To bring you up to date: my sense is that the British use clever the way Americans use smart or intelligent or bright. The traditional American clever is a more limited honorific; it seems to be implicity preceded by the word merely and suggests a facility with puns or puzzles.
But things are changing. The latest indication that clever is reaching NOOB status is this line from a David Sedaris interview in today’s New York Times:
“I was a judge for this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, so until very recently I was reading essays written by clever high school students.”
Mark my words, it’s a comer.