Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,162 / Rufus

Posted by duncanshiell on November 8th, 2010


From today, there is a slight change to the Guardian blogger team, with a three week cycle for most bloggers, except Uncle Yap who continues as a Tuesday regular.

I’ve blogged quite a few crosswords on Fifteensquared – Inquisitors, Independent Saturday Prize Puzzles and Guardian Geniuses – but this is my first attempt at a Guardian daily puzzle.

My daily puzzle of choice is usually The Times, but I have done many Guardian puzzles over the years, and in particular have done many of the puzzles in the Rufus volume of the Guardian Setters Series.  I know what to expect from Rufus.  Today’s puzzle struck me as fairly standard Rufus fare.  It seems to me that one or two clues contain link words or extra words to ensure a smoother surface.  

I usually use Chambers to check the wording in my blogs.  For all but two of the answers and clues, I note all the definitions in the clues align exactly, or very closely, with wording in Chambers.  Collins gives a formal link between ‘complain’ and ARRAIGN.  I can’t find a 1:1 definition between ‘contract’ and ENDOWMENT, but the clue presumably refers to the signing of a contract between both parties to some form of endowment.

I’ll leave you all to debate whether MINSK is in Russia, or whether ‘B, A outset‘ can be used to indicate that A contains B. Having read many comments on Guardian puzzles on Fifteensquared I am sure people will feel free to challenge anything they disagree with in the blog.

Wordplay Entry
1 BAYONET (reference fixed bayonets) BAYONET (reference bayonet charge)  double definition
5 Anagram of (for a change) SEEM SET ESTEEMS (values)
10 GRAFT (hard work) excluding the final letter (mostly) T GRAF (reference Steffi Graf,  former Ladies Tennis World number one)
11 Anagram of (organised) ROUND TRIP + G (first letter of [leader] GUIDE) PROTRUDING (sticking out)
12 ILL (producing harm) contained in (in) BOW (front of ship) BILLOW (big wave)
13 LUKE (Reference Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, the four New Testament gospels – LUKE follows MARK) + WARM (close) LUKEWARM (indifferent)
14 Anagram of (possible) NO CURE + AGE (time) ENCOURAGE (support)
16 JELLY (dessert; sweet) JELLY (reference Jelly Babies, also a sweet) double definition
17 S (first letter of [leader] SOVIET) contained in (in) MINK (fur)  MINSK (Capital of Belarus; a town or built-up area  – Russian build-up.  Belarus was part of the Soviet Union)
19 MASTERY (expertise) containing (taking) ON MONASTERY (house for a community of monks or brothers)
23 Anagram of (curious) CHARM IS A CHARISMA (personal quality)
24 Reversed (back) hidden word in (in) COMMON MUTUAL DEFENCE AUTUMN (described as the Fall in some parts of the world)
26 SUPERHUMAN (one with significant strength or power) SUPERHUMAN (above man; above the rest of us) double definition
27 PLANE (aircraft) excluding the final letter (tailless) E PLAN (blueprint)
28 C (100, many) + ENSURE (make certain) CENSURE (blame)
29 S (point of the compass) + TORIES (politician) STORIES (jokes)


Wordplay Entry
2 A + RRAIGN (sounds like =[we hear] REIGN [rule]) ARRAIGN (accuse publicly, call to account, complain about)
3 OFF (away with!) + A + L (learner; student) OFFAL (refuse)
4 REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) reversed (mounted) containing (to secure) POW (prisoner of war) EMPOWER (give authority to)
6 STRIKE (pound);  STRIKE (hit) STRIKE (industrial action)  triple definition
7 Anagram of (break) WOMEN TEND ENDOWMENT (something that is settled on a person or institution; reference endowment mortgage, endowment insurance; contract)
8 M (1000, many) + anagram of (get upset) LONGER MONGREL (an animal, especially a dog, of mixed breed; a cross)
9 COLLEGE OF ARMS (a bearing is a heraldic device or coat of arms) COLLEGE OF ARMS (will help you get your coat of arms) cryptic definition
15 OBSERVERS (people deputed to watch; watchmen) OBSERVERS (people who comply with [the rules])
18 Anagram of (confusion) HEINOUS IN-HOUSE (within a company)
20 AT containing (outset) GAINS (profits) AGAINST (opposed to)
21 (A + MP [politician]) contained in (in) RAGE (tantrum) RAMPAGE (storm about)
22 Anagram of (a change of) THERE’S ESTHER (Biblical queen)
25 TAPER (to become gradually smaller towards one end; get thinner) TAPER (a long thin waxed wick or spill; a lighter)

16 Responses to “Guardian 25,162 / Rufus”

  1. Jim says:

    Excellent write up.

    Esther: a beautiful Jewess chosen by the king of Persia to be his queen; she stopped a plot to massacre all the Jews in Persia (an event celebrated by Jews as the feast of Purim)

  2. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Duncanshiell and welcome to the Guardian cryptic section of the website.

    I thought this was a bit tougher than usual for a Rufus. Autumn was second last and a ‘doh’ moment. Minsk was last and doesn’t seem quite right somehow.

  3. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Duncanshiell . I agree with Dad’sLad – it did seem a bit tougher than usual. Did anyone else put RAMPANT at 21dn? Serve me right for not noticing it doesn’t match the definition!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Duncan, for your usual very comprehensive blog (and your very delicately put comment about what an argumentative lot we are …)

    I’m glad Dad’sLad found it tougher than usual, because this Dad did as well; in fact I had to give up with a few to go, which hasn’t happened with a Rufus for ages. I didn’t know OFFAL could be defined as ‘refuse’, and couldn’t see ARRAIGN, so I came unstuck in the NW. I couldn’t get MINSK either.

    There’s a very good Tees puzzle over at the Indy today. If you’d asked me earlier this morning which one I’d struggle with, it wouldn’t have been this one! Just me, probably, but I’m interested to hear what others thought.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Duncanshiell and Rufus

    A very good blog.

    I am slightly 13a about this Rufus piece, fairly typically full of anagrams and other letter play and DDs. Some nice clues inc. 11a, 8d, 15d, 18d.

    Re Minsk, I suppose Belorus is ‘White Russia’ and was part of Russia for a long time up to 1919. Also it would be too much of a giveaway to be more specific in the clue. But slightly iffy none the less.

    Re ‘against’, I read ‘outset’ simply as anagram indicator but I’m sure duncanshiell is right. It seems reasonable to me in that function.

    6d left me a bit puzzled – probably the redundancy is for the surface as suggested, but the answer is so obvious anyway as to make such overkill slightly confusing.

  6. Paul B says:

    Perhaps one day I’ll be lucky enough to get blogged by Duncan. I’ve enjoyed his meticulous entries elsewhere @ 15/2, and so for me it’s a real pleasure to see one in Dailyland.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Contrary to the comments above, I found this much simpler than usual, taking 13′ for most of it, with another 5′ for the last two: 15d OBSERVER, then 17a MINSK.

    I can’t say I liked BUILD-UP.

    Thanks for the detailed explanations, duncanshiell; is this the new Guardian house style?

  8. otter says:

    Gosh, what a detailed blog. Thanks, Duncan, and welcome to the Guardian section. I must admit I find the layout a little difficult to read, but no doubt I’ll get used to it.

    The usual selection of anagrams, double definitions and one or two others; not my favourite sort of puzzle, but what Rufus does, he does do very well. I too found quite a few of these more tricky than standard Rufus clues, with slightly more cryptic definitions than usual (except for clues in which a cryptic definition is the clue, of course) and more unusual components, eg the acronym REME, which I didn’t know, although it didn’t stop me getting the answer.

    I also got RAMPANT for 21d – ‘rant’ seemed perfect for ‘tantrum’, and ‘rampant’ all right for the definition, which scuppered me on 29a. In the end I gave up and used the cheat button, because with Rufus, I find there’s little satisfaction to be gained from struggling with clues for any more than a minute or two: while he does produce elegant surfaces, there are no ‘a-ha!’ or ‘ha-ha!’ moments in these puzzles, so I can’t really be bothered to put that much effort in.

    I thought MONASTERY probably the most clever clue, and this is one that defeated me today.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the detailed and clear blog, Duncan. It’s good to have you on board.

    Well, I started this off this morning, and was pretty stuck almost half-way through when I was called away. I’ve just came back, and the distance must have cleared my mind, as I fairly cruised through the words I had left – mainly in the western half. Last in ‘Autumn’, with a little self-kicking :)

    I smiled when I saw the use of ‘outset’, which I read the same way as Duncan did.

    I’m another who had ‘rampant’ to start with at 21d., and also rather hastily entered ‘entourage’ for ‘support’, without checking the anagram fodder – oops!

  10. Geoff Chapman says:

    Excellent blog. Thank you.

  11. Mr Beaver says:

    I’m not one of Rufus’ greatest fans, but I thought this one quite acceptable – none of his trademark quasi-cryptic definitions. Well, apart from 1a maybe.

    Nice of Duncan to take such pains over the blog, but I hardly think that level of detail is needed for the majority of the clues. To take a random example, most bloggers would give 5a as simply ESTEEMS = (seem set)*, which would be enough for any readers.
    I’m not criticising, just wanted to save you some effort :)

  12. William says:

    Thank you, Duncan, for a 1st class blog.

    Refreshing to see a new, clear way of blogging. I hope you will not take Mr Beaver’s comment @11 too much to heart. There are far more less adanced solvers than most people think, as we hear from them less often. We (I include myself) will find your style very helpful.

    Welcome on board.

  13. judy bentley says:

    Hear, hear, William.

  14. mhl says:

    Thanks for the very complete post, Duncan – it’s great to hear that you’ll be blogging the Guardian from now on!

  15. Dynamic says:

    Late to the party, but it seems Minsk, subsequently denoted a soviet Hero City, was the headquarters of the Russian Army’s Western Front in World War 2. I guessed Minsk was somehow synonymous with some specific military build-up, so this seems to tally to some degree. If so, it’s a somewhat loose definition, but could be correct and might be used as a single word in the way that The Somme is used to refer to the Battle of The Somme. I don’t mind admitting I’m somewhat ignorant of such things, but got a loose confirmation via Wikipedia. There’s also the Minsk Offensive – where the Wehrmacht suffered their greatest single defeat of the whole war. I suspect one of these provides the reason this definition as Russian (as opposed to Belorussian) is OK and is thought notable enough that it’s fair.

    I found a few pitfalls and needed all the checking letters to get some of these, but enjoyed it. Thanks Rufus and duncanshiell

  16. mumfish says:

    I usually finish a Rufus but struggled with this one, especially after putting “rampant” in by error. Thank you for an excellent blog, Duncan. I’d love to see this style used for setters I really have difficulty with!

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