Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,341 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on June 6th, 2011


Monday morning and a fairly typical Rufus, I think, although the cryptic definitions are perhaps slightly less cryptic than usual and some double definitions are rather similar in meaning – but the surfaces are as smooth as ever. Thank you, Rufus, for a gentle start to the week.


1   SITUATION: double definition: at first, these seemed to me too close but there are two distinct meanings if you think of ‘post’ as a physical position – a super surface, anyway!
6   MOPE: MO M[edical] O[fficer] [doctor] + P[hysical] E[ducation] [exercise]
8   COQUETTE: cryptic [?] definition
GEEZER: sounds like ‘geyser’
10  REPAIR: RE-PAIR: double definition
11  OUTSTRIP: cryptic definition
12  EGOIST: anagram of IT GOES
15  TOPLINER: anagram of INTERPOL
16  CAROUSED: C [100 – many] + AROUSED [disturbed]
19 TURN TO: anagram of N[ew] TUTOR
21  IDOLATER: I [one] + DO [perform] + LATER [afterwards]
22 DEBASE: BAS [degreees] in DEE [river]
24  HOBNOB: HOB[o] [tramp without love] + NOB [wealthy man]
25  BLOCKADE: LOCK [security] in BADE [told]
26  ZERO: double definition
27  STEPPED ON: STEPPE [plain] + DON [fellow]


1   STORE: double definition
2   TSUNAMI: reversal [comes up] of MAN in anagram of SUIT
3   ACTOR: cryptic definition
4   ICEBOAT: cryptic definition
5   NIGHTSPOT: NIGHT [anagram of THING] + SPOT [observe]
6   MAESTRI: AESTR [anagram of A REST] in MI [note]
13  GRANDIOSE: anagram of ORGANISED: a great surface – it’s just a pity that ‘grand’ appears in both clue and solution.
14  TEST TUBES: reversal [‘being raised’] of BUT [objection] in TES … TES [‘twice set up’]
17  ORLANDO: double definition: Rosalind’s lover in ‘As you like it’ and the city in Florida
18  DURABLE: anagram of BAD RULE
20  REBUKED: RE [about] + UK in BED [plot]
22  DROOP: DROP [fall] minus [‘out of’]  O [love] – a lovely surface! Correction: DROP [fall] outside O [love]; please see comments passim!

23  SEDAN: double / cryptic definition: two battles of Sedan – one in the Franco-Prussian War [1870] and one in the Second World War [1940] + a reference to a sedan chair

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,341 / Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen & Rufus for a typically gentle start to the week.

    Such a relief after Puck and Mudd on Saturday although I did finish them both eventually.

  2. Mystogre says:

    Thank you Eileen. As you say, a gentle start to the week and just right for a Monday lunch, seeing I am in a somewhat different timezone to you.

    I had trouble parsing 8ac but it couldn’t be anything else. I still don’t really see the second part of the clue as it seems just like one definition. My other question was 26ac but, again, it couldn’t really be anything else. I guess it is be as zero hour is the action time, but I don’t see why that makes it ZERO.

    Still, thank you Rufus as well for a nice start to the week.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    I found this much harder than Rufus’s normal Monday offering. I got going in all four quarters, but then struggled to finish it off. Probably just me not getting my crossword brain into gear first thing.

    I liked ZERO, because I guess it’s harder to find elegant surfaces for short clues, and also NIGHTSPOT. Like you, I wasn’t so keen on COQUETTE. But good entertainment overall.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi mystogre

    Re 26ac; ZERO = ‘less than one’ and ZERO hour is, as you say, the hour for action.

    I’m not sure what you mean re 8ac: the cryptic element is the play on the double meaning of ‘vainly’.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Mystogre at no 3. If you were an Elton John fan, you might have heard:

    She packed my bags last night pre-flight
    Zero hour nine a.m.

    From ‘Rocket Man’. And of course ZERO is less than one.

  6. Mystogre says:

    Thanks all for the explanations. I might get them right the proper way next time.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    A mixed bag from Rufus. Some scarcely cryptic as Eileen says, and others clever and enjoyable.

    I liked 24a, 25a, 27a, 4d (I am more used to icebreaker), and 13d if it wasn’t for the overworked ‘grand’.

    :) Re ‘icebreaker’ I suddenly recall Ogden Nash’s comment
    ‘Candy is dandy,
    But liquor is quicker’.
    Almost a smooth cryptic definition of its own.

  8. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen. I read 22d more as DROP round [out(side) of] O. Held up a bit by TUGBOAT for 4d which seems to fit the clue rather nicely (and nautically, it being Rufus) … a tug will help a larger ship when it’s getting under (making) way. Shame ‘to’ was in the definition and the answer at 19a.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Roger

    I read 22dn that way, too, at first, and actually wrote ‘OR minus’ in the blog, then decided that the latter was a better reading than ‘out of’ = outside. I remember commenting recently on a similar use of ‘out’ by Rufus that I wasn’t very happy about, so perhaps that’s what he did intend! It works either way, I think. A shopkeeper might say, ‘We’re out of ‘Yes, we have no’] bananas.’

    I agree re 19ac.

  10. Eileen says:

    I meant, of course, ‘We’re out of [‘Yes, we have no] bananas.’

  11. chas says:

    Thanks Eileen for the blog.

    I was held up for a while on 4d: I was happy with ICE as a starter and found, obviously, that icebreaker was too long but then tried to put iceship until it clashed with others.

    I liked 21a.

  12. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Help! I too read 22d as Roger did. I can’t comfortably get my head beyond DROP minus O = DRP. Is your suggestion that it also means DROP needs O to = languish? I can see this but it feels a little forced to me :) especially as the song seems happy enough without the bananas!

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu – and Roger

    You’re absolutely right, of course – I’m not functioning properly!

    [But I really don’t like ‘out of’ = ‘outside’ – it reminds me too much of the currently ubiquitous ‘outside of’!]

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Thanks. I sympathise!

    The song has long stuck in my mind because Swahili which I had to learn at one time operates normally in that way if you ask ‘Have you got no bananas?’. The only question you can answer with ‘No, we have no bananas’ is ‘Have you any bananas?’ if, of course, you haven’t got any. Quite logical really!

  15. Eileen says:

    Re ‘out of': apologies to Rufus – I’ve just thought of ‘out of school activities’.

  16. tupu says:

    HI Eileen

    I also rather sympathise with your feelings about ‘outside of’ etc. But a quick look at the OED rather took the wind out of my sails. ‘Out of’ both re motion and position apparently goes back to the days of Old English and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ( :) blooming barbarians). ‘Outside of’ = ‘outside’ has a somewhat shorter history (only from 1784) – :) what can one do? – and I particularly liked 1889 R. Boldrewood Robbery under Arms xv, ‘He looked better outside of a horse than on his own legs’!

  17. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Sorry we crossed.

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus for a good one, which seemed to take longer than I expected at first.

    Thanks also to Eileen for a good blog. My ICEBOAT would be an icebreaker, my maestri maestros and my IDOLATER idolator, although I realise the answers are all legitimate words. On checking in Chambers, I came across idolatress, which reminded me of the whole -tress conundrum. I don’t quite understand why female film stars want to be actors in these days of political correctness. I know we don’t say doctoress, but when it comes to the Oscars, they want to be actresses to win the prize, so what’s wrong with being called an actress for the rest of the time? Any female actors/actresses out there, please comment – does Eileen do amateur dramatics?

  19. Eileen says:

    Well, yes, I do, from time to time, Robi. I don’t have strong feelings either way on that one but I do remember my outrage when it fell to me to blog a puzzle in which AMBASSADRESS was clued as ‘diplomat’s wife’!

  20. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Quite a gentle Rufus, I thought, with good surfaces, as ever. Like others, I thought it was a pity that ‘grand’ featured in both clue and answer at 13dn — this was my last to go in, because of it. I liked 24ac, 27ac and 26ac.

  21. Stella Heath says:

    I’ve nothing much to add to previous comments, but on the “actor/actress” question, we have the same problem here in Spain with “jefa”, “jueza” etc., compounded by the grammatical complications involved in the modern “los/las alumnos/as” when the masculine form would be sufficient as a generic plural.

    On the other hand, there are no such aberrations with “sentinela” and “guardia”, both feminine nouns used for traditionally masculine (military) posts. I dislike PC when it kicks grammar and semantics to the wind (“da patadas a la gramática y al diccionario”)

  22. Stella Heath says:

    I forgot: thanks Eileen and Rufus :)

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I did try iceship and didn’t like the excessive ‘grands’ in 13d.
    I stuck droop in without a thought and avoided all the anguish expressed above.
    Easy but enjoyable and after a real struggle with Azed late last night, most appropriate.

  24. Roger says:

    Thanks tupu (16) … a bit like getting round the outside of a good pint !

  25. HT says:

    Robi; maybe because “actress” is almost demeaning in that it separates the genders? I always preferred the gender-neutral version myself back in drama class! After all, as an actor you can be anything or anyone, and to me a word rhyming with dress doesn’t cut it.

    …But yes, actually commenting this time over ICEBOAT…

    I looked it up online and Google seems very certain that ICEBOAT refers to a land-skating type of boat as opposed to an ICEBREAKER (which clears the route for other ships). If these terms aren’t synonymous doesn’t it fail to fit the clue? I’ve probably missed an older meaning somewhere!

  26. Geoff says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    Pleasant start to the week. I found this pretty easy, although the NW corner took me a little longer – I took a while to get a purchase on its cluster of cd/dd clues.

    As others have said, the ‘grand’ in both clue and answer to 13d was a pity, and I felt the ‘post’ and ‘office’ in 1a were synonyms in the sense required by the answer – although this clue can’t be faulted for its concision!

    11a I liked a lot, although it is surprisingly libertarian for Rufus: the clue works as a fun cd, but to OUTSTRIP would be to beat the opposition in getting bare – not quite the same as ‘barely beat’ them.

    The last time I remember the -or/-ress debate here was when Araucaria had the lovely word ‘psaltress’ in a puzzle. The Guardian house style is now to use ‘actor’ for both sexes, although this is one case where the distinction seems to me to be justified, irrespective of award categories – men are usually cast in male roles and women in female ones, so unlike ‘doctors’, for example, there is a clear division of labour. But we still have ‘princess’ ‘duchess’ etc. King Elizabeth II, anyone?

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi HT

    I checked this this morning, as I, too, would have expected ‘icebreaker’ – but I know Rufus knows his boats!. Chambers has: ‘a boat for forcing a way through ice, an ice-breaker; a craft mounted on runners for moving over ice’.

  28. walruss says:

    Quite a good ‘Rufus’ I thought, with less groaning on my part during the solve than is normal with this stalwart among compilers. Good stuff, thanks Rufus and Eileen for her usual considered blog.

  29. sidey says:

    Re ICEBOAT, they were common at one time on the inland waterways in the UK. Shorter than a narrowboat and with a semi-circular cross-section so they could be rocked violently by crews of about ten often the worse for drink. They were hauled by teams of horses. I can’t find any decent photos but I’ve seen some with a team of twelve harnessed up.

  30. MattD says:

    Hi All

    Found this hard as I didn’t dare write in Store, Situation, Outstrip and Coquette as although I got them early, I thought I was missing the cryptic element and they were too obvious. I only put them in out of desperation in the end.

    I did like 5d (nightspot) though for the surface (took me back to my clubbing days!) and once I’d got over the barely-cryptic definitions and entered them into the grid it was a swift solve. Nice for a Monday

    Thank you Eileen for reassuring me that I wasn’t missing anything. And thankyou Rufus for the puzzle itself.

  31. stiofain says:

    I remember a clue from Araucaria for coquette many years ago it was something like “That Frenchy in bed with the heartless woman is a tease” my memory is not doing the clue justice perhaps someone remembers it better?
    Like a roast on a Sunday a Rufus on a Monday goes down a treat.

  32. Carrots says:

    Thanks Eileen (& Rufus!) for a puzzle which I completely screwed-up by being confident that 4Dn (ICEBOAT) was “DREDGER” (which, to be fair, fits both the clue and definition exactly!) But, once this was in my mind, I couldn`t get it out and surrendered to Eileen`s blog with four to go. First time this has happened to me with a Rufus!

    When I lived in the USA, on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, we restored and “sailed” an ICEBOAT. It was a blast! Speeds in excess of 60 Knots could easily be had from a breeze of less than 20 Knots. Don`t ask me about the physics: it just seemed to go faster and faster until running out of frozen lake. Then it could be stopped on a dime with gut-wrenching “G” forces. We had to wear leather face-masks to stop the flesh being flayed from our faces. Hell, (as they say), we sure had fun!

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