9 across: Express disapproval of sweet-sounding retro artefact? (9)
This one’s amusing and it might have been put into DA Gold if the crossword overall wasn’t so tough. Here, though, we’ve got express disapproval = boo, sweet = meringue and sweet sounding = merang giving express disapproval of sweet-sounding = boomerang = retro artefact, and that last step, boomerang = retro artefact, is both funny and nutty.
7 down: High-class kiss blown in hearing? (3, 6)
I got this out because of cross clues, but that does not mean this one ain’t nasty. Here, kiss blown = skis, in = cool and in hearing = chool, giving kiss blown in hearing? = ski school = high-class (as in the class is at a high altitude).
Update: Although the following clue was originally considered nasty, TH put me on the right track in the comments and it’s now here for historical purposes only:
24 across: Scotch distiller pared technique linked to moisture (5)
I’m not completely sure how this one works, but it’s super nasty. Wikipedia tells me that Dewar was a Scottish chemist, or, as DA would have it, a Scotch distiller. How anyone else was meant to know that is beyond me, though. Moisture = dew, but I can’t explain the ar.
19 down: South American banker burst into Wheels of Fortune? (7)
DA has been found out! The answer here is limpopo, which Google tells me is the name of a province in South Africa and a river in southern Africa. DA was nasty enough to make banker = river, but it’s ever so splendid to see that such nastiness did him no good because he made reference to the wrong continent. The clue should have been Southern African banker burst into Wheels of Forune?, with the explanation burst = pop and wheels of fortune = limo, giving burst into Wheels of Fortune = limpopo = southern African banker.
20 across: Wicked climber corks key bubbly with bit of tissue (9)
Corks key bubbly = skyrocke and bit of tissue = t so that wicked climber = skyrocket = corks key bubbly with bit of tissue. Here, the explanation is reasonably easy, but the direct clue is a piece of crap. Wicked climber for skyrocket is too ridiculous a synonym even for a cryptic.
Update: In the comments, NC comes to the rescue again and brings to light DA’s dastardly chicanery.
15 across: Dean’s venue resolved endless bickering (3-4)
It was only with the help of cross clues that we realised that endless bickering = ickering and resolved endless bickering = ice-rink. But even though we got this out, we left Il Fornaio nonplussed by Dean’s venue = ice-rink. Later that day, though, I was driving down Hotham Street approaching Inkerman when it hit me: Torville and Dean were ice skaters! And Dean’s venue for ice-rink really is a nasty direct clue.
20 across: Veteran journo blooms after holy oil (5, 7)
Cross clues came to the rescue again so that we could get Christ Masters = veteran journo. What wasn’t so obvious, and what only Google has been to help me out with, is that chrism is another word for holy oil and that aster is a genus of flowering plants.
21 across: Massive wombat turned lazy with excess, yet alert (10)
Google got me diprotodon = massive wombat, which is a fine piece of DA nastiness and a fine piece of DA-taught trivia, but I have not the faintest clue how turned lazy with excess, yet alert = diprotodon.
11 across: Diabolical flower lodges in ear (4)
TC and I (AS) had to cheat for this one. Styx is the answer, but what’s the direct clue? The river Styx is meant to be in Hades, but that’s certainly too long a bow to draw from diabolical, isn’t it? Lodges = sticks = sounds like styx would suggest the direct clue is diabolical flower, but Google makes no mention of any flower that goes by that name.
25 across: Euro-capital put back into secret, grand IT security (6, 5)
This one is not too hard, but the direct clue is vague at best. The answer is memory stick, meaning that euro-capital put back = emor, secret = mystic and grand = k. This means, however, that IT security is the direct clue and that it’s supposed to be a synonym for memory stick, which is just a load of shit, really.
9ac: It theatrically cuts brief female wrangle (5)
The answer was fleam, and even though it’s easy to see that it’s a shortened anagram of female, how one is to know that such a tool is a surgical instrument outside of being in the medical business is beyond me.