July 5th, 2020

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Mephisto 3122 - And not just any island....

I found this one rather difficult, and needed considerable help from Chambers after filling in about 80% of the entries using only what I know.   Some of the literals were a little tricky, although I am gradually getting used to the more allusive style that can sometimes appear.   These setters do want to fool you, don't they?   But in the end, if there is only one possible answer, then you'll have to think about the cryptic a little.

1 Nick, American talks nonsense on reflection (4)
SMUG - GUMS backward, evidently an Americanism.   Both nick and smug have secondary meanings of steal.
4 City arrest brings elation (8)
ECSTASIS - E.C. + STATIS, our favor postcode.
9 Guys love small white fish from Canada (8)
MENOMINI - MEN + O + MINI, not hard to construct, but a bit hard to believe.
11 Passage about say, Manila Bay island (10)
12 Ring employers right away for soft tissues (8)
CALLUSES - CALL USE[r]S, with the literal referring to the bone-healing meaning.
15 French opera with female replacing male in short cape (5)
FANON - (-m,+F)ANON.   There aren't too many five-letter French operas that contain an M
16 Upset fish in tin (6)
17 Stuff found in wee oldie working outside close to Aberdeen (6)
INDOLE - Anagram of OLDIE about [aberdee}N, a class of chemicals, some of which can be found in urine.
18 Eastern bosun using second compass back to front (6)
SERANG - S + RANGE with the E moved from the back to the front, biffable for many solvers.
20 Quiet for minute in Greek province leads to poem over there (6)
NOSTOS - Fortunately, I just biffed this one.   It probably has something to do with Nestos, but I can't see how the clue is telling you to substitute an O for an E.  Your turn.  It is actually nomos with the M changed to ST.   Nomos is the Greek form of nome, and can mean a field, a division or a province.
23 Doctor about right to get pellet (5)
PRILL - P(R)ILL, where the doctor meaning of pill comes right after the disagreeable person meaning in Chambers - makes you wonder?
25 Discern disrupting end, hard going for tyrant's territory (8)
26 Accountant with mobile on street, oddly scary and perverse (10)
CAMSTEERIE -  CA + M + ST + EERIE, a really tricky one leading to a rather obscure Scottish word.
27 Bury around goal get weaker as before (8)
INTENDER - INT(END)ER, an  easy cryptic, at least.
28 One boring female endlessly formal, hating men (8)
29 Source of herbs mentioned, Australian to the end (4)
SIDA -  SAID with the A for Australian advanced to the end.   This is also the Spanish acronym for AIDS, so watch out for that.
1 Mike in bed succeeded getting hearty kisses (6)
2 Main theatre play about old man perhaps (11)
METATHERIAN - Anagram of MAIN THEATRE, where the old man is evidently a kangeroo.
3 Work on familiar flower for Edmund (5)
GOOLD - GO + OLD, the marigold, for Spenser.
4 Dash out of bounds, demurely somehow (6, two words)
EM-RULE - anagram of [d]EMUREL[y].
5 Cut calls with contemptuous looks (9)
6 Revolving index, one left on island — dash! (6)
ALIDAD - A + L + I + DAD.   Dad in the sense of throw or thump.
7 Leaders in Sun introduce mean comment in the margin (8)
SIDENOTE - S[un] I[ntroduce} + DENOTE.
8 Motion enters race for an English poet (6)
STRENE - Anagram of ENTERS. I was thinking how can the definition be in the middle of the clue, and then I saw how to take it.  It's not difficult to guess which poet, either.
10 Stop second entry before revised date agreed (11)
HOMOLOGATED -  HO + MO + LOG + anagram of DATE, where ho! is the equivalent of avast! on the sea.
13 Unique Close for limited accommodation (9)
SINGLE-END - SINGLE END, a one-room accomodation in Scotland, but a valve amplifier design here in the US.
14 Display set up in US plant for flyers (8)
CARIAMAS -  CA(AIR backwards)MAS, also known as the red-legged seriema.
18 US department store's taken up surrounding parking for surveillance device (6)
SPYCAM - MACY(P)S backwards, a write-in for US solvers.
19 Water plant is surrounded by essence (6)
ALISMA - AL(IS)MA, essence as in soul.
21 Very large victim for fish-eating bird (6)
OSPREY - O.S PREY....a chestnut in Mephisto? Zounds!
22 Lecherous female posed with younger adult (6)
24 Look at entry to Sainsbury’s for lunchbox (5)
LOINS - LO + IN + S[aintsbury's], but you'd better have the right slang meaning of lunchbox in mind.