Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,042 / Rufus

Posted by Gaufrid on June 21st, 2010


A very easy start to the week and one completed rather quickly whilst watching the sun rise on the summer solstice.

A typical Rufus with the odd good cd (3dn) and some less so (eg 5dn, 18dn & 23dn) because they were barely cryptic. I rather liked 9ac and 13ac, in addition to 3dn, but otherwise this was routine fare and not quite enough of a challenge for my taste. However, as usual with Rufus, the surfaces were generally good, apart from perhaps 18dn, but the repeated use of the same wordplay in 15dn and 19dn should have been avoided.

7 PIKESTAFF  PIKE (fish) STAFF (rod) – a reference to the saying ‘as plain as a pikestaff’.
8 RAPID  P (quiet) in RAID (attack)
10 RANGE  dd
12 NEWARK  NEW (novel) ARK (craft) – not the city in 2dn but the market town in Nottinghamshire whose full name is Newark-on-Trent.
13 ELEVATOR  *(TO A LEVER) – ‘resort’ needs to be read as ‘re-sort’.
14 LAYETTE  cd – a baby’s complete set of clothing, etc.
17 ANISEED  1’S (one’s) in A NEED (a lack of)
20 LEAD UP TO  LEAD (senior counsel) UP TO (competent enough)
22 ABOARD  BOAR (pig) in AD (time)
24 ADAGE  A D (number) AGE (time) – ‘saw’ as in a saying or proverb.
25 SEMIBREVE  SEMI (house) B (key) EVER (always) reversed
26 STRUT  dd
27 ARCHANGEL  ARCH (chief) ANGEL (financial backer)

1 MIRAGE  I’M reversed RAGE (anger)
2 DELAWARE  DE LA (of the French) WARE (merchandise) – ‘ware’ is more usually used in the plural these days.
3 STREAK  cd
5 BANANA  cd
11 HEWN  *(WHEN)
15 ANECDOTE  O (love) in *(A DECENT)
16 TAPE  dd
19 VOYEURS  O (love) in *(SURVEY) – a repeat of the wordplay in 15dn, not desirable.
21 DUGOUT  dd
22 ALIGHT  A LIGHT (blonde)
23 REVIEW  cd

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,042 / Rufus”

  1. Ian says:

    Thanks Guafrid. I agree with your criticisms of this rather tepid effort from the ususally reliable Rufus.

    Apart from 21dn nothing struck me as being noteworthy.


  2. Ian says:

    Sorry for the spelling Gaufrid.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Gaufrid. I agree: we don’t usually find much to chunter about in a Rufus, but there were a few odd or clunky clues here. I thought 5dn and 23dn were strange unless I’m missing something; I also wasn’t madly in love with 20ac. There were good bits of invention elsewhere, but overall a bit of a mixed bag from a setter I normally really enjoy.

    Didn’t realise ‘depend’ could mean ‘hang’, but Collins confirms it (though as rare).

    Eimi, if you’re eavesdropping on this side, I’d love to have a crack at your puzzle, but the online version is still showing Phi’s from Friday.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    I emailed Eimi a couple of hours ago regarding the error so hopefully it will be corrected before too long. The intended Saturday and Sunday on-line puzzles must have been similarly affected.

  5. Martin H says:

    I enjoyed this more than I usually do a Rufus. The cd’s, apart from 18, were simple but not too groanworthy – perhaps their simplicity redeemed them: the problem with cd’s is often that the compiler (and not just this one) seems to be forcing a light witticism that might have passed at the dinner table but should never have been given the permanence of print. I quite liked ‘banana’ and ‘layette’ was even rather good. ‘Diagnose’ was a good anagram, and ‘Take vain steps’ = ‘strut’ was very good; (this is a dd not a cd I think, Gaufrid: ….steps/support).

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Like Ian, 22′.

    I am not a fan of CDs, but I thought 18d was rather good. It wasn’t obvious (it was one of the later ones I got) and the hanging sense of “depend” added to it.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Martin H
    You are right about 26ac, dd is what I have noted on my copy. The error must be due to finger trouble whilst typing and poor proof reading :-(.

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Hang on! I’ve just gone to correct the post only to find that 26ac is already shown as a dd. So no finger error on my part!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Gaufrid

    I got the top half pretty quickly though looking for an anagram with ‘take’ in 3d misdirected me away from the point till ‘all was revealed’.

    The lower half was harder for me. 25a and 26a and 18d held me up a bit.

    I am unclear why 5d is so bad. ‘A hand of bananas’ isn’t all that obvious, I’d have thought – at least no more than many clue ideas elsewhere – though I agree the available 3 ‘a’s did make it easier than it might otherwise have been.

    Re ‘depend on’, I suppose the ‘on’ as opposed to ‘from’ misdirects away from the hanging idea. Unfortunately, I kept looking for a word with ‘ians’ as the second half!

    The ‘hanging’ idea itself was quite straightforward for me but I must learn to remember that relatively few people are burdened with the etymological baggage of a ‘classical’ education!

    In general I found the puzzle more testing and enjoyable than others have so far said.9a,25a (once seen) and 11d were probably my favourites though I daresay 11d was more obvious to more experienced solvers who have probably seen almost everything before.

  10. Martin H says:

    Sorry Gaufrid – eye error on my part.

    Slightly off-topic: Is anyone else annoyed by the ads in the top right corner of the on-line page which zoom across to cover part of the grid? One can usually cover the ad with a train ticket and some blu-tack, but this sort of subterfuge is going a bit far.

  11. tupu says:

    Sorry. Having said all that re ‘hanging’ I suddenly realise that if ‘depend’ is simply substituted for ‘hang’, the ‘on’ is perfectly OK.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Tupu, thanks for explaining 5dn, which now makes sense. I had never heard of the phrase ‘a hand of bananas’, so I withdraw my criticism! Yes, the ‘hanging’ idea is also fairly obvious if you’re a French speaker – and of course it’s given us words like ‘pendant’ and ‘pending’.

  13. duncandisorderly says:

    um… last time I was in the vicinity, newark was in new jersey, not delaware. do I win £5? :-)

  14. duncandisorderly says:

    no. there’s one in delaware too. :-(

  15. Gaufrid says:

    Hi duncandisorderly
    Not to mention Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 😉

  16. tupu says:

    Hi Kathryn’s Dad

    Thanks. Yes you are right of course re French. We also get pendulum from Latin (late I imagine)and of course ‘suspend’, suspenders, suspense, pending, all with lit. or metaphoric hanging ideas.

    For what it’s worth – no more than 2p -the ‘sus’ prefix in such words turns out on inspection to be a lot more complex than I have realised. As I assumed, it relates to ‘sub’ = (broadly) ‘under’ but comes from a closely related form ‘subs’ from which the ‘b’ has been dropped! ‘Sub’ also seems to relate to ‘up’ in English! Words do seem to have a family life of their own.

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Noah would have been spoilt for choice in the USA, Gaufrid. Thanks for your note about the Indy – still no crossword on-line, though. Grrr.

  18. Kathryn's Dad says:

    And thanks tupu for more interesting etymology.

  19. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    I had a reply from Eimi a short while ago saying that “Hopefully the correct file should be on line soon.”

  20. cholecyst says:

    Martin H… Re ads. Try installing Firefox as you browser and then install Adblock Plus, You’ll never be bothered again

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi All

    You might be interested in reading this article by the Crossword Editor in today’s Guardian:

  22. Martin H says:

    I’ll try that cholecyst, thanks.

  23. FumbleFingers says:

    Hi Eileen,

    Thanks for that link. I’ve never been sure exactly what Hugh Stephenson actually does. But even if it’s absolutely nothing, I’d be grateful to him for taking such perceptive & selfless action. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say.

    I personally prefer a bit more of a challenge than today’s offering, but I completely agree with the timely point made by Hugh that a mix of difficulty levels is both deliberate and desirable.

    A perfectly good puzzle overall, though I thought the ALIGHT clue is getting to be a bit of a cliche, and LAYETTE seemed somewhat recherche at this level (or maybe I just don’t move in circles where it’s common parlance!)

  24. FumbleFingers says:

    ps – I now realise I could have found Hugh’s article from the main Guardian xword page. But quite frankly I’m usually in such a hurry to print the puzzle & settle down with my cuppa that they could announce the start of WW3 there and I probably wouldn’t notice.

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