27-across, 18-across, 27-across, 4-across, 27-across, 2-down, 27-across, 1-down Union tradition entailing 28- or 29-down; 7-down, 17- or 20-across; 30-across 8- or 28-down; possibly 3- or 13-down, plus 25- and 32-across (9, 3, 9, 3, 9, 8, 9, 4)
I’ve sat down and made myself a couple of cryptic crosswords, and I can tell you, there’s a lot of switching and substituting that goes on so that a good collection of words can come together in a grid. That DA went ahead and made this clue to fit in a grid demonstrates his maniacal devotion to cryptics and explains why this blog exists.
As for the answer, union tradition = something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and 28- (time) or 29-down (gods) = something old; 7-down (infant), 17- (cadet) or 20-across (chick) = something new; 30-across 8-down (library book) or 28-down (time) = something borrowed; and 25-across (erotica) or 32-across (sky) = something blue.
9 across: The French steer militia regulars off 18-across (old) Pope (3, 4)
Usually cryptic crossword clues feature Roman numerals interpreted as letters. This fantastic clue inverses the relationship and has letters interpreted as Roman numerals with the French = le, steer = ox and militia regulars = iii giving the French steer militia regulars = leo xiii = old Pope.
13 across: Massacre dope when head inflated by score (3, 4)
Who doesn’t love a little bit of hidden maths with their cryptic? In what is a mightily difficult clue that was neatly explained by HS, we have dope = lowdown and dope (lowdown) head inflated by score = l (50) multiplied by 20 = 1000 (m) = mow down = massacre.
15 across: Gap sealed in a bridge, riling hornets? (7)
DA yet again demonstrates how to make a simple anagram clue look much more difficult. Here, it’s riling hornets = shorten = gap sealed in a bridge.
21 down: Diner’s admission regarding diner launch? (8)
Mirroring last week’s gold-standard vampire clue, DA comes up with another beauty relating to admissions with diner’s admission regarding diner = in it i ate = initiate = launch.