8
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Across:
1. Way to defeat everyone (5)
4. Performer's departing could be melodramatic problem (7)
8. Primarily deploying Uranium in the destruction of bed lice can be reasoned out (9)
10. Mutated tuna's concerning reflex is to ramble? (7)
11. Relating to chamber musician's next to last audition (6)
14. Turn in overused device to company (6)
15. Empty tub's smuggling container (6)
19. Convey love to Chinese city which invented cold Chinese noodles (6)
20. Harmony, rap, or vocal (7)
24. President, I call about a military settlement (9)
25. Amateur to return after spoiling lands (7)
26. Enlightened: one with illustrations covering hectares (5)

Down:
1. RAID annihilated insect? That's lit (7)
2. German and with hesitation? Pet rejected out-of-towner (8)
3. Excellent kickoff and clutch steal lead to hugs (8)
4. I'm consumed by debts (oddly, for little money) (4)
5. Place toilet in audition (4)
6. Return vehicle to seller's venue (4)
7. To trim piece of bread or not (5)
9. Some galaxies have spread apart (3)
12. Spear a smelly pig (8)
13. Smooth, heartless enchanter has crush (8)
16. Travel permit for three (7)
17. Top military officer's plaque (5)
18. Terrorist charged with sin (3)
21. Organize! List! First tackled by! Going back to sleep... (4)
22. Brilliant sight left by ocular twitch disappearing (4)
23. Subject of discussion is variable in Lunar New Year's celebration (4)

Text grid, as requested:

1_ __ 2_ __ 3_ XX 4_ __ 5_ __ 6_ __ 7_
__ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __
8_ __ __ __ __ __ __ 9_ __ XX __ XX __
__ XX __ XX __ XX 10 __ __ __ __ __ __
11 __ __ __ __ __ XX __ XX XX XX XX __
__ XX __ XX __ XX XX XX 12 XX 13 XX XX
14 __ __ __ __ __ XX 15 __ __ __ __ 16
XX XX __ XX __ XX XX XX __ XX __ XX __
17 XX XX XX XX 18 XX 19 __ __ __ __ __
20 __ 21 __ 22 __ 23 XX __ XX __ XX __
__ XX __ XX 24 __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
__ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __
25 __ __ __ __ __ __ XX 26 __ __ __ __

Squares under emphasis are marked with a !!:

1_ __ 2_ __ 3_ XX 4_ __ 5_ __ 6_ __ 7_
__ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX __
8_ __ __ __ !! __ __ 9_ __ XX __ XX __
__ XX __ XX __ XX 10 !! __ !! __ __ __
11 __ __ __ __ __ XX __ XX XX XX XX !!
__ XX __ XX __ XX XX XX 12 XX 13 XX XX
14 __ !! __ __ __ XX 15 __ __ __ __ !!
XX XX __ XX !! XX XX XX __ XX __ XX __
17 XX XX XX XX 18 XX 19 __ __ __ __ __
20 __ 21 __ 22 __ !! XX __ XX __ XX __
!! XX __ XX 24 __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
__ XX __ XX __ XX __ XX !! XX __ XX __
25 __ __ !! __ __ __ XX 26 __ __ __ __
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  • $\begingroup$ Would appreciate feedback on the clues after you're done :) $\endgroup$ – Avi Jan 13 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ l can't see the grid. Read my profile. $\endgroup$ – Scratch---Cat Jan 13 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Scratch---Cat I’ll try to get a text grid up when I’m up $\endgroup$ – Avi Jan 13 at 6:03
5
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Grid:

enter image description here

Brief explanations and a few grumbles as requested:

1a. ROUT + E (though E=everyone seems weird). 4a. (MELODRAMATIC minus ACTOR)*. (Indirect anagram, kinda. Naughty!) 8a. D(-eploying) U(-ranium) in BADLICE*. 10a. TUNAS* + RE<. (Not quite convinced by the def.) 11a. (-musici)A(-n) + TRIAL. 14a. U in TROPE. 15a. CAN in VAT. 19a. SEND + AI. 20a. Homophone. 24a. PRES + I DIAL. 25a. TO< after LANDS*. 26a. HA in ART. (What's "one with" doing?)
1d. RAID* + ANT. 2d. UND+ER+DOG. (Not very convinced by the definition, though.) 3d. E(-xcellent) 'n' CLASP + S(-teal). (Not wild about and->N.) 4d. I in D(-e)B(-t)S. 5d. Homophone of LOO. 6d. TRAM<. 7d. substring. 9d. Substring. 12d. JAVELIN + A. (Why smelly?) 13d. SAND + WI(-t)CH. 16d. TRIP+LET. 17d. ddef. 18d. substring. 21d. L(-ist) in NAP<. 22d. OP(-tic)AL. (Don't much like the def and "left by" is a bit much.) 23d. X in TET.

A few more general comments:

Surfaces are often a bit clumsy. (Good surfaces are really hard. And I should say that some of the surfaces here are actually really good. E.g., I like 1a, 4d, 9d, 18d.)
It's unfortunate (and a bit unfair) that the grid separates into two unconnected parts, that the left and right halves of each part have only a single connection, and that there are two clues where only 2 letters of 5 are checked.

Final remark: I realise that I have neither answered the question in the title, nor noticed anything in the puzzle that indicates that it doesn't need answering. @Avi, is there a further step I am supposed to be taking in order to consider the puzzle solved?

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That’s sufficient for the checkmark. A cheeky little extra detail was the squares with colors around them. It turns out that Abraham Lincoln would say, “A crossword divided against itself CANNOT STAND.” $\endgroup$ – Avi Jan 13 at 4:29
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Avi I really like the bonus feature of this puzzle! It's very clever. My only advice would be to shade the whole squares for the bonus letters rather than just shadowing their edges - they hardly show up on my phone screen... And with them so faint it's no surprise that a puzzle pro like Gareth spotted the discrepancy between your layout and a typical crossword and was left wondering why without spotting the joke :) Good work all round though. $\endgroup$ – Stiv Jan 13 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ I did actually notice some faint colour fringing around some of the squares, but my reaction was "oh, someone has scaled up an image made with subpixel antialiasing turned on". Which wasn't actually a sensible reaction -- that wouldn't have looked quite the same. I guess it was meant to be hard to spot the colours. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 13 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ I just noticed that in my explanations a lot of asterisks were interpreted as markup indicating italics, when in fact they were meant to indicate anagrams. I've escaped them now. My apologies for anyone who tried to make sense of those explanations earlier. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 13 at 11:59
0
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A clearer explanation for some clues:

Caution: This post may contain spoilers.


Way to defeat everyone (5)*

ROUTE ([def] way; ROUTE for "defeat (in a competition)" + E (Possibly missing initial indicator))

Performer's departing could be melodramatic problem (7)*

DILEMMA ([def] problem; anagram of MELODRAMATIC - ACTOR)
Note: Indirect anagram is possibly banned.

Primarily deploying Uranium in the destruction of bed lice can be reasoned out (9)

I haven't figured out the solution yet. By the way, the clue seems to be way too long.

Mutated tuna's concerning reflex is to ramble? (7)

Not sure yet

Relating to chamber musician's next to last audition (6)

ATRIAL ([def] Relating to chamber; MUSICIAN + TRIAL for audition)

Turn in overused device to company (6)

Not sure yet

Empty tub's smuggling container (6)

VACANT ([def] Empty; CAN in VAT)

Convey love to Chinese city which invented cold Chinese noodles (6)

SENDAI? ([def] city; SEND + AI for "love to Chinese")

Harmony, rap, or vocal (7)

Not sure yet

President, I call about a military settlement (9)

PRESIDIAL

Amateur to return after spoiling lands (7)

Not sure yet

Enlightened: one with illustrations covering hectares (5)

Not sure yet.

Sorry, your clues are too hard. I only solved two of them.

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