Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,994 / Rufus

Posted by Handel on April 26th, 2010


Morning all!

Funnily enough, when we remembered that we were due to blog Rufus, H mentioned that this setter always uses a number of cryptic definitions and naval references, and this puzzle didn’t disappoint on those counts!

An enjoyable Monday morning solve.



6. BE A U


9. L(ARIA)T ‘something catchy’ cryptic definition of rope

10. KEENLY ‘Len’ anagrammised inside ‘key’ defined as ”locker’

11. UP IN ARMS dd

12. PAP(AY)A

15. HIGHNESS cryptic definition

16. PRATIQUE ‘tar’ reversed in ‘pique’

19. OR ELSE dd

21. AUDITION cryptic definition

22. DEBRIS (brides)*

24. OBJECT dd

25. BANKRUPT cryptic definition

26. FEUD we think this is a cryptic definition, as ‘bitter’ often precedes ‘feud’, but not entirely sure See Eileen’s comment below – ‘relatively’ provides the cryptic element here

27. DREAMBOAT (met abroad)*


1. AB(US)E


3. CAG(n)EY ref. James Cagney, babyfaced star of many a gangster film

4. UNTRUTH ‘hunt’ anagrammised around ‘rut’



7. ALARMISTS (mass trial)*

13. AIR BUBBLE cryptic definition, ref. spirit level



18. ENNOBLE (ben noel)*

20. E MB ARGO the Argo was Jason’s ship in Greek mythology

22. DENIM ‘mined'<

23. INPUT (Putin)*

34 Responses to “Guardian 24,994 / Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Handel, or may I call you El?

    Yours was a new name to me, so I looked you up. Welcome aboard – which is, I believe, an appropriate nautical expression. Nice and early too.

    This was very enjoyable but I found the SW corner tougher than the usual Rufus. I’d never come across 16a PRATIQUE before and my first thought on 13d was ALL SQUARE. However, I got there in the end.

    Well done, Rufus, but I wonder who will be given the Monday slot next week when #25,000 comes up and on a Bank Holiday?

    My guess is that it will be an inpenetrable 50 x 50 Jumbo with an Araucarian alpha-thing. And. almost inevitably, it won’t print out.

    Let’s see!

  2. Ian says:

    Thanks handel

    This Rufus broadly on a par with Friday’s puzzle from Logodaedalus in terms of degree of difficulty. ‘Abe’ getting another appearance!

    8ac was cleverly worded to offer ‘Bunfight’. Otherwise a bit of a plodder.


  3. rrc says:

    ‘an enjoyable Monday morning solve’ sums this puzzle up admirably.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks Handel – and welcome to the Guardian slot.

    Some lovely story-telling surfaces, as we expect from Rufus e.g. 6, 9, 10, 16ac, 14dn.

    The more cryptic part of 26 is ‘relatively’, as we often see ‘bitter family feud’.

  5. Martin H says:

    Yes, Abe’s shown up quite a lot recently; also the second appearance of ‘locker’ for ‘key’ in quite a short time, both from Rufus I think. I agree with Bryan about the SW corner – if it had all been like this, it could have made quite an interesting puzzle.

    Shouldn’t ‘well-informed about’ (11a) be ‘up on’ rather than ‘up in’?

    Among the usual clunky cryptic definitions ‘bankrupt’ was actually quite witty.

  6. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks Handel.

    Three weekday completions on the trot! What is going on? Ok, I realise two of them were very easy, but still… It can’t be a coincidence that it’s happened within a few weeks of joining Fifteensquared.

    I liked 9ac, not especially because of the clue but because I think ‘lariat’ sounds such a cheery word (no idea why).

  7. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thank you Handel. I side with Brian, Eileen and rrc – not difficult but the clues needed to be teased out with some amusing revelations. Definitely not clunky or a plodder for me, and several rungs above Friday’s Logodaedalus.

    Last to go in was BUNFIGHT. Never heard it used to mean a party. But that meaning is in the dictionary, so no grumbling.

  8. Rishi says:

    Re 11a

    The clue is: “”Well-informed about weapons, prepared to protest strongly”

    “prepared to protest strongly” is the def. for phrase reqd. and it is idiomatic.

    The wordplay is

    well-informed – UP
    about – IN
    weapons – ARMS

    I don’t see any conflict there.

    The component ‘up’ (in the sense ‘learned’ was used in a clue in last week’s Everyman – about which there are some Comments underneath the relevant blog.

  9. liz says:

    Thanks, Handel. Mostly easy, but it took me awhile to get the SW corner out. PRATIQUE was new to me. I liked the cd at 25ac but my favourites were 10ac and 7dn — lovely surfaces!

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Another Andrew

    How funny – I’ve the same feelings about ‘lariat’. I think it may be because the only place I’ve come across it [except crosswords] is in a song I heard as a child. I’d no idea what a lariat was – but it seemed to me then to be associated with fun!

    “All the cowhands wanna marry Harriet,
    Harriet’s handy with a lariat,
    But she don’t want to marry yet,
    She’s havin’ too much fun!”

  11. Rishi says:

    As for this idea that women, when once they get married, become shackled, we have a beautiful word in Tamil. Yes, it is something related to animals and to ropes! The Tamil term is the rope or string drawn through the bridge of the nose of a bullock (as a bridle). Do you think this is worse than lariat?

  12. Rishi says:

    I think I have misread the poem. Anyway…

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, handel. Not too tricky, but some smiles along the way, so for me a good puzzle to get the week started. Tripped myself up by entering CHARY at 3dn. Spookily, ‘up’ as a definition of ‘well-informed’ is used elsewhere today as well (won’t say where in case it spoils it for anyone).

  14. Tokyo Colin says:

    Rishi #8 says “The wordplay is: well-informed – UP, about – IN, weapons – ARMS”

    Sorry, but I don’t get “about – IN”. I think it more likely the analysis is as Martin H, #5 says: “Well informed about – UP IN”. “Up on” is more common but I think “up in” is close enough, especially if you accept that well-informed – UP, since then it doesn’t really matter whether it is UP IN, UP ON or even UP AT…

  15. Rishi says:

    Please ignore the last two lines in my message #8 above.

    Sorry! It seems to be a bad day for me!

  16. Neil says:

    Another Andrew @6 and Eileen @10.

    Thanks to Rufus, but it seems he’s largely left us to make our own entertainment today.
    I’ve always liked ‘Reata’ (or ‘Riata’) for similar reasons. Gut-line (a rawhide rope) is, perhaps, rather less cheery. How about Lasso?

    Extract below from the song, “Tyin’ Ten Knots in the Devil’s Tail” by Gail I Gardner:

    Now Sandy Bob was a reata man
    With his gut-line coiled up neat;
    But he shook her out and he builds a loop
    And he roped the Devils hind feet.

  17. cholecyst says:

    It’s truly amazing what you learn here. On Saturday we learnt that it took 160 turns of a handle to get the wheels up on an Anson aircraft and today that that there is a Tamil word for shackling women.(But Rishi, please what is it? – preferably in Roman characters.) Anyway, I thought today’s puzzle was constructed with effortless elegance.

  18. Rishi says:


    Rather difficult to put it Roman script but I will try:

    The Tamil word is mookanang kayiru.

    It is part of the bridle that goes through the nostrils of a bullock. Facetiously applied to the shackle that a person is burdened with.

    From ‘mooku’ (nose) and ‘kayiru’ (rope).

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi cholecyst.

    I would say rather ‘seemingly effortless elegance’. ‘Ars est celare artem.’ :-)

  20. Another Andrew says:

    Eileen @10 and Neil @16 (and apologies to anyone who couldn’t care less about lariats),

    Talking of lassos, the second verse of the wonderful “Harriet”, which is new to me so thanks for that Eileen, goes:

    With a lasso she can throw a buffalo,
    Any old bronco in the rodeo;
    She can round up any Romeo
    Without a rope or a gun!

    I always thought that lasso was pronunced “lassoo”. Should I have been pronouncing it with a short “o” all this time (assuming I have actually uttered this word out loud)?

  21. Tokyo Colin says:

    Another Andrew, I have heard this both ways. The two variants are: (I don’t know if the IPA spellings will get through here) l??su and ?læso?. My impression is that the people who know how to use one refer to it as the latter – short ‘o’, emphasis on the first syllable, and if you can effect a broad Texan ‘a’, better still.

  22. cholecyst says:

    Ta for the Tamil, Rishi. Eileen, yes you are right to quote Ovid. How preferable that is to “Ars gratia artis” we sometimes get.

  23. Dave Ellison says:

    Bryan #1. We aren’t due another jumbo Araucaria till the August holiday. I suspect it will be another alphabetic one this Saturday.

  24. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Dave @23

    But, surely, #25,000 will be celebrated in some very special way?

  25. Daniel Miller says:

    Rather straightforward – hope everyone else found it so.

  26. John says:

    Pratique is also new to me, so could I please have an explanation?

  27. Bryan says:

    John @ 26

  28. John says:

    Thank you Bryan. If it hadn’t been for crosswords, I would probably have gone through life without ever knowing this – or needing to.

  29. Jim says:

    Howdy, as others have said, an enjoyable, easy enough crossword, even for a novice like myself. I have one question though – I don’t get the AY in PAPAYA. AY means constantly? Any help appreciated!


  30. Jim says:

    Re: post 29, I presumed AY was some abbreviation I didn’t know about, so I didn’t look it up. Until now. A Scottish version of ‘always’. Well, I learn something new everyday on these crosswords :)

  31. Eileen says:

    Hi Jim

    Not just Scottish – also [Chambers] ‘N. Eng. and archaic’.

    It’s reasonably common in crosswords, I think, but I first knew it from the hymn:

    “Let us with a gladsome mind
    Praise the Lord, for he is kind;
    For his mercies ay endure,
    Ever faithful, ever sure…”

    [which I’ve just discovered is by John Milton – so that’s something else learned today].

  32. Paul B says:

    AYE as well. Handy for lemur-style beasts.

  33. Vin says:

    Hello. Been lurking for a couple of weeks. Great blog. Surprised that no one has mentioned today’s TAIL END, which we had just 6 days ago from Pasquale, clued in much the same way. Pasquale: “Be ill, held by nurse? There’s nothing after this” and Rufus: “Become weak, get nurse round for the final stage”.

  34. Huw Powell says:

    Interesting flow to solving this one, which echoes many comments above. The right side fell into place very easily, like last Friday’s as mentioned. Except for one embarrassment, not getting BEAU, especially considering I have seen that clue/answer before (I had penciled in BEAR). Then things slowed down dramatically. Finally got AGINCOURT, internet confirmed INFANTA, then CAGEY. Guessing wildly and “literally” at 8a I saw BUNFIGHT fit, internet confirmed it was a real word, and meant “party”.

    Then I sat and stared at the SW corner for a while. I had ENNOBLE as part of the “right side”, and penciled in PAPAYA, since AY = “constantly” really doesn’t work for me. Found OBJECT with thesaurus, kicked self. Slowly puzzled out AIR BUBBLE and TAIL END. Saw that “critique” could fit into 16a, which, oddly, gave me ACQUITTED (after giving up on “amplified” finally). Confirmed PRATIQUE on internet. So, I actually finished but I had one stupid error. SW was the best part, I don’t like solving clues as fast as I can read them!

    Thanks as always for the blog.

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