This was all solved at a steady and unhurried pace (as I watched a YouTube livestream of carnaval in Santa Elena, Entre Rios, Argentina). No mysteries remaining (except maybe what we’re expected to visualize from the surface of 11), but I wouldn’t exactly call the ratiocination required “elementary,” my dear reader. A barking brilliant puzzle!
I indicate (Ars Magna)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.
|1||Duck’s wing action (8)|
|SIDESTEP SIDE, “wing” + STEP, “action”
|5||Retired old lady’s dog ointment (6)|
|BALSAM MA’S, “old lady’s” + LAB, “dog” <= all “Retired”
|9||Popular bandleader’s clothing retailer (8)|
|MILLINER MILL(IN)ER That’s Glenn Miller, presumably (not Steve). Here “clothing” is, strictly speaking, only part of the wordplay, rather than the definition—although the entire phrase fits the proprietor of a hat shop.
|10||Sweet female in tears sadly (6)|
|AFTERS (tears + F)*
|12||Garment often with fur ripped off (5)|
|13||I’m leaving dog advice to Spooner (6-3)|
|TOODLE-PIP “poodle tip”
|14||Commonplace freedom a factory owner enjoys (3-2-3-4)|
|RUN-OF-THE-MILL With a literal reading of the idiom for a cryptic hint. As a noun, it wouldn’t be hyphenated.
|18||Well informed cast for a movie (2,3,7)|
|IN THE PICTURE Two definitions, the latter more occasional than idiomatic
|21||City store called Habitat (9)|
|STOCKHOLM STOCK, “store” + “home”
|23||Best digs around so they say (5)|
|24||A poet’s devouring duck eggs? (6)|
|25||Vegetable hamper collecting muck in the middle (8)|
|26||A tense trial witness (6)|
|ATTEST A + T(ense) + TEST, “trial”
|27||Mystery of hound with curtailed barking (8)|
|WHODUNIT (hound + wit[-h])* The surface surely alludes to Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “Silver Blaze,” in which Sherlock Holmes draws a conclusion from “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
|1||As usual, regularly eating a second pastry (6)|
|SAMOSA [- a]S[-u]S[-u]A[-l] interrupted by A + MO, “second”: S(A)(MO)SA
|2||Helping party with election coming up (6)|
|DOLLOP DO, “party” + POLL<=“coming up”
|3||Old computer in decline, on order (5,4)|
|SLIDE RULE SLIDE, “decline” + RULE, “order”
|4||True, God shaped Zion — there’s no escaping it (5,7)|
|EVENT HORIZON EVEN, “True” + THOR, “God” + (Zion)* In astrophysics, this is a boundary beyond which events cannot affect an observer, a term most widely seen in its application to the rim of a black hole, from which it is thought no light, even, can ever emerge.
EVEN and “True” can be aligned as verbs (definitions from Collins).
EVEN: (sometimes fol. by out) to make even; level; smooth | to even a board with a plane
TRUE: (esp in carpentry) (often fol. by up) to make even, symmetrical, level, etc. | to true up the sides of a door
|6||Allowed to go topless? Terrible! (5)|
|7||Novel sort of piped disinfectant (5-3)|
|SHEEP-DIP SHE, “novel” + (piped)* H. Rider Haggard’s SHE: A History of Adventure, came out in 1887 to popular acclaim and has been in print ever since, as well as ubiquitous in crosswords for longer, no doubt, than any of us can remember. …I must confess to having known no more, essentially, about the book than that its title is convenient for crossword setters. I wasn’t aware (before reading the Wikipedia entry) that She was a product of the late nineteenth century (nor, which almost inevitably follows, that it unabashedly endorsed the racist illusions of British imperialism), and certainly not that it was an influence on some writers a bit more highly regarded by literary critics and a seminal text for a few nascent genres of fiction. (As a kid, I read virtually all of—not one of the critics’ favorites—Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan, John Carter of Mars… Much later, it was E.R.’s cousin—many times removed… ha—William.)
|8||Girl with skin like alobaster? (8)|
|MISSPELT MISS, “Girl” + PELT, “skin”
|11||Estuary closed by “Jaws” life-saver (5-2-5)|
|MOUTH-TO-MOUTH MOUTH, “Estuary” + TO, “closed” + MOUTH, “Jaws”
|15||Generation embracing unknown beat poet (4,5)|
|EZRA POUND E(Z)RA, “Generation embracing unknown” + POUND, “beat” Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg did embrace the very well-known (downright notorious) Pound, endlessly writing letters, undeterred by the lack of any response, to the treasonous non-Beat (albeit beaten) poet incarcerated in the psych ward of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and later (reportedly) receiving and accepting an apology from Pound for his (inarguably) “worst mistake…the stupid suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism.”
|16||Tricky Pisa road race, covering a lot of ground (8)|
|DIASPORA (Pisa road)* …Just noticed a weird resonance between this and the clue just above.
|17||Nothing on old, empty beer bottles was unusual (5,3)|
|STOOD OUT ST(O, zero, “Nothing”)(O[-l]D)OUT
|19||VIP generous about a historian (6)|
|GIBBON NOB, “VIP” + BIG, “generous” <=all “about” That would be Edward.
|20||Private about to enter camp (6)|
|22||Up country, what may be done for prestige (5)|
|KUDOS UK<=“up” + “DO”S, “what may be done” (as opposed to “don’t”s) …This particular use of the word was new to me, and still seems odd.