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Times 25553: Anything but a 1dn
Solving time: 18:08

Phew! Got an easier one on blogging day after harder than usual puzzles on Monday and Tuesday. A pretty standard effort I found with a few bits of tricky wordplay holding me up in the NE corner. Only two bits of vocab were unknown (25ac, 4dn), but the wordplay landed them.

1. BUSHCRAFT. Reverse CH (Companion) inside BUS and RAFT.
6. ANGUS. ANGUIS{h} minus the I (one needing release).
9. SUNLESS. {spiceles}S + UNLESS (if not).
10. WALPOLE. Reverse LAW + POLE (European). Def = PM many years ago.
11. A,LACK.
13. STEAMSHIP. S (second), TEAMS (side’s), HIP (bit of a cheer). S.S. Great Britain is now a major tourist attraction in Bristol.
14. DIS,CUSSED. DIS is a standard for the underworld.
16. BASS. Two meanings: the singing voice and the fish.
18. HIND. Two meanings: the female deer and the adjective (as in ‘hind leg’).
19. OLD MASTER. Anagram: art models. What Romanian mothers burn in their ovens when the police arrive.
22. THE SOLENT. SOLE (fish) inside THEN (after that) + T{rawler}.
24. ADD-ON. AD (notice), DON (member of university, aka JAFA).
25. PAISANO. AS (when) reversed inside PAIN (agony) + 0 (love). Even the US Oxford doesn’t give this meaning of the Spanish for ‘peasant’. But it’s in Chambers: someone from the same town ... hence a friend.
26. TOADISH. A DI (little woman) inside TOSH. Did try to justify ‘toryish’ as our annoying Shadow Treasurer was screaming his box off, as always, on the radio during the solve.
28. RUMMY. Two rather obvious meanings. Paradoxically rummy is one of the least peculiar card games. Makes cribbage seem like quantum mechanics.
29. DEMEANOUR. {hostil}E and MEAN inside DOUR. The def is ‘look’.

1. BASTARD. STAR inside BAD. May have offended some solvers, though it’s a term of endearment down here.
2. SIN. SI{g}N.
3. CHECKOUT. Two meanings, the first usually split into two words.
4. APSIS. A, PS (note at end of letter) IS. I quote: “either of two points on the orbit of a planet or satellite that are nearest to or furthest from the body around which it moves”.
5. TOW-HEADED. Anagram: dead hot we. “And in walked Tom the ostler with hair like mouldy hay”.
6. AFLAME. A, FAME inc L (litres). ‘Drinking’ is the indicator of inclusion.
7. GOOD-HEARTED. Because it’s found in the centre of {din}GO OD{dly}. Bet I wasn’t the only one looking at the letters from DiNgO.
8. STEPPES. STEPS (walks) inc PE (exercise).
12. ABSENTEEISM. Anagram: it means bees.
17. MAHARAJA. Reverse: a jar, a ham.
18. HOTSPUR. HOUR (time) inc TSP (teaspoon, a little medicine). Another drink-type inclusion indicator. Sir Henry Percy, aka Harry Hotspur. Well known from Henry IV Pt 1.
20. RANCHER. RAN (controlled) + {ar}CHER. Ref to the long-running radio series The Archers, the theme from which every English person of a certain age can hum at the drop of a hat.
21. ROTARY. ROT + {v}ARY.
23. TOTEM. TOT + reversal of ME.
27. I,DO. This was in a fairly recent Graun puzzle where I learned that it’s a development of Esperanto.


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