Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,120 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on September 20th, 2010


A nice puzzle to start the week with. There are three clues which have rather tricky words in them (9a, 3d and 7d) but otherwise I think this should have been pretty straightforward. I particularly enjoyed three of the simpler but very elegant clues: 19a, 23d and 25a.

9. ANCHORAGE Double definition: the capital of Alaska [Oops - schoolboy error - thanks to John for pointing out that the capital is Juneau, of course], and one of the definitions of “road” in Chambers is “an anchorage in an area of sea protected by guns, etc.”
10. AGILE I L = “I left” in AGE = “time”
11. CALL OUT Double definition
12. DEAD END Double definition
13. DRIVE DIVE = “Plunge” around R = “right”
14. FAT CHANCE Cryptic definition
16. EGG AND SPOON RACE Cryptic definition
19. STREAKING An entertaining cryptic definition
21. ISAAC [v]ISA “Numberless Visa” + AC = “bill”
22. RONDEAU (AN ODE)* in RU = “game”
23. TEAR GAS (GREAT)* + AS = “when”
24. CRASS ASS = “fool” after CR = “credit”
25. FISHERMAN SHE in FIRM = “company” + AN
1. FANCY DRESS FANCY = “Desire” + DRESS = “clothing”
2. SCALPING Cryptic definition
3. MOROSE MORSE = “Walrus” around O[ysters]; a nice reference to “The Walrus and the Carpenter”
4. BAIT I = “one” in BAT = “club”
6. MARATHON Double definition
7. PIGEON Double definition: the first part is tricky – one of the definitions of “pidgin” (with “pigeon” as an alternative spelling) is given in Chambers as “affair, concern”
8. NEED Last letters of “on the one hand”
14. FISTICUFFS Cryptic definitions
15. EXERCISING EXCISING = “cutting” around ER = “hesitation
18. AWAY GAME Cryptic definition
20. RENTAL Cryptic definition: “letter” as in “one who lets [a property]“
21. IMAGES I’M + AGES = “a long time”
22. RACK Double definition
23. TASK A very neat clue: Odd letters of “ThAt’S oK”

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,120 / Rufus”

  1. rrc says:

    i failed on rental but must admit it was an excellent way to spend half an on bondi beach

  2. Bryan says:

    Very many thanks mhl I found this somewhat trickier than the usual Rufus and I guessed PIGEON because nothing else seemed to fit.

    Until I had got some crossing letters, I had at first assumed that 9a would have been a city in the UK.

  3. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks mhl. I guessed ‘morose’ and ‘pigeon’ without any idea why they might be right until your blog. Both seem a tad obscure for a Monday puzzle, though admittedly neither held up solving the rest of the grid. Thought the 14s were both quite cute, if not exactly LOL.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    We can usually expect at least one nautical reference in a Rufus puzzle. He introduced us to this meaning of ‘road’ in the Bank Holiday puzzle: he clued INROADS with ‘hostile incursions where the fleet lies at anchor?’

    I knew the expression, ‘It’s not my pigeon’ but I don’t think I’ve heard it for a while.

  5. mhl says:

    Ah, thanks for the INROADS reminder, Eileen – I thought we’d had something similar recently, but couldn’t place it.

    Bryan: similarly, I thought NEWCASTLE might be possible for 9a until crossing letters ruled it out…

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, mhl. Took a while to get going with this one, but once a few fell into place the rest was reasonably straightforward. Many excellent surfaces as usual; I thought 25ac was the best.

    I too guessed MOROSE and PIGEON. In French,’un morse’ is a walrus, but I’d never come across the word used in English. A day that goes by where you don’t learn something is a day wasted, as our mam used to say.

  7. ray says:

    rrc@1 I failed on RENTAL as well, but a wet Cumbria is a rather less attractive location

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks, mhl and Rufus.

    Last to go in was ‘pigeon’, and I needed the blog to understand it. I’d also forgotten that meaning of ‘road’ for ‘anchorage’.

    Other than that, no problems with this Monday stroll, and more than a few smiles. I particularly liked 14ac and 21ac.

  9. John says:

    Thanks for the blog mhl. BTW the capital of Alaska is actually Juneau.

  10. mhl says:

    John: d’oh! Of course – thanks, I’ve corrected that.

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    One can but agree on the above. Strangely my last one in was BAIT because I went completely brain dead re club/bat. Sigh, ring those nice men in the white coats!

  12. liz says:

    Thanks mhl. I only remembered that Eileen previously pointed out that ‘road’ could be ‘anchorage’ after spending ages on 9ac. Hopefully it will stick now! 3dn and 7dn were also unfamiliar.

    My favourite was 25ac — very elegant.

  13. Daniel Miller says:

    A nice light start to the week and only the definition of Pigeon eluded me (although it had to be the only realistic answer – having dismissed Wigeon as a potential alternative)

  14. Martin H says:

    ‘Headstrong’ was a nice anagram, and there were one or two smooth bits of wordplay, but really it was all rather dull. I like your comment on ‘streaking’, mhl: ‘an entertaining cd’; well, if you say so, but you at least imply that most of them aren’t; and we did get a bumper crop of Rufus’s old turnips this week – plough them back in, I say.

  15. Pete M says:

    I’m a complete beginner to cryptic crosswords and managed to solve most of this puzzle. After reading through these explanations of the answers, I understand them all bar one.
    22ac – I’m struggling to see how RU = “game”, can someone explain this to me?

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    You’ll kick yourself, Rugby Union!

  17. mhl says:

    Pete M: RU is “Rugby Union”. Something that looks like a two letter game is often RU or GO. (I can’t think of any other common ones at the moment.)

  18. Pete M says:

    Thanks for the help, seems so simple now! Have noted these down for future reference.

  19. slipstream says:

    I live in Anchorage, but spent a long time staring at 9A and trying to think of cities in northern England . . .

  20. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Why does Morse = Walrus?

  21. Mr Beaver says:

    I too, put in MOROSE without knowing why – morse=walrus was new to me – I wondered if it was something to do with the Inspector…
    Also failed to parse 25a, thinking that the ‘She’ from the clue was the HER in the clue, meaning that ‘company’ had to be FISM !
    I’m surprised that PIGEON as in ‘it’s not my pigeon’ caused such blankness – as it’s expression I use quite often at work. Especially in that particular phrase :)

  22. Mr Beaver says:

    PnP (@20) – The Imperial Reference dictionary gives ‘the walrus’ as one meaning of MORSE. From the Finnish, apparently. As K’s D says, you live and learn…

  23. Tees says:

    The old ‘means of communication with walrus’ gag, eh? All right, pop pickers.

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