### Puzzle explanation

The key to completing each of the four sub-grids is the need to have a pair of six-letter answers starting with the same letter. There are few such pairs and once each is used, two further six-letter answers are removed from the stock available for other sub-grids. The alphabetical order of the answers also helps identify and solve these key clues. As the stock of answers diminishes, one can guess where some of the shorter answers may lie, giving further feedback from the sub-grids.

Once these sub-grids are complete, there are 24 possible ways in which they could be arranged. Only one of these provides a sensible message reading across the rows: the start of the students’ song Gaudeamus igitur, / Juvenes dum sumus (Let us then rejoice, / While we are young), which can be found in several sources, including the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable; the first two words are in the main part of The Chambers Dictionary.

### Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

ALATE A + LATE
AMID A + MID(den)
ANTI AN + TI
ASPEN ASP + EN
BARITE BARITONE – ON
BASALT SALT after BA
CELLS Two definitions; laura (not the proper name) is a group of cells
CUBEB BE (bill of exchange) in CUB
DEED DELAYED (Spenserian) – LAY
DOSI-DO DO AS I DO – A
DUELS DU + ELS
DUETT DUE + TT
DUMB DU + MB
EANS PAEANS – PA; drop as in “give birth” by animal
ECHOER (CHEER + O)*
EVENLY EVELYN with N earlier
FOLLY JOLLY with F for J
GEISER G + (RE + SYE) <
IDLING ID + LING
IGOR I + GO + R; reference Borodin’s Prince Igor
INCOME INCO(g) + ME (also known as chronic fatigue sydrome)
INLET IN + LET
JEMMY Two definitions
JUVE JIVE with U (homophone) for I
MUST Two definitions
NEBRIS N + (d)EBRIS
NESSUS NESS + US
ONYXES SEXY NO*
RACER RACIER – I
RISPS SIR < + PS
SESE SEE about S; sese, a variant of sessa, a Shakespearean interjection
SITS ON IT in SONS*
SKEGGS SKEGGERS – (E + R)
SLOE SLOPE – P(iste)
SLUSH S + LUSH
SMEES S + SEEM <
SNEBS SNOBS with E for O
SNEE Hidden
SOFTAS SOFT + AS
STOL STOLIDLY – IDLY
SULCI Hidden, reversed
TRUTHY (Y + HURT) < about T(ooth)
TURN TURNCOAT – COAT
USER US + ER
USURE U + SURE
YEGG (dodg)Y + EGG