Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24398/Rufus – should have stayed in bed

Posted by ilancaron on May 26th, 2008


Somewhat patchy Rufus — some doubtful cryptic definitions but elsewhere some clever misdirections. I’m writing this up through the fog of a migraine so no promises as to quality. In retrospect, I wonder why I got up so early to do this. Wasn’t really worth it. On reading the comments below, I feel I must have let my migraine-induced grumpiness get the better of me.  There are some nice clues here indeed: 5A, 18A, 20A — I found 26A and 19D transparent but i can understand their appeal (on the other hand, I am often mystified by allusions that others find obvious…).


1 SHADES – a shady double definition.
5 OFFICERS – quite neat anag &lit – (forces if)*
9 EVENS,OUT – planes in the surface and in the definition quite different.
10 SPLASH – two meanings: ref. landing near Cape Canaveral in the sea.
11 EARNED INCOME – is this a double definition masquerading as a cryptic definition: “Means being out of employment?”. Can EARNED INCOME refer to INCOME derived say from investments, thus hinting that you don’t need to go to work?
13 MARC=rev(cram=stuff) – it’s the grapeskins left behind once you’ve made your wine.
17 ADOPTING – a rather obvious cryptic definition.
18 LENT – two quite different meanings: the second referring to sacrificing food at LENT.
20 ALL SAINTS DAY – (lands – Italy’s a)* with “various” the anagrind. What’s the role of “possibility” though? I think it’s just there for the surface unless the whole thing can be an &lit (but even so, “possibility” has no role in the cryptic grammar).
25 FAIR=”just”,ISLE=lies* – ref. Shetland Island pattern.
26 SITTER – another weakish cryptic def.


2 HIVE – and another (weak cryptic def).
3 DUNCE’S CAP – a slightly better cryptic def since “assumption” misleads nicely.
4 SPOORS – which leads to another rather transparent cryptic definition.
5 ON THE BRIGHT SIDE – but to look on the bright side, this one’s rather better (sort of a double cryptic definition).
7 COL,IC – COL is a pass followed by the the final letters of “OlympIC”.
12 CAN,DELA=lead*,BRA – our (well, not mine) perennial female support is BRA and I like “giving enlightenment” defining CANDELABRA.
15 BILLY GOAT – but it’s followed by another weakish CD.
16 DIVIDERS – is this even a cryptic def: “”Drawing instruments – possibly rulers?”
19 ADAPTS – or this? “Makes work play, perhaps”.
21 STAIR=stare*
21 F,ETE – rather cheeky since French is both F and modifies “summer” for ETE

15 Responses to “Guardian 24398/Rufus – should have stayed in bed”

  1. Barbara says:

    16. Dividers
    Drawing instruments – possibly rulers? (8)
    Can somebody please explain this? In what sense is a divider a drawing instrument, or a ruler?

  2. Ron says:

    16d. A pair of dividers is an instrument for measuring the distance between two points on a technical drawing; I assumed that the reference to rulers was to people who divide and rule.

  3. Andrew says:

    I think 11ac is purely a cryptic definition. I struggled with it for ages, initially guessing PRIVATE INCOME (which of course doesn’t even fit). EARNED INCOME means income from salary rather than investments, which is “unearned” (the two have sometimes been taxed differently). In fact I had a lot of trouble generally in the top LH corner, at various times wrongly guessing SCENTS for 4dn and BALES OUT for 9ac.

    I agree with Ron about 16d being a reference to “divide and rule”.

    I was puzzled by 19dn too: looking at it again now I suppose it refers to making a work (e.g. a book) into a play.

  4. Ron says:

    19d. I thought “make work” might mean to fix, though I’m not convinced that adapt and fix can really be the same, even in a crossword, and I still don’t get the reference to play.

  5. beermagnet says:

    I found this more enjoyable than most Rufuses.
    I thought the “Divide and rule” inference in 16D was excellent.
    I learnt something – Never heard of MARC before (13A).
    I too had trouble with 11A, especially as I initially put in SCOUTS for 4D.
    19D works for me: When creating a play from another medium, typically a book, it is adaption.
    I’m still somewhat undecided about 14A: RINGBELT or RINGBOLT as to my mind either are “for security?” the first to hold up your trousers, the other to keep a door shut. I have pencilled in the latter as it is certainly a word whereas Ringbelt is probably really (4,4) “ring belt”.

  6. Eileen says:

    19dn: ADAPTS: I took it as ‘makes a work into a play’. I wasn’t really happy with 17 ac then being ADOPTING – spent some time wondering whether 3dn was DUNCE’S CAP [preferred] or DUNCE’S HAT, which would have allowed NESTLING for 17ac. I wasn’t familiar with MARC, which clinched things when I looked it up.

    I did like 25ac, with ’tissue’ as the anagrind, and 8dn RESEMBLING [gremlins be*]

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    14ac I think it must be BOLT, as BELT doesn’t quite mean RUN AWAY (it might mean RUN, at a pinch)

    I still don’t get the PLANES meaning in 9ac; can anyone explain? (QUITS = EVENS? FAULTY = OUT?)

  8. John Ridge says:

    I thought this was a really great puzzle – several “laugh out loud” moments (19dn, 26ac for example).

    I was going to moan about 13ac, believing that MARC was the distilled product of the grapeskins – but OED says it’s the “stuff left over” as well, so full marks to Rufus!

  9. John Ridge says:

    Dave, it’s carpentry – the PLANE is what they use to smooth or even out a piece of wood.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, John. I had thought of every other plane: flying ones, flat geometric ones and flat land, but, doh!, forgot this one.

  11. C G Rishikesh says:

    I didn’t solve this Guardian puzzle but even as I read 16ac above I understood it perfectly.

    A divider is part of what is called the “geometry box” that every schoolboy in India carries and “divide and rule” is a familiar phrase in the history of my country.

  12. C G Rishikesh says:

    Ah, that word “rulers” too evoked memories in me. Rulers are not carried by schoolboys but some decades ago we children could see our grandfathers having them. They were heavy wooden sticks cylindrical in shape and used to draw rules on paper. I don’t see them anymore for they must be in the lumber room, if at all.

  13. Richard Higson says:

    11 ac Just a suggestion, but do you think the wordplay here is “means” = “earned income” (as in income that is earned), and “being out of employment” = “earned income” in the sense that “earned” is being used as the past tense of “earn”?

  14. Rufus says:

    When I clued “earned income” the working in my head was that “means”=income; that it comes “out of employment”= it was earned.
    To Rishi: those sort of cylindical rulers were also used by our grandfathers (if you’re old as I am)- nowadays they are flat, still used for drawing lines, made of plastic, but with measurements commonly of inches on one edge and centimetres on the other. Small ones are often included in geometric sets.

  15. muck says:

    Always good to have you comment, Rufus. Not many setters do.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

one + = 2