IPSEDIXITISM [eep-SAY-dix-it-iz-um] - a dogmatic assertion of a 'fact' without giving any supporting evidence. [Via Latin for 'he said it', translated from a Greek expression used by disciples of Pythagoras to justify any argument they chose.] Climate change deniers often resort to ipsedixitism, citing their charlatans of choice.
PIAFFE [pee-AHF] - a horse's serene, elevated trot-on-the-spot, as demanded in dressage [French] The piaffe evokes the image of a horse tip-hoofing over hot sand.
SCHNAPSIDEE [shnaps-EE-day-uh] - outlandish or impractical plan which seems brilliant when one is drunk. [German: schnap[p]s + idee] The more audacious among your new year's reolutions may well prove to be a schnapsidee.
VOLTINISM - the number of generations produced by an organism per year. [From Italian volt, turn or time + Latin suffix -ine (of or pertaining to)] This Wiki entry describes univoltines (of organisms that have one brood per year), bivoltines, and more, in the voltinism matrix.
DOGWASH - any unappealing task that you seek to avoid or postpone. [Office jargon of 2010s, linking to the tedious chore of shampooing the shih-tzu.] Collating receipts for the quarterly BAS is a classic dogwash.
Long-time cluesmith SK - part of the Big Issue's puzzle stable - has put together a stylish salute to the year fast diminshing in our rearview mirror. What scandals will get the nod? Which headlines? Game-changers?
Only way to find out... A big thanks to SK for this original puzzle, with one of the year's deftest anagrams included, plus a raft of other fine red herrings. Share your insights and responses in the thread.
VERBIGERATION [ver-BIDGE-uh-ray-shun] - obsessive repetition of random words. It is similar to perseveration, in which a person repeats words in response to a stimulus. [From Latin verbigerāre "to exchange words, converse"] Verbigeration is a close clinical cousin of echolalia, both serving as salient symptoms of mental illness.
TRUDGEN - a form of breaststroke, developed from sidestroke. A scissor kick is performed on every second stroke. [Named after John Trudgen (1852-1902), an English swimmer who popularised the stroke.] Diving into clue-crafting, can you avoid GRUNTED as the obvious blend of TRUDGEN?!
PISGAH SIGHT [pis-GAR] - distant view (as of an unobtainable objective) [Reference to Moses who saw the Promised Land from Mt. Pisgah in Palestine, according to Deuteronomy 3:27]. Wishful thinkers may succumb to the Pisgah sight of a more glamorous or affluent existence.
FINIFUGAL [fin-nee-FEW-guhl] - despising - or seeking to avoid - endings; regarding one who seeks to prolong the final moment of a story, conversation or trip. [From Latin fini-s end , plus fug-a flight + -al] Most readers turn finifugal when savouring an engrossing novel.
SPHENISCIPHILE [sfen-ISS-ee-file] - lover or ardent defender of penguins [Derived from the penguin's zoological order, Sphenisciformes + phile (lover)] Curiously, a sphenisciphile is also deemed to be an admirer of nuns.
IF-BY-WHISKY SPEECH - political address where the speaker's position is contingent upon the listener's opinion; a relativist fallcy [Based on a 1952 speech by Noah 'Soggy' Sweat Jr, a Mississippi lawyer who demonised and canonised liquor, dependent on the audience's views] "If by whiskey," orated Soggy in this recreated video, "you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge..."
MENEHUNE [menn-uh-HEWN] - a mythical dwarf race who lives in the hinterland valleys of Hawaii [From Hawaiian] Stonemasons of the highest quality, the menehune are shy, secretive and adore bananas.
VOLDEMORTING - choosing alternative words or code-names to denote a certain celeb or site, in order to subvert their status or avoid data-mining. [After JK Rowling's evil wizard, 'he who shall not be named'] Birdsite (Twitter) and the Human Cheezel (Trump) are both examples of Voldemorting.
APOTROPAIC [app-oh-TROH-pay-ick] - perceived as having the power to ward off evil influences or bad luck. [From Greek apotropaios ‘averting evil’, from apotrepein ‘turn away or from’ + -ic.] Jennifer Egan in Manhattan Beach describes wedding rings (on conference weekends) as apotropaic.
RÜCKENFIGUR [ROO-ken-fig-uh] - compositional device in painting, graphic art and film where a person is seen from behind in the foreground of the image, contemplating the view before them. [German - back-figure] The rückenfigur can highlight the beyond as well as deepen the depicted viewer's own mystery.
ANEMOTROPISM [aah-NEE-moh-trop-iz-uhm] - change in the growth or shape of an organism due to the wind's influence. [From Greek anemo - wind, plus tropism, a variant of tropos, or turn.] Anemotropism is in ample evidence along the ridges of gust-prone peaks.
TUSSENVOEGSEL [tuhs-en-FERG-zel] - the intermediary name in Dutch that lies between a person's first name and surname, such as the von in Vincent Van Gogh, or the van in Martin van Buren. [From Dutch, literally, between-grout.] Often the tussenvoegsel enters sharp focus in English when debate surrounds capitalisation.
XEROSTOMIA [zeer-oh-STO-mee-ah] - excessive dryness of the mouth [From Greek - xero (dry) + new Latin - stomia (of the mouth)] Poor salivary function, due to ageing, disease or hangovers, will result in xerostomia.
PARABLEPSIS [par-ah-BLEP-sis] - sample of a ill-copied piece of transcript, where the scribe has misread the original text, skipping a word or line. [From Greek - paraleipsis, to look askance at, literally beside-sight.] While recording this definition from a lexical source, I took pains to avoid a parablepsis.