Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,982 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on April 12th, 2010


I found this more straightforward than last week’s Rufus but, I thought, rather  lacking in the expected sparkle. There are the usual fine surfaces but some rather tired wordplay, including AD = notice – twice! [I’m not up on types of grid but I don’t remember seeing one like this, with four consecutive checked letters in 13 and 22ac.]


FORTUNATE: TUNA [fish] in FORTE: one’s strong point
8   LEARN: LEAR [king] + [quee]N
9   TREADMILL: cryptic definition: a really good surface – and no qualms about ‘revolution’ here!
12 DRAPES: anagram of SPREAD
16  DEADPAN: AD [notice] + PA [dad] in DEN [study]
19  LASH OUT: double definition: I’m not sure I knew this definition [‘to spend extravagantly’], being more familiar with Collins’ first meaning of ‘to burst into or resort to verbal or physical attack’, and, to be picky, I don’t think it’s necessarily the same as ‘give generously’.
22  PLATINUM : A TIN [container] in PLUM [choice]
25  INRUSH: IN RUSH: reference to rush lights, inexpensive candles made from the dried pith of rushes, soaked in fat or grease.
27 STUDS: double definition: a dress [boiled] shirt would have a detached collar and therefore need collar studs.
28  INVENTION: cryptic definition: reference to the saying ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’.
29 FIFTY: cryptic definition: not ‘by itself’ = ‘alone’ but ‘beside itself’, hence ‘fifty-fifty’.
30  STRANGEST: RANGE [compass] in ST ST [two ways]


1   POORER: reference to the marriage vow, ‘for richer, for poorer’
2   STRAPPED: double definition
3   ANIMUS: I’M in AN US
4   ITALIAN: cryptic definition: ‘Gin and it’ is a cocktail of gin and Italian vermouth.
6   ORDEAL: OR [gold] + anagram of LEAD
11  DATA: reversal of AT + AD [short notice] – nice surface but …
15  EAT: A[rmenian] in ET [French ‘and’]
16  DIP: double definition
17 AGA: A + GA [Georgia]
18  ACNE: N[ew] in ACE [expert]
20 HERITAGE: HER [why is this ‘women’s – both in the paper and on-line – not ‘woman’s’?] + IT [sex appeal + AGE [years]
21  AMENITY: anagram of ANY ITEM
23  LET RIP: LE [the French] + TRIP [tour]
24  TO DATE: double definition: nice surface – presumably now it’s done by text? [A misprint – missing ‘have’ – here]
25  ICEMAN: ‘The Iceman cometh': play written in 1939 by Eugene O’Neill, made into a film in 1973.  [And anagram of CINEMA – thanks, Brian]
26 SCOUSE: double definition

45 Responses to “Guardian 24,982 / Rufus”

  1. Berny says:

    Thanks for elucidation of studs

    Yes strange grid – not too happy when too many three letter solutions are included – to much scope for misinterpretation!

    Liked ‘treadmill’ clue best

  2. SimonG says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    As you say, a bit lacking in sparkle and the nature of the grid meant that some clues almost solved themselves… I’m familiar with the meaning of ‘lash out’ as in to spend extravagantly (probably the result of having three daughters :)) but do agree that it’s not synonomous with ‘give generously’.

  3. Ian says:

    Agreed Eileen. ‘Le Trip’ mildly amusing. That apart the best I can give this Rufus is workmanlike.

  4. Brian says:

    Also, in 25D, ICEMAN is an anagram of cinema (production). Agree with your reservation about lash out – and it would have been nice if it had been clued as La shout, to go with le trip.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Brian – I missed that one!

    I meant to say that I was reminded of Flanders and Swann’s ‘The gas man cometh’.

  6. Median says:

    For 29ac I had DITTO as something which, arguably, ‘by itself indicates equality’.

  7. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. 29ac stumped me. I agree with the reservations about LASH OUT. I also thought that 25ac, with two ‘ins’ in the clue and one in the def was a little clumsy.

  8. liz says:

    re 25ac. Sorry! I meant one ‘in’ in the answer…

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi liz

    I agree entirely about 25ac and had meant to make that comment: it’s not at all like Rufus.

  10. Bill Taylor says:

    Very lacklustre, especially after what Rufus produced last Monday. But I have no problem equating “lash out” with “give generously.”

  11. Stella Heath says:

    28a.: Did anyone else spot the similarity with today’s Quiptic?

  12. rrc says:

    Sorry but I do not see the connection with italian in 4d and boiled shirts are not even a distant memory in 27a with 25a causing similar problems with half of the clue Lash out and giving generously no problem though.

  13. Eileen says:


    Sorry if I didn’t make 4dn clear: you need to read the clue as ‘What ‘it’ means to a barman': Chambers gives ‘It’ as ‘abbr: Italian; Italian vermouth’.

  14. Martin H says:

    A return to form for Rufus after last week. The cd’s/dd’s were generally feeble – TREADMILL was clever, but not particularly entertaining. ‘Fifty’ was good though – thanks for the explanation Eileen.

    Quibbles: 20, ‘women’s’ should have been ‘woman’s’ (her); 21 ‘Amenity’ has to do with pleasantness rather than pleasure, unless you say that pleasantness is a ‘source of pleasure’, but not really convincing; 1d ‘Poorer’ is not a choice in the marriage ceremony – not ‘for richer or for poorer, take your pick’. (You could of course choose to say no and not marry at all I suppose.)

  15. NeilW says:

    Thanks Eileen. Where I come from it’s always been “splash out”.

  16. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. As you say, straightforward and lacking sparkle. All over in 10 minutes, so had to rustle up a back-issue Paul to fill up the lunch break and remind me of why I enjoy doing this.

    My only quibble is 4d. No problems with IT for Italian in many contexts but despite having worked behind several bars and sat in front of many more, I have never heard of “it” for Italian Vermouth. The fact that “it” makes it into Chambers doesn’t justify using it in a clue, IMHO.

  17. NeilW says:

    Colin, sorry can’t agree. “Gin and It” is a classic cocktail from a certain era.

  18. Bullfrog says:

    I have to agree with the quibbles over 25a — I was desperately looking for something else that didn’t include ‘in’. I also had ‘Ditto’ at 29, and thought that ‘Liverpudlian stew’ for ‘Scouse’ was barely a double definition!

    Overall, the poorest cryptic I’ve seen in a long time, and the typo at 24 just added to the air of shoddiness.

  19. Bullfrog says:

    The fact that “it” makes it into Chambers doesn’t justify using it in a clue, IMHO.

    Colin, I’m sorry, but your inadequacies as a barman don’t excuse your attitude towards Chambers…

  20. Eileen says:

    NeilW #15

    Yes, I agree – and, again, nearly made that comment. Both Collins and Chambers have almost identical definitions for LASH / SPLASH OUT.

  21. Mr. Jim says:

    Well, I thought this one was alright actually. I didn’t laugh much, but didn’t feel that anything was particularly unfair. Especially liked cluing “An American” as ANUS.

  22. Richard says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I thought this was a bit of a curate’s egg. Many well constructed clues, but I thought there were some unnecessarily obscure references such as light = RUSH, Gin & IT, boiled shirts, & Scouse = STEW? I also loathe seeing Sex Appeal = IT.
    I should have thought some reference to . or Dot IT being the internet domain name for Italy could have been more elegant and accessible in both 4 and 20.

    As an amusing aside, this reminds me of the story that the electricity company Powergen registered the domain name POWERGENITALIA.COM for use by its Italian subsidiary….

  23. Richard says:

    Also, as a former barman myself, I can agree with Colin.

  24. Tokyo Colin says:

    NeilW – I stand corrected, Google has a lot of hits for “Gin and It”, I must have been in the wrong bars.

    Bullfrog – It was not an attitude towards Chambers per se, just my opinion that it should be possible to deduce a solution from the clue, largely unaided. So obscure and antiquated definitions have their place in a good dictionary (and I don’t doubt that Chambers is an excellent dictionary) but not in a daily crossword, especially Rufus. But now that I have been enlightened as to the prevalence of this cocktail in a certain era and place, I withdraw my quibble and admit that 4d is a valid clue, and in fact better than most today.

  25. John says:

    I have no problem with “give generously” for LASH OUT, but I do with “a whip-round”.
    Is this meant to indicate waving a whip around or something like that?
    The two equally viable answers to 29 ac is clumsy.
    Not a good Rufus for me. 6/10.

  26. Mr. Jim says:

    Re: LASH OUT – I took this to be a dd, but with one def being “round” in the sense of “round on someone” = give them a good telling off / lash out at them, and the other being “give generously when there’s a whip”.

  27. rrc says:

    thank you Eileen no where near this clue today

  28. Another Andrew says:

    As someone who rarely finishes one of these, I was quite pleased to get within three. However, having now seen the answers, I could have stared at the remaining clues all day before I solved them (8ac, 29ac, 4dn). I suppose 9ac was my favorite.

  29. JimboNWUK says:

    Sorry Eileen and NeilW but in ENGLAND (you know, the country where you live and where the puzzle comes from) “Italian Vermouth” when used as a part if “Gin and It” is MARTINI (whch is what I entered). IT only means just Italian, when it is not related to drinks. Naturally this messed up the NW corner for me bad style.

    The studs and shirt malarkey at 27A was just crummy and stinky and I have yet to see a decent justification of the clue.

    20D the plural of woman should most definitely have been the singular.

    Sloppy compiling Rufus.

  30. Gaufrid says:

    Hi JimboNWUK
    I am in danger of straying off-topic here but I feel I must correct your error. Martini is simply the trade name of a vermouth made by the Italian company Martini and Rossi. This product can be used to make a ‘gin and it’ but there again so can Cinzano, the trade name of another vermouth produced by Campari (also Italian).

    The ‘it’ in the clue quite properly refers to Italian vermouth as Eileen indicated in her blog.

  31. Eileen says:

    Hi JimboNWUK

    Actually, on a quick run-through before entering anything, my first thought for 4dn was MARTINI :-) but, as you say, it didn’t fit. I’d heard of the cocktail, of course, but never realised what the ‘It’ stood for – so obvious now.

    I can’t see the problem with the double definition of boss / stud in 27ac [fairly common in crosswords] but I think Rufus might have said ‘dress’ rather than ‘boiled’ shirt.

    However, in his defence, I would be willing to put money on ‘women’s’ in 20dn being, like the omission of ‘have’ in 24dn, a Guardian error rather than sloppy compiling.

  32. cholecyst says:

    Re 26 SCOUSE

    Scouse was brought to Liverpool by Northern European sailors, it was originally called Labskause. This was finally shortened to Skause and over time the spelling changed to the more Anglicised version we have today, Scouse.

    The people who ate Scouse were all generally sailors and their families and eventually all sailors within Liverpool were referred to as Scousers. Time has now taken its turn and everyone from the region of Liverpool is known as a Scouser.

    ( – not that I fully believe it!


  33. Bill Taylor says:

    Again in defence of Rufus, Eileen, “boiled shirt” was rather more cryptic than “dress shirt.” On the other hand, SCOUSE wasn’t cryptic at all!

  34. Eileen says:

    I agree, Bill, but several people have complained about the obscurity of ‘boiled shirt’.

  35. carneddi says:

    …and lobscows is Welsh stew!

  36. Kate W says:

    As someone who finishes later than most posters and sometimes the next morning, I left a message on Araucaria’s last blog about this, as did Brr and Another Andrew (who commented its like being the last finisher in a marathon, lol.) And have just noted that mhl posted to say that the blogger is notified of all posts so we do get read , yea.

  37. Daniel Miller says:

    Nice one, good start to the week. (Speaking as a Scouser, like, if ya know what I mean!)

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi Kate W, Brr and Another Andrew

    I do sympathise. When I was working, I would have had no time to do the puzzle during the day, let alone post a comment – but I’d retired by the time I discovered this site. It must be very frustrating to find that, by the time you’ve finished a puzzle, it seems all to have been said.

    However, I’ll reiterate mhl’s comment that the blogger, at least, gets notification of all comments and there are a few people who keep discussions going for several days. Keep posting! :-)

  39. Daniel Miller says:

    Ha, the Italian answer was just a guess. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  40. Daniel Miller says:

    9 across nice, ditto 13, 28 and 29 (Fifty, best clue of the day), 23 d and 24 d..
    19 Lash Out – can be used to spend lots of money..

    26d SCOUSE: is a double definition as far as I’m concerned!!

  41. Another Andrew says:

    To be fair, the amusing comment about the marathon runner was actually made by brr, but I was once in a cycling race where they were dismantling the finishing gantry as I crossed the line!

  42. brr says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Eileen and mhl.

  43. crosser says:

    Thanks Eileen. Just one thing still escapes me : I had got INVENTION at 28ac from the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”, as you said, but could you, or somebody, please explain “produces a lie” in the clue?

  44. crosser says:

    Eureka! In reference to my post above, I’ve just realised that a lie may be termed an invention. Sorry to have been so slow!

  45. Eileen says:

    Hi crosser

    I find it amazing how often simply voicing or typing a query causes the penny to drop! :-)

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