Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24238/Rufus – raga man

Posted by ilancaron on November 19th, 2007


I felt this was Rufus at his worst to be honest. There were too many long anagrams and too many unconvincing cryptic defs (yes, I realize this judgement is in the eye of the beholder). That said most surface readings were coherent and sensible which is often the first thing that is compromised in a bad puzzle.

10 CAIRNS – two meanings (fortunately I’m in the middle of a book about the S. Pole and as we know Scott’s last tent is under a rather large CAIRN now).
12 CELEBATIONS – (Cabinet’s role)* — first long anag.
15 ELEVEN=”team”-PLUS=”advantage” – again fortunately we emigrated from England about a week before I was to take the ELEVEN-PLUS
17 PEP=rev(PEP) – … and I thought to “go both ways” was a sexual allusion!
19 TEA=”tee” – unambiguous infix homophone since the form “X, homophone-indicator ‘for’ Y” implies Y is the answer.
20 CONTRAVENE – next long anag: (Covenanter)*
22 SEMI-DETACHED – (Cheam, its deed)* – oh, another long anagram.
26 UNREAL – (neural*) – haven’t had an anag in a while.
28 GALOSH – actually a fairly reasonable cryptic def.
29 ALLERGY – (gallery)* and an anag to end the across clues.


2 [Jul]Y,ALE
3 ANSWERED – (news, dear)* — lost count of the anags by now.
4 TRAC=rev(cart),E
6 S(CAT)TY – didn’t know that SCATTY meant “wild”.
7 BIRD OF PREY – a shallow cryptic def — you’re meant to think of Roberto Carlos or David Beckham I suppose.
8 LAST, SU(P)PER – quite a complex clue for a Rufus actually: 13 here isn’t a cross-ref but Jesus + the other 12 at the LAST SUPPER (“meal for 13″).
11 PROUST – (stupor)*.
13 GETTYSBURG – almost a straight def with a slight touch of misdirection since it could have referred to a place rather than a speech.
14 RED ADMIRAL – (Real Madrid)* — it’s a butterfly.
18 BASE,BA=rev(AB),L,L -
21 IDEALS – (ladies)*
23 CO,CO,A – I rather liked this clue actually.
25 EDGY – another good clue: two meanings.

9 Responses to “Guardian 24238/Rufus – raga man”

  1. Geoff says:

    I did sail through this one because of the large number of anagrams. Rufus usually has a lot more double defs and single cryptic defs, which can take me a (wee) bit longer if I don’t spot the word play immediately. In the newspaper version, the word division for 22ac was given as (3-8) rather than (4-8), which held me up fractionally as I was looking for a three-letter word S_M – not having spotted that it was a 12-letter light.
    Definitely easier than average and didn’t have the ‘feel’ of a typical Guardian crossword, but certainly not a bad puzzle – Rufus is extremely skilled at producing short and accurate clues with a good surface.

  2. Mick H says:

    I didn’t mind the high anagram count, though it did make for a quick solve. But I thought GETTYSBURG didn’t really work as a CD -the surface instantly made me think of the Gettysburg address, so to be misleading the answer would have had to be an old zip code or something! I liked 2 down, though, with ‘fourth of July’ for Y.

  3. jimbod says:

    I thought 17ac should be POP – as in to have a “pop” at something but hey, no quibbles.
    1dn escaped me – prob due to horological ignorance. Presume it was FACE but not sure why?

  4. Mick H says:

    No horological knowledge required for 1dn – clock = slang for face; key = F, one = ACE.
    17ac, I almost put POP too… only quibble there is that when you have P_P, the knowledge that the word is a palindrome is absolutely no help in finding it!

  5. jimbod says:

    Ta Mick H – Im never all that happy when key used for letters A-G but guess that’s what makes it such a potent decoy in surface. Thought this was a good’un overall.

  6. Struggler says:

    I think POP is perfectly reasonable for 17ac — if one pops out, in or around to see someone or do something it is synonymous with going.

  7. Comfy Settee says:

    I went for POP also… I wonder which Rufus intended? We’ll find out tomorrow, I guess (unless he’s reading this and feels like telling us now…?)

    Quite enjoyed this one – found it pretty straightforward (so it *must* have been on the easy side!), but that’s no bad thing for a Monday (or any other day, in my opinion). I thought “Y” for 4th of July was cute. There were a lot of anagrams, true, but I thought they were quite good ones mostly (I never new that Red Admiral was an anagram of Real Madrid, for example!)

    Didnt fully understand 5ac – who was the murder victim?

  8. ilancaron says:

    5A: ABEL (as in Cain’s victim who I guess wasn’t his brother’s keeper after all).

    I’ve seen Fourth of July in many US crosswords for Y before so I guess I’m slightly jaded.

  9. Comfy Settee says:

    Ah yes, that makes sense! Thank you..!

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