The Down clues are ‘normal’ and solvers may wish to start with them in order to obtain checking letters which will help when you look at the Across clues. All the Across clues have definitions that lead to a solution that is one letter too long. This letter should be omitted before the solution is entered into the grid - the entries will be real words, some more well-known than others, and the wordplay matches the solution to be entered. To help you get started, the definition is in bold in the first five Across clues.
In clue order the omitted letters form a festive message which is fairly obvious once you know that the enumeration is 5,9,4,3,3,7 and writing these letters alongside each clue will definitely help you solve some of the trickier clues.
In order to assist solvers, the ‘dictionary’ words in the Down solutions have the definition emboldened in the clue. In addition, three further Across clues have their definitions in bold where either the definition or wordplay (but not both) leads to an unfamiliar word.