14. E.g. Turner in splurge of lac, radiating. ACTINAL (Tina in anag.) Watson’s first thought here was of Lana, rather than Tina for the cryptic filling. The surface reading brilliantly evokes the luminous paintings of J. M. W. Turner.
15. Sign of hesitation in rear? Almost - it’s bound to lose. STUMER (um in ster(n)) Azed’s take on a dud entry, perhaps. Those punters keep making the same mistakes.
18. Autochthones from Utah heading south-east, driven back. UTES (UT, SE (rev.)) The main feature of this simple clue is the use of ‘autochthones’ as its definition where ‘natives’ would serve just as well.
20. Pig has messed about with garden’s splendid plant. SPANISH DAGGER (anag.) Dr Watson is not a friend of those who would import alien species such as Yucca gloriosa and is firmly on the side of the pig.
25. Gift number passed back? BOON (no., ob., all rev.) ‘No, Old boy, take that back’ was Watson’s first reaction. Our ‘ob.’ is, of course, the abbreviation for ‘obiit’ (q.v.).
28. Philosopher, by the sound of it, having to take stock? RUSTLE (“Russell”) A reference to the philosopher: Bertrand Russell, no less.
30. So Greek —— could indefinitely offer more songs, Keats? STAMNOS (comp. anag., & lit., ref. Ode on a Grecian Urn) This clue was the winning entry by D. F. Manley in Azed 1117. It works as an &lit clue when the solution is substituted for the long dash. It is then found that ‘So Greek STAMNOS’ is an anagram of ‘more songs, Keats’. So much for the cryptic indication. As a definition, it may be paraphrased as ‘According to Keats, this could inspire songs in its praise indefinitely’. Now imagine that in place of ‘an ancient Greek short-necked jar’ in Chambers.
33. Notes about senior I returned indicating ‘grumpy behaviour’. CROTCHETINESS (sen, I, all rev. in crotchets) ‘Can’t mean me, surely?’ quite a few regulars may have wondered. Such a tease.
5. Club runs in early stage of competition. HEARTS (r in heats) A reference to Heart of Midlothian F.C.
7. Chamber group rules for old peer sitting in judgement on fellow. TRIOR (trio, r) On a small point, Chambers gives ‘rule (law)’, but not ‘rules’ at its entry for ‘r or r. abbrev:’. Dr Watson recommends that competitors check the abbreviations used in their entries before sealing the envelope.
9. She followed the troops – one in part of journey’s broken rules, as bedded. LEAGUER-LASS (a in leg, as in anag.) The ‘ ’s ’ appears to play no part in the cryptic indication, but is required for the surface reading as meaning ‘has’.
10. Last character you’ll see in divine heaven (no Saint!) EBLIS (e, blis(s) & lit.) Solvers needed to be wary of the unchecked second letter here. Without a full grasp of the cryptic indication a few may have guessed at ELLIS, the surname of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to have been hanged for murder in the UK.
12. Shoot up maybe, rakee shot drunk, and prepare to ride. TAKE HORSE (anag., two definitions) In a recent competition puzzle (2139), Azed gave us a memorable clue for ERGO which nestled its definition: ‘hence’ between two cryptic indications. Here we have the reverse, a single anagram (rakee shot) between two definitions, the first being a disguised reference to taking heroin. The whole reads like the plan for a perfect night out, not in the Wild West, but in some remote part of Turkey.
21. County back, one of two in three-quarters. DORSET (dorse, t) Dr Watson is not a follower of Rugby Union and cannot say whether there are or have been two backs of note named Dorset. The letter ‘t’ is the only letter occurring twice in ‘three-quarters’.
23. ‘Opposed to acid’ – with which you’ll see I can come from ban. BASIC (i.e. with ‘b’ as ‘ic’ ) This clue relies for its indication on a simple substitution. Starting with ‘ban’, by substituting ‘i, c’ for ‘b’, ‘I can’ is obtained.
29. Unattractive hybrid, regularly bungaloid. UGLI (even letters of ‘bungaloid’) The wonderful adjective: ‘bungaloid’ is not listed in Chambers (yet) but may be found in the (2 volume) Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, warmly recommended for those with deep pockets and shelving.
Across: 1. SPIN-THE-BOTTLE (anag. in spittle) 13. LEHR (h in le, r) 16. WONGI (won, GI) 19. PRAUS (r in paus(e)) 23. BORGO (bor, go) 27. ARRAS (a, r, ras) 31. KHAN (ankh with halves switched) 32. STEELIEST (tee3, lies, all in st.)
Down: 1. SALSA (anag.) 2. PRÈT-À-PORTER (p, ta in reporter) 3. NORMAN (norm, an) 4. TRUE (2 meanings) 6. BUCKS (2 meanings) 8. TONNAGS (ton2, anag.) 17. FARRAGO (The Competition Word) 22. GASKIN (asking, last letter to front) 24. GAMUT (hidden) 25. BROTH (broth(ER)) 26. GENTS (t in gens2)