7. Bother includes this for new parent – it’s bottomless ABYSM ((b)aby’s m(other)) The oblique definition in the wordplay makes for an entertaining clue.
12. Paddy’s receiving benefit, splashing out beer (not English)? Oh no! ON THE BUROO (anag. less E) The anagram material is easy to miss, particularly ‘out’. ‘Not English’ is a very nice touch for a Scots/Irish idiom.
18. Like a damp squib? Hate it going off cold after 6th of November BATHETIC (b + anag. + c) This might bring back memories of last month’s tough competition puzzle with its Guy Fawkes theme. Hopefully solvers have parsed the clue carefully and not entered a P in the unchecked first cell.
20. Fine US novelist in a lather FROTH (f + Roth) Philip Roth is a pretty reliable bet for a short ‘US novelist’. Vidal and Updike have fewer crossword applications.
21. Server making erstwhile tennis star tense ASHET (Ashe + t) A reference to the late Arthur Ashe, who reached World No. 1 in the 1960s. Dr Watson, whose tennis knowledge starts a little later, spent a while trying to make ‘graft’ fit the definition.
32. Name of distinguished scientists I introduced to their priest? CURIE (I in cure) Easy enough to identify the very distinguished Curie family, though the plural in the definition is cleverly misleading.
9. Some Peruvian money restricting source of action, a sweetener SORBITOL (orbit in sol) Crossword solvers of a certain vintage will instinctively think of ‘inti’ when faced with Peruvian currency, but they need to come up to date. Dr Watson was puzzled by ‘source of action’ for ‘orbit’; ‘course of action’ seems the more likely intent.
16. Drunk? Drunk having imbibed barrel – not good, right? STONKERED (ke(g) r in stoned) Rather involved wordplay featuring a subtraction, two abbreviations and an insertion.
22. Worker losing openings for work after that political scandal ERGATE (Watergate less initial letters) Full marks to Azed for finding a way to connect the ant and the political machinations of Richard Nixon.
23. Worsted ribbon, most ungentlemanly? CADDIS (caddis(h)) ‘Worsted’ is surely a deliberate choice here to set the solver on the false trail of an anagram.
24. Vacate clubhouse couch QUITCH (quit CH) The definition is couch2, the invasive grass that is the bane of gardeners and growers everywhere it appears.
26. Tax, common custom added at foot of bill ACCUSE (a/c C use) Dr Watson has found no evidence for C as an abbreviation of ‘common’ alone, though it is musical notation for ‘common time’.
28. Celtic strip, exciting for the fans without ambient chant? TIRR (stirring less sing) Solvers who know something of Scottish football and who stumbled on ‘girr’ (a Scots word meaning ‘hoop’) while searching for this solution might have been misled, as Celtic FC’s green and white striped kit gives them the nickname The Hoops.
Across: 1. ABSINTH (anag. in a B H); 13. UHLAN (anag. less gig); 14. ALDERS (anag. + ers); 15. BOONIES (nie in boos); 19. TACAN (hidden); 25. CANOE (0 in cane); 27. NEAR-GAUN (anag. in nun); 29. DISCERP (r in disc EP); 31. INLAID (A in in lid); 33. VENTRICOSE; 34. ESKER (hidden); 35. SHREDDY (redd1 in shy).
Down: 2. BOHO (halves swapped in hobo); 3. SOLONCHAK (anag.); 4. INANGA (I + g in nana); 5. THREAP (th(e) reap); 6. HEASTE (e in haste); 7. ABLY (l in aby); 8. BUDGER (anag.); 10. MOSS-CHEEPER (anag. + per); 11. SUBSTANTIVE (subs + tantiv(y) + e); 17. CASERNES (ca. + RN in sees); 30. RIND (n in rid).