Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,762 / Rufus

Posted by Andrew on July 27th, 2009


It’s Monday, it’s Rufus, you know what to expect. Perhaps even more of his characteristic cryptic definitions than usual, but most of them are good fun. In any case, if I did have any criticisms they would be dispelled for me by the wonderful anagram at 10dn (and 12ac is a nice one too).

* = anagram
cd = cryptic definition
dd = double definition
< = reverse

9. SWASTIKAS cd, referring to the “arms” of a swastika
11. PROOF dd – old measure of the strength of alcoholic drinks (my mathematical background rebels at “evidence”=”proof”)
15. IRON dd – housework and golf
16. PRETENSION PRE + TENSION – presumably pretension is what Pretenders (young or old) used to do
18. THÉ DANSANT cd – “trip” in the sense of “dance”
19. CURE dd – a curé is a French priest
24. NOT UP (PUT ON)<
25. RAIL GAUGE cd – the gauge of a railway is the distance (i.e. the “reading”) between the rails (four feet eight and a half inches in the UK, as every schoolboy used to know)
1. OAST A in O ST
2. PEAK Homophone of “peke”
4. TAKEN PRISONER cd – referring to prisoners-of-war
8. LEFT-HANDER A pretty obvious cd
10. STARTING PRICE (RACING TIPSTER)* – a brilliantly appropriate anagram
13. SIXTH SENSE SIXTH (top class, as in Sixth Form) + SENSE (intelligence)
14. LOVE LETTER A great dd – “O” is the “love letter”, as is a Valentine (well, sort of)
20. SLIGHT dd
22. FUSE dd – as in setting a fuse for dynamite etc, or “melting together”, which is the opposite of exploding

27 Responses to “Guardian 24,762 / Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew

    This was perfectly straightforward except for 24a which was shown as one 5-letter word in the On-line versions, other than the PDF.

    And after all the debate last week!

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    10dn is an amazing anagram, as you say, and I liked 12ac too.

    Isn’t 11ac a double, rather than a cryptic definition?

  3. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen, you’re right about 11ac (and I meant 12ac when I said 21ac – need more coffee!)

  4. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Andrew. This was very good fun, with lots of clues that made me smile, and one laugh-out-loud: LOVE LETTER!

    Just for interest – I’m sure it’s either independent invention or an old chestnut – the wonderful RACING TIPSTER / STARTING PRICE anagram was also used by Paul in Guardian 24210 but the other way round: “Fancy starting price, might he? (6,7)”

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Like Bryan, I spent a good five minutes scouring my brain for the name of a famous old mafioso called “Notup” before the penny dropped and I went to the PDF. Derek L’s friend being sloppy again!

    Don’t you think the arms referred to in 9ac are those of the Nazis rather than the Swastikas?

    I had fume instead of fuse for 22dn which seemed nearly as close a fit to the dd.

  6. NeilW says:

    …bombs that don’t explode just fizzle and fume!

  7. Peter Owen says:


    Re 25. It’s only in the GB part of the UK that the railway gauge is 4 ft 8 1/2 in. On the other side of the Irish Sea it is 5 ft 3 in.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I enjoyed 10dn very much too. And 14dn was a lovely ‘Aha!’ moment.

    I also had FUME instead of FUSE.

  9. rich says:

    Good start to the week :)

    I would say that the nazi “arms” are referring to the arms of the uniforms where swastikas were worn.

    Also the 24a online mistake of (5) rather than (3,2) had me stumped for a while…

  10. lindsay says:

    Re 24 across

    Could “not up” also refer to a retired university lecturer (don) no longer being “up” at university?

  11. Phil says:

    An enjoyable start to teh week form Rufus, however is it just me, or does anyone else find “prepare to explode” a fairly poor definition for FUSE?

    Is there a verb form of fuse that I’m unaware of?

  12. Paul B says:

    Transitive, to provide or equip with a detonator.

  13. Dawn says:

    First time in ages I’ve not finished a Rufus… Never heard of 18ac and I’d got all the crossing letters so nothing else to help me. I did think it might be French but couldn’t find anything for ‘afternoon’ that would help.

  14. liz says:

    Lindsay — that’s how I read 24 ac too

  15. Ralph G says:

    22d FUSE, 11,12 above. The defiinition Paul B supplies, or the equivalent, is in Collins, SOED and OED on-line with citations from 1802 to 1895, but not in Chambers. I’m less sure about FUSE for ‘not exploding’
    I think I prefer FUME, of a person about to explode, of a shell having failed to explode (as explained above).

  16. Paul B says:

    Well, to fuse something in that sense is to ‘prepare to explode’ it, so it’s FUSE for me. As to the other half of the DD, I’d say Rufus intends something along the lines of ‘to equip with a device protective against current overload’, but it’s not particularly accurate.

  17. NeilW says:

    When, back at #5, I started this off, I think I made it clear that “fuse” is the right answer but, finally, it’s just not a very good clue in that “fume” works pretty much as well or badly, if you prefer. Better editing might avoid this – sometimes one has the impression that, with Rufus, an excess of latitude is allowed. Anyway, why not? He’s my favourite antidote to the Boomtown Rats!

  18. petero says:

    Just to muddy the waters, I had RAIL GUIDE for 25A and MINE for 22D, both of which still strike me as defensible.

  19. Bryan says:

    Sorry, Petero, but I cannot see how MINE for 22d can possibly work as both:

    Prepare to explode – or not to explode

  20. Rufus says:

    Having been to Manchester airport to meet an aircraft due at 2 am, but which arrived after 4, I haven’t had any sleep yet and I might not make much sense!
    When setting this puzzle, I discovered one of the choices for filling a 13-letter solution was STARTING PRICE. When I tried anagrams I stumbled on RACING TIPSTER and felt that it could work. I assume Paul did the same, but the other way round. He was first, so I shall apologise to him – he apologised to me for using the PRESBYTERIAN/BRITNEY SPEARS anagram a year or two after my use of it in the Church Times and Telgraph, so I think we can now call it quits!
    I intended “arms” to be of the Nazis rather than the swastika – but I suppose it could be either. they both are acceptable and the “fire” arms still mislead.
    NOT UP I intended just as a reverse clue, reversing “put on” (=”DON”).
    I cannot find the phrase RAIL GUIDE in any of my reference books; RAIL GAUGE is in Collins.
    I cannot see FUME resulting from “Prepare to explode – or not to explode” and was surpised not to find fuse as a verb for both meanings in Chambers, but I can in Collins (the crossword editor’s and my favourite dictionary). FUSE gives:”Any device by which an explosive charge is ignited, vb (tr)To equip with such a fuse” (i.e. “Prepare to explode”); the next entry for fuse: “a protective device for safeguarding electrical circuits that melts and breaks the circuit….vb tr, to equip a circuit with a fuse” (= prepare not to explode”)
    I’m about to follow Pepys, “and so to bed”. Best wishes to all!

  21. NeilW says:

    Thanks, as always, to Rufus for putting these various discussions to bed! Whoops, just realised 12.40 at night here so better do the same!

  22. Ron says:

    @petero: Glad to see that someone else had RAIL GUIDE / MINE. Just about defensible, I think! I thought of ‘fuse’ but my U seemed to be in the wrong place…

  23. stiofain says:

    No nautical references from the old sea dog today!!! I liked bets best.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #23: And I liked 27ac (as one of the) best.
    Of course, it is an obvious anagram (because of ‘changes’), but the word ‘down’ can easily be linked to the word that follows (‘here’), and that is what I like – that kind of wrong-footing.
    In fact, for the same reason, 25ac is brilliant.
    ‘Reading’ isn’t ‘reading’ (if you know what I mean), and ‘between the lines’ is not what it is in ‘reading between the lines’.
    Great clue.

  25. TobyT says:

    I had Rail Guide and Wire – both seemed to fit? Not happy with SLIGHT – should be plural?

  26. Rufus says:

    Sorry TobyT, I don’t understand your “should be plural” suggestion for SLIGHT, clued as “Minor shows discourtesy”.
    Thesauri give SLIGHT = minor – as an adjective (as in “a slight mistake”) and
    SLIGHT = discourtesy – noun (as in “an act or omission indicating supercilious neglect”).
    Andrew’s blog (nice one Andrew!) indicates it is a double definition, i.e. “one definition shows another definition”. What needs to be plural?

  27. Dinos says:

    Hi just started picking up a knack for cryptic crosswords and The Guardian style seem to suit me quite nicely. However I always end up with more than a few blanks (most of the lower left of the grid in this particular puzzle!) so its great to have a place to come to to see where I’ve gone wrong. Love the “Racing tipster” anagram and never heard of the words propitious or oast but was able to piece them together from the word play. I suppose I’ll become more accustomed to them as time goes by but until then expect more brain-fail frustration from me!



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