Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,144 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on October 18th, 2010


Another gentle start to the week from Rufus, with the customary combination of double and cryptic definitions and ingenious anagrams.

[If anyone was, like me, shilly-shallying before booking for the ‘Meet the setters event’  on 30th November and thinking there was plenty of time – there isn’t. I discovered yesterday it’s sold out. I’m furious with myself.]


1   CAPITAL: double definition
5   TRANSIT: anagram of START IN
9   ABACK: cryptic definition
10  TEACHABLE: EACH [‘a head’] in TABLE [board]
11  DON QUIXOTE: DON [assume] + X [ten] O [love] in QUITE [rather]
12  GRIT: double definition
18  PERAMBULATOR: cryptic definition
21  RANK: double definition
22  ABSOLUTELY: double definition
25 REDUNDANT: RED [communist] + UND [German ‘and’] + ANT [worker]
26  AMISH: AMIS [French ‘friends’] + H[enry]
27 BEDROLL: BE DROLL: very droll! :-)


CLAUDE: LAUD [praise] in CE [church]
2   PLAINT: PL [reversal of LP {record}] + AINT [‘is not’, commonly]
3   TAKE UP ARMS: anagram of A RUMP STEAK
4   LATEX: LATE [past] + X [times]
5   TRATTORIA: TRAT [reversal of TART {upset pudding}] + anagram of A RIOT – a typically nice surface
6   ACHE: ACE [one] around H[ospital]
7   SUBTRACT: SUB [reversal of  BUS {coach}] + TRACT [country]
8   TREATISE: TREAT [doctor] + IS + E[ager]
13  BINOCULARS: cryptic definition
15  THUMBNAIL: cryptic definition
16  SPARE RIB: cryptic definition: in the second creation account, Genesis II 21-3, Eve was created from Adam’s rib.
17  TRINIDAD: reversal of DIN [racket] in TRIAD [secret society]
19 GEMINI: I’m afraid I can’t call this a cryptic definition.
20  HYPHEN: part of 100-yard: I think some will object that a hyphen is not the same as a dash but it’s a lovely surface.
23  OUTER: I’m not sure about this one. Is it just that the inner is what you’re aiming for? It seems there should be more to it.
24  UNDO: cryptic definition: you would undo the buttons on a coat before taking it off: another neat surface.

35 Responses to “Guardian 24,144 / Rufus”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    I thought this was relativley high on the Rufus scale of difficulty.

    I wondered about 23dn as well so resorted to Chambers which gives OUTER as “the outermost ring on a target” (archery) so I guess a shot on the outer would be almost a miss…

  2. NeilW says:

    relatively even…

  3. NeilW says:

    and the outermost part of the target is the “extreme”, of course so that’s the cryptic part of the definition I guess.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen. I agree this was easy, except that I confidently wrote in ADAM’S RIB for 16dn, causing myself some trouble later. In any case, I don’t think a rib, spare or otherwise, is a “joint”.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Neil

    Yes, that’s as far as I got – but I still feel there should be more.

    Oh dear, Andrew, I remember a protracted discussion some time ago about rib = joint, which is why I didn’t mention it! I initially entered ADAM’S, too. [Nice to see ‘don’ defined properly!]

  6. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    27a was very pleasing wasn’t it. I also particularly enjoyed 18a. I figured outer referred to circular targets for archery/shooting etc, but despite the helpful explanations I still don’t like it much. However Rufus deserves to be forgiven with many neat clues throughout such as 17d. And now you have dropped the penny for me, 20d.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    As often with Rufus, the last few (27a, 24d, 17d, 23d) took as long as the rest of the Xword.

    Not being a fan of cryptic definitions, I didn’t enjoy this offering too much. The CDs are usually neon-lit, as in 18a, 13, 15 and 19d. Actually I had TELESCOPES for 13d at first, and 15d doesn’t really work as “in hand” should surely be “on hand”. And 19d wouldn’t grace aQuick Crossword.

  8. Matt says:

    Took me a while to get into this one.

    My favourite was 18a as I haven’t heard it since my recently deceased Grandfather used to mutter “You couldn’t drive a perambulator” at fellow motorists when I was a child.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    A relatively easy puzzle to solve but not always easy to understand the answers.

    For some reason it took me a time to see that transit was an anagram – I thought there must be some reverse of a word meaning ‘tidy’ plus ‘it’ as start of ‘in’ and ‘the’ – too clever by half.

    It also took time to read ‘each’ as ‘a head’.

    HYphen puzzled me. It was a bit like the clue the other day – h + and + s. I must get used to looking out for that sort of thing.

    27 was amusing and I enjoyed working out ‘Trinidad’.

    I did not feel ‘outer’ was a problem.

  10. Andrew says:

    The previous rib/joint discussion was for a Gordius puzzle, also blogged by Eileen.

  11. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for that, Andrew. I did do a rather desultory search and then gave up. I do hope we haven’t opened another can of worms!

    tupu, I might have taken longer over HYPHEN if I hadn’t remembered taking ages over Paul’s clue in a prize puzzle a couple of years ago [24499]: ‘tailless beast outside pub, one in Glyn-Neath’. [It even foxed Rightback: he entitled his blog ‘Hyphen ‘eadache’.]

  12. rrc says:

    I as a rule read through each clue and when I ve done that I see how much of the grid is complete Today I had about five of the longer answers in which then opened up the whole grid. Masterpieces being the first. This was a much better state of play than Saturdays but thats another story. This was nioe and gentle.

  13. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. It must be obvious to everyone but me, but how does each = a head?

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi cholecyst

    You’ll kick yourself: e.g. ‘We paid £10 a head / each’.

  15. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Eileen. I think I’ll ask my spare rib to do the kicking!

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I thought this was a mixture of easy and hard (for Rufus). I’m another one who started out with ADAM’S RIB at 16dn, which unnecessarily added to the difficulty. 19dn, as you say, isn’t cryptic and 13dn is barely so. I took me a long time to spot the anagram at 5ac — nice bit of misdirection — and I liked the surfaces of 27ac and 25ac,

    It’s a shame about the crossword event — I was dithering about it too!

  17. Stella Heath says:

    I had ‘Adam’s rib’ to start with, and didn’t think much further about the clue till I checked all, which also eliminated most of ‘definitely’ for 22ac :)

    I don’t want to spark up the previous debate, which I wasn’t in on, but I think a spare rib could be described as a joint of meat.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I’d been hoping for some enlightenment re 23d, but it seems it is what it is.

    I saw ‘masterpieces’ straight away, but didn’t put it in until nearly the end, as I’d failed to see the anagram fodder, silly me!

    As well as the clues others have mentioned, I liked 9 and 11ac.

  18. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen. SPARE RIB worked for me and I also liked TRATTORIA (seems to be a setter’s favourite, but it was well clued). But there was some – by Rufus’ standards – slightly clunky stuff today as well, so perhaps not one of his best. But still enjoyed it.

  19. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen, and Rufus. Another enjoyable Monday stroll completed in scattered moments during lunch hour. It took me a while to get going but once I had a few crossing letters the grid filled very quickly. I don’t understand why so many entered ADAMS RIB. Maybe this is one case where my lack of local knowledge might have helped. I have just eaten spare ribs for dinner tonight but have never heard of Adam’s Rib. Is it the name of a popular pub in London perhaps?

    I also find it interesting how CDs divide the group into two – those who are fans and those who grumble about them. I am a fully paid-up member of the fan club. In fact, without them a crossword can become like a sudoku, something that can be “worked out”. You can grind away at anagrams and charades and even DDs and eventually succeed. But a cryptic definition requires a flash of inspiration that concentration and research alone cannot produce. To my taste, a crossword without CDs is like a pizza without anchovies, edible but definitely lacking something.

    So since today had 5 or more I am a happy solver. But 19d was rubbish.

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Tokyo Colin: I can’t stand anchovies, but I’m with you on CDs.

  21. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks Eileen, as everyone says a mixture of easy and hard from Rufus today, can anyone enlighten me further on why HYPHEN (20d) is part of 100 yard?

  22. Eileen says:

    Hi FumbleFingers

    Not 100 yard but 100 hyphen yard! :-)

  23. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Fumblefingers,

    It isn’t if you leave it out, but Araucaria uses it here in its adjectival form, ie., hyphenated, as you’ll see if you have another look at the clue.

    In response to Dave Ellison@7, to have something ON hand is to have it close by you, ready for use, whereas to have something IN hand is to be in the process of creating it. Either might be possible in this case, but the latter seems more probable.

  24. liz says:

    Hi Tokyo Colin — We had spare ribs for dinner last night, so I really should have thought of that first! I don’t know about anyone else but I was thinking about (amongst other things) the Tracey/Hepburn film when I rushed to put ADAM’S RIB.

  25. FumbleFingers says:

    ty Eileen & Stella,

    I hope Gaufrid isn’t watching too closely or I’ll get banned for trolling – or whatever the word is for multiple people posting under the same username. Previous post was from my brother after we’d both given up on deconstructing HYPHEN – which finally dawned on me just as I came over to the keyboard seeking enlightenment.

    Personally I’m a great fan of this particular device – though I’m sure others will say I overuse hyphens myself in postings here (along with brackets lol). In general, I think “hidden answers” (incl those using alternate letters, written backwards, etc.) are overused & often look contrived, but this sly use of punctuation invariably catches me out before eventually leading to a satisfying “aha” moment.

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi FumbleFingers

    I think Gaufrid’s more concerned about one person using a variety of pseudonyms but don’t push your luck – we don’t want to lose you! :-)

  27. Stef says:

    I thought of Adam’s Rib at first, too, but couldn’t see how that worked. Spare Rib did. Does anyone remember the Magazine? That said Spare Rib, not Adam’s…

  28. FumbleFingers says:

    btw Stella – it’s not Araucaria, it’s Rufus today. Latterly he nearly always gets the Monday slot, which almost never goes to Araucaria.

    I think Monday is generally supposed to be easier, which presumably means editor Hugh Stephenson reckons sneaky use of punctuation marks is now “standard” in crosswordland. We solvers really are in something of an arms race with the setters!

  29. Mr. Jim says:

    From my point of view, the “joint” was just RIB rather than SPARE RIB, and that makes sense as a joint in the sense of a rib of beef, say.

  30. Stella Heath says:


  31. Carrots says:

    A languished lunchtime solve, but I still don`t quite see ABSOLUTELY or HYPHEN, which were my only bones of contention. Rufus is so “right” for Mondays, especially after having a go at the heavyweights over the weekend.

    Anyone going on the Queen Liz Adriatic jaunt on the 8th Nov? (Please reply in General Chat Room).

  32. Eileen says:

    Hi Carrots

    I wasn’t entirely happy with ABSOLUTELY as a double definition: the two meanings seem rather close. Chambers gives ‘you bet: certainly’ and ‘absolutely: a colourless but emphatic affirmative’, as well as ‘positively’.

    Re HYPHEN: the definition is ‘dash’ and a hyphen is part of ‘100-yard’.

    [Re the Adriatic jaunt: no such luck – Bon Voyage! :-) ]

  33. Rufus says:

    Many thanks, as always, for Eileen’s excellent blog. She would make an excellent crossword editor!

    In the event, Hugh Stephenson queried two clues – those for Hyphen and Spare Rib.
    My original clue for “hyphen” was “Stroke in the boat-race, for example”. Hugh pointed out that “boat race” no longer has a hyphen in the dictionaries. Eventually I googled “hyphen” in the hope of finding a hyphenated word. The only certain one that was given was “100-yd”, so I made it a “dash” rather than a “stroke”.

    Is a spare rib a joint?
    In Chambers, “joint” has: “place where two things (esp. bones) meet”, and also “a piece of an animal’s body as cut up for eating”, which agree with the definition of “spare rib” – “a piece of pork consisting of ribs with a little meat adhering to them”.
    In Collins: under “joint”: “One of the parts into which a carcass of meat is cut by the butcher”.
    Googling “Joint spare rib”, the first article that appeared began: “Sunday Roast. Joint of pork (spare rib is best….)”.

    Eventually Hugh gave the green light for these two clues.

  34. Carrots says:

    Eileen/Rufus: many thanks for your explanations. I was lucky with SPARE RIB: I`d put ADAMS RIB in but it didn`t fit with the operatives, so I changed it. I think I`ll get a Chinese Take-away tonight.

    Now to sink The Boatman……!

  35. judy bentley says:

    Hi Stef

    I don’t know if anyone else is as slow as me but I’ve only just finished Rufus’ offering. I used to subscribe to the feminist mag Spare Rib. ‘Adam’s Rib’ never crossed my mind.

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