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QC 1335 by Joker

Another very brief visit from me this week as this solve and blog were squeezed into the early morning fog in the middle of a packed bank holiday weekend of entertainment and general feeding and watering of both sides and three generations of the astartedon family over Easter.

FOI was 10A. LOI was 8A. I was thinking IMMORALLY if you see what I mean, and was beginning to doubt my ability to spell when it wouldn't fit. That must be my COD as well. Took me just under 10 minutes while dealing with a lot of other stuff (see above) so I think it was probably pretty straightforward for most people. Good mix of clues, with only one anagram as far as I can see, with a hardly a ripple in the hyaline surfaces. Thank you Joker for a skilfull Monday-morning composition.

Definitions are underlined as usual and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage. NATRAF did not even give a flicker although there were some interesting combinations of words that I might have commented on had I had but world enough and time.

7 Secret language of fish — English? (4)
CODE - COD (fish) + E (English).
8 Unethically taking a medicine initially by mouth (8)
AMORALLY - A + M (medicine initially) + ORALLY (by mouth).
9 Fix up couple again (6)
REPAIR - RE-PAIR (couple again).
10 Dull field study (6)
LEADEN - LEA (field) + DEN (study).
11 Roman sea horse (4)
MARE - MARE = sea in Latin.
12 Where batter needs to stand to rise (8)
INCREASE - in cricket the batsman, or batter, stands IN the CREASE.
15 Uncalled for to provoke Nazi police (8)
NEEDLESS - NEEDLE (provoke) + SS (Schutzstaffel, Hitler's notorious bodyguard and special police force).
17 Bivalve left in river (4)
CLAM - L (left) in CAM (river).
18 Go along with sector changes (6)
ESCORT - straight anagram ('changes') of SECTOR.
21 Noticed big ship in Mediterranean (6)
MARKED - the ARK was a big ship, and here it is 'in' the MED(iterranean).
22 Concerned with large ship round cape that goes flat out (8)
RECLINER - RE (concerned with) + LINER (another large ship) 'round' C (cape).
23 Endlessly examine horses at breeding farm (4)
STUD - STUDy 'endlessly'.
1 All the press reports Conservative too old? (8)
COVERAGE - C (conservative) + OVER AGE (too old).
2 Discussion with girlfriend, perhaps about English book (6)
DEBATE - DATE (girlfriend, perhaps) 'about' E (English) + B (book).
3 Very fine hotel supported by British Airways? (8)
HAIRLINE - H (hotel) 'supported by' (in this DOWN clue) AIRLINE (British Airways? - the interrogation mark is because alternative airlines are available).
4 Bird, female bird (4)
FOWL - F (female) + OWL (bird).
5 Is able to copy small snack (6)
CANAPE - CAN (is able) + APE (to copy).
6 Bill used regularly to be sad (4)
BLUE - BiLl UsEd 'regularly' = BLUE.
13 Just after money for expensive fabric (8)
CASHMERE - MERE (just in the sense of 'only') 'after' CASH (money).
14 Spies finally remove surveillance (5-3)
STAKE-OUT - S (spieS 'finally') + TAKE OUT (remove).
16 Error removed from V-1 missile sketch (6)
DOODLE - DOODLEBUG (nickname for the V-1 missile during WWII) with BUG (error (in computer programming)) removed.
17 Dead body of rook in a group of trees (6)
CORPSE - R (rook as in chess piece) 'in' COPSE (group of trees).
19 Oven-cooked dish starts to smoke the embarrassing way (4)
STEW - intial letters of ('starts to') Smoke The Embarrassing Way.
20 Some unfortunate fish (4)
TUNA - hidden word: unforTUNAte.