A Puzzle by Dr Diva
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The wordplay was clear but I think that the difficulty level came from fact that there were fewer anagrams and double definitions than normal and a lot of clues had three or more elements of wordplay to be unraveled. Coupled with some more obscure words (thought fairly clued), I can understand why many found this a tougher crossword. The commentometer reads as 2/26 or 7.7%
6a Delicious dish for a young person flashing cash (6)
YUMPIE: A three-letter word meaning delicious followed by a three-letter word for a baked dish.
7a Section of Amazon at Exeter split into different areas (6)
ZONATE: The answer is hidden (section of) in the third to fifth words of the clue.
10a Support for whistleblowers that is initially distinctly mixed (6)
VARIED: The three-letter abbreviation for the automated referee’s (whistleblowers) assistant followed by the abbreviation for that is and the initial letter of distinctly.
11a Rival originally outlined police position on plot (8)
OPPOSITE: The initial letters (originally) of the third to sixth words of the clue followed by a four-letter for a plot.
12a First indications of kitty eating tinned Atlantic salmon (4)
KETA: The initial letters (first indications) of the fourth to seventh words of the clue.
13a Dad has lamb pâté spread after evicting a neighbour, being inappropriately suited (10)
MALADAPTED: An anagram (spread) of DAD LAMB PATE after removing the letter B (a neighbour). I think that for the cryptic reading, you would need a’s neighbour.
14a Side contest between locals (tweedy types) (5,6)
DERBY COUNTY: A five-letter word for a local contest and a six-letter word meaning tweedy types.
19a Find soldiers outside of Sandhurst returning calls (10)
JUDGEMENTS: A five-letter word meaning find or adjudicate followed by a three-letter word for soldiers and the outer letters in Sandhurst reversed (returning).
22a Special amateur boxer’s heart turns to holiday (4)
XMAS: The abbreviation for special, a two-letter abbreviation for amateur and the middle letter (heart) of boxer all reversed (turns).
23a Charlie Round nearly shot in the arm by Henry as surprise (8)
ASTONISH: A three-letter word for a Charlie or idiot around (round) a five-letter word for a boost or shot in the arm with final letter removed (nearly) all followed by the abbreviation for Henry.
24a Snacks: finally settled on reduced salt (50%) (6)
NACHOS: A five-letter word meaning settled on with the last letter removed (reduced) after (finally) the chemical formula for sodium chloride (salt) with 50% removed.
25a Sense time is wasted during mutiny (6)
REASON: Remove (is wasted) the abbreviation for time from a seven letter word for mutiny. I don’t think that the during works particularly well in the cryptic reading of the clue as it does not indicate removal from.
26a Ancient goddess being hard on sailor (6)
ISHTAR: A two-letter word meaning being followed by the abbreviation for hard and a three-letter word for a sailor.
1d Caught charter choppers getting African mammals (7)
HYRAXES: A homophone (caught) of HIRE (charter) and a four-letter word for choppers.
2d Start off opening answer with paper puncturing the authority of the adjudicator (8)
UMPIRAGE: Take the initial letter (start off) from the first (opening) across answer and include a three-letter word for a low quality newspaper.
3d Almost want detailed cupola to be Norman? (6)
WISDOM: A four-letter word meaning want with the final letter removed (almost) followed by a four-letter word for a cupola with the final letter removed (detailed).A f
4d Politician’s papers getting covered in muck’s acceptable in centre of Paris (8)
POMPIDOU: The abbreviation for member of parliament (politician) and the abbreviation for identification paper inside (covered in) a three-letter word for excreta or muck. I think that centre needs to be capitalised here.
5d Enjoys drinks in court (4,2)
LAPS UP: A four-letter word meaning drinks followed by a two-letter word meaning in court.
8d European gathers up prize (6)
ESTEEM: The abbreviation for European followed by a reversal (up) of a five-letter word meaning gathers.
9d Unpredictable Channel coast without an indefinite number of fish (11)
COELACANTHS: An anagram (unpredictable) of CHANNEL COAST after removing the abbreviation for an indefinite number. Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition.
15d Italian children in Bosnia and Belgium on vacation misbehaving (8)
BAMBINOS: An anagram (misbehaving) of BOSNIA BM (Belgium on vacation).
16d It shows the level of venom directed at team by United’s rivals maybe (8)
TOXICITY: A two-letter word meaning directed at followed by the Roman numerals for the number of players in a football team and the rival team to Manchester United, say.
17d Queen’s like a rare source of energy (6)
QUASAR: A two-letter abbreviation for queen followed by a two-letter word meaning like, the A from the clue and the abbreviation for rare.
18d Kind regards, Champions! (7)
FAVOURS: Double definition.
20d American lass has fling worldwide (6)
GLOBAL: An American three-letter word for a girl includes (has) a three-letter word for fling. I think that has as a containment indicator is particularly weak.
21d Artisan estate’s bottling is most reasonable (6)
SANEST: The answer is hidden (bottling) in the first two-words of the clue.