Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24648 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on March 16th, 2009


Apologies for the late posting – I forgot that I was supposed to be blogging today…

1. IN HOCK Double definition
5. EXTENDED Double definition
9. LIVE IT UP I’VE in LIT UP = “inebriated”
10. AUTHOR Cryptic definition; “bound” as in book binding
11. STAGE WHISPER Cryptic definition; “confidence” as in a secret
13. TURN Double definition
14. SCREW CAP Double definition
17. ABSENTEE SENT = “euphoric” in A BEE = “A worker”
18. LIEN LIE = “position of course” + N; a LIEN is a legal right. I was guessing “position of course” for LIE was a golf reference, but then “position on course” would be better, so maybe I’ve misunderstood
20. WENT TO PIECES Cryptic definition
23. TAKE UP Double definition
24. EXTREMES Cryptic definition; “mean” as one of the specific senses of “average”
25. HERALDRY Cryptic definition
26. HOT ROD HOT = “stolen” + ROD = “gun”; the older Chambers that I have here gives “a revolver, a pisol (US slang)” as one of the meanings of ROD
2. NAIL Cryptic definition
4. KIT BAG Cryptic definiton
5. EXPRESS DELIVERY Cryptic definition
6. TEACHERS (THE RACES)*; presumably “Young trainers” meaning “trainers of [parents’] young”?
7. NOTES Double definition; if someone registers something, they might note it
8. EXONERATES EX = “no longer” + ONE + RATES = “scolds”
15. WELL SPENT WELL = “Water supply” + SPENT = “exhausted”
16. STROPPED I wasn’t familiar with this meaning before, but “to strop” can mean to sharpen a razor
19. SCOTCH Double definition; one verb meaning of “scotch” is “to quash”
21. THETA Hidden answer
22. VETO (VOTE)*

22 Responses to “Guardian 24648 / Rufus”

  1. Ciaran McNulty says:

    I wasn’t very keen on today’s puzzle. A lot of the cryptic definitions seemed fairly non-cryptic (25ac, 16dn, 4dn) while the double definitions tended to have quite firmly linked definitions (13ac, 23ac).

    I also managed to get stuck on 8dn by putting 14ac as SCREW TOP, which took a while to spot.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks mhl. In 18ac I took it as a golf reference too: I think “of course”=”something to do with golf” is fairly common, if slightly dubious.

    I found this quite hard for a Rufus – rather too many cryptic definitions for my taste, and a lot of double defs too. I liked 6dn though – a nice cryptic definition, but with wordplay too. (By the way, your numbering has gone a bit askew in the Downs.)

  3. Andrew says:

    Ciaran, luckily I got EXONERATE early on, otherwise I might well have been caught out by SCREW TOP/CAP too: they seem equally valid answers to the clue to me.

  4. steven says:

    I did this in record time today so I’m a happy bunny. I also went with screw top which held me up with exonerate but eventually the penny dropped. Ta mhl.

  5. Geoff says:

    Thanks mhl.

    I agree with Ciaran that several of the cds are only very slightly cryptic. I have made my feelings clear before about crosswords which are heavily dependent on dd and single cd clues. In this puzzle 17 of the clues (out of 27) fall into these categories.

    My last entry was STROPPED – a word familiar to me, but not one I use very often (‘strop’ meaning ‘tantrum’ is a more common contemporary usage). But the clue was a cd, of course. Enough said.

  6. mhl says:

    Thanks, Andrew – I’ve fixed the numbering.

    I was lucky not to have put in “screw top”, in retrospect – my biggest hold-up here was stupidly mispelling OBESIANCE and then trying to decide whether an “irate whisper” or an “inane whisper” was more dramatic :)

  7. smutchin says:

    I presume the verb “to strop” comes from the noun, which is, of course, the name of the leather strap used by barbers for sharpening cut-throat razors. I’m not familiar with it being used as a verb, though.

  8. Geoff says:

    According to the Shorter Oxford, the usage of ‘strop’ as a verb (meaning to sharpen with a strop) can be dated back to the middle of the 19th century, whilst the usage as a noun meaning ‘razor sharpener’ is first recorded in the early 18th century. The original meaning of ‘strop’ was ‘band, noose or thong of leather’, but this was supplanted by the word ‘strap’ – originally a dialectal variation of ‘strop’.

    And ‘strop’ meaning ‘hissy fit’ is presumably a back formation from ‘stroppy’ – thought to be an abbreviation of ‘obstreperous’ and therefore unrelated.

  9. Andrew says:

    Ahem, I presume you mean OBEISANCE, both in the blog and in comment #6… (Must be one of those words that come out wrong for you however carefully you type them. I have a similar problem with typing SUBMIT as SUMBIT)

  10. Brian Harris says:

    @Ciaran I did the same thing… “Screw top” came to mind rather than cap, but I soon realised my mistake. Never heard that meaning of STROP before so I did learn something today. Rest of crossword not especially memorable.

  11. mhl says:

    Oops – corrected in the original post. Yes – it’s a word that I spell randomly incorrectly, I think…

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Being on-line, my paranoid clicking of the Check button deleted the TO of TOP. Glad I was on-line.

    Another one was 25ac. My original answer of HERALDIC was soon shown up when the last 2 letters dissappeared. Shame really, I thought it a better answer.

    On-line 4dn was shown as (6), I would have expected (3,3) or (3-3). I know, wrong again!

  13. steven says:

    At if you enter stropped in the keyword box there are 2 cases where stropped is mentioned. This is always a good place to try out words and see how they’re used and when they were used.

  14. mhl says:

    Derek Lazenby: This may be old news to you, but just in case: Hugh Stephenson has mentioned the hyphenation issue and his policy a couple of times in his newsletter.,,2283397,00.html,,1521155,00.html

  15. liz says:

    I thought 25ac and 4dn were pretty non-cryptic too. I also thought 13ac was a bit weak. Got caught out with ‘screw top’ even though I got 8dn and didn’t get ‘stropped’ at all. But I did like 6dn, which raised a smile.

  16. MartinR says:

    6dn – read the entire column, and raise a glass, with the smile!

  17. stiofain_x says:

    Martin R
    I thought there was something going on with word pairings in columns and rows there is
    and a few vaguer ones but maybe im reading too much into it.
    I enjoyed this one typical Rufus fun and no major quibbles.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, whizzed through most of this, but slowed down on the last half dozen.

    4d Why the ? – is it an attempt at an &lit?

    6d Why “young”? Without it, it would have the sidetrack advantage of making one think of running shoes.

  19. ray says:

    Found this to be one of those strange puzzles where you think “I’ll get nowhere with this”, but one answer eventually forms and the rest drop into place in rapid sequence. Didn’t think much of euphoric=sent in 17a and didn’t feel 20a read very well – “didn’t remain=went” o.k. but it’s a bit iffy to get from “wholly calm” to ” to pieces”

  20. Ralph G says:

    Thanks mhl for the ‘legal right’ link: all you ever wanted to know about ‘liens’ and didn’t like to ask. Especially liked the ‘inchoate lien’.
    13 above; thanks Steven for the ‘old bailey’ link. Quelle trouvaille!
    Martin, Stiofain 16-17: thanks for pointing out the hidden witticisms.
    20a (19 above); Ray, I agree about the parsing but I think it works OK if you just take the whole clue as a cryptic definition (better than some of the others).

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    mhl, no it wasn’t old news, I’ve only been doing these regularly since the end of November when I came out of the H nursing my leg. So thanks for that.

    Dang, another dictionary people want me to buy! I’m semi-retired and the pension doesn’t kick in for several years. Dictionaries are thus not high on my spend list.

    Pity there isn’t some freely available facility on the web. Oh well, never mind.

    In the meantime, I’m afraid I’ll have to keep asking and you’ll have to keep telling. I’m sure there must be some subject you can swamp me with questions about just to make things even.

  22. Paul B says:

    Well, at least JUMBLES ALE made me chuckle. Not generally up to scratch though, as opined passim.

    A few technical points: why ‘entered’ as the containerind at 9ac? Past tense doesn’t seem very good for the cryptic reading.

    13ac, in what sense ‘of a’?

    20ac, I don’t understand what this clue is meant to be – presumably some kind of CD?

    5dn seems to say ‘subsidiary indication gets it there quickly’ – where’s the definition for EXPRESS DELIVERY in that?

    8dn uses ‘but rather’ as an aid to making sense, but … oh, all right then.

    19dn makes ‘a’ redundant.

    21dn doesn’t use its indicator actually to indicate, but it’s close: there are three letters either side of the hidden word, so it is in a sense the ‘heart’.

    Not one for the shoebox.

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