Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,910 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on January 18th, 2010


There’s vintage Rufus here – some beautifully smooth surfaces and clever anagrams – with some easy charades thrown in for good measure.


EMMA: the familiar crossword ‘novel girl’, this time linked with Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s ‘companion’.
8   FALSETTO: FAL [river] + SET-TO [row]: a great surface, with the play on ‘row’.
9   PAEANS: [not very] cryptic definition
10  HEN RUN: a much better one!
11  PROFILES: PRO[fessional] + FILES [record holders]
12  OPEN UP: double definition
15  STUDIOUS: IOU [financial liability] in STUDS [bosses]
18  STAR TREK: STAR [celebrity] + TREK [long hard journey]
19  ENDING: END + anagram of GIN
21 POWERFUL: anagram of PURE FLOW
22  SILENT: simple anagram of LISTEN – but what a surface! [rather close to home :-)]
24  ORDEAL: DE [of French] in ORAL [viva voce]
25  JEREMIAH: I [one] in anagram of JAM HERE: another very nice surface, referring to the Old Testament prophet of doom and supposed writer of the Book of Lamentations.
26  LION: cryptic definition, referring to ‘the lion’s share’ [with a whiff of a ‘mane’ homophone?] This one took me longer than it should have, together with 13dn, with which it crossed, since I didn’t have the final ‘i’. Because this was Rufus, I initially assumed that both clues had a nautical connection. Sometimes you can [think you] know a compiler too well!
27  OLYMPIADS: double definition: an Olympiad was originally the four-year period between consecutive celebrations of the Olympic Games, used by the ancient Greeks as a unit of chronology. It now refers also to a staging of the modern Olympic Games – or to an international contest in bridge, chess, etc.


1   SCALE: cryptic definition
2   ALSO-RAN: cryptic definition
3   GET ON: double definition
4   TROUPES: anagram of STORE UP: a clever anagram indicator
6   EMERITI: a nice & lit: MERIT [worth] in reversal of I.E.
7   MANNEQUIN: MAN [male] + NÉ [born] + QUIN [tuplet]
13  POTPOURRI: POUR [serve] inside POT [vessel] +  R I [right one]: as I said, I was, at first, completely wrong-footed here by the clever surface. I thought initially that Rufus was stretching it a bit with ‘stew’ and was surprised to find that this is, in fact, the original meaning.
14  PORTFOLIO: anagram of OPT FOR OIL – another fine surface.
17  ROEDEAN: reversal of OR [alternative] + E[nglish] + DEAN [academic]: famous school in Sussex
18  KILLJOY: KILL [game – the animal[s] killed in a hunt] + JOY
20  DILEMMA: reversal of LID [hat] + EMMA [here she is again!]
22  STRIP: double / cryptic definition, referring to the expression ‘to tear a strip off’ [someone]
23 NEARS: EAR [listener] in N S [different directions]

28 Responses to “Guardian 24,910 / Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, this was very enjoyable (as always) from Rufus.

    Also, a delightful blog (as always) from your goodself.

  2. Monica M says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I hadn’t heard of the River Fal (but worked this one out), Roedean, or paean … So didn’t finish.

    22ac and 1dn made me chuckle.

    19ac I was stupidly looking for a gin cocktail that contained the letters E.N.D. (sigh)

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen, very comprehensive and interesting blog as always.

    Some very elegant surfaces as usual from Rufus. Slight niggle for me is that at 12ac, OPEN UP is imho not a great definition of ‘make things lively’ (it’s in Collins, I know) and that made me struggle with POTPOURRI.

    Change the sex and 22ac hits the spot in this house too …

  4. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I recall some time ago I proposed banning the novel girl Tess from cryptics. May we now send Emma to join her?

  5. Eileen says:

    Monica, yes, it was a touch more parochial than usual from Rufus. The River Fal is not one of our major rivers but, like the Cam and the Exe, it’s a favourite of crossword setters.

    Kathryn’s Dad, I had the same thoughts as you about OPEN UP but hadn’t got as far as looking in Collins, which gives as an example ‘the game opened up after half-time’, which does work for me. I’d been thinking that opening up a discussion didn’t necessarily mean making it more lively – often the opposite!

    Cholecyst, you seem to have had some success with Tess – we haven’t seen her for a while. I don’t mind how often they crop up, so long as the clue’s original – and there have been some excellent ones lately for EMMA.

  6. Martin says:

    15ac – is ‘must’ redundant? Why not just ‘Academic bosses admit financial liability’?

  7. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. An enjoyable Rufus, with his usual good surfaces. I especially liked 22ac and 4dn.

    I wasn’t that keen on 9ac (especially as I spelled it wrong!) and had ‘olympians’ for ‘olympiads’.

    I also kept thinking that there should be more to 16ac than there was…

    POTPOURRI caused me the most trouble. But I thought LION was good.

  8. Bill Taylor says:

    I hated LION — mainly because I couldn’t figure it out! POTPOURRI took me ages but it was clever.

    My rule of thumb with three-letter words that may or may not be rivers: try adding “mouth” or “bridge,” as in FALmouth or CAMbridge.

  9. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

  10. Monica M says:

    Thanks for the hint Bill. British rivers often stump me … but I often know the harbour or port when it’s pointed out. Always happy to learn.

  11. Ian says:

    Many thanks for an illuminating blog Eileen.

    Another good Rufus studded with his usual cleverness.

    I, too, spent a while with 26ac and pondered on LIEN for a time before rejecting it as unsuitable and then realising the relevance of LION.

  12. sandra says:

    thank you eileen

    a very enjoyable crossword i thought, but a bit too easy – well, most of it! i,too, had olympians and thought it rather odd, – so thank you eileen for explaining that. thought of open up early on, but thought it couldn’t be, with the same misgivings as others here, so didn’t enter it until i had potpourri, which i thought was a good clue. i enjoyed quite a few of the clues.

    bill – thanks for the hint. i will remember that, it’s very useful.

  13. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Recently slapped over wrists by Eileen for my moaning about the Paul 24910 crossword, so let me say I enjoyed this.
    Completed enough on the train not to feel like an idiot before starting work. Even though I didn’t finish it before looking here I was happy to make decent headway.
    Always glad to see a Rufus.
    Sorry if sometimes too grumpy but I do think the Grauniad crossword shouldn’t be too elitist.
    Lovely site by the way, thank you

  14. Eileen says:

    Glad to hear you liked this one, Grumpy Andrew! As you say, there’s usually enjoyment in a Rufus.

    [It wasn’t just the Paul puzzle that prompted Saturday’s comment! :-)]

  15. ray says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. LION also took me a while, but PROFILES really stumped me for ages; having tried a dozen or so alternatives for ‘record’ I latched onto VIDEO as fitting nicely onto the later crossing letters (but couldn’t fit a front), before the penny finally dropped.

  16. Joan Miro says:

    I agree 12ac was a bit weak – ‘SPIN UP’ makes just as much sense. IMO

  17. Eileen says:


    Your Comment 6 seems to have been overlooked. I can’t see any need for ‘must’, either.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yeah nice one all round.

    Had to laugh at the wrong way round I got 20d, I started thinking of DI for the girl, then with crossings it had to be DILEMMA and then it didn’t work until I reread the clue and the answer the way it was intended.

    Has someone been more grumpy than me when I wasn’t watching? Hmmm. Dang, nothing in this one to use as an excuse!

  19. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Eileen, you’re right I’ve moaned about others, but enjoyed Araucaria on Saturday.
    Didn’t come close to finishing, but enough in there to make me feel that I’m not a total stranger to cryptic crosswords.
    Maybe it was one of his more merciful puzzles.

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thx, Eileen, for your fine blog (you are doing quite a lot of them these days).

    We have a problem.
    Why can’t we hardly finish a Rufus, while usually Paul or Araucaria can’t beat us?

    Today we rushed through the bottom half of the grid in what must be a World Record (true, a bit exaggerated), but it went wrong in the NW part. HEN RUN we didn’t get,
    but indeed, a nice cd. Never thought of that. Easy when you know, isn’t it?
    We had never heard of ALSO-RAN (but I am always thankful when I’ve learned some new words after solving a crossword) and if this is a cd, which it surely is, I don’t really get it (even if I know (now) what an ‘also-ran’ is).
    And PAEANS stumped us. Again, haven’t heard of it, and not really a good clue.
    Like cholecyst (#4) I think EMMA must be banned unless someone clues it more inventively (like, as you said, Eileen, indeed happened recently).
    We didn’t like 6ac mainly because both Emmas here are female names – hardly a dd.
    Eileen, in your blog you call 6d an &Lit. I don’t agree with that.
    The definition is ‘Professors discharged’ and this is not part of the construction.
    And though I like the surface of the clue, there is the fact that ‘merit’ is the English version of the Latin ‘meritus’, which is part of the word ’emeritus’, so the ‘merit’ here is not completely cryptic. So-so, I would say.

    But apart from these minor critical notes, a fine crossword – easy at places, unsolvable at other places (that is, for us ….).

    But the most important News of the Day is, of course, that Grumpy Andrew is not always Grumpy anymore !! :)

  21. Jerb says:

    Was PAEANS anything other than a completely straight definition, or am I missing something?

  22. Gareth Rees says:

    you call 6d an &Lit. I don’t agree with that

    Ximenes described this type of clue — brief definition plus wordplay but where the whole clue can be read as an extended definition — as an “offshoot” of the &lit “to which I apply, for convenience, the same name” (Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword).

    Don Manley calls it a “semi &lit” to distinguish it from a “true &lit” (Chambers Crossword Manual).

  23. Radler says:

    Sil – I’m sure the compilers also wish that Emma didn’t occur so often, but it’s one of those words that keeps being needed to fill the grid. I think Rufus maintains a database of his clues and solutions. Perhaps he could give us some figures for how often he’s clued this word and maybe some of the other common or not so common ones.

  24. Eileen says:

    Thanks for all the comments. Sorry for the delayed response – I’ve been out.

    Sil, I’ve often wondered, too, why you find Rufus so tricky, compared with some of the other more ‘difficult’ setters.. it must be the number of cryptic definitions, which I suppose are bound to cause more problems for a person whose first language is not English – although I have said before there are many native English-speakers who don’t have your command of the language!

    Re ‘also-ran': the cryptic aspect is ‘out of place’, since an also-ran is an athlete, or racehorse, who was ‘unplaced’ [not 1st 2nd or 3rd.]

    I said that PAEANS was ‘not very cryptic’ – an understatement! [I did know the word, though.]

    I thought someone might challenge EMERITI as &lit, and I had some second thoughts myself. However, the Latin word means ‘having earned by service’ and is the word used for a soldier who has served his time, although it does, of course, give us our word ‘merit’. I take your and Gareth’s point about the construction.

    Grumpy Andrew, thanks for your further comment. It looks as if you can perhaps hang on to your place for a while longer, Derek! :-)

  25. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Gareth, for your explanations.
    Crosswords are really a Science, aren’t they?
    But for me (but perhaps not for Ximenes) a real &Lit would have the definition as part of the construction (like Paul’s “Hood fortress, we gathered” for ‘Sherwood Forest’).
    This EMERITI clue is clearly divided in a definition part + a construction part.
    Both are only related by the surface reading.
    Very nice, but for me not an &Lit.
    Indeed, more a Don Manley “semi &Lit”, but maybe it is time to re-define an &Lit
    as – what I said in #20 – a clue in which the definition is part of the construction.
    Looks reasonable to me.
    [Sorry to all of you who are Disciples of the X-Word …]
    (if you know what I mean – hugh potential for a great clue)

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #24:
    Eileen, thank you for the nice words.
    Indeed, cd’s are not my favourite crossword techniques.
    I am not that bad in cluing myself (I think) but cd’s are just one or steps too far
    Indeed, probably because of the language.
    Even so, knowing that an ‘also-ran’ is ‘out of place’ on a track, this is a clue that doesn’t have much more to offer than just that. So, cryptic?

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #24:
    Eileen, thank you for the nice words.
    Indeed, cd’s are not my favourite crossword techniques.
    I am not that bad in cluing myself (I think) but cd’s are just one or two steps too far
    for me most of the time.
    Indeed, probably because of the language.
    Even so, knowing that an ‘also-ran’ is ‘out of place’ on a track, this is a clue that doesn’t have much more to offer than just that. So, cryptic?

  28. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I must agree with Sil here in that I am more likely to finish a Paul or Araucaria than a Rufus. I failed today on SCALE which should have been obvious and LION which I found very cryptic. I rarely finish RUFUS but find him very entertaining which is the purpose of all this solving.

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