11. German area has a following, one of the rubberneck variety? GAUPER (gau + per; s.v. gawp) The ‘a’ means ‘per’ here, as in ‘two a penny’. How very appropriate.
12. Not at all religious by the sound of it. NONE (i.e. “nun”) ‘None’ is defined as an adverb: ‘not at all’. In the indication, ‘religious’ is used as a noun in the sense of ‘a person bound by monastic vows’, as Chambers puts it.
15. Wooden spear made fun of, one character moving out of position. JEREED (jeered, one ‘e’ moved) An amusing clue, except for the one out of line, perhaps. ’E’ll know who ’e is, no doubt.
16. Beer can pub kept within limit. TINNIE (inn in tie1) ‘Tie’ is used as a noun in the sense of ‘a restraint’.
19. Waterway so lacking in moderation. REAN (rea(so)n; s.v. rhine) The surface reading here suggests a context having more to do with urination than with rural drainage.
20. Irrigation supervisor – Jan being unusual there’s nothing around. ZANJERO (anag. in zero) Our zanjero is employed in South America where January has been an unusually wet summer month.
25. Marque propeller shorn of outer parts. OPEL (hidden) A reference to the marque of the German car manufacturer.
34. Getting drunk artist imbibes, missing company. LONELY (on in Lely) An odd reference to the portrait painter Sir Peter Lely, who was actually very popular with the ladies as his wiki attests.
35. Northerner maybe hitched round east? Lots quitting south. YANKEE-DOODLE (E in yanked + oodle(s)) Of the many meanings listed of ‘to quit’ as a transitive verb, perhaps ‘to free’ best fits the required indication here, that of ‘oodles’ expelling ‘s’.
2. SA truck returns possibly, by the sound of it. BAKKIE (i.e. “baccy”; s.v return) The many meanings of ‘return’ listed as a noun include ‘(in pl) a light-coloured mild tobacco (orig refuse)’.
5. Crime zone involved in attack afflicting brain and bones. TRAPEZIA (rape + z, all in TIA) TIA, or ‘transient ischaemic attack’ is rendered in this clue as ‘attack afflicting brain’. Our solution, the plural of ‘trapezium’ is defined as ‘bones’, being the ‘bone(s) of the wrist articulating with the thumb metacarpal’ in Chambers’ definition .
6. Pilgrimage: if alien ––– initially it would turn to plane. HADJ (i.e. if ET had ‘j’ initially it would turn to ‘jet’) This is a conditional variant of the type of clue where scansion of the solution is required in order to understand how the clue works. They are more commonly of the form A conjunction B (say SORRY), or A preposition B (EFFORT might do for that), and both types can be more difficult to spot than the present example. Here the solver is drawn towards the blank and forced to co nsider what word might form the condition that would make sense of the clue’s surface.
7. Like Oenone’s ‘mother’, one Danae ruined? IDAEAN (i + anag.) Azed last visited Mount Ida in competition puzzle 2096, when the context for this solution was The Judgment of Paris. This time he refers to the mountain nymph (specifically the Idaean Oread) Oenone whose ‘mother’ is understood as being Mount Ida itself.
10. Old Arden’s transformed with effort – it must make forest visit seem like heaven! DENDROLATRY (anag. + try) There’s not much left of the Forest of Arden in Warwickshire, which may explain the ironic surface.
11. Chatter, tense over dissection of my torso in abdominal surgery. GASTROSTOMY (gas + t + anag.) The speaker has Watson’s heartfelt sympathy.
18. Some wine bottles captivated, being brought out again. REPRISED (épris in red) Chambers does not authorise the use of ‘captivate’ as an intransitive verb. One would like to know exactly who is being captivated here.
23. Am cut from side - that hurts, penetrating - you got me there! TOUCHÉ (ouch! in te(am)) Azed has achieved a surface with not a trace of sincerity in this brilliantly witty clue. Yah-boo sucks!
27. Now his kitchen is stocked with this … it has many uses there. WHISK (hidden) Dr Watson uses a fork for whisking, and cannot vouch for the definition offered here, but doubts whether it is true. By comparison, it is certain that forks have many uses, some best left to the imagination.
Across: 1. ABSINTHIATED (anag.) 13. GRADATES (ad. in grates) 14. SKITE (i.e. skit ‘e’) 21. OSMOTIC (anag. + cito (rev.)) 28. KERRIA (ker(b) + air (rev.)) 29. TOPHUS (H in anag.) 31. NEIST (i in nest) 32. THICKETY (The competition word) 33. MISS (miss(ive))
Down: 3. SURINAME (I in surname) 4. NEREID (i.e. (rev.) in nerd) 8. ANTRA ((m)antra(p); s.v. antrum) 9. ENSEAR (ens + ear) 17. BACKVELD (back + “felt”) 22. SCOTIA (anag. + ait1 (rev.)) 24. GENTOO (gent + 0,0) 26. EISELL (anag.) 30. SKYE (S + kye)