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ACROSS

 1 I! (6,3)

 6 Cook meat with a bit of rice—that’s duller (5)

 9 Dull? Put a dash of Tabasco in meat stew (5)

10 Blond we had cruelly kicked around (9)

11 Spent a hefty mil, unwisely, to produce a TV sitcom (3,2,3,6)

13 Perennial half-lights hiding criminal (8)

15 Be ambitious and misinterpret praise (6)

17 Flowery lecture about nation’s origin (6)

19 Careful when speaking of record concerning Spielberg movie (8)

22 Marsupial’s unusual stamina and villainy (9,5)

25 Oh, picture strange theatrical 6 Across (9)

26 Musical instrument found in rear half of presidential home (5)

27 Wherein individual covens could affiliate, primarily! (5)

28 Bring back to power, elected instead of Democrat as part of a Republican area (9)

DOWN

 1 Wrangle online about nasty beast slain by Heracles (6,4)

 2 Possibly lead dead male northward (5)

 3 Permanent loss of ten from outside (7)

 4 Do better than dilapidated tin house (8)

 5 Business manager almost captivates woman (assuming she used to be married) (2-4)

 6 Break mother’s flask (7)

 7 Cake and limeade, mixed atop hollowed-out nectarine (9)

 8 Sound of highway traveled (4)

12 Attempt at remembering guys not in story (6,4)

14 Marvelous soft drink’s idiosyncrasy (9)

16 It may be a first course in rioting with a revolutionary (8)

18 Looking back, clear up Mets’ property—it involves a batter (7)

20 Fishkill’s handwritten books (7)

21 Wall Street figure losing head in conversation with TV journalist (6)

23 A fielder’s item nearly heading upriver (5)

24 Vomit beneath small bench (4)

SOLUTION TO PUZZLE NO. 3297

ACROSS 1 anag. 7 FIRS + T (&lit.) 8 N + E(G)LECTED 10 REH(IRE)D (herd anag.) 11 N(ERVO)US (over anag., sun rev.) 12 F + ARF + ETCHED 14 “dire” 16 hidden 18 anag. 21 anag. 22 F(ERR)AR + I 23 anag. 24 hidden 25 anag.

DOWN 1 NOR + THE + R 2 ROT + ARIES 3 O(W)NE-D 4 ENGI([o]NE[s] + E)RS (singer anag.) 5 T(HE)ORY 6 COT + TONY 7 letter bank 9 DI(STRA)CTION (arts rev.) 13 CHAR + ABA + NC 15 S + MAR + TEST 17 RE-SOLVE 19 SPAR + TAN 20 LIT + CHI 22 FAT + WA[s]