Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24940 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on February 22nd, 2010


A fun puzzle from Rufus – I had a bit of trouble with the bottom-left corner (21a and 24a) but otherwise this was pretty easy and satisfying to solve.

1. ORCHESTRA OR = “gold” + CHEST = “box” + RA = “artist”
6. SASH Double definition: “Part of a window” and “dresser’s flamboyant attire”
8. BROUHAHA BROU sounds like “brew” = “ferment” + HA HA = “laughter”
9. SCARAB SCAR = “Mark” + AB = “the sailor”: insects have six “feet”
10. ESCORT Double definition: “Provide company” and “car”
11. HORNPIPE HORNs and PIPEs are both “band instruments”
12. ABUSED US = “American” in A BED = “a plot”
15. RAILLERY “Mocking” is the definition; then RAIL = “bird” + [tai]L [blu]E [o]R [gre]Y
16. INSTINCT INST = “this month” + IN + CT = “court”; personally, I only ever see “inst” (this month), “prox” (next month) and “ult” (last month) in crosswords…
19. EPONYM ME reversed around PONY = “£25″
21. KEELHAUL Sounds like “Keele Hall” (the second time we’ve had Keele University feature recently); the definition is “Carpet” in the verb sense of “to berate”
22. TOTTER Double definition: “Summer” and “almost fall”
24. DIVINE Double definition: “Guess” and “what the poet Donne was by profession” – as I learnt here, “divine” also has a noun sense of “a cleric”
25. ASTEROID A nice clue: A + STEROID = “bodybuilder”
26. AGED AG = “Silver” + ED = “editor”
1. OGRES (ROSE + [ni]G[ht])*
3. ENACT AC = “one bill” in (TEN)*
4. TEACHER Cryptic definition
6. SCALPEL (CLASP)* + EL = “the Spanish”
7. STAG PARTY Cryptic definition; “do” as in “party” (or you could see it as an &lit: STAG = “All men” + PARTY = “do”)
13. BANTERING BRING around ANTE = “advance payment”
17. TALLIED ALL = “everything” with TIED = “bound” around
18. TILLAGE TILL = “up to” + AGE = “date”)
20. ONTARIO OO = “Rings” around (TRAIN)*
22. TOTEM TOTE = “carry” + M[ountain]
23. EXIST Cryptic definition: “be quick” as in “to live”

42 Responses to “Guardian 24940 / Rufus”

  1. monica says:

    a fairly typical rufus – 7d is clever and wry

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks mhl.

    Rufus seems to have made a New Year’s resolution to be a bit more challenging – this year’s have actually required some thought for some of the clues while still retaining the elegant surfaces. Very enjoyable.

  3. Rishi says:

    Today is Rufus’s birthday
    and I am sure you will join me in wishing him
    Many Happy Returns of the Day.

  4. Rishi says:

    In India there are still people who might write in a letter: “Thanks for yours of 12th inst.”

  5. Eileen says:

    Happy Birthday, Rufus!

    And thanks for the blog, mhl. Like you, I particularly liked 14dn.

    And not a carthorse in sight in 1ac!

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, very enjoyable but, sadly, you slipped up with 20d:

    ONTARIOU OO = “Rings” around (TRAIN)*

    What on earth were U thinking of?

  7. John Appleton says:

    7 down, very good. 15 across, I’m not so sure – I’m not a fan of having the definition and subsidiary indication combining in a word. Great puzzle overall, though.

  8. Doktorb says:

    I got “AGED”…..then it all sort of dried up after that, hah.

  9. Martin H says:

    Straightforward stuff, 15 and 7 very nice; 24, 26 a bit obvious, but no real groans this week, although as an ex-teacher I object to being defined as an informer. I agree with Neil W about the recent Rufus clues. Mondays are looking up?

    Happy birthday Rufus.

  10. Tom_I says:

    Fairly straightforward, but fun, as ever, from Rufus. Many happy returns, sir. I particularly liked 7d and 14d.

    And as Eileen said above, nice to see ORCHESTRA clued without that anagram.

  11. mhl says:

    Bryan: typo corrected, thanks for pointing it out.

  12. mhl says:

    Happy Birthday, Rufus! (Just in case there are newer readers who aren’t aware of Roger Squires’s amazing biography, it’s worth reading his Wikipedia entry.)

  13. Bullfrog says:

    Very enjoyable and not too strenuous (although I did have to go looking for ******* once I’d decided that’s what it had to be). I particularly liked 7d and 25ac.

    Edit: reference to an answer in Saturday’s prize puzzle removed. Admin

  14. Bill Taylor says:

    I really liked 4d (sorry, Martin) and 7d, though that was the last one I got (I won’t tell you what my first thought was) and 20d was a gift! I really hated 21a — got it by a process of elimination but would never equate “carpet” (berate) with “keelhaul.”

  15. Ian says:

    Thanks for the blog mhl and a happy birthday to Rufus!

    I too am sure that Rufus has increased the degree of difficulty over recent weeks and that’s no bad thing.

    8ac, 11ac, 19ac and 25ac all worthy of commendation.

  16. Eileen says:

    Thanks for drawing attention to the article the article, mhl – I’ve often felt like doing so myself, when there have been particularly disparaging remarks about Rufus! 78 today and still as witty and elegant as ever.

    I particularly loved this bit: “Since passing his two millionth clue Squires has cut down his workload and now only provides regular crosswords for The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Glasgow Herald, Yorkshire Post and for two syndicates, Gemini Crosswords and the Press Association.”


  17. liz says:

    Thanks mhl and Happy Birthday, Rufus!

    I’ve also noticed an increase in difficulty and agree that it’s a good thing.

    It’s always hard to pick a favourite clue when the surfaces are as good as these, but 25ac made me laugh and I also liked 19ac, 14dn and 7dn very much.

  18. sidey says:

    Thank you Rufus, and many happy returns.

  19. JimboNWUK says:

    Methinks Rufus is harking back a bit to earlier times on his birthday… (Ford) Escort cars and sash windows… them wuz the days!

  20. Andrew says:

    Nothing to add to the comments on this typically enjoyable puzzle, but another Happy Birthday Rufus from me.

  21. Duke says:

    Why is PONY = “£25??

  22. NeilW says:

    Duke, it’s just slang. The other day we had monkey as 500 pounds. Grand is 1,000 pounds etc.

  23. NeilW says:

    I suppose the most common in crosswords is “Bob” = Shilling = the letter S

  24. Phil says:

    Nice to see the good comments here about Rufus. He is as consistently enteratining as most Guardian compilers but because he’s easier thn most he is sometimes criticised by correspondents here who can solve more rapidly than I. 3, 4, 8, 9, 14, 15, 18, 22 and 25 here are I think very good indeed. Nothing wrong for me in splitting the definition and the subsidary in one word! lets drink a glass to many more Rufus birthdays. Anyone know which part he played in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?

  25. Bryan says:


    imdb only lists him in Crossroads and Countdown:

  26. walruss says:

    I would be interested to know whom he plays in TTSS.

    A good puzzle, if a little purple in parts.

  27. Grumpy Andrew says:

    And another happy birthday to Rufus, always glad to see your puzzles.
    Please ignore pleas from those who want you to get more difficult, Enigmatist on Saturday was as much fun as terminal constipation.

  28. sandra says:

    thanks for the blog mhl

    i really enjoyed this puzzle – not one niggle. beautifully clued, and i finished it without much difficulty. i agree with eileen about orchestra nice to have a new clue for that, and cleverly done.

    happy birthday rufus. thank you for hours of happy solving of your crosswords.

    have had to give up on the online version for most, which i am very disappointed about (the site, not the puzzles) but this worked perfectly, because the simplicity of it meant no overlapping clues/numbers.

  29. Jobs says:

    Am only about 1/2 way through this so far, but was very impressed with 19ac — great surface reading.

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi Jobs

    I’m glad to see you’re doing today’s Rufus, after your comment last Monday. Stick with it – it’s well worth it. I agree with your comment about 19ac but, as usual, there are too many great surfaces to mention, really.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sandra, I use the pdf version in another window as a reference to overcome that problem.

  32. Rufus says:

    Many, many thanks for the birthday wishes! Much appreciated!
    I´ve had health problems in the last six months but should be ok from now as I have had a pacemaker fitted. The surgeon only gave me permission to fly a short time ago but we took immediate advantage to take a welcome week break in Lanzarote from whence this comes. About to have chateaubriand in a restaurant next to the sea – expensive… almost 20 euros for the two of us. But one has to push the boat out on one´s birthday! (Smug b—-d!)

  33. Gnomethang says:

    Enjoy the break Rufus and a very happy birthday.
    Thanks for this and the telegraph today. Much enjoyment.

  34. FranTom Menace says:

    Didn’t quite finish it (15a is a new word for both of us, and we weren’t expecting a reappearance of Clare Short’s alma mater quite so soon!) but really enjoyed today’s crossword. Particularly enjoyed 25a, 9a and 14d.

    Many happy returns, Rufus!

  35. Julia says:

    Happy birthday Rufus.

    A wonderfully elegant and entertaining crossword as always.

  36. Ian F says:

    Many Congrats Rufus; Guardian and Telegraph both excellent! hope you enjoyed the steak!!

  37. xanthoma says:

    Dearie me: 21 across: so now “keelhaul” = “carpet”. For the sake of maritime, and the wonderful history of English piracy and English naval discipline of the lower ranks, let the Guardian preserve a little bit of our language.

  38. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am a bit late to join the Party (let’s Party! :) ),
    but this was really a charmer of a crossword.
    In our opinion, Rufus on top form.

    Highlights? Too many to mention.
    Like others said, the cd (yes, the cd!!) of 7d (STAG PARTY).
    We liked 8ac (BROUHAHA), ánd RAILLERY (15ac) with the ‘Mockingbird’ trick,
    ánd the brilliant surface of 2d (COUPONS).
    Not only good to see that ORCHESTRA hasn’t thát anagram, even better to see that the surface (the Band of Gold liaison) is just brilliant.

    We thought, 22ac (TOTTER) is really fantastic.
    And, as no-one mentioned 27ac (STEAMBOAT), I will.
    That is just a great clue – everything’s right about it.

    [Only quibble today was 25ac. Though a good clue, my PinC was annoyed by the fact that some time ago she sent in a similar thing to Cryptica which was rejected – and many of you liked it here]

    Anyway, for us, this was the best possible start after half-term.
    [us, being “paid informers”]

    And Dear Rufus, enjoy your stay at Lanzarote (glad, you didn’t decide to go to Madeira).

    Heartfelt wish: House in need of energy welcoming a furry roof fixed (6,3,5)

    [Bit un-Rufus long, I know, but from the heart!!]

  39. john goldthorpe says:

    A lovely puzzle. 19 across was one of the neatest, most satisfying clues I’ve seen in a long time.

  40. steven says:

    Happy Birthday,Rufus.

  41. sandra says:

    derek lazenby #31

    can’t thank you enough!i am computer illiterate – only came to it relatively recently for the crossword, 15 squared and emails. i thought there must be a way of finding these clues but couldn’t fathom it out. hope i am not too late for you to see this,.

  42. Gareth Rees says:

    21 across: so now “keelhaul” = “carpet”

    I’m not sure what you’re complaining about here. Chambers has “keelhaul v … to rebuke severely” and “carpet vt to reprimand”. Seems close enough to me.

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