Cut short, left work (3)
I believe the answer is:
Here is my best explanation:
'cut' is the definition.
(lopping is a kind of cutting)
'short left work' is the subsidiary indication.
'short' says to take the initial letters.
'work' becomes 'op' (common abbreviation for 'opus').
The first letter of 'left' is 'l'.
(Other definitions for lop that I've seen before include "Chop (off)", "Cut away branches or twigs", "Cut off, tree branches say", "Cut (e.g. branch off)", "Hack", "Remove branches from a tree", "Cut off the top" and "Prune, cut the top off".)