Hunt by Samuel

Yet another debut Listener puzzle this week - and a cracking one it is too with plenty of thematic content matched to some well-worked clues and good grid design. Gregson often finds that clues with two misprints can be unfairly difficult but the device used here of matching the letters in the two misprints seemed to work by providing that little bit of extra information. So congratulations to Samuel on his debut and Gregson looks forward to the follow-up.

The nine groups of redundant letters in clues can be rearranged to form the constellations URSA MINOR, NORMA, MENSA, PERSEUS, HYDRA, ARIES, CETUS, PICTOR and GRUS.

The matching misprints in clues spell out REFRACTOR, REFLECTOR and THE HUBBLE - all forms of TELESCOPE, which can be found along the major diagonal of the initial grid. Replacing TELESCOPE in the grid by REFRACTOR produces the word LITTLE parallel to the minor diagonal. Replacing REFRACTOR by REFLECTOR produces GREEN and replacing REFLECTOR by THE HUBBLE produces MEN similarly. LITTLE GREEN MEN (to be written below the grid) are the object of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence or SETI, to be highlighted (in green, although sky blue was also accepted) at the bottom of the grid.

Redundant letters to be removed from clues are shown in {braces} and misprints are shown in [square brackets].

ACROSS
1 Han[r]dy heroine is far troubled after amour regularly r[h]eads of Turkish regions (11)
MUTESSARIFS (MU (alternate letters of amour) + TESS (hardy heroine) + anag of IS FAR)
12 Nothing back after merger breaks down without m[e]ighty European? Be[u]g! (7)
GREMLIN (anag of MERGER minus R (eighty) and E (European) + NIL (nothing) rev)
13 F[N]ever coming to an end is ecstasy, nurse entering summer in t[F]rance (6)
ETERNE (ETE (summer in French) round E (ecstasy) + RN (nurse))
14 {Names} polar explorer in the presence of clergyman (4)
BYRD (BY (in the presence of) + RD (clergyman))
15 North of the bol[r]der swimmers, she's coming back grasping a r[p]ound hundred bucks (7)
SEALCHS (SHES rev round A + L (pound) + C (hundred bucks))
16 Ca[o]in once almost died in battle following returning son losing her[a]d (5)
NOBLE (SON minus first letter rev + BLED (died in battle) minus last letter)
17 C[H]ost all beginning to rocket, Ted[c]'s brother neglecting farm (4)
ARMY (A (all) + R (first letter of rocket) + MYCROFT (Sherlock's brother) minus CROFT (farm)) Detailed knowledge of Sherlock Holmes is essential for
the Listener!
18 {Peruses} the worst parts housing letter's tenants (7)
LESSEES (LEES (worst parts) round ESS (letter))
20 Midshipmen spilling {rum - no rais}e, passes elsewhere for testimonial (6)
REFERS (REEFERS (midshipmen) minus E)
25 T[P]in Lizzie, perhaps, bringing up the rear of stal[t]e race (6)
COTTER (CO (state) + TT (race) + ER (Lizzie, ie Queen Elizabeth))
26 Aha! And these {hardy} officials might appear when Hargreaves is fouled (7)
VERGERS (comp anag AHA + VERGERS = HARGREAVES)
27 The highest mo[a]le gloats about dri[o]pping borders of grass (4)
ALTO (anag of GLOATS minus GS (first and last letters of grass))
28 R[D]educe disputed fines[r] (5)
INFER (anag of FINER)
30 Fail to th[r]ump? I'm going back to r[b]evel (7)
MISPLAY (IM rev + SPLAY (bevel))
32 Editorial incorporates parts of {Roman} columns (4)
TORI (hidden)
33 Odd[e] number, ie[n] a prime (6)
THRENE (THREE (a prime) round N (number))
34 D[F]uel holder's f[s]oul in TV part (7)
CRESSET (CRT (TV part) round ESSE (soul))
35 L[E]ast theme is clumsily set? Change s[l]etters! (11)
METATHESISE (anag of EAST THEME IS)

DOWN
2 It o[e]mits one with speech impediment, hee[a]dlessly and without the commencement of therapy (7)
UTTERER (STUTTERER (one with speech impediment) minus first letter and minus first letter of therapy)
3 Kin[c]k in front of a Papuan c[m]oney (4)
TOEA (TOE (kick) + A)
4 Dodgy lat[r]e unknown in good m[t]ime (5)
EARLY (anag of LARE + Y (unknown))
5 Wino[e] careers about, clutching nu[o]rse (8)
SANCERRE (anag of CAREERS round N (Norse))
6 New raise, new {raise} has come into view (6)
ARISEN (anag of RAISE + N (new))
7 Weighty deed[r] concerning Edmund's hor[u]se (4)
REIN (RE (concerning) + IN (Spenserian house))
8 Enter forest in bimbo's {cute s}kirt (6)
IMBOSK (hidden)
9 T[Z]one at high risk of sleeping sickness has belly upset and temperature after food[t] (7)
FLYBELT (F (foot) + anag of BELLY + T (temperature))
10 Entire peacekeepers act to protect southern city of {tropic} beauty (11)
UNDESTROYED (UN (peacekeepers) + DEED (act) round S (southern) + TROY (city of beauty, ie Helen)
11 Perhaps Ivan's h[l]ad terrible scare backing short r[h]ave - an irritating feeling (11)
CESAREVITCH (anag of SCARE + VE (have) rev + ITCH (irritating feeling))
19 Ade[o] returns sweets then goes to the li[e]ft without a grain of sugar (8)
STOOSHIE (SOOTS (sweets) rev + HIES (goes to the left) minus S (first letter of sugar))
21 Following sl[h]eep problem, take eastern European h[c]osts nothing (7, two words)
FOR FREE (F (following) + ORF (sheep problem) + R (take) + E (eastern) + E (European))
22 Badly tai[u]nts with earth, something that causes lu[o]ck? (7)
TETANUS (anag of TAUNTS + E (earth))
23 A f[b]rat holds captive second one who is b[c]old towards OAPs (6)
AGEIST (A + GEIT (brat) round S (second))
24 A b[r]oom obstructed ancient l[b]and (6)
ARMLET (A + RM (room) + LET (obstructed))
27 {US gr}after, a president (5)
APRES (A + PRES (president))
29 Win[l]e - having the last drop from gl[r]ass (4)
RUSA (RUSE (wile) minus last letter + A (from, à))
31 Franco[e]'s the 5-1 candidate for greatest store[y] teller, some say (4)
LEVI (LE (the in French) + V (five) + I (one)) Gregson had assumed this to be a reference to Primo, but it turns out to be an obscure reference to St Matthew who is probably not even the author of Matthew's Gospel, so rather a weak finish