a BBC series in the last couple of years for any overseas readers unfamiliar with it), FAT = stout, HER = woman
34 SONG SPARROW - SONG = track, SPAR, ROW = scraps
37 EARTHENWARE - EAR = attention, the = at that time, WARE = Herts town
38 EMBLEMATIC - (CLIMB, E(nglish), TEAM)*
40 BABOONISH - BISH = mistake, around A BOON = a blessing
41 SCHOLIAST - (LOST CASH), around I(sland)
43 ARTISTE - A, R(ight), TIE = bind, around ST = good person
44 DALLIER - DR = RD = way, reversed, around ALLIE(s) = friends
46 INCITER - IN = trendy, CITE = quote, R(esistance)
48 TIBIA - TIBA = A BIT = slightly, reversed, around (corg)I
50 RANCH - (b)RANCH = local office

Monthly Club Special 20,215: Won Ton Soup

ACROSS
1 Palms demitasse’s held in (4)
ITAS - hidden in {dem}ITAS{se}

4 Disgusted comments about shortage of tennis equipment and ancient cover for horse (10)
SHABRACQUE - BAHS [disgusted comments] reversed + RACQUE{t} ["shortage of" tennis equipment]

9 Policeman protecting island or returning keeps himself involved with fingerprints (10)
POROSCOPIC - COP "protecting" IS OR, reversed = POROSIC, which then "keeps" COP

10 With this and many more you’ll have won judge a lot of time (4)
JEON - J EON [judge | a lot of time]

11 Humanity in Cape Horn wearing uniform repeatedly (6)
UBUNTU - BUNT [horn] wearing U U [uniform, repeatedly]

12 Properly speaking, expansion of N1 without any new empty property (8)
ORTHOEPY - {n}ORTH O{n}E + P{ropert}Y

14 Minutes from part of play area (4)
ACTA - ACT A [part of play | area]

15 Brown horses crossing sort of wilder places to lead them (10)
BRIDLEWAYS - BAYS [brown horses] "crossing" (WILDER*) ["sort of..."]

17 Vigorously descriptive line early in The Flask etc, which Baudelaire wrote (10)
BLOTTESQUE - BOTTLES [The Flask, etc] promotes its L to earlier in the word, + QUE [which, in French]

20 Maybe one of bagpiper’s fingerholes, all left short of second base part (4)
LILL - LLLL, but with the stroke at the base of the second L missing, so it becomes an I

21 Pilgrim festival’s primitive instincts united youth with bit of a laugh (2-2-4)
ID-UL-ADHA - ID U LAD HA [primitive instincts | united | youth | bit of a laugh]

23 Second person to take a cab ride reported good arrangement (6)
EUTAXY - homophone of YOU TAXI [second person | to take a cab ride]

24 Jackal halved progressive plant deteriorations (4)
DIEB - DIEB{acks} ["halved" progressive plant deteriorations]

25 Scottish rebel beginning to win hearts, bigger in Italy with initial majority overturned (10)
WHIGGAMORE - W{in} H, + MAGGIORE with its first 5 (a majority of its 8) letters reversed

26 Liberal banned from full-on organised church until death (1,9)
A L'OUTRANCE - AL{l}-OUT [full-on, "banning" one L] + RAN CE [organised | church]

27 Not a word on Delaware Indian’s homeland (4)
DESH - SH [not a word] on DE [Delaware]

DOWN
2 In the view of doctor, hospital ward closure limits resistance for mite with parasitic larva (11)
TROMBICULID - TO MB ICU LID [in the view of | doctor | hospital ward | closure] "limits" R [resistance]

3 Odds on bot developed around algorithmic software as lure for trolling? (9)
SPOONBAIT - SP [odds] + (ON BOT*) ["developed"] around AI [algorithmic software]

4 Die, picking up carbon in black slime (7)
SUCCUMB - reverse all of: C [carbon] in B MUCUS [black | slime]

5 Welsh son of rugby player favoured formula that bars English getting close (15)
APPROPINQUATION - AP [son of, in Welsh] + PROP [rugby player] + IN [favoured] + {e}QUATION [formula, "barring" E for English]

6 It’s true about court seizing current account (7)
RECITAL - REAL [true] about CT [court] "seizing" I [current]

7 Maiden engaged by Elizabeth possibly shortened her devoted poet’s suit (5)
QUEME - M [maiden] "engaged by" QUEE{n} [Elizabeth possibly, "shortened"]

8 Minute enemy’s wasted with minutes to spare (5)
EENSY - (ENE{m}Y'S*) ["wasted", "sparing" M for minutes]

13 Vineyard pests from pub mounted raid across high fence (11)
PHYLLOXERAS - PH [pub] + reversed SALLY [raid] across OXER [high fence]

16 Judicious US research university will put up with dope going round (4-5)
WELL-TIMED - MIT'LL [US research university will] reversed, with WEED [dope] going round

18 Welsh chief giving away gallons (litres) is a generous person? (7)
ENDOWER - {gl}ENDOWER, giving away his initial G for gallons and L for litres

19 Space on medal, back of George Cross, before being filled with endless resin (7)
EXERGUE - {georg}E + X [cross] + ERE [before] being filled with GU{m} ["endless" resin]

21 God fundamentally involved in distribution of rain? (5)
INDRA - {go}D "involved" in (RAIN*) ["distribution of..."], &lit

22 Spades knocked off certainly are known to rust (5)
UREDO - {s}URE DO [certainly are known to, minus S for spades]
I did this in bits and piece during a busy Saturday so I don’t have a time to report. I thought it might have been a little harder than recent Saturdays, but it was a very fair puzzle with few if any obscurities. There was lots of cunning in the definitions and wordplay, so thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

I particularly liked 10ac, 14ac, 25ac and 18dn, but I think the clue of the day was 17ac.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC', with the anagram indicator in bold italics. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.

Across
1 Disputatious European means to be heard (7)
POLEMIC: POLE (European), MIC{rophone} (means to be heard).

5 Incompetent bishop less arrogant after losing face (7)
BUMBLER: B (bishop), {h}UMBLER.

9 Park-keeper wants good person making deliveries (9)
ROUNDSMAN: {g}ROUNDSMAN.

10 Operator married across the ocean? (5)
MINUS: M (married), IN US (across the Atlantic).

11 Antelope the writer twice brought back (5)
ORIBI: I (the writer), BIRO (another sort of writer), all reversed.

12 Sentence girl's penned about artistic event (4,5)
LIFE CLASS: LIFE (sentence), LASS (girl), around C (about in the sense of approximation).

14 Rank starter in Indian, cook admits, disadvantages diners (5,9)
CHIEF CONSTABLE: CHEF “admits” I for India, CONS (disadvantages), TABLE (diners).

17 Not out practising golf, say, in the air (4,2,3,5)
HOME ON THE RANGE: HOME (not out), ON THE RANGE (practicing). “Air” in the sense of “song”.

21 Indignant head of state formed an alliance (7,2)
STEAMED UP: S{tate}, TEAMED UP.

23 More confident underwriter drops in (5)
SURER: {in}SURER.

24 Write about boring hanky-panky, lacking skill (5)
INEPT: PEN backwards in IT (that useful Times Crossword euphemism for “hanky-panky”).

25 Hobby of foreign character not long ago (9)
PHILATELY: PHI (a Greek letter), LATELY.

26 Place for treatment, with poor lack of order (7)
ENTROPY: ENT (place for treatment), ROPY (poor). I suppose the Ear, Nose and Throat department has “ENT” over its door, so in that sense is the place to go. I know “entropy” is a thermodynamics concept, but I would hate to have to explain it to a layperson!

27 Settler's high supporting structure (7)
TRESTLE: (SETTLER*). Delightful anagram indicator!

Down
1 Helper service's welcoming "Do come again" (6)
PARDON: P.A. (helper), RN (a military service: the Royal Navy) “welcoming” DO.

A potential future crossword champ was looking over my shoulder at this, as I said, “maybe it has DO in R--N” and then “yes – PARDON”. He asked, “where does ‘come again’ fit in?”, to which I of course replied, “pardon?”. “Aha!”, he said.

2 Time to supplant Democrat, quite noisy and uncouth (7)
LOUTISH: replace the “D” in LOUDISH by a “T”.

3 New lad in Rome, a city-dweller (9)
MADRILEÑO: (LAD IN ROME*).

4 Followed orders: catching pet’s involved (11)
COMPLICATED: CAT in COMPLIED.

5 Outlaw putting collar up (3)
BAN: NAB backwards.

6 Note repeated: another is do (5)
MIMIC: MI MI (notes of the Do Re Mi type), then C (a note of the A, B, C type). Novak Djokovic is a great mimic – it’s worth seeing him “do” Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova here!

7 Old politician's absorbed by ancient script (6,1)
LINEAR B: LIB{eral} “absorbing” NEAR (by). I wrote in LINEAR immediately from the definition, then had to grind through the wordplay to see if it was Linear A or Linear B.

8 Person fighting on, one in the habit (8)
RESISTER: RE (on), SISTER (one in a habit). The comma after “on” made it look enticingly like definition, not wordplay. Well done, setter!

13 Digitally depict female earning tip modelling (6-5)
FINGER-PAINT: F (female), (EARNING TIP*).

15 Change terms of contract finally, with organised schedule (9)
TRANSLATE: {contrac}T, RAN (organised), SLATE (schedule – “what’s on your slate today?”). Change terms from French to English, for example.

16 Coat of arms? It's woven in famous red carpet (8)
CHASTISE: A{rm}S plus (ITS*), all inside CHE (famous communist).

18 Pole embracing female in sheepskin jacket (3,4)
MAE WEST: MAST (pole), “embracing” EWE (female in sheepskin). A lifejacket, of course.

19 In which chap covers part of body? (7)
GARMENT: ARM in GENT.

20 Design lovely, graceful clothes from the south (6)
ARGYLE: backward hidden answer.

22 Police on rounds imitating others (2-3)
ME-TOO: MET (Metropolitan Police), O-O (rounds).

25 Right to leave political group, maybe the end of Labour (3)
PAY: RT removed from PARTY. “End” being “purpose” in the definition.

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