Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24094/Rufus – heartening

Posted by ilancaron on June 4th, 2007


Solving time: 10’

Heartening start to the week after the weekend puzzles: I do know how to parse a cryptic clue after all. Not too many cryptic defs either – but a couple of requests for reader input.

One thing I like about Rufus is the effort he invests in consistent and meaningful surfaces (e.g. 1D, 12A, 21D, 15A…).


1 SURGE,ON – “acting” is just ON and the other kind of theatre. Nice misleading surface.
5 DEIFIC – (if iced)* — surface had me thinking of angel cake (perhaps just an American thing).
9 HARD TACK – pretty clever: but not sure if this is a good cryptic def or a self-descriptive double def: “Tough course for the sailor in more than one way”. BTW, last month’s Genius by Pasquale used TACK to mean food as well in a somewhat controversial clue.
10 ROLL-ON – it’s a kind of deodorant and a ROLL is what women use at the hairdresser’s (though isn’t that more properly a ROLLER?). Actually Zan notes that a ROLL-ON is an old-fashioned girdle.
12 WATERING HOLE – double def (one cryptic: “place for refreshing game”).
15 HEAR(TEN)ING – simple but elegant containment with a good surface.
20 STOCKS=”holds”,TILL=”until” – in my first pass through I put STANDSTILL in here.
22 TROUBLE SPOTS – (troops bustle)*: anag &lit
27 CO-DRIVER – cryptic def with a gratifyingly irrelevant nautical surface: “Second mate at the wheel?”


1 SO,H,O – seamless combination of wordplay and definition. Bit of trivia: SOHO in NYC is just an (inspired) acronym: South Of HOuston street.
3 ENTR’ACTE – a cryptic def for intermission: I only saw this once I had all the crossing letters in place.
7 FELLOWSHIP – double def, one slightly cryptic: “Postgrads may hope for such camaraderie”
8 C(ONGE)REELS – gone* in CREELS. Nice surface again.
11 PICNIC – two meanings: if it’s a “piece of cake”, it’s easy as pie, i.e. a PICNIC.
14 MADE TO LAST – double/cryptic def again: not sure I agree that shoes are MADE TO LAST, rather MADE on the LAST.
16 NUTMEG – I think this is just a cryptic def since mace is made from NUTMEG (borne of it?) and the surface misleads to someone bearing the ceremonial staff.
18 ESOTERIC – (escort, i.e.)* — slight but perfectly acceptable indirection with “that is” to be replaced by IE in the anag fodder.
23 PROUD – my last clue: I don’t understand the wordplay: “Stuck up – literally and metaphorically”. Linxit rescues me by noting that PROUD also means projecting from a surface like a nail (ref. last meaning in Chambers — incidentally, the penultimate meaning is sexually excited.  The things you learn…).
25 TRIM – rare triple def

7 Responses to “Guardian 24094/Rufus – heartening”

  1. says:

    23d – proud can also mean standing out from the surface, like a nail head for example.

  2. says:

    Roll-ons are old-fashioned girdles for women.

  3. says:

    Thanks linxit and zan for the clarifications… both new meanings for me.

  4. says:

    16d “Mace bearer”. The tree called the Nutmeg “bears” (supports, holds) the nuts.
    10ac As Zan says, a Roll-on is a woman’s foundation garment, made of elasticated material and having no fastenings. Quite fun to watch being put on – you have to be aged to have seen it.
    Thanks to ilancaron for provenance of New York City’s Soho – very interesting!

  5. says:

    There are a couple of other cute NYC abbrevs: Tribeca (way way downtown) is “TRIangle BElow CAnal street” — but the best is DUMBO (in Brooklyn) “Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass”.

  6. says:

    I’m new to reading this very helpful site as I begin the struggle to become familiar with solving the cryptics. Should I post answers to ones not here? or just help with definitions where unclear

  7. says:

    Typically, bloggers don’t provide explanations for the all clues, just the ones that are ‘interesting’ (in the eyes of the blogger) — sicne I believe the paper runs a pay service and we don’t want to take away business.

    That said, if there’s something you’re wondering about, go ahead and ask or, indeed, if there’s
    something interesting in your eyes that wasn’t mentioned, mention it.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

× six = 6