Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24560 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on December 1st, 2008


A fun puzzle for a Monday morning – my particular favourite was 14d.

9. SHIFTS Double definition
10. ORNAMENT (A M TONNER)*; “Deck” in the verb sense, as in “deck the halls”
18. MOTIONLESS Double definition
21. APSE PS = “private secretary” in A and E (musical keys)
22. ACROSTIC A nice cryptic definition
25. CHORUS Double definition
2. MASSIF MASS = “service” + IF = “provided”
3. CHINAMAN Three parts: (CHAIN)* + MAN, “Ball” (in cricket), and “foreigner”
4. PRIMER Double definition
5. SCHISM IS in S = “second” + CH = “church” + M = “mass”
7. YANKEE Double definition: the collection of bets meaning was new to me
8. HOME-STRETCH Double definition
14. EINSTEIN Brilliant clue: (NINETIES)*
16. YOICKS Cryptic definition
17. ASSETS AS = “when” + SETS = “collections”
19. ISOBAR IS + O = “nothing” + BAR = “but”
20. SAPPHO Nice clue: A PP = “pages” in SHO(W)

40 Responses to “Guardian 24560 / Rufus”

  1. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    I completed this in quite reasonable time. First I got the lower half, then the right top and finally the left top. I am quite used to Rufus’s clueing style (having been solving his 13x syndicated puzzle in a local paper for ages) so nothing posed any insuperable difficulty. The last two were 9ac and 1dn (for no special reason).

    I didn’t like the CD ploy for 16dn because in early solving one might put down any of the other possibilities and come to grief.

    There are some beauties like 4dn and 15dn.

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:


    My answer at 16dn was HOICKS – there were a couple of other answers I originally considered.

    And yours is quite different!

    Certainly, we can’t have a CD with several possiblities as an acceptable answer, can we? I await Rufus’s comment!

  3. mhl says:

    C.G. Rishikesh: indeed – HOICKS and YOICKS seem to have almost identical definitions. The latter is the answer given by the online version, but unless I’m missing something, I’m not sure how one would be sure of one rather than the other…

  4. smutchin says:

    I presume “Yoicks” is a hunting term, right? Not one I know. The only hunting term I could think of was “Tally ho” but that didn’t fit.

    Has Rufus used that clue for 5dn before? It seems very familiar. I think it might have been in an old puzzle in one of the Guardian crossword books that I’ve been looking at recently.

  5. mhl says:

    Smutchin: I don’t think there’s been another SCHISM in the Guardian crossword for at least two years.

  6. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Smutchin: If, before anything else, I had put in HALLOO or HALLOA at 16dn (some words that echoed in my mind from Shakespeare, not that I have ever entered a wood chasing hounds), I would not have been far wrong, I suppose, but I would not have made any progress in left bottom. For CDs, we have to hold the horses until we have some crossings in the area.

  7. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Sorry, I meant “foxes”.

  8. Eileen says:

    Smutchin and Rishi: between you, you have come up with the only three hunting terms I knew. I tried googling ‘hunting terms’ and found pretty comprehensive lists, containing neither ‘yoicks’ nor hoicks’. [I knew ‘View Halloo’ from John Peel.]

  9. mhl says:

    I’m pretty sure that “yoicks” is something that Scooby-Doo said in the cartoons. I’d never seen him as a hunting dog before….

    (Or was that “zoicks”?)

  10. Andrew says:

    I thought “yoicks” was pretty well known as a hunting cry – and P.G. Wodehouse provides an example (from “Right Ho, Jeeves”):

    [Tuppy Glossop] was galloping down the corridor in pursuit [of Gussie Fink-Nottle]. It only needed Aunt Dahlia after them, shouting “Yoicks!” or whatever is customary on these occasions, to complete the resemblance to a brisk run with the Quorn.

  11. Eileen says:

    And, to think, I grew up in the village where the Quorn Hunt kennels used to be and never heard that cry…

  12. smutchin says:

    Mhl, thanks – if he hasn’t used it for at least two years, I’m sure it’s fine to use it again (if that’s what he’s done – maybe I’m imagining it).

  13. Barbara says:

    3. Chinaman
    My interpretation of the wordplay is as follows: ‘ball and chain’ is a facetious term for wife; china is Cockney rhyming slang for mate; hence wife being mate, is china.
    Male is man, so that gives Chinaman, a foreigner.

  14. smutchin says:

    Barbara, an interesting take but I read the clue the same way as Mhl.

    In cricket, a Chinaman is a particular type of spinner bowled by a left-hander in which the ball veers down the leg side after bouncing, hence “ball” as the first definition. Then you have a straightforward cryptic clue comprising an anagram of CHAIN (“chain fixed”) + MAN (“male”). And finally you have “foreigner” as a further straight definition – technically redundant, perhaps, but it makes for a better surface reading.

  15. rich says:

    I took “Ball and chain fixed” as “ball” and “chain fixed” as in an anagram, so i got china and I remembered a certain type of round lightshade is called a chinaball so I took this as the right answer :) Then male=Man followed

  16. smutchin says:

    Probably should add, in case you’re not familiar with the work of Rufus, that he does like his cricket-themed clues. (Not a bad thing in my book.)

  17. Andrew says:

    It’s not just Rufus – cricket seems to be popular with quite a lot of setters. There’s a reference in this week’s Azed that is presumably obvious to aficionados but took me a bit of searching..

  18. rich says:

    Thanks for the explaination of Chinaman Smutchin, it’s a word i have heard in cricket before but in my dim and distant past of playing cricket at school.

    I would like to say thanks to Rufus for a very enjoyable crossword, this is the 2nd of Rufus’ I have attempted and I think I am getting more used to his style.

  19. mhl says:

    Smutchin: In fact, the only other time that Rufus has used SCHISM in the online Guardian crossword archives was in Guardian 22048 (from 6th November 2000), with the clue “A division of the church”.

  20. JimboNWUK says:

    I was completely with Barbara on her rather convoluted links to 3dn though I suspect the true origin lies with the “silly” (pun intended) cricketers. I find the use of these ridiculous cricketing idioms such as “extra” and “sledging” irritating in the extreme but that’s probably because I prefer observing the evaporation of emulsion-based coatings to be infinitely more interesting than watching a bunch of numptys trying to hit a ball of cork with a handled plank. At least the soccer loonies’ terminology, equally irritating though it is, doesn’t inpinge on crozzys — although no doubt Paul has considered or will eventually use “We wuz robbed”, “Sick as a parrot” or “It’s a game of two halves” at some point.

    And I too had HALLOO for a while (OED 2003 Sharp E500A electronic version): “Exclamation used to incite dogs to the chase”) for 16dn till ACROSTIC showed me the error of my ways….still didn’t get YOICKS though. A tad more clueing needed for such an outmoded/odd word methinks(!)

  21. Mr Beaver says:

    I thought YOICKS fair as a hunting term, though I’ve never heard of ‘hoicks’. Along with TALLY-HO, I’d have thought it in reasonably commaon knowledge.
    The link between ball and Chinaman did escape Mrs Beaver and me, though the redundant definition meant we got the answer.

  22. crikey says:

    Can anyone explain the use of ‘obvious’ in 5d? It seems redundant to me. I suppose it makes the surface reading make more sense, but I’m fed up of seeing that as an excuse…

    I can see MAYBE that it indicates that ‘is’ appears in the middle of the word unaffected (ie not ‘si’), but it’s a bit weak if that’s the case in my view.

    I’m sure that I must be missing something. Perhaps, someone could enlighten me?

  23. beermagnet says:

    Re: #19 Mhl: Please let us in on the secret of how you can scan the Guardian Crossword archive to find that factette about the answer SCHISM and Rufus.
    I often want to search for things there. For instance Boatman’s recent puzzle was notable and I couldn’t work out how to search to see if this was his first except by Searching each month in turn, which I gave up with.

    Count one here who didn’t get YOICKS – I put in “voices” but knew it was wrong at the time.

  24. John says:

    Yoicks! Tallyho! is fairly common to me as a hunting cry. I’ve never heard “Hoicks”.
    I don’t like redundant definitions or indicators in crosswords, thus I objected to “obvious” and “foreigner”. I also have another issue with the CHINAMAN clue which, surprisngly, no one has brought up. Most dictionaries regard the word as derogatory. Encarta even refuses to return a definition! Since it is alo redundant in the clue, it’s doubly difficult to understand why it’s there. How this has not been mentioned by anyone in this usually so liberal group of subscribers really rather astounds me.

  25. Kate Wild says:

    I also thought 3 down was referring to wife as in “ball and chain”, and “china” – slightly derogatory words for wife – which maybe goes with the answer, chinaman, being a derogatory term also?

    Eileen – when at university we used to sab the Quorn hunt! Never heard them shout yoicks or hoicks, but got trampled many times and sworn at.

  26. John says:

    So I assume everyone else thinks Chinaman is ok.
    What next? N? K? W?
    I’m amazed.

  27. Mr Beaver says:

    John – is your outrage directed at the use of ‘Chinaman’ in general (that is, a man from China) or the cricketing meaning in particular ?

    If the former, I don’t see why it’s any more derogatory than ‘Frenchman’ or ‘Englishman’. Wikipedia notes it as controversial, but the impression is of umbrage being taken by professional umbrage takers. No doubt others will put me right if my view is frowned upon – it’s the first I’ve heard of this word being designated as ‘offensive’

  28. Mr Beaver says:

    PS. Is W? the (rather dated) derogatory term W**, or the (possibly more current) derogatory term W*****, as directed at the hapless banking community 😉

  29. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    When I solved CHINAMAN (the def. for the required word is “ball”), I didn’t think it was offensive but if you check Chambers you will find that the word in the sense of ‘a Chinese person’ is marked ‘derog’.

    Take the six-letter P word in the figurative sense of “a social outcast”. I think this word is still used in UK papers and appears sometimes in crossword grids there but let me tell you it is a highly offensive word; if any English paper in India uses it today, it will come to great harm.

  30. struggler says:

    Re. Mhl’s comment dating Rufus’s use of a particular ‘schism’ clue to 2000, the very same clue appears as 21 down on page 2 of the Guardian’s paperback anthology of Rufus crosswords (ISBN 978-0-85265-072-1), with the comment that ‘this was the first Rufus puzzle in the Guardian, published on Monday August 30, 1982′. As someone who regularly does (only) Rufus Guardian crosswords, I frequently come up against recycled material. Today it was ‘scarab’ (5 across) that was the most familiar clue to me from earlier Rufus puzzles.

  31. stiofain_x says:

    i am a chinaman and a cricketer
    and wasnt offended by any allusions

  32. John says:

    Mr Beaver: No, I am not a professional umbrage taker, just sensitive to others’ feelings. Take a look at One Look Dictionary and check out the word. Every dictionary listed earmarks it as either offensive or derogatory. I rest my case.

  33. smutchin says:

    Struggler, I found the one I was thinking of – Guardian Cryptic Crosswords Vol.3 No.75 26ac: “Religious disunity is obvious in second church mass. (6)” I don’t know when that puzzle originally dates from but it must be at least a few years old.

    I should point out that I’m not complaining about the recycling of clues, especially when it’s at such long intervals – although I’d be interested to know if there are any unwritten rules about that kind of thing – I only mentioned it because of the amusing coincidence that I’d done that particular puzzle only a day earlier.

    As for the “Chinaman” complaint, I’m reminded of the scene in The Big Lebowski when the Dude (Jeff Bridges) complains about the Chinaman peeing on his rug, to which Walter (John Goodman) replies: “The preferred nomenclature is Asian-American.” But Asian-American is too many letters to fit in the grid.

    I think perhaps “Chinaman” is offensive in the same way as calling someone “coloured” rather than “black” is offensive – it’s more non-PC than seriously malicious. But probably best avoided all the same.

  34. struggler says:

    Smutchin, I wouldn’t say that I have exactly ‘complained’ about Rufus’s recycling habits (that would be too strong a word), but I have certainly commented on them to the Guardian crossword editor. The gist of the reply I got then (a few weeks back) was that the setter maintained his own database of material and tried to avoid reusing clues/solutions too often. I was unable to cite specific dated examples on that occasion, but if Mr Stephenson and Mr Squires happen to read all the comments on the present puzzle here are two different examples of recycled schisms, both of which were easily spotted by Rufus aficionados.

    On ‘Chinaman’, I think it looks dated rather than offensive in this day and age. What made it really offensive in the age of imperialism was its deployment as part of the deeply patronising phrase ‘John Chinaman’.

  35. smutchin says:

    I like the idea of being an aficionado, though I don’t think it’s merited! And to be fair, I only spotted the recycling because I’d done the older puzzle so recently.

  36. Andrew says:

    I vividly remember the phrase “John Chinaman” from an article in Arthur Mee’s “Children’s Encyclopedia” that showed how to make a stereotypical “Chinese” costume complete with lampshade hat (cf the Father Ted “racist” episode) and pigtails. Even as a child more than 40 years ago I think I could tell there was something not right about it, which is presumably why it’s stuck in my mind

  37. John says:

    My last word on Chinaman is this. Whether or not it is viewed as being offensive, and a lot think it is, there was no need for the word “foreigner” in the clue. It stands alone without it. So I don’t know what the purpose was of putting it in.

  38. Rufus says:

    Apologies from Rufus for any upsets. On holiday in the sun – smug, smug, but without a copy of the puzzle set several months ago.

  39. Chunter says:

    Letter in today’s Guardian:

    That 5 across in the Guardian (Crossword, December 1) and 12 across in the Telegraph are identical (Rat swallows a river insect) suggests that you scarabs should realise that some of us read both.
    Denis Brogan
    Alphamstone, Suffolk

  40. Rufus says:

    Guilty as charged. With my speciality of setting jumbo Christmas crosswords taking up most of Oct-Nov, I tend to get well ahead with the Gdn, FT and Telegraph contributions beforehand. I did use SCARAB in both but with quite a few months in between. Unfortunately they are not published in order (the grid may have been used the day previously etc) As it was, by coincidence, the clue appeared on the same day. More apologies.

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