Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24726 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on June 15th, 2009


A very rushed post today – apologies in advance for any errors! My favourite here was 13 across for its deceptive crosswordese and nice surface reading.

5. PERIOD PE = “Exercises” followed by O = “ball” in RID = “free”
6. BOXERS Double definition
9. CAPERS Double definition: too hard for me – apparently there’s an expression “to cut capers” meaning to “to gambol” or “to attempt to attract attention by one’s behaviour” (Chambers). I’m sure I have done recipes where you have to slice capers :)
10. SACK RACE Cryptic definition, the joke being on SACK = “fire”
11. SO-SO SO = “very” + SO = “very”
12. PROPRIETOR Cryptic definition
18. STRAIGHT UP Cryptic definition
21. AXLE Hidden answer
22. TWO-BY-TWO Cryptic definition, referring to children walking in crocodiles
23. GRAVES Double definition; Graves is a type of claret, from the region of the same name
24. DESPOT DES = “of the French” + POT = “vessel”
25. MODEST MODE = “way” + ST = “way”
1. FREEHOLD Double definition; the first as in a title on a house
2. TOSS-UP Double definition; I spent too long trying to get “odds”, “bull” and “horn” into this answer
4. DEGREE Cryptic definition
5. PEA POD Cryptic definition; as in “pea shooter” and “shelling peas”
7. SECTOR SEC = “Dry” + TOR = “hill”
8. ASSOCIATION Double definition / Cryptic definition
15. UNAWARES UNA = “Girl” followed by RE = “about” in WAS
16. STOWED STOWE = “public school”, D = “daughter”
17. CLIENT LIEN = “right”, in CT = “court”; LIEN for “right” is one of those synonyms that I have real trouble remembering…
19. AMBUSH Cryptic definition; AM BUSH might be “morning bush”
20. PIGEON PIG = “Creature that can’t fly” + (ONE)*

21 Responses to “Guardian 24726 / Rufus”

  1. IanP says:

    Uninspiring, I thought.

    If it’s any comfort for Derek Lazenby, though, I found Saturday’s alphabetical jigsaw hard to get stuck into!

    I’ve recently been reading a biography of Will Hay, so the expression “cut a caper” sprang to mind readily, it coming from that sort of era.

  2. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Sir Andrew says “I can cut a caper” and this is followed by some punning.

  3. Jon says:

    Decidedly uninspiring, yes.

    23ac. I put “grapes” without being able to justify the “vaults” definition. Have never heard of “graves” as a wine.

    “unawares” and “pigeon” were vaguely satisfying but nothing to be delighted about here really.

    Thanks for the blog though, mhl.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    Aww shucks, thanks for the thought IanP.

    Finished this but I can’t say I enjoyed it. When others have muttered about too many cd’s and dd’s I have tended to shrug the shoulders. I think I see what they mean now.

    Fashions in wine change, but Graves was one of the more common cheap wines a decade or two ago. Haven’t seen it recently, but then I haven’t been looking for it. The last bottle I bought was prior to said decades!

  5. Conrad Cork says:

    Way back in the 50’s, before labels got tightened up, the cheapest dry white was something called ‘Spanish Graves’ (along with the cheapest sweet white being ‘Spanish Sauternes’).

    ‘Graves’ does get used from time to time in puzzles because of the possibility of misdirection when referring to tombstones say, or the poet Robert Graves.

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Agreed it is fairly ordinary today. I thought 12a was just a definition.

    19d Now, that was great – a chuckle on the bus.

  7. Brian Harris says:

    @Dave I agree. 12ac is barely cryptic, except for the ever so slightly misleading surface. 8 down doesn’t really work as a dd either. Hoping for something a little more interesting tomorrow.

  8. Neil says:

    Not alot to delay us in this one eh?

    23ac: “Graves” covers several styles of wine, including a dry white.

  9. Mr Beaver says:

    To be fair to Rufus, I liked 18a, 22a and 2d.
    But I agree 8d was terrible and 12a more suitable for the Quick. Also wasn’t keen on vaults meaning GRAVES, though I did know the wine.

  10. IanP says:

    Vaults as graves? Weellll, sort of okay, You have a family vault, don’t you? Well, not you presonally, nor indeed me, but they had loads of them in old black and white films.

  11. mhl says:

    I’m a bit surprised that people so far seem to be quite negative about this puzzle – I certainly enjoyed it and found there were quite a few that needed a bit of careful thought (e.g. AD INIFINITUM, PERIOD, GRAVES) – not too easy for a Monday by any means…

  12. Tom says:

    Hello. Can someone please explain why straight up means yes and no?

  13. Shed says:

    Tom: ‘straight up’ means ‘on the level’ figuratively, and precisely the opposite literally. For my money, the best clue in this puzzle.

  14. Eileen says:

    mhl, comment 11, I agree. I liked AD INFINITUM, CONCERTI [although I’m always a bit put out by clues like this which say ‘not right’ when they mean remove only one R] and PERIOD and I saw no problem with VAULTS = GRAVES, which is fine by me for crossword purposes, when the surface is so neat. Chambers [and, for once, I was gratified rather than exasperated :-)] has vault as ‘ a burial chamber’ and grave as ‘any place of burial’

    I, too, spent a minute or two trying to work out why a matador, in particular, would be trying to avoid an ODD SON

  15. Eileen says:

    I know, I know, ODDS ON doesn’t mean an even chance!

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    And for my money, it’s 5ac.
    The clue reads beautifully as a whole, suggesting that ‘free time’ should be taken as one.
    In fact more Paul or Orlando than Rufus, and certainly more my cup of tea than all these (mostly) simple anagrams (apart from 13 ac which makes sense to me) and double & cryptic definitions.
    Everything else has already been said about this crossword.
    Indeed, not one of Rufus’ best, but why should we blame someone who made more than 2 million clues so far … My God, can you imagine?

  17. Dagnabit says:

    Thanks, mhl. I’m off to a slow start this week – I missed 5a, 9a, 23a (I had GRAPES), and 1d, where I kept wanting to try to make OVERLORD work. So, no complaints from me about Rufus being too easy…

  18. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Well I thought that this was quite hard but good fun. Defeated by sevral clues today.

  19. Tyro says:

    2 million clues? Do we have to imagine? They’re not 2 million different clues, I’m sure.

  20. Trev says:

    2 million? One every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, for forty years!

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Don’t believe it?
    Look at this then for example:

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