Toughie No 1317 by Shamus
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BD Rating - Difficulty **** - Enjoyment **
I found this much harder going than most Tuesday Toughies, and wonder whether other solvers thought the same.
1a Conservative retains fancy box (8)
CANISTER Conservative plus an anagram of (fancy) RETAINS.
6a Virtually best salary getting pulled (6)
TOWAGE A word for best minus its last letter (virtually) followed by a synonym for salary.
9a Glass maybe needed in speech, to give boost (6)
FILLIP A homophone of (needed in speech) the first name of the composer with surname Glass.
10a Charity, say, feeding Canadian animal, snake killer (8)
MONGOOSE A 3-letter acronym for a non-profit aid outfit inside (feeding) an animal associated with Canada.
11a Plant disease source of worry for lecturer (8)
WISTERIA Replace the abbreviation for lecturer with the first letter (source) of worry in the name of a disease.
12a County businessman with no end of fondness for cat (6)
COUGAR The abbreviation for county followed by the surname of a celebrity entrepreneur after removing the final letter (no end) of fondness.
13a Antipodean showing enthusiasm in Northumbrian ramble? (3,9)
NEW ZEALANDER A word for enthusiasm inside the part of England in which Northumbria is situated plus a word meaning ramble or roam.
16a Bachelor in excited state near start of this incendiary event (7,5)
BONFIRE NIGHT The abbreviation for bachelor, a phrase meaning excited, a synonym for night, and the first letter (start) of this.
19a Extreme characters aggrieved first to last isolated set (6)
AZORES ...in the literal sense of a group of islands. The first and last letters of the alphabet followed by a word for aggrieved or sulking with the first letter moved to the end.
21a Normal doctor keeping Northern idiom (8)
PARLANCE A word for normal followed by a verb meaning to doctor or adulterate, with the abbreviation for northern inserted.
23a Idle, perhaps, hour? It's after working, taking minutes (8)
HUMORIST An anagram of (after working) HOUR IT'S into which is inserted the abbreviation for minutes.
25a Vulgar liqueur taken with time for end of dinner (6)
KITSCH A cherry liqueur in which the abbreviation for time is replaced by the last letter (end) of dinner.
26a Queen, say, hard to see amid visit in comprehensive (5-3)
CATCH-ALL An animal the female of which is sometimes known as a queen, followed by the abbreviation for hard inside a word for a visit.
2d A military bigwig carrying papers is bitter (6)
ACIDIC A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for a top military leader (going round carrying) a phrase for identification papers.
3d Lodge Eastern European mentioned in coastal feature (5)
INLET A homophone of (mentioned) a lodge or guesthouse and a person from the Baltic.
4d Closed competition event defended by a privileged elite? (3,6)
TOP DRAWER A word for closed (as of a door) followed by a competitive raffle (or else a tie in sport) inside (defended by) a synonym for a (in phrases like once a day).
5d Indiscriminate charge hurt upstanding attendant (7)
RAMPAGE A verb meaning to hurt or spoil, reversed (upstanding) and followed by a royal attendant.
6d Medicine for prison curtailed (5)
TONIC A phrase meaning destined for prison, minus the last letter (curtailed).
7d Tiny amount cut by ordinary sitcom actor in mystery play (9)
WHODUNNIT A synonym for a small amount or a jot goes round (cut by) the abbreviation for ordinary and the surname of an actor of Dad's Army fame.
8d Lightweight interpretation ignoring line supported by Obama say (not half) (8)
GOSSAMER An interpretation or explanation, after deleting (ignoring) the abbreviation for line, followed (supported) by the first half of the nationality represented by Barack Obama.
13d Criminal blowing safe in court's interior (9)
NEFARIOUS An anagram of SAFE IN and the inside letters of cOURt.
14d One inside arousing trouble having polished off barrel? (5,4)
LAGER LOUT Someone serving time in prison, plus an anagram of (arousing) TROUBLE minus the abbreviation for barrel.
15d Black drink before party dispelling pressure for music-maker (8)
BOUZOUKI The abbreviation for black, a Greek alcoholic drink, and a UK political party after removing the abbreviation for pressure.
17d Showing a preference of one's own? (7)
NEPOTIC Cryptic definition of an unfamiliar (to me) variant of a word meaning showing favouritism towards one's relatives.
18d List namely on register (6)
SCROLL An uncommon two-letter abbreviation meaning namely, plus a register (of electors, say).
20d Elegant description of Somerset (or thereabouts) (5)
SWISH The answer could be interpreted as meaning vaguely in the region of Somerset.
22d Half-hearted group starts to show honest shame (5)
ABASH A Nordic pop foursome, after deleting one of the central letters (half-heartedly), plus the initial letters of (starts to) show honest.
I thought this one was a bit short of stand-out clues, hence the measly two stars for enjoyment.
Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.