June 26th, 2019

Times 27387 - fun and games today. Who said that?

This wasn't the hardest crossword I've blogged in the last five years, but it's close to being the most fun to do; in 24 minutes I had it finished and was parsing a final couple while admiring the setter's wit and ingenuity.
Not being an Old Harrovian, 12a was a guess from being something to do with gypsies, so I checked afterwards, while my being a French resident (soon to be no longer) helped with 13a and 22d as they're everyday words here. There's much to admire, but if I have to pick a favourite, it's 23a for such a smooth, concise surface to give a relevant answer.

1 Critic opinion of the unenlightened? (1,3,4)
A DIM VIEW - Cryptic definition
6 Tricky things to play in piano classes (6)
PRANKS - P(iano), RANKS = classes.
9 Fellow evidently about to drop off vital pump (7,6)
NODDING DONKEY - DON = fellow, KEY = vital; before that NODDING = evidently about to drop off (asleep).
10 New Zealand port, one bringing in logs (6)
NAPIER - Double definition; City in North Island, New Zealand, and John Napier, Scottish peer who 'invented' logarithms.
11 Misleading info put forward by a scoundrel (8)
AGITPROP - a PROP is a rugby forward, placed after A GIT = a scoundrel. I have two pedantic comments to add here; IMO a GIT is an annoying, silly, or unpleasant person, not necessarily as reprehensible as a scoundrel; and AGITPROP as it was in Russia was not intended to be 'misleading', it was a form of politically correct message conveyed in the media in the USSR and now means any form of political propaganda conveyed in art. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agitprop
13 Pants shed, liable to be in this state? (10)
DESHABILLE - (SHED LIABLE) French for undressed, or in a scanty garment.
15 Sandy area close to pool one loved previously? (4)
ALEX - A penny-drop moment clue. A(rea), (poo)L, EX = one loved previously. ALEX and SANDY are both short names for someone called ALEXANDER.
16 Led by boss, regularly put out flags (4)
EBBS - Alternate letters of l E d B y B o S s. Flags, as in 'my energy ebbs towards the end of a slow round of golf.' We hate slow play.
18 Run round in Ireland collecting fresh stock (10)
REPERTOIRE - R(un), EIRE poetic name for Ireland, insert PERT meaning fresh and O for round. R E (PERT O) IRE.
21 To an extent, satirizing aristocratic amateur cricket club (1,7)
I ZINGARI - Hidden word in SATIR (IZING ARI)STOCRATIC. Left with *Z*N*A*I I dimly remembered Zingari was Italian for gypsies and therefore guessed the first letter was I and then saw the hidden answer. If you're not a posh Brit the cricket connection won't mean a lot, you'd have to go here and read it up. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Zingari
22 Macmillan’s preference George, with wonderment, heard (3,3)
JAW JAW -  ... is better than war, war. J sounds here like a soft G for George, and AW sounds like AWE = wonderment. This quote by Harold MacMillan (made on a visit to Australia) is often wrongly attributed to Churchill, e.g. in Finest Hour. His actual remark in Washington in 1954 was "Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war." https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/quotes/quotes-falsely-attributed/
23 One ITV acquire to play a typical local? (5,8)
QUEEN VICTORIA - (ONE TV ACQUIRE TO)*. The Queen Vic is the local pub in East Enders a long-running (and, these days, quite unpleasant to watch IMO) soap opera on British ITV.
25 Come round on time before Easter (6)
RELENT - RE = on, LENT = time before Easter.
26 Guy’s initial dread, meeting leading female criminal (8)
GANGSTER - G (Guy's initial), ANGST (dread), ER = H.M., the leading female.

2 Comic hero’s endless night in Hamlet? (3,4)
DAN DARE - DAR(K) inside DANE.
3 Fabulous sight, mind: a French star at twelve! (8,3)
MIDNIGHT SUN - (SIGHT MIND)* gives you MIDNIGHT S then UN = French for a.
4 Dearer pair relinquished? More reserved (5)
5 Other half of footballer’s story recounted in flyer (7)
WAGTAIL - WAG (one of wives and girlfriends e.g. of footballers) TAIL sounds like TALE.
6 Paid and trained: at any time killings his speciality? (9)
PROFITEER - PRO = paid, not amateur; FIT = trained, E'ER = ever, at any time.
7 Get a load of that missing heroin in old vessel (3)
ARK - HARK loses its H in an East End version, 'get a load of that' being common parlance for listen and/or look at something exceptional.
8 Central theme in books grasped by reformist, mostly (7)
KEYNOTE - KEYNE(S) grasps the OT.
12 Instruction from ref: angry speech that can be ambiguous (4,2,5)
PLAY ON WORDS - The ref may say "PLAY ON" and to 'have words' can mean to exchange angry speech.
14 Stop publication on the web, attracting stick? (3,6)
BAR MAGNET - BAR (stop), MAG (publication), NET (web).
17 One buzzing around organised quiz game (7)
BEZIQUE - BEE goes around (QUIZ)*. A card game for two people, which I did play in my youth (I played them all, on caravan holidays in the rain) and which was also popular with Winston Churchill, apparently.
19 Briefing is formal, stylish and grand (7)
PRIMING - PRIM (formal), IN (stylish), G(rand).
20 ME airline, a casualty of America, turning bitter? (4,3)
REAL ALE - EL AL a Middle East airline, A, ER = American equivalent of Accident & Emergency ward. Reverse it all.
22 Counter from judge upset me, for one (5)
JETON - J(UDGE), NOTE reversed; ME or MI is a note. En France, a (free) jeton is needed to unhook your supermarket chariot from the rack. In UK I think it's a pound coin. I've never heard the word used in England.
24 Old prior to look for an audience (3)
ERE - ERE as in an old word for 'before'. Sounds like AIR = broadcast. Or, as jackkt suggests below, ere sounds like air = look.