Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24172/Rufus

Posted by linxit on September 3rd, 2007


Solving time 4:32

I suppose I should thank Rufus after last Friday’s battle with a really tough Araucaria, but this was just too easy! I’m no speed demon, but I got nearly every clue at first glance. And what about the four across clues on the top and bottom rows? Where’s the misdirection? There were too many CDs (I counted 11, with 5 DDs too), which means more than half the clues had no wordplay. Having said that, I thought 11 was a brilliant anagram &lit. Almost made up for the rest!

5 CRYSTAL – I’m not sure this is even a CD. It’s more word-association than crossword clue!
11 APOSTROPHE (perhaps too)* – excellent &lit. Did I already mention that?
12 L,IN,NET – another good one, with perfectly natural surface reading.
13 APPLE PIE – DD. I hadn’t heard of an apple-pie bed before, which is one where the sheets are doubled over so you can’t get in it.
23 FALSETTO (of latest)* – nicely disguised anagram.
28 CANTEEN – sort of double CD, or cryptic DD? Whatever…
29 ENEMIES – straight clue. I suppose the idea is that friends talk about their enemies, so “converse” can have two meanings. However, as both lead to the same answer, what’s the point?

4 EX-ACTOR – this might have been the trickiest clue, and was the only one I had to go back to once all the crossing letters were there.
7 SCORE DRAW – another CD where the point is the two meanings of the word “tie”, but again, what else could it be?
9 ROMAN CATHOLIC (can omit choral)* – nicely apt anagram fodder, but easily spotted.
22 STROKE – best of the bunch of double definitions today. The leading oarsman in a boat, or a shot played.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24172/Rufus”

  1. AlanR says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t see the point of 29 across! It belonged in the quick crossword.

  2. Pasquale says:

    You should remember that among Guardian solvers Rufus (according to the crossword editor)is second in popularity to Araucaria. The reason for this is that he is easy, and we need easy puzzles within a total portfolio so that newcomers can find an entry point. Blogs like this one are inevitably going to attract those who want harder puzzles (you may find mine a bit harder tomorrow!) but its participants need to realise that there are less able solvers who will never get near a site like this one.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Amen to that. Not sure if the solvers are “less able” though – I think they just want a pleasing, successful, solving, experience to go with other things in their life.

  4. Chris says:

    I completely agree with Pasquale’s post.

    However, 29 Across really has no place in a cryptic. It doesn’t work except as a straight clue – if the idea was to make us think of conversation then it should be “conversation” or “conversing” (except that would then ruin the definition, obviously – which is why it doesn’t really work). It’s not the easiness that’s the problem – it’s just a poor cryptic clue.

  5. linxit says:

    Each to his 2 down I suppose. I take each puzzle as it comes. I was full of praise for a first class Rufus puzzle I blogged a couple of months ago. Not a weak clue in it, and filled with excellent surface readings and witty definitions. It wasn’t hard, but it was still good. Actually I’ve just checked back – it was 24088 back in May, and 24124 in July was another. I just think this one was set too easy, and the clueing maybe suffered as a result.

    Don, your statistic about popularity is interesting. Rephrasing the question slightly might get a different answer. How many solvers who put Araucaria first would put Rufus second? Or vice versa?

  6. Pasquale says:

    A solving acquaintance (met on a ramble) who likes A wrote to the crossword ed complaining about R and he told her what I have told you. More than that I do not know!

  7. purplerabbits says:

    I definitely count myself as a weaker solver and I quite liked 29A, though it would have read better as “converse TO friends”. But I though 17D (score draw for ‘football tie with goals’) was purely literal – unless there is something clever about it I’m missing?

  8. petebiddlecombe says:

    17D: You could be led astray by reading “tie” as in “cup tie”, rather than as in tie=draw.

  9. muck says:

    A friend told me R is known as Mozart and A as Beethoven. Any other attributions of setters to composers?

  10. eimi says:

    I think Enigmatist is Brahms and Liszt

  11. Stan says:

    Pascale – you weren’t kidding about your crossword being a touch harder ! Great work – enjoyed it a lot.

    I would compare Paul (or Bunthorne of old) to JS Bach – deceptively simple on the surface but profound and lyrical.

    Seems the Guardian like a simple bit of Chas ‘n’ Dave on a Monday though …

  12. Pasquale says:

    Well, I hope today’s Guardian blogger gets some sleep! Night all!

  13. Rufus says:

    It seems the general opinion is that 29a is not cryptic enough. I suppose that “converse”, although appearing in every one of my dictionaries as a synonym for “conversation”, is rarely used in that connection nowadays. I shall try and avoid clues like this in the future! Thanks for all the comments.

    I have pointed out before on this blog that I am asked to provide a straightforward, relatively simple, crossword for the Guardian Monday spot

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