|1 CONSPIRES - CON = against, SPIRES = high church features|
|6 LAIRS - (awfu)L, AIRS = appearances|
|9 HACKLES - SHACKLE = fastening, with the first letter moved to the end as instructed|
|13 PAPER - PA(u)PER = poor person|
|14 SNAFFLE - SALE = retail promotion, with NAFF = tasteless, replacing A = article. "A bit" is the definition|
|15 CONUNDRUM - COD(e) = secret writing, around NUN = religious woman, RUM = strange|
|16 SOLAR PANELS - SO = thus, LAR(k) = fun, PANELS = groups of experts|
|17 THEORETICAL - T(eaching), HERETICAL = unorthodox around O = nothing|
|18 ATOPIC - ATOP = at the highest level, IC = in charge|
|19 SPINSTER - RETS = gets soaked, NIPS = hurries, all reversed|
|21 RAISIN - R.A. = artist, IS IN = hasn't gone out|
|25 PUBLICAN - (re)PUBLICAN = American politician|
|26 LEADING ARTICLE - the leading AN of Andrew and THE of Thelma are grammatical articles|
|28 ERNST - STERN = severe, with ST = saint = good person, moved to the end|
|29 FRENCH - FR(i)EN(d) = pal, CH = check|
|30 MONSTRANCE - MONS = battle site, TRANCE = dazed state|
|33 TOPGALLANT - TOP = POT = vessel, reversed, GALLANT = splendid|
|35 EXCEPT - EXCE(l) = do very well, P = quiet, T = time|
|36 AXIOM - A, X = sign of love, I.O.M. = (Isle of) Man|
|38 CARDINAL NUMBER - CARDINAL = prelate, NUMBER = less responsive|
|40 SOUTHERN - SON = boy, around (l)UTHER = reformer|
|42 BELT UP - double definition|
|43 SIT TIGHT - S(illy), IT = Italian, TIGHT = drunk|
|44 ERRAND - E.R. = queen, RAN = managed = D = duke|
|47 THATCHERITE - THATCH = something hairy, ERE = before, around IT|
|50 ELABORATELY - (EAT OR A BELLY)*|
|52 TERMAGANT - TERM = call, ANT = worker, around A and G = good|
|53 INTENSE - IN = N.I. = part of UK, reversed, TENSE = future, possibly|
|54 I-BEAM - I = the writer, BEAM = look happy|
|55 DEPOSIT - (TOP SIDE)*|
|56 RIGEL - hidden reversed in notabLE GIRl|
|57 LAYPERSON - PLAYERS*, ON = cricket side|
|1 CAPES - double definition|
|2 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE - (A PLAN TO OPEN ONE BAR)*|
|3 PORTRAITIST - (SPIRIT TO ART)*|
|4 RESEAL - REAL = authentic, around ES = art = are, in French|
|5 SHAKE-UPS - SUPS = drinks, around HAKE = fish|
|6 LIFE SENTENCE - LIE = story, around F = female, SENTENCE = a few words|
|7 INEPTITUDE - (I NEED IT PUT)*|
|8 SOCLE - CLOSE*. I needed to look this one up to confirm|
|9 HONORARIA - (OH NO)*, (singe)R, ARIA = song|
|10 CONSTRICTOR - CON = prisoner, STRICT = not loose, O.R. = soldiers|
|11 LYRIC - CYRIL*|
|12 SIMPLE - double definition|
|18 APPRENTICE - APPR(oval) = assent, ENTICE = attract|
|20 RANSOMED - RANSOME = Arthur, the writer, D = died|
|22 INCONSIDERATENESS - (INTERCESSIONS DEAN)*|
|23 LAWFUL - L = learner, AWFUL = terrible|
|24 DETERMINED - DETER = put off, MINED = bored|
|27 PENNINES - PENS = writers, around NINE = a number|
|31 SITCOM - SIT = rest, CO = company, M(ajor)|
|32 EXPERIMENTAL - EXPER(t) = boffin, I = one, MENTAL = insane|
|34 ARISTOCRATS - ARIS(e) = come to light, TOCRATS = STAR COT = brilliant little resting place, reversed|
|36 ALTERNATIVE - a colonial control freak may try to ALTER NATIVE behaviour|
|37 SMATTERING - (lesson)S, MATTERING = being significant|
|39 APPLE TART - A PART = a role, around PL = place, and E.T. = out of this world|
|41 SHRAPNEL - double definition, the second referring to SHRAPNEL being loose change and bobs as pre-decimal UK coins (shillings)|
|45 STATED - hidden in geophagiST ATE Dirt|
|46 LOVELY - LO = see, V = very, ELY = small city|
|48 ATRIP - A TRIP = a journey|
|49 INTER - IN, TER(m) = period|
|51 YEMEN - YEN = longing, around ME = your crossword setter|
Lots of lovely clues here. Well done, setter. My favourite was the unusual wordplay in 28ac. I also liked the disguise in 3dn, which was my LOI although it’s not that hard in hindsight. For me it was a “slow but steady” solve, although I wouldn’t be surprised by some lightning times.
Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].
1 Lots of nameless numpties (6)
OODLES – [n]OODLES. I suspect both ‘numpties’ and ‘noodles’ are British usages?
4 Very strong wine imported by African country (7)
DRASTIC – ASTI ‘imported’ by DRC – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire.
9 Infuriate supporter, changing sides (5)
ANGER – ANGEL changing from left to right.
10 Article with hint concerning hors d'oeuvre (9)
ANTIPASTO – AN, TIP, AS TO.
11 Inexperienced boy going round North Island (9)
GREENLAND – GREEN, LAD ‘round’ N. I thought the answer would be ‘inexperienced’; must remind myself (yet again) to examine both ends of the clue for possible definitions!
12 Eager, articulate commie chap shunned by many (5)
READY – unusual wordplay, or at least hard to see: READ sounds like ‘red’; Y is [man]Y ‘shunning’ the MAN/CHAP.
13 Hard drinker knocked back moonshine (4)
TOSH – H[ard] SOT ‘knocked back’.
14 Verses stir volatile attendant (10)
SERVITRESS – anagram (volatile) of (VERSES STIR*). I often find the -TRESS answers somewhat archaic. In this case I feel even SERVITOR would be archaic?
18 Paying one to follow academic panel (10)
PROFITABLE – PROF, I, TABLE.
20 Half-cut scally initially makes racket (4)
SCAM – SCA[lly] ‘half-cut’, then M[akes] ‘initially’.
23 Article on father and pioneer of French film (5)
PATHE – PA, THE. Pathé Freres.
24 Mate on the ground, the worse for wear (4-5)
MOTH-EATEN – anagram (ground) of (MATE ON THE*). To quibble, moth-eating occurs in the cupboard, surely, not while wearing?
25 Vacuous Alfred and Oscar share deep love (9)
ADORATION – A[lfre]D ‘vacuous’, O for Oscar in the phonetic alphabet, RATION.
26 Short-stay children's homes must recruit regularly (5)
UTERI – even letters of mUsT rEcRuIt. I can imagine some mothers taking exception to this perhaps flippant definition!
27 Study point and bulk of tooth (7)
DENTINE – DEN, TINE.
28 Having tail extended worries pet (6)
CARESS – extend the tail of CARES by adding another S.
1 Flyer operating flaps (6-3)
ORANGE-TIP – anagram (flaps) (OPERATING*). It’s a butterfly.
2 Stray cat heading off after daughter (7)
DIGRESS – D[aughter], then ‘heading off’ [t]IGRESS.
3 Unruly and merry, wants to shed clothing (6)
ERRANT – [m]ERR[y], [w]ANT[s], both ‘shedding clothing’.
4 Took out old hat (5)
DATED – double definition.
5 Pirates punished with variable harshness (8)
ASPERITY – anagram (punished) of (PIRATES*), then Y is the (algebraic) variable.
6 Pilot put away food with a will (7)
TESTATE – TEST (pilot), ATE (put away food). ‘Testate’ as opposed to ‘intestate’.
7 Ally of NATO for example ignoring borders (5)
CRONY – NATO is an [a]CRONY[m]. Ignore the borders.
8 Dance hall losing money twice over Prohibition period (8)
HABANERA – HA[ll] losing both L’s for pounds, BAN, ERA. A style of Cuban dance. Lucky I didn’t have to guess – I might have thought it was a cigar!
15 Cleaning car, see beer can on top of gearbox (8)
VALETING – V (see), ALE, TIN, G[earbox].
16 Meaning of extremely strange male capers (9)
SEMANTICS – S[trang]E, M[ale], ANTICS.
17 The learned elite rationalise to an extent (8)
LITERATI – hidden answer.
19 Tired old couple filling vase (7)
OUTWORN – O[ld], then TWO ‘filling’ URN.
21 Reflective stud as yet uneasy in church (7)
CATSEYE – anagram (uneasy) of (AS YET*) inside CE (church).
22 Jellyfish in sea north of America (6)
MEDUSA – MED (sea), USA.
23 Tartan pants left aesthete in distress at first (5)
PLAID – first letters of each word. (‘At front’).
24 Man turning up teaching bible material (5)
MOIRE – I.O.M. (Isle of Man, ‘turning up’), RE (teaching bible).