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Crossword 999 answers and explanations

Bad form?

Crossword 999 solution

As usual, several little misgivings niggled as I put this one together but all the clues I worried about met with approval from my checkers so in they went.

"Form One" in 21 across struck me as possibly too obscure for anyone who went to school after the primers and forms were abandoned as names for classes. (When was that? Or do they survive somewhere?) Of course I doubt that many of those generations tackle these puzzles. I'd certainly welcome news of any that do.

I also worried a little about the liberty I took with Norwegian spelling in 20 down. Surely it should be a fjordland. Changing both the spelling and capitalisation seemed a step too far but the clue instead won rare praise from one checker.
 Across  Answers and Clues Explanations
7 FATHEAD  
  Stupid person, parent, isn't finished with commercial (7) parent isn't finished = FATHE, commercial = AD
8 GARÇON  
  Cargo at sea with new French service provider (6) Anagram of CARGO + new = N
9 POROUS  
  Able to absorb fluids – soup or cocktail (6) Anagram of SOUP OR
10 ONWARDS  
  Go ahead working with young dependants (7) working = ON, young dependants = WARDS
11 PASTRAMI  
  A tramp is producing smoked meat (8) Anagram of TRAMP IS
12 IGNORE  
  Discount working in Gore (6) Anagram of IN GORE
13 COME TO THE FORE  
  Achieve a prominent position with heavenly body and peculiar foot here (4,2,3,4) heavenly body = COMET + anagram of FOOT HERE
16 CANADA  
  Partly African, a dangerous goose (6) Hidden word
18 EVENTING  
  Sunset: about time for equestrian pursuits (8) Sunset = EVENING, time = T
21 CLASSIC  
  Form One beginning to create a work of the highest excellence (7) Form = CLASS, one = I, beginning to create = C
22 SHREWD  
  Rather astute right wing leaders go separately into an outbuilding (6) right wing leaders = R and W, outbuilding = SHED
23 MANTLE  
  Mental disorder provides cover (6) Anagram of MENTAL
24 ALREADY.  
  A dry ale crafted previously (7) Anagram of A DRY ALE.
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 AT BOTTOM  
  Occupying the lowest spot in spite of appearance (2,6) Double definition
2 GEISHA  
  The image is hazy but I can see an entertainer from Osaka in there (6) Hidden word
3 A DROP IN THE OCEAN  
  A misjudged parachute deployment of negligible significance (1,4,2,3,5) Double definition
4 EGG WHITE  
  Say weight is wrong for pavlova ingredient (3,5) Say = EG + anagram of WEIGHT
5 DRY RUN  
  Rehearsal for a race to the mirage? (3,3) Double definition
6 CONSTRUE  
  Interpret recounts incorrectly (8) Anagram of RECOUNTS
7 FLORA  
  I'd quit the Everglades State for life of this type (5) FLORIDA minus ID
13 CHARCOAL  
  Roach recycled in California then left as fuel for the barbie (8) Anagram of ROACH in CA + left = L
14 TRANSFER  
  Move rafters in rebuild to hold pole (8) Anagram of RAFTERS including pole = N
15 OUTBREAK  
  Eruption of violence as wild brute confined by cork producer (8) Anagram of BRUTE inside OAK
17 AWAITS  
  A burden's said to be in store (6) Homophone of A WEIGHT'S
19 ENSURE  
  Make certain to see run organised (6) Anagram of SEE RUN
20 NO WAY.  
  King leaves Fiordland? Certainly not! (2,3) King = R, Fiordland = NORWAY.