Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,792 – Rufus

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on August 31st, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

A well constructed puzzle but sadly not enough meat to keep one occupied for the whole bank holiday – good job I’d not yet tackled the Observer.

Not much to say really, some clever cryptic definitions and nothing that felt unfair – probably how Monday crosswords should always be.


10. INNER. INN + E.R.
11. PLUNDER. Meaning ‘steal’ and also ‘swag’.
12. HOLIDAY. Cryptic definition.
16. STRETCHER-BEARER. Cryptic def, stretcher=litter.
21. GENOA. Double def: a type of sail, and Columbus’ home town.
24. ADIEU. AD + I.E. + U(nion).


1. STEPHENSON. George Stephenson, the engineer who built The Rocket.
4. OVER. Double definition.
5. ORCHESTRAS. SHORTRACES*. ‘Play groups’ is a great cryptic def.
7. ON EDGE. Double def.
8. FRAY. Double def.
14. AT HALF MAST. Cryptic def: standards = flags.
15. THREADBARE. ABEDRATHER*; nap = texture of a cloth.
17. TAKES OUT. Double def.
18. RENDERED. Double def; rendering = applying a surface to a wall, e.g. plastering.
20. MYOPIC. Cryptic def; shortsighted.
21. GHOSTS. Double def.
22. FLAP. Double def.
23. PIGS. Cryptic def; ‘This little piggy went to market’.

20 Responses to “Guardian 24,792 – Rufus”

  1. enitharmon says:

    I wasted several minutes trying to get some kind of thespian collective out of the anagram in 5dn. Apart from that, a breeze after the weekend. I’d have quite liked something more challenging for the holiday, but there you go.

  2. Mr Beaver says:

    I suppose we had the ‘challenge’ on Saturday though there have been harder on a weekday…

    I liked 23a – though I wonder how many dogs are called ‘Rover’ these days ?

    Thought 22d was a bit forced – I suppose a flap is a control on aircraft, therefore on air ‘traffic’. But par for the course for Rufus.
    To the question GENOA? I’d have answered ‘no’ (in its meaning as a sail, anyway), but the crossing letters gave it eventually.

  3. ray says:

    agreeably straightforward – 2d last to go in. I got the happen=OCCUR bit and it was then obviously resident=OCCUPIER, but how does the PIE bit satisfy the rest of the clue ? I must be missing something obvious.

  4. liz says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. Some nice, typically Rufus clues. I liked 23ac for its surface and also 18dn. But did anyone else find 23dn really unsatisfactory?

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    History is never simple is it? Given Rocket was produced by the firm of Robert Stephenson & Co, in which father George was a partner, it must be difficult at this distance of time to say how much of Rocket was purely down to George, given that both father and son were both talented loco engineers. And it musn’t be forgotten that the firm had a design department, one of whom, Henry Booth, came up with the most significant invention, the multi-tube boiler.

    Ciaran, the Observer was more tricky – but not a lot, so please don’t be too dissappointed!

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi Ray

    ‘Pie’ is a variant of ‘magpie’.

    Liz, I agree with you about the surface of 23ac – and I liked 15dn, too. I didn’t mind 23dn too much, though it’s not one of the best!

  7. ray says:

    Thanks Eileen. I’ve never come accross that in any of our bird guides.

    Liz, 23d did hold me up for a while – I got the allusion ok, but wrote in TOES and it took the other crossing clues to convince me it was the PIGS alternative. So I did feel a bit disgruntled.

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ok Liz, for the benefit of the class dummy, what is wrong with a clue (23dn) that presented no difficulty? Are you just saying it was too easy?

  9. Paul B says:

    You can get a sea pie if you like Ray, with baked salt meat and vegetables: the winged version – not a pie in either sense, unless you get four-and-twenty of them together – is none other than the oyster-catcher. OTOH the sea raven can’t fly because it’s a (scorpaeniform) fish.

    A good offering in the traditional Rufus stylee, but on a Bank Holiday Monday I would personally like a bit more of a challenge. Many thanks to Ciaran for donating his time on his day off.

  10. muck says:

    20dn MYOPIC. How didn’t I see that?

  11. liz says:

    Derek — re 23dn. I wasn’t complaining about it being easy. There were a number of easy clues in the puzzle that I enjoyed and found much more satisfying. One of the things that made me hesitate to put in the answer was the fact that it was plural. Just not my favourite clue.

    Eileen — welcome back (I’m guessing you’ve been away!)

  12. Eileen says:

    To be fair, as Mr Beaver says, the Guardian ‘Bank Holiday challenge’ has always been the previous Saturday’s prize puzzle [which I hope everyone enjoyed] and Rufus has followed, with his accustomed wit and elegance, his normal Monday brief, which, as he has explained to us before, is to provide a gentle start to the week.

    ray and muck: I enjoyed your punny comments. :-

    Thanks, liz – I’ve had a week in my beloved Yorkshire Dales!

  13. Eileen says:

    ray and muck – I’m sorry, I truncated your smile! :-)

  14. aferick says:

    I don’t really like Rufus, though I always finish them eventually. Too many crytics for me. He’s the kind of guy that will knock your teeth out and then kick you in the stomach for mumblng. But there’s a Nina between 6d and 7d and 16a.

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    Was that cryptics, or critics, aferick? If cryptics, I agree with you.

    1d I read as a pure definition; it hardly registers as a cryptic.

  16. Radler says:

    Aferick: I too would prefer fewer cryptic definition clues – unlike most definition plus wordplay clues, I’m never quite convinced that there is only one solution, or that I’ve got the right answer – but I know that a lot of people enjoy Rufus and I don’t agree with your brutal analogy.
    As for your observation of the unches reading “NINA” – I’m sure that’s just coincidental – but it really would be unexpected to find a genuine Nina in a Rufus puzzle. Perhaps he’ll surprise us one day.

  17. bat020 says:

    nina? unches? *confused*

    I’m kicking myself over 5d, got completely flummoxed by the anagram partly cos I’d put in AWAYDAY for 12a. I even noticed that it was an anagram for CARTHORSES but ORCHESTRAS just failed to click.

  18. Paul B says:

    Nina = hidden word, phrase or message hidden, usually in the unches.

    Unches = unchecked squares, i.e. squares in across lights that don’t intersect with down ones, or vice versa.

    Lights = groups of white as opposed to black squares in which answers are to be written.

    Squares = Ximeneans (an opinion, of course).

  19. RB says:

    Agree – too many cryptics. As Radler says, you’re never sure you’ve got the right answer. However, I feel one clue may have been unfairly maligned, viz 23D. I see this not as a cryptic def, but as a double def. First def: as per Ciaran. Second def: the little piggies are the child’s toes i.e. ‘on foot’. The only flaw I can see is that only the first little piggy went to market (as liz pointed out in #11).

    And like you bat020, it took me a long time to get ORCHESTRAS, even though I had all the crossing letters and knew it had to be an anagram!

  20. Dinos says:

    I started thinking a little too much outside the box for 1d: “Rocket Engineer” and started Googling famous salad chefs!

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