Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,263 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on March 7th, 2011


Gentle and easy does it with Rufus today, with the usual smooth surface readings. On the other hand there are a couple of clues that I raise an eyebrow at because the cryptic construction is much too similar to the defintion.

1. EMBRACE EM (typographical measure, hence “typical”) + BRACE (couple)
5. ANTACID Ants use formic acid to attack, so it’s ANT ACID
9. ICE UP ICE (winter cover) + UP (raised). Rather a dud clue, as the cryptic meaning is virtually the same as the answer.
11. ON THE LEVEL Double definition – cant=inclination from the horizontal
12. YEAH YEA (truly) + H (aspiration). Another dud, I’m afraid.
14. SETTLE A SCORE SETTLE (still, as a verb) + A SCORE (twenty)
18. MISADVENTURE MI (motorway) + ADVENT (coming) in SURE (certain)
21. SAFE F in SEA*
25. HARD WORDS Double definition, though surely it has to be “..make … solving difficult” for the cryptic reading, though that would spoil the surface
28. ENSLAVE Cryptic definition (not very cryptic, though)
1. EDISON (NO SIDE) reversed
2. BLEATS STABLE* – I liked this one
3. APPREHENDS Double definition
4. EAGLE Cryptic definition. An Eagle is two under par in golf.
6. THEE Cryptic definition. I don’t know if Quakers still address each other as “thee” and “thou”. In any case, this is another rather weak clue, as THOU fits the clue at least as well, and in fact I confidently entered that at first.
8. DEATHBED A rather macabre cryptic definition
15. THESAURUS HE’S in TAURUS (Zodiac sign)
16. SMASH HIT SMASH (break) + HIT (strike)
17. ASK FOR IT FOR (because) in A SKIT
19. VERONA ON in VERA. Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona: “Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”
20. TSETSE SET* twice
23. TASTE (A TEST)*, and a taste is an “oral test” – another nice one.
24. TWEE Hidden in aunT WEEps

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,263 – Rufus”

  1. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew

    Mostly straightforward, but I found the NE corner less so. I agree about 6d and 12a. But otherwise a pleasant enough start to the week.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Gentle puzzle today from Rufus, which I enjoyed. There were as you say one or two iffy clues (although I thought YEAH and ENSLAVE were fine). MISADVENTURE and BARTENDERS were the ones I liked this morning.

  3. Bruce says:

    I’ll come to Rufus’s defence. The crossword community needs the occasional straightforward cryptic, or the newcomers will simply give up and the craft will die.

  4. Martin H says:

    A fair summary Andrew – TSETSE was also weak, I thought.

    The last time ‘Take a liberty’ came round it was noted that the answer could be either ‘enslave’ or ‘ensnare’. Rufus seems to be quite content with this.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    Mostly a relatively easy and enjoyable ride along very smooth surfaces such as 5d, 7d and 15d.

    6d and 12a were among the last to go in so the question of an alternative didn’t arise for 6. I thought 12a a little unsatisfactory for the same reason as Andrew. And 9a took me time to see because it was so straightforward.

    But as usual one just has to admire Rufus’s skill and wit.

  6. Geoff says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus.

    Straightforward enough, but as tight and precise as ever – apart from the rather lame clues that Andrew has highlighted. I also put THOU in for 6d at first – the subject pronoun seemed a more accurate ‘address’ than the object pronoun.

    I liked the use of ‘represented’ (ie re-presented) as an anagrind in 10a – I don’t remember having seen this before.

  7. duncan says:

    I’m inclined (& not 11ac, therefore) to side with bruce; it struck me quite early on that this was “entry level” & would’ve suited someone being introduced to this strange world we visit daily.
    I liked 22ac particularly, & feel that the satisfying feeling from discovering such wordplay is all the inducement one needs to be dragged into addiction.
    (personally I would’ve changed “little arthur” for “pop, pottery & the like”, but that’s just me….)

    saturday’s jigsaw would probably have worked for me, too, had I seen it when I was 15 & just starting out on these things.


  8. Robi says:

    Thanks to Rufus; a pleasant enought solve, although I did put ENSNARE at first.

    Thanks Andrew, like you I did enjoy BLEATS :) – apparently, sheep can also be put in a stable, although that was new to me. I also liked the ‘typical’ in 1a, which misled me for a while, and the ANT ACID.

    I usually spell the word CHAPERONE, so I have added to my spelling and Scrabble words.

  9. tupu says:

    Hi robi

    I too wondered about the spelling. Wikipedia gives ‘chaperone (and occasionally chaperon)’. Chambers gives both, and COD and OED only give ‘chaperon’.

  10. tupu says:

    Hi MartinH and Robi

    Re ensnare. I know this has come up before. ‘Enslave’ is a quite literal and more obvious fit whereas ‘ensnare’ seems a much looser one to me. But I agree, both fit the lettering.

  11. Robi says:

    tupu @9; my ODE gives CHAPERONE as the first spelling. However: ‘some commentators point out that the chaperone spelling is an incorrect Anglicization of a French word. Someone mistakenly thought that an -e- was needed at the end of the word to make it feminine. So it’s probably better to give preference to chaperon.’ More at chaperon(e) :)

  12. Geoff says:

    Hi Robi & tupu

    The word ‘chaperon(e)’ is from French, where it is spelt without the final ‘e’ – so I suppose we should consider that the more authentic. It it a bit of a mystery how it picked up that ‘e’ (perhaps under the misapprehension that this was the feminine form?) but the usual pronunciation fits an ‘-one’ ending.

  13. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew, gentle as you say … and another visit from Mr Edison. [One inventive hit-man loves a soda (6,4,6) … you can tell I’m bored !]. And yeah, liked 12a.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Pleasant but very staightforward.
    I think ensnare is equally as apt as enslave.
    I can’t explain this fully but is there anything in 6d which links the “the” to the “thee”?

  15. Robi says:

    P.S. Just in case you want to see the non-oscar nominated trailer for the CHAPERONE, you can see it here

  16. grunos says:

    re: 12a why is ‘H’ aspiriation?

  17. grunos says:


  18. Robi says:

    grunos: Chambers gives for aspirate: ‘to pronounce with a full breathing, ie the sound of ‘h,’ as in house.’

  19. Mr Beaver says:

    Grunos – I think the ‘H’ sound is called an aspirant in phonetics. I still think 12a was a poor clue though.

    As for Geoff describing Rufus as ‘tight and precise, as ever’, well let’s just say I raised an eyebrow. But in fairness, I think his recent efforts have improved in this respect, and I do like the idea of Monday’s crossword being easier than usual.

    re 4d, I was toying with BOGIE (is there a bogie-bird ?) when Mrs B pointed out that being below-par in golf is a good thing. Funny game….

  20. William says:

    Thanks, Andrew, nice blog.

    Would have finished in double quick time if only I could spell Guatemala. Spelt with an A in the middle it seriously complicated the NE corner.

    I have no problem with the odd straightforward puzzle – it complements the excellent mix that The Grauniad achieves.

    Grunos @16 – aspirating relates to the movement of air (carburettors, medicine, etc) and thus a vowel sound with a sound like the passage of air is said to have been aspirated – a common way of achieving this is with the addition of an h – commonly referred to as the aspirant.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Ref #14
    No further comments on 6d?
    ‘The’ can be pronounced in two ways depending on the following word.
    Would it be usual to say ‘thee’ Quakers.
    I’m only asking?

  22. Wolfie says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew, and to Rufus for a pleasant and untaxing start to the week’s solving. I would add that ‘formic’ acid is derived from the latin word for ‘ant’ – ‘formica’, so the clue suggests not only that ants use formic acid, but that they provide the name for it.

  23. Carrots says:

    I like to savour crosswords rather than rush them, but this is hard to do with Rufus, so I decided (a la Rightback) to attempt it against the clock. (By the way, what`s happened to Rightback? I`ve dim recollections of him “going native” or something.) Less than 15 minutes later I had completed it….all except one. An hour later, after my siesta, it dawned on me: “THEE”. I had been through the alphabet twice for the two letters I hadn`t got without the penny dropping. This supports my theory of Rufus usually having a sting in his tail…or, more likely, a block for my head.

    Isn`t it ANT ACID because they squirt it in defence when they are attacked?

    I wouldn`t have got CHAPERON without the Evita prompt and would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that it was spelt with an E…more than that: I would have put money on it!

  24. Roger says:

    Interesting point, RCW @21 … maybe so, although I would tent to say ‘the Quakers’ and not ‘thee Quakers’.
    On a broader front, this from Wiki is fascinating.

  25. Robi says:

    RCW@21, Roger@24; many moons ago when I spent a year teaching EFL, I found the simple rule that many people don’t know: ‘the’ is pronounced ‘thee’ when the next word starts with a vowel; otherwise it isn’t unless you want to put extra stress on the word (maybe I’m going to be corrected by the English teachers out there.) So, no ‘thee Quakers’ in normal speech.

  26. Martin H says:

    Hi tupu, re 28ac. No point in guessing really. Perhaps next time Rufus will be kind enough to give us the other crossing letters, then we’ll have it for future reference.

  27. enitharmon says:

    A Quaker writes:

    Modern Quakers, at least British Quakers, don’t use the old second person singular forms except when being consciously ironic. Quakerism is more fragmented in the US and there are some ultra-conservative Friends who retain the old usage. Those Quakers, and British ones when the practice was still in use here, do/did not use the nominative thou form, using thee for both nominative and accusative. Rufus is therefore quite right and unambiguous.

    All bets are off, however, for Quakers in Yorkshire.

  28. Julia and Tom says:

    Also, doesn’t “address” indicate the answer’s being a homophone of “the”?

    Thanks Rufus by the way.

    You have become a much cherished part of our booze-free Monday evenings.

  29. muck says:

    Thanks Andrew & Rufus
    ENSLAVE/ensnare was a poor clue – I went for the latter
    YEAH and THEE are clearer to me now

  30. Handel says:

    Don’t usually do this one, but did it on the computer while dodging the more gruesome bits of ‘One Born Every Minute’ today. Some enjoyable surfaces, as ever with Rufus, but a few duds along the way. ‘Thee’ was last to go in and a puzzling choice given the large number of words that fit the checking. A few too many overfamiliar plays here (1dn, 28ac, 3dn, 20dn) but some clever touches (liked ‘typical’ in 1ac and antacid). Thanks for the blog, Andrew, and for the puzzle, Rufus.

  31. Paul B says:

    Geoff, ‘represented’ (as in re-presented) as an anag ind is one first used by the Minoans, circa 2500 BCE, as noted in certain Linear A texts found by Evans at Zakro. And also, as discovered at the peak sanctuary at Mount Juktas, in the Old Book of Ruth.

  32. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Andrew. THEE was too obscure for me to get. Some of my parents friends were Quakers, I never once remeber any of them calling each other ‘thee’ or ‘thou’, first name terms and common parlance seemed to be the order of the day, just like everyone else.

    I like Rufus crosswords, over the years he has become a sort of familiar Monday institution within the Guardian. I don’t think anyone else could (or should!) be allowed to get away with some of his clueing, but as its a Monday and it’s a Rufus that somehow makes it all right.

  33. Jack Aubrey says:

    An early start to meetings on Monday meant that Rufus was still on the iPad for this morning’s post-swim coffee. Slipped down pleasantly – I ain’t proud: I like ’em easy – and on to Orlando before the latte cools….

  34. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus.

    A fairly straightforward puzzle, with a few too many cryptic (or not so) definitions for my taste, but as a few people rightly mentioned, it’s good to have puzzles that those who struggle might completely finish once in a while. I tend not to notice how “smooth” the surfaces are, usually, but they were very well-polished today.

    My take on 5 was “formic” = ANT + “solution” = ACID, solution doing double duty as part of the definition as well. There’s no need to juggle with formic acid, formica, etc. – an ant *is* formic.

    BLEATS was last in, after I noticed the anagram. Another clue where part did double duty – “comes from” is part of the definition and also the anagrind.

    Re: make/makes in 25, yes, it should be make, and argument could be pluralized to maintain the surface reading.

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