Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,852 (Rufus)

Posted by diagacht on November 9th, 2009


Starting the week off with Rufus. A typical enjoyable Rufus crossword with a high number of cryptic definitions.

8 SICK NOTE: anagram of TICKS ONE
9 LARVA: R in LAVA (burning issue)
10 DOWN: D (many) + OWN (have)
12 RANSOM: cryptic definition
16 SECONDS: a clever double definition
18 HEADWAY: HEAD (principal) + WAY (method)
21 AT A PINCH: another double definition
23 PLEADS: anagram of LAPSED
24 SNAILS PACE: cryptic definition
26 ABED: ABE (Lincoln) + D (dead)
27 ELOPE: (E (East) + POLE(European)) all reversed
28 REDBRICK: RED (ruddy) + BRICK (good fellow); Redbrick is a term used to describe the following group of univerities: Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester
1 PILOTAGE: PI (religious) + LOT (clique) + AGE (time)
3 LOGJAM: LOG (record) + JAM (jazz session)
4 SEASICK: cryptic definition
5 FLEA: anagram of LEAF
6 DRAWBRIDGE: cryptic definition
7 BAD LOT: double definition
13 SLOW POISON: cryptic definition
15 LIE: double definition
17 DON: not quite DON(e)
20 THEATRE: cryptic definition; theatres have both wings and flies (space above stage)
22 TENDER: anagram of RENTED
23 PSEUDO: PSEUD (not really) + O (old, used)
25 SLEW: double definition
26 AWRY: R (king) in anagram of WAY

33 Responses to “Guardian 24,852 (Rufus)”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Diagacht, I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though the references to sickness, poison, fleas and snails made me rather quesy.

    I do believe that Rufus has upped his game and that he now fully justifies his place in the Pantheon of the Three Great R’s: Rufus, Rover and Raucaria.

  2. Gazza says:

    I thought that 23d was just a cryptic definition.

  3. Bryan says:

    Music of the Day:

    ‘Monday, Monday’ by The Mamas & The Papas.

  4. Ian says:

    Very good Rufus today. I particularly liked 20dn and 28ac.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, Diagacht. A classic Rufus, I thought. I really liked the surfaces of 16ac, 20dn, 14ac and 28ac. But nearly all the clues were elegant and witty.

    I also thought 23d was a cd.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Like Bryan, I really enjoyed this today, especially some of the clever cds. I’m a lot less experienced with cryptic crosswords than most people who blog here, but I’m enjoying learning and it’s good to get a reasonably tough (for me) but not impenetrable puzzle that I can get pleasure from finishing.

    Unlike today’s Indy. 18ac? Puhleese …

    Thanks to Diagacht for the blog.

  7. walruss says:

    You’ve told us you’re learning, and so maybe not too well-versed in the ways of the cryptic world, then you express a damning opinion about a puzzle that’s likely for now to be a bit over your horizon. How odd!

    I preferred theirs (The Indy’s) to ours (The Guardian’s) today, even though Rufus isn’t just for beginners!

    Best of luck with it.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for your encouragement, Walruss.

    Maybe I’ll just stay out of contributing to this blog until I’m a lot better.

  9. Eileen says:

    Kathryn’s Dad

    That would be a real pity. Most people [including yourself last week] say how much contributing to this site has helped them to get better. It’s been good to hear from you – don’t be put off! :-)

  10. walruss says:

    Sorry! It just seemed strange for someone at the beginning of a solving career to suddenly know how a more advanced puzzle was flawed. But I was too brusque, clearly.

  11. rob c says:


    I am also a beginner (of an even lower standard than kathryn’s dad as i managed about two thirds of the puzzle without using the cheat button.)

    Thanks for your comments Eileen , we beginners need as much encouragement as possible and ideally i would like to be able to make a comment which might remind the expert solvers how we perceive things.

    Walruss – not just brusque but i would say inaccurate in your judgement as well ; surely its ok for a rookie to give a perspective without being pounced on!

    I really love this website and am learning lots every day.

    rob c

  12. walruss says:

    A rookie’s perspective would be very welcome I think. But there was an opinion passed about a higher level of puzzle, or clue, that didn’t seem to fit with how the contributor had set himself up. I found that more puzzling than ‘Rufus on Monday’ – sorry for any confusion.

  13. Ralph G says:

    27a ELOPE is interesting as a word.
    Historically, ‘elope’ was a legal term derived from the Anglo-French ‘aloper’ meaning ‘to run away from one’s husband’ (usually with a paramour), with the legal consequence for the wife of forfeiting her dowry. I like the OED 1338 citation from an Edward III Yearbook : “En bref de dower plede fut qil alopa de son baroun.” (In the matter of the dower, it was pleaded that she ran away from her husband). Chambers’ Etymological notes a gap in the citations from 1388 to Spenser’s use of ‘elope’, in 1596, meaning ‘run away, escape’: FQ V iv 9 “She left me quight and to her brother did elope” and infers a secondary borrowing from the Middle Dutch ‘outlopen’ (modern Dutch ‘ontlopen’ cf German ‘laufen’, English ‘lope’, ‘leap’.) No cognates outside the Germanic languages.
    The OED citations show a continued use of the legal term and the meaning ‘escape’ into the 19c (Dickens, for example, in “Barnaby Rudge”).
    The current meaning of lovers running away to get married is not cited before the early 19c.

  14. andi says:

    I got about 50% of this one done after looking on and off the whole day, without aids. A new record for me :D

    I’ve obviously found lists of cryptic definitions, but I’d rather understand than memorise. So why does many = d in 10A?

  15. Andrew says:

    Andi – D is 500 in Roman numerals. It’s perhaps arguable whether that is “many”, but it’s something that crops up quite often in crosswords (also as C=100, M=1000, etc).

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Kathryn’s Dad, welcome to the Club (and a Club it is).
    And please keep on asking questions and dó have your opinions.
    I remember me doing that about a year ago when solving crosswords really started off for me. People weren’t always friendly then – but I kept on going, and I am glad I did.
    I think W’s comments are understandable, but at the same time a bit of a waste of space, time & energy.

    I do and I don’t (?) fully agree with W’s words that Rufus isn’t just for beginners.
    For me, Rufus is one of the setters to start with when you’re new to solving. His alter ego Dante (in the FT) is more of the same (so Kathryn’s Dad, take your chances!), but while FT crosswords are considered to be of League #2, Mr S. sometimes shows more depth (bit arrogant for me to say a thing like that, I know) as Dante. For instance, one of his recent contributions there I qualified as “sheer delight” (and a real pity that many Guardian regulars don’t look at these FT crosswords, even now they’re available as perfect pdfs (Eileen, you said that one shouldn’t use ‘ in a plural?) – thanks to Uncle Yap!).
    So, Kathryn’s Dad, why not try a Mudd (before doing a Paul) or one of the great Cincinnus (who is better than Guardian’s Orlando). Or try Cinephile in the FT, before you throw yourself into Araucaria’s World. With other Alter Ego Combinations you should be a bit more careful, because there isn’t much difference, like Pasquale/Bradman, Enigmatist/IO and Shed/Dogberry.


    Although I have grown a bit out of Rufus, I have great respect for his (enormous) output, some clues are beautiful in all their simplicity, but I can’t help that I don’t like cryptic definitions that much (my problem, surely).

    For instance, I can’t make much of 12ac (RANSOM) and 19d (AUDIENCE) as cd’s – hardly cryptic, in my opinion.

    Liz (#5) liked 14ac. It is nice, but. “Plant it in” for “it in plant”? The clue suggests that we have “it in haste” to get a plant.
    But I agree with her that 20d was very nice, as was – in my opinion – 11ac.

    Although I do want more of a challenge than Rufus usually offers, I must admit that he is one of the setters whose crosswords we seldomly finish without additional resources.

    This time we went through three quarters of it in about 15 minutes (for us that’s a record), but then we got completely stuck in the SW.
    The main reason for it was that we entered “slow motion” at 13d.
    And why not? Of course, I see the wordplay with “late”, but even so.
    So, dear Rufus, you got us again!

  17. Jake says:

    Thank-you again Rufus.

    I stumbled on 26ac/dn but figured it out in the end (with help!)

    Brilliant stuff.

    Nice one…..


  18. liz says:

    Sil — like you, I find Rufus always catches me out in a couple of places or a least gives me a run for my money, which is why I would hesitate to call him ‘easy’. These days, I’m often more confident about solving a puzzle by a ‘harder’ setter than I am of finishing a Rufus without extra help. I’m not a big fan of cds either, so you are not alone, and this may be part of the problem. On a good day, I still think nothing really touches Rufus for elegance. In my opinion, this was a very good day.

    To Kathryn’s Dad and all newbies — all comments welcome. I started using this site about a year ago and it has vastly improved my solving, although I have been doing cryptics for (hmm) rather a long time.

  19. Paul B says:

    One thing that’s stuck in my mind these years is the idea that there are only two types of crossword – good ones and not so good ones! That is to say, across the range of difficulty there are some really fantastic compilers. And … well, you’ve guessed it.

    As for the FT (even if I do say so meself) I wouldn’t necessarily agree that it contains ‘league 2 puzzles’. While you may not like the style of all the compilers, or indeed the performance of those who appear more famously in other papers, it’s worth remembering that the FT caters to an international audience, and that its clues are written accordingly – and usually with a great deal of care.

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Liz, Sil, Eileen, thanks for your comments. I’m glad to continue to be a newbie and to learn from others on the blog. What I meant about the clue in the Indy today was that for me, an inexperienced solver, I couldn’t find the answer, and even when I cheated to find it, I still didn’t understand it. But I guess practice makes perfect, so tomorrow’s another day …

  21. Paul B says:

    That’s the spirit.

  22. Stephen And Lucy says:

    Hi there

    New to this site, new to cryptic crosswords too – hello!

    Can I ask a quick question – and I’ve googled this so I’m not sure about this, but why is PI = religious in 1 down? We almost completed this crossword but this stumped us massively.

    Big fan of Rufus crosswords as these we can finish, along with the everyman!

    Many thanks in advance

    Stephen & Lucy

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi, Stephen & Lucy, you too (or two): welcome.
    “Pi” is short for “pious”.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #21: Well spoken.

    I remember you making the point about FT’s different audience in an FT blog a while ago. And I agree.
    For me, personally, FT crosswords are certainly not League #2.
    To be honest, nowadays I prefer Cinephile’s more down-to-earth creations to Araucaria’s, but that’s of course a matter of taste.
    And as a person with English as his second language, the Mudds, Bradmans and Cincinnuses of this world do help me quite a lot to get better – because in their puzzles I hardly get stuck while solving (I think, due to less obscure words and less references to British Culture & Politics).
    Sometimes I still feel like a starter myself (for example, when I tried to do last Saturday’s Times).
    However, good to see that another pair of “newbies” (#22), just like me, thinks Rufus is a good starting point for Guardian crosswords. His cd’s and the presence of many anagrams are a guarantee for getting quite far in the grid (although, in my case, as I said before, Rufus nearly always wins on points ….).

  25. rob c says:

    for what its worth my below average newbie brain is delighted by Rufus’s cryptic definitions – clues like 16ac seem so clever.

    i’d like to echo jake and say a big thanks to Rufus

  26. stiofain says:

    Yea Paul B you can find a great clue in a crappy xword and vice versa.
    I dont like seeing Rufus described (dismissed) as an easy entry into cryptics as his clues work on so many other levels.
    I always enjoy filling his last one in and then looking back to see if he has slipped up and not included a nautical/maritime reference.
    I havent spotted one yet.

  27. Paul B says:

    I didn’t actually say that Stiofain, but whatever’s true for you as they say.

    For Sil, while PI is indeed a short form it’s not strictly an abbreviation: for the lexicographers it’s a slang word.

  28. Stephen And Lucy says:

    Thanks for that Paul / Sil

    Is there a list somewhere of these abbreviations/slang words? Obviously when stuck we use (last resort!) but even that doesn’t list pi as a term for pious or religious – so there’s clearly a ‘crossword’ only definition – where do we look for that?

    Cheers again!

  29. Andrew says:

    Stephen and Lucy – Peter Biddlecombe’s crossword guide at is a good start for some of the staples of crossword language (as well as pi=religious, you need to know such mysteries as con=study and SA=it). For the full story the Chambers Crossword Manual by Don Manley (aka Pasquale of the Guardian, and as others elsewhere) is excellent. It’s available from Amazon if your favourite bookshop doesn’t have it.

  30. smutchin says:

    Coming late to the discussion, I know, but I’d just like to add that although I can no longer claim to be a total newbie at crosswords, I often find Rufus quite challenging. Today’s puzzle was a good example – it’s the cryptic definitions in particular that I have trouble with. You need to be able to think laterally and, well, let’s just say I don’t always manage to tune the mental wireless into Rufus’s wavelength.

    Got there in the end with most of them, though – and really enjoyed it when I did. Some excellent clues.

    And while I’m here, I’ll also add that since I’ve been reading (and contributing to) fifteensquared, my ability at crossword-solving has come on in leaps and bounds.

  31. PaulG says:

    Kathryn’s Dad
    Don’t let a snide comment deter you!

  32. walruss says:

    I won’t either. How’s that?

    Honestly I wasn’t trying to be discourteous, but I accept that’s the way it came out.

  33. PaulG says:

    Fair enough, Walruss

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