Pretty tough, I thought, took me a long time to get into this. I spotted the theme in time to help me clear up the NE corner, but it didn’t help much with the rest. I think they gave up teaching grammar by the time I was in school. ­čÖé COD? 21d. ‘Love, in present circumstances, provides calm place amid turmoil (5)’.

The 2008 blog, linked to below, is complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/04/29/independent-6719-by-virgilius/

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As ever, lovely stuff from the Don. Nothing controversial, always clear, and pitched just right for the start of the working week. COD? 18d. ‘It sounds as though there’s a possibility of the girl doing something explosive (8)’.

The 2008 blog, below, is complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/05/08/independent-on-sunday-951-by-quixote-4-may-2008/

It is to Phi’s credit that, even though I’d only heard of 2 of the 4 20 acrosses, I still managed to enter the correct answers with confidence. COD? 19d – ‘What one tucking into alcoholic drink will get? (6)’.

The 2008 blog is, again, complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/04/18/independent-6710phi/

The 2008 blog, here, covers all but three of today’s clues. Unfortunately two of those are the ones I was hoping it would clear up for me; I hope I’m missing something. No very outstanding clues but I’ll nominate ‘Blur former line crossed by a storehouse (6)’ as COTD for the neat misdirection.

Across

25. Seems to be NEMO, which means ‘no-one’ and is of course the name of the central character in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, though the clue seems a bit woolly, unless I’ve missed something.

Down

5. HANDOVER: I’m missing something here as well. Why does HAND mean HANG?
16. CHAT SHOW: {WATCH HOS(t)}.

Not much to add to the 2008 blog, really, which is complete again. Good stuff from Punk, with one or two that took a while to untangle. COD? I don’t usually like this sort of clue, but did enjoy 18d – ‘Cutter’s normal job for Spooner (5,3)’.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/04/22/independent-6713punk-rubbish/

Good as always from Dac, with nothing controversial / overly opaque. COD for me 18d – ‘Away team’s chance of success? (7)’.

Link below to the 2008 blog, and clues missed.

Across

9 OVER ALL
13 T(R)IPS
15 BRO <-
16 Hidden in PitlOCHry
23 REAr SONS
25 EVI <- DENT
27 ENTRY

Down

3 A BAND ON
6 EPISTLE – (I slept)* + E
7 I RA Q I
12 LETS PRETEND – Cryptic Def.
18 OUT SIDE
22 POTTY – Double Def.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/04/23/independent-6714dac/

Well, I’ve never done a Radian crossword before, so approached this with some trepidation, doubly so when I saw the theme. As it turned out, this was fairly straightforward and enjoyable, helped by the copious anagrams. There’s one I’m unsure about (20d) if anyone can help.┬á Now sorted…

COD? 25ac – ‘Drink’s English; root’s Chinese (7)’.

I can’t find an old Fifteensquared blog for this one, so you’ll have to make do with me. Let me know of any errors / omissions, this is a bit rushed I’m afraid.

Across

1 BRAMBLE – (Rabble)* around M
5 H Y(S)SOP<-
9 ALERTED – (lad + tree)*
10 SODA<- POP
11 STONECROP – (once)* by R in overturned POTS.
12 I’m going for MINER, though it could also be MINOR, the soundalike.
13 A(HER)N. Can he still be accurately described as Taoiseach?
14 EUPHRASIA – Sounds like YOU FRAZIER. Groans.
16 IMPATIENS – (Emins pati)*
18 FLORA – A and ROLF all reversed.
21 From DeAd TrEeS
23 RED CLOVER – LOVE for the A in CAR.
25 GINS ENG
26 CASSAVA – ASS inside A VAC, all reversed.
27 WALNUT – (lawn)* and jUsT.
28 SIAMESE – I in (sesame)*

Down

1 BRASSIA – BRASSIcA
2 A(NEM<-)ONE
3 BUTTERNUT – B + TERN inside (tutu)*
4 ELDER – Double Def.
5 HOSEPIPES – (See hippos)*
6 Hidden in harasSED UMpire
7 OR PINES
8 SPIR<- EA
14 EYEBRIGHT – (they)* over (bridge)* without the D.
15 RAFFLES I A
16 INDIGO – GO for the A in INDIA.
17 PETUNIA – (peanut)* around I.
19 OBVIATE – (e-boat)* around VI.
20 I’m guessing AUREATE, as in golden, and marigolds are golden, but that’s as far as I’ve got with this clue. Updated to note: ┬áIt’s lAUREATE, with ‘Laureate’ defined as ‘Wreathed with laurel as a mark of honour.’ Thanks to┬áMamyalynne and factor-fiction at the Answerbank for their help!
22 hammerSTEIN
24 DOCKS – Sounds like DOCS. My second favourite clue of the day.

Nothing too troublesome to start the week, but good stuff, as always, from Quixote. The 2008 blog is complete, so I’ll just nominate a COD – 10d. ‘Disorganised people could shown one how to get in bars (13)’.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/05/01/independent-on-sunday-950-by-quixote-27-apr-2008/

I liked this one a lot, some lovely wordplay, and pitched at about the right level for the Saturday i. In other words, nothing too difficult, but a few to make you think, and always scrupulously fair. Only 10ac and 19d gave me pause for thought. The former, because while the answer was obvious, the synonym for ‘mast’ was a strange one. COD for me 3d – ‘Vampires, say, securing hearts in massacres (5,5)’.

Here’s the 2008 blog, and the one clue missed.

11 Across CAR(TO MAN C)Y

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/03/28/independent-6692-phi-weekend-warm-up/

A medium-hard crossword with one or two cruxes. The original blog is here; other solutions given below. Like the blogger then I couldn’t see how to parse 3d. Luckily a commenter pointed out the way. It seems to me unreasonably difficult; words with something subtracted are always hard to identify, more so if the subtraction is from the beginning of the word, and exponentially so if the original is something relatively obscure like ‘CASQUE’.

Clue of the day effortlessly goes to 18a: ‘Badger about PC novel (8,4)’.

Across

10. REBOUND: (E+B) in ROUND.
11. LEGWEAR: L + EG + WEAR.
23. SHAKE: S + HAKE. I got into trouble in this corner by filling in SCARP, which would also work.
25. EROTICA: (n)OT in ERICA.
27. PLAYMATE: {MAY} in PLATE.

Down

7. ELECTRIC: ELECT + RIC(e).
8. EARRINGS: When will someone finally abolish these ghastly e.d.’s once and for all? They are not a complete cryptic clue; they are half a clue. There was nothing actually elusive about this one, except knowing whether to fill in EARRINGS or EARMUFFS or EARPLUGS or something else. In the absence of a subsidiary indication, who knows?
15. ACCESSORY: ACCESS + (the)ORY.
22. ZAIRE: Z + AIRE.