Crossword 800 answers and explanations

by David Tossman / 22 December, 2012
Inoculations and sniggers
I am not one to pooh-pooh political correctness in all its forms. The phrase covers a multitude of usages from gross euphemisms and clunky lumps of officialese to what could be called politeness or good manners.

“Loony bin” (in the clue for 16 across) was never a “nice” term. It really seems to be a form of dysphemism: in this instance an old way of avoiding some grim reality by humorous rudeness. Dysphemism thus serves the same avoidance function as euphemism.

None of the dictionaries I have to hand note the term loony bin as offensive – slang is the worst they call it. Nevertheless I would not want to risk offending anyone today by using the term loony bin in conversation with strangers. One of the small pleasures of setting cryptic clues, however, is the occasional chance to transgress with innocence. In the clue here, “loony” is used as an anagram indicator and “bin” is the anagram fodder.

In Landfall 200, back in November 2000, Nick Ascroft wrote about some of my similarly slightly transgressive clues thus: "These digressions of subject matter are quite incidental to the downs and acrosses, the actual meat and bone structure of the crossword – and thus they’re neatly inoculated against impudence. They’re merely the means to a word, and grandmothers and puritans alike can allow themselves a little snigger.”

 Across Answers and CluesExplanations
Upstart shows damage having past-its-use-by-date cocaine around (5-4)damage = MAR inside past-its-use-by-date = STALE + cocaine = C
Perhaps a major bid � about 99 (7)bid = OFFER, 99 = IC (see note re cryptic crossword conventions)
Blog in error: a Tolkeinian grotesque perhaps dwarfish in size (6)Anagram of BLOG IN
Do-it-yourself, that's about right for cheating (5)Do-it-yourself = DIY, right = RT
Not often right and early to change (6)right = R + anagram of EARLY
Refer to a part of the book for a leaky building phenomenon (7)Charade, SEE PAGE
Hollow men with mysterious incomes memorising gimmicks (9)Hollow men = MN + anagram of INCOMES
Military service member at the end of the day (4)member = ARM, end of the day = Y
Playwright with set unfinished in the loony bin (5)set unfinished = SE contained by anagram of BIN
Artist bloke embraces you finally thus, and I (8)bloke = MAN, you finally = U, thus = SIC, and I
These euro exchanges develop a branch structure (4,5)anagram of THESE EURO
Any person with an impressive physique? (8)as in "that is quite some body!"
Leotard I redesigned, made-to-measure (8)Anagram of LEOTARD I
Go furtively to spy UFOs in disguise (9)Anagram of TO SPY UFOS
A political troublemaker stirs the dirty laundry (8)Double definition
Water nymph in Eketahuna I admired (5)hidden word, Eketahu NA I Ad mired
By Jove, the canal goes the wrong way (4)reversal of SUEZ
Tighten up, making prisoners undergo instruction (9)prisoners = CONS, undergo instruction = TRAIN
Puny people shirk endlessly being fiddled about with by politicians (7)Anagram of SHIR (shirk endlessly), politicians = MPS
Plagiarist: someone who manages despite difficulties to take one in (6)someone who manages despite difficulties = COPER, one = I
At home with you and me English is employed (2,3)at homes = IN, you and me = US, English = E
Plead for change at year's end from a drug dealer (6)Anagram of PLEAD + year's end = R
Clutch or hang around bad characters (7)HANG containing anagram of BAD
George arranged a tulip too (9)Anagram of A TULIP TOO.
 Down Answers and CluesExplanations
Provide support for placing footprints around the poles (7)footprints = SPOOR, poles = NS
Be that as it may, everyone is in excellent health (3,4,4)Double definition
A place in Waikato (Ngaruawahia) and the Pacific Ocean (5)Hidden word, Waika TONGA ruawahia
Books that require keeping right in the shelves (7)right = R, shelves = LEDGES
I end a personal column kinkily specifying a location east of Auckland (10,9)Anagram of A PERSONAL COLUMN
Devices for taking breathers in monk's gay sex romp (6,5)Anagram of MONKS GAY SEX
Say a number leave and you have to give up (5)Say a number = sounds like four, leave = GO
I with a club follow an ace perhaps � of hearts? Certainly (7)I with a club = IAC, an ace perhaps = CARD
Luxury car wheels (5)Double definition
Be left at home with this woman and that thing (7)at home = IN, this woman = HER, that thing = IT
Work someday for a dog (7)Anagram of SOMEDAY
Scrutinise the books of a university department with computer science (5)a university = AU, department = D, computer science = IT
The plucky sound of many Americans (5)Cryptic definition
Drunk eating stew; it's a task (11)Anagram of DRUNK EATING
Bored male perturbed about New Zealand Olympic award (6,5)Anagram of BORED MALE containing New Zealand = NZ
Stress one isn't composed (7)Anagram of ONE ISNT
A fly gets quietly inside to take a good look (7)A fly = INSECT, quietly = P
Social climber is put out about a celebrity (7)Anagram of PUT containing celebrity = STAR
Material for the clergy (5)Double definition
Pound part of a Heath-Robinson device (5)Hidden word, Hea TH ROB inson
Tear from a little Rhode Island red setter perhaps (3,2)Rhode Island = RI, little ... red setter = PUP.
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