Two five-letter theme-words each have three variations unclued in the grid: one set is the unclued across entries, the other the unclued down ones.
In each of five rows and five columns, one entry is formed by omitting a letter from the defined answer; wordplay in the clue refers to the entry. The latent letters in row order give the theme-word linked to the unclued down entries; the latent letters in column order give the theme-word linked to the unclued across entries.
Where neither entry is unclued nor Letters Latent (nor 5 down), clues to symmetrically opposite entries are paired. These clues are clues for the two entries run together, either coming first. The clues are separated by a redundant word: initial letters of these words spell out a familiar name less one letter. 10 across is in ODE.
Competitors were asked to submit a similar paired clue to the two theme-words, either coming first, joined by an otherwise redundant word starting with the letter missing from the familiar name.
1/38 Playboy, say, or hunter departed without first considering common sense, item worth developing (9; 9, 2 words)
7 Variation A1 (4)
10 A despot’s follower imprisoning American, Native American (7)
11 Surprised comment interrupting refusal by Queen? One hasn’t a chance (7)
13/34 Remote sea surrounding a place to meet in New Zealand has stormy river entering it between beginning and end of day (5; 5)
15 Upright characters coming round to damage porcelain (5)
17 Are lithest active in this? (9)
18 Quantity of Coors, chilled, knocked back – low in alcohol, right? (9)
20 Almost willing to back call for reduced form of rail transport? (6)
23 Variation A2 (6)
27 Passages written about a lot of dainty religious gear (10)
30 Variation A3 (8)
33 Improve specialised group, putting European first (6)
35 Privy to keeping military force available (8, 2 words)
36 String of verses one’s penned with skill (6)
37 Phone? English not absent in phone message (4)
1 Weary Judge to sum up about case’s conclusion (5)
2 Variation D1 (4)
3/28 Lightly brown recipe for fish, acknowledging weight, avoiding drink when tucking into food in Auckland (5;5)
4/31 Bouncer half upset with currency converted to euro, likely no longer easy in queue at Heathrow (4;4)
5 In the meantime, final soldier will come round late in the evening? (11, 2 words)
6/22 Sorcery in Virginia heading for Utah to finish on Kansas, taking no responsibility for debt chapter contracted during Christmas (6)
7 Seed-pods a worrying sign in US city (7)
8 Local alarmed about European’s rare savagery (6)
9 Dismal old fabrics finally in stock (6)
12/26 Lady with regrets over twisted pose exercised at the right time on hard course (4)
14/24 Baleful native clutching bone you thought I had eaten away initially (4)
16 Top manager upset about litre of oil (5)
19 Repair work elevated row (5)
20 Beer put in audio equipment? That’s mischievous (7)
21 Hostile uprising not good for the ordinary person? (6)
25 Source of a long nap is endlessly criticised (5)
29 Variation D2 (5)
32 Variation D3 (4)
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