Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25132 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on October 4th, 2010


A tougher than normal puzzle from Rufus, I thought, but perhaps just because of quite a few gaps in my knowledge. (See below.) Very smooth surface readings, as ever – my particular favourite is 28 across, I think

1. COLOMBO (BOOM)* after COL = “depression”; if the COLOMBO referred to is the one in Sri Lanka, Wikipedia suggest that this should be “Former capital” rather than “Capital”
10. MACE M[ichael] = “Michael’s first” + ACE = “card”
11. BRIDEGROOM Cryptic definition
12. GODIVA GO = “spirit” + AVID = “keen” reversed; Lady Godiva was protesting about taxes
13. MAILBOAT Cryptic definition: a “packet” is a boat
14. AYATOLLAH ATOLL = “Bikini, say” in AYAH = “nurse”
16. FLEET Double definition
17. SPRAT Cryptic definition: apparently “to use a sprat to catch a mackerel” is an expression meaning to make a small outlay for a large gain (or something like that)
19. CONCEITED CITED = “Called” (?) around ONCE = “on one occasion”
23. IN FAVOUR Double definition
24. OBJECT Double definition
26. SANDCASTLE Cryptic definition: “Keep” as in “castle”
27. KISS Cryptic definition: “bringer of life” referring to “the kiss of life”
28. KEYNOTE The tonic in music would be the “key note”; also referring to the KEYNOTE speech at a conference, for instance
2. ORATORY OR = “alternative” + A TORY = “a politician”
3. OBELI OBI IBO = “Nigerian tribesmen” around LE = “the French” all reversed; an obelus is a dagger in the typographic sense. Update: thanks to tupu for pointing out that this should be IBO – Chambers confirms that, and clearly I was misremembering the meaning of OBI
4. BOBTAIL Another expression I didn’t know: Chambers says as one definition for BOBTAIL: “Applied in contempt to the rabble, as in ragtag and bobtail”
6. LIES IN LIE = “falsehood” + SIN = “evil”
7. GARIBALDI GI = “Soldier” around RIBALD = “licentious”
8. STORAGE AG = “silver” in STORE = “reserve”; one meaning of STORAGE in the OED is “Rent paid for warehousing”, so a “Charge”
9. FIRM FAVOURITE Double definition
18. PINNACE A new word for me: INN + “Place to drink” in PACE = “speed”
20. CHOLERA CHOLER = “Anger” + A
21. ENCASED CASE = “trial” in END = “the final days”
22. HOBART BAR = “Advocates” in HOT = “stolen”; HOBART is the capital of Tasmania
25. JOKER Cryptic definition / double definition? I’m not sure about this, because I’m not sure that the jokers in a pack of cards count as being in a particular suit. Perhaps if you view them as wildcards, that’s OK…

18 Responses to “Guardian 25132 / Rufus”

  1. Phil says:

    MHL – thanks for the blog. 4 Down: Clearly you are not a baby boomer who watched the TV series – Rag, Tag and Bobtail.–kYGbHl1w

    Pretty normal Rufus really which is good fun.

  2. Mr. Jim says:

    Thanks to mhl and Rufus.

    I don’t think SPRAT really works here — is it really a cryptic defenition?
    SANDCASTLEs don’t really get “liquidated”, but that is a minor complaint.
    Agree with mhl about JOKER.

    24a I originally put in TARGET, which works just as well (this is why it’s bad to have double defs that are too close to one another).

    Despite all this, I actually quite liked the puzzle as a whole.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, mhl. A Rufus is always a pleasure on a Monday morning.

    I too went straight to the solution in 4dn from Watch with Mother – thanks for the link at no 1, Phil. mhl, look away now, because you’re too young. The programme takes you back to the early 1960s, with black and white television, sex-role stereotyping, and received pronunciation on the BBC.

    For a bonus point, what was the name of the dog in The Woodentops? (No googling allowed.) And don’t get me started on flub-a-lub, but they took the same weekday slot that Dac normally occupies for the Indy.

    Sorry. I can just feel a bit of a reminiscence coming on.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    It’s a long time since a Rufus did for me, but I really wasn’t on the same wavelength with this one, better retire gracefully to the Quiptic (after reminiscing as above!). Still, the ones I managed were fun!

  5. kpbw says:

    Spotty Dog! Happy days!

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Rufus

    A good puzzle.

    3d is I suspect more complicated than you say.
    Obi (also Oba)is a title of chiefship in some parts of Nigeria and I had first thought that this was meant though it does not seem wholly satisfactory since not many people are likely to know that outside Nigeria.
    BUT obi is also Ibo (an internationally well known Nigerian tribal name) backwards and I suspect the ‘up’ may refer to both the French article and this.

    I had not thought about ‘joker’ but a glance at a handy card pack suggests you are right.

    I first thought of ‘target’ for 24a but this does not worry me. It is a crossword so one can wait to see what fits with what.

    I agree with Mr Jim that 17a (‘sprat’) is not a cryptic definition but this was a nice clue none the less in my opinion.

    Others that raised a Monday morning smile were 12,19,26,28 and 9.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    kpbw at no 5: no bonus point I’m afraid. It was ‘the very biggest spotty dog you ever did see!’ But you’re right, happy (and perhaps in terms of children’s programmes) more innocent days.

  8. sidey says:

    One use of a joker is to replace a lost card, so they could end up in a suit.

    And I can do a fair spotty dog impression when I’ve had a sherry. But not the ears.

  9. walruss says:

    There are usually two jokers per dweck, one black and one red, so they can serve in either of the two black or red suits.

  10. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for explaining the “Watch With Mother” reference – indeed, I’m only (?) 34, so it was a bit before my time… :)

  11. tupu says:

    Hi mhl and KDad

    The first OED ref to rag, tag and bobtail (in that case ‘tag, rag and bobtail’) is from Sam Pepys in 1659. Byron 1820 is the first with ‘rag, tag and bobtail’ itself.

    A comment from you as blogger or anyone else re Obi/Ibo @ 6 would be much appreciated.

  12. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Rufus and mhl. I agree with Tupu on the Ibo question at 3d. 26a – although it was mentioned in the blog, I thought it natural that a sandcastle might be liquidated. Isn’t that how they come to an end?


  13. Phil says:

    For what it’s worth I interpreted 3 down as Tupu at 6 though I didn’t check the dictionary before entering.

    My Chambers gives Ibo as a Negro people of SE Nigeria which I knew from somewhere – probably the Biafran War which is almost but not quite as long ago as Rag, Tag and Bobtail, the programme. Whilst obi (no capital letter) is defined as a witchcraft and poisoning practised in various places not including Nigeria. However obiman and obiwoman are listed as being of W African origin.

  14. John Doe says:

    26d: JOKER

    Any possible reference to the Batman series, where the JOKER often wore a distinctive suit?

  15. mhl says:

    tupu, grandpuzzler & Phil: sorry for not correcting 6 down earlier – I’m sure you’re right, even if the construction (with up in the middle) is a little unusual.

  16. tupu says:

    Hi mhl
    Thanks. As you say the construction is a little unusual if Ibo< is meant. Otherwise, as I say, one has to have a much more obscure reference to 'obi' as 'tribal chief' which is only mentioned in the OED as far as I'm aware. To add to the confusion, it is found among the Ibo!

  17. easy peasy not says:

    As often with Rufus, completed loads quickly but failed to finish. Some nice clues – liked popular pro.

    A subliminal reference to Michael Heseltine in 10 ac ? (he grabbed the mace in the House of Commons)

  18. Roger says:

    Thanks mhl. Unable to reach a PC yesterday so am rather late here. (The building seems empty but at least the door is open !)

    OBELI and BRIDEGROOM sound a bit familiar from the recent past (wish the latter had been FIRE-RAISER !), good to see the ‘nauticals’ creeping in again, liked the implied storyline in 14 and the idea of HAYRIDEs. If 26 is a reference to the in-coming tide (agreed, grandpuzzler), perhaps “it may soon be liquidated” would be better since it all depends on how far up the beach you build the thing.

    All said a fair puzzle, although no real sparkle for me. Simply an ok Rufus … “O’Krufus”, anyone ?

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