Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,156 / Rufus

Posted by mhl on November 1st, 2010


Sorry for the very late post – I’ve been a bit overwhelmed today, and only just got a chance to rush out this post. Apologies for any errors or omissions…

1. PROPELLOR PROPER = “Fit” around ELL = “45-inch”
6. BEEF Double definition
8. CERBERUS Cryptic definition; one of those ones where I took a while to see the surface reading :)
9. BEDSIT Cryptic definition
10. SETTLE Double definition
11. OMNIVORE Cryptic definition
12. STALAG ST = “Way” + A LAG = “a convict”
15. DROPLETS DR = “Doctor” + OP = “work” + LETS = “permits”
16. BIG IDEAS Cryptic definition
19. DREADS [combine]D + READS = “studies”
21. AGITATOR Double definition
22. RIGHTO RIGHT = “One side” + O = “nothing”
24. IMPALE MP = “politician” in (A LIE)*
25. WAGERING WAGE = “pay” + RING = “phone”
26. EYES E = “a [musical] key” + YES = “agreement”
27. REPRESENT REP = “traveller” + RESENT = “grudge”
1. PIECE Double definition; “Man on board” as in a chess piece
2. ORBITAL BIT = “Boring part” (the part of a drill that bores) in ORAL =”exam”
3. EERIE E = “Eastern” + ERIE = “lake found in the West?”
4. LASSOED LASS = “girl” + O = “nothing” + ED = “boy”
5. ROBIN HOOD ROB = “steal” + IN = “at home” + HOOD = “thug”
6. BEDEVIL BED = “Base” + EVIL = “vicious”
13. THINGUMMY THIN = “Skinny” + GUMMY = “toothless”
18. SCREW UP Double definition
22. ROGUE Double definition
23. TENET Palindrome

22 Responses to “Guardian 25,156 / Rufus”

  1. crosser says:

    Thanks, mhl. I got CERBERUS but could someone please explain why “guard dog of choice”?

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl

    There’s a typo in your 1a.

  3. Bryan says:

    Crosser @ 1

    Maybe it’s because the creature has a differing numbers of heads, according to choice?

  4. Eileen says:

    Bryan, That’s the only explanation I could think of for 8ac but I don’t like it at all.

    I liked DROPLETS, WAGERING and THINGUMMY particularly.

    [I confidently started putting in ‘stirrer’ for 21 – but ran out of letters!]

  5. Eileen says:

    Sorry I forgot to say thanks for the blog, mhl – and sorry you’ve had a bad day!

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Rufus

    Pretty typical fare, solved in too much of a hurry.

    I didn’t understand Cerberus despite immediately recognising that was what it was.

    I also wrote in ‘thingammy’ having missed ‘gummy’.

    I assumed ‘rogue’ was as ‘rogue elephant’ but think of packs re wolves and have not heard of ‘rogue wolf’.

    Several pleasant clues inc 1a, 1d, 5d, 25a.

  7. scarpia says:

    Thanks mhl.
    I think 8 across probably refers to the choice of Heracles and his 12th labour.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Eileen, I also began to enter ‘stirrer’ and ran out of spaces :-)

  9. Headteacher says:

    More Monday trivia from this setter. Sorry you felt you had to find time for it in your day, mhl.

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK Headteacher, it’s like this, a) I enjoyed it, as will the majority of solvers, most of whome are not experts and who also rarely post here; b) it is editorial policy for a Monday, Rufus is doing what he is required to do, he is quite able to torture, so please have the goodness to reserve your venom for the correct target; c) read post 4 of the following thread, from another repected setter, then realise the talent needed to fulfill the editorial requirement.

  11. Julia and Tom says:

    Rufus, if you’re out there, please help.

    We’re painfully perplexed by the Cerberus clue.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Although a pleasant solve [as ever, I would say] and a warm welcome back on the Monday spot, we had the feeling that this wasn’t Rufus at his very best.

    We’re not crying out for helping re CERBERUS like Julia and Tom, but it’s not really a strong cd. Nor were 9ac (BEDSIT) and the obvious OMNIVORE (11ac).

    But we were more puzzled by some uneconomic use of the language, in our opinion very unusual for Rufus.

    We do understand that “found in the West” in 3d is only there for the surface, but “Starting to” in 5d?
    First we thought, the clue would begin with S[teal], but no.
    It’s probably there for (again) a better surface reading, but we were not sure whether Rufus should have done that, because “Starting to” is normally not a throwaway expression in a crossword.

    A TENET can be an opinion that “may be held”, but it is a very loose definition.
    I, unlike my PinC [yes, Carrots, Crime :), but it could have been Crosswords], had my doubts about the use of “with nothing on” in 4d, as O had to placed únder “Lass” which is uncommon for a Down clue.

    And in 25ac, 26ac and 18d that little word “a” was superfluous. Again, it can be a powerful thing in a clue and one has to be very careful with the use of it.

    But do not worry, my friends, there were some Gemstones too!

    THINGUMMY (13d) was an instant party hit, and EMIGRATED (7d), DROPLETS (15ac), IMPALE (24ac) and above all 2d’s ORBITAL had lovely surfaces and was Rufus clueing at his best!

    So, a bit of a mixed bag – still very enjoyable.
    And now it’s about time for Only Connect [BBC4].

  13. Thomas99 says:

    Sil van den Hoek-
    A tenet is literally something “held” as true. That’s what it means in latin – “[he or she] holds”. So I wouldn’t say Rufus is being loose there.

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    thanks for clearing that up.
    And absolutely fine, no doubt about that.
    But there is still something in me [sorry] that says: it’s just not enough as a definition in a crossword clue. “It may be held” for TENET?

    Even with your explanation [which I will not doubt, because it is as you say] I am not sure whether it is a sufficient or even fair definition for TENET.
    Chambers gives us “Any opinion, principle or doctrine which a person holds or maintains as true”, which is a bit more specific than just “It may be held”, even if you’re fully right with the etymological explanation. That’s why I called it ‘loose’.
    Of course, you may disagree

  15. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    I have great respect for Rufus as the master of the smooth surface but sometimes find his puzzles a bit boring. However, I really enjoyed this puzzle and found the mix of clues to be more interesting than usual. I especially liked PROPELLER and WAGERING but thought that EYES and TENET were weak. Overall though, pretty good.
    Thanks Rufus.

  16. scarpia says:

    Further to comment at 7 – perhaps a better link to explain 8 across.

  17. Val says:

    Thanks mhl (whose blog I missed when I couldn’t find it at lunchtime) and Rufus (whose Monday offerings I love as something I’ve at least got a chance with).

    Why is 18dn a double definition? I’m assuming that SCREW equates to pay but can’t see why.

  18. scarpia says:

    Hi Val,
    Not sure of the derivation but screw is a slang term for wages/pay.See

  19. Val says:

    Thanks, scarpia. Not a term I’d heard (with that meaning) but I’ll try and remember it now.

  20. otter says:

    Re Cerberus, my assumption was that it was a reference to the keeper of the underworld gate who gave you a choice – choose right and you could live, wrong and you died – or something like this. As spoofed in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Whether Cerberus or Cerberus’ keeper gave such a choice, whether it was someone else, or whether this was not even part of Greek mythology is not something I can say, as my mythological knowledge is quite sketchy, in spite of attempts to brush up on it in recent years (anyone recommend a good book of Greek mythology which isn’t Robert Graves’s Greek Myths?).

    Perhaps someone else can clarify if this is a possible solution to the puzzle of 8ac?

  21. scarpia says:

    Hi Otter.
    You could try Apollodorus – Library of Greek Mythology,one of the main sources for Robert Graves.
    For something more encyclopaedic Richard Buxton’s – Complete World of Greek Mythology is pretty good.

  22. maarvarq says:

    No-one else had a problem with “shining example” being a rather oblique “definition” for “Great Bear”? I liked 1ac once I realised 45 inches isn’t a cubit :)

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