Posted by Eileen on June 7th, 2010
A characteristically straightforward yet stylish offering from Rufus, with the ingenious anagrams and seamless, story-telling surfaces that we know to expect, with not too many cryptic clues for those who dislike them. [Unfortunately, two of the clues appeared consecutively in Rufus' 'Dante' puzzle in the FT only two weeks ago.]
1 REHEARSAL: HEARS [tries] in REAL [bona fide]
6 BAGS: cryptic definition, referring to the loose-fitting, baggy trousers worn by Oxford undergraduates in the 1920s
8 FLAMINGO: FLAMING [ruddy] + O [duck]: a lovely clue! [In recent years, there has been a controversial cull of the ruddy duck, which was introduced to the UK from North America fifty years ago and, after escaping from Slimbridge bird sanctuary, bred widely with the European white-headed duck - according to BBC news it was 'blasted for being over-sexed and over here'.]
9 QUILLS: cryptic definition
10 SCATTY: CAT [feline] in STY [enclosure]
11 FAIR GAME: double definition, referring to the fairground throwing game, still, apparently, played as a pub game in parts of England.
12 RED RAG: RE-DRAG, as in searching the bed of a river and a red rag is a proverbial source of provocation to a bull.
15 DIAMONDS: double definition
16 SADDLE UP: anagram of DUDE PALS, with a neat surface
19 EXHALE: EX [no longer] + HALE [fit] – another nice surface
21 COMMENCE: C [hundred] + anagram of MEN COME
22 BAMBOO: B.A. [scholar] + M[aster] + BOO [express disapproval of]
24 PRICEY: a beautifully clear clue, which tells you exactly what to do: ‘put IC [in charge] in PREY [quarry]‘!
25 SEA FEVER: the title of John Masefield’s famous poem
26 IDOL: I’D + reversal of LO [behold]
27 DEPRESSED: PRESS [urge] in DEED [action. We’re rather more used to seeing ‘disheartened’ as part of the wordplay than as the definition.
1 RELIC: ELI [the hoary old crossword priest] in R[oman] C[atholic]
2 HAMSTER: anagram of THE ARMS
3 ANNOY: NO [refusal] in ANY
4 SCOFFED: double definition
5 LIQUIDATE: simple charade of LIQUID [something to drink + ATE [had a meal]
6 BRING TO: double definition: a signature nautical term from Rufus: to bring to means to bring a ship to a standstill.
7 GOLD MEDAL: anagram of MODEL GLAD, with fashion as the indicator, giving another great surface – worthy of a wider audience than the FT!
13 ENAMOURED: anagram of DEMEANOUR – yet another lovely surface
14 GREEN-EYED: cryptic definition, referring to jealousy, the monster that made Othello kill his wife, Desdemona – the second of the re-cycled clues.
17 DOMICIL: anagram of I’M COLD I: I’m not sure I’ve seen this word without a final E before.
18 PRESS-UP: cryptic definition
20 HAMMERS: double definition, referring to West Ham Football Club.
22 BRACE: BRA [support] + CE [Church of England]
23 ON END: ON [working] + END [finish] – as in the phrase ‘for days on end’.