1 After circulating papers, sound preoccupied (8)
DISTRAIT - Papers=ID reversed plus sound (as in Nantucket Sound)=STRAIT. Some pronounce it a la Francaise as if it were spelled "distray".
5 Extremely minute number dropping ecstasy (6)
MIGHTY - M=minute (as in minnit not mynewt) plus [e]IGHTY. Tricky.
8 Account for where something used to be (10)
EXPOSITION - Double Definition. EX=used-to-be and POSITION.
9 Complains unofficially about limiting responsibility (4)
ONUS - Hidden in [complain]S UNO[ficially], reversed (about).
10 No quarrels recollected with dead officer (8,6)
SQUADRON LEADER - Anagram of NO QUARRELS and DEAD.
11 Smallest and narrowest central US state - one annoying person describes (7)
POKIEST - OK (Oklahoma) plus 1 surrounding by PEST.
13 Cops making visits (5,2)
COMES BY - Double definition. COPS as in gets or takes.
15 Time in which uniform's no good for nurse (7)
HARBOUR - HOUR=time surrounding [g]ARB=uniform. As in nursing a grudge. Another tricky one.
18 Funny man's name withheld from criminal (7)
GAGSTER - Remove the N (name) from GANGSTER.
21 Supporter pursuing claim in expert fashion (14)
PROFESSIONALLY - Claim=PROFESSION with ALLY=supporter.
22 One brief moment - almost rejected republic (4)
FIJI - 1 JIF[fy] reversed (rejected). Took me a while to nail which 4-letter republic it could be (Iran, Iraq, Eire etc).
23 Headline: "Drug given backing by policemen" (3,3,4)
TOP THE BILL - The other kind of headline - the verb. POT=drug reversed with THE BILL=policemen. I was slow to cop this one.
24 Facing archdeacon, fellow appears powerless (6)
VENEER - VEN (as in venerable which seems to be the way an archeacon is supposed to be addressed or referred to) and [p]EER=fellow, as in a jury of one's peers. The only archdeacon I know is in Trollope.
25 Turn, heading for exit, during boring comedy (8)
DROLLERY - This took some doing too. ROLL=turn plus E[xit] contained in DRY=boring. I think we had "droll" meaning "bizarre" just recently.
1 Coercion, you, say, escaped from with revolting disguise (5,2)
DRESS UP - D[u]RESS=coercion minus the U (you) and UP=in revolt.
2 Dupes flier we hear looking for bugs (9)
SAPSUCKER - Two dupes, a SAP and a SUCKER giving us the bird (flier). It's a kind of North American woodpecker apparently that taps into trees and feeds on the sap (maple syrup anyone?) and insects there. I don't see a homophone so not sure where "we hear" comes in unless it's something to do with "flier" vs "flyer". Or it may be redundant....
3 Remains on team holding United in second half (7)
RESIDUE - RE=on plus SIDE=team containing U.
4 Elected left-winger welcomes one piece of church music (7)
INTROIT - We've had this quite recently. IN=elected. TROT=leftie containing 1.
5 State of the old lady full of tensionafter breakdown (9)
MINNESOTA - MA=old lady (oh dear) holding an anagram of TENSION.
6 Northern chap say will turn on soldiers before long (7)
GEORDIE - Chap from Newcastle or thereabouts. GE=say reversed OR=soldiers (other ranks) and DIE=long (for).
7 In never-ending race feel sorry for part of body (4,3)
TRUE RIB - RUE=feel sorry for contained in TRIB[e]=race. "True" because it's one of the pairs attached to the sternum.
12 Resentful about sweet found in bits in hat (9)
SOU'WESTER - Anagram of SWEET contained in SOUR=resentful. The non indication of the apostrophe was no problem here, but sometimes it can be very confusing when it's a French term (coup d'etat) or an Irish playwright, and is clued as a single unbroken word (which it always seems to be or it would probably be too easy).
14 Subordinate position receives a command (9)
SATELLITE - SITE=position contains A TELL (a command).
16 Inform judge, ignoring second of answers (7)
APPRISE - APPR[a]ISE dropping the second A (answer).
17 Platitude from bishop, I had seen visiting capital (6)
BROMIDE - B=bishop plus I'D (I had) inside ROME (capital).
18 Cheat in America runs into present queen (7)
GRIFTER - US con artist. R[uns] in GIFT=present with ER=queen. Dovetails with the nameless gangster in 18a.
19 Terribly polite word on The Weald, oddly enough (7)
GENTEEL - GEN=word (info) plus T[h]E [w]E[a]L[d]. Nothing to do with a famous feature of the S.E. counties.
20 Two boys getting extremely timely payment (7)
ROYALTY - The lads ROY and AL getting together with T[imel]Y. Do the setters receive these for their work or is it all the property of their employer?