Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,078 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on August 2nd, 2010


A typically straightforward Rufus, with the usual generous sprinkling of double and cryptic definitions and anagrams, with some nice touches. Nothing too controversial, I think.


1 CROESUS: anagram of SOURCES: the wealthy king of Lydia whose disastrous Delphic response I mentioned last Wednesday.
2   SOURCES: anagram of CRUSOE’S
9   MANET: reversal of 10 a.m.
10 ABOUT TURN: cryptic definition
11  DETERGENTS: DETER [put off] GENTS [public conveniences: [something of a crossword cliché but a rather better clue than some I’ve seen].
12  HEIR: cryptic definition
21  COCK: double definition
22  GET THE SACK: cryptic definition, the ‘bag’ being the quantity of game taken in a shoot.
25  PASTORALE: ORAL [said] in PASTE [dough]. I wonder if anyone else spent time saying this word aloud, trying to hear a homophone?
26  UNTIE: reversal of IT in [j]UNE: a nicely constructed clue.
27 TINY TOT: double definition
28  ABYSSES: BY in ASSES [beasts of burden


1   COMEDY: M[iddle] E[ast] in CODY [William] ‘Buffalo Bill’, the American soldier, bison hunter and showman
2   ORNATE: N[orth] in ORATE [hold forth]
3   SATURNALIA: anagram of Australian:  ‘a period or occasion of wild revelry’, from the ancient Roman festival celebrated in December
4   STAKE: double definition
5   SHORT WAVE: anagram of OVER WHAT’S
6   UP TO: anagram of PUT + O [nothing
CAUSEWAY: CAUSE [reason] + WAY [method]
8   SENTRIES: S[outhern] + ENTRIES [gates]
13  ESTATE DUTY: double definition: in the UK, this is now called Inheritance Tax.
15  IN THE PAST: H[ospital] in anagram of PATIENTS: another nicely constructed clue.
17  CLOCKS IN: cryptic definition
19 MANTIS: cryptic definition: a tropical insect colloquially called the ‘praying mantis’, because it rests with the first pair of legs raised, as if in prayer.
20  SKIERS: R[ight] in SKIES [the heavens]: my instinct [should I ever need to use the word!] would have been to spell it SKYERS, to distinguish it from people who go on skis – and I’ve just seen that that is the first spelling given in Chambers. It’s not one of the better clues, I think.
23  THETA: HE in TT [Tourist Trophy – annual motorcycle race in the Isle of Man] + A
24  COLT: C[ommanding] O[fficer] + LT [lieutenant]

38 Responses to “Guardian 25,078 / Rufus”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen (and Rufus)
    An early comment since there’s a busy day ahead with visiting granddaughter.
    Pretty straightforward pleasant Monday morning fare.
    Like you I was ‘listening’ for homophones at first in 25a (nicely misleading).
    Other enjoyable clues were 5a, 9, 11, 14, 5d, and 6.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Gentle enough stuff from Rufus to ease us into the week, I thought. Some will have found it too easy, but for beginning and improving solvers it should be just right. There were some cliched clues – DETERGENTS, CRACKPOT, COCK for example, but of course they’re only cliches when you’ve seen them a few times.

    I liked VATICAN STATE and HEIR. Certainly from a cricket point of view, I’d write SKIERS; fielding with skis on is tricky so I don’t think there would be a risk of confusion.

    To answer your question at 25ac: yes.

  3. Richard says:

    Thanks for the early blog, Eileen.
    I very enloyable start to the week. Nicely crafted. I must say that I’ve never heard ‘balls hit high’ referred to as ‘skiers’, though.

  4. Myrvin says:

    Started well. Ground to a halt. Ground out the rest.
    Last one in was 5d – I didn’t understand it. I do now, Thanks Eileen.
    Had CRACKERS for 16d, before correcting it.

  5. Orange says:

    I think Rufus also had in mind that a gamekeeper might also “get the sack” if there weren’t enough game available – for that reason, my favourite clue!

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi Orange

    Yes, I did mean to imply that, by calling it a cryptic definition.

    We almost had a theme here, with 21,22 and 13dn [and if Mellors had been called Ron, rather than Oliver…! :-) ]

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen, your knowledge of David Herbert Lawrence’s novels is impeccable, but your imagination is, a bit like Oliver Mellors perhaps, far too fertile this morning …

  8. Myrvin says:

    Dear dear. Just spotted the double anagram in 1 & 2a. Clever!

  9. Myrvin says:

    …1 & 5 across.

  10. Mark says:

    I would have thought it was “clocks on” rather than “clocks in”, not that it makes much difference.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Mark

    I nearly said in the blog that I used the ‘cheat’ button to check the intended solution: Chambers gives both.

  12. Orange says:

    Eileen, can you not add 18 to your list of “themed” clues?!
    btw, I didn’t explain myself too well, because I liked the 2 ways of reading 22, that if a bag is too small, use a sack (which gave me the answer), and then noticed the getting fired idea. Clever.

  13. Eileen says:

    Orange, we don’t seem to be on the same wavelength: I already have, to K’s D’s disgust!

  14. Myrvin says:

    18? There is no 18a. Eileen has a 15a.

  15. JohnR says:

    25 PASTORALE – Eileen’s “not a homphone” fooled me, until I looked at today’s Quiptic, 4dn. Hectence uses the same device – ORAL clued by “spoken of” instead of Rufus’s “said”.

  16. Eileen says:


    My mistake – corrected now.

  17. walruss says:

    Were there a lot of anagrams in this? It seemed so, but then again Rufus is not shy of that clue-type! An okay solve, then!

  18. Myrvin says:

    1a & 5a: Andy’s anagrams lists:-
    Could have had a field day.

  19. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Eileen. A typical rapid but enjoyable Rufus solve.

    As a runner I am used to TT for “time trial” which got me there albeit by a different path.

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen at no 13 – not disgust at all, just jealousy that I didn’t think of it first! Just been re-reading Sons and Lovers, so your original comment raised a smile.

  21. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen

    I didn’t like VATICAN STATE, even though Vatican City was/is one of the papal states

  22. Rishi says:

    Clue 11ac reads: Cleaners put off by public conveniences (10)

    Just one question:

    Wouldn’t it have worked even if it were ‘public convenience’?

    I can’t imagine such a facility having the sign GENT on the door.

  23. Rog says:

    Amusingly, a public convenience operated by Camden Council in Lincoln’s Inn Fields sports a sign reading GENTLEMENS.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    I think Rufus has been solving too many of Paul’s puzzles.
    A reference to another clue, a lavatorial reference, a sexual reference, deary me. Had to smile.

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Rishi & Rog
    I wonder if we are almost back in anode’s/anodes territory again. The Camden sign would be more or less OK with an apostrophe before the ‘s’. :) I suspect there may be short, if not caught-short, forms of ‘gentlemen’ and ‘gentlemen’s’ naughtily lurking about in ‘the Gents’.

  26. Carrots says:

    It`s usually possible to complete a Rufus puzzle without hesitation (with the exception of his usual “sting in the tail” clue). Not today, though. I stumbled over quite a few, over-hastily entering not-quite-right answers before coming up against PASTORALE, which I was so convinced was a homophone (for PASTA) that my puzzle remains uncompleted in Rufus`s honour. Well done Rufus…may we both live to fight again another Monday!

  27. Myrvin says:

    RE Gents. Chambers definitely has ‘gents’ as the plural of gent; and gents’ for the “public lavatory”.
    So gents use the toilets for men as ladies use those for women. But the conveniences are the gents’ and the ladies’ respectively.

  28. Myrvin says:

    … But the OED has gents, without the apostrophe. And ladies too.

  29. tupu says:

    Thanks Myrvin.
    I think we’re dealing with a colloquialism whose true home is in everyday spoken language without authoritative written conventions – plus the fact that the state of the apostrophe is in tatters! However, a brief stroll through the history of that wayward symbol (from C16/17 in English) suggests that it was ever thus, apart from some Victorian efforts to impose a bit of discipline upon it.

  30. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I thought this was a marvellous puzzle from Rufus who doesn’t always get the credit he deserves. Yes, it was on the easy side but there are always two or three clues which stump me. Took me a while to see CAUSEWAY and HEIR and I failed to get MANTIS.

    Rufus is definitely the master of the smooth surface and even though most answers are relatively easy to get, the clue structures are often brilliant. Let’s see his detractors emulate his clue writing ability.

    Among loads of smooth surfaces, my favourites were ABOUT TURN which made me smile, SATURNALIA and IN THE PAST which was just brilliant.

    This puzzle showed Rufus in top form. Thanks for the entertainment.

  31. Daniel Miller says:

    Monday stuff. :) Enjoyable tho’

  32. rrc says:

    I liked this – particularly 11a, 14a, 26a 3d, 13d 16d


  33. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    I really enjoyed this puzzle.Not difficult but with some lovely clues and not one dodgy cryptic definition!
    I like your “Chatterley” idea,it hadn’t occured to me but does give a nice extra dimension to the puzzle.
    17 down is one of those rare clues where 2 (slightly different)answers are both correct – I’d entered CLOCKS ON.
    Favourite clues 9 across and the excellent 22 across.

  34. easy peasy not says:

    Was grateful for many easy clues after the debacle of Saturday’s puzzle which is still rebuking me from the kitchen table. But today fell short on stake and heir. A cheer for one clue not mentioned so far I don’t think – the droll 27a.
    PS – am pleased to have found this excellent website.

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Monday stuff? Yes, of course [it’s Monday].
    Easy? Yes, I think so.
    And everything else [well, a lot of what I think] has been said by Davy (# 30).

    My PinC always says that Rufus is very good at using the English language to full advantage [or something like that].
    I think she’s right.
    A clue like 15d [of which Davy says it is ‘just brilliant’] is indeed just brilliant.
    Easy, I know, but every word is in the right place and well-chosen, including the very appropriate anagrind.

    Another winner was GET THE SACK [said the one that hates cd’s :) ].

    There were weak clues, too [like 17d or 19d], but more than enough to compensate these [apart from the ones already mentioned, e.g. 9ac, 5d].

    Only a pity about 1ac+5ac.
    It calls for an ellipsis, but it isn’t there.

  36. Eileen says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

    I admit to having got rather lost after Rishi’s comment#22, querying the plural: I think signs do usually say ‘[Public] Conveniences’ and I believe [never having entered therein] that GENTS [sic] does / do provide more than one facility.

    The discussion re the apostrophe is something of a red herring, surely?

    Many thanks, Rufus, for providing perhaps more enjoyment than was intended! 😉

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    I missed your late comment last night. While the length of my comment on apostrophes may be unwarranted, I am not sure it is a ‘red herring’. Myrvin’s explorations of Chambers and OED and my own instinct (that the ‘loo’ may be silent as in ‘gents’) still suggest otherwise. Of course it doesn’t alter the answer, and one doesn’t always have time to think about such things :).

    Hi Scarpia
    I personally went for clocks ‘in’ because it’s more faithful to ‘entrances’. See also the published solution.

  38. Barnaby Page says:

    Was I the only one who became so fixated on 14ac starting CAPITAL that it took me forever to get the (really rather obvious) VATICAN?

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