The National Post has skipped DT 26175 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, February 27, 2010
I thought that today's puzzle was considerably more difficult than the typical "Monday" fare served up by Rufus - and I see that Rishi expressed similar feelings.
Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle
Used in Clues:
bloomer1 - noun Brit. a large loaf with diagonal slashes on a rounded top.
Used in Solutions:
bag and baggage - completely • clear out bag and baggage. [see also this link]
Paul Gascoigne - a retired English professional football player, commonly known as Gazza
Gosport - a town in Hampshire, England on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour opposite the city of Portsmouth.
loaf1 - noun 3 slang the head or brains • Use one's loaf: Brit. informal use one’s common sense.
Rishi's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26176].
I am surprised that none of the Brits commented on the fact that the the football player in 1a was apparently known by the nickname Gazza.
Commentary on Today's Puzzle
14a Once put down, it can be served (4)
I thought that "once put down" might refer to dropping the writ, i.e., the process of a prime minister seeking a writ of election for a new parliament. However, if this were to be the case, the clue would be a bit of a mixed metaphor (or perhaps a dog's breakfast), as it is a different kind of writ that is served (i.e., a court order). Perhaps Rishi's explanation is better.
19a Carried on organising coup-d'etat but having to drop out (5,2)
In this clue we must form an anagram (signaled by the indicator organising) of COUPDETAT after having dropped some letters, but our dilemma is in deciding which ones to drop. Is this clue telling us that we have to drop the word OUT or is it instructing us that we must have the word TO drop out? Fortunately, only one of these options produces the correct number of letters needed in the solution.
23a A service for car and plane travellers (7)
This was the last clue to be solved. Based on the checking letters, it appeared that the solution must either be AIRLINE or AIRSIDE. Either could apply to "plane travellers" (airside refers to the part of the airport inside the security cordon, whereas landside refers to the part outside the security cordon), but I struggled to find an association for either with car travellers. Finally, it dawned on me that an airline could be "a tube which transports air under pressure", used to inflate tires (or tyres in Britain).
Signing off for today - Falcon