4022 At Arm’s Length by Hotspur

This was a neat puzzle with a logical dénouement. The correct letters of the thirty one misprints gave SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR. The author of this piece, PIRANDELLO, could be discerned diagonally in the grid. The solver then had to find six characters and their authors. These were HERZOG, BELINDA, JENKINS, KIPPS, NAPOLEON and FRANKENSTEIN. The relevant authors, in order, were BELLOW, BELLOC, POWELL, WELLS, ORWELL and SHELLEY. These names could all be traced in the grid, each one passing through the ELL of Pirandello. So, these three letters were the spot where the second set rendezvous and had to be highlighted! This also explained the title, as an ELL is an arm’s length.

Misprints in clues are shown in bold type.

1 Sulu, perhaps, half-ruffed, inside a protective jacket (7) 
AFRICAN (Susu) FRI(lly) in A CAN
6 Matrimonial rights given without force by a girl (7)
BELINDA LIN (force, waterfall) in BED + A
12 A medieval call-up within the borders of laidly dukedom (6)
ALBANY A + BAN in L(aidl)Y
14 Truck removing guns briefly from part of defenses (4)
RAMP (trick) RAMPART less ART (artllery)
15 Cake made from bread containing soupçon of peppercorn and marge (8)
NAPOLEON P + OLEO in NAN (bread)
16 Audibly dosses down, getting motions across the aris! (5)
KIPPS (axis) Homophone KIPS
18 Old English knight's involved in wrack (3)
ONE (crack) N (knight) in OE
20 Adult's going after tree snake (3)
BOA BO (tree) + A (adult)
21 Hint of chevron and raised bands required for tomes (5)
CRIBS (homes) C (hevron) + RIBS
23 Seasonally recouping what are plain and large (6)
LLANOS Hidden reversed
24 Measure old couple used for route round port of Baltimore, perhaps (7)
BELTWAY (part) BEL (measure) + TWAY
25 Old scheme to cut short and retrogress tumour (4)
PLAT TALP(a) reversed
27 When reconditioned, as neat as a glove? (6)
30 Level damper, using resistance to replace its starter (7)
ROISTER (revel) MOISTER with first letter changed to R (resistance)
32 Force to be clone - it covers pithy tree with touch of ectoplasm (7)
ISOLATE (alone) SOLA in IT + E (ctoplasm)
33 Was highlighted in Life Of Marlborough initially, some time ago (6)
WHILOM initial letters
34 Rage occasioned by drop that went pear-shaped? (4)
TEAR (race) 2 definitons
37 Bud wandering in cadges common pesos (7)
BEDBUGS (pests) Anagram BUD in BEGS
39 Duke of Württemberg's government chasing valiant around zone (6)
HERZOG HERO + G (government) containing Z (zone)
40 Scorn offering of time by accomplice (5)
TALLY (score) T + ALLY
45 Being the essence of a group of brainiacs? (3)
ENS central letters of MENSA
47 Drug gets you blood, once (3)
EYE brood) E (drug) + YE
48 Big cheese in hospital takes too much medicine: it's a fine line (5)
SNOOD SNO (Senior Nursing Officer) + OD (overdose)
49 What helps poloist during approach, taking colt into turns all right (8)
WINDSOCK (soloist) C (colt) in WINDS OK
51 Jolted contents of pail or noria (4)
LORN (jilted) Hidden
52 At which you might summon a gofer, curtailing sex and church (6)
SEANCE (goner) shortened words SEx ANd +CE (Church of England)
53 Chop suey without zest for good alimentary process (7)
54 Jack has letters about catty crawler (7)
1 Pewter instrument boosting sound, mostly (5)
ANNOY (pester) (t)ANNOY
2 To get fatter, scientist lets go one disruptive creature (12)
3 Synthetic speech - words from someone who gets wad? (3)
IDO (wed) I DO
4 Consular agent accepts fifty thousand, in pence (4)
CALM (peace) CA + L (50) + M (1000)
5 Cruciverbalists aren't troubled with this answer, except in recurrent distress (6)
ALEXIA A (answer) + EX (except) in AIL reversed
7 Cause to take a messy toll? Enough, as it was with everyone inside (8)
ENWALLOW (roll) ENOW containing W (with) ALL
8 I deprived a learner of an organic barrier (6)
9 Stuff bedding down under foot of cradle (4)
NAPE (scuff) NAP + (cradl)E
10 Lecturer quits passage where smell could be detected at Westminster (4)
APSE (shell) LAPSE less L (lecturer)  ( in some schools, an intermediate class (from one that met in an apse at Westminster)
11 Doze a second on fixed bench (4)
SPEW (ooze) S + PEW
13 Dunce getting book for old copper (5)
BOBBY BOOBY swapping O (old) for b (book)
16 Grabbing line, catch what they gather from Stanley? (4)
KELP L (line) in KEP; Falklanders are often termed Kelpers)
17 Variations in petrology are able to provide gristly component (12)
19 Coloured in swash, describing symptoms of reduced glow of blood (5)
ICTAL (flow) C in ITAL
22 Milton's gross, picking up endless scum (4)
SORD (grass) DROS(S) reversed
24 Kind of bold soul annexing Israel (4)
BAIL (bond) BA + IL
26 From states of fear, Liberal America come out fighting (4)
ARMS ALARMS less L (liberal) + A (America)
28 Succeeded before opening up stands (8)
ETAGERES S (succeeded) + ERE + GATE all reversed
29 Creature that's toiled with mesh around (4)
NEWT (tailed) W (with) in NET
31 Mouth off bossily disposed hag (5)
SIBYL Anagram BOSSILY less OS (mouth)
35 Advanced heaven and earth to produce a dramatic composition (6)
AZIONE A (advanced) + ZION + E (earth)
36 Travelling overseas, avoiding the Autobahn (4)
37 Stomp while in gaol (5)
BASIN (stump) AS in BIN
38 Spear carrier's case of cruel ancestry? (6)
ELANCE (cast) Hidden
41 Othello's lead seen in retreat, getting catcall? (4)
42 With temperature dropping, fires up religious maven (5)
SEKOS (haven) STOKES reversed, less T (temperature)
43 Man perhaps regularly insulted (4)
ISLE odd letters InSuLtEd
44 Act right and positive in the bonnies' place, internationally (4)
DORP (boonies) DO + r +P
46 Australian Kelly sent up port (4)
ADEN a (Australian) + NED reversed(ref. Ned Kelly)
50 Mast collapsed without navy in sight (3)
SUK (mart) SUNK less N