Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24702 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on May 18th, 2009


As often happens with Rufus’s puzzles for me, I got about half of these clues very fast and the rest took rather more puzzling. I thought there was lots to enjoy here, with excellent surface readings throughout and nice wordplay. I hope to see some of you later in the week at Sloggers and Betters!

9. OUTLAW OUT = “not at home” + LAW = “legal rules”; a nice &lit
10. NEAT Double definition; NEAT to mean “cow” or “cattle” is something I only know through crosswords
11. SURE-FOOTED Cryptic definition
12. CENSER A nice cryptic definition
14. THOUGHTS THOUGH = “nevertheless” + ST reversed = “a backstreet”
15. ANTIQUE AN = “Article” + (QUITE)*
17. OTTOMAN Double definition
20. MERCEDES M = “motorway” + ER = “hesitation” + CEDES = “gives way”
23. RABBIT HOLE Cryptic definition; it took a while to think which of many animals the buck could be…
24. RIDE RID = “free” + E[xcursion]
25. DEACON CO = “company” in DEAN
1. FORESEEN FORE = “Quartet heard” (sounds like “four”) + SEEN = “observed”
2. PELT Double definition; “zip” as in “to zip off” or “to pelt off”
3. CAESAR A nice cryptic definition; Julius Caesar was murdered on the Ides of March (the 15th of March, so “mid-month”). The “rents” refer to those in Caesar’s coat rather nicely, since in Mark Anthony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech he particularly refers to the “rent the envious Casca made”. Probably the toughest clue in the puzzle today…
6. TALENT Nice (and difficult) double definition, with “-making” as a link word. (A “talent” was an ancient unit of currency.)
8. ERRATA TAR = “sailor” reversed in ERA; at first I thought the part of speech was wrong here, but of course it’s quite right: ERRATA are “rectified mistakes”
13. SWITCHBACK Double definition; a switchback is a rollercoaster
18. ACID DROP ACID = “sort of rain” + DROP = “fall”; I suspect I was in not alone in trying to think of an anagram of “rain fall” :) Nicely misleading…
19. ESCORT Double definition
21. EVADES EVE’S = “Girl’s” around AD = “publicity”
22. ONE DAY Double definition
24. RUDE Sounds like “rued”; you need the crossing letters to tell which part was the definition

19 Responses to “Guardian 24702 / Rufus”

  1. Geoff says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Agree entirely – this one was rather trickier than the average Rufus, with some awkward dds and cds.

    I confidently put RUED in for 24dn, since the clue reads better this way – which caused some problems until I realised my mistake.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks mhl – I’m another that found this a puzzle of two halves. I got CAESAR quite easily, though without seeing the full ramifications, but it was the two ?E?T words at 10ac and 2dn that held me up at the end.

    See you on Thursday!

  3. mhl says:

    In fact, I think I only associated “rents” with Caesar in the end because of this clue in Azed 1866: “Mansion’s cold inside? Envious one responsible for rent (5)”

  4. Matthew says:

    I associated “rents” with Caesar because of this clue in the Guardian cryptic crossword 24196 also set by Rufus: “He received his final rents mid-month (6,6)”

  5. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. I had a similar experience — got a lot of the clues quickly and really struggled with a few at the end. The surfaces of Rufus’ clues are always so good.

  6. Eileen says:

    I think this puzzle should please those who find Rufus ‘too easy’ and at the same time not put off those newer to the game, who will find satisfaction in getting some of the more challenging clues.

    Lovely surfaces, as ever from Rufus, especially the excellent 3dn. I remembered that speech from O Level – and there was a bit of a pointer in 1dn in Saturday’s FT puzzle!

    I was with Geoff in putting in RUED for 24dn. This time, I thought there was no ambiguity, so that’s a little niggle.

    Another [even smaller] one is that ERRATA are mistakes. I think the ‘rectified’ idea comes from the practice of using the word as a heading for correction of mistakes in Latin homework. [But for French we wrote ‘Corrigé’.]

  7. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    And are those mistakes ‘rectified’ at all? ERRATA is just a slip listing the mistakes in the main body of text and giving the corrections. It is pasted onto the book. The mistakes remain!

  8. Ralph G says:

    #6, #7, I was with you initially on 8d ERRATA as meaning ‘mistakes’ tout court, but Eileen’s ‘corrigé’ put me in mind of the publisher’s alternative Latinism CORRIGENDA. In each case the list of mistakes includes the correct version, so I reckon that ERRATA, despite its literal meaning, now indicates a list of corrected mistakes.
    Incidentally, if I were a publisher I would rather print a slip headed ERRATA than one headed MISTAKES.

  9. Bryan says:

    I enjoyed this one but I couldn’t get 10a and so I gave up.

    Many thanks, mhl, for your explanation.


  10. Eileen says:

    Ralph G, I did say it was only a very little niggle and I’m not contradicting you. I just thought it was interesting that in Latin lessons we confessed to our mistakes, whereas in French we pointed out that we had corrected them! [Chambers, Collins and SOED all define errata as ‘errors in writing or printing’, alternatively ‘CORRIGENDA – things *needing* correction’, as opposed to ‘corrigé [having received it.] I agree that usage suggests ‘corrected mistakes’ and so it’s surprising to see it hasn’t reached Chambers, at least!

  11. Tom Hutton says:

    I was fatally stumped by putting in the day for 22dn (as in naming the day for instance) and even though I though of ordain for 22ac I didn’t put it in because the significance of works didn’t dawn on me. I still think the day is a better answer than one day.

    Caesar escaped me too. Surely it was his clothes that were rent rather than him.

  12. Shirley says:

    This was a strange mixture, I felt, with harder clues sitting awkwardly alongside the easier ones. And a familiarity too about some things! Nevertheless I agree with Eileen that there were some really lovely surfaces here, something Rufus always seems to be able to give.

    Apart from the things already talked about, I would say that the RUED/RUDE clue should have bbeen clarified so that solvers could tell which end the answer is to be found. That made things rather difficult for a bit!

  13. Geoff says:

    Strictly, ERRATA are ‘mistakes’ and ‘corrigenda’ are (as Eileen says) ‘things to be corrected’. ‘Rectified mistakes’ ought properly to be ‘correcta’. By analogy with the expression ‘mutatis mutandis’, one could be really pedantic and use ‘corrigenda correcta’ – having corrected those things that required correction. Aren’t ablative absolutes with neuter plural gerundives wonderful!

  14. Geoff says:

    Oops – should have put ‘corrigendis correctis’. Serves me right, i suppose…

  15. Uncle Yap says:

    mhl, thanks for the excellent blog. I had to deliberate long and hard before finally cracking 3D and 12A.
    I look forward to meeting up with you and the rest of the Sloggers and Betters this Thursday. See you.

  16. smutchin says:

    I’m another who was stumped by RUDE/RUED. Slightly flawed clue. Otherwise good stuff as usual from Rufus.

    Geoff, “corrigenda correcta” is the spell Harry Potter uses to fix his homework. 😉

  17. dagnabit says:

    I missed 7ac, 10ac, and 2d – and even after using the cheat function I was still mystified until reading the blog… Thanks, mhl, for the explanations of “neat” and “pelt.” But how is “cove” related to “chap”?

    I also had RUED for a while at 24d, as I felt this was what the syntax of the clue required.

  18. Gaufrid says:

    “But how is “cove” related to “chap”?”
    Consult Chambers, COED or Collins, cove = fellow, man or chap.

  19. dagnabit says:

    Thanks so much, Gaufrid!

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