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Times 25517: ‘I never a-touch dem’
Solving time: 32:37

Got through three-quarters of this quite quickly, then ground to a complete halt in the NE corner (aka the Beta Quadrant). Had to guess a few answers then (FIREWOOD in particular) and put them on hold for a post-solve parsing. Finally, I thought 19ac had me done for. In fact, I’m still not sure it’s right.

1 SPLASH. LPs (reversed) + ASH.
5 PIFFLING. PI (Greek character), F (female), FLING (cast). Hope I’m not the only one who thought of turning to their Euripides in desperation.
9 DOG HANDLER. ROD (staff) reversed, including G (good) + HANDLE (name). One of several sly literals.
10 GAMY. GAM (school of whales etc.), Y (year). (And here I spare you the relevant lines of dialogue from Yellow Submarine).
11 THANK-YOU. HANKY (one that’s blown in) inside TOU{r}.
12 WESSEX. SEW reversed + SEX (knowledge, in the Biblical sense).
13 ARIA. Starting letters of April Running Into August. Ref to ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess.
15 SNOWDROP. Move the S (singular) in NOW DROPS (experiences current reduction).
18 OFFSHOOT. O from {br}O{ke}, FF (very loud), SHOOT (snap, as in photography).
19 AWED. If not ‘a single’, then A WED? The literal is ‘mouth open’ ... I think.
21 NEWARK. NEW (not used) + {p}ARK. Held up here because a glitch in the printer made the ‘not’ look like ‘riot’.
23 RUSTLE UP. RUSTLE (take stock) + UP (before the beak).
25 THRU. THRU{st}. Informal for ‘through’ (by way of).
26 HIT THE SACK. HIT (triumph) + THE SACK. I assume ‘being dismissed’ stands for ‘getting THE SACK’; or we shall have complaints about parts of speech.
27 BRAKE PAD. Anagram of ‘a kerb + P’; AD (trailer).
28 WANDER. WAN (weak) + DER{v}.

2 POOCH. Included reversed in ‘coacH CO_OPts’.
3 ATHENIANS. Anagram: inn has tea.
4 HENRY V. V{arsit}Y, R{reru}N, E{ac}H, all reversed.
5 POLYUNSATURATED. Anagram: adult you parents.
6 FIREWOOD. IRE (heat perhaps), W (wife); all inside FOOD (board). The def is given as a semi-&lit.
7 LAGOS. LAG (prisoner), OS (outsize).
8 NUMBER ONE. NUMB; ERE (before) including ON (leg, cricket). The def is ‘old-fashioned arch’ — main, chief, principal. I’ll say it again: there are far too many meanings of the word ‘arch’; and they always fool me.
14 REFRESHER. RE (comes after DO in sol-fa), FRESHER (student). The literal is ‘course’.
16 DEADLY SIN. Anagram: send lady 1. The indicator is the always-wonderful ‘pants’.
17 BOOKS,HOP. Where works are stored.
20 ESCHEW. ESC (top left on the keyboard), HEW (cut).
22 AMUCK. {I} AM ’UCK (Finn).
24 UNCLE{an}. Slang word for a pawnbroker.


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