3953 Resolution by Alligator

This week we were treated to a puzzle from Alligator, making his/her/their Listener debut. The puzzle was at the easier end of the scale, and Gregson wonders how many solvers will have managed to post off their entries without having solved all of the clues. Nevertheless, this was a pleasant and enjoyable puzzle.

After filling the grid, the unclued entries were found to be AL_RE_ and JARR_, which could be deduced as ALFRED JARRY, pioneer of the Theatre of the Absurd.

Reference to Chambers Biographical Dictionary led to PATAPHYSICS, the science of imaginary solutions, which could be found in the fifth row, and this was to be written below the grid. This also provided a link to the wordplay-only clues, which were NEWS FROM NOWHERE, UTOPIA and EREWHON, all of which are literary works set in imaginary places.

Initial letters of the extra words spelt out ERASE ALL LETTERS FROM THE GRID, resulting in probably the easiest task for the Listener checker since Double Carte Blanche by Phi some years ago.

Extra words are indicated by square brackets.

10 [Excellent] drink journalist carried (5)
TOTED TOT (drink) + ED (journalist, ie editor)
11 Guide troops to leader of rebels (6)
MENTOR MEN (troops) + TO + R (first letter of rebels)
12 Where arrows are pointed [rearwards] in Antioch encampment (4)
13 [Authoritarian] African party, or one more in Italy (6)
ANCORA ANC (African party) + OR + A (one)
14 Wrong blend of new coffee (7)
OFFENCE Anagram of N (new) + COFFEE
16 Greek goddess goes round softly - the stuff of [sixty] heroic tales (4)
EPOS (Greek goddess) containing P (softly)
17 Quiet, getting a bit of a kip at the right time (3)
PAT P (Quiet) + AT (a bit of a kip)
The second clue in a row using substantially the same definition for P
18 Science used in cooking chips inspiring young [English] sous-chef, primarily (7)
PHYSICS Anagram of CHIPS containing YS (first letters of young sous-chef)
Inspire can mean “to breathe in”, justifying its use as a container
19 Regain fortunes in tennis match, crushing [Agassi] (9)
BREAKBACK BREAK BACK (Regain fortunes in tennis match, ie break opponent’s service, in response to having one’s own service broken)
21,23,33 Rebuilt [leafy] home for new wrens (15, three words)
NEWS FROM NOWHERE Anagram of HOME FOR NEW WRENS (Wordplay only clue)
25 Venomous [losing] soccer team surrounds incompetent coach at first (9)
ARSENICAL ARSENAL (soccer team) containing IC (first letters of incompetent coach)
28 Joint getting few stoned is heroin - it's big around American coasts? (7)
JEWFISH J (joint) + EWF (anagram of FEW) + IS + H (heroin)
30 Master has house in the South of France (3)
MAS MA (Master … of Arts) + ‘S (has)
31 Frightened one joined [legion] (4)
AWED A (one) + WED (joined)
35 Right, the guy's American - kind of [excitable] monkey (6)
RHESUS R (Right) + HE’S (the guy’s) + US (American)
36 Back in hot country, as described by Kipling, perhaps (4)
HIND H (hot) + IND (India, poetic)
37 Italian weight or [tungsten] tool, strangely (6)
ORTOLO OR + TOLO (anagram of TOOL)
38 Shabby little fellow we Scots took in (5)
OOBIT OO (Scots form of we) + BIT (took in)
39 [Tetchy] language from worker in charge (6)
FANTEE ANT (worker) inside FEE (charge)

1 Peculiar [emulsion] paint or medicine or poison (7)
2 Henry, a [raving] idiot, returns - rough sponger (6)
LOOFAH H (Henry) + A + FOOL (idiot), all reversed
3 Tries [singing] again: practice cut short, a student having left (7)
REHEARS REHEARSAL (practice), minus A + L (learner ie student)
4 Statesman's garden (4)
EDEN Two meanings
5 Have longing about old meeting place (5)
VENEY ‘VE (Have) + reversal of YEN (longing)
6 [Forbidden] at any time in London cemetery (4)
7 Doh! [Recent] work's the reverse of excellent (6)
UTOPIA UT (Doh) + OP (work) + IA (reversal of A1 ie excellent) (Wordplay only clue)
8 Two birds thought non-existent, not one, company's discovered in African country (7)
MOROCCO MOA + ROC (Two birds thought non-existent), minus A (one) + CO (company)
9 Volcanic material's rubbish - not hot - having sulphur [odour] underneath (5)
TRASS TRASH (rubbish) – H (hot) + S (sulphur)
15 Shrub used in [medicinal] tea when combined with flavoured paste (7)
CHAMISO CHA (tea) + MISO (flavoured paste)
18 Labourer in [Turkish] animal house containing ordure principally (4)
PEON PEN (animal house) containing O (first letter of ordure)
20 I had theory about [Hodgkin's] disease involving choking, for the large part (4)
KOCH Anagram of CHOK (the larger part of CHOKING)
“Koch’s postulates” in Chambers confirms the definition
22 English retreat - no deal with wild [ecstatic] hordes, to start with, getting drunk (7)
EREWHON E (English) + RETREAT – TREAT (deal with) + WH (first letters of wild hordes) + ON (getting drunk) (Wordplay only clue)
23 Make notes in House, briefly, when broadcast (7)
FASHION FAS (notes ie the plural of FA) + anagram of IN + HO (house, briefly)
24 Dance, wordless, entertaining group of people (7)
MUSETTE MUTE (wordless) containing SET (group of people)
26 [Goat's] filthy home has leak in it, love! (6)
SWEETY STY (filthy home) containing WEE (leak)
27 [Reckon] it's normal to expire, assuredly, when old (6)
PARDIE PAR (normal) + DIE (expire)
29 Plant in university city (5)
INULA IN + U (university) + LA (city)
32 Cattle [invading], hundreds - help! (4)
DSOS D (hundreds, ie 500) + SOS (help)
34 Stop [dangerous] doctor, amateur (4)
WHOA WHO (doctor) + A (amateur)
“Doctor = WHO” is a common crossword convention, although in Gregson’s view an incorrect one, as the principal character in the BBC series Doctor Who is known only as “The Doctor”