I saw the setter’s name and took it carefully, only to gradually realise that this was one of the milder examples of the genre. I was happy to complete in a little over 9 minutes.
No particular comments from me – just the good, tight clueing we’ve come to enjoy. Please ask any questions.
1. Chaps score in terms of intellect (8)
MENTALLY – chaps (MEN), score (TALLY)
5. Composer taking taxi back to hotel (4)
BACH – taxi backwards (cab=BAC), Hotel (H).
9. Heavenly body shown by the first person getting into bed (5)
COMET – first person (ME) getting into bed (COT).
10. Against having trip – something seen on map? (7)
CONTOUR – against (CON), trip (TOUR).
11. Love divine is out of the ordinary (3)
ODD – love (O), devine (DD).
12. At risk, prior to a breakthrough? (2,4,3)
ON THIN ICE – humourous illusion to a very cold dip.
13. Crude and hearty, husband taking new position (6)
EARTHY – husband (H) moving in the word hearty (EART H Y).
15. Plague in soldier’s home country, not unknown (6)
BLIGHT – a UK soldiers home country is (BLIGHT)y not the unknown ‘y’.
17. Grovels so awkwardly in attempt to cover up (5,4)
GLOSS OVER – anagram (awkwardly) of GROVELS SO.
19. Criticise Greek god (3)
PAN – double definition.
20. Criticises a government charge in speech (7)
ATTACKS – hompohone (in speech) of a tax.
21. Provide feline companion for Queen (5)
CATER – feline (CAT), Queen (ER).
22. Absence of marines is what one expects (4)
NORM – absence of marines (NO RM – Royal Marines).
23. Cleaner goes round everything in dance hall (8)
BALLROOM – cleaner (BROOM) round everything (ALL).
1. Bug in fleece carried by rodents (7)
MICROBE – fleece (ROB) inside (carried by) rodents (MICE).
2. Identified little man hugging a maiden (5)
NAMED – little man (NED) hugging a (A) and maiden from cricket (M).
3. Study of outer space that could be made from a cosy starship (12)
ASTROPHYSICS – anagram (could be made from) COSY STARSHIP.
4. Landed outside Channel Islands according to legal requirements (5)
LICIT – landed (LIT) outside Channel Islands (CI).
6. Loving a party circle (7)
ADORING – a (A) party, (DO), circle (RING).
7. Crowd restricted by fresh order (5)
HORDE – inside fres(H ORDE)r.
8. New alliance, critical, not half, opposing ministers? (12)
ANTICLERICAL – anagram (new) of ALLIANCE CRIT – not the ‘ical’ half.
14. Bird in kangaroo’s territory (7)
ROOSTER – inside kanga(ROOS TER)ritory.
16. Time to get insect, strange pet (7)
TANTRUM – time (T), insect (ANT), strange (RUM).
17. Good shower? It may swell growth of this (5)
GRAIN – good (G) shower (RAIN).
18. Undergarment on a goddess (5)
VESTA – undergarment (VEST), a (A).
19. Boy or girl I love? One may be just outside the house (5)
PATIO – boy or girl (PAT), I (I), love (O).