My Tool Chest remained firmly closed today, so I was expecting that this offering would elicit few stars for difficulty from Big Dave's crew. I was therefore a bit surprised to see that it rated three stars from Libellule. I even managed to decipher the name of the previously unknown-to-me English cartoonist.
Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle
Used in Clues:
daily - noun 2 (also daily help) Brit. dated a domestic cleaner.
Used in Solutions:
char2 - noun Brit. informal a charwoman.
Heath Robinson - English cartoonist who is best known for drawings of eccentric machines; similar to his American counterpart, Rube Goldberg, his name has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption.
MB - abbreviation 1 Bachelor of Medicine.
on dit - [Collins English Dictionary] noun a rumour; piece of gossip [from French, literally: it is said, they say]
Libellule's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26173].
Commentary on Today's Puzzle
24a Drug used in extremely severe case (8)
Here, I got the solution before figuring out the wordplay. Even then, I pursued a few false leads before finally finding the right path. Although I realized that one needed the first and last letters of "severe", initially I mistakenly suspected that the indicator for this might be "case". At first, I also wrongly supposed that these letters formed the first and last letters of the solution (making it a container type clue), rather than the first two letters of the solution (making it a charade).
The definition is "drug", with the solution being SEDATIVE. The wordplay is SE (extremely severe; i.e., the first and last letters of the word "severe") + DATIVE (case, in the grammatical sense).
2d Band playing Hart score (9)
Libellule says "Interestingly enough search on google does show a few composers whose second name is Hart". I thought that this might possibly be a reference to Lorenz Hart, who together with Richard Rodgers wrote the music for a number of Broadway productions. Although the term score encompasses both the vocal and instrumental parts of a musical composition, since Hart was the lyricist of the pair, I suppose that it would be more likely for a choir to sing his work than for an orchestra to play it.
In writing this, I had to electronically leaf through a few dictionaries trying to sort out what is meant by the term score. Some dictionaries defined score in very vague terms such as "The music written for a film or a play". However, we sometimes use the term music to mean both the vocal and instrumental components of a composition (e.g., "the music of the Beatles") while at other times we use the phrase "words and music" which seems to imply that the lyrics are a separate entity from the music.
5d Executive on the government side (11)
Like Libellule, I was sure that I must have missed some clever nuance in this clue - but that seems not to be the case. Libellule's sentiments on this clue echo my own thoughts precisely (or, given that he would have been first to voice them, I guess I should reverse that).
Signing off for today - Falcon