1 down: Cast, with or without one! (5)
It’s the ball-tearer: three clever, conceivable solutions, yet only one of these three fit within the crossword and is truly &lit. I wonder if DA knew of the following three possibilities:
- cast, with or without one = cast with or – i = cast wthor = throw = cast
- cast, with or without one = sling (a sling might or might not contain a cast) = cast
- cast, with or without one = shied (shed) = cast, with or without one
Great clue made even harder by more than one feasible solution.
6 down, 21 across: Spooner’s out of depression with 15-down (deep fryer) snack (5, 5)
This took me a long time because it’s, as far as I’m aware, a first: a Spoonerism that passes two phonemes of a word over to the next: Spooner’s out of depression = Spooner’s from pit = pomme frite = deep fryer snack.
7 down: Buckle fast cinching little zip (5, 1. 1.)
Ridiculously good, and blasphemous to boot!: buckle fast cinching little = stfa cinching wee = sweet F.A. = zip.
16, 10 across: Acting as an extra principle of creative accounting (6, 2, 3, 7)
Wonderfully worded and humorous: acting as an extra = making up the numbers = principle of creative accounting.
19 across: Burmese remark about hound she buys? (9)
A brilliant way to hide purr: burmese remark about hound = purr about chase = purchaser = she buys.
13 across, 5 down: It crushes crims boarding vessel with scaler, say? (3, 11)
Especially difficult wordplay for a excellent clue: crims boarding vessel with scaler, say = cons boarding boat with Richter, say = boa constrictor = it crushes.
12 down: The Mafia deviant suits current one-sided band (6, 5)
No surprise that the mind-bending word-turner would refer to mind-bending mathematical shape-shifting: the Mafia deviant suits current = mob iusst rip = mobius strip = one-sided band.
22 down: Fault Flynn finally swapping hands (5)
I really like an elegant swapping of letters: Flynn finally swapping hands = Errol – l + r = error = fault.
17 down: Audience bear Cockney’s corny music machine (7)
Wonderful aural clue that’s a little surprising because the letters don’t look like they should be homophonic: audience bear Cockney’s corny = audience carry Cockney’s hokey = audience carry hokey – h = karaoke = music machine.
24 across: Just 31 days, trading places in London (7)
Excellent sleight of hand from the surface reading: just 31 days trading places = fair may trading places = mayfair = in London.