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Crossword 1115 answers and explanations

1 EPOCH A period when optimism returns with carbon being contained (5) 
optimism = HOPE, returns = reversal indicator, carbon = C
4 GRANDPA An ancestor in a large and impressive fortified settlement (7) 
large and impressive = GRAND, fortified settlement = PA
8 ORCA An aquatic mammal in Windsor Castle (4) 
Hidden word
9 RING MASTER Call teacher to be a circus performer (4,6) 
Call = RING, teacher = MASTER
10 ARDENT Ranted madly in a most zealous manner (6) 
Anagram of RANTED
11 RADIATOR Bring back rubbish: help a rightwing leader to be warmer (8) 
Bring back = reversal indicator, rubbish = ROT, help = AID + A + riightwing leader = R
12 MOLECULE Counterspy with cryptic clue finds an item of interest to physicists (8) 
Counterspy = MOLE + anagram of CLUE
14 STYE Misty eyed? It's partly an infection of the eyelid (4) 
Hidden word
15 FANG An eyetooth given for cigarette about noon (4) 
cigarette = FAG, noon = N
16 FRITTERS What the wastrel does with deep fried food (8) 
Double definition
20 CATHOLIC Christian of a sort left in chaotic mess (8) 
left = L inside anagram of CHAOTIC
21 UTERUS Pickup truck with endless corrosion from which you were delivered (6) 
Pickup truck = UTE, endless corrosion = RUS/T
23 AUTOMATICS Light machine guns make outcast aim sloppily (10) 
Anagram of OUTCAST AIM
24 PUCE Paunches, oddly, are ruddy brown (4) 
Odd numbered letters in PaUnChEs
25 EN MASSE Man sees disintegration in a body (2,5) 
Anagram of MAN SEES
26 DOYEN Senior member makes call for attention in study (5) 
call for attention = OY, study = DEN
1 EARDRUM How a murder could be arranged is an essential for the hearing (7) 
Anagram of A MURDER
2 ORATE What the public speaker did or consumed (5) 
OR consumed = ARE
3 HERETIC Nonconformist woman's flipped quote (7) 
woman = HER, quote = CITE, flipped = reversal indicator
4 GENERAL PRACTICE Place recreating peculiar medical outfit (7,8) 
5 ARMADA A drama devised by the King of Spain showed up on some channel (6) 
Anagram of A DRAMA
6 DISMANTLE Strip down as day's beginning and salt mine is to be worked (9) 
day's beginning = D + anagram of SALT MINE
7 ANEMONE Name one peculiar flower (7) 
Anagram of NAME ONE
13 LUNCHROOM Launch without a space where one may eat (9) 
Launch without a = LUNCH, space = ROOM
15 FEATURE A film showing the queen going back to university following a major accomplishment (7) 
the queen = ER, going back = reversal indicator, university = U, major accomplishment = FEAT
17 TRUSSED Bound to have faith in one's ears (7) 
Homophone for TRUST ("have faith in")
18 SOUPÇON Cup broken inside before long in a pinch (7) 
Anagram of CUP inside SOON ("before long")
19 PLEATS Staple bent into regular folds (6) 
Anagram of STAPLE
22 EMPTY Vacuous English politician, totally gutless (5) 
English = E, politician = MP, totally gutless = TY