QC 1865 by Pedro

I went through this completely sequentially, from top to bottom then left to right. Either I was on that mysterious 'wavelength' or Pedro was being especailly kind to us for the bank holiday weekend. Only you can tell me which it was and I look forward to reading your comments. Many thanks to Pedro (who I don't think I have blogged before? Certainly not more than once or twice anyway) for a gentle start to the week.

Following my comments above I don't really need to say that my FOI was 1A and LOI 19D. But there, I'v
e done it anyway. I think my COD was 11A which took slightly onger than the others to go into the grid.

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

1 Militia crazy to jettison leader (4)
ARMY - bARMY (crazy) 'jettisoning leader'. Unless, of course, you are in the Barmy Army following the English Cricket team around the world (when allowed to do so).
3 I’m supporting exercises, right? Wrong (8)
IMPROPER - IM (I'm) + PRO (supporting) + PE (exercises) + R (right).
8 Church provided most of item for baptism — material for gown? (7)
CHIFFON - CH (church) + IF (provided) + FON ('most of' FONt, 'item for baptism').
10 Prosper — not, say, going backwards (3,2)
GET ON - NOT + EG (say) all reversed, i.e. 'going backwards'.
11 About to move round striker in later game (6,5)
RETURN MATCH - RE (about) + TURN (to move round) + MATCH (cryptically a 'striker').
13 Desire a bit of sunshine in most of the days of November (6)
THIRST - S (a bit of Sunshine) 'in' THIRTy ('most of' the THIRTY days in November).
15 A second court case will liberate one of the stars (6)
ASTRAL - A + S (second) + TRiAL (court case 'liberating' I (one))
17 Anti-regalia, possibly, being against class distinction (11)
EGALITARIAN - straight anagram ('possibly') of ANTI REGALIA.
20 A bishop not entirely sharp? These assist with calculations (5)
ABACI - A + B (bishop) + ACId (if ACID is sharp, then ACI is 'not entirely' sharp).
21 Pens, say, recreated a connection in the mind (7)
SYNAPSE - straight anagram ('recreated') of PENS SAY.
22 Article put behind sailors in drink (8)
ABSINTHE - THE (definite article) 'put behind' ABS (Able-Bodied Seamen, or sailors) + IN.
23 Fool left in bed (4)
CLOT - L (left) 'in' COT (bed).
1 Precise account supported by clergyman (8)
ACCURATE - AC (account) 'supported by' CURATE (clergyman). As this is a down clue CURATE is 'underneath' AC and therefore 'supports' it.
2 Damp fog — nothing visible in that (5)
MOIST - it's that least favourite Susie Dent word again. O (nothing) 'visible in' MIST (fog).
4 Note on area identifying low points (6)
MINIMA - MINIM (a note of two beats as I remember it) 'on' (i.e. 'above' in this down clue) A (area).
5 A hart rising after injury, quite fit (5,2,4)
RIGHT AS RAIN - straight anagram ('after injury') of A HART RISING.
6 One throwing a jug (7)
PITCHER - double definition.
7 Area of frozen water? Heading away from edge (4)
RINK - bRINK (edge with the heading taken away).
9 People here are often told to go to blazes (4,7)
FIRE STATION - cryptic definition.
12 Resonant scheme supported by man (8)
PLANGENT - PLAN (scheme) 'supported by' (i.e. 'above' in this down clue) GENT (man).
14 Cold areas? One cold area turning up here (7)
ICECAPS - I (one) + C (cold) + ECAPS (SPACE (area), reversed, i.e. 'turning up' in this down clue).
16 Equipment given to school is trashy stuff (6)
KITSCH - KIT (equipment) + SCH (school).
18 The writer’s heading for Pamplona, taking on the Spanish force (5)
IMPEL - I'M (the writer's) + P (heading for Pamplona) + EL ('the' in Spanish).
19 Asian island language used by programmers (4)
JAVA - double definition.

QC 1855 by Mara

A good variety of clues here including the use of quite a few anagrams although I think only one was an anagram pure and simple. All the others were elements of larger constructions. Many thanks to Mara for a witty and enjoyable start to the week.

FOI was 1A and LOI was I believe 12D. The answer did cross my mind earlier but I left it to make sure as I don't think I have ever used a 12D in my life (never having seen that there was anything wrong with the written word for communication and having a vague feeling that having gone to all the trouble of evolving it from hieroglyphics it doesn't make a lot of sense to reverse the process). Also they have really now been taken over by emojis haven't they? (Or should the plural of that be emoji by comparison with fish or deer?) So the word already has a slightly retro feel to me even though it is only a few years old and I thought it best just to leave it to the end to give it my full attention. My COD was 3D. I suspect it's a bit of a chestnut but I do like it.

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

1 Note repeated about a city in Florida (5)
MIAMI - MI MI (note repeated - as found in the Do Re Mi scale) 'about' A.
4 Two pieces for minor role (3,4)
BIT PART - BIT + PART (two pieces).
8 Trimmer vessel (7)
CLIPPER - double definition (hair trimmer and a three-masted ship built for speed).
9 Punch a fragile thing (5)
CHINA - CHIN (punch, as in "I'll chin you!") + A.
10 A large nut badly crushed, ultimately in little pieces (10)
GRANULATED - GRANULATE (anagram ('badly') of A LARGE NUT) + D (crusheD 'ultimately').
14 Clean, favourite child, endearingly (6)
MOPPET - MOP (clean) + PET (favourite).
15 As if failed, company in state of disorder (6)
FIASCO - anagram ('failed') of AS IF + CO (company).
17 Get down to business and discuss what to have for Christmas? (4,6)
TALK TURKEY - TALK (discuss) + TURKEY (what to have for Christmas). Alternatively you could look at it as a double definition with the second one being slightly cryptic as indicated by the '?'. So that is pretty clever to have two clues for the price of one but sadly in the end it does make the solution rather easier if you're given two different ways to get there.
20 Cold, cold elevation (5)
CHILL - C (cold) + HILL (elevation).
22 Originally, eight tendons in sheep joint (7)
FETLOCK - ET (the first letters ('originally') of Eight Tendons) 'in' FLOCK (sheep).
23 Just coming up, link for woman's garment (7)
NIGHTIE - NIGH (just coming up, as in 'the end is nigh') + TIE (link).
24 Ladder positioned vertically, build quickly (3,2)
RUN UP - RUN (ladder, as in a stocking or pair of tights) + UP (positioned vertically).
1 Animals, many in central Europe, initially (4)
MICE - Many In Central Europe 'initially'.
2 Keen to have opera star sent up (4)
AVID - DIVA (opera star) reversed. i.e. 'sent up' in this down clue.
3 Tense boast of bighead? (9)
IMPERFECT - a bighead might say "I'M PERFECT".
4 Bear eating nothing bland (6)
BORING - BRING (bear, as in 'we come bearing gifts') 'eating' O (nothing).
5 Brief moment for twitch (3)
TIC - remove the last letter (i.e. make it 'brief') from TICk (moment).
6 Order dictates it's a critical assessment (4,4)
ACID TEST - straight anagram (order) of DICTATES.
7 Sign of grief after race, let down (8)
TEARDROP - TEAR (race, as in 'racing around') + DROP (let down).
11 I select different queen, where Richard III lies (9)
LEICESTER - anagram of I SELECT ('different') + ER (Elizabeth Regina, queen) gives the resting place of the remains of Richard III. Of course, he was the last of the Yorkists but he was found in what is now a car park in Leicester where he was taken after being killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field (the last English monarch to die in battle). I think there was a brief tussle between York and Leicester about where his remains (and therefore all the tourist revenue - the Richard III Experience is now the main tourist attraction in Leicester) should end up, but I guess possession is nine-tenths of the Law, so barring a daring midnight raid by a team of Yorkists à la Stone of Scone that's where he's probably going to stay.
12 Mysterious notice inscribed with second digital symbol (8)
EMOTICON - anagram ('mysterious') of NOTICE 'inscribed' with MO (second, as in 'wait a mo(ment)')
13 Letter-writing skill of witches and wizards? (8)
SPELLING - witches and wizards cast spells, which could cryptically be rendered as a verb 'to spell', of which the infinitive would be SPELLING.
16 Dessert: it’s insignificant (6)
TRIFLE - double definition. My Mum used to make lovely ones at Christmas with a sponge biscuit base soaked in rum or Madeira or something like that.
18 Thus working shortly (4)
SOON - SO (thus) + ON (working).
19 Avoid container filled with rubbish (4)
SKIP - double definition.
21 Fortune invested in clothing (3)
LOT - hidden word: 'invested in' cLOThing.

QC 1845 by Hurley

Went through this pretty quickly and almost sequentially. Thank you Hurley for an enjoyable puzzle although it was marred I think by 5D at which my eyebrow went so far up my forehead that it seems to have become permanently lost amongst my hair.

Incidentally, great little one-liner for this community:

"I told my wife she painted her eyebrows too high. She looked surprised!"

FOI was 1A. LOI was the said 5D because I kept looking for some other way in which it might work. I think it might have been my COD if it had worked, but otherwise I don't really think I have one. But as it is traditional to make a choice I will pick 8A as it has the smoothest surface that I can see.

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

1 Bother from unexpected source — swear initially! (4)
FUSS - take the initial letters ('initially') of From Unexpected Source Swear.
3 Polish securing place to sleep by Lake Country (8)
SCOTLAND - SAND (polish, as in sanding a floorboard) 'securing' COT (a place to sleep) + L (lake).
8 A group working in desert (7)
ABANDON - A + BAND (a group) + ON (working).
10 Matching set of furniture in clubs perhaps, ultimately adequate (5)
SUITE - SUIT (clubs 'perhaps' - one of the suits in a deck of cards), + E ('ultimately' inadequatE).
11 Small, mischievous creature at church event in sort of restaurant? (4-7)
SELF-SERVICE - S (small) + ELF (mischievous creature) + SERVICE (church event).
13 Small piece that’s extra about Southern Liberal (6)
MORSEL - MORE (extra) 'about' S (southern) + L (Liberal)
15 We hear unique German article a marvel (6)
WONDER - WON (sounds like ONE (unique)) + DER, one of the many forms of the German definite article.
17 Enrolled compulsorily — odd precincts do (11)
CONSCRIPTED - straight anagram ('odd') of PRECINCTS DO.
20 A complex system of paths creates surprise (5)
AMAZE - A + MAZE (complex system of paths).
21 Mistaken leg name leading to confusion (7)
MELANGE - straight anagram ('mistaken') of LEG NAME.
22 Limit broken by industrious worker, aggressive (8)
MILITANT - anagram of LIMIT ('broken') + ANT (worker. The ANT is one of the main types of worker you meet in Crossworld, the others being BEE and HAND (and there are probably a few others if you think hard enough)).
23 Old actress Mae’s direction (4)
WEST - double definition, as in MAE WEST, whom you will also sometimes meet as rhyming slang for a VEST.
1 Sea for me strangely frightening (8)
FEARSOME - straight anagram ('strangely') of SEA FOR ME.
2 This covering could make tool quiet at first (5)
SHAWL - AWL (tool) with SH (quiet 'at first')
4 Container a railway emptied for flier (6)
CANARY - CAN (container) + A + RY (a RailwaY 'emptied' - i.e. with the contents, the inner letters, removed.) Of course we also often meet RY as a straight contraction for railway but that's not what's happening here as it would spoil the surface.
5 Upset to some extent, civilian omits ethical character statement (11)
TESTIMONIAL -  see preamble. I think this is simply an editorial error. It is nearly a very clever reversed hidden word but it doesn't quite make it: 'upset' (i.e. reversed in this down clue) 'to some extent' civiLIAN OMITS EThical. Except that the I and the A are the wrong way round unless I am just being thick and someone can show me how it really works. Perhaps if it read 'Almost upset to some extent...' it might work?
6 Flavouring from Pakistan, I see — delightful! (7)
ANISEED - hidden word, but no problem with this one: 'from' pakistAN I SEE Delightful.
7 Something done, however you look at it (4)
DEED - i.e. whether you look at it backwards or forwards (or indeed upwards or downwards in this down clue).
9 Judgment of exceptional minds — recent (11)
DISCERNMENT - straight anagram ('exceptional') of MINDS RECENT.
12 Inclination of duke that is seen in funds for student (8)
GRADIENT - D (duke) + IE (id est, that is) 'seen in' GRANT (funds for student).
14 Upset everyone in island (7)
ROCKALL - ROCK (upset) + ALL (everyone). My geography is rubbish but I believe Rockall is a tiny island a couple of hundred miles north of Scotland. Most people have heard of it because there is a sea area named after it that features in the Shipping Forecast.
16 Last word about copper’s insight (6)
ACUMEN - AMEN is the last word. Put it 'about' CU (Cu is the chemical symbol for copper) and you should achieve some insight into the answer.
18 Slight colouring from drinking bout — new start needed! (5)
TINGE - BINGE (drinking bout) with a 'new start'.
19 Friend at outset mentions tree (4)
PALM - PAL (friend) + M (Mentions 'at outset').

QC 1835 by Joker

I think this is the third puzzle in a row that I have blogged that has had a very low anagram hit rate. I think I got as far as 5D before the first one appeared, and then there was only one other major anagram at 11D before 20D which was so straightforward that it almost came out of the pages of Winnie-the-Pooh. Still, that brought back happy memories and many thanks to Joker for a puzzle that relied mostly on other devices for its considerable level of wit and humour.

FOI was 1A and the LOI I think was 14D, because I didn't quite see the 'joke' quick enough. COD was for me a toss-up between the smooth surfaces at 1A and 6A, with the latter, appropriately enough in the context, winning the toss and electing to bat.

Last time I was on duty I was a bit sloppy with parsing on a couple of clues and many thanks to those who put me right. I was in a bit of a rush that day so apologies. Actually I'm in a bit of a rush today again but I hope I've done better this time.

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

1 One in a well, keen to pull themselves up? (8)
ASPIRING -A SPRING (a well) with I (one) inside.
6 Cricketers take them out to lunch (4)
BATS - I guess this is really a double definition as I can't work out which is the 'lead' definition. Cricketers obviously take BATS which they go in (or out) to bat with, and BATS is a slang term for mad, as is OUT TO LUNCH.
8 Body of rook found in small wood (6)
CORPSE - COPSE (small wood) with R (abbreviation for the chess piece) inserted.
9 I’d reversed some magic said to make disappear (6)
DISPEL - DI (I'D 'reversed') + SPEL (some magic said). The last part could work two ways. You could have 'some' magic said, where a SPELL is spoken magic (so magic 'said') but we only have 'some' of it because the last letter is missing. Or you can have some magic 'said', because a SPELL is some magic but if SPEL is said then it sounds the same as SPELL.
10 City house is sound again (4)
ECHO - EC (City of London postcode) + HO (house).
11 Perfect female breaking all the rules (8)
FLAWLESS - F (female) + LAWLESS (breaking all the rules).
12 Waterbird heads for good river estuary to live (5)
GREBE - first letters ('heads') of Good River Esturary + BE (live).
13 Smell article relating to a person (5)
HUMAN - HUM (smell) + AN (indefinite article).
15 Grass covered by mould? (8)
INFORMER - IN (covered by) + FORMER (cryptically 'mould', i.e. something that FORMS).
17 Moral project involving saint (4)
JUST - JUT (project) 'involving' S (saint).
19 State offering some Alaskans a subsidy (6)
KANSAS - hidden word: 'some' alasKANS A Subsidy. I think 'offering' is just there to smooth the surface.
20 Part of school programme’s more taken off? (6)
LESSON - LESS ON (more taken off).
21 Thaw encountered around heart of Himalayas (4)
MELT - MET (encountered) 'around' L (the middle letter, and therefore the 'heart' of himaLayas).
22 Modern left party’s ending — we had a new union member (5-3)
NEWLY-WED - NEW (modern) + L (left) + Y (partY's 'ending') + WE'D (we had), and then the definition is slightly cryptic.
2 Old beset by criticism, mostly long-suffering (5)
STOIC - O 'old' beset by STICk (criticism 'mostly').
3 Urgently request ancient stories of devils? (7)
IMPLORE - IMP LORE might cryptically be said to be 'stories of devils'.
4 Freeze ingredient for milk pudding that’s not started (3)
ICE - rICE (an ingredient for milk pudding 'not started').
5 Good and moving death for mafia chief (9)
GODFATHER - G (good) + anagram ('moving') of DEATH FOR.
6 Herb, one about to be cut from church building (5)
BASIL - BASILica. A BASILICA is a church building (e.g St Peter's in Rome) and then you 'cut' I (one) + CA (circa, about) from it.
7 One needs time and motivation for such a crime (7)
TREASON - T (time) + REASON (motivation).
11 Secret society member criminal men so fear (9)
FREEMASON - straight anagram ('criminal') of MEN SO FEAR.
12 English law set up after weapon used in part of boat (7)
GUNWALE - E LAW reversed (i.e. 'set up' in this down clue) 'after' GUN (weapon).
14 Joke grasped by May Queen? (7)
MAJESTY - JEST (joke) 'grasped' by MAY.
16 Beginning working group (5)
ONSET - ON (working) + SET (group).
18 Small company about to be successful (5)
SCORE - S (small) + CO (company) + RE (about).
20 Owl flying close to the ground (3)
LOW - straight anagram (albeit a very short one): OWL 'flying'.

QC 1825 by Izetti

A few weeks ago someone commented on the relative rarity of the two Dons meeting but here it is happening again. An enjoyable puzzle that once again largely eschewed the use of the anagram QC staple, with only one full anagram clue and two others I think in which anagrams make a contribution. Many thanks to Izetti.

FOI was 1A and I think LOI was 11D. I'll also give that the COD award because the WAR bit tends to misdirect by confusing the parsing at first glance (to the lazy eye WAR may look as though it could be 'dispute' before you notice the ROW), although in practice it is quite biffable as soon as you see the month of JAN.

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

1 One being given sustenance by another (8)
CANNIBAL - cryptic definition. A CANNIBAL eats 'another' and therefore derives sustenance from them.
6 Some music, a feature in place of refreshment (4)
CAFE - hidden word: 'some' musiC A FEature.
8 Senseless maiden in retro hairstyle (4)
NUMB - a BUN is a hairstyle, and if it is 'retro' then we need to write it backwards: NUB. Insert M for maiden and you get comfortably NUMB for all you Pink Floyd 22As.
9 Criminal venture to achieve mastery (8)
CONQUEST - CON (criminal, short for 'CONVICT') + QUEST (venture).
10 Meant to have eaten outside — is in France stuck inside (8)
DESTINED - I don't know, is there any rule against cluing part of an answer twice? It seems to me here that the definition is 'meant to have'. Then we have DINED (eaten) 'outside' EST (French for 'is', i.e. 'is in France'). But then we also have 'stuck inside', i.e. DINED with EST ('is in France') 'stuck inside'.
12 Dog beginning to twitch and be ill (4)
TAIL - T ('beginning to' Twitch) + AIL (be ill). Dog here is of course a verb, as in 'to dog one's footsteps'.
13 Company car once made by Ford (6)
ESCORT - double definition.
16 Choose out-of-this-world person to encourage workers to strike (6)
PICKET - PICK (choose) + ET (extra-terrestrial - out-of-this-world person).
17 Droop when encountering a lengthy account (4)
SAGA - SAG (droop) + A.
18 Poetry with awful lines entertaining everyone (8)
BALLADRY - BAD (awful) + RY (railway, therefore 'lines') 'entertaining' ALL (everyone).
21 Owls flying towards county lose speed (4,4)
SLOW DOWN - anagram of OWLS ('flying') = SLOW + DOWN (county in Northern Ireland).
22 Expert's device for adding polish (4)
BUFF - double definition.
23 In gale we rescue vessel (4)
EWER - hidden word: 'in' galE WE Rescue.
24 Place for waiter bringing thick slice of bread (8)
DOORSTEP - double definition, the first one being slightly cryptic as people often have to wait on doorsteps until someone answers the doorbell.
2 Article pretty sharp-witted? (5)
ACUTE - A (indefinite article) + CUTE (pretty).
3 Good Parisian, upwardly mobile bigwig (3)
NOB - BON (French, therefore Parisian, for good) 'upwardly mobile' (i.e. reversed in this down clue).
4 What may be brought home by the successful artist (5)
BACON - double definition &lit. BACON may be brought home (as in 'bringing home the bacon'), and Francis BACON was a successful artist. But of course, if an artist is successful then he or she may well be bringing home the bacon which is what the whole clue suggests.
5 Impertinence involving naughty nude in a row (5,2)
LINED UP - LIP (impertinence) involving an anagram ('naughty') of NUDE.
6 “Crabby” types making a living, excellent actors originally (9)
CRUSTACEA - CRUST (a living) + ACE (excellent) + A (Actors 'originally').
7 Money paid to secure very good person, one very merry (7)
FESTIVE - FEE (money paid) 'securing' ST (saint, very good person) + I (one) + V (very).
11 Month in dispute — something black about that old conflict (6,3)
TROJAN WAR - JAN (month) 'in' ROW (dispute) with TAR (something black) 'about'.
14 Believe what could be a sign of summer coming? (7)
SWALLOW - the saying 'one swallow doesn't make a summer' implies that a number of swallows may make a summer. So one single swallow 'could be' a sign of summer if followed by others.
15 Paper a bit “old”, in need of redesign (7)
TABLOID - straight anagram ('in need of redesign') of A BIT OLD. The first and only full anagram clue today.
19 Slow time of abstinence before Easter egg (5)
LENTO - LENT (time of abstinence) before O (Easter egg). It is an occasional device in crosswords to clue something by the shape of letters although I must admit it jars a little bit with me. So here O 'looks like' an egg. Sometimes you get OO clued by 'a pair of spectacles'. I think I have also seen J clued as a hook. You get the idea. But I suppose I shouldn't complain, I mean there isn't really much difference between letters 'looking like' something and dodgy homophones 'sounding like' something (and sometimes not all that much). Anyway, they do happen and just thought I'd mention it being aware of the 'educational' aspect of the Quickie. Also lento is one of those musical directions that appear on sheet music and which come up from time to time (I remember a few weeks ago an anonymous contributor having a problem with ff for 'very loud' (fortissimo)).
20 Front bit missing from toy weapon (5)
RIFLE - take the 'front bit' from tRIFLE (toy).
22 Vehicle has creepy-crawlies — not good! (3)
BUS - BUGS are creepy-crawlies, and 'not good' tells us to take out the G to leave BUS.

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.

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).
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).

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.

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).
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).

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.

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.
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'.

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.

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).
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.

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.

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.
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.