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Puzzle by Dalibor
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Dalibor who, as the name suggests, is a fan of Czech culture like me  has provided a splendid offering for his first puzzle. It is very much on the difficult side, since the clues use all sorts of cunning and clever devices, but scrupulously fair so that the solver will feel amply rewarded while making progress. It is worth noting that English is Dalibor's second language (he is Dutch), which makes this all the more of an admirable achievement, even though it's a known fact that many Dutch people have a better command of English than some Brits do! Favourite  clues: 1 across and 1 and 5 down.


Classic performance of the old Burt Lancaster (10,5)
9/10 French cyclist destroyed Hitler and Braun (7,7)
11 Could its leading character be James, perhaps? (5)
12 New World citizen forgetting love initially, which is close to disaster (4,5)
13 Thoughtful people beheaded Osiris' murderer here in Paris (time? within seconds!) (9)
15 Choice of Arabic repertoire by Luciano, say? (5)
16 Levels shown at fine arts on a regular basis (5)
18 Bloody full of imagery? Just a shade (3-6)
20 In romantic light bishop hugged by second one, a woman (9)
23 Hideous woman denying McDonald's good for children, so she was! (5)
24 Capital punishment finally leading to epitaph "Old Life Ended Too Soon" (7)
25 Shreds recipe in-between two drinks (5,2)
26 Friendly contact with flipping girl without place to shelter and single, possibly topless (7,8)

Volume produced by seventies band brought down by 90% (5,10)
2 Direction unclear, one goes to church / cathedral city (7)
3 Horrible scene in bar comes up, blows over (9)
4 Politician not allowed to dismiss ex-president after split (5)
5 Run over at traffic light with vehicle stopping (9)
6 Dogma movies? (5)
7 French king lifts bottom, sitting on queen more than dirty (7)
8 People wanting to separate, well into it? Enough! Invite others to follow (3,1,4,7)
14 Like to produce Holocaust for TV? Half of it leaves Israelites upset  (9)
15 Street poet carrying love for everyone else (9)
17 Show-off type of engine originally understood to contain self-starter (7)
19 Napoleon's third country, one that beat him (7)
21 Bass in empty basin out of breath (5)
22 Singer starts to forget aria, laughed off in contest (3-2)

Solution to Puzzle by Dalibor