Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,976 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on April 5th, 2010


Somehow I found parts of this harder than usual with Rufus, though on looking back there’s nothing particularly tricky. Unusually there are only two pure cryptic definitions here; less unusually a smattering of naval references and the usual Rufus wit.

8. WAGON AGO in W + N (points of the compass)
9. BRAKE SHOE BRAKE (vehicle, as in shooting brake) + SHOE (homophone of “shoo” = drive off. The online version has the enumeration (9), but according to Chambers it’s two words
10. BLUFF Double definition, “It may be called” being one of them.
12. STRAND R in STAND (bear)
13. THOROUGH O in THROUGH (completed)
17. IN DEPTH Not quite a double definition – definition + hint perhaps
20. SEDITION S (another compass point) + EDITION
22. PREACH P (quietly) + REACH
24. READY RE (about) + DAY*
26. MOPED Double definition – small motorbike (formerly with pedals, hence the name) and past tense of “mope”
27. ANARCHISM CHAIRMANS* – nice symmetry with the anagram in 1ac
1. ARARAT Cryptic definition – Noah’s Ark landed on “the mountains of Ararat”
2. SACK RACE SACK (wine) + RACE (people)
3. UNUSED Double definition, though the two are barely distinct
5. FALL TO Double definition
6. DOGFIGHT Cryptic definition
11. COIN CO (company = firm) + IN (not out)
15. SKELETON Double definition – a skeleton at the feast is “a person or thing that casts gloom over a joyful occasion”.
16. TRIP Double definition
18. EYESIGHT YES in EIGHT (rowing crew – and by the way, well done Cambridge!)
21. INDEED IN (popular) + DEED
22. PRIORY PRIOR + Y[ou]
23. COURSE Double definition

17 Responses to “Guardian 24,976 – Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew, you are an early bird!

    As you said, rather harder than usual for Rufus but possibly even more enjoyable?

  2. rrc says:

    I too was impressed with the timing of the blog. Some very nice clues in this puzzle, particularly pleasing were 13 11 and 25, some very good anagrams 7 4 27 but alas I needed the cheat button to complete 1 and still not sure how the clue links to the answer.

  3. Andrew says:

    Bryan – more a late than an early bird on this occasion!

    rrc – Noah and family were a “company” that was “floated” (in the ark) to “avoid liquidation”, and they ended up on Ararat.

  4. jmac says:

    Some delightful clues, although UNUSED seems to be a good example of what Uncle Yap would call a “dud”. Also, re 15 down, is this really a proper double definition? Although the idioms refer to different attributes, the skeleton remains the same, and to my mind the two parts of the clue, taken by themselves, would not be out of place in a non-cryptic puzzle.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Andrew. I agree, just a couple of clues that lacked Rufus’s normal elegance, but otherwise very enjoyable, if a bit harder than usual. I know the phrase as the spectre at the feast – don’t think I’ve ever heard of skeleton used in this way. 1dn was one of my last in – very clever clue.

  6. Cosmic Tigger says:

    I haven’t tackled a Rufus puzzle for some time, and also found this one tricky – I had to resort to the Cheat facility in the end. Mind you, I had “adrift” for 1d, so that didn’t help. Ironically, my brother’s caught the cryptic crossword bug after many years, and I’ve been telling him that Rufus is the most accessible of the broadsheet compilers. If he’d started this one, he’d have given up again!

  7. Ian says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    It was indeed a more challenging puzzle than normal. Maybe my brain was still coming to terms with the Araucaria Easter Special.

    2dn is an excellent clue. A revolting mini-theme also noted with both 20ac and 27ac.

  8. rrc says:

    Thank you Andrew. I can see where you are coming from now but I do not find this type of clue particularly satisfying.

  9. Bill Taylor says:

    Definitely tougher than your average Rufus but hugely enjoyable. I thought 3d was a bit iffy but 1d, 2d and 9a more than made up for that. “Skeleton” at the feast (15d) was new to me — I spent way too long trying to find a variant of “spectre” that made sense! Like Ian, perhaps my brain was still reeling from Araucaria, which I finally finished last night. As an aside, his Easter Special was a stunning example of why he still deserves to be called the Master.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I also found this harder than the usual Rufus but plenty to enjoy. 6dn made me laugh and I also liked 26ac and 2dn. I share the reservations about 3dn and 15dn, though.

  11. crikey says:

    How is 23 down a double definition? I’m probably being daft here, but I don’t see how the parts of speech make sense. I understand ‘the way’ = ‘course’… but ‘people eat’ = course? Really?

  12. Bryan says:

    Crikey @11

    People eat (for example) a 3-course meal.

    Of course!

  13. Tom Hutton says:

    We certainly can’t complain when people complain that Rufus is usually too easy and he makes it harder. I’ve noticed that the puzzles in the Glasgow Herald, for which he is crossword editor I think, also seem to be getting harder. Stop complaining about him being too easy. I like to do the Herald while I’m cooking the tea and this will just lead to burnt mince.

    I enjoyed this today.

  14. Gareth Rees says:

    In 3d, “still unwrapped” is a fascinating piece of usage. Logically it ought to mean “not wrapped”, but in context here and in use generally it appears to mean the opposite of what is says, namely “wrapped”! Linguists are divided as to whether this a mistake or genuine usage.

  15. crikey says:

    Thanks Bryan at 12, but it still doesn’t quite work for me. From your reasoning, a car could be defined by ‘people drive’.

  16. Eileen says:

    Hi crikey

    I can see why you’re unhappy with this. I’m not ever so keen on it myself but can make it work by understanding a ‘that’, as in ‘Crosswords are something [that] we enjoy’.

    I’m interested that we practically all seem to have found this more difficult than usual because, like Andrew [thanks for the blog], I can’t really see why!

  17. crikey says:

    Thanks Eileen. That (kind of) makes sense now!

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