Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,112, Rufus: Man is an Island

Posted by michod on June 25th, 2007


A pretty straightforward Monday solve (10 mins-ish), tightly clued and accessible as ever, with quite a few anagrams and lots of cryptic definitions – some very good, others a tad obvious. About half the answers came more or less straight away, but there was some tougher meat in there too, with 9 across detaining me for a little while.


9. MAN OEUVRE. The last piece of the puzzle for me. I had MAN for ‘work on’, and was looking for a _E_V_E island to complete it, but of course cruciverbal man is an island. 

10. A BEAM. In the very simple category.

12. PLAN ETS (SET*). Luckily about as far as my knowledge of Holst’s oeuvre goes.

14. GERMINATE. (A REGIMENT*). Nicely phrased anagram, with misleading surface.

16. NON-PROFESSIONAL. (LOAN FOR PENSIONS). My favourite - non-0bvious  definition and anagrind, with only six letters in addition to the anagram fodder.

19. SUMP TU OUS (SOU*). Another relatively hard one – ‘well’ doesn’t immediately shout ‘sump’ tp me, and I didn’t immediately spot that it was ‘you’ that needed Frenchifying. One quibble – the clue led me to expect an anagram of ‘A SOU’, not just ‘SOU’.

24. OPERA. Ref ‘soap opera’… and while opera=works is not general usage, we see it every time a setter uses ‘op’ for work. Singular opus, plural opera.

25. FAST TRAIN. CD, pun on fasting, which we saw within the last month or so elsewhere in our blog domain, in a clue for ‘dining-car’. Can’t remember whose.


1. AMUSEMENTS. (SEAMEN MUST*). Another good tight anagram.

2. ON THE RUN. (NO HUNTER). Nice anagram, with weak indicator – ‘but possibly’.

5. KEY PHRASES. Another nice punning CD.

6. HARA-KIRI. ‘Self-effacing’ in the literal sense of obliterating oneself.

14. GIFT OF LIFE. CD, but ‘living’ for life is not ideal.

15. ENLIGH(TEN)S. Good clue. I was looking for E+(composition) – but it’s another anag.

17. RAT IONA L. NIce use of ‘desert island’.

20. MAY HEM. I don’t think ‘mayhem’ is necessarily a criminal act, but I believe it had that sense historically. Certainly it can be bordering on one, but that means borrowing a bit of the wordplay.

22. PLOT. means plan, but does it also mean parking place, or is it P+LOT – in which case why does ‘place’ mean ‘lot’?

6 Responses to “Guardian 24,112, Rufus: Man is an Island”

  1. Stan says:

    For 22d I figured it was P-LOT = “Parking Lot”

  2. mark says:

    13A – I got march but not clear why that is “border”?

    5D – Isn’t this a bit tenuous?

    14D – Even more so. As you say the Life/living is very inelegant.

    20D – Mayhem. Not clear how may works for possibly. Surely it would have to be maybe not just may?

    23D – Ok I’m being slow here but what is it? Bash, bosh? I don’t understand.

  3. michod says:

    Thanks Stan, of course it’s parking lot, silly me.
    Mark, re your queries, MARCH is an old word for border that survives mainly now in the phrase “the Welsh marches”.
    23 down is BEST – which, used as a verb, seems to mean the same as WORST (there’s a paradox).
    I agree with you about 14 and 20, but I liked 5 down. Cryptic definitions are very much a matter of taste. In this, as in many cases, I’d like it even better with extra wordplay on the side, but that’s my personal preference.

  4. gypsy says:

    Don’t suppose anybody had any luck with 4D?

  5. ilancaron says:

    4D: AVE,R (latin welcome)

  6. rufus says:

    Have been away so a little behind. Few points re my thinking: “Lot” = “piece of land allotted or assigned for a specific purpose”, hence Parking place gives “P-LOT” for “plan”. If one is still “living” one is still enjoying “the gift of life”, which seemed cryptically fair for the “present of living” i.e. “The living present”. In Collins, MAYHEM is defined as the “wilful and unlawful infliction of injury upon a person” which I thought could be defined as “a criminal act”. I deliberately used a usually weak anagram indicator (“possibly”) for ON THE RUN (“No hunter, but possibly hunted”) in the hope most solvers would not expect its use! Ah well!

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