Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,142/Rufus – It’s Monday, so it must be…

Posted by loonapick on July 30th, 2007


A Rufus puzzle with a few less of his trademark cryptic definitions than usual.  A quick blog today because it’s Monday morning, the puzzle wasn’t overly difficult, except for one clue I don’t have the time or energy to work out and I have some other deadlines to meet today (in the real world!)


9 IMAGES – (ageism)*

11 STATE-CRAFT – excellent surface

12 ?A?T?N – can’t get this one, although it is probably very obvious.  Anyone care to help?

14 TURNED TO – (tutor)* “accepted” (<=den) – definition here is a bit loose


17 E-SPOUSE – E=heart of “swEet” – clever, if not original

20 COMPARES – double def, although both meanings are very similar

22 A-STRAY – don’t think this is particularly cryptic

23 D-IS-LOCATED – liked this one

25 SEANCE – a not very cryptic definition


1 MITIGATE – (<=I’m)-TI(GAT)E – GAT=gun for the second time in this puzzle? Sloppy!

3 CUTS IN – double def.





16 EARACHES – (hear case)*


21 O-LI-VER – as in Oliver Twist – “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

22 ADDERS – another clever, but not particularly original clue.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,142/Rufus – It’s Monday, so it must be…”

  1. John says:

    I cannot for the life of me work out what 12 across is either. Any help (plus explanation) would be appreciated. I even resorted to my Thesaurus in case there was some sort of rafter/joist/transom/etc that I did not know about.

  2. Kevin Ward says:

    Got stuck on 12 ac. too. Think it’s ‘batten’. Chambers gives ‘a row of electric lamps or a strip of wood carrying them’. A bit obscure for Rufus.

  3. Stan says:

    Enjoyed “Ashtray” for 19d – didn’t get 24a or d – any offers ?

    Agree it’s probably “batten” for 12a

  4. loonapick says:

    24a – SITE (homophone of “SIGHT”)

    24d – SKIP (double definition)

  5. Stan says:

    D’oh ! I did have “Here” for 24a for a while – but my “scanties” got in the way … My mind must be too highly trained … thanks.

  6. Rufus says:

    I do wonder whether, as the setter, I should join in these discussions. However, a compiler’s work enters the public domain and must accept criticism, but for the same reason the bloggers must also accept mild criticism, though they do a fantastic job, for no financial reward.
    My puzzles are easy and straightforward because the editors, and I must have worked with over 30 over the last 44 years, ask me to provide them that way; basically to help solvers get the idea of cryptics before enjoying the more difficult puzzles. However, fifteensquared has now decided that, as well as “easy”, I am libertarian in the Guardain but Ximenean in the FT. Although I still supply a number of crosswords every week, I do strive to be fair and accurate and to entertain. So when I have spent time giving a clue an accurate and good surface reading I am slightly disappointed when slightly disdainful comments appear in the blog.
    I’m not picking out loonapick especially but, just for example, take the comments above for:
    14 across (Turned to) “a loose definition”. I have looked at four dictionaries and I cannot see how “started work” can be bettered.
    17ac. I was taught by my first mentor, Nigel Gee, back in the 1960s, that a clue is nore fun if you paint a picture of an event. Thus I tried to suggest one’s wife and girlfriend meeting might be calamitous with my clue: “Sweetheart and wife meet – help!” for E-SPOUSE. Sweetheart for “e” is a common device, yes, but I have never come across this clue before in 50 years of crosswords. Yet this is described as “unoriginal”.
    20 ac. “Holds a candle to” and “matches” for COMPARES do have similar meanings – they must have to make the clue work – but it does make a sensible sentence which one would expect to mislead many solvers for a short time.
    22ac “Lost, as a dog may be”. OK, it is a simple clue but ASTRAY and A STRAY is still succinctly cryptic.
    22 dn “They also multiply, naturally” ADDERS. is not all that clever, though described as such, but, as far as I know, is original.
    Incidentally, BATTEN seemed to have given trouble. When I was flying in the Fleet Air Arm I was always given the job of Entertainments Officer, dealing with variety shows (known in the RN as “sod’s operas”); when I left the Navy after 15 years my first job was Entertainments officer at Butlin’s, again putting on shows until I left to turn freelance as a setter, magician and actor. I appeared over 250 times on TV in variety shows, children’s shows and dramas. Battens were always important and perhaps I assumed everybody knew that they were beams holding the lights in theatres and TV studios. I apologise – but if you solved the clue eventually you will probably remember it for the rest of your life! It was my marriage breaking up in 1977 that meant I gave up “show business” to stay at home to look after two pre-teenage boys and concentrate solely on compiling.
    Sorry, I am going on and on. ‘Nough said!

  7. Testy says:

    Personally I’m glad to see a bit of feedback from the setters and would like to see more.

  8. loonapick says:

    I’m happy to be criticised, too, and am glad that Rufus has joined in the discussion. It would be great if more setters gave feedback, and explained their clues. I am sure that Rufus’s explanation of BATTEN has enlightened many solvers who read this blog.
    My comment for 14 ac may have been harsh, but I have definitely come across something like the clue for 17ac before. Lack of originality is not a criticism, and I apologise if Rufus took it that way. Crosswords have been around for three-quarters of a century, and, as in other fields such as literature or art, it is getting harder to be truly original.
    20ac – I maybe should have qualified that a bit as it does paint a good picture and Rufus has done well to find a link between “lighting a candle” and “matches”. In my defence, I did state that I was short of time yesterday. Personally, I prefer double definitions where the light has two completely different meanings (eg FILE being a document and a tool, each meriting separate bold entries in a dictionary.) or where the clue has two significantly different definitions.
    22ac – sorry, don’t agree – I just don’t like the clue, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.
    22dn – Again, like 17ac – I have seen it before, although not with the “naturally” bit. It was the use of that word that led me to think of the clue as clever.

  9. petebiddlecombe says:

    The (unintended) inconsistency in the Setters page has now been fixed – Roger is ‘Ximenean’ throughout. I’ve dished out a bit of flak about Rufus puzzles in the past, possibly unfairly. If they help people who struggle with most other puzzles to think that cryptic crosswords can be done, they’re playing an important role whatever you think about the details of individual clues. If I could travel back in time, I might well find that the first Guardian puzzle I finished was a Rufus one.

  10. Rufus says:

    Thanks Loonapick. Much mollified. You were just the one in the firing line and I accept that you have to write what you feel. Best wishes! R

  11. Rufus says:

    Oops Peter! We overlapped. Many thanks too! Also best wishes! R

  12. struggler says:

    Rufus’s is the only broadsheet crossword I attempt, and it always gives me a lot of satisfaction to complete one. For what it is worth, I do find that some of his puzzles are much easier than others. And I have also noticed that whenever I have to resort to this blog for enlightenment the old pros are reporting problems with clues that I got straight away (batten being a case in point).

  13. roland says:

    As a sop to the setter, I must say that four of us scratched our heads as we deliberated over (and finally chose) BATTEN (various non-existent alternatives were desperately concocted: HAPTON? etc.). At the time, we attributed our confusion, not without justification, to our inebriated state (morbidly exacerbated by pickled eggs: if you haven’t, don’t). However, once Chambers was enlisted as I recovered the next day, I did not feel especially hard done by.

    Since Rufus graciously raises the subject of the relative easiness of his puzzles, I feel able to mention that I think they have become considerably more abstruse in recent weeks. BATTEN is just the latest example of occasional clues that have stopped me in my tracks. As far as I’m concerned, this can only be a good thing.

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