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A1. Steps, Mister? Outside? Thank you (5)
A2. Aerial exercise outside, computer network inside (5)
A3. Canonized hollow fruit recurring (6)

B1. Light-hearted student at first sent back in the Middle East (5)
B2. Tom and his family give captain's head injuries, topless (7)
B3. In tax office I blossom (4)

C1. Stunning suit (4)
C2. Explorer follows gold pens (6)
C3. Reformer reportedly menaces Metropolis (6)

D1. Faux marshes contain radioactive material (5)
D2. Not objecting shortly returning award (4)
D3. Man removes butt from rifle, briefly asks for reason (3)

Looking for four place names, one for each triplet. Each answer is clued with the same (mysterious) method.

Note: The part of speech required for each answer is listed below. As pointed out in the comments, these don't agree with the definitions in many cases... My bad!

A1. singular noun
A2. singular noun
A3. singular noun
B1. singular proper noun
B2. plural noun
B3. singular noun
C1.singular noun
C2. singular noun
C3. singular proper noun
D1. adjective
D2. singular proper noun
D3. singular noun

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Should C2 be PEN instead of PENS? $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Jan 23 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm I thought "pens"... as in rot13(gur nafjre vf fbzrbar jub craf fghss)? $\endgroup$ – jafe Jan 23 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ I'm reading it as a verb. So to pen == to (answer). $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Jan 23 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ A bit of constructive criticism: There are a lot of part of speech mismatches here. For instance, "pens" cannot clue the answer to its clue, because the answer is a noun and "pens" is either a verb or a plural noun that doesn't mean the same thing as the noun. C3's "definition" is a description of what the answer does, not a definition. (You cannot define "sun" with "shines", but "thing that shines" would be alright.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jan 23 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Thanks for the comments! Still learning to make these, so constructive criticism is definitely appreciated. $\endgroup$ – jafe Jan 23 at 18:24
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I think the method is:

to remove the letters of the third word, in order, from the first two.

So:

A: STAIRPLANE - STAPLE = IRAN
B: SYRIACRUISES - IRIS = SYRACUSE
C: CLUBAUTHOR - LUTHOR = CUBA
D: BOGUSTONY - GUY = BOSTON

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  • $\begingroup$ This is correct! $\endgroup$ – jafe Jan 24 at 6:14
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A couple extra solutions:

D3. Man removes butt from rifle, briefly asks for reason (3)

GUY
Man = guy
(Removes butt from rifle = gun - n = gu) + (Asks for reason = why, briefly, y) = guy

D1. Faux marshes contain radioactive material (5)

BOGUS
Fake = bogus
(Marshes = bogs) containing (radioactive material = Uranium = U) = bogus

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Some solutions if it helps anyone:

A2. Aerial exercise outside, computer network inside (5)

def= aerial, Exercise= PE outside LAN = PLANE

B3. In tax office I blossom (4)

Def= blossom, I in IRS = IRIS

and a guess:

C1. Stunning suit (4)

Cryptic def: Club

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5
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C3.
Reformer reportedly menaces Metropolis (6)

Menaces Metropolis = Lex LUTHOR Reportedly (Homophone) LUTHER (Martin Luther, protestant reformer)
Hint in comments leads me to believe I have it reversed Answer might be LUTHOR

C2.
Explorer follows gold pens (6)

THOR Heyerdahl follows AU = AUTHOR
NOTE: should clue be pen instead of pens?

With C1 from TwoBitOperation,
C:

CLUB AUTHOR LUTHOR

D2.
Not objecting shortly returning award (4)

Not Objecting = Why Not. Shortly = YNOT = TONY (award) returned.

So with NudgeNudge's answer, The full clue is

D:

BOGUS TONY GUY

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  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, should have put the first two words in reverse order in C3... It's now ambiguous which part the "reportedly" refers to. $\endgroup$ – jafe Jan 23 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Not necessarily I'm assuming I swapped them? I wasn't sure about that. Maybe a comma would fix the ambiguity. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Jan 23 at 17:17
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A1:

STAIR [SIR outside TA]

A3:

STAPLE [ST + AP(p)LE]

With A2 from @TwoBitOperation:

A:

STAIR PLANE STAPLE

B2:

CRUISES [C(aptain) + (b)RUISES]

B1 (by guessing the final answer):

SYRIA [S + AIRY<]

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