Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,928 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on February 8th, 2010


Traditional Monday fare from Rufus here, with the usual generous smattering of cryptic definitions. I don’t remember seeing this grid before, with four consecutive three-letter answers in the downs.

7. DESERTION (ONE’S TRIED)*, though there is no anagram indicator. Desertion can mean leaving a military unit or a domestic partner.
8. RURAL RA in RUL[e]
9. WATERMILL Cryptic definition
10. VIPER PI in REV, all reversed
12. BENIGN Homophone of “be nine”
16. BOOTLEG BOOT (sack) LEG (member)
19. ADVANCE Double definition
22. STEERAGE Cryptic definition
25. PROBED PRO (in favour of) BED
27. KITTY Double definition
29. SKIRT Double definition. I caused myself some trouble in this corner by putting SHIFT here instead of this much more obvious answer.
2. BENEDICT EDICT (order) on BEN. The definition has to be “monk who founded”, unless “order” is doing double duty.
3. STAMEN ST + NAME* – “a bit flowery” meaning “a bit of a flower”.
6. GAZEBO GAZE + B.O. – nice one!
11. BIND Double definition
14. SIN Cryptic definition referring to the phrase “ugly as sin”.
15. NEE Cryptic definition
16. BUS Double definition, though Chambers only gives the spelling “buss” for the meaning “kiss”. Is there a missing “we hear” in the clue?
17. OLE EL O reversed., and a nice &lit surface reading.
21. AEROSOL Cryptic definition
23. TRICKY TRICK + Y: “trick” can be “a daily period of work”, so “a turn at the wheel”, I suppose.
24. ENTIRE NT (National Trust) in EIRE
25. PRAISE “Prays” – surely this is a homophone that everyone can agree on!

28 Responses to “Guardian 24,928 – Rufus”

  1. Dawn says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the blog. I got stuck with the bottom right corner and now see that 25d was my problem since I’d put in please “pleas”.

  2. Shirley says:

    Thanks Andrew. I think the trick in 23D is a turn as in a show. I can’t explain the wheel though.

  3. sandra says:

    thank you andrew
    a nice gentle rufus to start the week, though i had a bit of difficulty with 7a, until i realised it was an anagram, and had left 14d for a while, and forgot to go back to it before looking at the blog! so i was thankful for your explanation andrew, whilst metaphorically kicking myself.
    still no araubetical(like the term, thanks to whoever it was, sorry i can’t remember) on saturday and i would like to see one soon.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Regarding 23dn, for ‘trick’ Chambers has “a spell or turn, esp at the helm” ie a ‘turn at the wheel’.

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I should have guessed there was a nautical connection!

  6. Judy says:

    For poetry fans, I knew “trick” in this sense, from the end of Masefield’s ‘Sea Fever’ :

    I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

  7. cholecyst says:

    16 dn. I can’t find any instance of BUS meaning KISS. But I was reminded of this (poetry fans – you’re in luck this morning):

    Miss Buss and Miss Beale,
    Cupid’s darts do not feel.

    How different from us,
    Miss Beale and Miss Buss.

    The lines refer to their unmarried state and their dedication to the cause of women’s education. (WIKI)

  8. monica says:

    hi i’m a first time poster (but i’ve lurked for a week or two}.
    thought ‘tricky'(25d) was a bit, well, tricky. and although i agree about wanting the araubeticals on a saturday, Paul was a complete delight this weekend.

  9. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I liked 6dn a lot. I was another one who had ‘please’ for 25dn, which held me up for a while until I realised my mistake.

    As usual, the surfaces were great.

  10. Lopakhin says:

    I recall ‘bus’ from Shakespeare, somewhere; Falstaff saying to one of his lady friends (Mistress Quickly? Doll Tearsheet? Ripe names!) “Bus me” Or not…

  11. rrc says:

    most enjoyable with some excellent clues , too many to mention, although there were one or two I wasnt so keen on. Here also is another comment about the infrequency of alpabetical crosswords! Ive also come across the 3d cryptic calendar puzzle this year for the first time where quite a number of guardian compilers have contributed. it really is great fun to complete

  12. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Useful blog as ever. Can anyone explain how the ‘col’ are explained in the clue to 4d?

  13. pendrov says:

    col = mountain pass, is 15 down just a simple definition/

  14. JimboNWUK says:

    A col is a little-used word for a mountain pass I think Andrew

    Managed to get 3 clues in Paul’s Saturday one in the usual Monday spare time but probably won’t get any more!

  15. Stella says:

    No, pendrou, it’s cryptic. Remember Macduff was able to kill Macbeth, as he was not “born of woman”, but “untimely plucked”.

    My problem was with 22ac. – presumably another nautical term – do poor sailor need more room to manoeuvre?

  16. muck says:

    sandra#3 & monica#8: I believe I coined ‘araubetical’.

  17. Andrew says:

    Steela – steerage was once a very cheap way of travelling by ship, so used by “poor sailors” (i.e. people with not much money sailing to a destination).

  18. Tom_I says:

    Re 16d, I also can’t find any mention of “bus” meaning “kiss”, only “buss”. It crops up several times in Shakespeare, such as from Troilus and Cressida:

    For yonder walls, that pertly front your town,
    Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
    Must kiss their own feet.

    I think there must be a homophone indicator missing from the clue.

  19. cholecyst says:

    Muck: You’d better call it “araubetical ™” then

  20. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    cholecyst, on 4th October, 2008, Rightback began his blog ‘I found this ‘Araubetical’ (© Muck) very difficult’.

  21. Brian Harris says:

    Good, solid fare from Rufus today. I particularly liked 9ac.

  22. cholecyst says:

    Re #20. Eileen, I guess you had to search to get the exact reference, but just to have remembered it in the first place…I’m mighty impressed! You put me in mind of Leslie Welch, The Memory Man.

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Friendly crossword from Rufus.
    Unlike you, Andrew, we didn’t think it had “the usual generous smattering of cryptic definitions”. There were only 5!
    And that type of clue is still not our cup of tea.
    WATERMILL (9ac) is indeed fine, but 22ac and 21d didn’t catalyse our imagination.
    The SIN of 14d left us cold, and of NEE (15d) I said not so very long ago (after it appeared three times in a row in a crossword) that it should be banned for a while, just like Emma. Unless, well, unless the clue’s brilliant but this one wasn’t.

    Talking about brilliancy, there were very good clues as well (of course, I would say, it’s Rufus). We liked the anagram of 1ac (DESERTION), the word “for” telling us that the letters of “One’s tried” should be used for what follows – so, Andrew, that’s the anagram indicator.
    Even if “order” probably does double duty, it is still a nice clue – because of the two different meanings of “order”.
    And we liked the smoothness of 30ac (HOPSCOTCH) and GAZEBO (6d).

    There were also some déjà vu moments.
    Just recently saw ADOPTION in a similar way (a Dante, maybe) and OLE and EXAM (and the aforementioned HOPSCOTCH as well).
    The ENTIRE 0f 24d was very similar to Rover’s EMPIRE last week, though we must say that this one was just thát bit better.

    Yes, and, 16d – well, it wouldn’t surprise us when Rufus himself would come up with the final explanation tonight.

    All in all, like many of you said, good fun solving this!

  24. Davy says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew. I enjoyed today’s RUFUS as ever and thought 28a was the cleverest clue. It took me ages to see MONASTERY and finally AEROSOL which was not so good.

  25. Eileen says:

    Thanks, cholecyst, #22. It was no great feat. I’d looked it up once before when I wanted to quote it in a blog.

    All this talking about Araubeticals doesn’t seem to get us any nearer to getting one. I think Araucaria must have exhausted his supply of words beginning with X. We’ve never had such a long gap as this, I’m sure.

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    In the year between Feb 2003 and Feb 2004 there were 3 Araubeticals: 31 May, 6 Sep and 31 Jan, spaced at 3 months and 5 months approx. I don’t recall when the last one was, perhaps 13th June 2009? so we are overdue one.

  27. Martin H says:

    MONASTERY and KITTY both very nice, TRICKY and BUS very dodgy, and ADVANCE a bit obvious. The rest, apart from the so-called ‘cryptic definitions’, capable-humdrum, the sort of clues you duly solve, like ticking off the items on a shopping list, the only work involved an occasional root around on the long-familiar shelves. This puzzle was by no means the worst of its type, but surely ‘we hear’, ‘the Spanish’, ‘worker’, etc are long past their use-by date.
    As for cryptic definitions, a crossword compiler is your companion for short while, and should have better manners than to insist on trying out his witticisms on you, particularly when they are as clunky as WATERMILL, AEROSOL, and SIN. Such a dinner guest would not be invited again. A (generous) limit of two per puzzle?

  28. Sketch Country says:

    I had fun with 17a, OLE – having written it in as NOD as an ‘expression of approval’ and, to my mind, the Spanish Love (‘Don’ Juan) backwards!

    Hi Martin H, as a recent newcomer to the cryptic world, I’m still reasonably new to ‘old favourite’ clues like ‘the Spanish’ and ‘Copper’, indeed their reptition is a useful help to us beginners!

    I suppose a daily, national crossword such as the Guardian can’t just cater to the experienced solver…

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