Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,215 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on January 10th, 2011


Another very easy Rufus, though I had to check a couple of defintions (12ac and 6dn). I thought some of the double definitions were a bit weak, but there were some nice anagram clues with very smooth surface readings (11ac, 25ac, 8dn)

5. CARRIER Double defintion – aircraft carrier; someone carrying an infection might need to be quarantined
9. AGGRO Cryptic definitinion, I think, as it’s a shortened version of “aggravation” (hence “short spell”)
10. SHRUBBERY RUBBER (set of games, in Bridge) in SHY (pitch)
12. BULL Double defintion – bull can be excessive discipline, especially in the army
18. BIRTHDAY SUIT Cryptic definitinion
21. EASE Double definition
22. VENTILATOR Double definition
26. EXILE EX (former) ILE (French for island)
27. STEPSON STEPS ON = boards (e.g. a train), and a stepson is “another’s child”
2. RAGTAG RAG (student charity) + TAG (to dog or follow)
4. ENSUE E N (directions) + SUE
5. CHRISTMAS Cryptic definition – when you hang up your stocking
6. RUBY Double definition: “a deep red wine or port” and “a type smaller than nonpareil and larger than pearl”
13. INFIELDERS Cryptic definition – think of the cricket positions “silly mid on” etc
16. OBSERVES Double definition
17. PRESERVE P (quiet) + RESERVE (shyness)
19. ATTILA TAIL* (“turned tail) with AT at the start (first). Attile the Hun attacked the Roman empire
20. GRIEVE G[eorge] + RI (Rex Imperator, King-Emperor) + EVE (night before)
23. TREAT Double definition
24. CATS Double definition – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on T S Eliot’s poems, and (rather dated) slang for jazz fans

25 Responses to “Guardian 25,215 – Rufus”

  1. mikel says:

    Thank you, Andrew. This was indeed very easy – the only one giving me any trouble was 13d. But great fun nevertheless.

  2. caretman says:

    I particularly enjoyed 3d, with its contrast to how a greengrocer would use it.

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    Thank you Andrew, the fastest gun in the West. When I saw 18A, I remembered a similar cd posed by Rufus where the answer was (3,4) Squires Esq has a most fertile mind

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew and congratulations on retaining your title of Fastest Gun in the West. Not only retaining but also setting a new record of 30 minutes. Well done!

    However, I now hope that all the other bloggers will rise to the challenge by trying to beat your very impressive performance where the speed of your draw has not detracted from hitting any of your targets.

  5. Monica M says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    I’d never heard of “ruby” as a type before, and also struggled with “ease”. All this rain and the loss of the Ashes must be doing my head in!!!

  6. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Like Mikel I only struggled with 13d which took nearly as long as the rest of the puzzle which despite relative obscurities – e.g. RUBY as a type, BULL as excessive discipline – was very easy.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus for an excellent blog and puzzle.

    With your leave, though, I should like to go slightly off-course and address a query to Uncle Yap: I found your reference to Squires Esquire (BTW, the answer was 5,3, not 3,4) and remain totally in the dark. Apparently it’s one of the authour’s favourite devices. Could you enlighten us?

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Whoops! Typo: ‘o’ and ‘u’ so often go together in that position, they just slip off the fingers!

  9. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. You singled out the clue I particularly liked for their surfaces, especially 8dn. Didn’t know RUBY as a type or BULL as excessive discipline, but confirmed both with the check button.

    13dn was the one that held me up for quite a time in what was otherwise a pretty straightforward puzzle.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus as usual

    Enjoyable enough with several witty clues. 13d also held me up but I checked silly in Chambers and all became clear. In retrospect probably my favourite clue. Aggro was pretty obvious but the explanation took a little time to see – quite clever.

  11. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and Andrew. Although some was very easy, I got a bit stuck in the SW corner, being convinced that 26 had something to do with Elba and taking a while to get 13.

    I also failed to understand SHRUBBERY until I read the blog – perhaps I better go and do the Quiptic to get some practice!….. or maybe I just have brain failure after the Prize and Genius solutions at the weekend.

  12. William says:

    Many thanks, Andrew.

    Smooth clueing as usual from this setter. My dictionary gives RUBY as, “British Printing . a 5 1 / 2 -point type, nearly corresponding in size to American agate.” Are there other type sizes with corresponding gemstone names?

  13. Chas says:

    Can somebody please explain the purpose of “sickness benefit” in 22A

  14. Chas says:

    I have just realised that a ventilator is a piece of medical equipment for people with breathing problems

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    @13, read it as, “of benefit to the sick” as a ventilator is.

  16. Daniel Miller says:

    The usual Monday fare. Enjoyable as always.

    Does anyone have a view on why Rufus often gets the Monday shift?

  17. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Daniel, I think it is generally seen to be because of the apparent ease with which he produces an entertaining, while less challenging crossword, which is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks for the setter.

    There was a discussion on this a few months ago, but I don’t remember when, and writing ‘Rufus’ into the search facility would produce hundreds of hits!

  18. Uncle Yap says:

    Stella @ 7

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Hi UY, the answer I found was ‘under age’, in your blog for FT 13032, which fitted with the rest of the clue you give: ‘has a most fertile mind’.

    In any case, I’m still baffled by the ‘squire esquire’ device.

    I do see what a fig leaf has to do with today’s clue, though :)

  20. walruss says:

    It is interesting though isn’t it why some setters should always get a certain spot in the week, and there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. I would like to see it mixed up a bit really, or we’ll always get t’the usual stuff’ as Daniel puts it.

  21. paul8hours says:

    An enjoyable puzzle as usual on a Monday. This type is perfect for young’uns graduating from the quick, although my kids are still finding that enough of a challenge.
    Stella @ 19 – Just in case UY is restrained from replying by the time difference, Rufus is Roger Squires Esq.

  22. Thomas99 says:

    Presumably Rufus’ surname is Squires?
    I thought the answer to Squires-squire was “Takes out”, but couldn’t quite parse it!

  23. Andrew says:

    walruss – Rufus set 42 of the 52 Monday puzzles on 2010 (and none on any other day), and Araucaria and Paul dominated Saturday to a lesser extent (24 and 11 puzzles respectively), but apart from that there’s no obvious pattern as to who gets published on which day. (Rufus also appears most Mondays in the FT, as Dante.)

    Last year I published some statistics on this sort of thing for 2009; I’ll be doing a version for 2010 soon, but the results are very similar.

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Paul, I have enough trouble remembering names, not to mention people’s real names plus all their aliases. Ah well!

    Now I shall have to look up the original crossword and see what the clue was.

  25. Carrots says:

    I find myself at last critical of a Rufus puzzle. The NW corner vexed me because of an abbreviation (AGGRO) and a stretched definition (RAGTAG). Is “aggro” a legitimate short spelling of “aggravation”? Does “ragtag” mean “scruffy”? Even if dictionaries confirm these readings, I find myself (probably in the company of one) uneasy with them. I got both, but, like a grumpy ol` git, entered them with ill grace.

    Interesting to see how different parts of the puzzle stymied others for longer than most. This may be a clue to the universal respect afforded this setter. I`ve always put it down to his characteristic “sting in the tail”, but it seems he has several “stings”!

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