11. Strong home-brew, not bad in a saki mixed before noon. SKOKIAAN (OK in anag. + n) The first cryptic clue in this puzzle involves strong drink, as does the last. ‘Saki’ is a convenient alternative spelling for sake2.
16. Scottish isle ay denied short stops. COLONS (Colons(ay)) No mooring here. Sail on! The ‘For Sale & Wanted’ link on Colonsay’s own website showed at the time of writing that the more intrepid sailor might find shelter there. Visitors actually very welcome.
18. Whist excursion, for crying out loud. SHOUTING (‘sh!’ + outing; s.v whist2) A good knowledge of whist and its variants proves useful here. Happy evenings at the whist drive will have been evoked for many solvers.
19. Divine sun outside in Cannes, but with half of us inside. HORUS (u(s) in hors) Azed often disguises use of a French word by reference to a French location.
22. Take that (last one to head)! It could render you senseless. ETHER (‘There!’ with final ‘e’ moved to front) Azed has indicated the exclamatory ‘there!’ in more direct fashion than that used at 18 Across.
28. Lecturer on ancient Greek capital - such should not be hurried. LARGOS (L + Argos) The conjunction of ’ell and Argos may seem peculiarly apt to many solvers. The real Argos may provide some diversion from that unpleasant thought.
30. Take a turn off for commuters’ short cut? RAT RUN (r + anag.) Azed has been careful to indicate RAT RUN as a noun, the only usage yet authorised in Chambers. Dr Watson suspects that it may be in common use in a verbal sense as Wikipedia’s article inadvertently suggests.
31. White crystalline mineral: see iron mixed with it (early English cladding) ERIONITE (anag. in EE) The anagram is formed from the letters of ‘iron’ and ‘it’. Solvers may judge how apt the surface reading may be at the link given.
33. Jeweller’s mineral, quartz-like, I tackle as of old in washing trough. TIGER EYE (I + gere, all in tye1) Edmund Spenser’s ‘gere’, meaning gear, is disguised in the surface as ‘tackle’, used as a verb.
2. Reggae dance: special skill’s being given upward jerk, not constant. SKANK (s + kna(c)k (rev.)) Chambers’ entries for Ska and Skank appear curiously to have been listed, each in ignorance of the other. Azed has achieved a tellingly apt surface reading in this clue.
6. Opponent of dualism in chair easily creating consonance? HARMONISTIC (monist in anag.) Dr Watson thought instantly of ‘monist’ as the filling in the anagram. Quickly solved.
7. Riparian? Steersman goes into one, both losing heads. NILOTE ((p)ilot in (o)ne; s.v. nilot) The riparian here is a resident of the banks of the Nile.
12. Self-confidence shown by e.g. American leaping over bar. ASSURANCE (as + US(rev.) + rance) Whenever ‘bar’ is used to indicate a possible word ending, ‘-rance’ is always favourite.
17. Mouldy game I found in store. FUNGOID (go2 + I, all in fund) The clue for LAMITER in the last competition puzzle featured game2 as an anagram indicator, and so it was interesting to see if this clue could be made to form a word meaning ‘store’ (I in anag. of ‘mouldy’).
23. Left in place sacred to Muslims, wherein blacks predominate. HARLEM (l in harem) The less common definition for ‘harem’ - ‘any Muslim sacred place’ - is the feature of note in this clue.
25. Male for head left off helmet? He’s belted! ORION ((m)orion; s.v morion1) Dr Watson suspected a revisiting of the ‘belted earl’ in some guise, but was delighted to find a loftier prize, the hunter himself.
26. Stand? Eton turns to pop superstar with this. EASEL (i.e. ‘Eton’ with ‘E’ as ‘El’) This type of clue can perplex many solvers, especially those new to Azed’s puzzles. The parsing of the indication is found essentially by reading the solution as a phrase, rather than in interpreting wording within the clue. Even so, in this example, the mere mention of Eton and ‘pop superstar’ should evoke the name of Elton John, and provide a hint that a transformation of one word into another is involved.
29. Make down payment on what goes into strong ale (not by round) ARLE ((b)arle(y); s.v. arles) The most troublesome part of solving this clue was finding the entry in Chambers. Dr Watson was still merry from his skokiaan/sake snifter.
Across: 1. A STITCH IN TIME (The competition phrase) 13. PAND (i.e. “panned”) 14. TROLLIUS (roll in suit (rev.)) 15. INK-SAC (in + cask (rev.)) 24. CONTRITE (tri(p) in conte) 32. BLOC (hidden) 34. DENDROCALAMUS (d + anag; s.v. dendro-)
Down: 3. TONKER (re + knot (rev.); s.v. clew) 4. TIKAS (anag.) 5. CATCHY (c in Cathy) 8. TILLITE (lit in tile) 9. INION (0 in in, in) 10. MAUN (u in man) 11. SPINHALER (h in anag.) 20. STONER (one in str(and)) 21. STREGA (hidden) 27. KUO-YÜ (you in UK (all rev.))