The most noted example might be Animal Farm. Designed to be a criticism of Communism, it had great difficulty finding a publisher, largely because of fears it would undermine the World War II alliance between the US, UK, and Soviet Union. If it had been written "straight," it might not have been published; as an allegory about farm animals, it could slide by.
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Titan's Curse, there is a chapter called "I Have a Dam Problem", which takes place at an actual dam. Hilariously enough, many of the characters in the chapter make jokes based on the word, "dam", much to Zoe Nightshade's confusion.
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian, Percy mentions that a male and a female camper are not allowed to be alone in a cabin together. There's only one plausible reason for that.
In the previous book, Hera refers to Percy as "one of Posideon's... children". Percy comments that it's pretty obvious she had a different word in mind.
Where's Waldo??: Cartoonist Martin Handford hid his titular hero amongst massive (sometimes absurdly so) crowd scenes in which so many unusual events were taking place that you had to look carefully to make out the guy in the striped shirt and ski cap (which was the point of the book). Many of the events depicted were ridiculous or bizarre, and several of them were controversial inclusions for a book aimed at kids ages 6 to 14: a vacuum cleaner sucking a woman's dress off of her body, a man graphically vomiting, and another guy getting accidentally hit in the nuts. One of these sneaky scenes was so subtle that you might not even notice it: a boy at the beach teases a bikini-clad beauty by placing the cold end of his ice cream cone on her back, causing her to bolt up from a prone to a semi-prone position; unless you're looking closely, you might not notice that the girl has loosened her bikini top so as not to get tan lines while sunbathing, and she's about to expose her bare breasts to the world.
This makes the episode of Robot Chicken where Grandpa Joe complains that 'this carrot tastes musky' and Willy Wonka chases the Oompa-Loompa away from the other side of the hole in the wall even funnier...
Either Christopher Paolini is unaware of the meaning of such things as comparing the size of, ahem, "bruises" while your pants are down, noticing an elvish groin is hairless, and the like, or he's a master of Ho Yay.
The elves' saturnalias. According to sDictionary.com, that translates pretty much to "unrestrained revelry; orgy."
In the classical sense of the word. "Orgy" meaning "lots and lots of sex all at once" is more modern. Back in the day, it just meant "big honkin' party."
In the second book of the series, the word "slattern" is used, and another time a character is talking about relationships between men and women and says or a man's "loins" can make even the most sensitive man a dribbling fool or sly fox. The word "Loins" means genitals. And don't forget the huge amount of alcohol use and references in the series, and there's even a scene with smoking of some kind of weed. It is stated in the series that the Eldunari don't have the "organs" necessary to reproduce.
Brisingr, the third book of the Inheritance Cycle, has a moment during one of the chapters from Saphira's POV. She tries to talk to Roran telepathically...
Saphira? he asked.
Do you know another such as me?
Of course not. You just surprised me. I am... ah, somewhat occupied at the moment.
She studied the color of his emotions, as well as those of Katrina, and was amused by her findings.
The fact that a character states his parents died of "the pox." Yes, it can be a generic term for a disease, but it nearly always was actually used to mean syphilis. This is another one of those where you're not sure whether Paolini misused the word or was deliberately Getting Crap Past the Radar.
Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift was written mainly with the goal of making up outrageous fantasy countries to satirize existing ones without getting reprimanded by the censors, the way he would if he criticized them directly. He tested exactly how much crap could get past by naming a country "Laputa". Basically, Spanish for "The Whore". Hayao Miyazaki once noted that if he'd known what it meant, he wouldn't have named one of his films after it.
Don't forget Gulliver peeing on the queen's castle.
Or dropping a deuce in the temple.
And the things the giant ladies did with Gulliver.
Mystery author Dashiell Hammett used to enjoy putting things in his books that sounded like they might be dirty, just to annoy his editor who would cut them out before the books were published. But his editor did not notice the word "gunsel" in The Maltese Falcon, so it was included in the published version. The editor thought the word meant a "gunman", and many American writers imitating Hammett use the word "gunsel" to mean "gunman". In fact, the word meant "homosexual lover (particularly one who is the passive partner to a prisoner)"
"Gunsel" managed to survive in the 1941 film as well. Although Peter Lorre's character makes up for it with the perfumed white gloves.
Well, that and the strong implication in both novel and 1941 film that Peter Lorre's character Joel Cairo and the "gunsel," Wilmer, are having a homosexual affair. Also this line from the novel, about the gunsel: "The boy spoke two words, the first a short guttural verb, the second 'you.'"
During The Forties, writers for science fiction magazine Astounding made a game of getting dirty references past bluenose assistant editor Kay Tarrant. George O. Smith succeeded with a reference to a tomcat as "the original ball-bearing mousetrap".
Robert A. Heinlein's The Star Beast, written for what would now be called the young adult market, stars John Thomas Stuart XI, latest in a series of custodians of the titular alien pet. In the end, it is revealed that the pet is a) female, b) royalty, and c) considers the Stuart line to be her pets. Heinlein managed to get away with writing of Lummox's "hobby of raising John Thomases".
James Branch Cabell's Jurgen, a comedy of justice details a medieval character's multiple marriages, affairs, and a full-on Crowley "Gnostic Mass," complete with ritualized deflowering and child (no longer-) virgins. In 1919, and went on to defeat a number of public indecency lawsuits, proving that Cabell, like his Jurgen, was indeed a "monstrous clever fellow."
Damon Knight's short story "Cabin Boy" has the titular character "circumnavigating the skipper", referencing the bawdy shanty "The Good Ship Venus". At least one collection included the text of the shanty, assuming readers may not have heard it.
Machado de Assis and José de Alencar, the two Brazilian writers from the 19th century of most renown, are masters of this trope. They had to keep the obvious subtle to appease the prudish society of their century.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: You have to be really sharp to catch this one, but in Book the Fifth, the three siblings are forced to work as a secretary (Sunny) and study an impossibly vast amount of material for a test (Violet and Klaus). At one point while Sunny is frustrated with her work (making staples by hand), she says "Merd" as an exclamation of frustration. It's awfully close to "merde", which is French for excrement.
Sunny probably has quite a few of them. As Sunny is quite intelligent for a young child, it is often wondered if what she is saying is simply nonsense to her or if she is saying these things on purpose.
A later book quotes "Man hands on misery to man/it deepens like a coastal shelf/get out as early as you can/and don't have any kids yourself," from Philip Larkin's "This Be the Verse." The opening line of the full poem is "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." What was the target age group for these books again?
As a children's series, it doesn't have any explicit scenes. Most people under 13 would see some of the intimate scenes as kitties snuggling, whereas other readers might recognize what's not being said - particularly if a character has kits some time afterward. The most blatant is definitely Bluestar and Oakheart: in Bluestar's Prophecy, at the end of their ONLY night together, Oakheart suggests "Let's build a nest". Next thing you know, Bluestar's pregnant. Subtle, Erin, subtle.
Spiderleg and Daisy. Two characters who barely speak to each other in canon suddenly have kits. Spiderleg still doesn't even look at Daisy much afterwards, and is really awkward around their kits. As if coming to this conclusion wasn't easy enough, Word of God has even confirmed that they did indeed have a one-night stand.
Remarks made in Eclipse about Birchfall and Whitewing becoming closer leading to the nursery getting crowded, as well as pointing out that problems may arise from Honeyfern sharing a den with Berrynose.
There is a scene in SkyClan's Destiny where Stick is looking for Red and sees what is described as "the larger figure bending over the smaller one", and he thinks that someone is trying to kill Red. When he barges in, he learns it's not true, but considering the two cats involved are an Official Couple, it makes you wonder what he really walked in on.
In Crookedstar's Promise, after Crookedjaw is happy that Mapleshade hadn't visited his dream:
The Fourth Apprentice, Dovepaw uses her hearing powers to follow Brackenfur and Sorreltail in a hunting patrol, and she hears Brackenfur praise Sorreltail. Then Sorreltail purrs and Dovepaw thinks, Better tune out now!
In Sunset, after hearing they didn't have any patrols for the day, Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight promptly turned around and...walked back into the warriors den. What? Why would they be going in there? Almost everyone is going to be out of camp, yeah, but it's still too late for them to go back to sle—oh. Oh. To make it more blatant, Squirrelflight's Romantic False Lead, Ashfur, notices, and starts tearing up the ground with his claws in anger.
If one removed all the feline elements, The Rise of Scourge would be the Origin Story of a tyrannical gang leader.
Back in the Marvel days, Leia tells Dani (a Zeltron and therefore Luke fangirl) something along the lines of "I didn't know what you do was illegal in that many systems." Yes, she basically calls Dani a whore.
Also from Marvel, when they visit Zeltros, Luke has a legion of fangirls, and in one scene a fanboy.
The X-Wing Series. Stackpole became known as the "sex writer" for a long time. He hints quietly compared to more recent works, but brothels get mentioned, it's obvious that Erisi Dlarit wants to have sex with Corran, and there's a point where it's implied that people think three characters are a threesome.
The Black Fleet Crisis. Not only does Before the Storm have naked!Luke, but he has a one-night stand at the end of Shield of Lies, which lampshades Luke's role as Chick Magnet.
New Jedi Order: I distinctly remember one scene where Anakin poses as Mara's sex slave for a mission, and she notices a bulge in his pants, right below his belt. Mara concludes that it's a Stokhli stick. For those not familiar with the Expanded Universe, a Stokhli stick is a stick-shaped weapon that shoots goop all over its target. Worse yet, while this started as a joke, there actually are Anakin/Mara fanfics, including ones where Luke approves of their relationship.
"I hope he doesn't call you Master the way I call you Master." -Mara Jade Skywalker
Jacen on the cover of Destiny's Way.
Jacen naked and being tortured. Fetish Fuel or nightmarish, depending on your point of view.
Ben getting molested by Tahiri.
One line in that chapter where Ben gets molested is commonly thought to be silly, the "big, strong Jedi Knights" line. It can be interpreted that it is something much, much squickier than a throwaway compliment: Tahiri would seem to be complementing Ben's...penile size.
Troy Denning may well keep invoking this trope on purpose, trying to see how far he can go.
He's hinted to Three-Way Sex between Jaina, Zekk, and Jag at least twice now.
This series has a lot of tentacle usage (ostensibly Combat Tentacles). Ben's love interest, the 16 year-old Vestara, gets heaved up in the air and repeatedly impaled by them. Later, there's an extended scene where tentacles immobilize her, and blind her, while she argues with Ben. The kicker, has to be what happens in Vortex , with a feminine Eldritch Abomination, who has tentacles instead of fingers. She grapples and suffocates Luke for a while. Then, another man suckles from her other set of tentacles like a hungry puppy... All but the first was written by Denning.
Speaking of Vestara, Luke tells Ben to be prepared for a betrayal when dealing with her, and to not anything that Luke wouldn't do. Vestara is a Sith. Mara Jade was a Sith when Luke met her.
Allison now has Luke talking about how well-muscled Ben is.
Christie Golden gives us this exchange:
Ben: "...I think I am in dire need of a sanisteam."
EU isn't the only part. Revenge of the Sith novelization by Matthew Stover is full of them. The part where Obi-Wan wakes up hanging on Anakin's shoulder? Yeah, that more than suggests Ho Yay between them. And Artoo suggesting where Anakin could look for a datajack couldn't have been any more made of this trope.
Malcom Hulke's novelisationDoctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion of his television story "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" fairly obviously made the Anti-Villain Henchman to that story's main Anti-Villain into a gay man, which the original serial had (for fairly obvious reasons) not even implied. Pretty daring for a mid-1970s book intended for children. This reinforced an Aesop present in the original story but emphasized in the novelisation that the villains consisted of emotional cripples who wanted to Ret Gone away the present world because they just didn't fit in with the current one. (Again, gay people found it harder to gain acceptance in those days.)
In Coraline, the Other Mother touches the heroine quite often. And in a way that the girl ''really'' hates. And the phrases "You know I love you..." and "Come out when you learned to be a loving daughter." Add in the premise - a girl neglected by parents finds some other people who give her much more "attention" in a way described above and has a hard time getting away. This all sounds more like Child abuse than a typical fantasy story. So we get a children's book that's a thinly-veiled story about child abuse.
In Ender’s Game, the alien race is the Buggers. Accordingly, anyone who opposed the war (or was just acting like a jerk) would often get called a "Bugger Lover". This troper did not recognize the wordplay involved for quite some time (though subsequent editions have started to bowdlerize this).
Of course, this being said, Ender's Game was never intended to be a hit with gifted adolescents. That just sort of happened.
The How to Train Your Dragon series has got quite few things past the radar with Dragonese, which has included words like 'piss', a variation of 'crap', and 'cack'. In a series meant for children.
In the first book there is a picture of Gobber with a tattoo of a mermaid on his butt that's topless, complete with "details".
The Movie has a guy saying "about the size of that", which in the trailer makes it look like he's talking about his, ahem, "sword".
In the cartoon show, when Clogg's gushing about his new friend "Tibbar" - the heroic hare Ballaw in disguise - his crew give a very squicked-looking Aside Glance to the camera. Also, Clogg's threat that he will cut off Badrang's head and throw it in his face - technically possible...
In Martin the Warrior, when Martin is staying at Noonvale, Rose offers to show him his room, leading her mother to say: "No, I'll do it, you'll have him up all night talking." Talking? Really? (Well ...)
In Viking It and Liking It, there's a bard named Bullshik.
In Da Wild, Da Crazy, Da Vinci, they say "crap" several times. Including a mention of Thomas Crapper.
There's a lot of this in Colin Thompson's "The Floods" books. A perfect example can be found in Prime Suspect, when Mordonna tells her husband that she could turn him into a girl "with a couple of spells and a pair of scissors." Ouch.
Robin Jarvis' The Dark Portal (the first Deptford Mice book): Morgan makes a snarky comment to the old fortune-teller Madame Akkikuyu along the lines of "I knows wot you were afore you got too old'n'ugly."
In the book Fudge-A-Mania Fudge mentions that he sleeps with his mother when he's afraid at night. Sounds innocent enough right? Well, he tells two elderly characters (who get married in the end) that they should sleep with each other followed by a "Fudge!" Late to the Punchline indeed!
Later, when they announce their engagement, Fudge asks a lot of questions.
Fudge: All I know is that you get to sleep in the same bed.
Buzzy Sr.: That's the best part.
Fudge's Mother: Oh, Buzzy...
Here's one that, in hindsight, I'm absolutely shocked got past the radar. It's in Marco and the Tiger, a book for young adult readers by John Foster, published in 1966! In the second to last chapter of the story (at which point many bored readers might not have been paying attention), a zookeeper at the Audubon Park Zoo in New Orleans tells the titular hero that he can't accept his pet tiger because he's not allowed to take in animals that haven't had background checks ever since a rogue gorilla "[busted] the Mayor....on the nozzle!" Given the angry way the zookeeper says the line, I'm pretty sure that "nozzle" there doesn't mean "nose."
In one Berenstain Bears book, where the boy gets lost at the mall, he gets to look in the lost and found. One of the items looks suspiciously like a condom.
In the children's book Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates, at one point Mungo is taken by surprise and exclaims "Oh, Christopher Columbus!"
The Last Hunt, fourth and possibly final book of The Unicorn Chronicles is rife with this sort of thing. After the first three, very tame books, Coville seems to have realised that many of the people who grew up with the series are now adults. The publisher, however, still prints it as a childrens' book, so lines like "'Wisdom be damned," seem out of place, as well as another about "'Because of the way you always won our pissing contests.'" In addition, there is a scene where the Hunters are lusting after a dancer "dressed in a gauzy costume that covered little more than necessary." And to top it off, there are implications of a possible romance with Lightfoot. Who, uh, happens to be her second cousin.
DouglasRichard Adams' Watership Down introduces words in the rabbit language, sometimes to express concepts that are only meaningful in their world (like tharn, a rabbit frozen in fear,) sometimes just to give an alien atmosphere. But it also allows Bigwig to tell his enemy "Eat shit!" in what was originally marketed as a children's book.
It's more subtle than that, because even this has a shade of lapine meaning. Rabbits normally do eat shit in the burrow, to recycle undigested cellulose: but what Bigwig says is "silflay hraka," literally "eat shit outdoors," which makes it insulting.
No, hraka is faecal matter, quite distinct from the partially-digested "pellets" which rabbits do indeed reprocess. Agreed, though, that "silflay hraka" does translate as "Go out and eat shit".
The success of this probably inspired Adams to use the same trick in his very adult fantasy novel Maia. In some amazingly pornographic scenes for a mass market paperback in the 1980s, he got away with explicit descriptions just by putting the sexual nouns and verbs in the Becklan language.
He may have been inspired by the 1970s translations of The Kama Sutra and The Perfumed Garden, which left the terms "yoni" and "lingam" untranslated so that the publishers could pretend there was some doubt about what was being described.
In one of the comic sections of Malice, the artist snuck in pictures of the body of a naked woman on top of the mort-beast, bare breasts with nipples and all. One wonders how nobody seems to have noticed this little fact, since the book is labeled and sold as a book for the 9-12 age range.
In The Message, Marco mentions having "weird dreams about that woman from Baywatch." Now what kind of dreams might those be...?
Also, in Book 14, wild horses act strangely. One woman in the area where this happens suggests that they may have been eating "loco weed"
Though this could be a case of reading too much into, since locoweed is an actual plant that livestock will eat that can cause irreversible neurological damage.
In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, Nog refers to another character as a "cold-hearted Moogi-jokk". Seeing as we know that "Moogi" means "mother", we can work out what he's saying.
Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself", in addition to openly discussing genitalia, has a scene where his soul gives him a blowjob.
In the children's book The Anti-Peggy Plot, where three kids attempt to sabotage the efforts of their soon-to-be Wicked Stepmother, they sneak into what they think is her apartment. It turns out that it's the wrong one, and they learn this when the couple who lives there comes in, the man saying "Damn, am I in the mood." It was a few years before this troper realized exactly what the man was in the mood for.
In The Magician's Nephew, when Uncle Andrew calls Jadis a "dem fine woman", the author is using a Funetik Aksent to disguise the fact that he is calling her a damn fine woman.
In The Silver Chair, the author once again covers up a curse, this time with a curious contraction, in which Jill says something is "Dam' good of [Eustace]".
In The Amber Spyglass (controversial for its atheistic theme, but marketed as a children's book), when Mary is telling Lyra and Will about love, Lyra feels an interesting sensation...
"As Mary said that, Lyra felt something strange happen to her body. She found a stirring at the roots of her hair: she found herself breathing faster. She had never been on a roller-coaster, or anything like one, but if she had, she would have recognized the sensations in her breast: they were exciting and frightening at the same time, and she had not the slightest idea why. The sensation continued, and deepened, and changed, as more parts of her body found themselves affected too. She felt as if she had been handed the key to a great house she hadn't known was there, a house that was somehow inside her, and as she turned the key, deep in the darkness of the building she felt other doors opening too, and lights coming on. She sat trembling, hugging her knees, hardly daring to breathe, as Mary went on."
Oh, and the pivotal moment when Will and Lyra finally realize that they love each other, immediately breaking into a storm of ridiculously passionate kissing. Though not actually stated, it leaves the reader wondering if they had sex. They wouldn't know what they were doing, obviously, but the whole scene is basically written to show that they have finally began the transition to adulthood, and sex is a staple literary symbol for the end of one's childhood.
Oh, and the whole concept of touching one's dæmon. It's normally regarded as an instinctive taboo, but in The Amber Spyglass Will and Lyra, sometime after realizing their love for each other, accidentally touch each other's dæmons. To their surprise it brings a sort of sensual pleasure inside of them. In The Golden Compass, however, when one of the Bolvangar employees grabs Pantalaimon, she feels profoundly violated. This could mean that the act of touching another person's dæmon is sexual in nature, and that when lovers do it, it's pleasurable but when a stranger does it, it's as bad as rape.
It could easily be surmised that Will and Lyra had sex (again) immediately after doing this, because the scene cuts at that moment.
And then there's that scene in The Subtle Knife when Ruta Skadi tells the group about finding Lord Asriel in his bedchamber during her exploration of his fortress. She then skips to her conversation with him afterward, but the narration states that all the other witches knew what she and Lord Asriel did but Will and Lyra knew nothing of it.
The Baby-Sitters Club (a 4th grade reading level book series) got away with an illustration in a super special in which Stacey is passionately kissing her plot relevant boyfriend of the story.
Australian poet Gwen Harwood, whose work was published in the magazine Bulletin, wrote two poems. Reading down the first letter of each line you got the message 'So long Bulletin. Fuck all editors.' Somehow no one at the paper noticed this and the issue had to be recalled.
In The Vampire Files, set in 1930s Chicago, an in-universe example would be the art of Evan Robley. From nearly any angle and distance, his paintings appear as colorful, abstract works respectable enough for the sensibilities of any censor of that era; when viewed from exactly the right spot, however, they're revealed to be detailed self-portraits of Evan's favorite body part.
An in-universe example in Erica Jong's How to Save Your Own Life (not for kids!). Swear words, obscene words, body parts/functions etc. aren't allowed on vanity license plates. Isadora has a license plate that says "Quim," which is (obscene, i.e. the c-word) old English for vagina.
In The Good The Bad And The Mediochre, Mediochre Q Seth gets indignant when one of the Mooks surrounding him at one point refers to Charlotte as his "girlfriend". He replies that they've "only known each other for a few minutes" and adds that he's "not talking Biblically. Or like The Crucible". Both The Crucible and the King James Bible use the word "known" as a euphemism for "had sex with".
The Mark Twain story "The Story of Grandfather's Old Ram" features a narrator who gets so sidetracked he falls asleep before finishing his story. That's fortunate, because the story appears to be about how his grandfather was given the gift of unexpected sex when he bent down to pick up a coin.
Presumably the only reason the childrens' picture book It's a Book was able to get away with using the phrase "It's a book, jackass!" is because the character being referred to as such is a donkey.
Circle of Magic mentors Lark and Rosethorn have a very close friendship throughout the series, referring to each other by nicknames and hugging a lot. Sequel Will of the Empress has the protagonists maturing and is for an older audience as well... and Briar refers to Lark and Rosethorn as lovers. At which point the reader goes back to the first four books and wonders how they missed it.
"Been spending a lot of time keeping each other warm?"
In the second book, Dr. Bergstrom lets David use his good luck talisman for, well, good luck. When he discusses the matter with Zanna later, he asks her, "Did you shake his totem?" This elicits a shocked "Pardon?!" before David explains himself.
Humpty Dumpty: Seven years and six months! An uncomfortable sort of age. Now if you'd asked my advice, I'd have said "Leave off at seven" - but it's too late now.
Alice: I never ask advice about growing—
Dumpty: Too proud?
Alice: I mean that one can't help growing older.
Dumpty:One can't, perhaps, but two can. With proper assistance you might have left off at seven.
Yes, let's get into discussing murder and suicide with a seven-year-old girl.
Life With Father (1935): The very repectable stockbroker Clarence Day Sr. had no qualms about using "damn", "damned" and "damnation" in front of his children. In the 1890s. It got past the radar (children were not discouraged from reading it) because the book is autobiographical (written by his son).