Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,209 – Rufus

Posted by manehi on January 3rd, 2011


A fairly gentle start to the year from Rufus – I quite liked 13 and 21.

5 REAPED P[hysical] E[ducation] in READ=study
6 RECENT CE=church in RENT=schism
9 STRAYS STAYS with R[ight] inside
10 OBEDIENT (debit one)*
11 OFFA OFF=bad + A[n]
12 SHOPLIFTERING cryptic def
13 BILLIARD CUE cryptic def
18 PRESERVING P[arking] + (reversing)*
21 RAPT sounds like “wrapped”, &lit
22 BLUE MOON Don’t see more here than a fairly straight reading, but may be missing something
23 GOSPEL double def
24 EXPERT EX=former + PERT=forward
25 PERNOD PER=”for each” + rev(DON)
1 MATA HARI MAT + A + (hair)*
2 CENSUS Tell in the sense of tally up.
3 REPEALED (Peel read)*. &lit [wiki]
4 RELIEF I think “investment” here is in the military sense of laying siege, with RELIEF meaning a failed siege.
5 RATIFY (a try if)*
7 TENDED double def
8 HOMO SAPIENS (mashie spoon)*
14 LARBOARD Nautical term for left. (labrador)*
15 UPRISING double def
16 GRILLE GRILL=cook + E[ggs]
17 SPREAD double def – compass as in reach.
19 STEPPE sounds like “step”=move
20 GAGGED double def

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,209 – Rufus”

  1. Ian W. says:

    I too thought 22a one of Rufus’s typical (and maddening) straight definitions, perhaps borrowed from the Quiptic, but of course a Blue Moon as not remotely a once in a lifetime experience. I suspect it’s just sloppy and simplistic (which is admirers of Rufus seem to call “elegant”), but I’ll be happy to be corrected. Is there actually something cryptic meant?

  2. crypticsue says:

    A typical Rufus puzzle. 13a was my favourite – particularly as to start with one is so tempted to put ‘gun’. The answer to 12a is SHOPLIFTED not ING.

  3. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Manehi. 22ac Once in a lifetime phenomenon? I saw nothing wrong with the solution which accords with the common saying “It only happens once in a blue moon.”

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and rufus

    The answer to 12a is ‘shoplifter’ not ‘shoplifted’ or ‘…ing’, I think.

    Thanks for the explanation of 4d. I could only think of tax relief!!

    Some cunning clues which took me time to solve. I liked 12, 13, 23 and 8.

  5. Martin H says:

    Happy New Year to all.

    Rather an uninspired puzzle to start the year with, apart from 1d, 8d, 14d, 17d, which were nicely done.

    ‘Once in a blue moon’ means rarely, not once in a lifetime – I’m with Ian W on this one (and on Rufus’s ‘elegance’). The letters of ‘moon’ appear in ‘phenomenon’, but I can’t find any cryptic device singling them out. 2,3,13,23, also poor.

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and manehi.

    I thought ‘once in a blue moon’ was fine for a lifetime experience.

    Didn’t understand RELIEF until I read the blog – thanks!

    I liked BILLIARD CUE, although I got stuck because I thought it must have GUN as the second word.

    2 was the last in, which I found difficult to solve.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sigh, Couldn’t see that last few for looking!

    The on-line Check confirms it is SHOPLIFTER. Has to be given the definition, the others don’t fit.

  8. Daniel Miller says:

    Some nice word play and a typical Monday Guardian Crossword. Quite liked Census and Billiard Cue – also Homo Sapiens (which I think I’ve seen before). Shoplifter made me smile.

  9. Paul B says:

    Perhaps BLUE MOON could be something like a d&cd: the d would be ‘phenomenon’, as that’s what it is (the phenomenon of the appearance of the second full moon in a calendar month), while the cd (‘once in a lifetime’) alludes to the meaning associated with the related phrase ‘once in a blue moon’, which means ‘very rarely’ or ‘almost never’. Put them together and it looks like a weak cd (especially with the added question mark), but I don’t think that’s quite right.

    In any case, there are two definitions (plus a third given in Chambers for the noun BLUE MOON: an extremely long but indefinite amount of time) Rufus here seeks to work with, I suggest, with limited success, but it certainly isn’t intended as a straight def.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’m one of those who has been known to comment on Rufus’ elegance, but I thought this was a bit patchy today. CENSUS was clever, as was MATA HARI; but some of the cryptic definitions, which I normally enjoy tussling with, were a bit lukewarm. I’m still not a fan of BLUE MOON, and BILLIARD CUE doesn’t really work for me, since you don’t shoot in billiards or snooker.

    However, given the pleasure I have had from solving the Monday puzzles that Rufus has provided over many years, I’ll complain no further and put it down to perhaps a slightly bad day at the office.

  11. sidey says:

    since you don’t shoot in billiards or snooker.

    You do, sort of, as you can either make a stroke or a shot, it’s more of a cousins’ thing though.

  12. Ian W. says:

    There are several slightly different definitions of a blue moon, but as far as I know, whichever you choose there’s a blue moon every two or three years. But even if a blue moon only occurred once in a lifetime or so, I still wouldn’t see what makes this a cryptic crossword clue. “Phenomenon” seems no more part of a double definition than, say, “garment” in “waterproof garment (8)” as a clue for “raincoat” — mind you, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Rufus use something about that clever.

  13. tupu says:

    Hi K’s D

    I take your point, but tend to agree with Sidey’s ‘rider’. E.g. we say ‘that was a clever shot’. I imagine Sidey’s remark re cousins refers to USA, where people talk straightforwardly about ‘shooting pool’.

  14. Robi says:

    P.S. More info. on BLUE MOON at:

    I just thought it meant exposing your buttocks to the cold……….

  15. NeilW says:

    Thanks manehi

    Apart from the BLUE MOON thing, I would take issue with the idea of a SHOPLIFTER being a robber. Robbery involves violence which is the opposite of surreptitious crime; most unlike Rufus.

  16. Robi says:

    NeilW @15. I think robbery just means stealing and doesn’t necessarily involve violence. Under ‘steal’ in Chambers Crossword Dictionary, it lists rob and shoplift.

  17. Carrots says:

    I found this slightly trickier than usual for Rufus as it took me over half-an-hour to complete. I thought the answers were fair enough, although personally I didn`t like SPREAD much.

    We`ve recently had a couple of solutions featuring commercial brand names for drinks: PERNOD and BACARDI and would be interested to hear other`s views on their use. What I can`t understand is why, for example, BRITISH AIRWAYS might be acceptable as an answer but EASYJET or RYANAIR might not.

    Anyway, thanks Rufus for your “start the week” and Manehi for your blog.

  18. Sheila says:

    I had minded for 7 down which I think quite good except it doesn’t fit with the rest.

  19. Ian W. says:

    I had the same objection as NeilW to 12a. Robbery and shoplifting may both be examples of stealing, Robi, but they’re not synonyms. Robbery is the unlawful taking of something by force or violence, and no one would call that shoplifting. Where I disagree with NeilW is that the usage error is unlike Rufus.

  20. tupu says:

    IanW and NeilW

    You are being rather too strict I think.

    Although rob and robber have a central meaning of taking with threat or violence, it is clear from OED and other dictionaries as well as experience that the words are also commonly used in a more general sense e.g OED ‘The food’s quite good, and they don’t rob you, anyway’ or more metaphorically ‘Cora’s language emptied life of all its meaning for him, robbed romance of all its charm’.

    Again a ‘robber’ is defined as someone who commits robbery and this in turn is partly defined as ‘Unashamed swindling or overcharging. Also: blatant dishonesty or misconduct’.

  21. Robi says:

    Ian W@19. Thanks for your comment. Although robbery usually involves violence, I do not think it is a necessity (see Chambers). In the Oxford Thesaurus, ‘shoplifter’ is listed under ‘robber.’

  22. Ian W. says:

    Murder and manslaughter are probably listed together in most any thesaurus, but that still doesn’t make them synonyms, and I’d probably be just as annoyed by a crossword that treated them as interchangeable without qualification.

    Neither does a figurative usage such as “these shoes are murder on my feet” detract from the non-figurative definition “the unlawful killing of a person with malice aforethought”.

  23. Robi says:

    At the risk of boring other bloggers, I’ll just post the definitions of ‘rob’ from Merriam-Webster’s (I realise Chambers is usually king):
    a): to take something away from by force : steal from (2) : to take personal property from by violence or threat
    b) : to remove valuables without right from (a place) (2) : to take the contents of (a receptacle)
    c) : to take away as loot : steal

    Your meaning is obviously in ‘a,’ but as Tupu@20 said, it can have a wider interpretation as seem in b) and c) above. I think Rufus can be exonerated.

  24. Tony Welsh says:

    Don’t normally do Guardian but having withdrawal symptoms due to no FT for 3 days. Failed to finish top right due to convincing myself that 7d was “minded,” which i think actually fits the clue as well as “tended.” Not too happy about 4d and invested meaning under siege.

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Tony
    As I noted @4, I did make proper sense of 4d but manehi is right. For instance, Concise Oxford includes under investment ‘(Mil.) act of besieging, blockade’ and so one gets ‘relief’ as ‘of Mafeking’. :)My own rather desperate reading was of something like capital gains tax ‘relief’ on a ‘failed investment’

  26. tupu says:

    ps sorry For ‘did make’ sc. ‘did not make’.

  27. Carrots says:

    Please will some ostrich retrieve their head from the sand and inform me of their thoughts on the use of commercial brand names as answers in cryptic puzzles? “PARK DRIVE”….”An old, fuming Rotten Row for horses” OK/NOT OK?

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Carrots

    There is a whole crossword devoted to them on

    There have been various debates on this site – remember 26 October Paul where Smarties were an answer?

    Seems to be what setter can get away with – at least for Guardian e.g. who, quality of clue, how well known name is etc.

    Can I get back in the sand now please?

  29. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Brand names, I think, that’s tricky.
    I wouldn’t want to see (and probably will not see) BRITISH AIRWAYS as a solution, but I don’t mind the use of BA as part of a construction.
    No EASY JET et al as a solution, but as far as I can see it now, I wouldn’t object when ‘Easy Jet’ got a mention in the clue itself.
    Like eg (courtesy to my PinC): “Easy Jet, say, setting off for a journey” (5,7)

    We also use names of (living) people in clues, even answers [remember Paul’s GRAHAM NORTON and GORDON RAMSAY?] and they certainly make crosswords a bit livelier. Although I’m not sure whether the editor of The Times would agree.

    PERNOD and BACARDI as a solution is a slightly different matter.
    Being originally brand names, they have now become just ‘names’ for a certain drink.
    They both have a mention in Chambers, so therefore – I think – it is legitimate to use them as a solution.

    In summary, using ‘names’ in clues are OK for me, using commercial ‘names’ in solutions only when they’ve evolved into something more neutral.
    But, as I said, it’s tricky.

  30. mike says:

    AS usual a bit late, but as to shoplifter and robbery: if one could be before the beak charged with “robbery with violence” presumably there was also just “robbery” without violence. Solved the clue and saw no fault with it, disliked blue moon though it made me smile, got “relief” (?!) but came here to find its explanation. I like a reasonably gentle start to the week.

  31. Martin H says:

    I’m not sure that names of living (or dead) people in clues or solutions makes crosswords any livelier. I dislike the use of half a celebrity’s name to clue the other half, but that, I’m afraid, doesn’t make it illegitimate. Nor can I really see any other argument than that of taste against brand names as solutions or in clues, so long as they are well enough known to be counted as fair: ROLLS as a solution and RR clued as ‘car’ or the like?

  32. Paul B says:

    Ian W: I wasn’t trying to be Rufus’ most vigorous apologist as I’m sure you were able to see, but there ARE two different definitions alluded to (in that ‘once in a lifetime’ is not per se a definition) in the BLUE MOON clue. I thought I’d draw attention to that in the light of several comments declaring it to be more or less a single definition – it’s not.

  33. Carrots says:

    Tupu, Sil, Martin..many thanks for your thoughts on brand names. I`m a bit clearer in my own mind now, but, although I agree with Sil about the differentiation between clues and solutions, I can`t work out why.

    It seems that the more well known brand-names are and how close they are identified with their product (e.g. “BIRO” with “BALL PEN”)the more likely it is they will appear.

    Tupu: Trust you to come up with an entire crossword comprising brand-names! You have earned a star prize and can now go back to sleep. I do remember the SMARTIES debate, but not the outcome. Was there one?

  34. Paul B says:

    Re brand names, as solutions they would be, in pretty much every case, blatant advertising and thus undesirable. Used cleverly as codes for aspects of SI, or perhaps for use in some CD or other, they might be okay.

    I tried

    Burger King? (5)

    as a CD clue for ELVIS once, with some people quite liking it: I hope at least it illustrates the point.

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