A mostly very easy excursion from Dac, though not having heard of Alan Ladd held me up for the last couple of clues the SE corner. I couldn’t make sense of 1d, which appears to require ‘handgrip’ to mean ‘bag’. Chambers doesn’t support this, but according to a comment by Eimi himself on the original blog, here, Collins and the Concise Oxford do.

Clue of the day is 27a: “Top male in a bit of a sweat (6)”. Lights not previously blogged below.

Across

13. EWERS: brEWER Systematically.
25. HAVANA: H + A VAN + A.
27. BEHEAD: HE in BEAD. The definition is “top”, of course.

8. GREASE: d.d., alluding to the film.
23. IRATE: I + RATE.

A great puzzle from Merlin, who really does seem like a magician with 4d: “What could modify strands reworking Lord of the Rings (9,5)”. We will say nothing of the odd slightly duff clue like 17a and 3d. The 2008 blog is complete.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/07/28/independent-6796-by-merlin/

Jonofwales is away so I am at the helm this week. A nice gentle start to the week with one of Quixote’s easier numbers. The original blog is complete, though with a slight error in the answer to 17a which is left as an exercise to the reader to discover:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/08/14/independent-on-sunday-965-by-quixote-10-aug-2008/

For clue of the day I choose ‘Hot tempers erupting from someone new to the family? (10)’ at 5d, for the nice anagram.

I found this very easy, particular after I’d spotted all the T’s beginning to build up round the edge. Good as always, of course, from Phi.

COD? 13d. ‘Most stomach churning, involving last of meat or not! (10)’.

The 2008 blog linked to below is complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/07/22/independent-6791phi/

I wondered if I had just forgotten how to do crosswords, but the first blogger also found this another extremely hard crossword:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/07/07/independent-6778-by-hypnos/

The original blog is complete. After yesterday’s Nimrod and this today, I only hope we have some gentler rides in store for next week.

Too clever for its own good… I’m afraid I’m never going to be a fan of Nimrod. I finished, with a bit of help, but I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this much. Too much that was obscure, too many question marks at the end. COD? 27ac. ‘Plant extract? (10,5)’.

The 2008 blog is, thankfully, complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/06/26/independent-6769nimrod/

A very slow solve for me. Not sure if this was hard for a Wednesday, or I’m having an off day? Also failed to spot the panagram.

COD? 18ac. ‘Group of pupils assembled outside in no particular order (12)’.

The 2008 blog is complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/07/16/independent-6786dac/

Another lovely themed puzzle from Virgilius, as accessible as he usually is. I spotted the T’s early enough to help with one or two.

COD? 8ac. ‘Oxford or Cambridge, say, but not Princeton or Berkeley (6,4)’.

Here’s a link to the 2008 blog, and clues missed.

Across

8 COUNTY TOWN – Cryptic Def.
11 TRY OUT
12 T(O R)RENT
14 TEAS – Sounds like two T’s.
18 TAKE OUT
25 STREETCARS – (steers cart)*

Down

1 BETTERMENT – Sounds like BETTOR MEANT.
2 TUT U
5 T WIT
16 E STATES
19 KIT TEN (11 less one).

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/07/15/independent-6785virgilius/

I found this a real slog, perhaps because I know nothing at all about the theme. Perhaps I should go further, and admit my loathing of golf? 🙂

COD? 23ac. ‘Ballesteros dumps lousy stereos for dance (4)’.

Here’s a link to the 2008 blog, and clues missed.

Across

15 IRON OUT
19 STRIPpED
28 ROsemARY – Where the SEM I think is short for Semester. A Rosary is made up of decades.

No it’s not. See comments. It’s ROSemARY

Down

6 P(A US)E
15 INGENIOUS – I + (using one)*
16 Hidden in both EuROPEan and Saint-OmeR OPEns.
24 spARKLE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkle

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/07/17/independent-6787radian/

I handicapped myself by starting at 10PM after a day in the sun and one or two beers, so difficult to judge whether this was harder than usual for Dac. My memories of this are a little vague now, but I have a nice big tick next to 13d, so that’ll be my COD. ‘Earlier Beatles No 1, English hit (10)’.

The 2008 blog is complete:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/03/12/independent-6678dac/