Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian, 24488/Rufus

Posted by mhl on September 8th, 2008

mhl.

A fun puzzle from Rufus to start the week; there were lots of good “a-ha!” moments for me in this one and excellent surface readings throughout, my favourites being 8d and 28a, I think. (Incidentally, this is my first blog post as a regular Guardian blogger rather than an occasional substitute.)

Across
1 ACCUSED: Double definition
5 BREAK IN: Double definition
10 PLOT: Double definition
11 CLEVER DICK: A nice cryptic definition
12 OSTLER: ST in (ROLE)*; he works in a stable; this is one of those words I only know through crosswords…
13 TRENCHES: Cryptic definition – they are cuts in the earth
14 KICKSTART: “Thrills” = KICKS + “hooker” = TART
16 LINKS: “a course for drivers” is a golf course
17 ESSAY: The “points” are E & S and “to express” is SAY
19 INCOGNITO: (NOTICING O)*
23 CATSEYES: Cryptic definition
24 EXPAND: Double definition (the first part is the verb sense of “elaborate”)
26 PEACE TALKS: (TAKES PLACE)*
27 NEAR: Double definition; “close” spatially, and “tight” meaning stingy
28 MEASURE: “I object” = ME (very nice!) + A + SURE
29 CASCADE: CAD in CASE
 
Down
2 COLOSSI: These huge statues are “large figures”: I after CO + LOSS
3 UNTIL: Hidden answer
4 EXCERPT: R in EXCEPT
6 REELED: Double definition; the latter one as in “his head swam”
7 ADDICTION: A fun clue: “the talk of the present era?” is A.D. DICTION
8 IN CHECK: (CHICKEN)*, referring to chess. This was one of the last I got, due to the excellent surface reading and misleading way in which “King under threat” reads as a charade :)
9 BETTER ONESELF: Double definition
15 KNAPSACKS: “a second thought” = A PS in “gifts” = KNACKS
18 SCALENE: A triangle with three unequal sides is scalene: A L = “a number” in SCENE = “view”
20 OPEN SEA: Cryptic definition; open sea is the view (“prospect”) once you clear land on a ship
22 TANKARD: TA + (DRANK)* (the “volunteers” are the Territorial Army)
22 OYSTER: E in (STORY)*
25 PANIC: P + (I CAN)*

12 Responses to “Guardian, 24488/Rufus”

  1. Eileen says:

    28ac was my last one, an excellent clue in a fun puzzle. The only weakness, I thought, was 2dn.

  2. Eileen says:

    Sorry – I meant 3dn: 2dn was great.

  3. beermagnet says:

    My 3D was certainly weak. I wasn’t paying attention early on and wrote in UNLIL, then spent some time at the end looking at _L_L for 10A until the penny dropped.

  4. mhl says:

    :) I probably spend a good quarter of my time spent on crosswords dealing with things like that, e.g. misreading my own handwriting, drawing bars for word divisions in the wrong place, writing into the grid the anagram in the clue instead of its solution, putting answers in completely the wrong place, forgetting to omit writing some letters when checking letters are already in the grid, etc. etc.

  5. beermagnet says:

    I’m glad it’s not just me. I thought to myself – I haven’t touched a drop for a good 12 hours – 10 tops!

  6. Struggler says:

    Re. 27ac — where does ‘stingy’ come into it?

  7. mhl says:

    Well, it doesn’t have to, since “close” and “tight” both mean “near” in terms of distance, but since “tight” and “near” both also mean “stingy” or “miserly” I preferred the reading where one the words was intended to have that different sense.

  8. Struggler says:

    I have now found the stingy definition of near in a dictionary, but I cannot recall ever having heard it spoken or read it in modern written usage (the Shorter Oxford dates it back to 1625). For the record, the nearest dictionary to hand when I first looked it up was the 1979 Collins, which omits this definition. But on checking the 2006 Collins, that definition has been added. Very curious…

  9. mhl says:

    How odd – for some reason it seems very familiar to me. Perhaps it’s more common in dialect north of the border or something similar…

  10. Geoff Moss says:

    I don’t think so (more common that is). During the last 55 years I have regularly met this word in both the SE and NW of England.

    Personally I prefer parsimonious.

  11. Struggler says:

    Well, I have lived in NW England, in London and in SW England (and also have family in south Wales), but somehow this usage has passed me by.

  12. Mick H says:

    My problem with 27ac is that near and tight both mean stingy precisely because they mean close – in the sense of keeping your money close to you. So it’s not so much a double definition as two versions of the same definition, if you see what I mean.

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