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
1SMART-ALEC
Upstart shows damage having past-its-use-by-date cocaine around (5-4)damage = MAR inside past-its-use-by-date = STALE + cocaine = C
6OFFICER
Perhaps a major bid � about 99 (7)bid = OFFER, 99 = IC (see note re cryptic crossword conventions)
10GOBLIN
Blog in error: a Tolkeinian grotesque perhaps dwarfish in size (6)Anagram of BLOG IN
11DIRTY
Do-it-yourself, that's about right for cheating (5)Do-it-yourself = DIY, right = RT
12RARELY
Not often right and early to change (6)right = R + anagram of EARLY
13SEEPAGE
Refer to a part of the book for a leaky building phenomenon (7)Charade, SEE PAGE
14MNEMONICS
Hollow men with mysterious incomes memorising gimmicks (9)Hollow men = MN + anagram of INCOMES
15ARMY
Military service member at the end of the day (4)member = ARM, end of the day = Y
16IBSEN
Playwright with set unfinished in the loony bin (5)set unfinished = SE contained by anagram of BIN
17MUSICIAN
Artist bloke embraces you finally thus, and I (8)bloke = MAN, you finally = U, thus = SIC, and I
20TREE HOUSE
These euro exchanges develop a branch structure (4,5)anagram of THESE EURO
22SOMEBODY
Any person with an impressive physique? (8)as in "that is quite some body!"
24TAILORED
Leotard I redesigned, made-to-measure (8)Anagram of LEOTARD I
25PUSSYFOOT
Go furtively to spy UFOs in disguise (9)Anagram of TO SPY UFOS
26AGITATOR
A political troublemaker stirs the dirty laundry (8)Double definition
28NAIAD
Water nymph in Eketahuna I admired (5)hidden word, Eketahu NA I Ad mired
30ZEUS
By Jove, the canal goes the wrong way (4)reversal of SUEZ
32CONSTRAIN
Tighten up, making prisoners undergo instruction (9)prisoners = CONS, undergo instruction = TRAIN
34SHRIMPS
Puny people shirk endlessly being fiddled about with by politicians (7)Anagram of SHIR (shirk endlessly), politicians = MPS
36COPIER
Plagiarist: someone who manages despite difficulties to take one in (6)someone who manages despite difficulties = COPER, one = I
37IN USE
At home with you and me English is employed (2,3)at homes = IN, you and me = US, English = E
38PEDLAR
Plead for change at year's end from a drug dealer (6)Anagram of PLEAD + year's end = R
39HANDBAG
Clutch or hang around bad characters (7)HANG containing anagram of BAD
40AUTOPILOT.
George arranged a tulip too (9)Anagram of A TULIP TOO.
 Down Answers and CluesExplanations
1SPONSOR
Provide support for placing footprints around the poles (7)footprints = SPOOR, poles = NS
2ALL VERY WELL
Be that as it may, everyone is in excellent health (3,4,4)Double definition
3TONGA
A place in Waikato (Ngaruawahia) and the Pacific Ocean (5)Hidden word, Waika TONGA ruawahia
4LEDGERS
Books that require keeping right in the shelves (7)right = R, shelves = LEDGES
5COROMANDEL PENINSULA
I end a personal column kinkily specifying a location east of Auckland (10,9)Anagram of A PERSONAL COLUMN
6OXYGEN MASKS
Devices for taking breathers in monk's gay sex romp (6,5)Anagram of MONKS GAY SEX
7FORGO
Say a number leave and you have to give up (5)Say a number = sounds like four, leave = GO
8CARDIAC
I with a club follow an ace perhaps � of hearts? Certainly (7)I with a club = IAC, an ace perhaps = CARD
9ROLLS
Luxury car wheels (5)Double definition
16INHERIT
Be left at home with this woman and that thing (7)at home = IN, this woman = HER, that thing = IT
18SAMOYED
Work someday for a dog (7)Anagram of SOMEDAY
19AUDIT
Scrutinise the books of a university department with computer science (5)a university = AU, department = D, computer science = IT
20TWANG
The plucky sound of many Americans (5)Cryptic definition
21UNDERTAKING
Drunk eating stew; it's a task (11)Anagram of DRUNK EATING
23BRONZE MEDAL
Bored male perturbed about New Zealand Olympic award (6,5)Anagram of BORED MALE containing New Zealand = NZ
27TENSION
Stress one isn't composed (7)Anagram of ONE ISNT
29INSPECT
A fly gets quietly inside to take a good look (7)A fly = INSECT, quietly = P
31UPSTART
Social climber is put out about a celebrity (7)Anagram of PUT containing celebrity = STAR
32CLOTH
Material for the clergy (5)Double definition
33THROB
Pound part of a Heath-Robinson device (5)Hidden word, Hea TH ROB inson
35RIP UP.
Tear from a little Rhode Island red setter perhaps (3,2)Rhode Island = RI, little ... red setter = PUP.
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