A few helpful words for solvers of The Nation’s puzzle #3232. We will put hints for beginners further down, so that intermediate and advanced solvers can avoid looking at them.

Hints for everyone:

This puzzle contains possibly unfamiliar entries at 1A, 12A, 18A and 23A.

1A: You can probably guess the word’s ending.

18A and 1D: Each of these clues contains a word that is a verb in the surface reading, but a noun as the definition, or part of the definition.

26A: “Finally, Martha” and “above-average” each supply a single letter. “Washington” supplies two.

7D: This clue references a long-ago movie actor, but it should be solvable even if you haven’t heard of him.

Hints for beginners:

9A, 23A, 1D, 14D, and 24D are charades. 5D is also a charade, but it is clued as a whole phrase.

6A: What item is proverbially sharp?

25A: Think Roman numerals.

22D: “Exalting,” in a down clue, can indicate a reversal.

Need more hints? Just ask!