9
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This is a themed cryptic crossword, with six answers following the theme. For further instructions and details, scroll past the crossword and clues.

KingAlbertVIICrosswordGrid

ACROSS
1. Without everyone, head off in area where nature thrives (6)
6. Defense one's intruding in one country (5)
7. Pythagoras calculated portion for knave (6)
8. Clear and essentially staggering landform (5)
10. Show's bringing in singer's first group (5)
12. Report: "Constellation's hiding" (4)
13. Civilization's losing one million in a single season? (5)
14. Heard a tree and a well (4)
15. Grieve for some of them (our neighbors) (5)
17. Criticize Sting's energy (7)
18. A strong point for the removal of hotel (5)
19. Record in Vivaldi's chamber (4)
20. Exercising in some form of ingenious cycling (5)
22/26D/5D. Extra-rare loin meat, if niece is upset (4-2-1-8)
23. Even parts are switching in revolutionary Russian textile (5)
24. Fierce bird near the tip of Cyprus (5)
25. Weapon of ancient deity: a pillar (6)
27. Essentially principal Australian islands (5)
28. Strongly criticize leaders of Aegean Sea voyage (6)

DOWN
1. Forceful insurgents initially rebuke, showing a form of resistance? (9)
2. Ethnic group (minor) last found west of America (3')
3. Open areas with small steps (6)
4. Perhaps West's group of vocalists (3, 9)
5. (22A/26D/5D)
8. Arab country and Berber state form impromptu plan... ends up getting seized by King Albert VII? (5, 7)
9. Dream dish, with sweet filling, returned and left out from plate (8)
11. Doing permanent damage to cars drifting on circular course (8)
16. Fool turns back on mythical creature nearly having a lack of power (2, 7)
17. Stand up and tease: "In the end, fifty-percent of Swedes chatter endlessly" (8)
21. Collects (bit by bit) German spare parts, ultimately (6)
26. (22A/26D/5D)

The check mark will go to the first person who submits an answer with: 1) an image of the completed crossword, 2) explanations for all clues, and 3) explanations for the theme and its corresponding clues. There is a relevant easter egg, but it is a more minor detail and need not be pointed out by the answerer to get the check mark.

Users who cannot use Imgur are exempted from fulfilling the first requirement, but it is highly encouraged for such a user to reproduce the grid visually in another way (preferably code formatting for consistent spacing).

Grid in plaintext

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1
5
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This crossword's theme is:

Songs from One Direction's album Four - within the grid can be found the answers 'One Direction', as well as Fireproof, Illusion, No Control, Once in a Lifetime and Spaces.

The hidden Easter Egg in the puzzle is that 'One Direction' is clue number 4, a reference to the album title...!

The completed crossword:

Completed crossword

Clue explanations:

ACROSS
1. Without everyone, head off in area where nature thrives (6) FOREST = FOREST(-all)
6. Defense one's intruding in one country (5) INDIA = (D + I) within IN + A ('one')
7. Pythagoras calculated portion for knave (6) RASCAL = _RAS CAL_
8. Clear and essentially staggering landform (5) RIDGE = RID ('clear') + _GE_
10. Show's bringing in singer's first group (5) POSSE = POSE ('show') containing S_
12. Report: "Constellation's hiding" (4) TELL = _TELL_
13. Civilization's losing one million in a single season? (5) SUMER = SUM(-m)ER
14. Heard a tree and a well (4) OKAY = sounds like 'OAK A'
15. Grieve for some of them (our neighbors) (5) MOURN = _M OUR N_
17. Criticize Sting's energy (7) PANACHE = PAN ('criticize') + ACHE ('sting')
18. A strong point for the removal of hotel (5) FORTE = FOR + T(-h)E
19. Record in Vivaldi's chamber (4) DISC = _DIS C_
20. Exercising in some form of ingenious cycling (5) USING = (-ingenio)US + ING(-enious)
22/26D/5D. Extra-rare loin meat, if niece is upset (4-2-1-8) ONCE IN A LIFETIME = (LOINMEATIFNIECE)*
23. Even parts are switching in revolutionary Russian textile (5) LINEN (LENIN, with letters 2 and 4 swapped)
24. Fierce bird near the tip of Cyprus (5) STERN = (-cypru)S + TERN ('bird')
25. Weapon of ancient deity: a pillar (6) RAPIER = RA ('ancient deity') + PIER ('pillar')
27. Essentially principal Australian islands (5) PALAU = _PAL AU_
28. Strongly criticize leaders of Aegean Sea voyage (6) ASSAIL = A_ + S_ + SAIL ('voyage')

DOWN
1. Forceful insurgents initially rebuke, showing a form of resistance? (9) FIREPROOF = F_ + I_ + REPROOF ('rebuke')
2. Ethnic group (minor) last found west of America (3') RUS = (-mino)R + US
3. Open areas with small steps (6) SPACES = S ('small') + PACES ('steps')
4. Perhaps West's group of vocalists (3, 9) ONE DIRECTION = def + cdef
5. (22A/26D/5D)
8. Arab country and Berber state form impromptu plan... ends up getting seized by King Albert VII? (5, 7) ROMAN NUMERAL = R (King) + OMAN ('Arab country') + (_R + _E + _M + _U + _N)< + AL (Albert)
9. Dream dish, with sweet filling, returned and left out from plate (8) ILLUSION = ILLUS(-tart<)ION
11. Doing permanent damage to cars drifting on circular course (8) SCARRING = CARS* + RING ('circular course')
16. Fool turns back on mythical creature nearly having a lack of power (2, 7) NO CONTROL = CON< ('fool') + ON + TROL(-l) ('mythical creature', nearly)
17. Stand up and tease: "In the end, fifty-percent of Swedes chatter endlessly" (8) PEDESTAL = _P + _E + (-swe)DES + TAL(-k) ('chatter', endlessly)
21. Collects (bit by bit) German spare parts, ultimately (6) GLEANS = G ('German') + LEAN ('spare') + (-part)S
26. (22A/26D/5D)

PS Really loved the clue for 8D!

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5
  • $\begingroup$ 1) ILLUSION is correct; I'll let you all figure it out for a while first (although it won't be too long before I drop a hint). 2) You are getting really close to the actual theme; your current theme can be made a bit more specific. 3) Re: 8D, thanks :D in my opinion that felt the hardest one to clue, and I'm glad it paid off. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Jun 25 at 11:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (Deleted second comment to reduce clutter). Your new answer for the theme is now correct, and you correctly identified the easter egg as well :D Hint may be coming in a few hours. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Jun 25 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ The wordplay for 9 down is correct :D Lastly, a few more things: for 20 across I intended the notation to be something like rot13(AVBHFVATR), as per how the indicator there is usually used, although your notation seems to also get the point across (and is better than my own notation), so no need to edit that. However, what I'd like to see edited pertains to 1 down: rot13("Svercebbs" vfa'g n abha, fb gur qrsvavgvba fubhyq nyfb vapyhqr "fubjvat".) :00 $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Jun 26 at 22:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why does R represent King? $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Jun 27 at 6:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @justhalf Abbreviation of the Latin, Rex. Queen (Regina) can be abbreviated similarly. The current Queen Elizabeth II is often abbreviated to ER II as a result. You often see it on postboxes here in the UK :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 27 at 6:36

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