Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24512/Rufus

Posted by mhl on October 6th, 2008


As ever, a great fun puzzle for the start of the week from Rufus, with lots of “A-ha!” moments with the cryptic definitions. I found the top left corner was much harder than the rest of this puzzle – 5 across and down were the last to go in…

5 CAUCUS: The “range in southeast Europe” is the CAUCASUS, and “when out” removes AS (= “when”). The word “caucus” is often used to mean a meeting of members of a party (and in some countries the whole party), but the word can also be used to mean the people at such gathering, which I think must be the sense here.
6 FAT CAT: Double definition: “bread” is slang for money
9 BUNKER: Cryptic defintion: a golfer might drive into a sand trap
10 APIARIES: Cryptic definition: apiaries are beehives, and “workers” are worker bees
11 SKUA: The other birds are AUKS, reversed to give the original one
12 TENNIS BALL: An excellent cryptic definition
13 FLYING A KITE: Double definition
18 BATTLEDORE: I hadn’t heard this word before, but apparently it’s a racket or bat that one might hit a shuttle-cock with. The subsidiary part is BATTLED = “Fought” + ORE = “foreign currency”, which might be the Norwegian øre or the Swedish öre
21 PUBS: UP reversed + B + S
23 TOOK UP: Double definition
24 WHEELS: W + HEELS; “revolvers” is the definition
1 JUNK MAIL: “Bodyguard” is MAIL (a chain-mail vest, for instance), and a JUNK is a vessel; in this case “on” means “go after” rather than “put on top”, as it might well do in a down clue
2 TURRET: Cryptic definition
3 BASILISK: Cryptic definition; the basilisk is fabulous as in “from fable” and could kill people just by looking at them
4 SCARAB: A R = “a river” in SCAB = “Rat”
5 CHUKKA: Cryptic definition: games of polo are divided up into “chukkas”, also spelled “chukkers”
14 INEDIBLE: (LIE IN BED)* – I guess some people might not like having “enough” in the definition part here…
15 TOP-NOTCH: “To surpass” = TOP + “score” = NOTCH. I’m rather surprised that this is (8) rather than (3-5) – I guess that’s just an error unless the Guardian daily crossword is switching to the Ximines / Azed policy on hyphenation
16 SALLOW: “Sally” or SAL is short for Sarah, and LOW = “depression”
17 ABSURD: AB’S = “Jack’s” (as in sailor) + U = “posh” (as in “U and non-U”) + RD = “road” or “way”
19 TROWEL: Cryptic definition

9 Responses to “Guardian 24512/Rufus”

  1. Andrew says:

    Like you I found the top LH corner a bit troublesome, with TURRET, CAUCUS and CHUKKA being the last to yield.

    I liked the devious definition of SAINT GEORGE in 8ac.

  2. Richard says:

    12 across: I think this would have been better if “racketeer’s” had been “racketeers'”, as a go-between needs to go between two or more people

  3. Barnaby says:

    12 across: I share Richard’s desire for multiple racketeers.

    2 down: I was a little unhappy with this one; while a tank’s turret of course revolves, it’s long pre-dated by a castle’s, which doesn’t! I wonder how many of us pencilled in BULLET. (A bullet revolves while propelled through the barrel of a gun, I believe.)

    Overall, though, a nice entertaining puzzle, pitched just right for a Monday,

  4. beermagnet says:

    Number error: This was 24,512

  5. mhl says:

    Oops. Thanks, beermagnet – I’ve corrected that.

  6. Rufus says:

    I am told beermagnet intimated on the Gdn chatline that the original 1 across clue must have been “duff” as the placement of the Caucasus Mountain range was given differently in the on-line version to the printed version. As an example of setter/editor workings, my supplied clue was “range of Russia”. The editor thought it might be better to change it to “range of S.E. Europe” but also used another version “range of Turkey, Iran and Russia” on-line. I would maintain none of these are “duff” – just different!

  7. Rufus says:

    P.S. “Racketeer’s” was my typo mistake, it should have been”racketeers'”. Sorry!

  8. beermagnet says:

    Rufus, I certainly agree that your original clue is undoubtedly valid.
    It was the online version that had “range of S.E. Europe” yesterday, but checking now I see that it has been corrected to match the paper version, which is good.
    So I apologise for any offense caused by my comment in that other place.
    I clearly assumed a chain of editing events that did not occur. I should’ve realised there was more going on – I know from personal experience in other walks of life that the most likely cause of errors is when someone tries to make “just a little improvement over here”.

    I’ll delete that Guardian Talk comment – too late to edit it now.
    (That site is more suited to ruff, tuff off the cuff comments, but I normally try to steer clear of controversy.)

  9. mhl says:

    Rufus, thanks for commenting on those points – it’s always fascinating to have these occasional insights into the crossword editing process…

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