Crossword 808 answers and explanations

by David Tossman / 16 February, 2013
The original discovery
Crossword 808 solution

Composing cryptic clues is most often a journey of discovery. I didn't know that COAL MINER (10 across) is an anagram of NO MIRACLE until I began to play around with it but obviously it has been discovered before and many a crossword has undoubtedly featured something very close to my clue. The "possible" anagram indicator seems almost obligatory after "no miracle"; the clue thus almost wrote itself. Thus I found it rather than created it. It simply can't be original.

An almost impossible quest for true originality stymied my nascent creative ambitions quite early on. Proud of my prowess with pencil and pen, I was entering a children's drawing competition and asked my mother to explain one of the rules: the picture had to be original. She explained the meaning of original and I realised that, up until then, all my drawings had been copies, or at least attempts at imitations of comic art. My work was not original. It was a terrible discovery.

I continued to draw and paint my imitations and copies, but only as practice or for fun. Originality and true creativity would have to wait. It never came. Many years later I discovered the artistic concepts of "influence" and "homage". If those had been given to me early on, perhaps a brilliant career in the graphic arts would have followed. Ah well ...

At least nobody expects a great stream of total originality in crosswords (though I must say some setters such as Araucaria nonetheless come close to achieving it), at least not in anagrams. Thus I am rarely stymied these days by the originality bugbear. Obviously I don't copy but if a clue looks slightly familiar I don't agonise. I probably have seen it before. As long as it works and I haven't copied it, or used it previously myself within the last dozen or so years, it has to do.

 Across Answers and CluesExplanations
The repartee of ten drunk in a pub (6)Anagram of TEN inside pub = BAR
Pure wit deployed in a press review (5-2)Anagram of PURE WIT
No miracle possible from an underground operative (4,5)Anagram of NO MIRACLE
An expression about right for comedy (5)expression = FACE (as in "make a face"), right = R
The ultimate in home games (5)Hidden word, h OME GA mes
Rose with inelegant impropriety (9)Anagram of INELEGANT
Persevere, having disposed of press around end of June (7,2)disposed of SOLD, press = IRON, end of June = E
Good person has shelter inside from slushy snow (5)Good person = ST, shelter = LEE
Hangout redesigned; go out, hang out (5)Anagram of HANGOUT without GO
Those past reform immediately (9)anagram of THOSE PAST
A small move by a small ring planning to use money (9)A small move = BUDGE + a small ring = TING (as in "ting a ling")
Oscar, famously, has hidden garment (5)Hidden word in O SCARF amously
Then have PM start to improve the text (5)AM END = end of morning, when PM begins
Teach unit represented as worthy of belief (9)Anagram of TEACH UNIT
Senior CIB officer with submachine gun did at first bloat (7)Senior CIB officer - DI, submachine gun = STEN, did at first = D
Forceful wordplay used by church youth leader (6)wordplay = PUN, church = CH, youth leader = Y.
 Down Answers and CluesExplanations
Saw commercial on time (5)commercial = AD, time = AGE
My paint is mixed in drums (7)Anagram of MY PAINT
Managed, for example, climbing in the mountains (5)Managed = RAN, for example = EG, climbing = reversal indicator for down clue
Fighters distort paths (9)distort = WARP, paths = LANES
They wear nappies fan isn't going to change (7)Anagram of FAN ISNT
Listener on-line second on Saturday with advanced timing (9)Listener = EAR + LINE + second = S
Tense but it appears the gift is ideal (7,7)Double definition
Outrageous decorator's bash is all-inclusive (6-3-5)Anagram of DECORATORS BASH
The French remove clothes for the washerwoman (9)The French = LA, remove clothes = UNDRESS
Castigate in here: prim and proper circumstances (9)Hidden word in he RE PRIM AND proper ...
You'll find one under the old sewing machine, badly altered (7)Anagram of ALTERED
Formerly successful bird embraces base jumping (3-4)bird = HEN containing anagram of ("jumping") BASE
Rise to one's feet for a costume (3,2)Double definition
A character, it is sometimes said, with certain aspirations (5)Cryptic definition.
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