One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘an artful political ruse’
sly, crafty, cunning, wily, scheming, devious, Machiavellian, sneaky, guileful, tricky, conniving, designing, calculating
shrewd, astute, sharp-witted, sharp, acute, intelligent, clever, alert, canny
deceitful, deceptive, duplicitous, cheating, dishonest, disingenuous, underhand, untrustworthy, unscrupulous, double-dealing
informal dirty, foxy, shifty, smart
British informal fly
NZ Australian informal shonky
South African informal slim
rare vulpine, carny, subtle
ingenuous, honest, dull
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