Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24422 Rufus

Posted by neildubya on June 23rd, 2008


A typically pleasant Monday puzzle from Rufus with at least two classy clues (15d and 24a). I still don’t understand why we must always get an easy puzzle on Monday. There’s always the simpler crossword in the Guardian supplement and you can always borrow or steal a copy of “The Telegraph” if all else fails. 

I’d also genuinely like to see what Rufus could produce if he upped the level of difficulty to Paul/Araucaria strength. 


9 ARBITRATE : (bar attire)*

10 ANNU(a)L



13 SATAN – reference to the phrase “the devil provides work for idle hands”.

14 PACEMAKER : In this case a horse that sets the early pace on a (race-)course

16 OBSERVATION POST : usually abbreviated to O.P by soldiers

19 Omitted on purpose

21 Omitted on purpose – the answer is clear  



24 KN(a p.s)ACK – a good complex clue from Rufus – more like that please ! A second thought is a “p.s” and a knapsack is a pack. “Having the knack of something” is definitely a gift




2 OBVIATES : (bias vote)*

3 STRE-WN : (rest)* + W N


5 HEATH CLIFF : From “Wuthering Heights” and also two features of wild countryside.


7 UNHOOK : reference to “hook and eye” fastenings



15 RETURN FARE : This is a lovely pun : I’m usually a critic of Rufus’ work, but he did make me smile this morning.



20 KID-NAP : I know a card game called “Napoleon” where you score big if you promise to take all the tricks and do so – this is called “Nap”. There may be a less obscure rationale.

21 CASTOR : (+POLLUX = the Gemini Twins)

22 OAKS : A classic horse race and that most English of trees

23 DUFF : e.g “Plum Duff”. Good misdirection – it’s not the kind of “boiled sweet” you expected, right ?

16 Responses to “Guardian 24422 Rufus”

  1. mhl says:

    Speaking as someone who has to spend far too much time on a Sunday to finish the Azed, it’s a nice change of style to have a Rufus the next day, and the clues are always fun. Suggesting that the quick crossword is the same kind of challenge is a bit silly. Also, how difficult you find the clues depends a lot on the the way that you think about them – I tend to find the pure cryptic definitions that are more prevalent on Mondays at least as tough as the type you highlight in 24 across…

    Have you tried the puzzle by the same setter in “A-Z of Crosswords”? It’s one of his from The Times and more difficult than an typical Monday Rufus, I thought.

  2. JohnR says:

    Is it a question of style as much as difficulty? I hugely enjoy Rufus’s cryptics – 15dn must become a classic! This puzzle as a whole must be “easy” since I managed to solve it (eventually) – but the important thing is that I enjoyed doing so, as always with Rufus. At least one recent “easy” puzzle was merely boring.

    It must be very difficult to set to a consistent level of easiness/difficulty. I would be interested in a setter’s view.

  3. Mart says:

    Having an “easy” puzzle once a week is great for a beginner such as myself – please don’t let t change for the sake of future solvers.

  4. stan says:

    Eeek ! I was just expressing a personal preference rather than setting out a revolutionary agenda.

    I have no objection to the occasional “Easy” crossword and I certainly have nothing against Rufus. I just don’t see why they should be always on a Monday.

    I’m a “beginner” as far as Azed puzzles are concerned and having an easy daily crossword on a Monday for beginners makes as much sense to me as making the first Azed in every month an easy one.

  5. Andrew says:

    For the morons among us, could someone explain 15d? “Fare” and a play on “fair”/just I understand, And the prodigal son came home, but the fatted calf leaves me baffled.

  6. stan says:

    Fare is what you pay for a ticket – it is also what you eat at a banquet. When the prodigal son came home, the fatted calf was on the menu.

  7. Mezza says:

    I’m a beginner so I really look forward to the Monday puzzle. I’m not sure what the quick crossword has to do with anything? Or The Telegraph for that matter.

  8. Andrew says:

    Ahhh, that is clever. Clearly too clever for me. Lack of biblical knowledge letting me down again.

  9. smutchin says:

    I really liked 4dn – not a difficult clue by any means but a very neat dd.

    Stan, I think Monday’s puzzle is always relatively easy as a morale-booster for those of us who usually find Saturday’s puzzle too hard.

  10. Tom Hutton says:

    I don’t by any means think that difficulty is the only criterion by which to judge a crossword. I agree with others above that the pleasure in solving a neat clue is often more than the satisfaction of grinding out some of the more complex or recherche (sorry I can’t manage an accent)clues of the later in the week setters. Long may Rufus thrive.

  11. struggler says:

    I couldn’t care less which day of the week Rufus appears — I would just buy that day’s paper instead of Monday’s. The usual level of difficulty is absolutely fine with me. I agree with Mezza that the reference to the quick crossword is irrelevant — I always do that one on auto-pilot as fast as I write.

  12. AlanR says:

    I’m always surprised everyone thinks Rufus is easy – I usually find him as hard as or harder than Araucaria, Paul and the rest, due to the prevalence of cryptic definitions, where you only have one line of attack, rather than both a definition and some wordplay.

  13. Paul B says:

    There was a whisper going round about ‘progressive difficulty’ policies. I don’t know if any paper really has one, as the difficulty even within the same compiler can vary quite a bit.

    For what it’s worth, I reckon the judgement should be on whether or not the clues are good, regardless of how tough the compiler, or puzzle, is perceived to be.

  14. henri says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle. I have only just finished it so, to me, it wasn’t easy. 13ac was very clever! And why did you omit the answer to 19ac?

    Rufus is the reason I buy The Guardian on Mondays.

  15. owenjonesuk says:

    I belatedly agree with others that it really helped me when I was first trying to get into cryptic crosswords to know that every Monday there would be one which I might find doable. And Monday rather than any other day makes some sense – easing back into the working week and all that.

  16. stan says:

    I’ve been rather taken aback by the response to this. The point is well noted.

    As to why I omitted one of the solutions – it’s what we do. The theory is that we don’t want to be seen to be depriving The Guardian of premium-rate call revenue from their solutions hotline so we don’t post a full solution.

    If you have a problem with a solution we missed out just say so in a comment and someone will no doubt be helpful. The bloggers themselves rely on this feature when they haven’t managed a complete solution themselves in a reasonable length of time.

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