Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,708 (Rufus)

Posted by diagacht on May 25th, 2009


It’s Monday and Rufus starts the week off with a fairly straightforward puzzle, although there are one or two tricky lights.

9 CASSANDRA: SAND in anagram of CARS
10 ASCOT: (m)ASCOT going topless
11 RHOMBUS: anagram of MOB RUSH
12 DRESDEN: double definition
16 TURF ACCOUNTANTS: cryptic definition
19 DILIGENCE: double definition
21 PAPER: double definition
22 EPITAPH: lines written in memory of a dead person
23 BESIEGE: invest in the sense of laying siege to
24 OBELI: ELI (Samuel’s teacher in the Hebrew scriptures) after OB (old boy)
3 BAMBOO: AB (sailor, reversed) + anagram of BOOM
4 ODES: anagram of DOES
5 BAWDY HOUSE: US (objective pronoun of subjective WE) in anagram of ABODE WHY
6 WATER RAT: anagram of TREAT RAW
7 ACIDIC: CID (detectives) in CIA (US intelligence, reversed)
8 STUN: NUT S (reseversed)
14 SECOND HAND: SECOND (support) + HAND (worker)
15 LASER BEAMS: anagram of LEAR’S + BEAMS (smiles)
17 AU GRATIN: AU (gold) + anagram of RATING
18 NIPPED IN: NIPPED (pinched) + IN (some of thINg)
20 LOITER: anagram of TOILER
21 PASS ON: PA’S (father’s) + SON (heir)
22 EBOR: ROBE (reversed); EBOR is the shortened form of Eboracum, the Latin name for York and used here to refer to Archbishop of York
23 BLOW: double definition

25 Responses to “Guardian 24,708 (Rufus)”

  1. Bryan says:

    ‘One or two tricky lights’ – where?

    I started this Crossword and my bowl of cereals simultaneously and the Crossword strolled past the Winning Post a mile in front and it was only a ½ mile race.

    Strictly off topic, I adored Saturday’s Araucaria (24707).

    Many thanks, John, should you ever look in.


  2. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks – agreed, not difficult, even for us!

    However, a couple of quibbles/queries:
    9a CASSANDRA – isn’t actually an anagram of sand and cars – where does the missing A come from ??
    19a – you say this is a dd, but how is DILIGENCE a symonym for coach ?
    23a – likewise, I accept that ‘invest’ means ‘lay siege to’, though this meaning is new to me, but why ‘capital’

    Shouldn’t grumble, I suppose – it’s nice to have a puzzle I can actually finish fairly quickly, but I find these loose Rufusian definitions a bit non satis.

  3. diagacht says:

    Thank you Mr Beaver

    DILIGENCE is an old coach, typically French
    I was happy enough with 23a as it is a kind of cryptic definition based on a less familiar use of invest.
    When solving I didn’t spot the missing A in CASSANDRA. It just looked so obvious – but as you point out it isn’t.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Mr Beaver: till you mentioned it, I didn’t look at 9ac carefully enough – it just looked so obvious an anagram. Actually, it’s ‘as’ [‘like] SAND in (CAR]*

    19ac: a diligence is a French stagecoach, from carosse de diligence, lit ‘coach of speed’ [Collins].

    I agree with you about ‘capital’.

  5. IanN14 says:

    I think it’s “as sand” in an anagram of “car”.

    But I still don’t really get 23ac. Why “capital”?

  6. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Diagacht, for the overlap! Thanks for the blog.

  7. IanN14 says:

    Sorry Eileen.
    A second too slow.

  8. IanN14 says:

    I can only assume you’re meant to think of “capital” as a town or city?

  9. cpendred says:

    like others thought this straightforward, except 23 ac which i still dont understand.

  10. Brendan says:

    Besiege was the only word I could come up with which fitted the space. The dictionary provided the ‘invest’ definition hitherto unknown to me. Capital however???

  11. Shirley says:

    Yes, I’m stumped there too! But some lovely stuff in the ‘Rufusian’ style (thanyou for that line, Mr Beaver)!

    Sometimes Rufus goes to the third definition on the left behind the bike sheds in Chambers though, I notice, so perhaps this is one of them, chucked in for the Bank Holiday?

    Thanks to Diagacht.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, a fairly swift one. I liked 25 ac, an &lit, too?

    I am surprised no one mentioned no CDs, Rufus’ stock-in-trade; a pleasant change for me.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    Oops, there was one CD 16ac

  14. Eileen says:

    And EPITAPH is another …

  15. John says:

    Capital cities are usually the ones invading forces besiege because that’s where the ruler/seat of government is?

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. Managed this easily — except BLOW, which I should have got, and BESIEGE. I’d never heard of that meaning of ‘invest’ — perhaps should have looked it up! I don’t think ‘capital’ is that satisfactory, unless I’m missing something. ‘Capital’ is much more specific than town or seat of power or fortress or whatever. Presumably that’s what the question mark is for.

  17. Chunter says:

    John: I thought that too, but in this list of sieges I’m not sure that capital cities are particularly well represented.

  18. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks to Diagacht and Eileen re CASSANDRA and DILIGENCE. The Guardian crossword is nothing if not educational !

  19. Speckled Jim says:

    18d: IN from “something” is naughty, lazy clueing. Not a satisfying clue all round.

    Can someone explain “turf accountants” for me?

  20. muck says:

    A ‘turf accountant’ is a bookmaker

  21. diagacht says:

    Speckled Jim,

    I thought some of thINg was OK but I agree that this was not the most satisfying clue.

    The turf accountant clue was fine if you like horse-racing. A clerk of the course – one who keeps the track in order and according to the rules – and turf accountants are rather specialised (although not unfair). It was a tricky enough clue.


    Thanks for explaining CASSANDRA! Of course, but I didn’t see it at the time, seeing nine letters when there were only eight.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Given the impression I have, which is probably wrong, that most of you know more about history than I do, I was somewhat surprised by the comments re Invest. Oh well, strange old world.

    16 ac just proves what I’ve always argued here, one man’s general knowledge is another’s black hole. Turf Accountant was totally obvious. And it is not a specialist phrase as anybody from the older group of posters should know. Bookies shops were not allowed to be advertised as such. Every single one bore the legend “Turf Accountant” on the frontage. Walk around the average town, see the number of bookies shops? Not rare are they? Every single one proclaimed “Turf Accountant” on the frontage until the gaming laws changed. So all you fellow oldies must have known this. Younger solvers have every excuse though.

    Just looking at the list of across clues, 19 to 23, four in succession. Rufus trying to get his word count down?

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oh rats, just got home and noticed the repetition in my previous post. My excuse is that I was about to go out to the pub and had my mind elsewhere! Mia culpa.

    Guess I just failed the “Just a minute” audition!

    I should also have said non-UK solvers might have struggled as much as younger ones. Sigh.

  24. Speckled Jim says:

    Hmmm, thanks – I hadn’t heard of turf accountants, but also I can’t see what is cryptic about the clue, or how it works! Why start with the word ‘but’? And as far as I can tell, they are clerks who work at courses…?!

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Jim, no. Turf Accountant means a bookmaker, whether that is an on-course bookmaker, a bookmaker with one ore more high street shops, or nowadays an on-line bookmaker. Not all countries have them so maybe not everyone knows what even that means. Basically it is the private betting industry, based around the taking of individual bets at specific odds, as opposed to what several other countries have which is a (frequently state run) totalisator, or pool, style of betting.

    Before the first liberalisation of the gaming laws in this country, off-course (shop) bookmakers were not allowed to advertise, nor could they call themsleves bookmakers. So the phrase Turf Accountant was used as a blatant way to flaunt those laws. Strangely, the authorities turned a blind eye to this.

    Also, in those days, the industry was mainly many small family run businesses. Large corporate conglomerates were still to come. Hence there were many more betting shops than there are now. And as I said above, they all proclaimed themselves Turf Accountants on their frontages. So there was no way you could walk around any UK town without seeing several of them. Hence everyone was aware of the phrase. If they weren’t aware, that would be rather like saying what’s a McDonalds?

    If anyone wanted to seriously nit pick the clue it would be to point out that on-course bookmakers (to whom different legal requirements applied) have always been refered to as bookies, though many of those firms would have also had Turf Accountants shops so could be called either name depending on the precise context.

    One might further nit pick by pointing out that on-course the bookie was not even a clerk. One of his employees in the on-course team was the “bookies clerk”.

    But everyone else in this crossword world, where setters are supposed be precise, have this peverse desire to defend the very opposite of that, to whit loose definitions and associations, on which basis the clue is OK.

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