Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,287 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on April 4th, 2011


The usual straightforward Monday Rufus offering. There are perhaps slightly fewer cryptic definitions than sometimes, and I can’t summon up much enthusiasm for those that there are; I’m also not keen on a couple of clues where an element of the wordplay has almost the same sense in the answer.

6. FAST Double definition
8. BLOCKADE LOCK (security) in BADE (ordered). An investment is a kind of siege, perhaps of a city
9. ARMOUR R (King) in AMOUR. No Lear of Cole here: “old” is part of the definition Armour is a “rigid habit of old” in this rather military row.
10. CRANKS C (100) RANKS
11. IDEALIST IDEA (fancy) + LIST (heel, as in lean over). IDEA in the wordplay and IDEALIST as the answer are a bit too closely related for my liking. See 7dn for another example.
12. UPKEEP KEEP UP with its parts switched.
15. SNOWDROP Double definition
16. COME COME COME is the invitation to be repeated
21. DISPERSE Cryptic definition
22. PARSON R between PA and SON
24. RIBALD RIB (tease) + LAD*
25. ALL RIGHT I think we’ve seen this a few times: if nothing is left then ALL is RIGHT
26. ANON O in ANN
27. SPECTATOR Double definition
1. MOLAR Cryptic definition: a molar is a back tooth and it’s held in the gum
2. LICENCE Double definition. Dog licences were abolished in the UK in 1987. They famously cost only 37½p, a reminder that they were 7/6 in old money. (I hope no one put the American LICENSE here!)
3. NEARS EAR in N + S (is an ear a “device”?)
4. EYELIDS Cryptic definition
5. SPADEWORK Double definition, though the “pioneer research” meaning is just a metaphorical use of the literal meaning.
6. FUMBLED Cryptic definition
7. SOUP SPOON SOUP (stock) + SPOON (golf club). Again I don’t like the way SOUP has the same meaning in the wordplay and the answer.
17. EXPLAIN EX (no longer) PLAIN (simple)
18. ELEVATE AT in ELEVE[N] (endless team)
20. MARXIST XIS (more elevens!) in MART.
22. PILOT PI (good) + LOT
23. OTHER THE inside, OR outside, or more simply THE in OR

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,287 – Rufus”

  1. Ian says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    Yes, I see what you mean as regards some slightly questionable wordplay.

    In defence of Rufus there are two splendid clues. Not least The clue/solution @ 27ac having a delightful political irony.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Andrew.

    I struggled to finish this one and can’t decide whether that’s just me being a bit dim this morning or the quality of some of the clues. Perhaps a bit of both. Normally with a Rufus there are two or three clues you could choose as your favourite, but I can’t say I could put my finger on any today.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    At a time when so much in the newspaper is depressing, Rufus provides a welcome bit of light relief.

    Thanks for the parsing of 9a. I (over)simply thought r = rex = old king.

    Some nice clues inc. 8a, 19a, 2d, 23d.

    There are of course also ‘cd elements’ in clues like 8a and 19a.

  4. tupu says:

    Hi Andrew
    I am not sure you are fair about 7d. Soup itself does not appear in the wordplay, and stock has a quite different meaning there in terms of ‘keep in stock’ e.g. in a golf shop.

  5. Martin H says:

    I liked 8, 12, 19 and 23, but otherwise this was a lazy, lacklustre affair. Apart from the weaknesses noted by Andrew, we had SON in the wordplay and the solution at 22; a molar is not held by the gum; often what wordplay there was was banal: 1a, 16. If the news is bad, tupu, stuff like this certainly doesn’t lift my spirits.

  6. tupu says:

    Hi Martin
    I called it ‘a bit of light relief’. It’s certainly a lot better than the news!
    The clues we liked were 75% the same. Thanks for listing 12. I felt it a bit obvious but I would agree the surface is clever. 2d took me longer to see, so there was an ‘aha’ moment. I take your point re 22. I also quite liked 6d.

  7. Angstony says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus.

    The only one I couldn’t parse was 8, as I was unaware of the ‘siege’ definition of investment — I like learning new things, so good clue. I also enjoyed 9 for the wonderful definition, it took a while for the penny to drop with that one.

    I agree with Martin H (@5) re 22a, but I didn’t mind 7 or 11 so much as their solutions didn’t seem quite as obvious to me. I also agree with tupu (@6) that 12 was a bit obvious — too much so for my liking.

    The only other thing I would question is the definition for 10: ‘stubborn’ doesn’t seem at all synonymous with ‘crank’ to me. In fact, if that clue had been missing its first two words I would have got it much sooner.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Andrew. As often with Rufus, the first three quarters I found easy and then it was snail’s pace thereafter. Failed on 8a and 11a as the enthusiasm had run out. I “got” (do you “get” the answer if you fill in the right word but have no idea why?) 21a, but I still don’t understand it.

  9. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus; I quite enjoyed this, although I didn’t like UPKEEP or PARSON, which I thought were rather lazy clues. Surely, in the latter the clue could have had another word for SON.

    Thanks Andrew; I didn’t parse OTHER correctly, which I thought was a good clue. I also enjoyed BLOCKADE, DISPERSE, MOLAR and EYELIDS. I agree with Angstony @7 that I do not see the connection between stubborn and crank.

    DaveE@8: I assume this is in the sense that the police might disperse a concentration of protesters etc.

  10. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Rufus and Andrew.

    I actually found this a little on the hard side for Rufus, though I don’t quite agree with your criticisms. Some of the cryptic definition provoked a smile, though I suppose that’s a matter of taste.

    In 11ac., there is no repitition between clue and answer, and though 12ac. was simple enough once you saw it, the surface was good. I agree with tupu re 7d.

    Hi MartinH. If a molar is not held by the gum, what keeps it in place, the jaw? In that case, how is it that receding gums leads to loss of teeth? (I’m not speaking from experience, as fortunately I’ve never needed the dentist for other than a cleaning, so forgive my ignorance).

    Dave Ellison@8, if your mind is dispersed, you can’t concentrate, so presumably to disperse would be to lose concentration.

  11. tupu says:

    Hi Dave Ellison
    As far as I can understand it, it is a cd based on the double idea of something breaking (interrupting) one’s concentration (e.g on a problem) on the one hand, and something dispersing a concentrated gathering of people or objects that are clustered together (e.g a crowd or clouds etc.) on the other.

  12. tupu says:

    Hi Stella and Robi
    Sorry, we crossed.

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Hi tupu, that’s fine, you summarized both our views :)

  14. Angstony says:

    Hi Dave Ellison@8, Stella heath@10, and tupu@11

    Re 21a: I was thinking more along the lines of breaking up a concentration of a substance, such as the chemicals used to disperse concentrated oil spillages.

  15. Mark Hanley says:

    Couldn’t parse 8ac, Bade is a city in Taiwan but this just seamed too obscure. Some old chestnuts here, seen the clues for “snowdrop” and “all right” before. Didn’t like “protrudes” – where’s the indicator??

  16. Robi says:

    Mark@15; could ‘into’ be an indicator as in (change) into?

  17. tupu says:

    Hi Mark
    The indicator is ‘into’ I think. The sentence seems to be an abbreviation of the command ‘Make “puts order” into “projects”‘.

    Hi Angstony
    I thought of that idea too, but having started my sentence, I couldn’t fit it in easily. I decided that in any case a concentrated ‘substance’ was also a collection of objects – i.e. molecules!

  18. tupu says:

    Hi robi

    :) We can’t kep meeting like this!

  19. walruss says:

    Bit boring on all sides of the house today. Indy not my cup of tea, and I think Rufus is a bit off form!! Off to the FT for me, but thanks to Andrew and Neal H for the goodly blogs.

  20. Martin H says:

    Hi Stella @10 – as far as I understand it, teeth are held in place in the jawbone by the periodontal ligament and cementum. When gums recede, the bony structure is exposed and vulnerable to attack by bacteria, and it’s this that causes the loss of teeth. That’s from Google – I’m no more of an expert than you, although I seem to have met more dentists.

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Ok, Martin, after all, (remaining) teeth subsist in a skeleton long after any flesh has gone :D

    Re 14d., we could read it as ‘into’ = ‘>'; thus: ‘puts order’ > PROTRUDES

  22. tupu says:

    Hi Martin

    :) I suppose a healthy gum must help a little in the holding, and at least in my part of the north thay unfortunately don’t say ‘Ee bah periodontal ligament and cementum!’, adding ‘Well I’ll go to our ‘ouse!’- though it might catch on. I know you are right but it is a lovely surface that deserved charitable forgiveness.

  23. yogdaws says:

    Thanks Andrew…

    Think a lot of you out there are being a bit hard of the Rufster. It’s Monday after all. And how many of us could match him for output and consistency?

    Yes, there were some crusty ones, but some nice ones too. EG 9a and 6d. Lightly, wittily misdirecting.

  24. Martin H says:

    Sorry tupu – I’d already done most of the puzzle before I got out 1d, and charity was wearing a bit thin by then.

  25. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Stella, Robi, Tupu and Angstony. Several explanations – does that not indicate a loose clue?

  26. tupu says:

    Hi robi
    I personally don’t think so. The main contrast seems to be between mental concentration and more physical forms.

  27. Carrots says:

    Having waged war (and lost!) on a bit of crab shell during my recent French forage, I face the prospect of having the whole, dislodged MOLAR removed tomorrow morning. After a week of miserable drizzle, holed up in an hotel with toothache and melting plasticards, I`m back as my grumpy old self. I was, however, relieved that most of The Usual Suspects are still warm and breathing, venting terminalogical exactitudes on poor old Rufus…who hasn`t a malign thought in his head. I can`t tell you how good it was to see him chunter out of my printer.

  28. tupu says:

    Hi carrots
    Nice to see you back! I’ve had a mouthful of tooth troubles myself recently so know how you feel. Don’t forget to put the molar under your pillow tomorrow in case the tooth fairy’s around!

  29. Huw Powell says:

    Some nice light misdirection here, but often leading less to an “aha” than a groan. UPKEEP went in last, as an example of one. I spent much time with on, off, open, closed, etc., but once I had _P_E_P I went lateral on it and thought, “well, most people probably wrote that it without any checked letters.”

    I liked 23 a lot – not difficult, but very pretty and witty.

    As far as 14 I would have been happier with “Puts order, disorder, into projects.” But even with a “weak” anagrind, it wasn’t hard to solve.

    Hey, it’s Monday though, and the week is supposed to start off gently, right?

    Oh, and how does “pi” = “good” (I didn’t bother to do any research on it, hmmm, come to think of it I finished the whole puzzle with no resort to any aids, pre- or post-solving)?

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew, and for a gentle Monday outing, Rufus!

  30. Huw Powell says:

    More on PILOT… we have “He flies a good deal.”

    “He flies” is obviously the literal meaning.

    “(a) good deal” means “lot” to me. “deal” doesn’t.

    Leaving me frustrated in that “PI” is simply not in the clue as far as I can tell. A word like “constant” could easily have fit in to complete the clue, although would have made the surface clunkier. “Irrational good deal in/for the flier” would have been nice, too.

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