Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,096 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on August 23rd, 2010


Very easy fare from Rufus today, but lots of his characteristically smooth surface readings. A nice gentle start to the week – thanks Rufus..

1. FORMAL A L after FORM
5. DEAD LOSS Double definition
10. LITTER Double definition
13. REIN RE (Royal Engineers = sappers) + IN. The definition is “control of cavalry”.
14. EARLOBES EARL + O.B.E.S. Earrings may be clipped to the lobe
17. PARANOIA Cryptic defnition
18. DODO DO (act) twice
20. SATISFACTION Reference to “I demand satisfaction!” when challenging someone to a duel.
23. VIGOUR VIGO (a port in Galicia) + [ho]UR
24. URBANITY Double definition
25. SNUFF IT Double definition
26. DIEPPE DIE (finish) + PPE (Philosophy, politics and economics – also known as “Modern Greats” at Oxford)
3. MACEDONIA MACE (staff) + DON (professor) + A1 reversed
4. LEEWAY [General Robert E] LEE + WAY (means)
5. DETAILED ACCOUNT The mice were “de-tailed” by the farmer’s wife. I’m sure I’ve seen something like this before..
8. SPEARHEADS Cryptic defnition – presumably spears are used by (what used to be known as) “savages”.
15. ORDINANCE I in ORDNANCE – a very familiar construction
19. AIR BED Cryptic defnition
21. IN-OFF IN (batting) + OFF (opposite side to “on” or “leg” in cricket)
22. STEP Double definition

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,096 – Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew. As you said, ‘Very Gentle’.

    Indeed, once again today’s Quiptic is rather more challenging.

  2. KB Pike says:

    I get absolutely no satisfaction from solving such an easy puzzle. And why should Monday’s puzzle be any easier than the rest of the week?

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    A well constructed puzzle, comparatively easy and undemanding. KBPike does not seem able to accept the reality that lots of people like Rufus’s puzzles enormously and not everyone enjoys a hard slog every day. I enjoy and regularly solve hard puzzles but am prepared to live and let live and don’t mind a bit of variety.
    Several clues raised a smile inc. 11, 26 (I had no difficulties with PPE but wondered if some others might), and 19.

  4. shuchi says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. I liked this puzzle, gentle as you say, with some elegant clues like 11a, 14a and 12d.

    Isn’t there a grammatical problem with the surface of 16d: “Swindle companies and acknowledges it”?

  5. Stella Heath says:

    I agree shuchi, it does sound odd, though I’m not quite sure how it could be remedied . Maybe ‘Almost swindles…’?

    As always with Rufus, this had some vey neat surfaces, apart from that mentioned, and was a gentle stroll – in fact, I should have done it as practice for the Quiptic.

    Thanks Rufus. And for those who don’t enjoy ‘easy’ puzzles, I suggest you take Mondays off.Personally, I look forward to them.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Andrew. I didn’t find it quite as easy as you, but it certainly wasn’t too tricky. There were the usual fine surfaces which I always enjoy with Rufus.

    And for someone, somewhere out there today this will have been the first cryptic that they’ve ever managed, and they’ll have a big fat smile on their face. So maybe those that found it far too easy can cast their mind back to when they had that experience and acknowledge that cryptics have to appeal to solvers with a wide range of ability.

  7. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Fairly easy, as you say, but I don’t mind that, especially when there are many elegant and witty surfaces.

  8. tupu says:

    Hi K’s Dad

    Well put, if I may say so – as too Stella, Shuchi et al.

    BTW. I think I sorted out ‘thump’ yesterday.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks for th blog, Andrew.

    I quite liked 5d, the mice one, and 18a DODO, but not so keen on 19d AIR BED and is 8d of questionable PC?

    Last one was 17a which reflected my state as I thought I was going to fail on this.

  10. Stella says:

    Hi Dave Ellison

    I think cd is justified in 8d, in that the spearhead is, figuratively, the lead or point of an attack, and savages would have used spears in their attacks, the points being the spearheads.

    Actually, I thought it was quite neat.

  11. Andrew says:

    Stella, I think the objection Dave is referring to, which I also alluded to in the blog, is that “savages” is a rather outdated term, verging on the racially offensive.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Easy, indeed.
    My last one to go in was SATISFACTION, because nothing else fitted [never challenged someone for a duel].

    Sometimes I find the English language rather strange.
    Chambers [and Andrew, many thanks!] give(s) us EARLOBES, while Oxford splits the word [like Rufus] into EAR LOBES. Aren’t there rules for it?

    3d (MACEDONIA) could be a reason to restart the ‘ON’-discussion, because in a Down clue ‘professor on staff’ normally (which is 90% of the cases) leads to DONMACE.
    But let’s nót restart it – I know how it works.

    My last little problem was with URBANITY (24ac).
    The word means ‘courtesy’, of course.
    But what about the second part of the clue?
    Chambers gives us ‘town-life’ for URBANITY, while ‘a person who lives in a town or city’ is called ‘urbanite’.
    Probably Rufus means ‘something of the townsman’, but I’m not completely happy with that.

    My Clues of the Day: the nice anagrams of 11ac (DRAWING APART) and 12d (SEPARATION) [which yearns for a clue that’s even better] and the appropriate surface of 1ac (FORMAL).

  13. Martin H says:

    Rufus made a strange assertion in a post here two weeks ago. He said that some solvers might not like cryptic definitions because they demand lateral thinking. He went on to defend cd’s as a legitimate and accepted way of clueing. I often complain about cd’s, not because they are not legitimate, or because they involve lateral thinking. The lateral thinking element, which is of course central to cd’s, often appears in more complex clues as well. The problem is that clues which rely solely on this method are so often so poorly done: they are perhaps too obvious (not the same thing as simple by the way); or too contrived; or only get half the job done, as with 5d today; or rely on a feeble pun, as 8d (and indeed 5d again). I enjoy a good cd, one which doesn’t have these weaknesses: I think it was Arachne who clued ‘colour scheme’ recently. Today’s 19d works pretty well, and 17a is neat.

    Also very good: REIN and DODO. These are the sort of clues Rufus can do really well.

    I agree with Sil about URBANITY, but a decent puzzle overall.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Dave Ellison

    Yes. I don’t suppose Rufus meant any harm, but savages (implied here) is an outdated term and pretty rude these days especially if applied to people simply because they use spears, rather than automatic weapons and WOMD. It has of course tended to be used immodestly about others rather than ourselves.

  15. tupu says:

    Hi Sil and Martin H

    Re urbanity. I’m sure Sil is right that the second sense is slaightly clumsily ‘of the townsman’. This ties in to the above re savages, involving as it does the assertion of a superiority of one type of culture over another. The word ‘peasant’ is part of the same picture, as ultimately is ‘civilised’ with its roots in the ‘city state’.

  16. Jim says:

    Spent 5 minutes pondering 24ac, opting for urbanitE rather than urbanitY.

  17. Headteacher says:

    I agree with Pikey at #2. All of you who got so exercised about the challenge of Friday’s puzzle should be well pleased today.

  18. tupu says:

    Dear Headteacher

    :) Apologies if your comment (and/or your title) is a well-concealed joke!

    Enough was said about all this last week – and its you and Pikey as you call him who currently appear to be ‘exercised’.

    My own position was mildly critical, but on the whole I feel more sympathy for those who find that something is beyond them than for those who crow about their own superior talent.

  19. Brigadier Carruthers says:

    tupu@3, I’m with you. I quite enjoyed completing this at speed, though I wouldn’t want one like this every day. Equally, I enjoyed the torture of Fraday’s Pasquale even though I refused at the last fence. Life would be pretty dull if everything was arranged perfectly for my skill level. It’s the taking part, as the actress said to the casting director.

  20. Stella says:

    Hi tupu,

    Rather than adding anything more I’d like to give you a ‘thumbs up’ for all your comments!

  21. tupu says:

    Hi Brigadier and Stella


    :) Brigadier – I’m surprised she had any time to talk to the director when she was usually so busy with the bishop!

  22. Stella says:

    Sil @ 12: “Sometimes I find the English language rather strange.”

    I can assure you you’re not alone. I don’t teach any more, but I’m sure the majority of my students would agree with you.

    It comes from our unique, island history and the eclectic nature of speech in general. Take a base of Celtic/Goth/Dane or whatever Anglosaxon was, paste on 11th century French (quite different from Latin, but irrecognisable nowadays) and keep the two apart for four centuries. Add a learned class who generally spoke low Latin, rather than Classical, mix up syntax and etymology, and you have a people who, in order to understand one another, simplify everything, especially verb paradigms and noun gender and case.

    The language itself, though, has become immensely richer, and continues to do so with the arrival of a German king, the discovery of new lands and the creation of colonies which later become empire… and the syntactic simplicity paves the way for the absorption of new words and phrases.

    Also, there is no national academy to ensure correct usage, as were created in France and Spain during the Enlightenment; and one Webster, seeing this absence of orthography, created a dictionary which was later adopted by the U.S.A as its official reference.

    English is not just strange – as far as I know, it is unique among the Indoeuropean languages.

  23. otter says:

    I enjoyed this rather more than I usually do Rufus’s puzzles. It wasn’t too hard, but I found the surface readings particularly neat in a lot of cases, and I don’t think there were any I disliked in a crossword way (although like some others I was a little discomfited by the use of ‘savages’ – neat word play, but a little dubious ethically).

    I gained particular satisfaction from 20a (sorry), which was a lovely cd, I thought. I got the sense of it straight away but was thinking along the lines of ‘quo vadis?’ etc, did smile when I got it. A few weaker clues, eg AIR BED and DODO, but I didn’t mind them too much.

    Agree with the comments above that the weekly spread of crosswords should offer something for solvers of different degrees of skill; if I’d known that Monday=Rufus=more doable when I’d been starting on the road to crossword solving, I’d probably have improved a lot more quickly rather than for years staring at puzzles and usually giving up.

  24. stiofain says:

    No nautical refs from Rufus today unless you count the tenuous ports. Im another who likes the varied difficulty levels and if it wasnt for successes with Rufus in my early days of solving I might not have stuck with cryptics.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    The reason we have Rufus on Mondays is simple, it is the editor’s stated policy to start the week easy and wind up the pain as the week progresses. Sometimes one might query the order of appearance, but there is no point querying what is stated policy except directly with the editor.

    I had a nightmare afternoon trying to adapt my website code to a different piece of web composing software which seemed hell bent on being contrary, so I pleasant romp before tea with a Rufus was much appreciated. Perhaps the more expert should leave the Monday crossword till they are knackered and in no mood to think, it may seem more fun that way.

    What a shame the answer to 1ac wasn’t NO+VICE :) The clue doesn’t quite hang together then, but the thought amused me at the time.

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi Derek

    We had ‘A perfect beginner?’ [6] in the Quantum puzzle last Wednesday. :-)

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    That’s probably why it was “front of mind”!

    For one strange moment, when I saw my name there, I thought we were in for something esoteric about web authoring. I’m cracking up.

  28. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    Another pretty straightforward puzzle from Rufus.Although I usually find it a very quick solve there are always enough witty clues to make it enjoyable.
    I share MartinH’s reservations about 5 down,as he says it only does half a job,the second part of the answer being totally unclued.I didn’t know PPE but fairly obvious with checking letters in place.My favourite clue was 7 down,very clever I thought.Also liked SATISFACTION for it’s archaic surface.
    I agree that having puzzles of different levels of difficulty is a good thing.My wife has only recently started attempting cryptics and she was much encouraged by cracking some of the easier puzzles and can now get to grips with some of the more difficult setters.

  29. Mister Sting says:

    To return to the savages debate…

    Of course it’s an outdated term, but it’s describing an outdated world. It’s an in-character reference to the past.

    I haven’t noticed a lot of conflicts involving spears on either side, so I think we can spare ourselves the hairshirt “we are the savages” charade.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Mister Sting
    A puzzling comment. I am not sure whose or what ‘character’ it is in. Also what does ‘either side’ refer to?

    But that aside, one does not have to don a hair shirt, or generalise about who are or are not ‘savages’, in order to realise or assert that ‘savagery’ does not begin or stop with the development or adoption of more powerful weaponry. It does however tend to become more far-reaching and effective.

  31. Ed says:

    Worrying that this was supposedly easy. I found it very difficult to begin (much harder than some of last week’s crosswords). What’s wrong with me?!

  32. Dozer says:

    Well I managed to solve 5ac straightaway, but had no ideas for any of the rest, so came here. With hindsight, could maybe have solved a few more, but 9ac – ‘everyone is absorbed in the trial case’ => EACH TEST => TEACHEST – I don’t think I’d have extracted ‘each’ from ‘everyone’!

    23ac – VIGO+UR – how does one go about learning that there is a place in the world called Vigo?

    I was feeling quite proud for solving the cryptic crossword in my local paper last week but it seems that even a ‘very simple’ Grauniad crossword is several leagues above!

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