Vingt-et-un by Little Hare

Puzzle explanation

Extra letters in the down clues spelt out “When I was one-and-twenty / I heard a wise man say; A. E. Housman”, from poem XIII in A Shropshire Lad, which continues:

Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies

Going against this advice, HEART was deleted in the middle of the grid, while CROWNS, POUNDS, GUINEA (twice), PEARLS and RUBIES were kept, forming the number XXII, which is the protagonist’s current age in the poem.

The clues contained several references to gambling, cards and the number 21, some of which are mentioned below. The suits spades (33ac), clubs (39ac) and diamonds (41ac) were used, but 16ac had “heartlessly” as a thematic reference.

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Removed letters Answer Explanation
Across
1   PROLOG LOG after PRO; Illinois = 21st US state
5   ICEBERG BE in (I + C + ERGO − O); current century = 21st
11   HONOURS O in (NO RUSH) *
13   RUE 2 meanings; Côte d’Or = 21st département
14   EQUID E + QUID
15   GANOINE (WINE − W) after (m)ANGO(s) *
16   STALIN ST(e)AL + I(talia)N
18   SENA SENATE − T(rade) − E(nterprise)
19   DICT DIC(e) + (cryp)T
21   E-ZINE (Waldst)EIN * after EZ; Waldstein = Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21
22   ACE FACE − F
24   V-SHAPE VS + H + APE
26   NORAH HORA * after (pontoo)N
29   TROOP POOR < after T
30   SPRYER SPICER with RYE for ICE
32   WOO MOO with first letter upside down
33   CRETE CREST − S + E
35   YALU LAY < + U(ruguayan)
36   SWAN WAS * + N
39   CANTAB ANTA in (B + C) <
41   AT LARGE (DEALT * − D) around (A + R + G(ame))
42   IMINE SCI − SC + MINE; scandium = 21st element
43   RED ED after R
44   FEEBLER FEEDER with (B + L) for D
45   IDLESSE (IDLESSE + AND BILE) * = (SENSIBLE LAD DIE) *
46   TSUBAS TUBAS around S
Down
1 (WH)at PHEASANT HEAPS * + ANT
2 Gold(EN) ROQUE OR < + QU + (sacrific)E
3 Al(I WA)tered LOIN OIL * + (mari)N(ade)
4 (SON) GRATIS GIS around RAT
6 (EA)table COAL TAR CO + ALTAR
7 bar(N — D)on ERNIE BERN − B + IE
8 (TW)in BRONZERS (BONZER + ’S) around R
9 earth(EN) RUN INTO RUNE − E + INT + O
10 run(TY) GEEK GREEK − R
12 (I H)old NUNNERIES (R + SEINE) * after NUN
17 id(EA) WIDOW WAIL (LI + A + W) < after (WOW around ID)
20 Ma(RD)y CHAYA (MAY − M) in CHA
23 te(A W)as EAST CAPE (CAP + É(clair)) after TEAS *
25 parasit(IS)es SPONGERS GER(m) in (S + PONS)
27 c(EM)ent OERSTED (ESCORT ED) * − C
28 I(AN’S) ERYNGOS SEIGNORY * − I
31 M(AY)an ELANET (m)AN in (E + LET)
34 se(A E)ar EARLS L(emon) in SEAR *
37 (HO)spice APNEA CANAPÉ * − C(hilli)
38 (US) SARI IS < around AR
40 (MAN) OMBÚ MB in (O + U)
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