Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,278, Rufus: One F in Rif?

Posted by michod on January 7th, 2008


Another gentle start to the week from Rufus, with a sprinkling of mild cryptic definitions, some good anagrams, one piece of libertarianism and a bit of Maghreb blues fusion that I’m not sure quite works.  Music (just for you, Rightback): Bing Crosby’s “Road to Morocco”, with its immortal line “Like Webster’s Dictionary, we’re Morocco-bound”.


1. W IS DOM. Dom=Dominican (I think).

5. UNDERCUT. This is apparently a word for a cut of meat such as a tenderloin, though the clue might work better if the second meaning were phrased as a verb.

11. EIGHT BAR RIFF.  As a blues listener rather than a player, I know what eight-bar blues is, and I know what a riff is, but this phrase doesn’t spring immediately to mind. Plus I think the Rif mountain range in Morocco (like Fulham) normally has only one F. The cryptic image is of a Moroccan (person? mountain range?) visiting eight bars on a crawl. I may have this all wrong – I was expecting a reference to a musical. Of course, Riff was the leader of the Jets in the musical “West Side Story”, but he wasn’t Moroccan.


17. CONFETTI. CD. Either you got it quickly, or agonised until a few checked letters appeared.

20. QUESTION MARK. Another pretty straight CD.

23. ORMOLU. Less familiar word but with clearcut anagram clue (RUM LOO).

24. LARBOARD (LABRADOR*). I liked this one – good anagram with non-obvious definition.

25. PSALTERY (REST + PLAY). And this – the anagram’s reasonably obvious, the answer less so.


3. DISBELIEF. CD than I’m sure I’ve blogged here within the last year. The trouble is, once you’ve considered the first surface meaning, this one is a pretty obvious secondary surface, rather than a cryptic meaning as such. But maybe that’s just how my mind works after years of crosswords!

5. UNINTENTIONALLY (LUTON NIL IN A TYNE). Somewhat strained surface.

7. RULER. Nice reference to the phrase ‘divide and rule’.

19. BAR ROW. I like the way this word splits, a good concise clue.

21. S(TO)OL. Ref Spanish/Latin for sun, not that weedy Mexican beer they shove a slice of lemon in the top of to stop you drinking it.

22. ORFE. (FORE*) Rufus shows his libertarian streak with an indeed clue – ‘forecast’ combining anagrind and fodder in one word. Def: “A semi-domesticated golden-yellow fish found in rivers, ponds and crossword puzzles”.

10 Responses to “Guardian 24,278, Rufus: One F in Rif?”

  1. Ciaran McNulty says:

    It looks like Riff is a valid alternate spelling for someone from the Rif mountains.

  2. David Rhodes says:

    Rufus No 24278
    Easy enough except for 11 across – not happy despite all the explanations – plus only phrase I could find that fits all the checked letters!

  3. Andrew says:

    > Bing Crosby’s ”Road to Morocco”, with it’s immortal line …


  4. Jimbo says:

    I thought the reference was to THE RIFF SONG from the operetta THE DESERT SONG…but I still don’t get the wordplay…

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    22ac cast as in angling too?

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Oops, sorry, that’s 22d

  7. michod says:

    Thanks for pointing out the typo, Andrew (now corrected). As Bing Crosby said in “Road to Morocco” – “Nobody’s perfect!” ;-)

    Re the wordplay for 11ac, if a Riff is indeed someone from the Rif mountains, as Ciaran says, then ‘Eight-bar Riff’ might be the name given to a Moroccan pub-crawler. (I wonder if he went to Rick’s – “Of all the bars… oh I see, you’ve been to all the bars, I guess you had to end up here sooner or later”).

  8. Rufus says:

    Re queries:
    1 across: Dom regers to Benedictine (as in monks) and Benedictine is also a drink.
    11 Riff is a member of a Berber tribe, i.e. Moroccan (see Collins).
    22 dn: Oh dear! I didn’t think “fore-cast” for a throwing out of “fore” was as non-Ximenean as “Indeed” when this is used to mean “included in DE and ED”.

  9. Rufus says:

    Oops! In above posting for “regers” read “refers”.

  10. Struggler says:

    I thought 11ac worked OK, but was cornered in the bottom right by 22d (the sort of word that puts the cross into crossword) and 19dn (a perfectly straightforward clue that made me cross with myself for being defeated by it). Ah well, the year is young…

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