Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24070/Rufus – not Ximenean

Posted by ilancaron on May 7th, 2007


Solving time: 20’

The recent setters table on this site has had me wondering about the Ximenean vs. Libertarian classification – Rufus has been tagged as the latter. This puzzle has convinced me: e.g. 3D “Means hailstorms”. It’s also convinced me that a dash of Libertarianism is good for the sense of humor and playfulness. One of the nice things about Rufus is that, in spite of this, his surfaces rarely pay the price. Finally, a few, not too many, cryptic definitions and all quite reasonable.


1 C,OUR,AGE – “bottle” is nerve or COURAGE in Britspeak.
5 MA,I,DEN – similar type of charade as above: graduates invariably have a BA or MA.
10 DOG,TAG – An American soldier has DOG-TAGs for identification – what’s the Brit version?
12 PARTHIAN SHOT – cryptic def of a parting shot.
15 DEPRESSION – I think this qualifies as a double definition &lit (recall the Great DEPRESSION of the 30s).
26 EMPIRE – two meanings: there are several EMPIRE theatres, presumably the intent is the Leicester Square version?
27 SURE-FIRE – two meanings: where SURE is “certain” in both – the reason this works is that they can be read as opposites.
28 THE(IS)M – Equating THEISM with “religion” is arguably controversial but that’s more or less what Dawkins does in “The God Delusion”.
29 PIL(LAG)E – good evocative surface.


1 CROP – my last clue: two v. different meanings – the first the verb and the second the noun for a kind of riding whip.
2 UP TO – two different meanings: simple but elegant.
3 AVE,RAGES – as I said above this means Rufus is in the Libertarian camp I guess. AVE is Latin for “hail” as in Ave Maria.
4 ECLA=lace*,T – another piece of Libertarian evidence: T is indicated by “tabletop”.
7 DUTCH UNCLE – two meanings: turns out that DUTCH UNCLE in fact is a harsh criticizer and UNCLE is a Brit term for “pawnbroker”. I’m more familiar with the idiom: “I’m a DUTCH UNCLE” which indicates disbelief.
8 NIGHT,SHADE – as in deadly NIGHTSHADE (I think last seen in Romeo and Juliet?)
11 VIGOUR – remove “end” from “devouring” and anagram: a Ximenean would require the letters of “end” to be contiguous or at least in the same order within the fodder for this to work.
13 IDLE THREAT – double/cryptic def (the first being cryptic: “Possibility of redundancy”).
14 APOSTROPHE – quite a clever &lit: “it” is the answer and “it’s” losing an APOSTROPHE becomes “its” and… oh, I’m sure you get it.
16 STE=set*,PPE – PPE is an Oxbridge course and “plain” is clearly STEPPE here.
18 EGGSHELL – another double/cryptic def: I kind of like “food container” indicating EGGSHELL.
21 S(TORE)S – this clue doesn’t ring true to me: “Supplies rushed on board” since “on” is being used as an insertion indicator, which it isn’t.
24 PISA – had SITE here initially but it’s simply a cryptic def for the Leaning Tower thereof.

16 Responses to “Guardian 24070/Rufus – not Ximenean”

  1. says:

    Re 21 down. This device has been in use since I became interested in crosswords in the early 1950s. Ship is indicated by SS (S.S. for steamship), and “in a ship” meant letters were placed “in” “SS”. (Here “tore” is placed in “SS”). I would respectfully suggest that “in a ship” means “on board”

    Purely as a matter of interest, as an ex-naval officer we were taught that RN officers always say they are “in a ship” while the lower deck – from whence I came – say “in” a ship”.

  2. says:

    Explanation makes (non-Xim!) sense of course… maybe I’m being obtuse, but it seems like the first time I’ve encountered “indirect insertion”. Are there other examples?

  3. says:

    There are lots of examples of “on board” for indicating indirect insertion into SS, but I cannot think of any other examples in clues of such action. I’m agin indirect anagrams but I thought with its longevity of use in UK puzzles this device was just as acceptable as “flower”=”river”. What do others think? I’m old, but not too old to learn!

    Incidentally, a typo of mine resulted in my last message coming out stupidly – it should have read: RN officers say “in” a ship; lower deck say “on” a ship (not “in”)!

  4. says:

    It isn’t uncommon to see something like ‘resting’ for a word of the form B*****ED. That is perfectly Ximenean. What is non-Ximenean (or ‘Libertarian’ as you so charmingly put it)is ‘insert’ for a word of the form INS****T.

  5. says:

    I didn’t quite understand Pasquale’s last point about INSERT so contacted him. What he was decrying was the use of INSERT as indicating IN SERT, in the same way, presumably, as INDEED being used to indicate meaning IN DE****ED. I hadn’t considered myself as Libertarian and I am slightly relieved that Pasquale considers me “close enough to being Ximenean” and that he wouldn’t regard me as “being a total heretic”!

  6. says:

    Sorry to go on like this! Pasquale, whom crossword enthusiasts tend to think the watchdog in all things Ximenean (See his Manual!), tells me he believes my use of “on board” for S****S and “hailstorms” for AVE-RAGES doesn’t make me non-Ximenean. Any different opinions?

  7. says:

    Since Pasquale is probably the ultimate arbiter (or v. close to) of Ximhoodness, then I bow down! What about ‘tabletop’ indicating T?

  8. says:

    Speaking as a solver who would be in the Xim camp, I think on board for S*S is 100% OK and has been around for a long time – certainly as long as I’ve been solving. Re hailstorms, I’d not be so happy unless they were separated which they surely could be i.e hail storms. Have not seen the original entry re the latter case. A similar usage I commented on in Morph’s recent excellent Indy was copyright for ape r.

  9. says:

    My comments to Rufus (to which he refers) were intended to be private, but I am flattered that he thinks my opinion worth considering. For the record therefore: I wouldn’t write the hailstorms clue myself, in any of my puzzles or in an Azed comp – but we did once have some Silverstone clues for a letters latent Azed comp with AGST for August many years ago. There are always some things that are marginal, and this could well be one. I have no wish to enter a public debate categorising my colleagues into different camps, least of all my good friend Rufus who provides accessible puzzles that many thousands enjoy. Nor would I wish to be regarded as a final arbiter of exactly what is ximenean and what is not. (However, when entering Azed I have to say that I take a deliberately cautious approach to any possible rule-bending!)

  10. says:

    I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t included a Ximenean/Libertarian column in the list of setters. Inevitably there will be some people who are hard to classify. If I believed that either type equated to “good” or “bad”, I would worry about my choices more. Especially in the context of daily paper puzzles I think the Ximeneans can fuss a bit too much. (Incidentally, the word “Libertarian” as an alternative to “non-Ximenean” is shamelessly pinched from Azed’s “A-Z of Crosswords” book.)

  11. says:

    I’d suggest ‘resting’ = in B, E, D deserves a question mark at the end of the clue, ‘Ximenean’ or not.

    As to all this chat re Ximeneans and non-Ximeneans (sometimes referred to as ‘Araucarians’ for some unaccountable reason – I’ve never seen Araucaria write as badly as some of the Guardian team who draw pedant-crit for their atrocities) I think it’s risible. Because as people have discovered since this silly debate began, it’s jolly hard to define in any useful way what either term actually implies.

    There ain’t no rule book, but, according to a quasi-mythical core of Knowledgeable People, it seems there is a way to distinguish between good and indifferent clueing.

  12. says:

    I would suggest that most of the people who attempt to solve cryptic puzzles have never heard of Ximenes and simply require an entertaining, diverting puzzle that will give them a fair chance of finding the solution. The solvers are the ultimate arbiters, as if they don’t believe the setters are being fair they will go elsewhere.

  13. says:

    Yes, I’ll be happy to go along with that!

  14. says:

    So would I, fairness is all. Ximenean, for historical reasons as much as anything, has been a word that has come to be used to describe a rigorous approach. Probably best known to those of us very deep into it all rather than the standard solver. I’ll admit I subscribe to it but, like there’d be no football without fans, there’d be no crosswords without solvers. They are the ultimate arbiters as Eimi and, I think, Azed, have said.

  15. says:

    Of course fairness is all, but it begs the question as to what IS fair. As long as there are fundamental disgreements about this, the particularities will not go away, whether or not we use the X word! And I am not personally convinced that run-of-the-mill solvers are necessarily the best judges of fairness either (sorry to sound snooty!).

  16. says:

    Paul asked this question on Wednesday: “what is fair?” — turns out that it’s NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE.

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