Free from fear or favour
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Across: 8 Animal (BEAR) + using (WITH) = BEAR WITH (humour), 9 1st letters (characters facing) words 3-8 = HEAVEN (bliss), 10 Witness (SEE) + reversal (returning) of WAS = SEESAW (yo-yo), 11 Bet (STAKE) being surrounded (hedging…in) by the very slightest (MIN) = MISTAKEN (not right), 12 Have a discussion (TALk) with about (C) replacing potassium (K) = TALC (mineral), 13 Anagram (shockingly) of DINER BIT EAr minus (off) (R)ight = INEBRIATED (drunk), 15 Prepare (KEY, as in a plasterer keying a surface) + record (NOTE) = KEYNOTE (of real importance), 16 Brief form (quickly) of social media (INSTAgram) + students (LL) = INSTALL (set up), 18 Church (CE) + dissenter (REBEL) + inner letters (discovered) of s(LUM)s = CEREBELLUM (a vital part of maintaining stability), 19 A + vote (X)  + IS = AXIS (something pivotal), 20 Supported (STAKED) containing (carrying) on (RE) = STREAKED (with stripes), 22 1st letters (originally) of words 2-4 containing (gathered around) opening of hole (TEE) = ESTEEM (show respect), 23 homophone (audibly) of 4 x says (says again and again and again) = FORCES (railroads) , 24 Dr Diva (I) + homophone  (picked up) of plunge into water (souse) = ICE HOUSE (predecessor to freezer). 
Down: 1 Cryptic definition of GENERAL ELECTION, 2 Squeeze (PRESS) + example of fruit (CONFERENCE, type of pear) = PRESS CONFERENCE (meeting), 3 Anagram (composing) of WITH SILENT = TIN WHISTLE (instrument), 4 Take place (BE) + 1st letter (top of) (R)ostrum following (after) little version of Victor (CHAM)p minus (leaving) quietly (p) = CHAMBER (room), 5 Answer is hidden (to some extent) in treaT HUSband = THUS (like this), 6 Anagram (addles) inserted in (gatecrashes) big (FAT) + Pacino (AL) + ACTION (from the clue) = FATAL ATTRACTION (movie), 7 Anagram (vigorously) of SEE NAIVE LEADERS = VENEREAL DISEASE (clap), 14 Anagram (disturbed) of MURDER + BEEN = RENUMBERED (once more ordered), 17 Former Arab leader (sALADIN) with (D)aughter inserted (admitted) minus 1st letter (taking top off) = ALADDIN (panto), 21 Letter preceding homophone (heard) of why (ie X) is suggesting KISS (this display of affection).