20 across, 23 down: Move to clothe a local vagrant (3, 4, 3, 2, 4)
It’s cheeky, it’s funny; it’s DA: move = get your bum in gear = to clothe a local vagrant.
18 across: It’s close to pitch in heart! (5)
Any half-decent &lit clue needs to be mentioned in the gold, and this one is more than half decent: it’s close = nigh, pitch in heart = t and it’s close to pitch in heart = night = it’s close to pitch in heart (It’s close to pitch black in the middle of the night).
16 down: Rake up flower patch, exposing gold and red primrose border (9)
A difficult, delightful clue with a well-hidden and well-chosen direct clue. Up flower patch = deb, exposing gold = au, red = che and primrose border = e, all of which gives up flower patch, exposing gold and red primrose border = debauchee = rake.
Interesting side note: rake meaning debauchee is an abbreviation of rakehell from olden times.
17 across: …eccentric course, heading inside (5)
Clever way to twist a word with course = route so that course, heading inside = outre = eccentric.
15 across: Cleared against the greatest old… (9)
Here, against = v, the greatest = ali (the golden moment) and old = dated so that against the greatest old = validated = cleared.
11 down: Socially smiting perhaps? Not all, but half of us! (12)
This is an outstanding almost-anagram and &lit to boot, but it’s not the neatest of clues. Here, it’s socially smiting perhaps? not all (but half of us is unaccounted for indirectly) = misogynistic + all – all = misogynistic = socially smiting perhaps? Not all, but half of us.
8 down: 1-across (Indecisive) quality of Manx dog climbing barrier I’d installed (10)
Here, there’s a nice use of Manx as a wordplay instruction so that dog = Fido and Manx dog = Fido – o = fid, which when combined with the rest of the clue gives Manx dog climbing = dif and barrier = fence so that Manx dog climbing barrier I’d installed = diffidence = indecisive quality.
2 down: Dunderhead, it’s said! (4)
Another &lit, and this one is perhaps my favourite despite others being not so happy with it. Here, we’ve got dunderhead = d and it’s said = itz giving dunderhead, it’s said = ditz = dunderhead, it’s said.
14 down: Likely fugitive pale during search (6, 4)
Another example of DA making a clue out of a sentence that makes complete sense so it’s difficult to figure out where the direct and indirect parts of the clue begin and end. Here, it’s search = frisk and pale = light, which makes during the excellent containment indicator so that pale during search = flight risk = likely fugitive.