Sorry for the lateness of the blog, by the way. I’m usually a little more prepared, so please help me out with typos etc.
7. Circle of light in house occupied by a learner (4)
HALO - house (HO) occupied by a (A) and learner (L).
8. Originator of map, extraordinary creator! (8)
MERCATOR - anagram (extraordinary) of CREATOR [with thanks to Flashman - plus the origin of (M)ap which makes this an great &lit clue]. The Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator came up with a map in 1569 which became the standard map projection for navigation because of its unique property of representing any course of constant bearing as a straight segment.
9. Sailor needs to understand what's to be aimed at (6)
TARGET - sailor (TAR), understand (GET - get it?).
10. Muddled along in crazy English party (4,2)
MADE DO - crazy (MAD), English (E), party (DO).
11. Demeanour of fellows around one (4)
MIEN - fellows (MEN) around one (I).
12. I attempt to go after gang buccaneering (8)
BANDITRY - I attempt (I TRY) after gang (BAND).
15. Most miserable payment gets sanctioned (8)
FEEBLEST - payment (FEE), sanctioned (BLEST).
17. Drink making dame drunk (4)
MEAD - anagram (drunk) of DAME.
18. Pair facing first sign of danger — and ready for it? (6)
BRACED - pair (BRACE), (D)anger.
21. With patterned cloth returned, get reimbursed (6)
REPAID - well, repaid had to be the answer which is DIAPER returned (backwards). Having now looked it up, a diaper, as well as being a nappy, is a woven pattern on fabric consisting of a small repeating design, esp diamonds.
22. Words of congratulation and praise in lowly situations? (8)
PLAUDITS - praise (LAUD) in lowly situations (PITS).
23. Endeavour to have meeting with king (4)
SEEK - have meeting with (SEE), king (K).
1. Military building for weaponry featured in periodical (8)
MAGAZINE - double definition.
2. Welsh pirate and maiden wanting something played at wedding? (6)
MORGAN - Maiden (M), something played at wedding (ORGAN). Further background reading - Sir Henry Morgan, or today famous as Captain Morgan, the face of the brand of spiced rum with the same name was a Welsh privateer, landowner and, later, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. He was born in 1635 in Llanrhymny in Wales.
3. Boast of conceited person, competent and worthy of being copied? (8)
IMITABLE - boast of conceited person (I'M IT!), competent (ABLE). I liked this one.
4. Short walk — so you won't need this? (4)
TRAM - LOI as I didn’t think of short walk = (TRAM)p for a while and without the answer you can’t see what the 'so you won’t need this?' is all about. This looks like a cryptic come &lit clue and rates my COD.
5. Some dissembling and hiding political leader (6)
GANDHI - some of dissemblin(G AND HI)ding.
6. Congregation is female and not young (4)
FOLD - female (F), not young (OLD).
13. Naughty truant is one going round in birthday suit (8)
NATURIST - anagram (naughty) of TRUANT IS.
14. Madrid team, fantastic side brought into being (8)
REALISED - (REAL) Madrid, anagram (fantastic) of SIDE. They can be quite a fantastic football team at times - their player wage bill is certainly fantastic.
16. Like a boxer ready to fight again, getting support (4,2)
BACK UP - double definition. A boxer has to get back up from the canvass to be ready to fight again/support.
17. Dejected male — work is hard (6)
MOPISH - male (M), work (OP), is (IS), hard (H). Mopish turns out to be another term for mopey which means dejected/gloomy.
19. Sport the French dominate (4)
RULE - sport (RU - Rugby Union), the in French (LE).
20. Ineffectual person provides daughter with final message? (4)
DRIP - Daughter (D), final message (R.I.P.). A final piece of digging - R.I.P. is written on gravestones and expresses the hope that the person buried there may rest in peace (yes, I knew this but) - R.I.P. is an abbreviation for the Latin expression 'requiescat in pace' or 'requiescant in pace' (which I didn’t and maybe should have).