February 17th, 2021

Times 27903 - "I'm into something good".

Nothing exceptional, for me, in this puzzle, apart from what I think is a clueing error in 1d (see below). 20 minutes to do and parse, then look up 8a afterwards to see who he was, and reminisce about Peter Noone and his Hermits.EDIT it appears I was incorrect about 1d and had mis-worked the anagrist, so apologies to setter and editor for invoking a booboo.

EDIT I foolishly tried to edit a bit on my phone and now the HTML has gone haywire, introduced a big gap between Across and Down clues, but I can't see why it has appeared or any errors; please bear with it, or let me know what needs changing to fix it.

1 Savoury jelly originally served in a popular film (5)
ASPIC - A, PIC (popular film) insert S from served.
4 Lie by river accommodating alien Yankee craft (8)
BASKETRY - BASK (lie), ET (alien) by R(iver) Y(ankee).
8 Old French monk? He’s involved with their tempter! (5,3,6)
PETER THE HERMIT - (HE THEIR TEMPTER)*. I had to look up this chap after solving the anagram, Pierre l'Ermite was an eleventh century monk from Amiens who went on the First Crusade and came back. L'Ermite was most likely his surname, he wasn't a troglodyte.
10 Practised parking English undertaker’s vehicle in road (9)
11 Retired teacher greeting Hindu sage (5)
RISHI - SIR reversed, HI. Rishi is a Vedic term for "enlightened one", good to know; Mr Sunak for one.
12 Singer reversed test, having ultimately scant appeal (6)
TOMTIT - MOT (annual car test) reversed, T (end of scant) IT (appeal).
14 Split from company at first, taking holiday, pocketing a grand (8)
CLEAVAGE - C(ompany), LEAVE, insert A G.
17 Tirade in Irish islands ultimately scathing in tone (8)
HARANGUE - HUE = tone, insert ARAN (Irish islands) and G from end of scathing.
18 University originally paying part of castle’s running costs (6)
UPKEEP - U, P(aying), KEEP (part of castle).
20 Plankton: prey rorquals principally swallowed (5)
KRILL - prey = KILL, insert R(orquals).
22 Colleague’s wife teacher stumbled over first (9)
BEDFELLOW - B.Ed (teacher) FELL (stumbled) O(ver) W(ife).
24 Final, formal brushoff for Augustus or Gwen? (4,4,6)
DEAR JOHN LETTER - Reference to Augustus and Gwen John, brother and sister artists.
25 Learners of French involved in daring escapades (8)
STUDENTS - DE (of in French) inside STUNTS.
26 Astute waif initially avoided scrap (5)
SHRED - SHREWD (astute) loses the W of waif.

1 Communist administrators that endlessly pack Paris, oddly (12)
APPARATCHIKS - anagram of THA PARIS PACK. Not THAT PARIS PAC as I initially proposed.
2Playing area perfect for some musicians (5)
PITCH - double definition; play on a pitch, have perfect pitch meaning have the ability to recognise or create a note without a reference tone.
3Bloomer in motor race (9)
CARNATION - CAR (motor) NATION (race).
4Most advisable to accept the governor’s command (6)
BEHEST - Insert HE (His Excellency) into BEST (most advisable).
5Agenda revolutionary Law Lord set up in Home Counties (8)
SCHEDULE - CHE (Guevara) and LUD reversed inside SE (South East of England).
6Wrongdoing of troublesome brat the head expelled (5)
ERROR - TERROR loses his T.
7Bring back control say (9)
REINSTATE - REIN (control) STATE (say).
9Deprived of authority, we’d some pride destroyed (12)
13Slip up in dumbshow, not ignoring Oscar’s mirth (9)
MERRIMENT - ERR in MIME, followed by N(o)T = not ignoring Oscar.
15Sufficiency of drink surrounding politician on loch (9)
AMPLENESS - ALE around MP then Loch NESS.
16Colour of barrel upset by British private (8)
NUTBROWN - TUN reversed, BR(itish), OWN = private.
19Comely youth in farmstead on island (6)
ADONIS - hidden as above.
21Sensational start to lecture union leader delivered (5)
LURID - L(ecture) U(nion) RID = delivered.
23Sell up, leaving island subsequently (5)
LATER - RETAIL = sell, up = LIATER, remove I for island.