Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — DT 27727

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27727
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27727]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Gazza
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 27725 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, February 14, 2015 and which appeared on this blog yesterday as a Bonus Puzzle as well as DT 27726 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, February 16, 2015.

Introduction

This puzzle should provide a fairly quick solve. Not only are the clues reasonably easy, but there are relatively few Briticisms (aside from the heavy dose of cricket at 5d) and it contains only 26 clues — being, to the best of my knowledge, the smallest number that is ever seen in a puzzle.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

5a   Straighten out // Charlie, humorist at university (5,2)

"Charlie" = C (show explanation )

Charlie[5] is a code word representing the letter C, used in radio communication.

hide explanation

Edward Lear[5] (1812–88) was an English humorist and illustrator. He wrote A Book of Nonsense (1845) and Laughable Lyrics (1877). He also published illustrations of birds and of his travels around the Mediterranean.

"at university" = UP (show explanation )

In Britain, up[5] means at or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge ⇒ they were up at Cambridge about the same time.

hide explanation

7a   Article about bishop assigned to a // Scottish island (5)

"bishop" = RR (show explanation )

Right Reverend[5] (abbreviation RR[2]) is a title given to a bishop, especially in the Anglican Church ⇒ the Right Reverend David Jenkins, Bishop of Durham.

hide explanation

Arran[5] is an island in the Firth of Clyde, in the west of Scotland.

9a   Lets off steam following English // results (6)

Event[10] is used in the sense of the actual or final outcome or result (especially in the phrases in the event and after the event).

10a   Heading for blue reptile heard /in/ snowstorm (8)

In his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Gazza observes The surface doesn’t mean a lot — a sentiment that I endorse.

11a   Houses // decent couples (10)

13a   Pressure /in/ eliminating round (4)

14a   There may be rhyme but no reason in it (8,5)

16a   Board // express crossing heart of Austria (4)

Board[5] is used in the sense of to live and receive regular meals in a house in return for payment or services.

17a   Bad luck /in/ firm going to Cheshire? (4,6)

Scratching the Surface
Cheshire[5] is a county of west central England; county town, Chester.

Cheshire[5] is a kind of firm crumbly cheese, originally made in Cheshire.

Hard cheese[5] is an informal British phrase used to express sympathy over a petty matter ⇒ jolly hard cheese, better luck next time!.

19a   So long, // some essay on a rainforest (8)

Sayonara[5] is an informal, chiefly US exclamation [of Japanese origin] meaning goodbye ⇒ the beautiful Diana was twenty-one when she said sayonara.

20a   Bloody stupid // former pupil (3,3)

In Britain, an old boy[5] (abbreviation OB[2])  is (1) a former male student of a school or college ⇒an old boy of Banbury County School or (2) a former male member of a sports team or company ⇒the White Hart Lane old boy squared the ball to present an easy chance from 12 yards. It is also a chiefly British affectionate form of address to a boy or man ⇒ ‘Look here, old boy,’ he said.

Scratching the Surface
Bloody[5] is an informal, chiefly British term used to express anger, annoyance, or shock, or simply for emphasis  ⇒ (i) you took your bloody time; (ii) bloody Hell!—what was that?; (iii) it’s bloody cold outside.

22a   Diet round fifth of September, /then/ wine and dine (5)

23a   Hat // ripped to show most of costly lining (7)

Down

1d   Bird/'s/ tail, not small (4)

2d   Keep // drop of plonk on ice (8)

3d   Tooth decay /in/ canine, showing the first sign (6)

In his review, Gazza parses this clue as:
  • C (canine; abbreviation in dentistry [found in The Chambers Dictionary]) + (showing) ARIES (the first sign [of the zodiac])
My interpretation was slightly different:
  • C (canine, showing the first; first letter of Canine) + ARIES (sign [of the zodiac])
I'm afraid that I can't fully buy into Gazza's explanation as I am somewhat uncomfortable with "showing" as a charade indicator.

In astrology, Aries[10] (also called the Ram) is the first sign of the zodiac, symbol ♈, having a cardinal fire classification, ruled by the planet Mars. The sun is in this sign between about March 21 and April 19.

4d   Chief // unbalanced atop mount? (5,5)

Crazy Horse[5] (circa 1849–1877) was a Sioux chief; Sioux name Ta-Sunko-Witko. A leading figure in the resistance to white settlement on American Indian land, he was at the centre of the confederation that defeated General Custer at Little Bighorn (1876). He surrendered in 1877 and was killed in custody.

5d   Fielder // caught six balls, one after the other (5)

"caught" = C (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught or caught by.

In cricket, similar to baseball, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

hide explanation

In cricket, an over[5] (abbreviation O[5]) is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch (show explanation ), after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

In cricket, the pitch[5] is the strip of ground between the two sets of stumps ⇒ both batsmen were stranded in the middle of the pitch

hide explanation

In cricket, cover[5] (short for cover point[5]) denotes (1) a fielding position a little in front of the batsman on the off side (show explanation ) and halfway to the boundary (show explanation ) or (2) a fielder at cover point ⇒ an easy catch by Hick at cover.

In cricket, the off[5]  (also called off side) is the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) towards which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball.  The other half of the field is known as either the leg[5] (also called leg side) or on[5] (also called on side) ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg.

hide explanation

In cricket, the term boundary[10] refers to (1) the marked limit of the playing area, (2) a stroke that hits the ball beyond this limit, or (3) the four or six runs scored with such a stroke. If the ball touches the ground before crossing the boundary (similar to a ground rule double in baseball), four runs are scored. However, if the ball crosses the boundary without touching the ground (similar to a home run in baseball), six runs are scored.

hide explanation

6d   VIP can bluster, maddening // government employee (6,7)

8d   Raced over to judge // to tell a story (7)

12d   Mint // coin -- sovereign, perhaps (10)

In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny[5] is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound.

The pennyroyal[5] is either of two small-leaved plants of the mint family, used in herbal medicine. They are a creeping Eurasian plant (Mentha pulegium) and American pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides).

14d   Rather // less than fifty per cent (3,4)

Not half[5] is an informal British expression meaning to an extreme degree or very much so she didn’t half flare up! [meaning that she flared up up to an extreme degree (she was not merely "half upset" but fully upset) or, in other words, she hit the roof].

15d   Winner rejected first-class // carriage (8)

"first class" = AI (show explanation )

A1[4][5] or A-one[3] meaning first class or excellent comes from a classification for ships in The Lloyd's Register of Shipping where it means equipped to the highest standard or first-class.

hide explanation

Historically, a victoria[5] (named after Queen Victoria) was a light four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with a collapsible hood, seats for two passengers, and an elevated driver’s seat in front ⇒ Atlanta 's finest could promenade in phaetons, victorias and tallyhos pulled by gleaming horses.

17d   Try on extremely tasteless // suit (6)

18d   Demonstrated // how to fill tin (5)

"tin" = SN (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element tin is Sn[5] (from late Latin stannum).

hide explanation

21d   Crucifix put up /in/ entrance (4)

A rood[5] is a crucifix, especially one positioned above the rood screen of a church or on a beam over the entrance to the chancel.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015 — DT 27725 (Bonus Puzzle)

Prologue

The National Post may be publishing on a reduced schedule for the summer. However, that doesn't mean you have to forgo your Monday puzzle. Here is DT 27725, the puzzle that I expect would have appeared had the presses run today.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27725
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27725 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27725 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★★
Falcon's Experience
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██████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Introduction

Attention pupils. Today's lesson covers the British road numbering scheme and the local property taxation system in the UK. Even the Brits — to whom the foregoing would presumably be well-known — seem to have found the puzzle more difficult than usual for a "Saturday" puzzle.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

4a   Steer round trouble on minor road /that's/ delayed traffic (8)

In Great Britain, B roads[7] are numbered local routes, which have lower traffic densities than the main trunk roads, or A roads. This classification has nothing to do with the width or quality of the physical road, and B roads can range from dual carriageways [divided highways] to single track roads with passing places.

Tailback[5] is a British term for a long queue [line] of stationary or slow-moving traffic extending back from a busy junction or similar obstruction on the road ⇒ tailbacks affected all roads into Leeds.

8a   Run // West perhaps astride horse (6)

Mae West[5] (1892–1980) was an American actress and dramatist. She made her name on Broadway in her own comedies Sex (1926) and Diamond Lil (1928), memorable for their spirited approach to sexual matters, before embarking on her successful Hollywood career in the 1930s.

9a   Cast net -- fish // to get caught up (8)

10a   Made a score // with aplomb (8)

11a   Posh sort, the French // aristocracy (6)

Nob[5] is an informal British term for a person of wealth or high social position ⇒ it was quite a do—all the nobs were there.

"the French" = LES (show explanation )

In French, the plural form of the definite article is les[8].

hide explanation

12a   Bring over // Whistler's new art that's revolutionary (8)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading alludes to American painter James McNeill Whistler[5] (1834–1903) whose most notable work is Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother (portrait, 1872) [popularly known as Whistler's Mother].

13a   Break // articles possessed by British Queen (8)

"Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.
 
hide explanation

16a   Reptiles pushed back group of animals, 500 cut off /in/ very hot day (8)

19a   Hamlet character // needs endless noxious drink? (8)

Scratching the Surface
Undoubtedly, the setter intended to misdirect our attention to the theatre where a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet is playing.

What did she say?
In her review, crypticsue refers to "lager" as a drink which our village landlord would definitely  describe as noxious!.
Landlord[5] is a British term for a man who keeps a pub. The reference is to Miffypops who — when not writing reviews of "Monday" puzzles — can be found tending to customers in his pub in the village of Long Itchington, Warwickshire, England. He is an outspoken supporter of CAMRA[5] (Campaign for Real Ale), a British consumer organisation promoting real ale, real cider and the traditional British pub. It is now the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK, and is a founding member of the European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU).

Real ale[7] is defined as "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide".

The implication of crytpicsue's comment is that lager does not measure up to ale.

21a   Suitable // item for stage production -- American medical drama (6)

ER[7] is an American medical drama television series created by novelist and medical doctor Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from 1994 to 2009. ER follows the inner life of the emergency room (ER) of fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and various critical issues faced by the room's physicians and staff. The show ran for 15 seasons with a total of 331 episodes, becoming the longest-running primetime medical drama in American television history. It won 23 Emmy Awards, including the 1996 Outstanding Drama Series award, and received 124 Emmy nominations, which makes it the most nominated drama program in history.

23a   What footballer may damage /in/ match -- put dressing around it (8)

Lint[5] is a fabric, originally of linen, with a raised nap on one side, used for dressing wounds.

24a   What's sung around America /in/ revelry (8)

25a   Immature // farmyard animal eats everything (6)

26a   Superior // newspapers covering South American city (8)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

A superior[5] is the head of a monastery or other religious institution. A Mother Superior[5] [mentioned by Big Dave in his hint for this clue] is the head of a female religious community.

A prioress[5] is (1) a woman who is head of a house of certain orders of nuns or (2) the woman who is next in rank below an abbess — an abbess[5] being a woman who is the head of an abbey of nuns.

Down

1d   Arson's caused damage in my // brickwork (7)

In Comment #6 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Rabbit Dave poses the question "Isn’t the ‘s in 1d unnecessary?". In the cryptic interpretation, as Badger replies, the 's is a contraction for 'is' and is very necessary. It is the word ARSON that is the fodder for the anagram so the damage must be inflicted on it. "ARSON is caused damage" is another way of saying "Damage is caused to ARSON". Were the clue to read "Arson caused damage ...", arson would be the cause of the damage rather than the target of the damage.

2d   Come in after fish /and/ chips (9)

"Chips" is a traditional nickname for a carpenter, especially aboard sailing vessels.

3d and 4d:   Heroine -- // lover left her, subsisted wretchedly (4,2)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles[7] (extended title: Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented) is a novel by English writer Thomas Hardy (1840–1928). It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper The Graphic in 1891 and in book form in 1892. Though now considered a major nineteenth-century English novel and possibly Hardy's masterpiece, Tess of the d'Urbervilles received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual morals of late Victorian England.

4d   See 3d (3,1'11)

5d   One that's made contract, // one no-trump, defeated (8)

She or he has made a contract to become a bride or groom respectively.

6d   Low council tax /shown in/ pension? (1,3,1)

Council Tax[7] is the system of local property taxation that has been used in England, Scotland and Wales since 1993 to fund (in part) the services provided by local government. This system was never applied to Northern Ireland which continues to use an older system.

While implementation details vary among the three jurisdictions, the overall structure of the system remains similar. In England and Scotland, each dwelling is allocated to one of eight bands coded by the letters A to H on the basis of its assumed capital value as of 1 April 1991. In Wales, there are nine bands (labelled A to I) and the reference date is 1 April 2003.The highest value rate band is Band H (Band I in Wales) and the lowest value rate band is Band A. Band B is the second lowest rate band and thus pays a lower council tax than any rate band other than Band A.

A pension[5] is a small hotel or boarding house in France and other European countries. In contrast to bed and breakfasts, more usual in the United States, pensions[7] typically do not only offer breakfast, but also lunch, dinner and sometimes even tea. Rather than paying for the room and each meal separately, guests select a plan which either comprises overnight accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner (full pension) or the preceding minus the lunch (half pension).

7d   Where one learns // playing cello, e.g. (7)

14d   Time to study English philosopher -- // tedious work (9)

In Britain, to read[5] means to study (an academic subject) at a university ⇒ (i) I’m reading English at Cambridge; (ii) he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics.

John Stuart Mill[5] (1806–1873) was an English philosopher and economist. Mill is best known for his political and moral works, especially On Liberty (1859), which argued for the importance of individuality, and Utilitarianism (1861), which extensively developed this theory which had originally been proposed by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham.

15d   Giving false praise he /is/ a hypocritical type (8)

A Pharisee[5] is a member of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity. The term has come to mean a self-righteous or hypocritical person.

17d   Ribald song heard /from/ pirate ship (7)

Corsair[5] is an archaic term for (1) a pirate; (2) a pirate ship; or (3) a privateer, especially one operating along the southern shore of the Mediterranean in the 16th-18th centuries.

18d   Lancashire Uni once holding // event for ex-students (7)

Scratching the Surface
Lancashire[5] is a county of northwestern England, on the Irish Sea; administrative centre, Preston.

Uni[5] is an informal [seemingly British] term for university he planned to go to uni.

20d   What's left, // say, with delicate trimming (6)

22d   Post Office stocks exciting // picture (5)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015 — Wet Kisses

Introduction

The left-hand side of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon fell into place quite readily. The right-hand side, on the other hand, required a mild mental workout — however, one that was far from strenuous.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Unrestrained // sheep breathe heavily (7)

RAM|PANT — RAM ([male] sheep) + PANT (breathe heavily)

5a   Fuel // London district carried by gallon (7)

GA(SOHO)L — SOHO (London district) contained in (carried by) GAL (gallon; abbrev.)

Soho[7] is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.


9a   Crosby and Hope’s last // spree (5)

BING|E — BING (Crosby) + E (Hope's last; final letter of HopE)

Bing Crosby[7] (1903–1977) was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation. Bob Hope[7] (1903–2003) was an English-born American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

10a   Oscar crew recast // friend of Dorothy (9)

SCARECROW* — anagram (recast) of OSCAR CREW

The Scarecrow[7] is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow. In Baum's classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow encounters Dorothy Gale in a field in the Munchkin Country while she is on her way to the Emerald City. The "mindless" Scarecrow joins Dorothy in the hope that The Wizard will give him a brain. They are later joined by the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion.

11a   Scattered seed from // liberated states (8)

FREEDOMS* — anagram (scattered) of SEED FROM

12a   World Heritage Site group // featured in iTunes collection (6)

_UNESCO_ — hidden in (featured in) iTUNES COllection

A World Heritage Site[7] is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.

14a   See // spinning toys turning around (4)

SPOT< — reversal (turning around) of TOPS (spinning toys)

15a   Guess // I’m in Eastern terminal (10)

E|ST(IM)ATION — IM (I'm) contained in (in) {E (Eastern) + STATION (terminal)}

18a   AFL-CIO’s led riots /in/ mining areas (10)

COALFIELDS — anagram (riots) of AFL CIO LED

Scratching the Surface
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations[7] (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.

19a   Beef /and/ fish (4)

CARP — double definition

22a   Metal // cut Spanish article (6)

NICK|EL — NICK (cut) + EL (Spanish article)

"Spanish article" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

24a   Last part in legal document // given item by item (8)

DE(TAIL)ED — TAIL (last part) contained in (in) DEED (legal document)

26a   Played // Mister Rogers, receiving hug and doggy kiss (9)

FR(O|LICK)ED — FRED (Mister Rogers) containing (receiving) {O (love; nil score in tennis) O (hug; the letters O and X being a common representation of a hug and a kiss respectively) + (and) LICK (doggy kiss)}

Fred Rogers[7] (1928–2003) was an American television personality, educator, Presbyterian minister, composer, songwriter, author, and activist. Rogers was most famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his gentle, soft-spoken personality and directness to his audiences.

27a   Learn wrongly // about the kidneys (5)

RENAL* — anagram (wrongly) of LEARN

28a   Quits, /or/ agrees to a new contract (7)

RESIGNS — double definition

29a   Scares // starlet badly (7)

RATTLES* — anagram (badly) of STARLET

I did initially try to make the solution be STARTLE — even though it was one "S" short of satisfying the definition.

Down

1d   Spurns // polishes again (7)

REBUFFS — double definition

2d   State next to Ontario // nominates bum (9)

MINNESOTA* — anagram (bum) of NOMINATES

3d   Changes // guys in commercials (6)

A(MEN)DS — MEN (guys) contained in (in) ADS (commercials)

4d   Butcher makes tarts /for/ a tough boss (10)

TASKMASTER* — anagram (butcher) of MAKES TARTS

5d   Run toward // farm animal (4)

GO|AT — GO (run) + AT (toward)

6d   Yes, Twain altered // name for a grand (8)

STEINWAY* — anagram (altered) of YES TWAIN

A Steinway[5] (trademark) is a piano manufactured by the German piano-builder Henry Engelhard Steinway (1797–1871), or by the firm which he founded in New York in 1853.

Scratching the Surface
Mark Twain[5] (1835–1910) was an American novelist and humorist; pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His best-known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), give a vivid evocation of Mississippi frontier life.

7d   Employs // high resolution (5)

HI|RES — HI-RES (high resolution)

Hi-res[5] (or high-res) is a short form for high resolution.

8d   Base info (7)

LOWDOWN — cryptic definition ( alluding to low[5] meaning unscrupulous or dishonest)

13d   Telepathist // put fear into underground worker (4,6)

MIN(D READ)ER — DREAD (fear) contained in (put ... into) MINER (underground worker)

16d   Tennis player /with/ one victory, one loss, and final loss (4,5)

IVAN LENDL — I ([Roman numeral for] one) + V (victory) + AN (one) + L (loss) + (and) END (final) + L (loss)

"victory" = V (show explanation )

V[10] is the symbol for victory - the victory-freedom sign[7] is commonly associated with British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in World War II.

hide explanation

Ivan Lendl[5] is a Czech-born American tennis player. He won many singles titles in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the US, Australian, and the French Open championships.

17d   Gift // of iron hoop (8)

OF|FE|RING — OF (†) + FE ([symbol for the chemical element] iron) + RING (hoop)

18d   Talk about one // kind of evergreen tree (7)

CON(I)FER — CONFER (talk) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

20d   Sells // bicycles by word of mouth (7)

PEDDLES~ — sounds like (by word of mouth) PEDALS (bicycles; as a verb)

21d   Repeat // average nonsense (6)

PAR|ROT — PAR (average) + ROT (nonsense)

23d   Some of Velcro’s strips // intersect (5)

_CROSS_ — hidden in (some of) VelCROS Strips

25d   Runners // kiss sloppily (4)

SKIS* — anagram (sloppily) of KISS

Epilogue

The title of today's piece is inspired by 26a and 25d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "&lt;" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Unrestrained // sheep breathe heavily (7)

RAM|PANT — RAM ([male] sheep) + PANT (breathe heavily)

5a   Fuel // London district carried by gallon (7)

GA(SOHO)L — SOHO (London district) contained in (carried by) GAL (gallon; abbrev.)

Soho[7] is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.


9a   Crosby and Hope’s last // spree (5)

BING|E — BING (Crosby) + E (Hope's last; final letter of HopE)

Bing Crosby[7] (1903–1977) was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation. Bob Hope[7] (1903–2003) was an English-born American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

10a   Oscar crew recast // friend of Dorothy (9)

SCARECROW* — anagram (recast) of OSCAR CREW

The Scarecrow[7] is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow. In Baum's classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow encounters Dorothy Gale in a field in the Munchkin Country while she is on her way to the Emerald City. The "mindless" Scarecrow joins Dorothy in the hope that The Wizard will give him a brain. They are later joined by the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion.

11a   Scattered seed from // liberated states (8)

FREEDOMS* — anagram (scattered) of SEED FROM

12a   World Heritage Site group // featured in iTunes collection (6)

_UNESCO_ — hidden in (featured in) iTUNES COllection

A World Heritage Site[7] is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.

14a   See // spinning toys turning around (4)

SPOT< — reversal (turning around) of TOPS (spinning toys)

15a   Guess // I’m in Eastern terminal (10)

E|ST(IM)ATION — IM (I'm) contained in (in) {E (Eastern) + STATION (terminal)}

18a   AFL-CIO’s led riots /in/ mining areas (10)

COALFIELDS — anagram (riots) of AFL CIO LED

Scratching the Surface
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations[7] (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.

19a   Beef /and/ fish (4)

CARP — double definition

22a   Metal // cut Spanish article (6)

NICK|EL — NICK (cut) + EL (Spanish article)

"Spanish article" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

24a   Last part in legal document // given item by item (8)

DE(TAIL)ED — TAIL (last part) contained in (in) DEED (legal document)

26a   Played // Mister Rogers, receiving hug and doggy kiss (9)

FR(O|LICK)ED — FRED (Mister Rogers) containing (receiving) {O (love; nil score in tennis) + (and) LICK (doggy kiss)}

Fred Rogers[7] (1928–2003) was an American television personality, educator, Presbyterian minister, composer, songwriter, author, and activist. Rogers was most famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his gentle, soft-spoken personality and directness to his audiences.

27a   Learn wrongly // about the kidneys (5)

RENAL* — anagram (wrongly) of LEARN

28a   Quits, /or/ agrees to a new contract (7)

RESIGNS — double definition

29a   Scares // starlet badly (7)

RATTLES* — anagram (badly) of STARLET

I did initially try to make the solution be STARTLE — even though it was one "S" short of satisfying the definition.

Down

1d   Spurns // polishes again (7)

REBUFFS — double definition

2d   State next to Ontario // nominates bum (9)

MINNESOTA* — anagram (bum) of NOMINATES

3d   Changes // guys in commercials (6)

A(MEN)DS — MEN (guys) contained in (in) ADS (commercials)

4d   Butcher makes tarts /for/ a tough boss (10)

TASKMASTER* — anagram (butcher) of MAKES TARTS

5d   Run toward // farm animal (4)

GO|AT — GO (run) + AT (toward)

6d   Yes, Twain altered // name for a grand (8)

STEINWAY* — anagram (altered) of YES TWAIN

A Steinway[5] (trademark) is a piano manufactured by the German piano-builder Henry Engelhard Steinway (1797–1871), or by the firm which he founded in New York in 1853.

Scratching the Surface
Mark Twain[5] (1835–1910) was an American novelist and humorist; pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His best-known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), give a vivid evocation of Mississippi frontier life.

7d   Employs // high resolution (5)

HI|RES — HI-RES (high resolution)

Hi-res[5] (or high-res) is a short form for high resolution.

8d   Base info (7)

LOWDOWN — cryptic definition ( alluding to low[5] meaning unscrupulous or dishonest)

13d   Telepathist // put fear into underground worker (4,6)

MIN(D READ)ER — DREAD (fear) contained in (put ... into) MINER (underground worker)

16d   Tennis player /with/ one victory, one loss, and final loss (4,5)

IVAN LENDL — I ([Roman numeral for] one) + V (victory) + AN (one) + L (loss) + (and) END (final) + L (loss)

"victory" = V (show explanation )

V[10] is the symbol for victory - the victory-freedom sign[7] is commonly associated with British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in World War II.

hide explanation

Ivan Lendl[5] is a Czech-born American tennis player. He won many singles titles in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the US, Australian, and the French Open championships.

17d   Gift // of iron hoop (8)

OF|FE|RING — OF (†) + FE ([symbol for the chemical element] iron) + RING (hoop)

18d   Talk about one // kind of evergreen tree (7)

CON(I)FER — CONFER (talk) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

20d   Sells // bicycles by word of mouth (7)

PEDDLES~ — sounds like (by word of mouth) PEDALS (bicycles; as a verb)

21d   Repeat // average nonsense (6)

PAR|ROT — PAR (average) + ROT (nonsense)

23d   Some of Velcro’s strips // intersect (5)

_CROSS_ — hidden in (some of) VelCROS Strips

25d   Runners // kiss sloppily (4)

SKIS* — anagram (sloppily) of KISS

Epilogue

The title of today's piece is inspired by 26a and 25d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "&lt;" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Unrestrained // sheep breathe heavily (7)

RAM|PANT — RAM ([male] sheep) + PANT (breathe heavily)

5a   Fuel // London district carried by gallon (7)

GA(SOHO)L — SOHO (London district) contained in (carried by) GAL (gallon; abbrev.)

Soho[7] is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.


9a   Crosby and Hope’s last // spree (5)

BING|E — BING (Crosby) + E (Hope's last; final letter of HopE)

Bing Crosby[7] (1903–1977) was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation. Bob Hope[7] (1903–2003) was an English-born American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

10a   Oscar crew recast // friend of Dorothy (9)

SCARECROW* — anagram (recast) of OSCAR CREW

The Scarecrow[7] is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow. In Baum's classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow encounters Dorothy Gale in a field in the Munchkin Country while she is on her way to the Emerald City. The "mindless" Scarecrow joins Dorothy in the hope that The Wizard will give him a brain. They are later joined by the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion.

11a   Scattered seed from // liberated states (8)

FREEDOMS* — anagram (scattered) of SEED FROM

12a   World Heritage Site group // featured in iTunes collection (6)

_UNESCO_ — hidden in (featured in) iTUNES COllection

A World Heritage Site[7] is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.

14a   See // spinning toys turning around (4)

SPOT< — reversal (turning around) of TOPS (spinning toys)

15a   Guess // I’m in Eastern terminal (10)

E|ST(IM)ATION — IM (I'm) contained in (in) {E (Eastern) + STATION (terminal)}

18a   AFL-CIO’s led riots /in/ mining areas (10)

COALFIELDS — anagram (riots) of AFL CIO LED

Scratching the Surface
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations[7] (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.

19a   Beef /and/ fish (4)

CARP — double definition

22a   Metal // cut Spanish article (6)

NICK|EL — NICK (cut) + EL (Spanish article)

"Spanish article" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

24a   Last part in legal document // given item by item (8)

DE(TAIL)ED — TAIL (last part) contained in (in) DEED (legal document)

26a   Played // Mister Rogers, receiving hug and doggy kiss (9)

FR(O|LICK)ED — FRED (Mister Rogers) containing (receiving) {O (love; nil score in tennis) + (and) LICK (doggy kiss)}

Fred Rogers[7] (1928–2003) was an American television personality, educator, Presbyterian minister, composer, songwriter, author, and activist. Rogers was most famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his gentle, soft-spoken personality and directness to his audiences.

27a   Learn wrongly // about the kidneys (5)

RENAL* — anagram (wrongly) of LEARN

28a   Quits, /or/ agrees to a new contract (7)

RESIGNS — double definition

29a   Scares // starlet badly (7)

RATTLES* — anagram (badly) of STARLET

I did initially try to make the solution be STARTLE — even though it was one "S" short of satisfying the definition.

Down

1d   Spurns // polishes again (7)

REBUFFS — double definition

2d   State next to Ontario // nominates bum (9)

MINNESOTA* — anagram (bum) of NOMINATES

3d   Changes // guys in commercials (6)

A(MEN)DS — MEN (guys) contained in (in) ADS (commercials)

4d   Butcher makes tarts /for/ a tough boss (10)

TASKMASTER* — anagram (butcher) of MAKES TARTS

5d   Run toward // farm animal (4)

GO|AT — GO (run) + AT (toward)

6d   Yes, Twain altered // name for a grand (8)

STEINWAY* — anagram (altered) of YES TWAIN

A Steinway[5] (trademark) is a piano manufactured by the German piano-builder Henry Engelhard Steinway (1797–1871), or by the firm which he founded in New York in 1853.

Scratching the Surface
Mark Twain[5] (1835–1910) was an American novelist and humorist; pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His best-known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), give a vivid evocation of Mississippi frontier life.

7d   Employs // high resolution (5)

HI|RES — HI-RES (high resolution)

Hi-res[5] (or high-res) is a short form for high resolution.

8d   Base info (7)

LOWDOWN — cryptic definition ( alluding to low[5] meaning unscrupulous or dishonest)

13d   Telepathist // put fear into underground worker (4,6)

MIN(D READ)ER — DREAD (fear) contained in (put ... into) MINER (underground worker)

16d   Tennis player /with/ one victory, one loss, and final loss (4,5)

IVAN LENDL — I ([Roman numeral for] one) + V (victory) + AN (one) + L (loss) + (and) END (final) + L (loss)

"victory" = V (show explanation )

V[10] is the symbol for victory - the victory-freedom sign[7] is commonly associated with British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in World War II.

hide explanation

Ivan Lendl[5] is a Czech-born American tennis player. He won many singles titles in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the US, Australian, and the French Open championships.

17d   Gift // of iron hoop (8)

OF|FE|RING — OF (†) + FE ([symbol for the chemical element] iron) + RING (hoop)

18d   Talk about one // kind of evergreen tree (7)

CON(I)FER — CONFER (talk) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

20d   Sells // bicycles by word of mouth (7)

PEDDLES~ — sounds like (by word of mouth) PEDALS (bicycles; as a verb)

21d   Repeat // average nonsense (6)

PAR|ROT — PAR (average) + ROT (nonsense)

23d   Some of Velcro’s strips // intersect (5)

_CROSS_ — hidden in (some of) VelCROS Strips

25d   Runners // kiss sloppily (4)

SKIS* — anagram (sloppily) of KISS

Epilogue

The title of today's piece is inspired by 26a and 25d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon
I will return later with the solution.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "&lt;" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Unrestrained // sheep breathe heavily (7)

RAM|PANT — RAM ([male] sheep) + PANT (breathe heavily)

5a   Fuel // London district carried by gallon (7)

GA(SOHO)L — SOHO (London district) contained in (carried by) GAL (gallon; abbrev.)

Soho[7] is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.


9a   Crosby and Hope’s last // spree (5)

BING|E — BING (Crosby) + E (Hope's last; final letter of HopE)

Bing Crosby[7] (1903–1977) was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation. Bob Hope[7] (1903–2003) was an English-born American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

10a   Oscar crew recast // friend of Dorothy (9)

SCARECROW* — anagram (recast) of OSCAR CREW

The Scarecrow[7] is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow. In Baum's classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow encounters Dorothy Gale in a field in the Munchkin Country while she is on her way to the Emerald City. The "mindless" Scarecrow joins Dorothy in the hope that The Wizard will give him a brain. They are later joined by the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion.

11a   Scattered seed from // liberated states (8)

FREEDOMS* — anagram (scattered) of SEED FROM

12a   World Heritage Site group // featured in iTunes collection (6)

_UNESCO_ — hidden in (featured in) iTUNES COllection

A World Heritage Site[7] is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.

14a   See // spinning toys turning around (4)

SPOT< — reversal (turning around) of TOPS (spinning toys)

15a   Guess // I’m in Eastern terminal (10)

E|ST(IM)ATION — IM (I'm) contained in (in) {E (Eastern) + STATION (terminal)}

18a   AFL-CIO’s led riots /in/ mining areas (10)

COALFIELDS — anagram (riots) of AFL CIO LED

Scratching the Surface
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations[7] (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.

19a   Beef /and/ fish (4)

CARP — double definition

22a   Metal // cut Spanish article (6)

NICK|EL — NICK (cut) + EL (Spanish article)

"Spanish article" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

24a   Last part in legal document // given item by item (8)

DE(TAIL)ED — TAIL (last part) contained in (in) DEED (legal document)

26a   Played // Mister Rogers, receiving hug and doggy kiss (9)

FR(O|LICK)ED — FRED (Mister Rogers) containing (receiving) {O (love; nil score in tennis) + (and) LICK (doggy kiss)}

Fred Rogers[7] (1928–2003) was an American television personality, educator, Presbyterian minister, composer, songwriter, author, and activist. Rogers was most famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his gentle, soft-spoken personality and directness to his audiences.

27a   Learn wrongly // about the kidneys (5)

RENAL* — anagram (wrongly) of LEARN

28a   Quits, /or/ agrees to a new contract (7)

RESIGNS — double definition

29a   Scares // starlet badly (7)

RATTLES* — anagram (badly) of STARLET

I did initially try to make the solution be STARTLE — even though it was one "S" short of satisfying the definition.

Down

1d   Spurns // polishes again (7)

REBUFFS — double definition

2d   State next to Ontario // nominates bum (9)

MINNESOTA* — anagram (bum) of NOMINATES

3d   Changes // guys in commercials (6)

A(MEN)DS — MEN (guys) contained in (in) ADS (commercials)

4d   Butcher makes tarts /for/ a tough boss (10)

TASKMASTER* — anagram (butcher) of MAKES TARTS

5d   Run toward // farm animal (4)

GO|AT — GO (run) + AT (toward)

6d   Yes, Twain altered // name for a grand (8)

STEINWAY* — anagram (altered) of YES TWAIN

A Steinway[5] (trademark) is a piano manufactured by the German piano-builder Henry Engelhard Steinway (1797–1871), or by the firm which he founded in New York in 1853.

Scratching the Surface
Mark Twain[5] (1835–1910) was an American novelist and humorist; pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His best-known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), give a vivid evocation of Mississippi frontier life.

7d   Employs // high resolution (5)

HI|RES — HI-RES (high resolution)

Hi-res[5] (or high-res) is a short form for high resolution.

8d   Base info (7)

LOWDOWN — cryptic definition ( alluding to low[5] meaning unscrupulous or dishonest)

13d   Telepathist // put fear into underground worker (4,6)

MIN(D READ)ER — DREAD (fear) contained in (put ... into) MINER (underground worker)

16d   Tennis player /with/ one victory, one loss, and final loss (4,5)

IVAN LENDL — I ([Roman numeral for] one) + V (victory) + AN (one) + L (loss) + (and) END (final) + L (loss)

"victory" = V (show explanation )

V[10] is the symbol for victory - the victory-freedom sign[7] is commonly associated with British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in World War II.

hide explanation

Ivan Lendl[5] is a Czech-born American tennis player. He won many singles titles in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the US, Australian, and the French Open championships.

17d   Gift // of iron hoop (8)

OF|FE|RING — OF (†) + FE ([symbol for the chemical element] iron) + RING (hoop)

18d   Talk about one // kind of evergreen tree (7)

CON(I)FER — CONFER (talk) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

20d   Sells // bicycles by word of mouth (7)

PEDDLES~ — sounds like (by word of mouth) PEDALS (bicycles; as a verb)

21d   Repeat // average nonsense (6)

PAR|ROT — PAR (average) + ROT (nonsense)

23d   Some of Velcro’s strips // intersect (5)

_CROSS_ — hidden in (some of) VelCROS Strips

25d   Runners // kiss sloppily (4)

SKIS* — anagram (sloppily) of KISS

Epilogue

The title of today's piece is inspired by 26a and 25d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon