Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23940/Rufus – it ALL came together

Posted by ilancaron on December 4th, 2006


Solving time: 20’

I stared at this puzzle for a few minutes, scanning clues, until one of the long ones clicked: ALL OVER THE PLACE. From that point on things went rather more quickly. Like last week’s intersecting uses of DOWN in different phrases, Rufus has done it again with intersecting phrasal uses of ALL (5D, 9A). Who knows? Maybe there’s a theme here somewhere that I’m blind to.

One of the things I’ve noticed about Rufus is that he really really likes cryptic definitions – typically based on apparently contrasting meanings. Quite a few here as well.


1 CLICHÉ – cryptic definition: cliché as saw.
9 AFTER ALL – my first ALL
10 RAMROD – another cryptic definition: charge here is the kind in a rifle not the kind in court.
11 POLE-VAULTING – And another cryptic definition: surface misleads in direction of hiring plans for the upcoming season..
16 BACKLASH – double meaning &lit: the question mark indicating that there’s a little jokey thing going on since the whole clue can be read as what galley slaves fear more than not getting their next ration of Gatorade: namely the whip across the back to pick up the pace.
18 A+LBS – This time a pound is the weight abbreviated LB. And ALBS are what priests might wear.
20 MAIDEN SPEECH – (chap seemed in)*: one of the relatively few anagrams in this puzzle.
24 ADVANCES – and another contrast-based cryptic definition
25 UN+SETTLE – Not a bad clue actually: UN is our canonic international org and that’s what they’re there for: resolving troubles.
26 LAY OFF – double meaning: 2nd to last clue for me to fill in. I was happy with the first meaning (temp firing) but I couldn’t convince myself of a way for LAY OFF and hedge to mean the same thing. I think the idea is that “to hedge” against a contingency is like putting something to one side, as in laying off (I’m more familiar with lay-by in that sense).


2 LEFT – cryptic definition for the opposite of starboard at sea. Misleading since there are many ports that are naval.
3 CHEAP-JACK – double meaning &lit: the question mark indicating the jokiness since a CHEAP-JACK is a kind of disreputable salesman and what you’d expect him to sell are in fact cheap jacks.
4 ENABLE – slightly misleading cryptic definition
5 ALL OVER THE PLACE – double meaning: first clue I solved and our second ALL. Long answers are great since they jumpstart the whole process. Knowing letter count helps a lot in the long phrases since the list of common 2-letter and 3-letter words is pretty short – and in this case “everywhere’ pointed pretty quickly at ALL (as “everything” does often).
8 CROWN DERBY – charade: I worked out each part separately and then discovered that CROWN DERBY indeed is a type of porcelain.
15 SEA SHANTY – charade: a SHANTY is a kind of hut or shed as well as a song.
16 GAUNTLET – double meaning. Not a bad clue: you “run the GAUNTLET” if you dare or you can pick it up to take on a fight. “Thing” refers to the answer.
19 WEEVIL – cryptic definition: an insect that likes to eat your grain before you get a chance to harvest it.
21 DUN(C)E – I guess men are the stupid gender (I have references if you care – from people who know me well!)
22 BEEF – Last clue for me. As in joint of BEEF. The other common edible cryptic complaints are grouse and carp.

3 Responses to “Guardian 23940/Rufus – it ALL came together”

  1. says:

    I don’t think Rufus is as simple as he’s cracked up to be, and he’s certainly capable of some very clever clues, but this puzzle didn’t do it for me. Too many barely cryptic definitions (eg RAMROD), double definitions using two fairly close meanings of the same word (eg 7 down REMIT, 14 ac REGISTER), and rather obvious combinations of phrase/literal meaning (the two phrases using ALL).

  2. says:

    All of his puzzles seem to contain a lot of cryptic definitions and they’re always the last answers to go in whenever I solve one of his puzzles, along with those 4 letter answers where you have ?E?R filled in and which nearly drive you demented. Or maybe that’s just me.

  3. says:

    I have to disagree and say I always enjoy Rufus, though couldn’t finished today’s one (never heard of ALBS) – 11ac and 24 ac had me smiling for quite a while.

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