10. 100 books catalogue expert in mystical texts C(A)BB(A)LIST (C bb list) With several alternative spellings for ‘cabbala’ the solution isn’t easily seen.
12. WWII battlesite – I’ve mate here IMP(H)AL (I’m pal) This appears to be the proper name that ‘may be unfamiliar’ from the footnote, referring to the 1944 Battle of Imphal in northern India. The wordplay alludes to the required letters, but doesn’t indicate them directly enough to give the solver certainty in a difficult solution.
21. Board of Education holds nothing back where author’s name appears B(Y)-LINE (nil, rev., in BE) An old-fashioned abbreviation needs to be discovered. The writer’s name appears in the by-line of a newspaper article.
22. Regular feature of R. Stein restaurant, one seen in sink he redesigned (F)ISH KNI(F)E (I in anag.) Rick Stein is known for his TV appearances and franchise of Cornwall fish restaurants. Dr Watson recommends his battered haddock and chips in Padstow.
24. End of exercise – fat all round – wide at the bottom (F)LARED (e in lard) Very nicely constructed. One of Dr Watson’s favourite clues from the puzzle.
30. Sticky pebble GOO(L)EY (2 meanings) Letters latent gives the occasional opportunity for this sort of double definition covering two different words.
40. Unmasked, one leaves country, cutting wound BL(I)NDLESS (l(a)nd in bless3) A couple of tricky definitions here. ‘Bless’ meaning to wound is unrelated to the religious sense of the word. ‘Blindless’ is one of Chambers’s annoyingly undefined words, leaving the setter free to remove a blind in any sense, though lacking a window blind seems the most likely usage.
45. He composed final act for widow SATI(E) (2 meanings) The full solution refers to composer Erik Satie, and the modified one to the former Hindu practice of a widow’s suicide on her husband’s funeral pyre.
2. Applauds porridge, packed with energy? O(V)ATES (E in oats) ‘Ovate’ in the sense defined here has nothing to do with eggs, but is a facetious back-formation from ‘ovation’.
7. Livid Scots are furious BLA(Z)E (2 meanings) Another good example of LL double definition.
10. Part of capstan – I expect it was covered in seaweed TAN(G)IE (hidden) Knowing that G is latent, and with the fourth letter unchecked, it’s tempting to assume that ‘seaweed’ must point to tangle2, and not worry too much about the wordplay. But ‘tangie’ is also in Chambers as a water spirit in the form of a man covered in the stuff.
23. Wolf that woman’s seen devouring ducks HOO(V)ER (0, 0 in her) Clever use of ‘that woman’s’ to indicate ‘her’, and a metaphorical sense of both ‘wolf’ and ‘hoover’.
26. Racing cyclist once raving mad having to follow barrow? BOARDMA(N) (boar + anag.) Azed gets an excellent surface reading in this clue to another of the proper names, that of Chris Boardman, now a familiar figure on TV thanks to the success British cycling. Barrow3 is a dialect word for a boar.
29. Tuck: odd slice of beef to have for lunch? (D)RUMBEAT (rum + b + eat) The surface reference is to the gluttonous Friar Tuck of the Robin Hood tales, but the definition is tuck2, meaning a tap or beat.
34. Damn employer promoting his last (C)URSE (r moved up in user) The ‘promoting’ of a letter in this way is allowed only in down clues.
35. Sparkler in use when it’s lit SE(Q)UIN (anag.) An suitable occasion to pull out ‘lit’ in the sense of drunk.
39. Final yard of race disposed of, put your feet up RELA(X) (rela(y)) A more appropriate clue to close the puzzle would be difficult to find. A professional touch from the setter.
Across: 1. (A)UTOS(A)VE (V in anag.); 11. (H)IG(H-H)AT (hidden); 14. (H)URRA(H) (RR in (q)ua(d); Roller = Rolls Royce car); 15. (J)ESTER (anag.); 17. (J)AMPAN (p(ole) in a man); 18. STEM F(O)RMS (MF in S terms); 20. GA(Y)AL (a in gal); 27. O(U)TGROSSED (anag.); 31. SC(L)EROUS (anag.); 35. S(T)A(T)ERS (anag. in SS); 36. ME-(T)OO (e in moo); 41. (M)UD PIE (anag. + i.e.); 42. HA(M)LET ((C)halet); 43. IMP(E)L (l to end in limp); 44. LAM(E)NT (mal, rev., + n’t); 46. NAU(S)EATE (ea in anag. less I); 47. (S)TEEPEN (tee + pen).
Down: 1. (Q)UIESCING (anag.); 3. STEM(B)OK (stem OK); 4. EMBRAI(D) (’em + B + anag); 6. B(R)ANSLES (bans + les (Fr.)); 8. (P)LUMULAE (lum + a in ule); 9. S(C)RANNEL (ran in Lens, rev.; lentil genus); 10. POMA(K) (mop, rev., + a); 16. STU(N)S (st US); 19. (W)EIRDO (Ir. in ode, rev.); 25. DIS(G)USTIN(G) (is in dustin’); 28. TERRI(B)LE (err in tile); 32. CO(R)N (R)ENT (on in cent); 33. (P)ROLA(P)SE (anag.); 37. (K)ELIM (mile, rev.); 38. DE(W)LAP (paled, rev.).