Face Off by BeRo

Puzzle explanation

The NW-SE diagonal shows ANAGRAM jumbled in the circled cells. The other diagonal similarly consists of alternating jumbles of J DRYDEN and J DONNE. John Dryden’s poem MacFlecknoe includes the couplet:

Thy genius calls thee not to (purchase) fame
In keen iambics, but mild (anagram)

from which pairs of words were anagrammed by the clues’ initials as follows: EIGHTY SUN; SHELL CATE; ON TOT; AMEN IF; SKI AMBIENCE; LIT DUMB. Lines 3-7 of John Donne’s The Anagram are:

For, though her eyes be small, her mouth is great,
Though they be ivory, yet her teeth be jet,
Though they be dim, yet she is light enough,
And though her harsh hair fall, her skin is rough;
What though her cheeks be yellow, her hair’s red;

Accordingly, the following features in the grid are entered as described: EYES (small or lower-case letters), TEETH (black), CHEEKS (yellow), HAIR (red or some representation of “harsh” letters).

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Answer Explanation
Across
1 GHASTNESS (NESSIE − IE) after (HAS in GT)
7 PREY PRAY with E(xplicitly) for A
10 DEBTEE DEB + TEE
11 THEREON (HER NOTE) *
13 ALAAP À LA + AP(ples)
15 BRAG (yo)B + RAG
18 J-PEN J + PEN
19 ATOKAL (se)A (habita)T (to)O (dan)K (Bermud)A (petre)L
20 CODEINE (NO DICE) * + E
22 CHOREIC (SHORT − ST) in (C + ICE *)
25 LANAIS LANAS around I
27 SET POT SET + TOP <
29 IRISATE IRIS + (l)ATE
30 PERAEON PER + AE + ON
31 SNORTY TYSON * around R
34 EGAD (A + (roun)D) after EG
38 AIRN CAIRN − C
39 SCAUP S/C + A + UP
40 SNEAKER STREAKER with N for (T + R)
41 CHAKRA CHAP − P + ARK <
42 JANN JAN + N
43 ORPHANISM OR + (MAN IS) * after (SOPH − SO)
Down
1 G’DAY (D(orothy) G(ale)) < + AY
2 HELOT TO < after HEL(l)
3 STACK 2 meanings
4 NEBEL BEEN * + L(oudly)
5 SHAKOES O in SHAKES
6 SEGS (S(hoe) + S) around EG
7 PROJECTS PRO + J + ETC * + S
8 REN (Bonfi)RE N(ight)
9 EOCENE ((k)EEN COE) *
12 NONETTE NOTE around TEN <
14 PHAEIC A in (CIE + HP) <
16 NOONER NO + RENO <
17 ECCRINE ECCE around RIN(d)
21 IMPART IT around (M’ + PAR)
22 CLYPEUS CLY + PEU + S(pider)
23 RAMADHAN (MA HAD RAN) *
24 SEINES (grils)SE IN ES(tuary)
26 SNOWIER (NOW RISE) *
28 REGINA (A REIGN) *
31 SYNCH homophone of CINQUE
32 OSCAN (T)OSCAN(ini)
33 TOURS STOUR with S moved to the end
35 MAKO MAK(e) + O’
36 SPAM MAPS <
37 DEN (cleane)D + NE <
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