Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24439/Rufus

Posted by beermagnet on July 14th, 2008


Is Rufus getting harder? I had some trouble with this – particularly in the top left corner.
Lots of CDs and DDs (Cryptic Definitions and Double Defs) and not many anagrams (I can only see 3!) meant it was tricky for me.

I’m not fully clear about several here: Across: 9, 11, 12 16 and Down: 1

9 ONE AND ALL Has to be from the crossing letters, and Whereas “Combination of extremes” is a reasonable Cryptic Def., I feel “Unexceptional” is a perverse definition. To me “One and all” simply means “everybody” and if pushed I might think of “One for all and all for one” which means quite the reverse of unexceptional … Full Clue:
Unexceptional combination of extremes (3,3,3)
Later edit: Dan points out unexceptional can be taken as “without exception”
10 ACUTE DD I agree with Andrew: Elegant misdirection
11 TOOK OUT One half of the (assumed) DD is fine “removed” but I fail to understand how it means dated. Full clue:
Dated and removed (4,3)
Dated as in “take out (to dinner)”  Good grief how didn’t I see that.  Thanks Shirley
12 YANKEES Given Y-N-E-S what else could it be? But I didn’t know the (assumed) betting meaning of this (assumed) DD. Full clue:
Statesmen making bets (7)
See Linxit’s comment for the betting definition
13 OBITS Those kind of newspaper dealines
14 CHOCOLATE That kind of snack bar
16 HEALTH INSURANCE Seeking help to explain this one. Full clue:
Is it of any benefit to us? Well, no! (6,9)
Later edit: Health Insurance is only of benefit if one is unwell, clue to be read as
“Is it of any benefit to us well?  No!”
BUPA may disagree with this as they now have “Wellness” clinics

19 RAMILLIES (I’M)< in RALLIES A battle in the napoleonic wars I think
21 CRANE DD  I didn’t find this such a good clue as the “prison” surface was so obvious I rejected it and thought down the bird line early on
22 REGATTA (A TARGET)* One of the few anagrams and a nice one.
23 HABITAT A BIT inside HAT First I got (which shows how little progress I made on a first pass)

1 DON’T BOTHER Another requiring more explanation. I can see the Def (doesn’t matter) and BOTH from pair and ER from hestitates but how are we supposed to deduce the DON’T ? Full clue:
It doesn’t matter if just one of the pair hesitates (4,6)
Later edit: Possibly to be read as “Don’t both hesitate” Thanks again Dan
3 ANNOYS Homophone “A noise”
4 DAFT D[ead] AFT
7 EUREKA Famous exclamation by Archimedes in his bath
8 LEES Homophone “Leas”
17 TELLTALE CD Ref. William Tell My favourite clue:
Revealing story of Swiss resistance? (8)
21 COBWEB Another Nice DD

Note: This blog originally a Comment posted approx. 13:40 Shifted to main blog entry approx. 14:00
Some additions and edits approx. 14:20

31 Responses to “Guardian 24439/Rufus”

  1. Judy Bentley says:

    Someone please come on board. There are three that I can’t get.

  2. beermagnet says:

    OK. I’ll rustle up a Blog as Comment – give me a half-hour.
    (There are a few I have my doubts about too.)

  3. struggler says:

    Is it a Rufus? (I check here before deciding whether to buy a paper).

  4. Shirley says:

    Struggler – Yes it is Rufus. Which ones can’t you get Judy?

  5. struggler says:

    Thanks for the info, Shirley.

  6. Andrew says:

    There were a couple of obscure (to me) words in this one. I liked 10ac and (especially) 21ac for some elegant misdirection.

  7. Dan says:

    9 Unexceptional is being defined as “without exception”, for one and all I think,

    16 Health Insurance is only of benefit if one is unwell… I liked this one, well hidden def.

    I guess 1d is “don’t both hesitate”, but that doesn’t read very well, so I’m unconvinced.

  8. Michael says:

    16 ac, could it be read as “Is it of any benefit to us well?; no!

  9. linxit says:

    I can explain 12A, as I used to be a Ladbrokes manager.

    A Yankee is a common multiple bet where you pick 4 horses and combine them in 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator, 11 bets in total.

  10. Shirley says:

    11A If you take someone out you date them. A bit old fashioned these days I know!

  11. dave says:

    11a Dated, as in took out on a date.

    I thought a Yankee included singles as well Linxit, ie 15 bets.
    Probably thats why I finish up losing more money!

  12. JimboNWUK says:

    I disagree that 21dn is a “nice” DD — who is ‘she’? — presumably Cobweb but in that case where is the part clue for COB preceding “network” for WEB? Don’t give me the swans malarkey because a cob is a MALE swan not a female (PEN). I thought it stunk. Best clue of the puzzle was 10ac.

  13. beermagnet says:

    Jimbo: The whole of COBWEB is OK defined by network in my opinion.

  14. JimboNWUK says:

    OK, I’ll (grudgingly!) give you that one… I guess working in IT makes you synoymise (?) “web” and “network”…

  15. linxit says:

    Dave, the bet you describe is called a “Lucky 15″, which is a Yankee with singles included. Other benefits of it are (or were, I left nearly 10 years ago!) double odds on the single if you only have one winner and a 10% bonus for all four winners.

  16. muck says:

    21dn: COBWEB was a character in Shakespeare’s Misummer Nights Dream

  17. muck says:

    … but Cobweb was a male fairy, so I don’t understand the ‘She plays’ start of the clue!

  18. Speckled Jim says:

    …but what is 22d?

    And why couldn’t 20a just be “Crocodile that attacks human beings (6)” – I found the unnecessary “one” very misleading!

  19. beermagnet says:

    22D RASP Another DD from jar and berry

    I didn’t find the “one” in the MUGGER clue misleading but then I think I had at least the crossing G already. Seems a solid enough clue to me. Unlike …

    … COBWEB: You’re right Muck, that fairy’s male and referred to as Monsieur Cobweb in the text. I didn’t know and certainly didn’t question Cobweb’s gender from the clue. So now I suspect Rufus has made a slip.

  20. Speckled Jim says:

    Ah, I knew I’d kick myself.


  21. Shirley says:

    Cobweb – in answer to Jumbo could it be that the Cob is Shakespeare himself “The Swan of Avon”!

  22. muck says:

    21dn COBWEB. I still don’t understand this despite all the helpful suggestions. The full clue is “She plays Shakespearian part for the network (6)”. Perhaps Rufus got the gender of Cobweb wrong. Or could he have been sufficiently non-PC to use ‘She’ for the male fairy?

  23. Paul B says:

    Bit of a boo-boo, isn’t it? A pain researching Shaks when you haven’t read the play under scrutiny, but not all fairies are female (as I’m sure most of us liberated, youngish, thrusting solvers, setters and bloggers know).

    Lots of comments for Rufus today, and I’m a bit undecided for example about the sense ‘without exception’ being gettable from ‘unexceptional’ – even in the context of the whole clue. It’s standard practice to misdefine like this, but usually the sense is almost pathetically obvious as in, say, ‘unlocked’ for ‘hairless’. Was this one a bit too clever?

  24. Rufus says:

    Oops! Mea culpa. I checked that Cobweb was listed as a Shakesperian fairy, as it wasn’t one of the plays we did a long time ago at grammar school during WWII, but wrongly assumed that all fairies were female. I have slapped myself on the wrist.
    I do think it OK to misdefine “without exception” as “unexceptional” in a cryptic puzzle, especially in the clue’s context, but accept some may disagree!

  25. Rufus says:

    Following my comment above, I have checked my Chambers. Under “unexceptional” it includes the definition “unexceptionable”, which is actually defined as “without exception”.

  26. Paul B says:

    Well, if you say so. Collins gives that sense as ‘non-standard’.

    For ‘unexceptionable’, Collins comes up with the one that sprang to my addled mind most readily, which is ‘beyond criticism or objection’. But you know what I’m hinting at as a general principle here: it’s all about what people will ‘get’.

  27. John Dryburgh says:

    I thought that Stint was a good answer for 21 across until I found that it didn’t fit anything else

  28. Rufus says:

    Just for interest, Cobweb is addressed by Bottom on being introduced as “Master” Cobweb. No other description is given. In the reference book “Who’s Who in Shakespeare”, under “Cobweb” it says: “Whether male or female is not too important”. Perhaps fairies are hermaphrodite!

  29. Andrew says:

    And of course Bottom could have been mistaken about the fairies’ sex – especially as his vision may have been a bit encumbered at the time… (He also mentions “Mounsieur Cobweb” a couple of times later on.)

  30. struggler says:

    Oh what a tangled web this one has become. And all the more enjoyable to watch the thread being spun out.

  31. Paul B says:

    Good ‘spinning’ and ‘web’ jokes.

    Twelfth Night is the main one for gender misapprehension as far as I’m aware, although I suppose Cobweb might have been moonlighting out of Patpong. Here’s that Nick B quote:

    Monsieur Cobweb; good monsieur,
    get your weapons in your hand, and kill me a
    red-hip’d bumble bee on the top of a thistle;
    and, good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag.

    Off his face for sure.

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