Posted by Eileen on December 1st, 2011
I found this quite tough going but, looking back, I can’t really see why. The clues are all fair and straightforward, with the usual wit thrown in – I blame my cold for making me more than usually thick-headed.
Going through the clues in order, as is my wont, my first in was 22ac [it should have been 12ac!] then the NAKED LADIES of LONG ISLAND gave me enough entry into the bottom right corner to see the anagram at 26, which gave me a moment’s hope of a mini-theme of one of my favourite comedy programmes but a quick look at the enumeration of 2,17 scotched that.
Thanks, Paul, for an eventually satisfying puzzle and for getting my brain in gear.
9 AGORA: AGO [previously] + [disaste]R + A: this is the definition I’m familiar with – the ancient Greek market place – but I met it in a Neo crossword the other day as an Israeli monetary unit, so I’ve filed that away
10 FÊTE: FEE [charge] around T[ime]
11 BABYLONIAN: BABY [little] + NI [National Insurance] in LOAN [advance]
12 TROWEL: R[iver] in TOWEL [drier]
14 ROMANIAN: RAN [controlled] around [borders] OMANI [Asian]
20 AIRBORNE: AIR [strain – a song] + R [solveR’s end] in BONE [something to contend with – ‘a bone of contention’]: the definition is ‘up’
22 LINNET: L  IN [the] NET
23 ALTERNATED: A + TERN [bird] in [cutting] LATE [dead] + D[uck]
24,21 LONG ISLAND: anagram [ground] of LOSING + LAND [gain]
25,22 NAKED LADIES: anagram [hybrid] of AND LAKESIDE: a typical Paul answer but this time just the name of a flower [so-called because it blooms without leaves]: it has various other names but I think here it’s the Autumn crocus. I’ll leave you to google your own link!
1 METEORIC: E[g]O in METRIC [system]
2,17 TUBE STATION: BEST [most efficient] + AT in [breaking] an anagram [depravity?] of OUT IN
3,15 GLOBAL ECONOMY: GLOOMY [pessimistic] around [about] BALE [to package] + CON[servative] [Cameron’s party]: definition: ‘worryingly precarious thing': a beautifully constructed [&lit?] clue which raised a wry smile, which might have been a laugh out loud if it weren’t so horribly topical
4,19 ICEBERG LETTUCE: cryptic definition
5 TABLE MAT: reversal [turning up] of MELBA [Dame Nellie, ‘sweet singer’] in [to plug] TAT [rubbish]: I’m not keen on the definition: ‘this is flat’
6,26 MORNINGTON CRESCENT: anagram [fixed, i.e ‘rigged’] of TERMS NOT CONCERNING – and it’s a TUBE STATION
7,8 BANANA REPUBLIC: anagram [unstable] of INCAPABLE and URBAN: I spent too long trying to make an anagram first of STATE INCAPABLE then REQUIRING URBAN
13 WINDBREAKS: WINKS [bats] around [nipping] anagram [unruly] of BEARD: I think ‘bat’ really needs ‘an eye[lid]’ to equate to ‘wink’ but I liked the clue.
16 MARINADE: MARE [horse] round [on the outside] I[ncline] N[early] A[lways] D[ownhill] [first letters – ‘for starters’]; the definition is ‘steep’, so this is another nice ‘lift and separate’ clue, like 24,21 [‘losing ground’]
18 ONE-ON-ONE: O [oxygen] + NEON [another gas] + O [oxygen] + N [nitrogen – another gas] + E[nergy]
24 LICK: double definition