1. You'll know what they are by the mess they are in! (8) - o - i - e - s.
2. A circuit in arrears (6) l - p - e - . could it be lapses
3. Bearing down as one, they bear much in common ( 5,2,1,7),
thanks silly boy and jim c. You are probably right jim c about lapped. didn't see that but it is so obvious. I had soldiers down for "you'll know what they are by the mess etc" thinking mess as in the army context but that was thrown out by other clues. thanks again
Jolan, apologies for misleading you and all other forum contributors, I hadn't altered my original answer so yes my o was wrong. you are right, officers does fit it and completes my crossword, many thanks