Today's Sydney rain made most of my newspaper soggy but the top half was preserved by its plastic so I went straight to the puzzle.
A number of long answers were apparent which can mean a very quick, or very slow, solve. Today was pretty quick. Nothing was very hard and only a couple required more examination to work the secondaries.
1) STATES : statutes minus u----t : I think 'States' is over simplified. We'd usually say 'The States' if America was intended. No one goes to States for a holiday.
5) TINKLE : knit<,l---e : Love a good toilet clue.
8) see 6dn
11) RUIN : R.U.,in
12) UP IN THE AIR : ddef : bit weak.
14) SCOURGES : s-----s <> co,urge
15) UTOPIA : u(to)p,A1<
18) PAYOLA : (Lo/Pa)yola : 'to look'=lo ? Lo is more imperative than a mere verb.
19) CONTESSA : con,asset<
21) EASY CHAIR : Sp(cheesy,air)
23,22dn) KAMA SUTRA : hm(calmer),(art,US)< : 'love', 'book' and (4,5) . . . what else will it be ?
25,2dn) IT GOES WITH THE TERRITORY : I.T.,goes with the (Ford)Territory : used to have a Territory. Good for 3 years then pretty bad.
26,27) CAVEAT EMPTOR : (over,meat,pact)*
2) see 25ac
3,24) TUCKSHOP : Tuck's hop
4) SLEEPIER : eels<,pier
5) TRUANT : t,-r,--u,---a,----n,-----t : Nice enough clue.
6,8ac) NOT WHAT ITS CRACKED UP TO BE : (the,boat,now)*<>tits,cracked up
7) LIBRA : ddef : again, weak. Is 'scales house' actually something ? It's whether you know zodiac signs can be referred to as houses.
9) PROSE POEM : (more,Popes)*
10) BREAKAWAY : ddef : DA showing his Syd Uni rugby days weren't wasted. The Melbourne Rebels are in Super Rugby. Covers both city audiences.
13) FROLICSOME : (of,com-ilers)* : 'cryptic essence = ---p---
16) PISTACHIO : pi(Cats)<hi,o
17) COERCIVE : (cover,ice)*
20) BASSET : b---,as,set : bone minus one/I . . . meh.
22) see 23ac
24) see 2dn
So now we have a relatively easy puzzle, I strangely feel a little short changed. Good thing or bad thing ?
I reckon it's good. Occasionally. 7/10.
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