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Welcome to 2015! Since I have way too much work to do before term restarts, obviously I will distract myself with a crossword...

To compensate for the loss of half of the clues, the editor has inserted (in an appropriate order) an extra letter in each of the remaining clues (most of which didn’t make much sense). One clued answer is a seldom used variant spelling given in Collins

  • 14ac: AMNION [Q]: Man with no IQ ruptured a membrane (6): *(MAN NO I)
  • 15ac: ELEGY [J]: Jon replaces Victor and Elizabeth in every song (5): EVERY - V(ictor) - ER (Elizabeth) + LEG (on)
  • 17ac: BODLE [C]: Coign initially discovered in earthy clay (5): D(iscovered) in BOLE (earthy clay)
  • 20ac: GROATS [L]: Crushed grain about to be eaten by calves (6): A(bout) in GROTS (caves)
  • 22ac: LOLLARD [H]: Lines are penned by shire layabout (7): LL (lines) A(re) in LORD (sire)
  • 26ac: EGIS [V]: Give wayward son protection (4): *(GIE) + S(one)
  • 37ac: MANX [T]: The unknown language (4): MAN (he) + X (unknown)
  • 38ac: ROSCIAN [R]: Osric ran off like a great actor (7): *(OSRIC AN)
  • 40ac: PRISSY [E]: Prime Minister finally is trapped by foreign spy (6): (ministe)R + IS in *(SPY)
  • 45ac: KYLOE [X]: Narrow passage concealing ox, one of MacDonald’s cattle: KYLE (narrow passage) around O
  • 46ac: NOREEN [F]: Irish girl definitely not free before November (6): NO (definitely not) + REE + N(ovember)
  • 48ac: OSTIARY [N]: Doorkeeper went back into very large yard (7): RAIT (wet) reversed in OS (very large) Y(ard)
  • 2dn: UGLY [K]: Ill-natured guy knew about inductance (4): *(GUY) around L (inductance)
  • 3dn: BAGDAD [Y]: Father is south of pokey city on the Tigris (6): DAD (father) under BAG (poke)
  • 4dn: EMYS [U]: Emu’s devouring 150 terrapins (4): EMS around Y (150)
  • 5dn: CALLS [I]: Cities entirely in constant sun (5): ALL (entirely) in C(onstant) S(un)
  • 8dn: TOOTLE [C]: Cat let loose after ordinary drive (6): TO (at) + O(rdinary) + *(LET)
  • 11dn: EMENDS [W]: Chaps extremely dolourous following the end of Julie Walters (6): MEN (chaps) + D(olorou)S after (juli)E
  • 21dn: T-REX [D]: Popular group tenor supported by driver and former partner (4, two words): T(enor) + R(iver) + EX (former partner)
  • 25dn: BRER [B]: Branch initially exposed by bright American relative (4): BR(anch) + E(xposed) + R(ight)
  • 28dn: ECOMAPS [M]: Interaction diagrams come out before spam is broadcast (7): *(COME) + *(SPA)
  • 29dn: TRAILER [O]: Doorkeeper taking in good film extract (7): TILER (doorkeeper) around RA (god)
  • 33dn: ERINGO [A]: Earth around old candied root (6): E(arth) RING (round) O(ld)
  • 34dn: OCTROI [S]: Dusty fellow leaves Corfiot in a mess (6): *(CORFIOT) - F(ellow)
  • 37dn: MINYAN [P]: Many pin up at least ten men (6): *(MANY IN)
  • 42dn: EKKA [Z]: Horse-drawn carriage accommodating two kings in eastern zone (4): KK (two kings) in E(astern) A (one)

Fairly quickly it occurred to me to count the clues, and having done that and noticed that there were 26 of them, it wasn’t too hard to guess what was going on. It took a little while to drop the idea of just using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, but with .XY.E. in the grid that was pretty untenable, and then the natural (second) interpretation of the crossword title “Shortness of Clues” (Pólya: Did you use all the data?) came to light: the extra letters were the clues, in order, of the missing entries.

  • Q (6): QUEBEC
  • J (7): JUSTICE
  • G (4): GRAM
  • L (4): LEFT
  • H (4): HARD
  • V (4): VERB
  • T (5): TENSE
  • R (5): ROMEO
  • E (4): ECHO
  • X (4): XRAY
  • F (4): FINE
  • N (5): NAIRI
  • K (4): KAON
  • Y (6): YANKEE
  • U (7): UNIFORM
  • I (5): INDIA
  • C (7): CALORIE
  • W (6): WEIGHT
  • D (4): DELE
  • B (4): BORN
  • M (4): MASS
  • O (6): OXYGEN
  • A (4): ANNA
  • S (5): SAINT
  • P (5): PENNY
  • Z (4): ZONE