Deal by Dysart

This puzzle represented an elegant treatment of the quote from King Lear:

You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave
Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scold like molten lead

Extra letters in the wordplay of across clues spelled out the second line of the quotation. The answers to 15A, 17A, 4D, 5D, 6D and 11D were each too short for their allotted spaces to that four cells were initially left blank. Cordelia (to whom the speech is addressed) appeared "in bliss" (i.e. in EDEN) at 1A, while Lear was inserted into the grave (CATACOMB) at 40A. When the grid was completed, Lear was to be "take(n) out o' the grave" and placed in the four blank cells, thus forming new words (CAMPLE, ARABLE, REEL, ELUATES, LEARN and AREAR). The word INFLAMMATION was to be found and highlighted in more-or-less circular form underneath Lear's new location so that he was "bound upon a circle of fire". Finally the thematic phrase "Molten lead", indicating an anagram of Lead as the puzzle title, was to be written beneath the grid.

In all, a very well constructed (though not too difficult) puzzle with an enterprising use of the underlying quote, and therefore one of the year's best Listeners to date.

1 Dilapidated tenements obscuring idyllic area (12)
ED[T]EN (Hidden in dilapidatED TENements)
A clue that became considerably easier once the solver realised he wasn't looking for a 12-letter answer.
10 Letter with page missing American agent keeps hidden (6)
FEALE[H]D (ALEPH minus P inside FED)
13 Outcome's serious, King abdicating in turmoil (5)
14 Vehicle containing gold, tons inside (5)
A[U]RTIC (T(ons) inside AURIC)
15 Urge on plan for settlement (6)
CAM[A]P (CA (urge on) + MAP)
17 Backward barrister taking a couple of lessons to become proficient (6)
[R]ABLE (BAR rev. + LE (first two letters of LESSONS))
18 Difficulty of a Shakespearean heroine (6)
20 Hybrid Asian male, one of Arabic origin? (5)
NASIM[A] (Jumble ASIAN + M)
21 English town show to be opened by Queen instead of Duke, large number going (7)
RE[S]IGATE (DESIGNATE minus N, with R (Queen) replacing D(uke) at beginning)
23 Fraudulent character I tie up around pillar (8)
26 Gather when woman's been eaten by a fish (7)
CAVA[U]LLA (AVA inside CULL + A)
28 Being drawn towards the depressed (5, two words)
ON T[L]OW (ON (towards) + T (the) + LOW)
32 Rib ambitious fellow, lead lost at end of race (6)
LIER[I]NE (FLIER minus first letter + IN + E (last letter of RACE))
33 Working in the front room initially about to replace the tiles (6)
RER[N]OOF (ON inside FORE + R (first letter of ROOM) all rev.)
34 Like openings to seize gold coin? (6)
37 With extra craft on River Exe ultimately problems returned (5)
SL[L]IER (R)iver) + E (last letter of EXE) + ILLS all rev.)
38 Musical instrument playing at dance (5)
V[I]OLTA (VIOL + jumble AT)
39 Appreciated reiterated point, being extremely dubious initially (6)
S[S]ENSED (S + S (compass points) + ENS (being) + ED (first letters of EXTREMELY DUBIOUS)
40 Tomb Casca rebuilt - another one! (12)

1 Pest regularly seen around motorway toilet flashing (7)
EMICANT (MI (i.e. M-1) + CAN inside ET (even letters of PEST))
2 Flower girl's beginning to age... (4)
DISA (DI'S + A (first letter of AGE))
3 ... this flower seller, if upset, can be less frolicsome (6)
COSMOS (Composite anagram LESS FROLICSOME minus SELLER IF)
4 Bird's crestless mate soaring (4)
REE (PEER minus first letter, rev.)
5 Washed sealing rings after end of use (7)
ELUTES (E (last letter of USE) + LUTES)
6 Unproductive film director (5)
LEAN (Two meanings, ref. David Lean)
7 An organ invaded by disease, one to which workers are prey (7)
8 Removal of mane had one lion with pate transformed (8)
9 Delightful quarter of Asia Minor town (6)
NICENE (NICE + NE (compass point))
11 Rare bird, not average, is upside down in tree (5)
ARAR (RARA AVIS minus AV(erage) IS, rev.)
12 Awe-inspiring old speaker perhaps from Northern India standing up (4)
DRAD (DARD rev.)
16 First! A proper first! (5)
19 Something to light up a freedom fighter trapped in fort with no ammunition to begin with (9)
PANATELLA (PA (fort) + A + (William) TELL + NA (first letters of NO AMMUNITION))
22 Fool with nothing to lose stands over old king, one beyond recovery (5)
GONER (GOON minus O + ER)
23 Welshman is beginning to train to be a key maker possibly (7)
IVORIST (IVOR (Welsh name) + IS + T (first letter of TRAIN))
24 Sulphur's extracted from only remarkable compound (7)
OLEFINE (SOLE minus S(ulphur) + FINE)
25 Web woven around Shakespearean father, done over for his dearest possession (7)
EWELAMB (MALE rev. inside jumble WEB)
26 Fox found in my bag (6)
27 Trees are left bare in Caen by the beginning of September (5)
ALNUS (A(re) + L(eft) + NU (French naked) + S (first letter of SEPTEMBER))
29 Vibrant tones of artist after leaving university (6)
Not a very precise definition.
30 Some wry faces (4)
31 Wastrel, primarily living off rich eccentric lady (5)
35 Old nag in Perth falters with bit of shoe broken off (4)
AVER (AVERS minus S (first letter of SHOE))
36 An early hunting call taken up for a bit (4)
ATOM (A + MOT rev.)