Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,168 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on November 15th, 2010


Typically easy Monday fare from Rufus today – not much else to say, really, except that I’m dubious about the construction of 3dn.

1. OUTCAST OUT (striking) + CAST (appearance)
5. IN BRIEF Double definition
9. ABEAM A lighthouse casts A BEAM, and the definition is “on the ship’s side”, giving the first of several nautical references in the puzzle (a Rufus trademark)
11. LIVING WAGE LIVING (quick, as in “the quick and the dead”) + WAGE (carry on)
12. PAIL I in PAL
18. BUTTERSCOTCH BUTTER (fat) + SCOTCH, which I learn can be “a strut, wedge, etc, to prevent turning or slipping, as of a wheel, gate, ladder”.
21. EVEN Double definition
22. DETERMINED Double definition
26. TRADE Double definition, though a particularly weak one, as the two meanings are virtually identical
28. DESCENT DE (French “of”) + SCENT
1. ORALLY O (love) + RALLY
2. TWELVE Cryptic definition, referring to the striking of a clock
3. ADMINISTER ADMINISTER= “give”, MINISTER=”head of department”, and AD = “little publicity”, but the fact that AD comes first doesn’t seem to be indicated, unless “head” is doing double duty.
6. BELL Cryptic definition, referring to the simile “as sound as a bell”.
8. FUTILITY F (musical key) + UTILITY. I don’t much care for the device “key = (any letter from A to G)”, but at least it’s better than “note”, which can also include Do, Re, Mi etc.
13. CHECKMATES CHECK (inspection) + MATES (officers, on a ship)
15. OYSTER BED Cryptic definition
20. ADVENT AD (notice) + VENT (gap)
23. EMEND MEN (troops) in E[nglan]D
24. UTAH U[niversity] + reverse of HAT, with “investment” being an archaic word for “clothing” that I remember a discussion about here some time ago.

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,168 – Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew

    This was easy – even for a Monday Rufus.

    If (as has been claimed) easy puzzles are harder to compile then Rufus must have sweated blood over this.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I had exactly the same reservations as you about 26ac and 3dn. I ‘resolved’ the latter by taking ‘give’, rather than ‘head’ as doing double duty – but the AD should still really come second. [This is not like Rufus.]

    In 26 ac, business = [to] trade = [to] deal but there’s also trade = deal = barter, which, I think, is perhaps sufficiently distinct.

    ‘Capital investment = hat’ is a real chestnut but this was a very nice surface.

  3. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Agree with comments above. In 3d, like Eileen, I assumed ‘give’ was performing double duty. 2d was my favourite of a fairly standard bunch.

  4. TokyoColin says:

    Thanks Andrew. Very straightforward today, didn’t last through my short commute. But still enjoyable, as Rufus always is. I particularly liked 2dn.

    This is the second time recently I have seen OYSTER clued by “native”. I can understand that there are native oysters and introduced species just as there are native birds but why would “native” alone mean “oyster”? Google and Wikipedia weren’t much help.

  5. Jim says:

    7 minutes for this

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Yes, very straightforward (apart from BELL, which I took ages over and still couldn’t understand) but as usual with Rufus, I finished it with a smile on my face. Easy can still be elegant, I think, and there were several clues which fitted into that category today.

    And TokyoColin, thanks for asking the exact same question I was going to!

  7. Bryan says:

    TokyoColin @ 3

    There is a mystique about these creatures, with their sculpted shells, unique flavour of the sea and sexy image, which trades on the Aphrodite legend (she supposedly rose from the waves on an oyster shell and gave birth to Eros) and the notion of Casanova guzzling them in the bath. In Dickens’s time, oysters were cheap and eaten pickled or cooked with steak in pies, but pollution and disease took their toll on the beds and, though revitalised, these days oysters are still considered a luxury.

    What is the difference between native and rock oysters? Native oysters have grown in British waters since Roman times. They take around five years to mature and are only available when there is an R in the month (an ancient act of Parliament protects them from being fished during spawning, from May to August), but are at their best from October onwards. However, the market is dominated by the faster-growing, larger and less expensive Pacific or rock oyster, which is cultivated all year round. Once unable to spawn in our colder waters, in some areas they are now beginning to naturalise themselves. Connoisseurs, however, tend to prefer the more intense, mineral flavour of the true natives.

    Should the shells be closed when you buy oysters? Yes, or else they should close if you tap them – closed shells are a live oyster’s defensive position, so if the shells won’t close, the oyster is dead or weak.

  8. Shirley says:

    Bryan – thanks for the fantastic cxplanation about oysters which was all new to me. However I think the original question was why should native mean specifically oyster anymore than it means cat,dog,fish etc?

  9. wirricow says:

    Very quick, very enjoyable. Thought livelihood was an obvious synonym in 11a and 26a wasn’t cryptic. Apart from that loved it. Thanks for the blog.

  10. Robi says:

    I have just started to try the cryptic crossword with little experience; had reconnect for 10a and therefore bang for 6d, although I appreciate these are not as apt as the real answers.

  11. Bryan says:

    Shirley @ 8

    Simply because of their marketing.

    ‘Native Oysters’ were plugged as being superior to the imported varieties.

  12. Stella says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I enjoyed this puzzle, and laughed out loud at a couple of answers, while at the same time realising that it was definitely on the easy end of Rufus’s spectrum. Unusually, I did it at siesta time, and even so finished it on the second run through.

    Like others, I’m puzzled by “oyster”=”native”; or perhaps more so, since I live in Spain, where they are either naturally so, or imported from nearby France.

  13. Pierre says:

    Robi @ 10. Welcome to the blog (if this is your first contribution – forgive me if not).

    Rufus is certainly a good setter to attempt if you’ve just started trying the cryptics – and we’ve all put in wrong answers too, so don’t worry!

    The Quiptic (online only on Monday from the Guardian crossword website) is also usually a good beginners’ puzzle. We’ve been blogging it on 225 for a couple of months now to try to help less experienced solvers know how the clues work. Today’s (from Arachne) is very good.

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    A relatively easy stroll.

    I had not knowingly encountered scotch = wedge as a noun but it is connected with the the verbal form of scotch (e.g. plans) which literally means to block with a wedge and may be the usage intended here.

    Re Native :- OED gives b. An oyster wholly or partly reared in British waters, now typically in artificial beds; esp. the common European oyster, Ostrea edulis. Also: an oyster of a superior quality. Freq. attrib. Cf. Colchester natives at COLCHESTER n.

    1818 W. KITCHINER Cook’s Oracle (ed. 2) 259 The Milton, or as they are commonly called, the melting Natives do not come in till the beginning of October. 1836 DICKENS Sketches by Boz 2nd Ser. 201 A newly-opened oyster shop,..with natives laid one deep in circular marble basins in the windows.

    Others above have explained the logic. Beyond that one can only say, in just so fashion, that that’s what it means.

  15. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Rufus and Andrew. Welcome to Robi @ 10. Although I am not a newcomer to cryptics, I also had RECONNECT at 10A and BANG at 6D.


  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Tnanks to Bryan and Tupu for the oyster = native explanation. It’s funny how these slightly odd synonyms don’t appear for ages, and then like buses, they all arrive at once.

  17. Stella says:

    Thanks for your comprehensive explanation, tupu. I shall no doubt be referring to it soon ;^

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks, Pierre @ 13. You are right; I am new to blog. I just managed the Quiptic with one cheat; not sure what you meant by 225 (?)

  19. Robi says:

    Of course, 225 is 15 squared – I’m getting there slowly!

  20. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew. A brisk walk with Rufus this chilly evening.
    An oyster can also be the colloquial name for a reserved person so I wonder if Rufus had that in mind when he wrote 15d.

  21. Alexander says:

    This was awful. It wasn’t easy it was full of dodgy similes.

  22. Mr Beaver says:

    Maybe because we didn’t start til 10pm, but we didn’t find it particularly easy either. Couldn’t get 16d (or 6d, having made the same RECONNECT mistake as others), and am still far from convinced of its fairness. But I have to concede some neat clues, eg 5d, 28a.

  23. guyroscope says:

    Have a heart! I’ve been trying the Graunidad cryptic for a number of weeks now,having eventually got bored with the quick and this is the fist one I have completed without cheating so to turn to this blog for confirmation only to be confronted by “Easy, easy, easy” was a bit sad…..

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