3965: Solitaire by Xanthippe
 
Xanthippe invited us to a game of Solitaire, in which pegs are removed by making jumps over them. The key grid allocated numbers to letters or pairs of letters and these numbers indicated the order of the moves in the game. Gregson used pieces of paper on a large grid to play the game and the last four moves spelled the word DIAMOND with the letter D remaining in the central square. This was a clever crossword which, in the end, was not as difficult as Gregson had feared. In fact, once you had completed the key grid you could work out the left over letters and guess the keyword without answering the solitaire clues.

KEY
Representative group imbibing new American drink that should help things move (8, two words)
SENNA TEA N (new) + A (American) in SENATE + A
Girl rolling large marble over yard skips off (4)
ELLA ALLE(Y) reversed
Old-fashioned hug's lacking warmth when love's left (4)
COLL COOL swapping O (love) for L (left)
Smallpox America eradicated from different West Coast city (7)
VARIOLA VARIOUS less US + LA
Reversing ship loaded with Eastern twilled fabric departs (8)
EGRESSES E in SS + SERGE (all reversed)
Drive crazy guys seized by detective (6)
DEMENT MEN in DET
Black cuckoo's first to eat plant with aromatic seeds (5)
ANISE ANI’S + E(at)
Write symbolically about time in school, retrospectively? (6)
NOTATE A (about) + T (time) in ETON (rev.)
Simple vegetable (not coloured) tailless cuckoo tucked in (10)
ELEMENTARY CELERY less C (coloured) containing MENTA(L)
Cardinal protecting gunners caught by English detachment (9)
SEVERANCE RA in SEVEN (cardinal!) + C + E
Balloons general's burst (8)
ENLARGES Anag. GENERALS
Tourists' leader with a note, Samoan currency (4)
TALA T(ourist) + A LA
Refuse customer offering five Franc pieces (4)
ECUS Hidden
Through gripping American plough farmer's hands maybe like this (8)
BLISTERY LISTER in BY
Girl in a tizzy, turned up minus note (6)
RENATA A TANNER (reversed) less N (note) a tanner and a tizzy are both slang terms for the sixpence coin.
Compensate for Deep Purple's leader off amid sleepy band? (6)
REDEEM DEE(P) less P (leader of PURPLE) in REM (ref the pop group + rapid eye movements noticeable in sleep)
Welsh river crossing bottom of green valley (4)
DENE gree(N) in DEE

SOLITAIRE

ACROSS
1 Rogue's endless fiddle
SCAM SCAM(P)
4 Metric weight central to imperial weight
TON (S)TON(E)
5 They left after clergyman with euphoria of divine communication
REVELATION
9 Wicked person in Ayr told a story about ...
DEIL LIED reversed
10 ... creature disembowelled near sinister, endless wood
CEDAR  C(reatur)E + DAR(K)
11 Brief time without university lecturer back in difficult year of fees
EMOLUMENTARY UL (reversed) in MOMENT contained by anag. YEAR
13 Stop working in WCs -- very scratched female toilets
LADIES DIE (stop working) in LA(V)S less V (very)
14 Foul king supplanted by island queens from the east
RANIS RANK (foul) change K to IS (island)

DOWN
1 Jack outside quiet base rising under sky initially set with little stars
STELLULAR S (initial of STAR) + TAR (Jack) containing LULL + E (base) (reversed)
2 Chloe surprisingly leaves nutty chocolate layer
COAT Comp. Anag. CHOCOLATE less CHLOE
3 Some instance involving iodine falsified pregnancy test?
AMNIOCENTESIS Anag. SOME INSTANCE + I (IODINE)
5 Ransom reward's raised after threat that gets dropped off separately
REDEEM MEED reversed after (TH)RE(AT) less THAT
Unusual to have the same word clued twice in the same puzzle!
6 Base mostly shields old stringed instrument
VIOL O (old) in VIL(E)
7 Zip in Adam's clothing
NADA Hidden
8 Man turning right to left in driving race, then vice versa repeatedly
LARRY RALLY changing L to R & vice versa
12 Despicable about late princess in the middle
MEDIAN DI (Princess Diana) in MEAN