This puzzle features at 4 down my first ever Spoonerism clue . It’s a rare device in cryptics but far from unknown. Alan Connor in his crossword blog on the Guardian website does a quite thorough analysis here.
Because the only possible Spoonerism indicator is a reference to Spooner, it is a distinctly unsubtle device and thus unsatisfactory if used often.
Fresh Spoonerisms are also quite hard to devise although the original Dr Spooner’s students and colleagues at Oxford wrung a good lot out of the joke even as the poor man continued to work and attempted to retain the respect and serious attention of his students.
The story is told in the Guardian’s obituary from 1930. It seems that Dr Spooner never really told a student that he had “tasted a whole worm.” Nor did he really tell a groom that it is “kistomary to cuss the bride.”
Hard to devise as they may be, a friend of mine has developed quite a knack for Spoonerisms and has come up with some beauts. My favourite: Horace Rabbit for Robert Harris, the café and coffee brand.
|Across||Answers and Clues||Explanations|
|Applaud a hazard for golfers with pretentious talk (8)||Applaud = CLAP, a hazard for golfers = TRAP|
|Workplace insurers destroyed pet bear (6)||Workplace insurers = ACC + anagram of PET|
|About to be included in a fraudulent scheme, an extremely funny one (6)||About = RE, included in = containment indicator, fraudulent scheme = SCAM|
|Casual worker overdue making a standard guide (8)||Casual worker = TEMP, overdue = LATE|
|Drafted again with blood-coloured unprocessed nitrogen (7)||blood-coloured = RED, unprocessed = RAW, nitrogen = N|
|Later I managed the shop’s business (6)||Anagram of LATER I|
|Wild sex, smiling about rumpled bed, is not altogether a good thing (5,8)||Anagram of SEX SMILING, about = containment indicator + anagram of BED|
|Overdraft plus debts: detestable (6)||Overdraft = OD, debts = IOUS|
|Flew back with endless detail to Virginia (7)||backwards DETAI + Virginia = VA|
|Show contempt for Winnie twice (4-4)||reference to Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne|
|There’s a dealer in heaven, Dorothy (6)||Hidden word, hea VEN DOR othy|
|There’s nothing by the stove but fruit (6)||Nothing = O, stove = RANGE|
|Be louder: stupidly make it four times more than it was originally (8)||Anagram of BE LOUDER.|
|Down||Answers and Clues||Explanations|
|A knife in the broken relics (6)||Anagram of RELICS|
|Smart phone program to finish at nine gives a little more after the last chapter (8)||Smart phone program = APP, finish = END, nine = IX (Roman numerals)|
|An unlawful act performed on a place where the Light Brigade charged (6)||An unlawful act performed = CRIME on A|
|The sound of Spooner’s crazed dog when likely to fail the course (3,5)||Spoonerism (swapping initials) of MAD BARKS|
|Carve out a little rowboat but don’t finish training (6)||A little rowboat = SCULL, but don’t finish = SCUL + training = PT|
|How you might catch sight of marijuana in a swindle (8)||Marijuana = POT, swindle = STING|
|Treat elephant badly: put on shiny shoes? (6,7)||Anagram of TREAT ELEPHANT|
|Befuddled medico about to be of no exceptional ability (8)||Anagram of MEDICO + about = RE|
|Find the platter finished (8)||platter = DISC, finished = OVER|
|Turkey part slain but jumping around (8)||Anagram of SLAIN BUT|
|Working with a member of the crew nearby (2,4)||Working = ON, a member of the crew = HAND|
|What the pioneers did, having a strange idea about Nevada (6)||Anagram of IDEA including Nevada = NV|
|Lordly mismanagement imposed in a jocular manner (6)||Anagram of LORDLY.|