Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24368/Rufus

Posted by ilancaron on April 21st, 2008


Rufus at his finest: an excellent set of misleading and satisfying cryptic definitions and some devious wordplay as well. As per usual Rufus’s surfaces are coherent, sensible and, as a result, often hard to crack. Needed to look up a thing or two which is unusual for Rufus as well.


1 G,AMBIT – someone might quibble and argue that a GAMBIT isn’t necessarily a clever move per se.
5 RECEIVER – two meanings. My last clue.
9 BLACKLEG – first cryptic def. I looked for anagrams first of (he won’t go) and (his mates) which is the sign of a good CD.
11 BEDTIME STORY – another very misleading surface and excellent CD as a result (relation as in narration as opposed to a family member).
13 [o]F[f],LEA – The Society against the Defamation of Insects might quibble about defining FLEA as a “repulsive jumper”.
17 DEAD HEAT – a DEAD HEAT is certainly not decisive and I suppose if it’s not quick, it’s not very alive, thus DEAD?
18 SO-SO – an above average clue. SO is “as”, so “twice as” is SO-SO.
20 CONVENIENCES – I usually don’t like toilet humor but this is my fav clue: very misleading and quite amusing ultimately: “Ladies and gentlemen serving the public” (would have been much easier had it read: “Ladies and Gents…”).
24 EMOTIONS – (into some)* – nice anag &lit (I suppose &lits always tend to be pretty nice!).
26 S[ombre],UNLIT


1 [t]ABLE
3 BUCK,BOARD – this needed some research: BUCKBOARD is a type of carriage, BUCK means to jump (e.g. a horse bucking) and “to go on” is to BOARD.
5 REGAINED THE LEAD – another fine CD: surface misdirects towards reversal when it’s really about overtaking.
7 INSET – is “not flush” and the IN SET are cool.
12 BLUE-COLLAR – another good clue: “appropriate” here is COLLAR (as in, take).
15 OB,SESSION – OB is our Old Boy (former pupil)
19 SCOOPS – two quite different meanings.
21 VERDI=drive* – cricket surface and operatic definition.

30 Responses to “Guardian 24368/Rufus”

  1. Comfy Settee says:

    Looking forward to the blog; I found this trickier than most Rufus xwords – took me well over an hour (oh! the shame). Still not 100% sure of some of the wordplay (3d anyone?).

  2. beermagnet says:

    3D I suggest it is: “Bound” is BUCK, “to go on” is BOARD, and the def. is “on the wagon” and it is a thing that is on an actual wagon i.e. stagecoach (had to look it up) and not in the teetotal sense.
    It wasn’t just me then – I had to have many crossing letters before the big 5D came clear (first attempt pencilled in was “reported for duty” Oh dear) – and went blank on 11A for ages, though that is quite good.
    I also liked 20A.

  3. Eileen says:

    17ac: the archaic meaning of ‘quick’ is ‘alive’, as in the Apostles’ Creed: Jesus will come ‘to judge both the quick and the dead’.

  4. Shelley says:

    I bought a Sunday Telegraph book of cryptic crosswords no. 6 a while ago, and my mother and I have been trying to solve the answers for a while, but two whole pages of the answers in the back are wrong! (they have put the same answers as the previous pages.) we have got most of the answers, but there are a few toughies below. Please email me back if you can work out the meanings!

    ‘without vices’ – (2,6) 1st letter I, 1st letter of 2nd word P, 3rd letter of 2nd word R, 5th letter of 2nd word O.
    ‘while working, he stops from time to time’ (7) – 2nd letter E, 6th Letter S
    ‘spotted a piece of land in the centre and flew to it’ (7) – 4th letter O, 6th letter E
    ‘Bellringer who refuses to go to work?’ (7) – 6th letter E
    ‘is it suitable for ‘ The Beggar’s Opera?” (4,5) presuming the 1st word is POOR, as we have the 1st O and R at the end, then for the second word we have 2nd letter O, 4th Letter C.

    Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated! We have been working on this for weeks and are tearing our hair out!

  5. tuck says:

    I think the first one is “in person”, because ther is no substitute and the fourth is “striker”

  6. manehi says:

    ‘is it suitable for ‘ The Beggar’s Opera?” (4,5)
    sounds like POOR VOICE to me.

  7. tuck says:

    The third is “piloted” pi(lot)ed

  8. tuck says:

    I think the secone is “cellist”, because to stop can mean to limit the vibrating length with the finger

  9. neildubya says:


    Sorry to take a hardline here but this isn’t a general forum for the discussion of random clues. Each post in this blog is dedicated to discussion of a particular puzzle – this one here is for today’s Guardian puzzle. There are a couple of other places on the Internet that can help with this type of query though:

    The Crossword Centre Messageboard:


    Hope that helps


  10. Comfy Settee says:

    There was also a terrible movie with Sharon Stone called “The Quick and the Dead” (a western), and a song by Iron Maiden of the same name. But Im pretty sure that the Bibical reference predates even the latter of those…

  11. Comfy Settee says:

    Mrs. Settee has just informed me that the Iron Maiden song was actually called “Be Quick or be Dead”. I bow to her superior knowledge of all things naff.

  12. rightback says:

    I thought the cryptic definitions for BLACKLEG and PUBLIC CONVENIENCES were two of the best I’ve seen recently.

  13. Bogeyman says:

    I can’t quite work out why 14 ac is ENAMOURS. I can see the definition is “charms” but where does the EN come from in the clue? I was looking for LE or LA.

  14. Andrew says:

    Bogeyman – EN can mean “in” in French (e.g. “en France”), so it’s “the French in” = EN. And of course AMOURS means “love affairs”.

    I thought this was the weakest clue in the puzzle, as the AMOURS part has almost the same meaning in both the answer and the wordplay.

  15. Eileen says:

    I thought the fact that the whole thing was French: EN-AMOURS [The French ‘in love affairs’ had a certain charm!

  16. tuck says:

    I’ve been thinking about this neildubya. We’d finished discussing Rufus’s fine puzzle and then you had to come in as the great protector of the blog and flame Shelley with some patronising response to her/his request. Yes, you’re probably right that it could be raised on some other forum, but did it really matter?

  17. neildubya says:

    It hardly seems fair to say that “we’d finished discussing” the puzzle as there were a further six comments about it after mine. Also, I wouldn’t exactly call it “flaming” as I did say sorry for taking a hardline.

    The Great Protector.

  18. Testy says:

    Personally I agree with Neil that the comments for a particular blog should only be used for commenting on that particular puzzle. However, will Neil be taking an equally hard line when the comments digress into rambling discussions on football (as they sometimes have in the past)? Perhaps we could do with a dedicated thread just for general chit-chat.

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