Astarte1

QC 1815 by Orpheus

A crossword that is notable for the near-absence of one of the staple clue types of the Quickie: as far as I can see there is only one anagram (including clue elements as well as whole clues) in the whole puzzle. FOI was 1A and LOI was 9D because although I was sure I had heard of this it was on the periphery of my knowledge and I wanted to give it a final interrogation before inserting it. My COD was probably 8A for the misdirection mentioned in the blog.

Many thanks to Orpheus for a gently teasing start to the week.

Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Old provincial governor finally senses an ambush (6)
SATRAP - S ('finally' senseS) + A TRAP (an ambush).
4 Mellow sound made by farm animal in south (6)
SMOOTH - MOO (sound made by farm animal) 'in' STH (south).
8 Disputed claim initially about balls bowled in test (13)
CONTROVERSIAL - C (Claim 'initially') + ON (about) + OVERS (balls bowled) 'in' TRIAL (test). Nice misdirection because the surface could lead you to think about balls being bowled in a test (match) as the definition of OVERS in that clue element but in fact 'test' is part of the overall cryptic.
10 Alter the last word at end of screed (5)
AMEND - AMEN (the last word) + D (the end of screeD).
11 Aussie native’s short word for male fowl (7)
ROOSTER - ROO'S ([kanga]roo's, Aussie native's) + TERm (term = word, so without the last letter it is a 'short' word).
13 Plot involving a legendary archer’s sidekick (9)
SATELLITE - SITE (plot) 'involving' A + TELL (legendary archer, although I would say that technically William Tell was a crossbowman. An archer is defined as 'somebody skilled with bow and arrow' which is not the same thing, but I don't suppose we care.).
17 Levelling out late in the day (7)
EVENING - double definition.
18 Woman identified in ghastly diatribe (5)
LYDIA - hidden word: 'identified in' ghastLY DIAtribe.
19 March exhibition (13)
DEMONSTRATION - double definition.
21 Complete set of books kept in European republic (6)
ENTIRE - NT (New Testament, a 'set of books') 'kept in' EIRE (European republic).
22 Early settler finally relaxed and fished (6)
ANGLED - ANGLE (an early settler) + D ('finally' relaxeD).
Down
1 Thus American spies left an informal gathering (6)
SOCIAL - SO (thus) + CIA (American spies) + L (left).
2 Broadcast game, behold, in US state (9)
TENNESSEE - TENNIS (game) + SEE (behold) when said out loud (broadcast) sounds like TENNESSEE.
3 Gave vent to anger in commercial (5)
AIRED - IRE (anger) 'in' AD (commercial).
5 Italian physicist taking brandy on island (7)
MARCONI - MARC (a type of brandy produced from grape skins left over from wine production) + ON + I (island). Marc varies greatly in quality (as of course does wine) but the good stuff is a particular favourite of mine. Most commonly you get Marc de Bourgogne and Marc de Champagne, and these French products are roughly equivalent to grappa from Italy. For crossword beginners it might be worth mentioning that MARC sometimes comes up in cryptics as cluing for WASTE or REFUSE or similar, reflecting the fact that it is made from the leftovers. I just tried to think of a sample clue using MARC and came up with this one (which would only work as a down clue):
School waste washed up by sea in France (7)
Not the best clue in the world, but I hope it gives an illustration.
6 Sash originally bought in old India (3)
OBI - B (Bought 'originally') 'in' O (old) + I (India, from phonetic alphabet or common abbreviation).
7 Mountaineer forks out pounds for a term at Oxford (6)
HILARY - Sir Edmund HILLARY was a mountaineer (of Everest fame). If you 'fork out' one of the Ls (pounds) you are left with HILARY, the term we would currently be in if we were up at Oxford. The others are Michaelmas and Trinity. The name of Michaelmas Term is the same at Cambridge although the others are called simply Lent and Easter.
9 Signaller’s device weighing practically nothing? (4,5)
VERY LIGHT - double definition. A Very Light is another one of those nautical things (like earings, sheets, cleats and cringles) that deckhandiana will be able to tell you about. I believe they are bright flares that you can use to draw attention to yourself when lost at sea, or if you prefer you can save them up and use them (a bit like footballers and racing drivers use bottles of Champagne) to draw attention to yourself when celebrating after you have won a race.
12 Exercise machine reforming team drill (9)
TREADMILL - straight anagram (the first (and only?) today!), 'reforming' TEAM DRILL.
14 Bar coated with the right solvent (7)
THINNER - INN (bar) 'coated with' THE R (right).
15 Stick one’s nose in, hearing gong? (6)
MEDDLE - sounds like MEDAL (gong).
16 Woman breaks record, being the worse for wear (6)
CANNED - ANNE (woman) 'breaking' CD (record). CANNED is one of the euphemisms for 'drunk' (the worse for wear) that Polly doesn't use in her famous Fawlty Towers speech attempting to alert Basil 'subtly' in front of bemused guests to the fact that their chef is hopelessly drunk in the run-up to evening service: "He's POTTED... the shrimps... He's SOUSED... the herrings... He's PICKLED the onions and he's SMASHED the eggs IN HIS CUPS, UNDER THE TABLE." I suppose she could have added "He's CANNED the sardines.
18 Study Latin at first and make money (5)
LEARN - L (Latin 'at first') + EARN (make money).
20 Encountered leaders in Middle Eastern territory (3)
MET - M + E + T ('leaders' in Middle Eastern Territory).
Astarte1

QC 1805 by Izetti

Very enjoyable puzzle with quite a few anagrams or anagram elements that were well signposted. One MER at 15D but no doubt someone will point out why I am wrong. FOI was 1A and LOI (I think) was 20A. I could see the anagram but the answer didn't strike me as a particularly standard phrase so I hesitated to insert it even though it couldn't really be anything else. COD was 7D both for the clever definition and for reminding me of Ronnie Barker's FORK 'ANDLES. Many thanks to Izetti for an entertaining Monday offering.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is exaplained just as I see it as simply as I can manage.

Across
1 Fuel company with a shortfall finally (4)
COAL - CO (company) + A + L (shortfalL 'finally').
3 Song in church provided by a new boy (7)
CHANSON - CH (church) + A + N (new) + SON (boy).
8 Ready-made red carpet I supply, brilliant for inside (13)
PREFABRICATED - anagram of RED CARPET I ('ready-made') with FAB (brilliant) 'inside'.
9 Couple turning noisy, left out (3)
DUO - lOUD (noisy) 'turning', i.e. reversed, with L (left) removed.
10 Time to meet French friend, someone learning language (5)
TAMIL - T (time) + AMI (French for 'friend') + L (someone learning, as in an L-driver) gives this Sri Lankan and southern Indian language.
12 Junior tearaway, ultimately having no urge to reform (7)
YOUNGER - tearawaY 'ultimately' + anagram ('to reform') of NO URGE.
14 Month to go to a golf course in America (7)
AUGUSTA - AUGUST (month) + A gives the Augusta National Golf Course, the home of the US Masters Golf Tournament, known simply as Augusta whenever golf is the topic of conversation.
16 Admirer's initial longing to construct a letter (5)
AITCH - A (Admirer's initial) + ITCH (longing).
17 Fate of some plotters (3)
LOT - hidden word: 'some' pLOTters.
20 Cruel guys Tom’s mistaken for bad people (4,9)
UGLY CUSTOMERS - straight anagram ('mistaken') of CRUEL GUYS TOM'S.
21 A name is confused, memory being lost (7)
AMNESIA - straight anagram ('confused') of A NAME IS.
22 Bishop, experienced and fearless (4)
BOLD - B (bishop) + OLD (experienced).
Down
1 Rambling up to cafe to get a hot drink (3,2,3)
CUP OF TEA - straight anagram ('rambling') of UP TO CAFE.
2 Top chap expecting traps (4)
APEX - hidden word: chAP EXpecting 'traps'.
3 Lad underneath vehicle shows bottle (6)
CARBOY - BOY (lad) 'underneath' (in this down clue) CAR (vehicle).
4 Gathering in university entertained by comical aunt dancing (12)
ACCUMULATION - anagram ('dancing') of COMICAL AUNT 'entertaining' U (university).
5 One sober person in view to avoid action (3,5)
SIT TIGHT - I (one) + TT (teetotaler, sober person) 'in' SIGHT (view).
6 Signal before entrance to every junction (4)
NODE - NOD (signal, as in 'give the nod to') + E (entrance to Every).
7 Supporters of wicked things (12)
CANDLESTICKS - cryptic definition. You have to flip your mind from 'wicked' meaning 'bad' to 'wicked' cryptically potentially meaning 'having a wick'. Well, candles have wicks and they can be supported by the answer so there you go.
11 A good measure introduced by fellow who went on long expedition? (8)
MAGELLAN - A + G (good) + ELL (an old measure equal to 45 inches) 'introduced by' MAN (fellow) gives the famous Portuguese explorer who 'went on a long expedition' to try to discover the Spice Islands (although he was killed in battle before getting there).
13 Herd suffering with encroaching river given new shelter (8)
REHOUSED - anagram of HERD ('suffering') with OUSE (river) 'encroaching'.
15 NW state unfortunately ends with black lava (6)
ALASKA - ALAS (unfortunately) + K + A ('ends of' blacK lavA). My eyebrow is creeping upwards as I don't believe this is correctly clued by 'ends with black lava', but this is surely what is intended.
18 Beast turning up — turning up in the morning (4)
PUMA - PU ('turning' UP) + MA (AM, ante meridiem, reversed, i.e. 'turning up' in this down clue). A clever use of two different cryptic meanings of 'turning up'.
19 Model again getting embarrassed over nothing (4)
REDO - RED (embarrassed) 'over', again, in this down clue, O (nothing).
Astarte1

QC 1795 by Mara

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Mara showed a great sense of humour and also gave me the best clue I think I have ever had on my blogging watch at 6D (as it happens I do enjoy a 6D of golf whenever I get the chance but of course that has not been possible recently). So thank you very much Mara for an entertaining morning cup of tea.

6D was naturally therefore my COD. My FOI was 6A and I believe my LOI was, unusually, 1A. On my first run-through I was fixated on MP for representative and I had to put it on the subconscious back burner while working through the rest before the correct representative turned up.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 French produce representative in Tom, perhaps (9)e my
CAMEMBERT - MEMBER (representative) 'in' CAT (tom 'perhaps', as other varieties of cat are available).
6 Wine studied, we hear? (3)
RED - red wine as opposed to white wine, and sounds like READ (studied).
8 Popular team getting runs, one with special advantage (7)
INSIDER - IN (popular) + SIDE (team) + R (runs, as in Cricket). INSIDERS have a special advantage as for example in INSIDER dealing, or in helping with an INSIDE job.
9 Wake in river behind stern of steamer (5)
ROUSE - R (stern, i.e. back, of steameR) + OUSE (river).
10 Tough cut of meatthat's by the way (4,8)
HARD SHOULDER - double cryptic definition. A tough cut of meat could be a 'hard' shoulder, which could also be 'by the way' when you are driving on a motorway. Unless of course you are on a so-called 'smart' motorway, where as far as I can tell there is no hard shoulder and therefore nowhere to stop in an emergency except directly in front of all the traffic behind you. No doubt the equations of cost and convenience in building motorways all work out to justify the increased risk of massive pile-ups but who am I to judge.
12 County where people sleep (4)
BEDS - double definition, BEDS being the generally accepted abbreviation for the county of Bedfordshire.
13 Article I encountered on the way back (4)
ITEM - I + TEM (MET (encountered) 'on the way back').
17 Rudeness: unfortunate recipient, men! (12)
IMPERTINENCE - sraight anagram ('unfortunate') of RECIPIENT MEN.
20 Rough-sounding canine (5)
HUSKY - double definition.
21 Nothing in new design of nicest part (7)
SECTION - O (nothing) in an anagram ('new design') of NICEST.
23 Pastry spoiled, odd bits removed (3)
PIE - remove the odd letters of sPoIlEd and that's what's left.
24 Complete one sort of clue correctly (9)
DOWNRIGHT - DOWN (sort of clue, but not like this one of course which is an ACROSS clue) + RIGHT (correctly). As in "the ex-President was telling downright lies". Maybe younger people will not have heard of this expression but it was still a mild swearword in my early schooldays although I believe it had pretty much gone by the time I left. I remember one particular teacher who seemed ancient to me who used it a lot and I think it was really only current amongst that older generation. As children we just used all the exciting new (and mostly monosyllabic) swearwords that filtered down to us from our parents and the other younger adults in the 'liberated' 60s and 70s.
Down
1 Bit of money I invested in fiddle (4)
COIN - I 'invested in' CON (fiddle).
2 Rub mother's herb (7)
MASSAGE - MA'S (mother's) + SAGE (herb).
3 Dirt making uniforms dirty, primarily (3)
MUD - 'primarily' Making Uniforms Dirty.
4 Piece of primitive art, hysterically coarse (6)
EARTHY - hidden word: 'piece of' primitivE ART HYsterically.
5 Quite sour nuts, greenish-blue (9)
TURQUOISE - straight anagram ('nuts') of QUITE SOUR.
6 Of course, all holes circular (5)
ROUND - a clever cryptic definition here. If you play a ROUND of golf, you play 'all holes' of the course. Thus: 'Of [a golf] course, all holes' = ROUND.
7 Tedious last part filling empty day (6)
DREARY - REAR (last part) 'filling' DY (empty DaY, i.e. day 'emptied' of its middle). This is similar to the recent clues that have come up on my watch where the removal of the inner letters was clued by the phrase 'on vacation' meaning 'on emptying' as opposed to the surface meaning of 'on holiday'. That phrase caused some solvers a bit of difficulty at this level and this more literal device is perhaps more suitable for the Quickie.
11 Wrecked, replacement of odd tyres saving vehicle, finally (9)
DESTROYED - anagram ('replacement') of ODD TYRES + E (vehiclE 'finally'). The word 'saving' indicates that the 'E' should go 'inside' the anagram rather than at either end. Effectively it could be clued simply as an anagram but 'saving' completes the surface and is consistent with the cryptic.
14 Remarkably ethnic, good work of art (7)
ETCHING - at about the same time as people were calling each other DOWNRIGHT liars (see 24A above), euphemistic proposals to 'come up and see my etchings' were common, at least in popular humour, as were many conversations that were imagined to take place between actresses and bishops. But back to the clue. It's an anagram ('remarkably') of ETHNIC + G (good).
15 Cool dance music genre (3-3)
HIP-HOP - HIP (cool) + HOP (dance).
16 Puzzle: was soldier Jack set up? (6)
JIGSAW - this is a Down clue, so 'set up' means 'reverse'. Reversing  WAS + GI (soldier) + J (Jack) gives the answer.
18 Gum spread round bottom of canvas (5)
PASTE - PATE (spread) 'round' S ('bottom of' canvaS).
19 Insect featuring in design, a termite (4)
GNAT - hidden word: 'featuring in' desiGN A Termite.
22 Motor competition not entirely uplifting (3)
CAR - RACe (competition) 'uplifting'. 'Not entirely' tells us to remove the last letter and, once again, as this is a Down clue, 'uplifting' means 'reversing'.
Astarte1

QC 1785 by Hurley

I have noticed a minority of comments recently suggesting that I (and presumably other bloggers as well) should not describe a puzzle as easy as then new people who come along and who might find it difficult can get a bit disheartened, which is exactly the opposite of what we all want to happen. As it is I normally don't post my times as I tend to think they don't mean a lot on the QC, and then I restrict myself to saying whether I personally found it more or less difficult than the average, and then generally I find that my perception differs anyway from many of the seasoned contributors either one way or the other. So with that pattern I am quite happy to give a more objective assessment a try and see how it goes. As it is I couldn't give you a time this week anyway even if I wanted to as when I finished it turned out that the timer was in the 'off' position.

So what I am going to try is to give the usual FOI, LOI and COD furniture and then a quick run down of the clue stats concentrating on the types of clue that are generally considered to be the 'easiest', namely anagrams, hidden words and double definitions. I may start to include other types of clue as time goes on but that is how I propose to start anyway. So here we go - as soon as I have said thank you to Hurley for providing our first fix of the week.

FOI was 1A. LOI was I think 16D. I'm having difficulty deciding on a COD as no particular surface or cryptic construction stood out for me above the others but I will go for 17A.

I counted three anagrams, three double definitions and two hidden words, which should have given most people a good scaffolding of checkers upon which to build the rest of the solution. It also helped that the anagrams were relatively long and the anagrinds ('wrecked', 'revised arrangement' and 'new') could hardly have been clearer.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 With noted talent for “Oklahoma!” say? (7)
MUSICAL - if you are musical then you could cryptically be said to have a 'noted' talent. 'Oklahoma!' is the famous first musical by the Rodgers & Hammerstein duo.
5 Overtake father and sons (4)
PASS - PA (father) + S + S (sons).
7 Fruit woman got, partly missing (5)
MANGO - hidden word: woMAN GOt 'partly missing', i.e. with the other letters removed.
8 Is able to vote as several standing initially seek support (7)
CANVASS - CAN (is able to) + V (vote) + AS + S (Standing 'initially').
10 Discourteous when daughter leaves leading to regret (3)
RUE - RUdE (discourteous) with D (daughter) 'leaving'.
11 Not half mocked in jockey’s equipment? Leave fast! (9)
SKEDADDLE - delete half of mocKED to get 'not half mocked' and then put it in SADDLE (jockey's equipment) to give this Americanism, probably related to Scots and northern dialect. Much the same meaning as ABSQUATULATE which also turns up in crosswords occasionally.
13 British school language (6)
BRETON - it's that contentious educational establishment again! BR (British) + ETON (school). Breton being the language spoken in the region of Brittany in France which is in the Celtic family of languages including Cornish 'whereto 'tis kin' as Hamlet might say. Having spent several holidays in the region I have found it quite interesting to note 'Cornish' characteristics in a lot of the place name spellings and so on.
14 Choice tips from expert getting post (6)
PICKET - PICK (choice) + ET ('tips', i.e. the end bits, from ExperT).
17 Resort everyone rejected — Northern failure? No (9)
LLANDUDNO - ALL (everyone) reversed, i.e. rejected, = LLA + N DUD (northern failure) + NO all strung together lead inexorably to this resort in Wales.
19 Dry a very short time (3)
SEC - double definition. SEC = dry as in wine, and also an abbreviation for second. That is either a straight definition for a 'very short time' (it's all relative after all), or the idea may be that a second is a short time, and if you abbreviate it to SEC it becomes a VERY short time. Either way, we do indeed get there in quite a short time I hope.
20 Fuss about vocal, never ending, Green? (7)
AVOCADO - ADO (fuss) 'about' VOCAl 'never ending', i.e. without the last letter, leading to this shade of green much beloved of 80s bathroom designers.
22 Song of Republican over in California (5)
CAROL - OK. We have all heard of Republicans have we? I know I saw something about them on the news the other day. Well as a political party they get abbreviated to R. An over is a series of 6 deliveries in Cricket (I think in the Australian tradition it was also 8 deliveries at some point in history), and this is often abbreviated to O. Put R + O into CAL (California) and there you have the answer.
23 Continue after all others (4)
LAST - double definition.
24 After time more unusual accepted learner’s young child (7)
TODDLER - T (time) + ODDER (more unusual) 'accepting' L (learner).
Down
1 They may help to recall mobile Maria wrecked (11)
MEMORABILIA - straight anagram. MOBILE MARIA 'wrecked'.
2 Open all the time after resistance ended at front (7)
SINCERE - SINCE (all the time after) + R (symbol for the electrical quantity of resistance) + E (Ended 'at front').
3 Ill-tempered promise — this?! (9)
CROSSWORD - CROSS (ill-tempered) + WORD (promise, as in 'I give you my word'). The definition is of course what you have presumably just completed.
4 Jewellery item — severe reprimand when directions are reversed (6)
LOCKET - ROCKET (severe reprimand) with R (right) 'reversing direction' to L (left).
5 Pole needed to use ATM (3)
PIN - Personal Identification Number. If you need some Cadbury's Smash you'd better go to the hole in the wall and put in your Huckleberry Finn. (Sorry, I was just reading an article about east end ATMs the other day that have an option to display instructions in Cockney rhyming slang).
6 Pay for exhibition area at fair (5)
STAND - double definition. Pay for as in 'I'll stand you all a drink'. And if you all meet me at my local (if it's still there) once all this virus business is over I certainly will. Maybe we could even do it on a night when verlaine is chairing the quiz (as I believe he has done in the past).
9 Impressive revised arrangement of act? Clap? Sure! (11)
SPECTACULAR - straight anagram. 'Revised arrangement' of ACT CLAP SURE.
12 New aid in coma — it’s found in proteins (5,4)
AMINO ACID - and another one. 'New' AID IN COMA. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of which proteins are made. The clue is in the name: they have a basic (AMINO) chemical functional group at one end and an acidic (ACID) one at the other. Elimination of water enables them to join together to make the long-chain biological polymers known as proteins.
15 Flier, quickest, relative displays (7)
KESTREL - hidden word: quicKEST RELative 'displays'.
16 Publicity, limitless, from computers etc that’s skilful (6)
ADROIT - AD (publicity) + RO (fROm 'limitless', that is without its end letters, or 'limits') + IT (computers etc).
18 Fragrance of a capital (in local parlance) (5)
AROMA - A + ROMA (capital 'in local parlance', i.e. ROME in Italian).
21 Suitable carpet oddly overlooked (3)
APT - 'overlook' the odd letters of cArPeT and you are left with the answer.
Astarte1

QC 1775 bt Trelawney

Not much time to say anything this week what with recovering after the hollowed out Christmas which I hope you all managed to enjoy as well as you could in the circumstances.

FOI was the obvious 1A and LOI was 21D as you would expect from a puzzle of this level of difficulty where I found most of the clues to be straight write-ins. My COD was 11D. I don't particularly know why, I just really liked how it fitted together. Many thanks to Trelawney for not taxing my poor grey cells too much after the Christmas revels.

Hi to plusjeremy with whom I have been corresponding about his project of revisiting the very basics of cryptic clues. I meant to comment on his blog last Wednesday but didn't get to it until the end of the day and as I have said before there isn't much point in posting at that time as everybody has moved on. So just to say quickly here good work and I applaud and support his approach.

Wishing you all a happy New Year and hoping it will be a better one for all of us. Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Furry creature to relax in the country (10)
CHINCHILLA - CHILL (to relax) 'in' CHINA (country).
8 Villain is after British accent (6)
BROGUE - ROGUE (villan) 'after' B (British). A brogue is a type of accent, usually applied to the sound of English spoken with an Irish accent, but it can apply to any regional accent. Another meaning for the word that you will often meet in crosswords is a type of shoe.
9 Footballer you wouldn't want to release? (6)
KEEPER - double definition. Footballer, as in goalkeeper. And a 'keeper' is also something you would not want to release. I bought a guitar recently and I took it to a local guitar shop to get it set up properly, checking the action, frets, electrics etc. When the technician gave it back to me he said: "That's a keeper that one. If it was mine I'd definitely hang on to it."
10 Stagger back and stare (4)
LEER - REEL (stagger) reversed ('back').
11 Praise cook drinking coffee (8)
FLATTERY - FRY (cook) 'drinking' LATTE (coffee).
12 Clear I cooked a rich dessert (6)
ECLAIR - straight anagram ('cooked') of CLEAR I.
14 The lady's adopting a bird — big mistake! (6)
HOWLER - HER (the lady) 'adopting', i.e. 'taking in' OWL (bird) gives one of those things that a 9A is always in danger of committing (viz. recent Arsenal performance in Carabao Cup).
16 Ban for greeting segment (8)
PROHIBIT - PRO (for) + HI (greeting) + BIT (segment).
18 Story's thread (4)
YARN - double definition. A pretty old and big chestnut in crosswords.
20 Italian food around a public square (6)
PIAZZA - PIZZA (Italian food) 'around' A.
21 Make money if port is drunk (6)
PROFIT - straight anagram ('drunk') of IF PORT.
22 Lend heroes recycled gear for Oktoberfest? (10)
LEDERHOSEN - another straight anagram ('recycled') of LEND HEROES. Lederhosen are the traditional German leather trousers worn particularly in Bavaria, especially at festivals such as the Oktoberfest.
Down
2 Mob store, reportedly (5)
HORDE - sounds like ('reportedly') HOARD (store).
3 Earing I prepared for African Country (7)
NIGERIA - straight anagram ('prepared') of EARING I. At first I thought this was a misspelling of 'EARRING' (although it did not affect my solution of the clue because the anagram indicator was so obvious) but when I looked it up I learned that an EARING is "a rope attached to a cringle and used for bending a corner of a sail to a yard, boom, or gaff or for reefing a sail." So now I know. But I bet deckhandiana knew that already. And probably lots more of you did too.
4 Desire to get rid of power tool (3)
HOE - HOpE (desire) 'getting rid of' P (power) leaves HOE.
5 Large furniture shop's popular very quickly (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT - L (large) + IKEA'S ('furniture shop's') + HOT (popular).
6 Spy is a polite fellow (5)
AGENT - A GENT is a polite fellow. As in 'You're a proper gent, Sir'. Abbreviated form of GENTLEMAN.
7 Absurd greed over English qualification (6)
DEGREE - anagram ('absurd') of GREED 'over' E (English). This has to be a down clue as we are instructed to put DEGRE 'over', i.e. above, E.
11 If upset, change the image of troublemaker (9)
FIREBRAND - IF 'upset' i.e. reversed (or even anaground, if you can talk about an anagram of a two letter word) = FI. Add on REBRAND (change the image of) and you have the answer.
13 Expression of surprise over serving American's dogs (6)
CORGIS - COR! (expression of surprise) + GI'S (serving American's, a GI being an American soldier ('GI Joe') roughly equivalent to a British Private ('Tommy').
15 A potential route — bravo! (3,2,2)
WAY TO GO - staying with the Americans, WAY TO GO is a phrase often used across the pond as an expression of encouragement. And I can just imagine Basil Fawlty interpreting the phrase as 'a potential route'. As when an American in one of the Fawlty Towers episodes threatened to "bust somebody's ass" and Fawlty politely translated the threat down the telephone as "he says he's going to break your bottom".
17 Smog left brown colour (5)
HAZEL - HAZE (smog) + L (left).
19 By the sound of it, completely destroy lift (5)
RAISE - another homophone. RAISE sounds like RAZE as in RAZE to the ground.
21 Golfer's target in jeopardy (3)
PAR - hidden word: 'in' jeoPARdy.
Astarte1

QC 1765 by Oink

After having had a long run of very easy Monday puzzles we have had two on my watch that I believe have been a bit more difficult. I found this a medium challenge in QC terms and enjoyed a lot of the clues so many thanks to Oink for a skilful and entertaining puzzle.

Having said that there was plenty of easy meat with the hidden words and the anagrams so there should have been lots of checkers to help with the more difficult clues and so I would class this as a good educational puzzle.

FOI was the obvious 1A and my LOI was 16D which I didn't see straight away. FOR COD I liked 11A, 9D and 14D but would probably go for 24A in the end.

14D is interesting because it uses the same device ('on vacation') that caused several comments on my last blog. Quite a few people commented that they could not see how this device worked, how (using this week's example as opposed to the previous one) 'girl on vacation' led to GL. I and some others pointed out that if you take the internal letters out of the word then you are left with the first and last letters, but it still seemed that some people didn't get it. In fact one commenter answered one of the later queries by saying if they couldn't understand it then they should read the earlier comments before posting because the question had already been answered. And that set me thinking: maybe I as a blogger and the other commenters as seasoned crossword solvers weren't answering the right question.

So when one final (anonymous) person posted at the end of the day that they couldn't understand this device I answered them and repeated the earlier explanation, but then also speculated that maybe I had misunderstood their difficulty. I suggested that perhaps the problem was not with the idea of deleting the middle letters and leaving the outer letters behind, it was with being unable to get away from the surface meaning of 'on vacation' and therefore not understanding why we were deleting the middle letters in the first place. I pointed out that although the surface meaning of 'on vacation' was 'on holiday', it could also be cryptically taken to mean 'on vacating' or 'on emptying', so that we were being instructed to 'vacate' the word, or 'empty it of its contents'. This did indeed strike a chord with the commenter in question and I received a grateful note of thanks back saying that, yes, now they understood what was going on.

The lesson for me was that, as I said in another context a few weeks back, we seasoned solvers sometimes take too much for granted. For me, as I imagine for most 15x15 addicts, when I see that phrase 'on vacation' in a clue I immediately think of that device. The 'straight' definition of 'on holiday' just doesn't even go through my mind. Paradoxically, a more difficult clue for me would probably be one which used the 'easy' straight definition!

I have therefore decided to try and adapt my blogging style a bit. I have always been somewhat afraid of 'explaining too much' and of people thinking I am insulting their intelligence. But of course it's not like that at all. It's not really about intelligence, it's more about experience. As we keep saying, these QCs are meant to be educational, and there are lots of people out there who are embarking on cryptic crosswords for the first time and for them at the beginning of their journey all explanations are helpful. I am therefore going to try and look at the clues with a beginner's eyes and try and see past the blinkers that I have developed over the years. I'm going to try to talk more directly to the beginner and so you will probably notice in this week's blog that I am explaining things at a more basic level.

Finally I would like to say that it is lovely to read all the comments that come in including the anonymous ones because it is the anonymous people who are most likely newcomers. But it would be even better if as a newcomer you were to come on in and join our community so that we know who you are. Do please therefore take a few minutes to set up an identity and come in and introduce yourselves properly. We don't bite. Well most of us don't anyway. I am sure you will find us a friendly and by and large helpful community.

Anyway, on with the blog. Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 One flying out of Yugoslavia to Romania (7)
AVIATOR - hidden word: 'out of' YugoslAVIA TO Romania.
5 Charlie in sanatorium for a test (4)
SCAN - C (Charlie, phonetic alphabet) 'in' SAN (sanatorium).
7 Cry when husband leaves for a fly-by-night? (3)
OWL - hOWL (cry) when husband (H) 'leaves'. Left behind is an OWL, which may cryptically be termed a 'fly-by-night'.
8 Diverted tramline — ending here? (8)
TERMINAL - straight anagram ('diverted') of TRAMLINE.
10 River, extremely rough one (5)
RHONE - RH ('extremely' RougH, i.e. take the extreme letters - those at either end - of the word ROUGH) + ONE.
11 Survive, being first to follow U-boats? (7)
SUBSIST - IST (first) following SUBS (U-boats).
13 Greedy guts allowed to be Pooh’s friend (6)
PIGLET - PIG (greedy guts) + LET (allowed). PIGLET is Pooh's best friend in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories of A A MILNE.
15 Swear Madagascar is concealing fleet (6)
ARMADA - hidden word: sweAR MADAgascar 'is concealing'.
17 Leave a Mafia boss outside bar (7)
ABANDON - A DON (a Mafia boss, as in Don Corleone for example) 'outside' BAN (bar).
18 Group initially believing Cockney’s intuition (5)
BUNCH - B ('initially' Believing) + hUNCH ('Cockney' intuition. A HUNCH is a form of intuition and Cockney accents are popularly perceived to drop their 'aitches', so any reference to being a Cockney, or an East Ender, or from Bow or similar in a clue is likely to be a cryptic indicator to take an initial 'H' away from a word).
20 Alas I’m no fancy oil painting (4,4)
MONA LISA - straight anagram ('fancy') of ALAS I'M NO.
22 Small chocolate perhaps unwrapped (3)
WEE - sWEEt A chocolate might be a SWEET, and if you 'unwrap' it, i.e. take off the outer layer (the first and last letters) you get WEE.
23 Love god angry when rejected (4)
EROS - if you are angry you might be SORE. Reverse this, i.e. 'reject' it, and you get the Greek god of carnal love whose statue is NOT in Piccadilly Circus (as I think has been mentioned in this blog before). If you don't know who the statue REALLY represents it's worth going and asking Uncle Google.
24 Is annoyed by alien’s way of thinking (7)
MINDSET - MINDS (is annoyed) + ET (Extra-Terrestrial, alien, either generically or more specifically from the Steven Spielberg film).
Down
1 Carol happy when drunk? That’s not true (10)
APOCRYPHAL - straight anagram ('when drunk') of CAROL HAPPY.
2 House in India with grand bathroom (5)
IGLOO - I (India, as a country abbreviation and also a phonetic alphabet letter) + G (grand) + LOO (bathroom).
3 Proof of ownership? Doctor deleted it (5,4)
TITLE DEED - straight anagram ('doctor') of DELETED IT.
4 Others holding artist up? Most unusual (6)
RAREST - REST (others) + RA at the beginning and so 'holding artist up'. An artist in Crossworld is usually an RA (Royal Academician, a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly just down the road from the famous statue) and here the artist is 'held up' by REST as this is a down clue.
5 Runner is going back to protect king (3)
SKI - IS 'going back' = SI. K = King (abbreviation for the Chess piece, as opposed to R (Rex) as an abbreviation for a human king). 'Protect' K by putting it inside SI to get the answer.
6 Language used in Yemen to get a coffee (7)
ARABICA - ARABIC (language used in Yemen) + A gives this variety of coffee bean.
9 Affection that may come with email (10)
ATTACHMENT - double definition, the latter one slightly cryptic. An email will often have an ATTACHMENT with it.
12 Clever chap supporting Turkey? Or a fool? (9)
BIRDBRAIN - Again, a clue that only works in the down part of the puzzle. BRAIN (clever chap) is placed underneath, and therefore 'supporting', BIRD (turkey).
14 Attractiveness of girl on vacation having affair (7)
GLAMOUR - here we have the same device (but used on a different word) that caused some difficulty in my last blog (see comments in the preamble above). Girl 'on vacation' = GL, and then we add AMOUR (affair).
16 One northern company is in poor health (6)
INFIRM - I (one) + N (northern) + FIRM (company).
19 Information about last of giant amphibians (5)
NEWTS - NEWS (information) 'about' last of gianT.
21 Idiot girl removing top (3)
ASS - Another specifically down clue. lASS (girl) 'removing top', i.e. the first letter when you write the word in the donwwards direction.
Astarte1

QC 1755 by Breadman

I thought this was just a touch more difficult than the usual Monday morning fare and so I found myself jumping around a bit rather than following the largely sequential course of most recent weeks. Did anyone agree? Either way thank you very much to Breadman for some interesting clues that were a bit above the average for the Monday QC as far as I could tell.

FOI with hindsight certainly should have been 1A but sadly it wasn't. The answer lurked there on the edge of my consciousness just a fraction of a second too long before I ticked over to 5A which went in straight away. LOI was 20A I think. For COD I liked both 13A and 15A which had a bit of a Carry On/On The Buses vibe which had me nudging and winking like Eric Idle. They both also had very natural surfaces but probably 15A wins it by a nipple.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

Across
1 Slipping on hard fish (7)
HERRING - H (hard) + ERRING (slipping).
5 I've messed up zero operations (4)
OOPS - O (zero) + OPS (operations).
7 Junk that is ignored by husband (3)
TAT - ThAT 'ignored' by H (husband).
8 Fighter plane tilts over before burning (8)
SPITFIRE - TIPS (tilts) reversed ('over') gives SPIT. Add FIRE (burning) to give SPITFIRE.
10 Somewhat windy ahead, knocking back Austrian composer (5)
HAYDN - reversed hidden word: 'somewhat' wiNDY AHead 'knocking back'.
11 Rated new company's architectural style (3,4)
ART DECO - anagram of RATED ('new') + CO.
13 American Society occupying congress area in SE England (6)
SUSSEX - US (American) + S (society) 'occupying' SEX (congress).
15 Go away to live with a bird (4,2)
BEAT IT - BE (to live) + A TIT (a bird).
17 Companion with cake failing to open large country house (7)
CHATEAU - CH (Companion of Honour) + gATEAU (cake 'failing to open').
18 Crime Harry scorns regularly (5)
ARSON - take regular letters from hArRy ScOrNs.
20 Arm perhaps supporting priest with doctor (8)
FORELIMB - FOR (supporting) + ELI (a high priest in the Biblical Books of Samuel) + MB (doctor, Bachelor of Medicine).
22 Silver ring gone (3)
AGO - AG (silver, chemical symbol Ag) + O (ring).
23 Observed envoy on vacation with newsman (4)
EYED - EnvoY ('on vacation') + ED (editor, newsman).
24 Dog that is left on bridge (7)
SPANIEL - SPAN (bridge) + IE (id est, that is) + L (left).
Down
1 At work, Kath itches to retire (3,3,4)
HIT THE SACK - straight anagram ('at work') of KATH ITCHES.
2 Again hear about score at Twickenham? (5)
RETRY - RE (about) + TRY (score at Twickenham). RETRY in the sense of re-hearing a trial, thus 'again hear'.
3 Lying, perhaps, in wrong church with religious class (9)
INSINCERE - IN (in) + SIN (wrong) + CE (church (of England)) + RE (religious class).
4 Instrument leaders of group used in the auditorium rarely (6)
GUITAR - take the 'leaders of' Group Used In The Auditorium Rarely.
5 Old female repeatedly absent (3)
OFF - O (old) + FF (female 'repeatedly').
6 Sign left on hospital department (7)
PORTENT - PORT (left (on board a ship)) + ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat department. Hospitals in Crossworld only ever seem to have this department so if you are ever visiting I suggest you make sure you have cast-iron comprehensive health insurance).
9 Stuffing own loot casually under child's bed (6,4)
COTTON WOOL - TON WOOL (anagram of OWN LOOT ('casually')) 'under' (in this down clue) COT (child's bed).
12 Article by magazine about graduate crossing one African country (3,6)
THE GAMBIA - THE (definite article) + GAM (MAGazine 'about') + BA (graduate) 'crossing' I (one). The Gambia is that long, thin finger of a country poking into Senegal along the Gambia river that is a result of one of those colonial carve-up thingies that resulted in straight lines all over Africa and other places. This combines two of my great general knowledge black holes, geography and history (I somehow managed effectively to avoid both at school), which I know will seem like impassable canyons to most of you, but which with the help of crosswords I am gradually managing to pave over. I did actually know this because I have been using various aids over the years to help me hold my head up in general knowledge quizzes and the countries of Africa (along with American States, countries of Europe, British Prime Ministers and American Presidents) have been one of my belated revision targets to try to make up for the proverbial misspent youth.
14 Mysterious flash around plug (7)
SHADOWY - SHOWY (flash) 'around' AD (advertisement or 'plug').
16 Nothing disturbs even throwing game (6)
QUOITS - O (nothing) 'disturbing' QUITS (even - as in let's call it quits).
19 Hindu instructor moved through water against current (5)
SWAMI - SWAM (moved through water) 'against' I (physical symbol for electric current).
21 Finish part of bowls match (3)
END - double definition. Football and Rugby matches are divided into halves. Polo matches are divided into chukkas. Cricket matches are divided into inningses (although Baseball matches are divided into innings). Bowls matches are divided into ends.
Astarte1

QC 1745 by Wurm

Pretty much a standard Monday puzzle, with most of the Across answers going in sequentially which made the Down answers even more straightforward. Many thanks to Wurm for a gentle and enjoyable start to the week. How did the rest of you find it?

FOI was 1A as you would expect and LOI similarly was 22D. COD as usual goes on qualities such as neatness and smoothness of surface rather than difficulty and plausible candidates were 11, 14 or 15D. I think I will go for the last of these because of the novel (well, novel to me anyway) subdefinition of EX.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Applaud catch that's rubbish? (8)
CLAPTRAP - CLAP (applaud) + TRAP (catch).
6 New beer knocked back in style (4)
ELAN - N (new) + ALE (beer) 'knocked back'.
8 Shakespeare nasty about Romeo (4)
BARD - BAD (nasty) 'about' R (Romeo in phonetic alphabet) brings us to the Bard of Avon.
9 First course study with French department (8)
CONSOMME - CON (study) + SOMME (French department). Consommé (with an aigu accent added tothe SOMME bit) being a clear soup and therefore a first course.
10 Carer she misled in fact-finding (8)
RESEARCH - straight anagram ('misled') of CARER SHE.
12 Comprehensive with no spare places? (4)
FULL - double definition.
13 Benefit sheltering theologian in breeze (6)
DODDLE - DOLE (benefit) 'sheltering' DD (Doctor of Divinity, theologian).
16 Write critical assessment on Panorama? (6)
REVIEW - RE (on) + VIEW (panorama).
17 Small vehicle showing damage (4)
SCAR - S (small) + CAR (vehicle).
18 Bumpkin holding hearts in game (8)
PHEASANT - PEASANT (bumpkin) 'holding' H (hearts).
21 Tea bag so explosively causes destruction (8)
SABOTAGE - straight anagram ('explosively') of TEA BAG SO.
22 The setter's rich source (4)
MINE - double definition.
23 Supreme creator gets racket on ball (4)
ODIN - DIN (racket) on O (ball) gives ODIN, the Norse mythology version of the supreme creator.
24 Race generating more than local interest? (8)
NATIONAL - double definition, 'National' being a common abbreviation of the Grand National, the famous annual horse race held at Aintree. And if something is of NATIONAL interest then it is of more than just local interest.
Down
2 Rental contract to satisfy without pressure at first (5)
LEASE - pLEASE (to satisfy) without P (pressure) at first.
3 Shell in Aleppo detonates (3)
POD - hidden word: 'in' AlepPO Detonates.
4 Fast driver expert in Rolls-Royce (5)
RACER - ACE (expert) 'in' RR (Rolls-Royce).
5 Leopard one breathless catching horse? (7)
PANTHER - PANTER (one who is 'breathless') 'catching' H (horse).
6 Game is on TV — fee to be arranged (4,5)
ETON FIVES - straight anagram ('to be arranged') of IS ON TV FEE.
7 Animal savaged Edinburgh's foremost author (1,1,5)
A A MILNE - anagram of ANIMAL ('savaged') + E (Edinburgh's foremost).
11 Bedcover has colour that is turning blue (9)
EIDERDOWN - RED (colour) + IE (id est, that is) 'turning' + DOWN (blue as in 'feeling blue')
14 Where one grows fruit or vegetable (7)
ORCHARD - OR + CHARD (vegetable).
15 Describe partner that was unattractive (7)
EXPLAIN - EX (partner that was) + PLAIN (unattractive).
19 Personage finally opening show? (5)
EVENT - E (personagE 'finally') + VENT (opening).
20 Assassin hiding in town in Japan (5)
NINJA - hidden word: 'hiding in' towN IN JApan. The whole clue could also be a reasonable description of a NINJA so this doubles as an &lit clue.
22 Low feeling daughter ignored (3)
MOO - MOOd (feeling) with D (daughter) ignored. The definition here is LOW as in the sound that cattle make ("The cattle are LOWing...").
Astarte1

QC 1735 by Breadman

Back again this week after missing my slot two weeks ago. Many thanks to jackkt who sat in for me. The reason for my absence was the untimely death of my mother. I honestly do take all your good wishes and condolences as read so please do not comment unless you really feel you want to. The only reason I mention it here is that I have this blog to thank for providing the ideal music for the committal of my mother's body. Several weeks ago I got involved in a discussion on this blog about Sergei Rachmaninov and to cut a long story short as a result I was introduced to a wonderful version of his Vespers and All-Night Vigil by oldblighter. The Nunc Dimittis from that work was the perfect accompaniment for that part of the service so I want to say a big thank you to all of you and particularly to oldblighter for making the service a truly memorable occasion for my family and me.

Right. Back to the crossword. I found this to be of medium difficulty but maybe I was just out of the groove after missing the last one. But having looked through it again I think, no, there were definitely some clues that were a bit higher on the difficulty level than the normal Monday QC. 1A, 18A and 10D for instance might have been able to slip in at the easy end of a Monday 15x15. Many thanks to Breadman for a skillfully composed intro to the week.

I think my FOI was the double definition at 5A, LOI was 1D and COD I have to give to 18A in memory of Jill Masterson on the weekend in which Sean Connery died. As I understand it though this must be pure coincidence as I think the puzzle was probably set just a little in advance of the news of his death.

Some of you may notice that I am trying a bit harder this week to explain even the most basic of crossword currency. This is because on my last blog I noticed a comment from someone who was not familiar with the abbreviations of S for son and D for daughter, and I realised that sometimes we bloggers take a little too much for granted particularly on the QC where some people really are trying  to get to grips with cryptics for the first time.

I didn't get time to look past on Friday to see what everybody made of the 15x15 but I really enjoyed it and I imagine there were some enthusiastic responses. I found the scenery in the SW corner particularly beautiful.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Disease affected legs, lower part first (8)
SHINGLES - SHIN (lower part of leg (going first)) + GLES (anagram ('affected') of LEGS).
5 Go away and sing some jazz (4)
SCAT - double definition. SCAT as in 'get out of here', and also as the sort of jazz singing at which Ella Fitzgerald used to excel.
8 Mark, good person, regularly patient (5)
STAIN - ST (saint, good person) + pAtIeNt 'regularly'.
9 Son and dad, covered in blood, become furious (2,5)
GO SPARE - S (son) + PA (dad) 'covered in' GORE (blood).
11 Viewer, the first person in auditorium (3)
EYE - sounds like 'I' (first person 'in auditorium').
12 Set up his tables wrong (9)
ESTABLISH - straight anagram ('wrong') of HIS TABLES.
13 Attempt to obtain one pound hat (6)
TRILBY - TRY (attempt) 'obtaining' I LB (one pound).
15 Bishop organised church meal (6)
BRUNCH - B (bishop) + RUN (organised) + CH (church). My eyebrow was about to raise because I thought the wrong tense was being used (RUN as opposed to RAN) but then I realised that use of the passive voice makes it OK, as in "The church meal was ORGANISED = was RUN by the Bishop". 
18 Genuine gold female found in loft, not the first (9)
AUTHENTIC - AU (chemical symbol for gold) + HEN (female) 'found in' aTTIC (loft, but not the first letter).
19 Paddle round a river (3)
OAR - O (ROUND) + A + R (river).
20 Suspend pet, with a guilty look (7)
HANGDOG - HANG (suspend) + DOG (pet).
21 Asian country dismissing cases of Hindu bias (5)
INDIA - 'dismiss' the 'cases' of hINDu bIAs and you have IND + IA = INDIA.
22 Made error accommodating ruminant animal (4)
DEER - hidden word: maDE ERror 'accommodating'.
23 Musical group embraces new age, advertising online (6,2)
BANNER AD - BAND (musical group) 'embracing' N (new) + ERA (age).
Down
1 Doubt South American kissed briefly, as you say (7)
SUSPECT - S (south) + US (American) + PECT (sounds like PECKED (kissed briefly) 'as you say').
2 Informant inside that is angry (5)
IRATE - RAT (informant) 'inside' IE (that is).
3 Reddish lolly, a sweet snack? (11)
GINGERBREAD - GINGER (reddish) + BREAD (lolly - both slang terms for money).
4 Wounded GI and the unknown pensioner might be so old (6)
EIGHTY - EIGHT (anagram of GI + THE ('wounded')) + Y (unknown - one of x, Y and z, the letters commonly used to represent unknown quantities in algebraic expressions).
6 Old brass instrument Caroline mostly played (7)
CLARION - anagram of CAROLINe (Caroline 'mostly').
7 Maybe canines in part of golf course on Thursday (5)
TEETH - TEE (part of golf course) + TH (Thursday).
10 Removal of U-boat drawing (11)
SUBTRACTION - SUB (U-boat) + TRACTION (drawing (as in dragging)).
14 Concentrated at home on future perhaps (7)
INTENSE - IN (at home) + TENSE (future 'perhaps', an example of a TENSE).
16 Difficult to get hold of a particular Bible for US university (7)
HARVARD - HARD (difficult) 'getting hold of' A RV (Revised Version, a particular translation of the Bible).
17 Spot Greek character crossing junction (6)
STIGMA - SIGMA (Greek letter or 'character') 'crossing' T (a type of junction).
18 Companion in A&E, with daughter, felt sore (5)
ACHED - CH (Companion of Honour) 'in' A and E + D (daughter).
19 Stranger died in north European river (5)
ODDER - D (died) 'in' ODER (north European river).
Astarte1

QC 1715 by Wurm

This was an extremely easy puzzle from Wurm (whom I think I have only met once or twice before). In fact I do think it is the easiest puzzle I have ever blogged and many thanks therefore for providing a puzzle that even the newest anonoymous beginners should be able to get their teeth into.

As we often say this is one of the main purposes of the Quickie,  to get people to have a go at cryptics and realise that they are not as far out of their reach as they might have thought. I remember when I started I used to stare at a blank 15x15 grid and wonder how I would ever be able to penetrate the surface. Then after a couple of days I was managing to get a few of the clues and before long I was finishing the puzzle regularly. Nowadays the Quickie helps you through those early head-scratching stages so you should be able to be filling in at least some of the grid from the very beginning.

Pretty much sequential solving today, with FOI being 6A and LOI 19D. I think my COD was, for reasons of neatness rather than difficulty, 8D.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
6 Swimmer in location without current (6)
PLAICE - PLACE (location) 'without' (i.e. 'outside') I (physical symbol for electric current).
7 Bet here as coin thrown about (6)
CASINO - straight anagram ('thrown about') of AS COIN.
9 Drink around north is bargain (4)
SNIP - SIP (drink) 'around' N (north).
10 7 game allowed to get in way (8)
ROULETTE - LET (allowed) in ROUTE (way). '7 game' is referring to 7A CASINO.
11 Use machete repeatedly with expedition! (4-4)
CHOP-CHOP - You use a machete to CHOP, and if you do it repeatedly you get this colloquial expression for 'hurry up'.
13 Good base for light (4)
GLOW - G (good) + LOW (base).
15 Black rodent irritating child (4)
BRAT - B (black) + RAT (rodent).
16 Become sunnier in resort, we hear (8)
BRIGHTEN - sounds like ('we hear') BRIGHTON (south coast resort).
18 Precious stones found in suit (8)
DIAMONDS - double definition.
20 Prepare some korma kebabs (4)
MAKE - hidden word: 'some' korMA KEbabs.
21 Relative brings us into money (6)
COUSIN - US 'brought in' to COIN (money).
22 Get to the point? (6)
NEEDLE - double definition.
Down
1 One to embrace decisive argument (8)
CLINCHER - double definition.
2 Creature this puma moved across river twice (12)
HIPPOPOTAMUS - anagram ('moved') of THIS PUMA 'across' PO PO (the longest river in Italy 'twice').
3 Beginning to deal with world shortage (6)
DEARTH - D (beginning to Deal) + EARTH (world).
4 Rugby-playing group quietly steal apples (6)
SCRUMP - SCRUM (Rugby-playing group) + P (piano, quietly).
5 Join outfit that protects knight (4)
KNIT - KIT (outfit) 'protecting' N (symbol for the knight in Chess).
8 Tool has blade: hard to smuggle into jail (12)
SLEDGEHAMMER - EDGE (blade) + H (hard) 'smuggled into' SLAMMER (jail).
12 Rower in Tromso arriving (3)
OAR - hidden word: 'in' TromsO ARriving.
14 Large liver OK cooked, but too much (8)
OVERKILL - anagram ('cooked') of L (large) + LIVER OK.
16 Graduate meets fool in plant (6)
BANANA - BA (graduate) + NANA (fool).
17 Stupid and senseless to incarcerate son (6)
INSANE - INANE (senseless) 'incarcerating' S (son).
19 Hero at home entertaining company (4)
ICON - IN (at home) 'entertaining' CO (company).