Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,054 / Rufus

Posted by Gaufrid on July 5th, 2010


After a break last week, Rufus returns to his Monday slot with a puzzle that is typical beginners’/beginning of the week fare. A gentle stroll with nothing too taxing for those who have had a hard and/or stressful weekend. The high point for me was 3dn.

A handful of clues that I have indicated as being a cd (cryptic definition) should really be annotated sd (simple/single definition) but unfortunately sd is not an abbreviation that is used on this site (though perhaps it should be introduced for puzzles such as this).

1 BELFRY  cd – a reference to ‘bats in the belfry’
5 SAFE SEAT  cd&d
9 CAMELLIA  CAMEL (beast of burden) AIL (trouble) reversed
10 REBATE  cd
13 DENT  cd
14 NINETEEN  IN reversed NET (goal) EEN (even)
17 RUNS INTO  dd
18 LAID  DIAL (face) reversed
20 RESTAURATEUR  *(A TRUE STAR) RUE reversed (French back-street) – the keeper of a restaurant so not necessarily a ‘chef’.
23 CONSUL  CONSUL[t] (endlessly ask the advice of)
24 IMPOUNDS  I (one) M (thousand) POUNDS (sterling)
26 RIDDLE  dd

2 EDAM  E (key) DAM (engineering work)
4 YELLOW  dd
6 FIRM HAND  FIRM (company) HAND (employee)
7 SOBER  SO (thus) BE[e]R (three quarters of the beer) – I would have expected the ‘three quarters of …..’ to have yielded BEE rather than BER.
8 ANTITHESIS  ANTI (opposite) THESIS (scholarly exercise) – ‘opposite’ doing double duty as part of the definition and the wordplay.
12 REFUSE TO GO  REFUSE (rubbish) TO GO (for disposal)
19 TEMPER  cd
21 TASTE  cd – one of the five senses and a reference to ‘no accounting for taste’
22 IDOL  I’D (I would) LO (look) reversed

33 Responses to “Guardian 25,054 / Rufus”

  1. Ian says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. Yes this was very simple from Rufus.

    17′ to solve and, apart from 14ac and 3 dn, not one to remember.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Gaufrid and also to Rufus for again providing another delightful start to the week.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Rufus

    Enjoyable and just demanding enough to wake me up for the day.
    Shared slight reervation over 20a re ‘chef’.

    14a was most satisfying to see, though a little bit of a stretch from aim to net via goal. I can’t think of (m)any expressions off hand where net and goal are readily exchangeable (let alone aim and net) but the nearly score idea was clever. 13 and 21 were also pleasing.

    11a came only when I realised I’d carelessly misspelt ‘sober’ and also got ‘firm line’ for 6d out of my head. :) You can see what I mean about ‘waking up’!

  4. Martin H says:

    Thirteen out of twenty-seven clues cryptic, double, or, as you point out Gaufrid, simple definitions, and of the rest 6,8 and 12 relied in some way on double meanings. Only a handful had any pleasing wordplay: Rufus at his worst – and I don’t see why this sort of thing should be offered as ‘typical beginners’ fare'; to attract just getting into solving what is needed is variety of clueing devices and simple but ingenious wordplay. Today’s effort is more likely to put them off.

    I have no preference for which three of the quarters are indicated in 7, and don’t see why this device shouldn’t generally be flexible.

  5. Martin H says:

    Typo in 4 above: ….those just getting into…..

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi tupu
    Your comment regarding 14a has confused me. Where does ‘aim’ come in, it is not in the clue or answer (unless the paper version differs from that on-line).

    As far as the interchangeability of goal/net how about “Heskey put the ball in the back of the goal/net” (OK, I know, not a very likely occurrence :-)).

  7. Roger says:

    Thank you Rufus & Gaufrid

    Finished this enjoyable romp over the post-breakfast cuppa so will now have to go and do something useful ~ like the washing-up or the garden ! Ho Hum.

    (love to the babies, btw, tupu).

  8. tupu says:

    Hi Gaufrid
    Thanks for that and apologies (to both you and Rufus)! The only answer is ‘I don’t know’ – clearly less awake than I thought! I can only suppose my mind was trying to see something further in the wordplay. I can’t blame Rufus for that, though it leaves the clue a little simple and still not wholly satisfying for me! Likely or not – after the Ghana game it’s a miracle anyone gets a ball in the net – I agree your suggested idea of ‘back of the net’ and ‘back of the goal’ provides an acceptable fit – just about – but :) ‘I’d better stop digging’ :)! Thanks again.

  9. don says:

    Gaufrid wrote “Heskey put the ball in the back of the goal/net” (OK, I know, not a very likely occurrence.

    More likely: “They got four in the net”.

    I don’t think it was as bad as people seem to make out. I liked 23 across, 3, 5 and 8 down, myself and thought 24, 25 and 26 were well clued. How easy it was for others is not for me to say, really.

  10. rrc says:

    For me plenty of smiles and aha moments, and so an enoyable solve.

  11. walruss says:

    Boring for me. And as pointed out it would probably bore a beginner!

  12. tupu says:

    Hi Roger
    Thanks. :) Perhaps after your comment, I’d better start ‘digging’ after all. I’ve only managed some pruning so far today.

  13. otter says:

    Morning, all. Thanks for the blog.

    As usual from Rufus most of these clues are simple in a not very satisfying way. He does phrase things elegantly, and then the light switches on about what he’s getting at, but the ‘ding’ of realisation is often ‘Oh, is that /it/?’

    1a I immediately thought ‘BELFRY’ but then reminded myself that this was a cryptic, not quick, crossword. Turned out to be correct after all. As Gaufrid says, some Rufus clues barely count as cryptic.

    Still, some elegant phrasing and a few fun misdirections in there.

    Re 5a, SAFE SEAT: I assume that is an equestrian term equivalent to the nautical ‘sea legs’, ie you have a safe seat once you have the skill of sitting in the saddle well enough that you won’t fall off. Can anyone confirm this? It’s not a term I know.

    13a, DENT: I read this as ‘a hollow which has been beaten’, otherwise I can’t make sense of it. But I still don’t find it that satisfying.

    Tupu, message 3: I have found since this new online crossword system was released a couple of months ago that when I enter solutions, often letters get transposed, especially ones which lie together on the keyboard, such as E and R. This is not something that happens usually with my typing, so I assume there’s a bug in the system which leads to letters being transposed when entered quickly. It has caught me out a few times when I haven’t noticed and then sweated for ages over a seemingly impossible series of letters for another clue, only to find that one of them was incorrect!

  14. tupu says:

    Otter. Thanks for the kind thought.
    Unfortunately I was just careless with sober but it was quickly sorted – perhaps some sort of subconscious link to centre/center etc. and sobriety. It was an extremely easy clue and one can mentally move on too quickly to the next one in such cases.

  15. Stella Heath says:

    I’m sorry for those of you who like to be challenged on a daily basis, but I enjoyed this, as usual, though it’s true it was over a bit quickly.

    Maybe less so than for others, though, as I skipped over vital words like “night” (1a) and “leave” (12d) in my first reading!

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Not one of Rufus’ best, but when you’ve set as many puzzles as he has, you can be forgiven the odd bad day at the office.

  17. Bryan says:

    Otter @13

    SAFE SEAT refers both to the horsey thing and also to an electoral seat which is considered ‘safe’ when the incumbent has a healthy majority.

  18. FumbleFingers says:

    I know Monday’s puzzle is supposed to be relatively easy, but I was definitely underwhelmed by this one.

    Low points were SAFE SEAT, BLOODTHIRSTY, DENT, and UNFURLED. With the best will in the world, I can’t bring myself to pick out any high points.

  19. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.
    The usual mixed bag from Rufus with a lot of elegant surfaces and a couple of really good cryptic definitions(5 down and 21 down).Unfortunately,as already pointed out some of the cryptic definitions weren’t particularly cryptic!
    Always have trouble with “restaurateur”,I am always trying to fit an N in it.
    Top clue,definately 3 down.

  20. Tony says:

    I thought 3dn was unfair. I don’t think “fleabites” is one word but hyphenated or two words surely? Or do we have mosquitobites and dogbites?

  21. crosser says:

    Thank you, Gaufrid, but could somebody please explain 13a (dent) and 16d (unfurled), both of which I got but I can’t see anything remotely cryptic. Many thanks.

  22. Gaufrid says:

    Like you I initially thought that the enumeration in 3dn must be wrong but then I remembered that hyphenated words are often enumerated as a single word in some papers/puzzles.

    However, this is immaterial. Whereas Chambers gives it as being hyphenated, Collins has it as a single word (COED only has flea-bitten).

  23. Gaufrid says:

    There is nothing much to explain as these are two that I would describe as being a simple/single definition.

    The only thing cryptic about 13ac is that “a hollow in a surface, caused by a blow” (Chambers) has been changed into ‘beaten hollow’, though perhaps with some intended misdirection to being ‘soundly thrashed’ in a sporting contest.

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Tony at no 20: interesting point, but on checking Collins it gives fleabite as one word, but flea-bitten as hyphenated. How illogical is that? We did have a brief discussion a day or two ago about two clues in the Grauniad and Indy which had the same answer: OPERAGOER and OPERA-GOER. Perhaps we should start a hyphen preservation society.

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Gaufrid and Crosser @ 21 and 23

    Rufus seems to be playing broadly the same game in both these cases. Instead of giving an apparently simple definition to which you have to find a ‘cryptic’ answer, he gives a definition that you think demands a cunning reply but in fact requires a literal answer. As with ‘beaten hollow’, ‘showing the flag’ also has a metaphorical meaning (demonstrating imperial power)which one is misdirected towards. In this case though, there is of course no shift from adverbial expression to noun as with ‘hollow’. But in both cases the trick seems to be to reverse the more common procedure, on which it depends for its effectiveness – i.e. the cryptic element lies in pretending to be cryptic. Perhaps one could use the term pseudo-cryptic in such cases, though whether one wants to encourage them is another matter.

  26. morpheus says:

    nice and straightforward means more time to watch the Tour de France! Keep it like this for another three weeks…

  27. Bryan says:

    Surely by not being cryptic, Rufus has set a new standard for being cryptic?

    Bravo Rufus!

  28. Al M says:

    Was briefly deflected from belfry, which I thought too simple, by thinking 2d was (D)yke. Unfurled: an insipid clue and dent! I felt beaten & hollow.

  29. Mr Beaver says:

    For 13a, I originally had FLAT which wasn’t great, but worked as well as DENT. Also (less plausibly) had WORK ROUND for 15d.
    The trouble is, when you expect some of the answers to be feeble semi-cds, there doesn’t seem a good reason not to put in less-than-satisfactory answers which turn out to be wrong.
    Maybe Rufus’s famed productivity comes at the expense of some rigour ?

  30. FumbleFingers says:

    tupu @25 – nicely put. I can’t say for sure Rufus deliberately pulled a double-bluff, but subjectively that was the experience from my side. So much so that even after I’d sighed and written in UNFURLED, I was reluctant to write DENT because it just seemed too facile. I thought, “there must be some subtle trick I’m just not seeing here”.

    I didn’t much like having to accept there actually wasn’t anything else, and I agree with your implied position that this isn’t a “device” (?!) we’d like to see promoted. I’m no Ximenean, (I didn’t carp about CAMELLIA being synonymed as “blooming”), but there ought to be some rules of engagement in the war between setter and solver.

    I imagine it’s quite difficult to compose satisfying puzzles at the level Rufus aims for, and I can’t believe all these perceived defects are caused by careless rushed work. Let’s hope this particular puzzle was just Rufus trying out some innovative (but not-quite-seaworthy) ideas that fell a bit flat.

  31. Martin H says:

    FumbleFingers, tupu – hi. This sort of clueing from Rufus (and from some others) is nothing new.

  32. tupu says:

    Hi FumbleFingers.

    Many thanks. After suggesting pseudo-cryptic @ 25, I began to think ‘bluff’ was also an apt term (‘double bluff’ may well be better). The ‘definitions’ seem carefully chosen as ones where the metaphorical meaning has become rather more usual than the simple literal one. At the same time, it is true that the setter is then freed from the burden of discovering a genuinely cryptic answer!
    How acceptable this is seems central to the very mixed reactions to this puzzle and I suspect, with you, that a device that leaves so many ‘unamused’ should be used with more caution.

    Hi Martin H. Thanks. I’m sure it must have happened before. I think the main point is that its a bit cleverer (though not necessarily more acceptable) than some comments suggest.
    :) At the same time, I am sadly aware that my last attempt at seeing something ‘clever’ (Crucible’s ref. to Arthur Ashe’s heart trouble) seems to have been ‘an unforced error’!

  33. jg says:

    Thanks to Rufus for giving me my first completed guardian crossoword. Have got within a couple of clues numerous times but finally scrambled over the line. Bring it on Orlando.

    Good site by the way, invaluable to the learner.

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