Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,016/Rufus – poor CD quality

Posted by loonapick on March 5th, 2007


Ah Rufus! You either love him or hate him! I counted 11 cryptic definitions/double meaning type clues in this puzzle. I think one of my fellow bloggers commented a couple of weeks ago that a small number of such devices in a puzzle makes it fun (4-5 possibly), but some others disagreed with him. Personally, I think it depends on how clever they are, and some of Rufus’s are very good, others not so. There was a run of down clues that struck me as particularly poor (see below)

In the end, this was a very easy puzzle (solving time – approximately 7 minutes), so there is very little to comment on.


1 KISMET – First clue, first CD.

9 JOYSTICK – Very good clue, especially liked Air Traffic Control as the definition.

10 BICEPS – One of the CDs that doesn’t really work for me.

13 EPHA – (heap)* – Hebrew measure of dried goods, but you’d need a dictionary other than Chambers (2003) to get the reference to “bushel” (eg

20 CLOCK-WATCHER – a CD that just isn’t difficult enough.

23 SAPELE – (please)* – A sapele is a hardwood tree, a bit like mahogany.

25 SKY PILOT – “Sky pilot” is an informal name for a clergyman, especially in the military.


3 MUSIC HALL – (much as I)* + LL – why can’t more of Rufus’s clues be like this. A good &lit. clue.

5 MAKES A NIGHT OF IT – (on takes him a gift)*

7 CACTI – C-ACT-I – not happy with this one – where’s the definition – “raising awkward points”? (can’t be surely), and if it’s supposed to be “one raising awkward points”, then that really is unforgivable, as CACTI is plural and the I is part of the wordplay, and can’t therefore be used as part of the definition as well. Am I missing something here?

8 EXPRESSION – another poor definition in “it might alter”.

12 UPHILL TASK – yet another one I don’t like, although I can’t quite put my finger on why.

15 LOGARITHM – (oral might)* – OK, I hope people don’t think I have it in for Rufus, but the “be” in the clue is superfluous, leaving “set” as the anagram indicator. “might be set” is normally an acceptable anagrind, but not here, as “might” is part of the anagram fodder.

5 Responses to “Guardian 24,016/Rufus – poor CD quality”

  1. says:

    From from it for me to be the Rufus apologist but… 6D is a v. good as well: NOBODIES clued by: “Unimportant people make solving murders difficult”.

    Likewise, 6D isn’t bad: “It might alter certain features in a phrase”. 2 meanings: with the first being “it might alter certain features” ref. facial expressions is quite sound.

    Don’t understand what’s wrong with “be set” as anagrind in 15D?

    I do agree with you about 20A — hardly cryptic.

  2. says:

    I won’t be a Rufus apologist either, even where I’m part of a very big fan club.

    ‘Make’ should be ‘makes’ really, since a one-word definition (for a lot of people, anyway) cannot justify plural usage in being seen as a string of letters: and ‘be set’ likewise seems wrong for tense at the cryptic level.

    But: to be fair to Rufus, he’s hardly ever loose in this respect (says a non-apologist).

  3. says:

    Unashamed fan of Rufus and of CDs here. You can be almost certain that there will be several clues that make you smile as you solve them- today’s were 9a, 17a, 3d , 6d and 7d (I had no problem with the cryptic definition used) for me.

    My only quibble would be 11a – could equally be ‘lines’ as well as ‘wires’.

  4. says:

    Thank you for the constructive criticisms.

    I do apologise for not spotting WIRES just as well as LINES could be CROSSED according to my clue. Will try harder!

  5. says:

    P.S. Have been thinking about Paul’s belief that my clue should have had “makes” rather than “make” in “Unimportant persons make solving of a murder difficult” for NOBODIES. “Unimportant persons”=Nobodies, which then has to be read as “No bodies” and hence not just a collection of letters but a plural, needing “make”. Am I missing summat? English was always my favourite subject at grammar school but I did leave at 15 to join the R.N.. I also feel “be set” in clue for LOGARITHM is an acceptable tense. What do others think?

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