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Each across clue is actually multiple cryptic clues written in succession. Each pair of successive clues has one shared word, which functions as the last word of one clue and the first word of the other. Across answers are placed into the grid one after the other, without spaces. One of the across answers is two words, and several of them are proper names. The shared words of the across clues, in clue order, form one final cryptic clue whose answer is the author's favourite hobby.

Across
8. A creative influence to provide fun with Charlie, running into activity involving physical exercise and slightly sweet wines
12. Fishing cord's grip, holding in a root, damaged body of water? Source is in good condition
13. Flying saucers in America returning? Of course! Interrupted by alien ultimately around extremely illustrious place in Florida's south coast city, stashing bananas
18. Boxer, entering mad Khan's island, swam regularly in the Siberian river

Down
1. People of Central Asia fanatically shun taps (8)
2. Taps twist with nets, ultimately capturing farm animal (9)
3. Animal is first small, then large after receiving unlimited heat (4)
4. Heat heads to back up? Rather not (4)
5. Not seen when sleeping: Man in tundra going wild, ingesting drug (8)
6/16. Drug stashed in happy Native American symbol to be decided by him, her and company? (2,2,4)
7. (See 14 down)
9. Company (maker of watches from Japan) taking a different direction: Making baked goods many children like (7)
10. Like an undecided issue, hairnet lost after one? (2,3,3)
11. One peddling beers in two different sizes gutted Australian (8)
14/7. Australian flora operates, being broken (4,4)
15. Broken vertebra? I feel backs being hit with this may hurt (4)
16. (See 6 down)
17. Hurt for inhumane editorial piece (4)

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COMPLETED GRID

Grid

ACROSS

8. AMUSE - "A creative influence to provide fun" -> A + MUSE = fun
FUNCTION - "Fun with Charlie running into activity" -> FUN + C + INTO* = activity
SPORTS - "Activity involving physical exercise and slightly sweet wines" -> S_ ("slightly sweet") + PORTS ("wines")
12. HANDLINE - "Fishing cord's grip, holding in" -> HANDLE + IN = fishing cord
ONTARIO - "In a root, damaged body of water?" -> IN A ROOT* = body of water?
WELL - "Water source is in good condition" -> ddef
13. UFOS - "Flying saucers in America returning? Of" -> US + OF< = flying saucers
SUNRISE - "Of course! Interrupted by alien ultimately around extremely illustrious place in Florida's south" -> SURE + _N + I_S = place in Florida's south
HASTINGS - "South coast city, stashing bananas" -> STASHING*
18. SAKHALIN - "Boxer, entering mad Khans's island" -> ALI + KHANS* = island
SAINT HELENA - "Island, swam regularly in the Siberian river" -> SwAm + IN THE + LENA = island

DOWN

1. PASHTUNS = SHUN TAPS*
2. TURNCOCKS = TURN + _S + COCK
3. SEAL = S + L + hEAt
4. BURN = B_ U_ R_ N_
5. UNDREAMT = M + TUNDRA* + E
6/16. UP TO THEM = UP ("happy") + TOTEM + H
9. COOKIES = CO + SEIKO<
10. IN THE AIR = I + HAIRNET*
11. SALESMAN = ALES in S M ("two different sizes") + A_N
14/7. SOAP TREE = OPERATES*
15. NAIL = _N _A _I _L
17. NEED = inhumaNE EDitorial

Final clue

"Fun activity in water of south island" -> SCUBA = S (south) + CUBA. Thanks for the re-vector jafe!

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  • $\begingroup$ Very good! The final answer is not what I intended. The last shared word of 12a is supposed to be in a slightly different place... $\endgroup$ – Jafe Dec 14 '20 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @jafe I think I got it now :-) Very enjoyable...thanks! Seeing one of your cryptics always brings a smile! $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Dec 14 '20 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ Glad you liked it! That is indeed the intended answer. $\endgroup$ – Jafe Dec 14 '20 at 17:20

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