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If you are worried about the squeeze out with yellow glue you likely have not been applying sufficient glue.

There is supposed to be squeeze out. Ideally a nice even bead all around the joint. I rarely get even, but I do want to see squeeze out.

The yellow glues clean up with water. I allow the recommended clamping time, then remove the clamps, clean off the excess with scraper and then a wet sponge. As long as you do not wait too long the wet sponge will remove all of the excess glue and future staining should not be a problem.

Lots of ways to spread the glue. Brush, scrap of wood, screwdriver.

These days I like to use the silicon brushes. Easy to remove even hardened glue and not expensive.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2085016/38913/Silicone-Glue-Brush-1.aspx

I would not try the blind nail method for aligning the strips. Too much work, they could end up causing clamping issues.

Rout a groove, e.g., 1/4in wide x 1/8in deep on the edge of the plywood and then rout two complimentary rabbits on the edge pieces. This will provide easy alignment and improve strength of the joint to hold the strips.
 
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