Dropouts by Aedites

An unusual but entertaining puzzle from Aedites this week, with some nice clueing but a slightly strange grid construction. The location of some of the omitted letters does seem rather odd and arbitrary, being treated as if they lie on either side of the bar-lines as appropriate to the demands of the grid. For example, it is hard to reconcile the D in SEEDER with the Z in DITZY. This caused Gregson some confusion to start with, but once this was grasped the puzzle fell out fairly quickly.

After transferring the omitted letters, the smaller 4x4 grid has across entries RALE, CWM, NTH, DZOS; down entries RIND, ACT, EMUS, WHO. As the preamble is silent on the length of bar-lines and type of symmetry required, there would appear to be alternative solutions ALE, CWM, NTH, DZO, RIND, ACT, EMUS, WHO or ALE, CWM, NTH, DZO, RIN, ACT, MUS, WHO - although Gregson would not hold out hope to solvers trying to get these past John Green!

In the following explanations the letters to be omitted from answers before entry in the grid are shown in [square brackets].

ACROSS
1 Cure hot melt for improved detail (6)
[R]ETOUCH (anag of CURE HOT)
6 Constrained choice between note and three others (5)
FORC[E]D (OR (choice) inside F (note) + CED (three others))
10 Is vanity all lost heroically? (6)
V[A]LI[A]NT[L]Y (anag of VANITY ALL)
11 Aviator frequently assumes false information (3)
F[L]I[E]R (FR (frequently) round LIE (false information))
12 Confusion of ranee with sensual snob is immoderation (12)
UN[R]E[A]SONAB[L]EN[E]SS (anag of RANEE SENSUAL SNOB)
13 What shapes landscapes - reserve force from rebellious group? (7)
[I]CE-A[C]TION (ICE (reserve) + FACTION (rebellious group) minus F (force))
15 Star casts eye over slave (6)
ETOILE (EE (eye) round TOIL (slave))
17 Place Dominican in motor yacht without spirit (3)
[M]OPY (MY (motor yacht) round OP (Dominican))
19 Intoxicating juice makes imaginary perfect drug (4)
SOMA (double def)
20 Form seed from small hard growth (3)
[C]ORN (double def)
22 In what circumstances is prostitute giving away heart in return for drug? (4)
[W]HERE (WHORE (prostitute) with middle letter replaced by E (drug))
23 Return settlement craft out of consideration (4)
APAR[T] (PA (settlement) rev + ART (craft))
25 Critically examine seed-coat (3)
[T]EST (double def)
26 Old brainbox is victim of fraud (4)
SC[U]LL (S (is) + CULL (victim of fraud))
27 Feast for the French (3)
ALE (A (for, à)+ LE (the))
28 Shield Native American between poles (6)
SCREEN (SN (poles) round CREE (Native American))
31 Boy in livery with practice displays swagger (7)
[T]IGERISM (TIGER (boy in livery) + ISM (practice))
33 Inopportune "tongue" as sad diva is distraught (12)
[D]ISA[D]VANTAGEOU[S] (anag of TONGUE AS SAD DIVA)
35 Amiably eccentric American confused time for unknown (3)
[D]IT[Z]Y (DIZZY (confused) with T (time) replacing Z (unknown))
36 Buffalo zoo bungled with loss of British genus of fossilised whales! (6)
[Z]EUGL[O]D[O]N (anag of ZOO BUNGLED minus B (British))
37 Recognise the German fish about to spawn (5)
SEE[D]ER (SEE (recognise) + DER (the in German))
38 Gang contains little formal courtesy (6)
P[O]LITE[SS]E (POSSE (gang) round LITE (little))


DOWN
1 Need about 24 sheets of paper (5)
[R]EQU[I]RE (RE (about) + QUIRE (24 sheets of paper))
2 Intermediate pass across Scottish island to Loch (8)
T[R]ANS[I]T[I]O[N]AL (TRANSIT (pass) + IONA (Scottish island) + L (Loch))
3 Repaid too much as capstone removed in error (12)
OVE[R]COMPE[N]SATE[D] (anag of CAPSTONE REMOVED)
4 Spies tack on old greeting (3)
CI[A]O (CIA (spies) + O (old))
5 Courtesans place small particle in booths (7)
STA[LL]IONS (STALLS (booths) round ION (small particle))
6 Surreptitious knock for egg found in meat (4)
F[L]YB[L]O[W] (FLY (surreptitious) + BLOW (knock))
7 Additional support from control in spite of bonds (12)
R[E]INFORCEMENT[S] (REIN (control) + FOR (in spite of) + CEMENTS (bonds))
8 Scots grease female birds in Switzerland! (4)
CR[EE]SH (CH (Switzerland) round REES (female birds))
9 Remove armour around female uniform, raising alarm (7)
DIS[M]AYF[U]L (DISMAYL (remove amour) round F (female) + U (uniform))
11 Cut up fat loupe encircled by iron (5)
F[L]ENSE (FE (iron) round LENS (loupe))
14 Unit concerned with food about to catch parrot (5)
[C]ALORY (CA (about) + LORY (parrot))
16 Originally school history teachers could have invented cabbage soup (5)
SHTC[H]I (initial letters of words)
18 Audience follows volcano goddess in fortified dwelling (8)
PELE-HOU[S]E (PELE (volcano goddess) + HOUSE (audience))
19 Clumsy artiness characterises minor stars (7)
STAR[N]IES (anag of ARTINESS)
21 Income concerning chosen location (7)
REVENUE (RE (concerning) + VENUE (chosen location))
24 Lash the evergreen climber for Tory High Churchman (5)
[T]AN[T]IVY (TAN (lash) + T (the) + IVY (evergreen climber))
29 Modify sun cure to retract invocation (5)
[U]NCUR[S]E (anag of SUN CURE)
30 Internal division follows International Note (4)
I[N]SI[D]E (I (international) + N (note) + SIDE (division))
32 Scoring a zero keeps distant admirer (4)
GA[Z]ER (hidden)
34 Answer two lines or as many as there are (3)
ALL (A (answer) + LL (two lines))