Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,578 – Rufus

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on December 22nd, 2008

Ciaran McNulty.

As sometimes happens, I filled in the grid very quickly but took a while to come up with the reasoning behind some of the clues.

A vague Christmas theme, a lot of anagrams and a few weak cds.

* = anagram
< = reversed 
dd = double definition 
(X) = insertion
(-x) = removal 


5. ON HAND. dd? Not sure it means ‘next door’.
6. APIECE. A(PIE)CE.  An ace is a fast serve in tennis.
9. HAIRDO. HAIR + DO.  Def of ‘one all set’ doesn’t really satisfy. 
10. APERITIF. APE + R + IT + IF.  I like the use of ‘copyright’ for ‘copy + right’.
11. AGES. SAGE*. ‘Stuffing’ as an anagrind seems odd.
21. PACK. dd
22. WISHBONE. cd. (not very cryptic)
23. SPEECH. c.d. (not very cryptic either)
24. INRUSH. I + RUNS* + H.
25. IMPEDE. I’M + DEEP*. 


3. APRES-SKI. Was expecting an anagram but it’s just c.d.
4. MERINO. RIMEON*. A type of sheep / wool.
5. ORANGE. dd.
8. CAROL-SINGER. cd. I had to wait for the checking letters for the second word. A ‘wait’ is a piece sung by carol-singers but was expecting something like ‘-concert’ or ‘-service’.
16. ASSISI. mASS IS Identified.
17. ICICLE. cd.
16. INHERE. IN + HERE. ‘To be inherent’
20. SESAME. ‘Open Sesame’ is the password in Aladdin.

17 Responses to “Guardian 24,578 – Rufus”

  1. Shirley says:

    Ciaran – I think that 11Ac is a hidden clue – sAGE Stuffing. This makes more sense than having stuffing as an anagrind.
    Also 8D Waits are carol singers not carols. There was a long blog about this a few weeks ago.

  2. smutchin says:

    Really enjoyed the festively themed clueing today. Thanks Rufus!

    Fwiw, I also thought 11a was meant to be a hidden word rather than an anagram.

  3. Chris says:

    In what conceivable way is “Bundle of cards” = “pack” in any way cryptic?

    That said, a very nice, and very pleasingly seasonal, puzzle.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Despite the Christmas theme, I found this rather unexciting today, and agree with Ciaran’s reservations. And with Chris: a pack is not even a bundle, or am I missing something, too?

  5. JimboNWUK says:

    Erm… did we swap the coffee-time with the cryptic for some of the clues today??

    13ac… uncryptic
    21ac… uncryptic
    22ac… uncryptic (in fact swap “for” for “with” and even a coffee-timer would fill it in without pause for thought)
    23ac… uncryptic, question mark unneccesary
    17d… uncryptic

    I know that Rufus is supposed to be an “ease in” to the week for a Monday morning but for gawd’s sake that was almost an insult to the intelligence.

    Only decent toughie was 10ac in this morass of obvious anagrinds and enfeebled clues described above.

  6. Brian Harris says:

    Chris, Dave, I think it’s because “pack” can refer to a backpack, or a bundle that one carries as well as a deck of cards?? But I agree, it’s not that cryptic. And 22 and 23 across were particularly straightforward.

    The construction of 12ac was quite nice; otherwise, not a very memorable crossword, apart from the seasonal theme in both answers and definitions.

  7. Eileen says:

    Well, I’ve been out all day and found this a really welcome puzzle to come home to. I thought it was a delight that Rufus managed to give every single clue a festive reference and there were some excellent surfaces, eg. 6, 10,, 18, 24 ac, 16dn. I’m sure a lot of us have too much to do just now to have to spend too much time puzzling. It’s interesting, too, that some of the complainants are the very same ones that complain about too many obscure clues. Who’d be a setter?!

    Thank you, Rufus, and a very happy Christmas – and to everyone else, of course.

  8. Eileen says:

    PS: forgot to say: sorry, Ciaran, it’s Ali Baba, not Aladdin!

  9. SimonHarris says:

    For the record, I read 11 the same way as Ciaran, given that it was “providing” rather than “provided by”.

    Can anyone explain the second half of “Carol-singer”? (and why hyphenated?)

  10. Shirley says:

    Simon – I did mention in my earlier blog that Ciaran has given an incorrect definition of a wait. It is a carol singer not a carol.
    But I agree that there doesn’t need to be a hyphen.

  11. Rufus says:

    In my effort to get 100% seasonable clues/solutions I seem to have produced a weaker puzzle. Points:
    None of my extensive number of dictionaries gives carol singer with or without a hyphen, but I did use a different clue using a hyphen in a Christmas jumbo for the Daily Mail recently without comment. On reflection, I will not use a hyphen in future.
    In 21 ac I was hoping the theme might get people to think of a packet of Christmas cards. (Incidentally my original clue was “Prepare gifts and cards” but for some reason, after discussion with the crossword editor, we changed it!)
    “Wait here!” just means “Carol singer here” (in the puzzle)
    The “uncryptic” clues were mainly using words that could mean something else, although I agree they could have been more cryptic.
    Verdict “Could do better. See me after break”

  12. muck says:

    Auguri, Rufus. 10ac was great.

  13. Rufus says:

    Auguri a Natale, Muck, and everyone!

  14. struggler says:

    But 10ac was one that I completed fairly easily because I recognised it from some previous Rufus puzzle. Overall, I have to agree with JimboNWUK. 23ac was so insulting that I have resolved never to go out of my way to buy a Monday Guardian again. Gubmuh aab!

  15. davidoff says:

    Liked this puzzle very much indeed, don’t understand where the grumblers are coming from – horses for courses I suppose.

    To my mind Rufus is a true composer (like Araucaria and Paul) – he is the Haydn of setters: classical, witty and unclunky. (and prolific!)

    Thank you Rufus, I DO like Mondays!

  16. stiofain_x says:

    I liked this one, some nice light relief among all the seasonal hassle and after the Araucarias killer (icer?)prize xword (which i still havent made headway with)
    Nollaig Shona to Rufus and you all.
    Damn the begrudgers.
    I do like Mondays too.
    Though think Rufus is more Ian Drury than Bob Geldof.

  17. Ralph G says:

    8d and the hyphen: yes, Rufus, the dictionaries are unhelpful. Anybody feeling they need an authority for ‘carol singers’ (no hyphen) may have to make do with the OED quotation from the Washington Post as evidence that the OED didn’t find ‘carol-singers’ anywhere. ‘Carol singing’ is quoted with and without the hyphen; the latter is from the Oxford Book of Carols, no less.

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