1. One of the Pedaliaceae - what’s bestowed includes fruit (plural) GRAPPLE-PLANT (apple + pl, all in grant) Our solution refers to Harpagophytum procumbens, notable for its clawed fruit. The indication (fruit with an extra ‘pull’, etc) seems particularly apt once this is understood.
9. Baked cheese and egg mixture: batter similar. RAMAKIN (ram + akin; s.v. ramekin) A simple ‘charade’ clue cleverly exploiting the meanings of batter2 and batter1.
15. A tittle-tattler in Falkirk (I’m meretricious) KIMMER (hidden, s.v. cummer) Azed has hidden the solution in words that indicate the Scots origin of the solution and add an appropriate and amusing quip.
21. Pustules of a kind, inflamed, enclosed one, turning gold on the inside. UREDINIA (red + in + I, all in au (rev.)) This clue was misprinted in the on-line editions. The absence there of the word ‘one’ may have caused solvers to wonder whether they were missing some subtlety in the word-play. Sadly, no.
24. Wild (and rare) creature, one renowned for living the high life. TAKI (2 defs; s.v. takhi) At first reading this clue may be taken as a normal clue of two definitions in sequence, the first phrase referring to Przewalski’s horse, the takhi (or taki), and the second to Taki Theodoracopulos, the writer perhaps best known in the UK for his High Life column in The Spectator. However, on reme mbering the Himalayan Plateau habitat of the first, and the roguish reputation cultivated by the second, one realises that both may be defined by the whole clue. As a consequence it might be regarded as a special kind of ‘&lit’ clue - ‘lit &lit’, perhaps.
26. Superannuated master? He certainly sounds depressed. SIRE (i.e. “sigher”) Some solvers might have been troubled by the seemingly redundant ‘certainly’ in this clue. ‘Certainly redundant?’ Black humour at its best.
29. Cable maybe attached to stern of frigate as exhibit? EVINCE (‘e’ + Vince; ref Vince Cable) A most amusing clue, particularly to those not politically sympathetic towards Dr Cable or his party. Dr Watson was instantly reminded of the fate of John Bynge and, more especially, to Voltaire’s famous reference to it in Candide. Much more grisly forms of naval dispatch than Byng was privileged to face might have occurred to other solvers.
31. Participant in debate making some sound in seat. REASONER (sone in rear) Azed has been careful here to indicate the precise meaning of ‘sone’ as a measure of sound by use of the phrase ‘some sound’. The device improves the clue’s surface, and allows a humorous reading.
32. Mark a chanoyu that’s mishandled? It could offer any -- with mocha. RAKU (composite anagram &lit?) ‘Mark a chanoyu’ is found to be an anagram of ‘any raku’ plus ‘mocha’. The surface is then understood as meaning that a mishandled chanoyu (tea ceremony) could be one where coffee, say, had been offered regardless of the type of raku used. Does this amount to a definition that a person not capable of judging a chanoyu might understand? Not quite one’s cuppa.
33. What’s viscous at heart and are E, L, and T troubled about it? TREACLE (‘c’ in anag. &lit) A similar doubt attends this clue or, rather, its heart. Its context, bizarrely, is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and a story told by the Dormouse about three sisters named Elsie, Lacie and Tillie who live in a well and eat treacle, all of which takes place in the realm of the Queen of Hearts (something of a hint). There’s little more to be said about this story except that, in the clue’s second clause, it provides most of the material for the (very clear) indication and the link with the solution. In the context of the whole clue, the second clause has no logical bearing on the definition which is thus reduced to ‘what’s viscous at heart’ or ‘essentially viscous’ as it might have been put. Treacle is the paradigm.
34. Performer in opera, mostly succinct one received by Germans worriedly? MASTERSINGER (ters(e) + I, all in anag.) Dr Watson had a suspicion at an early stage that the solution would be found to be the word indicated, but resisted that outcome, knowing that the solution could mean only a meistersinger defined as ‘any of the burgher poets and musicians of Germany in the 14c - 16c etc’, which was long before the invention of opera. With regard to Wagner’s opera: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, a distinction cannot be avoided between the performers (opera singers) and their singing roles. It therefore becomes necessary to consider the definition given as referring to one of the contestant characters in that opera. The clue’s surface suggests that Beckmesser is the guilty party.
4. Tile shows representation of this finch? LINTIE (i.e. ‘l in tie’) It has been a little while now since Azed last gave us one of these delightful clues, in which an understanding of the parsing is found by studying the solution rather than the clue. They are usually among the last to be understood. New solvers are advised to be aware of this possibility.
5. ‘Exquisite’, as Sachin T. may be labelled in Paris? PETIT MAÎTRE (Literally ‘Little’ + ‘Master’) A reference to the great Test batsman Sachin Tendulkar and to his popular soubriquet: ‘Little Master’. The link between ‘exquisite’ and our solution lies in the former carrying a definition as a noun meaning ‘a dandy’, and the French term being a euphemism for ‘fop’.
6. Give sharpness to a tea brewed with spice in. ACUMINATE (cumin in anag, s.v. acumen) Faced with the need to find a five-letter word for a spice, Watson plumped immediately for ‘cumin’, his only piece of luck in weeks.
10. Old boy, king movin’ slowly, supported by arm? KINCHIN-COVE (K + inchin’ + cove1; c.f. cove2) The definition ‘an inlet’ may be found at the entry for arm1, hence our ‘cove’.
11. Indicate advocates of good behaviour on the rise? Those reaching upwards may reveal it. ARMPIT (tip + MRA, all rev.) MRA is the curious abbreviation for Moral Rearmament.
14. They ensure steady traffic flow? Otherwise for a r-realist! ARTERIALS (anag.) Dr Watson had not noticed the special instruction regarding Webster’s definition of ‘arterial’ as a noun until long after solving the clue. He did, however, consult Chambers and Oxford dictionaries without success, but then noticed the very apt wording of the indication and looked no further.
22. Artist I have found with a bit of research in art institution. RIVERA (I’ve + ‘r’, all in RA) A reference to Diego Rivera.
23. Is engraving (old-style) a reworking of R. Stein? INTERS (anag; s.v. engrave2) Watson’s best guess for the surface reading here is that Azed is suggesting work on a special edition of one of Rick Stein’s many books on cookery.
28. Measure (long lost), one ... FURAN (fur(long) + an) and ......
30. ... Element in the tanning process, last in SA country promoted. PUER (Peru, ‘u’ moved to 2nd place; s.v. pure (as noun)) A linked pair of clues sharing the same definition: ‘Element in the tanning process’.
Across: 12. AYIN (ay + in; s.v. aye2) 13. INSTRUCT (TR in anag.) 16. TURACIN (a/c in Turin) 17. PINA (pina(for,e)) 18. UNTO ((j)unto; s.v. junta) 20. HELMINTH (elm in hint + h) 27. SNIFTER (The competition word)
Down: 1. GRAB (Gr + AB; s.v. grab2) 2. RAY GUN (anag. in ran; s.v. run (v.t.)) 3. PANGA (pang2 + a) 7. NOCENT (i.e. ‘know scent’) 8. TETRA (hidden; tetra1) 19. ODENSE (dens in O.E.) 25. KECKLE (‘k’ + anag; s.v. keckle1) 26. SERUM (hidden)