Crossword 800 answers and explanations

By David Tossman In Cryptic Crosswords

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22nd December, 2012 3 comments

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 Clues Explanations
1 SMART-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
6 OFFICER
Perhaps a major bid � about 99 (7) bid = OFFER, 99 = IC (see note re cryptic crossword conventions)
10 GOBLIN
Blog in error: a Tolkeinian grotesque perhaps dwarfish in size (6) Anagram of BLOG IN
11 DIRTY
Do-it-yourself, that’s about right for cheating (5) Do-it-yourself = DIY, right = RT
12 RARELY
Not often right and early to change (6) right = R + anagram of EARLY
13 SEEPAGE
Refer to a part of the book for a leaky building phenomenon (7) Charade, SEE PAGE
14 MNEMONICS
Hollow men with mysterious incomes memorising gimmicks (9) Hollow men = MN + anagram of INCOMES
15 ARMY
Military service member at the end of the day (4) member = ARM, end of the day = Y
16 IBSEN
Playwright with set unfinished in the loony bin (5) set unfinished = SE contained by anagram of BIN
17 MUSICIAN
Artist bloke embraces you finally thus, and I (8) bloke = MAN, you finally = U, thus = SIC, and I
20 TREE HOUSE
These euro exchanges develop a branch structure (4,5) anagram of THESE EURO
22 SOMEBODY
Any person with an impressive physique? (8) as in “that is quite some body!”
24 TAILORED
Leotard I redesigned, made-to-measure (8) Anagram of LEOTARD I
25 PUSSYFOOT
Go furtively to spy UFOs in disguise (9) Anagram of TO SPY UFOS
26 AGITATOR
A political troublemaker stirs the dirty laundry (8) Double definition
28 NAIAD
Water nymph in Eketahuna I admired (5) hidden word, Eketahu NA I Ad mired
30 ZEUS
By Jove, the canal goes the wrong way (4) reversal of SUEZ
32 CONSTRAIN
Tighten up, making prisoners undergo instruction (9) prisoners = CONS, undergo instruction = TRAIN
34 SHRIMPS
Puny people shirk endlessly being fiddled about with by politicians (7) Anagram of SHIR (shirk endlessly), politicians = MPS
36 COPIER
Plagiarist: someone who manages despite difficulties to take one in (6) someone who manages despite difficulties = COPER, one = I
37 IN USE
At home with you and me English is employed (2,3) at homes = IN, you and me = US, English = E
38 PEDLAR
Plead for change at year’s end from a drug dealer (6) Anagram of PLEAD + year’s end = R
39 HANDBAG
Clutch or hang around bad characters (7) HANG containing anagram of BAD
40 AUTOPILOT.
George arranged a tulip too (9) Anagram of A TULIP TOO.
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 SPONSOR
Provide support for placing footprints around the poles (7) footprints = SPOOR, poles = NS
2 ALL VERY WELL
Be that as it may, everyone is in excellent health (3,4,4) Double definition
3 TONGA
A place in Waikato (Ngaruawahia) and the Pacific Ocean (5) Hidden word, Waika TONGA ruawahia
4 LEDGERS
Books that require keeping right in the shelves (7) right = R, shelves = LEDGES
5 COROMANDEL PENINSULA
I end a personal column kinkily specifying a location east of Auckland (10,9) Anagram of A PERSONAL COLUMN
6 OXYGEN MASKS
Devices for taking breathers in monk’s gay sex romp (6,5) Anagram of MONKS GAY SEX
7 FORGO
Say a number leave and you have to give up (5) Say a number = sounds like four, leave = GO
8 CARDIAC
I with a club follow an ace perhaps � of hearts? Certainly (7) I with a club = IAC, an ace perhaps = CARD
9 ROLLS
Luxury car wheels (5) Double definition
16 INHERIT
Be left at home with this woman and that thing (7) at home = IN, this woman = HER, that thing = IT
18 SAMOYED
Work someday for a dog (7) Anagram of SOMEDAY
19 AUDIT
Scrutinise the books of a university department with computer science (5) a university = AU, department = D, computer science = IT
20 TWANG
The plucky sound of many Americans (5) Cryptic definition
21 UNDERTAKING
Drunk eating stew; it’s a task (11) Anagram of DRUNK EATING
23 BRONZE MEDAL
Bored male perturbed about New Zealand Olympic award (6,5) Anagram of BORED MALE containing New Zealand = NZ
27 TENSION
Stress one isn’t composed (7) Anagram of ONE ISNT
29 INSPECT
A fly gets quietly inside to take a good look (7) A fly = INSECT, quietly = P
31 UPSTART
Social climber is put out about a celebrity (7) Anagram of PUT containing celebrity = STAR
32 CLOTH
Material for the clergy (5) Double definition
33 THROB
Pound part of a Heath-Robinson device (5) Hidden word, Hea TH ROB inson
35 RIP UP.
Tear from a little Rhode Island red setter perhaps (3,2) Rhode Island = RI, little … red setter = PUP.
22nd December, 2012 3 comments

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3 Responses to “Crossword 800 answers and explanations”

  1. Joce Dec 27 2012, 1:13pm

    ....mull *over*!
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  2. Joce Dec 27 2012, 1:12pm

    But isn't 7 Down in puzzle 800, correctly spelt, "forego"? I've never seen it spelt as "forgo" and while a determined hunt through the entry for "forego" on dictionary.com includes your spelling as an alternative, I think it would be a shame to move to that because the full and beautifully complex meaning of forego, to my mind, hinges on the "fore" part....as in, "before". To forego something requires conscious decision making before doing without - it's an acceptance that one should make a sacrifice generally involving short-term pleasure, based on reasoning in advance. That's how I think of it, anyway. To forego is a moral position representing a kind of noble acceptance that a course of action involving doing without is for the best - which is reached in advance, in readiness, before.
    The kind of musing that is only possible two days after Christmas with the luxury of time to mull of the finer points of your cryptic puzzles which I have enjoyed wrestling with for many years!
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    • david.tossman Dec 27 2012, 3:34pm

      Interesting thoughts, Joce, and a pleasure to read your musings, but I'm afraid they're a little off beam. The forego spelling is recognised but not preferred in the references I have to hand.
      My computer-based version of Chambers (12th edition, 2011) gives forgo as the preferred spelling in the do-without sense. Forego is given to mean precede and appears in the fore- prefix entry.
      Strangely, Chambers Thesaurus gives forego before forgo in the waive etc. sense, but the order is I suppose alphabetical rather than preferential.
      The Oxford Dictionary of English 2010 gives forego only a passing mention as an alternative under forgo.
      The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary likewise dismisses forego as an also-ran.
      Forsake, forfeit, forbid, forgive, forget and so on show that the for- prefix has a number of related intensifying functions unrelated to fore-.
      Dictionaries these days are not regarded as arbiters of correctness, rather they are attempts to describe the language at the time of writing, so you are quite right to stick with your preference, but I am pleased to see that this time I am not wrong.
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