Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,257 by Rufus

Posted by PeterO on February 28th, 2011


Nothing very demanding – notably heavy on double definitions, and only a hint of a cryptic definition.

1. Influences or distorts the standard (7)
COLOURS Triple definition.
5. Makes an entry, a footnote about fruit (7)
APPEARS Envelope (‘about’) of PEAR (‘fruit’) in A PS (‘a footnote’).
10. Hairstyle for a make­over (4)
AFRO Anagram (‘makeover’) of ‘for a’.
11. Tender after getting the stick? One may give you treatment (5,5)
STAFF NURSE Charade of STAFF (‘stick’) + NURSE (‘tender’, one who tends).
12. One making records gets the music right (6)
SCORER Charade of SCORE (‘music’) + R (‘right’).
13. Probe about language is widening (8)
DILATING Envelope (‘about’) of LATIN (‘language’) in DIG (‘probe’).
14. Emerge neither winner nor loser still after a piece of luck (5,4)
BREAK EVEN Charade of BREAK (‘a piece of luck’) + EVEN (‘still’).
16. Wood works in church (5)
COPSE Envelope (‘in’) of OPS (‘works’) in CE (‘church’ of England).
17. Nearly every one goes by taxi for the party (5)
CABAL Charade of CAB (‘taxi’) + (‘goes by’) AL[l] (‘nearly every one’).
19. Political leaders revised means test (9)
STATESMEN Anagram (‘revised’) of ‘means test’.
23. Growing area, one with a shrub (8)
GARDENIA Charade of GARDEN (‘growing area’) + I (‘one’) + A (‘a’). A family of shrubs of the coffee family, many particularly noted for their scent.
Gardenia jasminoides 'Plena'

Gardenia jasminoides 'Plena'

24. Duke Ellington’s mood? (6)
INDIGO Essentially a straight definition of the Ellington standard Mood Indigo.
26. Currently the chief form of jazz? (10)
MAINSTREAM Definiton + cryptic definition (main stream for ‘currently the chief’).
27. China tea (4)
MATE Double definition – china plate, rhyming slang, and maté, a South American tea brewed from the leaves of a holly.
28. Open with a play by Shaw (7)
CANDIDA Charade of CANDID (‘open’) + ‘a’. The play by George Bernard Shaw.
29. Publicity coverage of speech (7)
ADDRESS Charade of AD (‘publicity’) + DRESS (‘coverage’).
2. Substandard rice pudding served in the wardroom? (7)
OFFICER Charade of OFF (‘substandard’) + ICER, an anagram (pudding’) of ‘rice’, with the definition of (one who is, or one who has) ‘served in the wardroom’.
3. Smell reportedly comes from river (5)
ODOUR A homophone (‘reportedly’) of the River Oder in central Europe.
4. Book not one’s first choice (7)
RESERVE Double definition; book as a verb.
6. Rubbish heap contains heads of faded flowers (6)
PIFFLE Envelope (‘contains’) of FF (‘heads of Faded Flowers in PILE (‘heap’).
7. Unusual quotes in a maths book? (9)
EQUATIONS Anagram (‘unusual’) of ‘quotes in a’.
8. Objects to Ernest’s replacement (7)
RESENTS Anagram (‘replacement’) of ‘Ernests’.
9. Slept and dreamed about a new ship (6,7)
PADDLE STEAMER Anagram (‘new’) of ‘slept’  ‘dreamed’  ‘a’.
15. Deserted, being completely irresponsible (9)
ABANDONED Double definition.
18. Sailor held by a devout Buddhist state (7)
ALABAMA Envelope (‘held by’) of AB (able bodied ‘sailor’) in A LAMA (‘a devout Buddhist’ in Tibet).
20. Adjusted the sails and docked (7)
TRIMMED Double definition; docked int the sense of cut short.
21. Fractions of the highest order (7)
EIGHTHS Anagram (‘order’) of ‘highest’.
22. Joined the club (6)
UNITED Double definition; Manchester United, for example.
25. To be hesitant is not entirely modest (5)
DEMUR DEMUR[e] (‘modest’, ‘not entirely’).


28 Responses to “Guardian 25,257 by Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO – you are an early bird!

    Another very gentle Monday stroll … I hope that the Quick and/or the Quiptic provide more of a challenge.

  2. Martin H says:

    ‘Heavy on double definitions’ PeterO? Apart from the iffy triple at 1a (‘distorts’ means ‘colours’ only in the same sense that ‘influences’ does, and so the definition is not truly triple.), there were only five, which is pretty good for a Rufus, as indeed was the puzzle as a whole: only one weak CD at 24, (although 26 was going that way). Otherwise the clueing was tight throughout; 2d and 9d had excellent surfaces, and 27a was neat too.

    Quibble : 3: ‘smell reportedly’ comes from river. That reading works, whereas what was meant was ‘smell’ reportedly comes from river, which I don’t think does: ‘comes’ gets in the way, so the solution should have been the river and not ‘smell’.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Rufus

    Usual quite enjoyable Monday fare. Liked 1a, 14a, 9d (espec.),and 18d (less complicated than I first thought).

    I was slow to get ‘gardenia’ and puzzled over 10 for no goood reason apart from Monday morning.

  4. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and PeterO.

    Didn’t know maté, although the solution couldn’t have been much else. Like tupu, I unaccountably didn’t realise 10 was a simple anagram for a while. 24 was a disappointing quick crossword clue.

  5. Colin Greenland says:

    Mostly easy or unsatisfying. Or both! But worth it for 18d (an enjoyable tussle), 27a (neat, nice), and 9d: a lovely surface.

  6. Rufus says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the attractive and comprehensive blog.

    I missed last Monday’s blog as I was on a family treat for my birthday. May I thank mhl both for the blog and for his “volunteering” to assist in my “mind-reading” at Derby. I struggled that day with loss of voice and I cannot remember whether I thanked him properly afterwards for his assistance. I do so now.
    Also, very many thanks for all those that sent greetings last Tuesday on my 79th birthday – very much appreciated!

  7. Chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for clarifying a couple of cases where I thought “the answer must be xxx but why?”.
    I made a rod for my own back by trying to put DEFER as 25D which made 27A impossible. Eventually I remembered that china=mate so was able to finish.

  8. Geoff says:

    Thanks to PeterO and Rufus.

    I agree with Martin H on this one: Rufus puzzles have tended to be very heavy on the dd/cd clues, but this has a good balance of types (Mr S is entirely capable of this, of course) without sacrificing the excellent surfaces. But I disagree with the quibble about 3d; for me the ‘reportedly’ works equally well in either direction.

    My last entry was 1a – decoyed by the triple def I spent a while trying to fit OR into a word meaning ‘standard’.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO and Rufus.

    My last entry was 26ac., which I’ve just put in after a forced break.

    Nothing much to add. I found this a standard Monday Rufus, which is why I attempted it before the Quiptic, knowing I had to get out :)

  10. Stella Heath says:

    For ‘why’ read, ‘what I was hoping for when’

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    The usual enjoyable and accessible Monday morning fare from Rufus. ALABAMA and EIGHTHS hit the spot today.

  12. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Rufus and PeterO. 27ac gives me the opportunity to ask the question. How does an uninformed Yankee, such as myself, know when the rhyming slang is at play? Is there a master list of these words? Is there something in the two word clue that tips one off? Inquiring minds want to know.


  13. PeterO says:

    Martin H: a quick trawl of the blogs of the previous bakers’ dozen Rufuses comes up with 2 with 7 dds, 2 with 6 and the rest lesser numbers (including triples and definition/cryptic definitions). That seems to provide enough ammunition for either of our positions. As for 3D, it seems very difficult to phrase a homophone clue without it being ambiguous, relying on crossing letters or, as here, word length to resolve (I recall a Genius clue a while back, by Brummie I think, where neither of these aids helped). In this case, although as you say the readier interpretation is that the smell is being reported (although ‘comes from’ hardly suggests that ‘river’ is the definition), it seems quite possible to paraphrase the clue as something like:

    The answer is defined by “smell”, which you get by reporting the name of a river.

  14. Martin H says:

    PeterO – thanks for your reply – I agree that homophones are often somewhat ambiguous, although crossing letters and word length are authentic solving aids; this one just seemed (to me) to be so slewed one (the wrong) way, that it deserved comment. ‘Comes from’ says quite strongly to me that ‘river’ is the definition, but clearly your paraphrase is what Rufus intended.

  15. Robi says:

    grandpuzzler @12, I don’t think there are usually Cockney indicators unless it is very abstruse. Don’t worry thought as a lot of us Brits don’t know these either. You’ll just have to do some more crosswords and learn. :)

    In the meantime, this Cockney list might help

  16. PeterO says:

    Grandpuzzler: Definitely a problem. Although rhyming slang might seem an age-old custom dreamt up to amuse (or confuse) Americans, it is a used and evolving form. In some cases, the result has become virtually dissociated from the original rhyme – for example, I have only just found out that rabbit in the sense of chatter derives from “rabbit and pork” – talk. There are lists of the slang available on the web: for example, at Memorise it, and I will give you a test tomorrow. It does have a search facility.

  17. Carrots says:

    My car developed an odd and intermittent fault and I had to take it in this morning for the automotive equivalent of a brain-rinse, taking with me a hard copy version of today`s puzzle to while away the hour or so this was to take. Unfortunately, already waiting in the reception area was a guy who could bore for England who informed me that he couldn`t do cryptic crosswords…the reasons why…how they were a waste of time…all about a friend who won £1,000 once with them…what his friend`s clever teachniques were…and (after requesting a look at my Rufus) what the answer to 1ac. would be if he had been doing it (“INFECTS” apparently).

    I lost the will to live after an hour of this and I doubt that I have ever cherished a Rufus as much as I did this one when eventually unfolding it (still virgin) next to my pinta at lunchtime. Only two tail-stings: a SCORER is hardly one making records (is he/she?) and MATE=tea I`ve never heard of. But don`t fret Rufus…after what I`d been through, you could have tattooed your puzzle on the hide of a Rhino and I would still had a go at it.

  18. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Carrots, sorry for your ordeal.
    Maybe this will make it lighter: think of a score as a record of something, as when a prisoner scores the wall of his cell, or a hitman his gun.

    Maté, with an accent, is herb herb tea common in South America, especially Argentinz. I believe they prefer it to coffee.

  19. Rufus says:

    Thanks for the comments above.
    Some of the queries have been answered. For Carrots query, may I suggest a scorer “makes a record of the score”?

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Carrots @ no 17 … take a chill pill (or perhaps another pinta).

    I think SCORER is fine. As someone who’s spent many a Saturday afternoon with pen in hand recording the goings on of the men (and increasingly now at our cricket club, women) in white, the clue works for me.

  21. LoriB says:


    As a fellow Yank, I have found the rhyming slang a challenge as well. As I’ve been doing these puzzles over the last year, I find that it often just comes down to deciding that it has to be a rhyming slang answer because there’s no other way to parse it, and with a combination of crossing letters and (regretfully) consulting google I can usually come up with it.

  22. tupu says:

    Hi grandpuzzler
    As others say, it can be a problem, but in some cases (like rabbit = prattle and china = mate) one just gets to know the words and the rhyming slang is just the etymology. I didn’t even remember about rhyming slang today with ‘mate’ since I know the expression ‘my old china’ anyway. Like PeterO, I didn’t consciously know about ‘rabbit and pork’ though I may well have seen it at some time or other.

  23. Geoff Chapman says:

    Re 27, “Mate”

    China (plate) – Mate
    Tea – Ma-te (Mar-tay)

    Those are two totally different words. I guess I’m missing something. For the record, Yerba Mate is HUGE in Argentina and southern Chile. Whole shops devoted to it. People drink it in the street. Some even smoke it.

  24. Carrots says:

    Stella/Rufus/K`s Dad/ Oh! THAT kind of scorer: Rufus, you should have said(!!)

    K`s D:……er, wots a “chill-pill” ?? Never heard of this either: bettter reply via e-mail if it involves exotic substances!

    Thanks all.

  25. morpheus says:

    Grandpuzzler, if you can get it in the States let me recommend the excellent if slightly corny show “Only Fools and Horses” which will provide you with many amusing opportunities to practise you knowledge of Cockney Rhyming Slang.

  26. PeterO says:

    Geoff Chapman @23 – I’m not sure where your concern lies. It can hardly be that the two words have different meanings; that is the nature of a double definition clue. That they are pronounced differently? Crosswords are a quintessentially written diversion, and solvers must take such in their stride. That one is spelled with an accent, one without? There are two counters to that: a) crosswords regularly ignore accents along with punctuation; and b) Chambers at least lists the tea as mate with or without the accent.

  27. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks PeterO, etal, for your responses to my rhyming slang inquiry. There is a lot for me to learn. I don’t think I’ll be ready for tomorrow’s test (unless it’s open-book).


  28. Geoff Chapman says:

    Thank you PeterO. Chambers listing it without the accent clears things up for me.

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