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Times 25493: On the flat or over the sticks?
Solving time: 24:17

Found the bottom half easier and started in the SW, proceeding anti-clockwise. A few giveaways today (24ac, 26ac, 4dn, 21dn & 23dn perhaps). Most of the rest require a bit of working out.

1 INTIMIDATE. I{relan)D inside INTIMATE.
6 GANG. Two defs; ‘go’ in Scots dialect.
9 WINDJAMMER. WIND (snake), JAMMER (cause of blockage).
10 INTO. Hidden in the clue.
12 CROSS-COUNTRY. CROSS (peevish), COUNT (nobleman), RY (railway). I shivered at the memory of cold mornings in nought but shorts and singlet.
15 GUATEMALA. U (university) + [MET (encountered), A reversed] inside GALA (festivities).
17 OUTDO. OUT (not in), DO (party).
18 PIECE. As in ‘pieces of eight’. ‘Castle perhaps’ to both signal the DBE and excuse the fact that it’s strictly a rook. (No correspondence from Colonels will be entered into.)
19 UNTUTORED. Anagram: turned out.
20 OPERA-GLASSES. A cryptic def that could easily have led to FIELD-GLASSES depending on the type of flats you first think of.
24 {h}OOPS.
25 IG,NOBILITY. Reverse GI (soldier).
26 YARD. Reverse DRAY.
27 SANDALWOOD. S (son), AND (with), ALW (anag. ‘law’), OO (rings), D (daughter).

1 IOWA. IONA with W (western) for N (knight, chess).
2 TEN,D. D for old pence.
3 MAJOR-GENERAL. MAJOR (what Americans and some others do when specialising at university), GENERAL (regular).
4 DUMAS. MU (Greek letter) in SAD (unhappy), all reversed.
7 ANNOTATORS. Anagram: on a star not.
8 GOODY-GOODY. Triple def.
13 EGYPTOLOGY. GYP (pain), TO, LOG (enter), all inside E{arl}Y.
14 GAME,KEEPER. Bridge is a type of GAME. A ring is a KEEPER (as in napkin ring).
16 AQUILEGIA. EG + 1 inside AQUILA (capital of Abruzzi; strictly l’Aquila).
21 S,WORD. The S from {ib}S{en}.
22 VI{r}GO.
23 EYED. Sounds like the crossword fish, ‘ide’.


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