Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,464, Rufus: In the navy

Posted by michod on August 11th, 2008


A decent Monday Rufus, not as CD-heavy as some, with some good variation in clues. I’m stuck on 17ac, and will use as my excuse its three out of five letters unchecked. Seeing presbyterians at 28ac, my mind instantly flew to celebrity anagram Britney Spears (ok, she only makes one of them)… but it was not to be. Sorrry I skipped quite a few of the downs – took too long over the acrosses. Time management, eh?


1. CO(MICA)L. This took a while – COL around the outside seemed clear, but a nicely misleading definition. As in ‘oh, that’s priceless!’.

5. ASPIRED. Good anagram, well phrased.

11. PROM ON TORY. Another good surface – right-winger almost has to mean Tory (Newlab doesn’t come into many words!)

12. ARM ADA. Hmm, bit of a naval theme going on here?

14. SPARE TYRE. The story to which Rufus alludes eludes me, but I guess the original Ali G got stuck at the roadside and had to call the RCA (Royal Chariot Assistance).

16. DITCH. Double meaning that proved tricky with only _I_C_ given.

17. _E_Y_. And this one stumped me – a journalist beginning with N? A naval commander?

19. WATCH WORD. My least favourite clue – it just splits the word into its root meanings.


24. TRA(ART<) U MA. Good surface.

26. TRIAL MATCH. Feels like it should be test match really.

28. PRAYERS. PRESBYTERIANS* less BEST IN*. Rare for a daily, a compound anagram +lit, and one that doesn’t follow the practice espoused by comp-anag specialist Azed, that unless the words removed appear in sequence, a second anagram indicator is needed (I thik I’ve got that right).



2. OUT CROP. Didn’t follow this at first, but I guesss it’s ‘off cut’ = OUT CROP.

4. ASP HALT. ‘On the road’ is the definition, HALT being ‘confronted by’ ASP.


9. FOSTER PARENTS. The only CD, I think, and a good one – all four main terms have a different meaning in the surface and cryptic readings, including ‘tend’.

15. ROYAL NAVY. Yo ho ho – theme ahoy again? No cap’n, three ships don’t make an armada.

20. CATCH UP. I know ‘catsup’ is an alternate spelling of ‘ketchup’, but is ‘catchup’ too? Must be.

25. (b)ANGER.

22 Responses to “Guardian 24,464, Rufus: In the navy”

  1. mhl says:

    I think 17a is PEPYS, as a writer of journals and a navy man…

    9d was a great cd :)

  2. Eileen says:

    14ac; Alexander the Great destroyed [didn’t spare] Tyre in 332BCX]

    17ac: I thought must be Pepys, who worked for the Admiralty and kept a journal. Not very cryptic, though.

    20dn: Collins has ‘catchup’ as an alternative spelling.

  3. Eileen says:

    Sorry, don’t know how the ‘X’ above after BC crept in!

    Sorry also, Mhl: I didn’t see your post in time.

  4. Andrew says:

    I liked 14ac because the surface leads you to think that A the G “didn’t have one”, but it’s just that he “didn’t spare Tyre” (as Eileen says).

    I had PEPYS for 17ac too, and was much less impressed with the clue there.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    You and me both Michod with Britney Spears, though she does need more than one I think.

  6. Eileen says:

    Yes, 14ac was good – it reminded me of another Classical clue [can’t remember whose] of some time ago, which I thought was very good, too: “Where the Romans couldn’t win and Scots can’t” Ans: CANNAE, where Hannibal decisively defeated the Roman army in 216 BC.

  7. Paul B says:

    Where Greeks gave Persians beans and sausages? (7)

  8. Eileen says:


  9. Paul B says:


  10. Paul B says:

    I’ve just seen BACTERIA as an ancient region of Afghanistan – which would be a good one – but I think it’s a speller.

  11. Al Streatfield says:


    Why “beans”?

  12. Michod says:

    Thanks for explaining 14ac – I agree that’s a very nice clue. PEPYS is a bit of a let-down though: cryptic only in that he wasn’t literally a journalist in our sense of the word, but rather a journal-ist.

  13. Colin Blackburn says:

    Beans = very little or nothing at all.

  14. Paul B says:

    There’s a phrase ‘to give (someone or something) beans’ meaning to punish severely.

  15. muck says:

    17ac PEPYS was the only clue I didn’t get before seeing Michod’s blog. I believe the rule is that the answer must have the correct letter count and punctuation, but the clue may be misleading. So, journal-ist is fine.

  16. Paul B says:

    I feel fairly certain that Rufus knows ‘journalist’ to be literally correct as a definition for ‘someone who keeps a journal’ (Collins sense 2).

  17. muck says:

    Rufus can do no wrong in my opinion, and should be allowed a few harder clues

  18. Fletch says:

    What exactly was the clue for this much discussed 17a?

  19. henri says:

    20dn CATCH UP – For Tarantino fans, this is Mia’s joke in Pulp Fiction!

  20. David says:

    When I did the crossword,I didn’t like 14a, as I thought it was weakly suggesting that although ‘Great’, this didn’t apply to Alexander’s girth. That, however, was my classical ignorance: now, I love it!

    Fletch: simply, “Navy man and journalist (5)”

  21. Al Streatfield says:

    Thanks, Paul B., for your “Beans” explanation.

    I looked it up in Chambers and found that it was one of the expressions with “archaic” in brackets after it. I’d certainly never heard of it…

  22. Al Streatfield says:


    I assume we were expected to know that Pepys was a “navy man” as well as a journal-ist. Is it well-known that Pepys was a navy man? I didn’t know this. To bring out the faintly cryptic bit I think I would have put “journalist” in inverted commas.

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>

× 6 = forty eight