Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,359 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on June 27th, 2011

Andrew.

The usual straightforward stuff from Rufus today, with lots of double definitions. Only two cryptic definitions, one of which I find rather unsatisfactory.

 
 
 
 
 
Across
7. NARRATION RAN reversed + RATION
8. CAIRO AIR in CO
9. OPERATIVE (PROVE A TIE)*
10. KINDS N (compass point) in KIDS
12. CRISIS CR[edit] + IS IS
13. NO-GO AREA Cryptic definition. We had another cryptic definition for this from Tramp recently (“Where bars prohibit entry?”) – both rather unsatisfactory, I think.
14. AT ISSUE A TISSUE
17. DENSITY SIT (pose) in DENY
20. BULLSEYE BULLS (speculators) + EYE (keep watch). The centre of an archery target is gold. Chambers only gives BULL’S-EYE, but the spelling as a single word is quite common.
22. CHROME Double definition – chrome yellow is a pigment made from a compound of chromium, used for the traditional American yellow school buses.
24. SHARP Double definition (“fly” as in “cunning” etc)
25. APOLOGIST A + POLO (game) + GIST (essential point)
26. ON TAP Double definition
27. ANGLE IRON ANGLE (from “angler”) + IRON (golf club). An angle iron is used for support in building.
 
Down
1. SAPPER PAPERS*
2. ARMRESTS M (1000) in ARRESTS
3. STATES Double definition
4. SOLVENT Double definition
5. LA-DI-DA LAD + IDA
6. GRADIENT DIE in [General Ulysses S] GRANT
11. AGUE U ( as in U and Non-U) in AGE
15. TOUCHING Double definition
16. USER U[niversity] + SE (South-East could be a course for a ship) + R
18. SERAGLIO Cryptic definition – a seraglio is a harem. Much more fun as a CD than 13ac.
19. SERPENT Double definition – reference to the Genesis story (“the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”); and the serpent is an old wind instrument, famously depicted in a cartoon by Gerard Hoffnung.
21. LARIAT (A TRIAL)*
22. CALMLY (MY CALL)*
23. MASCOT MA’S + COT

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,359 – Rufus”

  1. Mystogre says:

    Thanks Andrew. I also found it straightforward and I needed that after the first really cold day of the year.

    I did not like NO-GO AREA as exclusivity does not seem right for that sort of area. It is a prohibition rather than an exclusion, although both arguments could be made.
    But I did like some of his down clues – 1, 4 and 18. All raised a smile, especially the last one.

    The rest was his usual fare and that contributed to a gentle start to the week. So thanks too, to Rufus for not surprising me too much today.

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks Andrew, and Rufus.

    Quite easy but nevertheless pleasing puzzle. Favourites were 18D SERAGLIO, doubly cryptic with “pound”weight or hammer, and “sultanas”fruit; 5D LA-DI-DA; and 6D GRADIENT.

  3. otter says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I found most of this excessively easy, but got tripped up by the last four or five clues. Did most of it in about 10 minutes when I got up at 2am as I couldn’t sleep, to try to lull myself back to sleep. Came back to finish the last few this morning, and was defeated by BULLSEYE and SERAGLIO.

    NO-GO AREA is I agree barely cryptic – just a slight play with the word ‘exclusive’. LA-DI-DA I have only seen spelled lah-di-dah, but was easy enough. Most others rattled in apace. It was a few in the bottom half which slowed me up:
    - SHARP: eventually thought of fly as in old street slang, as in fly = sharp dresser and so on;
    - CHROME, which I associate with the shiny plate on taps, cars etc rather than yellow;
    - BULLSEYE, which I wouldn’t associate with gold, even though it’s the centre of the target. If asked for a colour I’d have said red.
    - SERAGLIO, I work I didn’t know the meaning of. My first thought was of female rulers of old, but I still couldn’t get this. Of course, pedantically, I don’t think the harem would be full of sultanas, but of concubines – a sultana would have to be a wife, and I don’t think they would be kept in the harem. Also, why ‘pound’? Just that a pound of the fruit is a lot of sultanas? I don’t really get that.

    Anyway, on the last two I realised that I wasn’t getting enough enjoyment out of trying to solve them in order to bother continuing, so came here. Thanks for the explanations. I can’t even think of any clues that I enjoyed in this puzzle – usually Rufus provides at least one or two very neat surfaces which delight, but this seems devoid of any such (given my reservations about SERAGLIO).

  4. otter says:

    Oh, I’ve got it: pound as in dog pound. Still don’t like it – and I’m sure there could only ever have been one Sultana at a time, who ruled with the Sultan – in the court.

  5. Peter Owen says:

    Small correction – the serpent is a bass (not brass) instrument.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew and Rufus who – as Dante – has also got a Prize Puzzle in the FT, although the prizes aren’t worth the cost of a stamp.

    I liked BULLSEYE because, at first, I was looking for the traditional ‘gold’ inserts like OR or AU. A nice change.

  7. Andrew says:

    Thanks Peter – I didn’t think it was a brass instrument (though it has a brass-like mouthpiece), but hastily misread and transcribed the opening sentence of the Wikipedia article. Now fixed.

  8. scchua says:

    Just observed that my comment @2 turned out cryptic because for some reason or other, the textreader(?) didn’t recognise the mathematical symbol for “not equal” consisting of the 2 angle brackets. Should have come out as “… ‘pound’ not equal to weight or hammer and ‘sultanas’ not equal fruit…”. Sorry abou that!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    Pretty straightforward as others have said. I liked the simplicity of 14a and 5d.

    I don’t see a problem with 13a and the play on ‘exclusive’. Such areas are exclusion zones either by external fiat or internal decision and may be literal or metaphorical. At the same time they are not normally ‘exclusive’ in the sense of only for those with specially sophisticated tastes etc. So there is plenty of ‘ambiguity’ to play with.

  10. tupu says:

    Hi Scchua

    :) from one cryptic clue to another. What’s wrong with your hat?

  11. Le Petomane says:

    The seraglio was the ladies’ quarters – wives, daughters, sisters etc. In traditional Islamic societies they still have separate living quarters for men and women. “Harem” women are those who could lawfully marry you, and therefore cannot uncover in your presence.

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was (for me) a puzzle of two halves.
    The top half fell in so quickly I was thinking that Rufus would be done before I had finished my coffee.
    Then I became becalmed over BULLSEYE,SERAGLIO, APOLOGIST.
    Hence, I enjoyed the challenge especially the first of those.
    A NO-GO-AREA is one from which people are excluded – so what is the problem?

  13. otter says:

    >> A NO-GO-AREA is one from which people are excluded – so what is the problem?

    From my point of view, just that there’s very little cryptic about it.

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Nothing much to add, really. Almost always enjoy a Monday puzzle from Rufus, and today there were just a few that held me up. I wasn’t mad keen on CHROME but I did like ARMRESTS.

  15. chas says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew.

    I had heard of chrome yellow but where is the plate in 22a?

    I thought 27a was weak: a fisherman is an angler with ‘R’ on the end. There was nothing in the clue to say ‘remove the r’.

    I did like ARMRESTS.

  16. tupu says:

    Hi chas

    What about Chrome Plating?

  17. tupu says:

    Hi Otter

    Point taken but as I suggested, exclusive also has the meaning of ‘smart’ and being specially for those of sophisticated tastes and/or lots of money.
    In that sense, e.g. a posh suburb, I think one would not talk of a no-go area.

    NB Mystogore @1 seems to have a rather different objection to yours – for him the word is unsuitable, if I understand him rightly, rather than too obvious.

  18. chas says:

    Thanks tupu – I had forgotten that one.

  19. Andrew says:

    Just to clarify my position on NO-GO AREA: my problem with the clue is that it’s one of those where you say “oh, I suppose that must be it” to yourself when you get the answer, rather than “ah, I see!”, as happens with the best CDs, and and was the case for me with SERAGLIO (despite its possible historical inaccuracies).

  20. walruss says:

    ‘Exclusive neighbourhood’ is simply not enough for a good cryptic definition. It doesn’t narrow things down sufficiently, so the answer could be many things. As a result I had to base my guesses on the word-count. Easy enoughn, but from a technical viewpoint I don’t suppose it’s much good! The grid was evil as well, with all four corners isolated. Not my best Rufus run-out!!

  21. tupu says:

    Hi Andrew

    I take your point though I think
    ‘unsatisfying’ rather than ‘unsatisfactory’ might be a better adjective.
    It is interesting that you and other critics seem to have different quarrels with the clue e.g. too vague and difficult, too easy, inaccurate etc. Few seem to get the idea of exclusive as ‘smart’ in addition to ‘excluding’.
    I do agree it is not the most spectacular cd of the sort that Rufus can achieve at his best.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Surely it is just a rather ordinary example of distraction.
    A word (excluusive) is very commonly used in a certain way (smart, rich etc) but is here used in an alternative BUT COMPLETELY CORRECT situation.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    I might add that if I had beeen forced to come up with a word count of 2-2,4 then I would not want to waste a superb clue since, as Walruss says, it will almost certainly be very easy to solve.

  24. otter says:

    >> Point taken but as I suggested, exclusive also has the meaning of ‘smart’ and being specially for those of sophisticated tastes and/or lots of money.
    In that sense, e.g. a posh suburb, I think one would not talk of a no-go area.

    Tupu, that was my point: there is a (to my mind very small) play on the word ‘exclusive’. In the phrase ‘exclusive neighbourhood’ the first thought is the sense in which only certain people are welcome there, for social reasons and so on. However, especially given that it was obviously meant to be a cryptic definition, it was in my mind only a tiny shift to think of exclusive in the meaning used in the solution. That, coupled with the letter count, as someone else pointed out, made it far too straightforward in my opinion. My feeling on writing it in was a disappointed ‘Oh, is that it?’ rather than a delighted ‘Ah! That’s it!’

    Nothing wrong with the clue in terms of ‘correctness’ from my point of view – just rather pedestrian and obvious without even really having to think about it.

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