Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,311 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on May 2nd, 2011


Mostly the usual smooth and straightforward clueing from Rufus this sunny Bank Holiday, with a couple of rather over-familiar clues (27ac, 8dn), but I slowed down at the end and took a bit longer than usual to finish it off, though for no particular reason that I can see looking back.

1. EPIGRAM E (point of the compass) + PIG + RAM (animals)
5. CRYPTIC PT (exercise) in CRY (keen) + IC
10. ANTE Reverse of ETNA
11. DRAWBRIDGE DRAW (tie) + BRIDGE (game)
12. INSECT IN (fashionable) + SECT (school)
13. DEFRAYED FRAY (battle) in DEED (action)
14. LECTURING Double definition
16. ID EST EDITS* – ID EST (Latin for “that is”) is what “i.e.” is short for.
17. BLUES Double definition
19. SPACE RACE Cryptic definition
24. AIRING A1 + RING (call)
27. IDEA IDEAL less its last letter. We’ve seen this, er, idea many times before.
29. FRIGATE RIG (sails etc) in FATE (lot)
2. PENANCE PENZANCE less Z (“last character”)
3. GEESE Reverse of SEE in [a]GE[s]. “Capital savers” refers to a story (which I didn’t know, or had forgotten) of how Rome was saved from invading Gauls when some sacred geese were disturbed and woke the sleeping garrison.
4. AUDITOR Cryptic definition – auditors check a company’s accounts
6. REBUFF Double definition
8. INGRESS INGRES (painter) + S (another point of the compass)
9. MAIDEN’S PRAYER (ESPY AN ADMIRER)* – a very apt anagram.
18. LOOK OUT “Cave” (pronounced cay-vee) is Latin for “look out”, as called out by public schoolboys when “the beak” was on his way.
20. CHANTER Cryptic definition – a chanter is the “pipe” on a set of bagpipes that is used to play the melody. Cue the famous joke: Why do bagpipers walk around when they play? To try to get away from the noise.
21. CONSENT CON (vote against) + SENT (told to go)
22. SAVAGE VA (Virginia) in SAGE
25. RUING I in RUNG (called)

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,311 – Rufus”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Not sure if it’s my bank holiday lethargy or whether Rufus had a double dose of Weetabix before he set this one, but this was tough by this setter’s standards, I thought. I liked it though. Didn’t know the GEESE story, so thanks for that; MAIDEN’S PRAYER was also new to me. SPACE RACE was a clever cryptic definition.

  2. Martin H says:

    A concise and fair commentary as usual, Andrew. 1 and 17 seem familiar too. None of the cds up to much – CHANTER is a bit pointless because the drones on a set of bagpipes are pipes as well. Otherwise, a few to think about: 3,9,13,25,26 all good.

  3. Ian says:

    Thanks Andrew. Rufus maintains the perceptible trend towards more challenging crosswords.

    A mixed bag in terms of difficulty but there was a seamlessness throughout when it came to the surfaces.

    Highlights included the the use of A1 ring as a syn for ‘Display’, the wordplay for ‘drawbridge’ and 26 across was a lovely construct.

    Top clues were 29 across, a nice use of fate for lot. As good as that was,  it was bettered by 19 across which was quite marvellous.

  4. Median says:

    I agree that this was a tougher Rufus than usual. A couple of the cryptic definitions defeated me: SPACE RACE and CHANTER.

  5. Stella says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    No Bank Holiday for me, but I found this a little more challenging than the usual Monday fare.

    Thanks for the goose story, and the definition of ‘chanter’

    Thanks for the entertainment, Rufus.

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus for an entertaining puzzle.

    Good blog, Andrew. I spent ages on ‘capital savers’ before coming to find your explanation. I thought it must be some obscure reference to types of hats or somesuch. I, of course, got misled by the cricket in 12 as I’m so used to setters making some obscure reference to the game. I didn’t know CHANTER – thought this was some reference to someone who pipes.

    I particularly enjoyed MAIDEN’S PRAYER and FRIGATE, which I thought at the beginning might have been ‘rigging.’

  7. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew

    I didn’t understand the Capital Savers part 3d even though GEESE jumped out.

    I had a friend who used to play the bagpipes and so I was aware of CHANTER but, at first, I was looking for something else.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    Came to this late after a spate of rough-cutting at the back of the garden.

    Like some others found this tough in parts, but a very good puzzle overall.

    :) At last, a classical education pays off. I knew the geese story!

    Lots of good clues. I liked 10a, 12a (nicely misleading), 19a (very economical), 26a, 29a (like Robi I had to think myself out of ‘rigging’), 3d, 9d (great surface and not easy to see), 15d. Had to guess and check ‘chanter’.

  9. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the blog, Andrew, and Rufus for the puzzle – especially for 3 and 9dn.

    Like tupu, I knew the geese story and have been struggling to find more wordplay, since the geese were on the Capitol :-) – lovely clue, anyway!

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    I once knew the story about the geese but had forgotten it when I came to this puzzle – thanks for reminding me.

    I liked 9d and 26a. I had a great struggle with 19a until I had sufficient crossing letters then thought Well Done Rufus.

    I disliked 10a: “idea1 backing idea2″ this format means you cannot write in the answer without a crossing letter.

    I have a quibble about 11a: the defenders pull up the drawbridge not put up.

  11. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus. I was preparing to agree that this was a return to the easy end of Rufus’s range but find that my experience was not shared. I think I was fortunate enough to know all the unusual references today – the ‘recorder’ part of the bagpipes, the geese story, and certainly the expression, usually delivered tongue in cheek, “answer to a maiden’s prayer”. Even the one parochial reference was not a problem since I was raised on Gilbert & Sullivan. A rapid but enjoyable solve which fortunately left most of lunchtime available for the other Guardian offering today.

  12. Stella says:

    I’ve just found your ‘parochial’ reference, Colin – I got it that way, too :)

  13. otter says:

    Thanks, Andrew, and thanks, Rufus.

    I found half of this very straightforward and the other half increasingly difficult. I think my brain’s not really in gear today, but this was doubtless quite a lot harder in parts than Rufus’s normal standard. Good on him for setting something a bit more challenging for the bank holiday.

    I did like the long 9d. Had no idea about the geese saving Rome (although I did immediately see the Latin in ‘Cave’ and ID EST), nor of the meanings of CHANTER, so appreciate the explanations given above.

    Completely failed to see that 28a was an anagram of ‘it’s used’. Dur.

  14. caretman says:

    I also thought this was a bit more challenging than usual with some excellent clues. Count me among those who knew the story of the geese saving Rome and being familiar with the chanter in bagpipes. I agree that 10 ac could be read either way; I entered ANTE initially since it seemed a somewhat smoother cryptic reading but was perfectly prepared to erase it and put in the reverse if needed. I liked 19 ac a lot, and thought that 26 ac was nearly excellent (I liked OUR NAME for “what people may call us”), except that “explosive competition” wasn’t a particularly natural phrase (hardly Rufus’s fault). And finally, I thought 9 dn was a wonderful anagram; it did take me a few crossing letters to get it but when I did it brought a smile.

  15. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. I’m another one who found this Rufus a little more testing in places than usual. Thought 4dn was a little loose and 17ac over-familiar, but 9dn was lovely and I enjoyed 19ac too.

    3dn had to be GEESE, but I didn’t know the story or CHANTER at 20dn.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all.
    I found this enjoyable but very easy until I was left with 29ac and 2d. I had convinced myself that 29 was BRIG— and that 2 was CONTENT (as in voting for in the House of Lords). My folly.
    Liz,no story,just that a chanter is the ‘pipe’ part of a set of bagpipes.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry, my 1 seems to be reluctant, it should have been 21 down.

  18. Daniel Miller says:

    Struggling to find the Bin Laden clue…. unless it’s 18d – Cave – Look Out…or Rebuff.

  19. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Fully agree with Ian @3 (“Rufus maintains the perceptible trend towards more challenging crosswords”).
    When I went to Holland two weeks ago, I took 4 puzzles with me:
    a Paul, a Radian, a Loroso and a Dante. And would you believe, it was the Dante I did worst in!

    When seeing the clue for 21d (CONSENT) we started talking about the AV-system, holding up solving considerably.
    After 2 (!!) hours we missed out on 20d (CHANTER): I had the idea right, but had to check the internet later at home.
    Oh, and on DEFRAYED (13ac). We were considering ‘deflated’ and ‘defeated’, knowing that it wasn’t possibly right.

    Some great clues today, every single one of them mentioned by many of you: the fine construction of 3d (GEESE), 26ac (TOURNAMENT), the anagram of 9d and the very good 29ac (FRIGATE) [although we weren’t really happy with the ‘a’ in front of ‘lot’, although Rufus needed it here and although we know that he does this frequently (see eg 10ac)].

    So, nice puzzle.
    Many thanks Rufus.
    Many thanks Andrew, too.
    [I thought you might complain about ‘in Africa’ as the definition of BOTSWANA – :) – but it wasn’t one of those days]

  20. tupu says:

    As noted earlier it took me some time to see ‘frigate’ in 29a. It intrigues me how easily one can rationalise a mistaken idea. Rigging seemed to fit what I wrongly took to be the definition, and I then went on to think that ‘split a lot’ might be a reference to auction rigging where conspiring traders deliberately distort the normal market process. Eventually doubts over down clues began to emerge, and on closer examination, it became clear that the surface grammar would not really support that answer. The the penny dropped.

  21. Carrots says:

    After a delayed start, learning of the demise of Osama Bin Laden, and dancing on his watery grave with Americano friends in cyber-space, I looked to Rufus for reassurance that all is well in the world.

    It all would have been if I hadn`t cracked it in 20 minutes and then been shackled to the lawnmower by `er indoors (who now has a little dinky one to reach the parts that this beer-swiller cannot (or can`t be bothered) to reach).

    Capital Savers once chased me down an old farm track in Occitanie….these buggers are definitely not to be messed with.

  22. stiofain says:

    Carrots, spooky reference 20 mins before Tuesdays puzzle is online! The beer must be giving you special powers.

  23. Carrots says:

    stiofain: eh? ? ?

  24. Hornet says:

    My first time on here. Only just finished because I was convinced 25d had to be CRIED !

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