A Puzzle by Dharma
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A nicely challenging crossword from Dharma but perhaps with more niggles than in his previous crossword. The commentometer reads as 3/29 or 10.3%.
9a No interest in it when uniform’s worn by former sweetheart Gail from time to time (7)
ASEXUAL: A two-letter word meaning when followed by the letter represented by Uniform in NATO phonetic alphabet inside (worn by) a two-letter word for a former lover and the even letters (from time to time) of Gail. I wonder whether “worn by” is the correct positional indicator. If the uniform is worn by someone, the uniform is on the outside, not the inside.
10a Scotland’s top footballer maybe, one who enjoys away games? (7)
SWINGER: The initial letter (top) of Scotland followed by the description of a football player or other sportsperson by reference to the position that they play.
11a Ear doctor changes profession (9)
DECORATOR: An anagram (changes) of EAR DOCTOR.
12a Opinions given by papers, Sun and Express primarily, to move to the left (5)
IDEAS: The two-letter word for identity papers followed by the initial letters (primarily) of “Sun and Express” reversed (to move to the left). Perhaps going to the left would be better at indicating a reversal rather than a simple movement of the letters to the left.
13a Jauntily sing Sting’s first hit and Aha’s maybe? (8)
INSIGHTS: An anagram (jauntily) of SING S (Sting’s first) HIT. The surface reading suffers from the fact that the group is A-ha.
14a Cut tutorial after Head of Science leaves for Italy (6)
LESION: A six-letter word for a tutorial or class with the second S (head of science) replaced by (leaves for) the IVR code for Italy.
16a Leaving card portrayal overwhelms husband (11)
WITHDRAWING: A three-letter word for a card or comedian followed by a seven-letter word for a portrayal or picture all around (overwhelms) the abbreviation for husband.
20a Prepares cheese with tips from sous-chef from the East (6)
BRIEFS: A four-letter variety of soft French cheese followed by a reversal (from the east) of the outer letters (tips from) of sous-chef.
22a Leading hotel cutting service can be nuisance (8)
HEADACHE: A four-letter word meaning leading followed by the letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet represented by hotel inside (cutting) a three-letter word for a tennis shot (service).
24a Share everything out occasionally (5)
ALLOT: A three-letter word meaning everything followed by the odd letters (occasionally) of out.
25a Highest in batting order originally? (9)
SMELLIEST: The initial letters (originally) of batting order give an abbreviation for a person problem that might be the highest if really intense. I think that this suffers from being a clue to a clue.
26a Backs players after conceding lead to Barcelona (7)
ASSISTS: An eight-letter word for guitar players without (conceding) the initial letter (lead to) of Barcelona.
27a Students rejected plots for those providing darker tones? (7)
SUNBEDS: A reversal (rejected) of the abbreviation for the National Union of Students followed by a four-letter word for garden plots.
1d No shock victory for former Prime Minister (7)
BALDWIN: A four-letter word meaning hairless (no shock) followed by a three-letter word for a victory.
2d Swordsmen wanting right forms of protection (6)
FENCES: A seven-letter word for swordsmen or women without (wanting) the abbreviation for right.
3d Perfect, or in France said to be ordinary (8)
OUTRIGHT: The two-letter word meaning or in France followed by a homophone (said) of trite (to be ordinary).
4d Saw Philip finally given room to move (9)
PLATITUDE: The final letter of Philip followed by an eight-letter word meaning room to move.
5d Druggie‘s value close to nadir (4)
USER: A three-letter word meaning value followed by the final letter (close to) of nadir.
6d Eat around four or six? Either is mouth-watering (6)
DIVINE: A four-letter word meaning eat around either of the Roman numerals for 4 or 6.
7d Harmonising dancing in reggae (8)
AGREEING: An anagram (dancing) of IN REGGAE.
8d Contemporary offering (7)
PRESENT: Double definition.
15d Add up brands supported by Home Counties … about twenty essentially. (4,5)
MAKE SENSE: A five-letter word for brands and the abbreviation for the geographical location of the Home Counties around (about) the central two letters (essentially) of twenty.
16d Wipe the floor with well-known cleaning product, losing top … it’s a pain in the neck! (8)
WHIPLASH: A four-letter word meaning to beat or wipe the floor with followed by the name of a proprietary cleaning product with its initial letter (losing top). A repetition of top here.
17d Cheeky daughter having replaced son is unlikely to work? (8)
INDOLENT: An eight-letter word meaning cheeky with the S (son) replaced by a D (daughter).
18d Maybe Lincoln supporter’s after a nerd on the radio (7)
ABRAHAM: A three-letter word for a clothing item that provides support after the A from the clue followed by a three-letter word for a radio enthusiast.
19d Politically in the pink? (7)
LEFTISH: Cryptic definition.
21d Obsessive desire to trawl around East on vacation (6)
FETISH: A four-letter word meaning to trawl around the outer letters (on vacation) of east. A repetition of around (see 6d).
23d Shrewd Conservative tipped party (6)
CLEVER: The abbreviation for Conservative followed by a reversal (tipped) of a five-letter word for party.
25d Cry of distress over nothing special (2-2)
SO-SO: The international distress signal followed by the abbreviation for over.