Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,744 / Rufus

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on July 6th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

A nice monday puzzle to start off the week.


1. OWN GOAL.  OWN + GOAL.  Own can mean ‘own up’.
5. ILLICIT. IL + LI + C + IT.  Lots of roman numerals.
10. TRIO. ORIT*.
12. CHAMPS. Double def.
13. OBITUARY. Cryptic def.
14.  UPHOLSTER. UP + HOLSTER.  ‘arm rest’ is a cryptic def of Holster.
16. DOGMA. DOG + M.A.
17. ABBEY. AB. + BEY.  A Bey is a Turkish regional governor.
27. EDIT. TIDE<<.
29. PLEASED. L.P.<< + EASED.


3. GROOM. Double def.
4. ACCUSES. Looks to be a cryptic def but doesn’t seem very cryptic unless I’ve missed something?
6. LENTIL. LENT + I + L.  Lent is a Christian fast.  Similar use of roman numerals to 5ac.
9. GET ONES HAND IN. Double def.
15. OVERDRAWN. Double def.
18. BALANCE. Double def.
20. TEARFUL. (go)T + EARFUL.
22. SEXTON. STO(X)NE*.  A Sexton is in charge of things like bell-ringing and arranging burials.
25. OPERA. O + A REP<<.

36 Responses to “Guardian 24,744 / Rufus”

  1. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks for the blog Ciaran.

    You’re right about 4d. I couldn’t work it out until I got all the crossing letters – then realised it wasn’t a cryptic clue at all but a straight definition. It’s a pity he didn’t come up with a true cryptic clue because it spoilt an otherwise enjoyable puzzle.

    Still it made an easy end to the day for me. I started the day with the one published in the local paper, which was Puck’s “Battle of the Bands” prize puzzle from about five weeks ago. Now that was a good one!

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ciaran. The only problem I had was trying to make 14ac start with OP (work). Just a couple of ultra-pedantic nitpicks:
    – 5ac: I think IL is a bit suspect as 49 in Roman numerals – the subtractive notation is only allowed when the two numbers involved aren’t too far apart (so you can have IV and IX, but not IL or IC). Still, it was obvious what was meant as it would be hard to make a word with XLIX…

    – 24ac: Apollo was the name of the moon missions, not the rocket (which was a Saturn V).

  3. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Andrew – you’re right about the numerals but you do see oddities (I’m thinking of VIIII on clocks) so I’m sure they’re fair game for crosswords.

    I think the combination of the lunar and command modules that sat on top of the Saturn V’s were sometimes described as the ‘apollo spacecraft’ and there was a small rocket in the LES, but you’re right to say it’s a stretch to call it a ‘moon rocket’.

  4. Chunter says:

    17ac: BEY – the return of what used to be a favourite with setters. I can’t remember the last time I came across its use.

    (The deadline for entries to this month’s Genius puzzle is ‘Saturday 1 July’!)

  5. liz says:

    Thanks Ciaran. I also tried to make OP work at the beginning of 14ac and putting YOUR for ONE’S in 9dn was another slight hold-up.

    I thought there were many nice clues, with the elegant surfaces that are so typical of Rufus.

    But I have to agree that 4dn isn’t cryptic at all, which is a bit of a shame.

  6. enitharmon says:

    Apropos 4d – I got ACCUSES but didn’t think it was right as it was so uncryptic. I tried to make it ACCOSTS instead, with COSTS = charges, but couldn’t get it to fit with the rest of the clue.

    Otherwise, a nice gentle start to the week with just a couple of pedantic quibbles that others have raised but which didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

  7. James Droy says:

    Does anyone else have a problem with ‘get ones hand in’? Surely the phrase is ‘keep ones hand in’ or ‘get ones eye in’. Niggling I know, but it delayed an otherwise simple solve.

    Bey is one I had known an then forgotten, it took a deep memory dredge to rediscover it. I confidently predict we’ll start to see it everywhere from now on.

  8. Alan Browne says:

    Andrew is right and Ciaran too lenient on 5ac! IL for 49 is just plain wrong, so the clue doesn’t work.

    In an otherwise enjoyable crossword, I also found 4dn baffling only because it wasn’t cryptic.

  9. Hughie says:

    It’s still very rare for me to complete a full crossword but I managed this one. It was useful to read the blog as I got some of the answers without really knowing exactly why/how – e.g. some that I didn’t even notice were anagrams!

  10. Eileen says:

    I know IL for fifty is wrong – but I thought it was a lovely clue! Is it possible that Rufus’ tongue is in his cheek and that ‘wrong’ in the clue is doing double duty – especially in view of the question mark?

  11. Eileen says:

    I meant ‘exclamation mark’, of course.

  12. Polecat says:

    Re: 4dn Makes a legal charge(7)

    A charge (or attack) could often be illegal.
    Is this not sufficient for this clue to qualify as a Cryptic Definition
    (albeit a rather weak one) in a cryptic crossword?

  13. John says:

    I found it easy enough, but share the aforementioned quibbles, plus one other.
    I don’t understand “holster” as an armrest, unless in its meaning as a thing in which to carry weapons or tools thereby giving one’s arm a rest. But that seems a stretch to me.

  14. Derek Lazenby says:

    Maybe I read too many cowboy books instead of the classics when I was a boy, but I always think of holster as something for fast access to your Colt 45. Hooray for word searches.

    Every time anyone puts in a literal (or almost litersl) clue everyone gets all huffy about it. God you lot make me laugh. The setter just achieved exactly what any clue should achieve, it gave you a hard time. Are you all totally incapable of spotting, and appreciating, a skilful double bluff as we call it in poker? Ooooh, please, please, can we have a game? Or is it just intellectual sniffiness? A straight clue being beneath certain overblown dignities to be sloved? Just call me a poker player, but I’m perfectly happy with a double bluff. Look at it another way, had this been a seriously hard puzzle, such a clue might have been your only way in, would you be sniffy about it then, or just be grateful for a start?

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    solved i meant, trying to eat sphag at the same time

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    oh damn…..spag, look just wait huh?

  17. John says:

    What am I supposed to learn take from your first sentence? That you understand the reference to “armrest”, or that you don’t?
    Who’s being huffy? Or sniffy?
    What double bluff are you referring to?
    Which is the straight clue that apparently is beneath someone’s dignity?
    Rather than being rude, could you say what you mean in plain English?

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    John. Try harder. The comment would be pointless if I knew holster as armrest.

    Every one else was talking about 4d not being cryptic. I presumed my readers could remember what was said from one post to the next.

    The perenial complaints about plain clues are not deserving in respect. The authors clearly haven’t understood the purpose. The way some people say it, it is some sort of insult to their solving abilities, or an excuse for denigrating the setters or both. Just dredge your memory through previous blogs. Some unkind things have been said about various setters for using plain clues. I didn’t define the rules for discussing the subject, the perenial complainants did that, I’m just playing the established game.

  19. stiofain says:

    I enjoyed this as always with Rufus
    John, I took armrest to refer to the place where your (fire) arm ie pistol stays ie rests
    I share others reservations about accuses but dont see anyone claiming it to be below their dignity.

  20. John says:

    Thanks Stiofain. that makes some sort of sense, although still a bit of a stretch.
    Derek: The puzzle we discuss is not called Cryptic for nothing. You want plain? Do the Quickie.

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    stiofain, it is rarely directly said that plain clues are beneath peoples dignity, but then why say “it’s dissappointing”, or in previous blogs, “it spoilt the crossword” and so on if that isn’t what is meant? Why even mention it at all? What other point is there in mentioning it in such negative ways?

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    stiofan, see Johns comment to me in 20, proves my point completely.

  23. Mr Beaver says:

    Derek – I’m no expert solver, and am always grateful for a few easy clues. What I like, though, is the ‘aha’ moment when you know you’ve got the right answer.
    That’s the trouble with the likes of 4d. You think, well, I suppose it could be ACCUSES. Or just as easily ACCOSTS. Or have I missed something ? You put it in lightly think it’s 90% likely to be right, but it gives no satisfaction…

  24. John says:

    It may prove your point Derek, but your point is flawed. Cryptic is cryptic, “plain” is “plain”, whatever you may feel about the validity of bloggers’ criticism, which, even if you consider it wrong, doesn’t warrant the epithets you use. People are “disappointed” because they expect to be challenged more by a cryptic crossword, not because it is beneath their dignity or because they have failed to “spot a skilful double bluff”.

  25. brr says:

    Like a few others I tried to make 4d ACCOSTS by using COSTS = charges. Otherwise, it was a full grid – so I was pleased.

    I also spent a fair amount of time trying to convince myself that SNAKE THIEF was valid for 26a, but eventually the penny dropped with a large clank.

  26. stiofain says:

    Derek, I couldnt be bothered becoming embroiled in an argument but you seem to overuse an Ad Hominem approach.
    This forum is for criticism of clues not people.

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes, but….

    There is nothing cryptic about a double definition, that is two plain definitions. Nobody worries about that. Nobody ever comments. So how does that fit in with the objections to a plain clue? It doesn’t. Come on guys, show at least some consistency.

    Isn’t there an Ah moment in spotting that what appeared to be a tortuous clue is actually simple? Read post #1. The double bluff factor was causing serious problems to at least one solver. Is it suggested that there was no Ah moment after all that struggle? Clearly that post shows that there can be a challenge in spotting that a clue which is deliberately designed to appear cryptic actually isn’t. Well maybe not to one of our ultra-experts, but surely there is a challenge for everyone else?

    Cryptic crosswords are about deception, not about standard formulae where you turn the handle and out pops an answer. It is perfectly valid therefore, to represent a plain clue as a cryptic clue as that is in itself a deception. If a plain clue is too obviously plain, well that is a different matter and we would be in total agreement.

  28. liz says:

    Mr Beaver — you put it very well. Those ‘aha’ moments are the fun of cryptics. In plain crosswords, there’s often a number of answers that would fit and it may take the checking letters to be certain. In a cryptic, the ‘aha’ tells you you’ve got it right, and may even make you laugh. I also doubt very much that solvers of the Quick Crossword would view a cryptic clue that cropped up in their puzzle as a ‘double bluff’. Horses for courses.

    Rufus’ puzzles have given me a lot of pleasure and he often catches me out. As I have said before, I admire his elegance very much and I have a great admiration for him as a setter. But I still maintain 4dn was not cryptic enough.

    I tried to think of another way of cluing ACCUSES and all I could come up with was ‘Curses, losing right after account charges.’ Hats off to Rufus!

  29. Derek Lazenby says:

    And how many quick crosswords have “long clues” which you don’t know what style they are? Most of them aren’t even complete sentences. Like is not being compared with like.

  30. liz says:

    Derek — my point exactly!

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    liz, nope, put a long plain clue into a cryptic and you have no a-priori knowledge that that is what you are looking at. You have to work that bit out. In a quickie you already know. It is not the same.

  32. Arthur says:

    Quite enjoyed this – a nice gentle start to the week. Just a quick question to Andrew’s comment no. 2. Why do you say that you can’t use subtractive notation IL for 49 (which is what I immediately assumed was the generally accepted way) due to the numbers being far apart. I’ve personally never encountered that rule, and know that, as a counter example, all BBC programmes made in the nineties have numbers beginning MIM over the end credits.

  33. Arthur says:

    Hang on… I’m actually thinking of MCM (for 1900) with the extra bit added on at the end, and of course you’re completely right. Sorry – that’ll teach me to comment on riman numerals way past bedtime!

  34. Mike Laws says:

    Whence cometh Derek Lazenby’s right to pontificate, and what’s the point of crossing, or at least getting perilously near, the border between being forthright and being offensive?

    This was a typical Rufus puzzle – nothing special about it at all, but a fair lead-in for a cryptic novice who hasn’t seen the clues before.

  35. Neil says:

    Well, Derek – good to see you on your best, crustiest form! I happen to agree with you about the double bluff in 4 dn. It was the only clue that gave me pause. In fact, I nearly didn’t bother to finish the puzzle, so unchallenging was it. I’m really surprised it could give rise to so much discussion here. The quibbles all seem pretty legitimate but did they prevent finding the solutions?

  36. Neil says:

    On reflection though 14 ac was pretty good. I Iiked armrest for holster and the built in misleading expectation that it would start with ‘op’. Yet I’d add another quibble about ‘higher’ indicating ‘up’.

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