Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24262/Rufus – and more cryptic defs…

Posted by ilancaron on December 17th, 2007


A surfeit of cryptic definitions today which isn’t of course out of character for Rufus. It’s tempered by several well crafted clues though so a smile or two were produced.


9 TALL ORDER – OK, it’s kind of a joke I see that — but I don’t really see the definition part unless Rufus wants us to think that commands that come down from on high tend to be TALL ORDERS?
10 H,AND,Y – I liked this clue for the first and last letters of HungarY.
11 MA,E WEST=sweet* – refreshingly, no direct or indirect allusion to her bust size.
12 A,COL,YTE=yet*
14 HOWITZERS – (a size worth)*
16 BOLT FROM THE BLUE – but isn’t the saying derived from “thunder from a clear sky” anyway??
19 MAY,FLOWER – nice clue: it’s a kind of hawthorn and it’s what a nurseryman might say to protect himself from your wrath.
21 MIGHT – two meanings
22 TRADE-IN – (I daren’t)*
25 ENTERTAIN – two meanings (as in: ENTERTAIN a notion)


1 STAMP ALBUM – neat cryptic definition with a sufficiently misleading surface meaning.
3 H,ONEST=notes* – doctor and hospital cooperating for a smooth surface.
5 TREAD WATER – another cryptic definition.
6 THROTTLE – two meanings
7 EN(Z[ulu])YME –
14 HOOD,WINKED – not a bad clue: “showed complicity” is WINKED.
15 SWELTERING – (grew silent)* with “becoming” the anagrind.
17 F,ALTERED – F’s our key.
18 LEG-BREAK – it’s an injury and I’m guessing the second part is a cricket ref having to do with changing the side to which you bat or bowl the ball or something…
20 Y,EARLY – nice clue (Y is end of holidaY).
21 MEMORY – “One won’t remember losing it”. I can’t remember if I liked this clue or not… is it trivial or clever?
22 TO,ME
23 AN,TI=rev(it) – actually succinct and clever clue which I’m not opposed to.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24262/Rufus – and more cryptic defs…”

  1. Geoff says:

    More balanced than recent Rufus offerings, with a nice mix of anagrams, cryptic definitions and charade clues. Rufus’s clues are almost always succinct, with good surface readings. The clue for 15D disappointed me slightly, given his usual high standard: (grew silent)* for SWELTERING is a good anagram, but ‘too hot to talk’ is a rather poor definition, although it does help the surface.

  2. Struggler says:

    18D — in cricket a leg break is a ball bowled in such a way that it spins (turns) from the leg side to the off side of the batsman after pitching. Six balls of leg-break bowling = a turning over.

  3. Comfy Settee says:

    I liked this puzzle overall – some nice clues, and I thought HANDY was really neat.

    Didn’t like 4d though, which seemed to equate “tide” with “current”… they are both oceanographic, but they aren’t the same….

  4. Rufus says:

    As a seafarer for 15 years I knew “tide” doesn’t actually equate to “current” but, as long as one can find some provenance ,I have always understood setters may stretch meanings slightly. In this case, every one of the five thesauri I use has “tide”=”curent”; Chambers describes it as acceptable -“poetic”!

  5. Comfy Settee says:

    Yes, a little stretching is fine – and my thesaurus also has “tide” = “current”… I guess my problem is that my job is as a physical oceanographer, so Im quite anal about these things!
    Nice puzzle.

  6. Al Streatfield says:

    From my perspective, if something has (poetic) after it in Chambers, then it’s incumbent on the compiler to allude to this in order to alert the solver that they are being confronted with an obscure definition, so that they know where they stand…

    You can call it “anal” if you like…


  7. Rufus says:

    Sorry Al, but five thesauri is surely enough for any setter? I rarely use the word anal.
    “Bolt from the blue” was intended as a two meanings clue. “Thunder from a clear sky” is one meaning, the other meaning is “something unexpected”.

  8. ilancaron says:

    I realize that BOLT FROM THE BLUE is intended to be two meanings… I just thought that both meanings were quite similar etymologically: see:

  9. Rufus says:

    From the etymological point of view, I have to agree. I just thought, when setting, the two meanings were sufficently different, and my brief is to be fairly easy on a Monday (excuses, excuses!).

  10. Al Streatfield says:

    Rufus, I’m rather dubious about the use of thesauri in compiling- indeed I don’t possess one.

    The words given after the headwords are not intended to be precise definitions of these…


  11. Testy says:

    But there are hardly any two words which have absolutely identical meanings (otherwise we wouldn’t need both words) but I think that it is perfectly accpetible to specify a word by using a reasonably close synonym.

    Personally I would have been perfectly happy with tide and current (and apparently so would the compilers of most thesauri). Even though they may differ from a technical point of view, I should think that most people would consider them pretty synonymous.

    Preventing setters from using synonyms as close as these would mean that they would almost have to replicate the dictionary definitions in their clues which would make for pretty dry reading.

  12. ilancaron says:

    I agree — and in fact I think dictionary precision is directly related cryptic difficulty — so one would expect Azed to quote chapter and verse of the dictionary def whereas a daily puzzle can be quite synonomical!

  13. Al Streatfield says:

    Tide and current: As a solver I wouldn’t think of “tide” if confronted with current, or vice versa…

    “Preventing setters from using synonyms as close as these would mean they would almost have to replicate the dictionary definitions in their cluse which would make for pretty dry reading”.

    Not necessarily, a compiler could still define a fish by “swimmer”, or a bird by “flyer” etc…

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