Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,192 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on December 13th, 2010


Another straightforward Rufus, with a large helping of double definitions. A couple of clues (21ac and 23dn) have a word in the clue forming a major part of the answer, which can actually be quite hard to spot; and I think it’s a minor flaw that the same abbreviation is used in 1dn and 13dn (though with different indications)

6. EDGE Double definition
8. SPRUCE UP Double definition – Norway Spruces are often used as Christmas trees
9. SOFT ON Double definition
12. SCORER Five fours = 20 = a score
16. SMASHING Double definition
19. ESCAPE E[gg] + SPACE*
22. ANNUAL Double definition – type of book, and plant, as found in a (flower)bed
24. TUNDRA Cryptic definition – a tundra is a frozen plain
25. ALICANTE ANT in ALICE – “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is the full title of the book usually abbreviated to “Alice in Wonderland”
26. HERE Double definition
2. USURPER PURSUER*, and a kind of &lit
3. EVENT E (key) + VENT (hole). I suppose an event can be an operation
4. EXPRESS Double definition
5. TEST DRIVE TEST (river) + DRIVE (stroke, as in golf)
6. ENFORCE If you were in the Foreign Legion you might be (in French) en force
7. GOOSE STEP (SEE POST GO)*, with a misleading (but acceptable, to me) capital in “March”.
13. COMPOSURE O in CO + MP + SURE – the second MP in the puzzle
14. REINSTATE REIN (control) + STATE (country)
17. SPONDEE (SPEED ON)* A spondee is a metrical foot of two long (or stressed) syllables – so it is itself an example of one.
18. GOLIATH Cryptic definition, referring to the story of Goliath being killed by a stone from David’s sling
20. CONTACT CONTRACT less R (King)
22. ADIEU DIE (a stamp that makes an impression) in AU (gold)
23. ACTED AC (bill) + TED. It’s not necessary to know the two Bill & Ted films to solve this, but they’re worth a mention anyway.

21 Responses to “Guardian 25,192 – Rufus”

  1. Uncle Yap says:

    41 minutes to solve and blog … Andrew you are creating an unbreakable record for speed. Congratulations from Uncle Yap who is in an Internet Cafe somewhere near a National Park in Sri Lanka.

    Don’t know where I’l be tomorrow; so I have to give my regular blog a miss.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    A good Monday morning Rufus.

    16a had me misled at first – tried cracking. But then sorted after 13d.

    3d last to go in – found it hard to see for some reason. Also did not see parsing of 22d at first.

    I simply took 6d to be en (Fr) + force (missing second poss. French connection).

    Some nice clues. Liked 19a, 25a, 3d, 22d.

  3. Martin H says:

    Morning Andrew – I read 6d as ‘in French’ = EN, ‘Foreign Legion, say’ = FORCE, not that it makes much difference.

  4. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    This was straightforward but enjoyable. Some neat, concise examples of the art – 24a, 2d and 4d being my favourites. I had not come across SPONDEE before but I couldn’t see it being anything else.

    Untaxing but perfectly pitched Monday-fare.

  5. crosser says:

    Thanks, Andrew.
    Shouldn’t 5d be “Trial run of river on stroke” rather than the other way round?

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Pleasing puzzle to start the week, with Rufus’ usual elegant clueing on the whole (although I wasn’t keen on EVENT, I have to say).

    Favourites today were SPRUCED UP and STILETTO.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Only two cryptics today which made it a better puzzle; I liked 18d, but thought 24a was not much more than a straight definition. 16′ in total, 14d last in.

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    I must be defuzzing, found this much as I would expect for a Rufus. (Still having to nap too much though!)

    One minor detail, but 5 is a down clue so the river is on the stroke. I know it’s normal misleading stuff to use “on” to get that word order in an across clue, but surely not in a down clue?

  9. walruss says:

    SOFT ON but no hard on for me. A little tame.

  10. crypticsue says:

    A slightly quicker solve than Rufus’ DT Cryptic today but I did enjoy the very nice clues.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Er, did you want to rephrase that, walruss?

  12. walruss says:

    Apologies! But I can’t go back in to change it, I think.

  13. Median says:

    tupu @2,

    Like you, I had CRACKING at 16a at first. Getting SPONDEE at 17d led me to the right answer.

  14. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    This was mainly good with a couple of poor definitions which were SCORER and HERE. I cannot imagine giving someone a present and saying ‘HERE’. It sounds aggressive. On the plus side there were many smooth surfaces of which 18d (Goliath) was my favourite and COLOSSAL, ANNUAL, ALICANTE and EXHAUSTED were also good.

    A lot of pompous know-alls criticise Rufus for his apparent simplicity but it takes great skill to compose the smooth surface for which he is rightly famous. Let’s see how well his detractors can create clues which are as good. Nice one Rufus.

  15. Paul B says:

    Very aggressive defence there Davy: these pompous know-alls, with their possible lack of clue-writing ability, and probable tendency toward detraction, just gotta watch out.

  16. Martin H says:

    Are you sure it’s ‘apparent simplicity’ they’re criticising, Davy, these pompous know-alls?

  17. Carrots says:

    I don`t know what it is about Rufus: he seldom demands more than a pinta to solve, but there`s a sense of timeless ritual in completing his puzzles.

    Whilst struggling with last week`s prize puzzle I was reminded of an iconic James Thurber cartoon from the 1960s. He is abed with his wife and exclaims “I thought I heard a seal bark”. There is a seal, lolling over their bed head, but how it got there, what it was doing there and why it prompted such a nonchalant, casual remark is inexplicable. At the risk of volunteering to appear in PE`s “Pseuds Corner”, I think the seal`s name might be Rufus.

  18. Davy says:

    Hi Carrots,

    Slightly off-topic I know but you reminded me of my favourite James Thurber cartoon which I’ve just looked up.
    Here’s a link to it :-

  19. Robert Clarida says:

    While we’re off-topic, a strange request: does anyone know how I might obtain an autograph from Rufus, as a birthday gift for one of my Rufus-loving colleagues here in New York?

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    please do ask Kathryn’s Dad, because he’s organising a ‘lunch’ at the end of January which Rufus might attend.
    [email protected]

  21. Carrots says:

    Hi Davy….and thanks for the cartoon! Totally off-topic, (but its late in the day for this puzzle) I cannot understand almost any of JT`s cartoons but they seem to be burned into my cerebral cortex. Likewise the lyrics of Tom Lehrer`s songs of the same era. Maybe it`s just growing old! Ciao!

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