Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24392 – Rufus

Posted by Uncle Yap on May 19th, 2008

Uncle Yap.

My usual convention
* = anagram
“” = homophone
cd = cryptic definition
dd = double definition
ha = hidden answer
rha = reversed hidden answer

Contrary to expectation, Rufus managed to stump me twice today when he used two words that I have never seen before. Only a desperate and frantic plunge into Chambers saved the day.    So who says Rufus is a pushover?

Across
1 TOUCHES A clever dd
5 FINE LEG Charade of FINE (accomplished) LEG (cricket side)
see Chambers ” the legside of a cricket field”
10 FETE Homophone for FATE (lot)
11 PRIME MOVER cd
12 TSE TSE 2 x *(set)
13 HALLOWED Charade of HALL (Public building) OWED (due to)
14 FANTASTIC Insertion of ANT (Worker) in FAST (firm as in colour) IC (in charge)
16 BITTS cd of a rare word which I have never heard of before. It is a post around which cables are fastened
17 BRASS A dd but brass is a metal which is definitely not steel
19 STATUTORY Insertion of TUTOR (Coach) in STAY (remain)
23 STOCK CAR Charade of ST (saint or good man) OCK CAR (*a crock)
24 BECOME dd
26 MAISONETTE *(No estimate)
27 VEND Charade of V (five) END (close)
28 WELSHED A most deceptive cd. This is vintage Rufus
Chambers “to run off from a racecourse without settling or paying one’s bets”
29 QUARTER of a year is ‘Three months’ and Judge Jeffreys (1645-1689) ,known as “The Hanging Judge” because mercy was never his strong suit.

Down
2 OPEN SEA Daft definition?
3 CHEAT Insertion of HE in CAT(*act) Another Rufus gem of an &lit
4 EXPRESS Charade of EX (former wife) PRESS (Push)
6 IDEALS Insertion of DEAL (trade) in IS (one’s)
7 ECONOMIST *(to incomes) another fine &lit
8 ELEMENT dd
9 HIGH BIRTHRATE Charade of High birth (nobility) rate (rank as in judge) with big issue as a cd
15 TEST CASES Charade of TEST (Experiment) CASES (patients)
18 RAT RACE Charade of RA (Royal Artillery or soldiers) TRACE (a bit)
20 TABLEAU Charade of TABLE (furniture) AU (gold)
21 ROMANCE Charade of ROMAN (Catholic) CE (Church of England)
22 SCONCE dd and I had to dig deep into Chambers to get sconce3    n (at Oxford University) a fine imposed for some breach of university rules or etiquette (paid in ale or in attempting to drink a large amount of ale without taking a breath, or otherwise); sconce4  n the head; the crown of the head; brains, wits.
25 COVER dd

13 Responses to “Guardian 24392 – Rufus”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for BITTS – that had me totally stumped. It seems a bit unfair to use such an obscure word with 3 unchecked letters out of 5, especially when there are plenty of common words that fit the pattern _I_T_.

  2. Rufus says:

    Sorry, I didn’t think BITTS would be that obscure. I know from past blogging that I do tend to return to my naval roots, but surely everyone who’s been to any dock or quayside will have seen sailors taking figure of eight turns with rope or wire hawsers round these small metal pillars in pairs when tying up small and large ships.

  3. Hello Sailor says:

    Should we be on the lookout for a ‘way-hay, up she rises’ in any forthcoming down clues?

  4. Geoff says:

    I found this the most difficult Guardian crossword for ages and had to give up on it with about half a dozen spaces. Rufus always produces extremely well-crafted and very terse clues, often relying on misleading homophony, many of which are cryptic def or double def. This type of clue can sometimes be relatively easy to solve – but if you don’t see the trick there is no other handle to use to get at the solution. And lots of connecting letters which only score 1 in Scrabble don’t give much of a hint! Araucaria and Paul are a breeze in comparison…

  5. teesween says:

    I always thought bitts were bollards.

  6. Andrew says:

    According to Chambers, BITT may be the source of the expression “the bitter end”, “bitter” being “the turn of the cable around round the bitts”. I definitely didn’t know that!

  7. Colin Blackburn says:

    5a I thought was poor. Surely leg in the definition and the wordplay is the same, the cricket term.

    I didn’t get BITTS and agree it was too obscure for the checking.

    ECONOMIST was excellent.

  8. rightback says:

    WELSHED and BITTS both had me stumped. Quite a bit harder than usual for Rufus, I thought.

  9. PaulW says:

    Same here Rightback. Could not even guess the answers to these clues.

    I usually look forward to Rufus on Monday’s after struggling with numerous other crosswords over the weekend, but these clues were just too difficult for a Monday!

  10. struggler says:

    I agree with the last two comments — 16ac was too obscure for me (never come across the word before) and 28ac was too subtle for me (I was unaware of the racing connection).

  11. Rufus says:

    Apologies for making this Monday puzzle too difficult. I shall have to concentrate more. I did think BITTS acceptable – for Teesween, bitts are twin bollards. When big ships anchor the weight of the anchor cable holds the ship steady more than the actual anchor; the anchor cable was secured inboard in earlier times around the bitts allowing more cable to be let out in rough weather, high winds and tides. When the crew have let out all possible cable and the cable end is around the bitts, it “has come to the bitter end” as Andrew points out.

  12. Rufus says:

    One more bit of naval jargon for Andrew: did he know the naval slang for the Royal Navy is “the Andrew”? This came from the name of a zealous press-gang officer, Andrew Miller, who impressed so many men into the King’s Naval Service in the Napoleonic Wars that he was said to own the Royal Navy.

  13. Colin Blackburn says:

    Apropos the Royal Navy, a recently quoted TV quiz question from Private Eye (from their Dumb Britain column) goes something like this…
    Anne Robinson: “Which branch of the British armed forces is known as the Senior Service?”
    Contestant: “Is it the SS?”

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