Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25395 Rufus

Posted by scchua on August 8th, 2011


This is an Occasion – my first blog of the most prolific crossword setter in the world.  Thanks Rufus, for all those crosswords, including those not covered in 15sq’d.  (My wife does the Globe and Mail cryptics).  Today’s crossword, though, is perhaps not that auspicious.  I don’t normally use superlatives, but this was v.v. easy, with quite a number of double and (not so in some cases) cryptic definitions.  I can already hear cries of “money back” or “where’s the value?”!  (Definitions are underlined in the clues.)  P.S.  Have fun trying to figure out the connections (hidden theme, nina?) in 3 of the pic sets – sorry if they’re even easier than the crossword.


1 Ruth Rendell’s first English detective (7)

REMORSE :  R(first letter of Rendell) + E(English) + MORSE(Detective Chief Inspector, detective in Colin Dexter’s series of novels set in Oxford.  Among other things, Endeavour – his first name -was a cryptic crossword enthusiast).

Defn:  The noun meaning compassion,contrition,remorse, the root of the more common “ruthless”.  Probably some connection (but I don’t know what) with Ruth, the biblical character known for her kindness and faithfulness.  Nice surface to this as Ruth Rendell has her own series of mystery novels, centred around another English detective. 

Click to show "Inspector Morse" result 17    

5 Throw out a proposed scheme (7)

PROJECT :  Double defn.

10 Crowd entertainer (4)

HOST :  Double defn.

11 Bible story about fellow deserving forgiveness (10)

PARDONABLE :  PARABLE(Bible story which illustrates/teaches by allegory) around(about) DON(fellow/head/tutor at a university)

12 The never ending round (6)

CIRCLE :  Cryptic defn.

13 OK, cheer set point for the brave (8)

CHEROKEE :  Anagram(set) of OK CHEER + E(east,compass point)

Defn:  A brave,male member of one of the American Indian tribes

 14 Coastline that’s rocky in parts (9)

SECTIONAL :  Anagram(that’s rocky) of COASTLINE

16 Irritable friend of Mole and Toad (5)

RATTY :  Double defn.  2nd:  One of the characters in The Wind in the Willows, a children’s book, featuring 4 main characters:  Mole, Mr. Toad, Mr. Badger, and Ratty, who is, well, a water rat, friends all.


17 There are four to each deck, used for lifting (5)

JACKS :  Double defn:  1st:  Each pack,deck of playing cards has a jack of each of the four suits; and 2nd:  mechanisms used for lifting cars, and even houses

19 Steps inside (9)

STAIRCASE :  Cryptic defn.

23 Taking trouble to point out (8)

ADOPTION :  ADO(trouble,to-do) +(to) anagram(out) of POINT

Defn:  The noun, the “taking” in of an adoptee.

24 Deputy head with masses of paper getting dark thoughts (6)

DREAMS :  D(initial letter,head of “deputy”) +(with) REAMS(masses,large quantity, derived from the measure of paper, 1 ream = 500 sheets)

26 Shortest way to the top, believe me (8,2)

STRAIGHT UP :  Double defn:  2nd:  “(I’m being) straight up”,”no kiddling”,”believe me

27 An opening for five, possibly ten (4)

VENT :  V(Roman numeral for five) + anagram(possibly) of TEN

28 Checks made by the police? (7)

ARRESTS :  Cryptic defn.

29 Blow this for the French game to start (7)

WHISTLE :  First,to start with WHIST(card game, forerunner of bridge) + LE(the article the in French)


2 Sweetheart has reason to be sensitive (7)

EMOTIVE :  E(Middle letter,heart of sweet) +(has) MOTIVE(purpose,reason to do something)

Defn:  Highly subject,sensitive to being emotional

3 An eye for a drink (5)

OPTIC :  Double defn.  1st:  Your familiar organ; and 2nd:  the not-so-familiar trademark (apparently) name for your familiar drink dispenser that is attached to an inverted bottle.


4 C-in-C starts to drink, gets more intoxicated (7)

SUPREMO :  First,starts with SUP(drink) +(gets) anagram(intoxicated) of MORE

Defn:  Commander-in-Chief, eg. General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Forces in Europe, and later supreme commander of NATO.

6 Offered support in getting established (6)

ROOTED :  Double defn.  1st:  Gave,offered support,rooted for; and 2nd:  having been established,taken root

7 A French maid (4,2,3)

JOAN OF ARC :  Cryptic defn.  Frenchwoman Jeanne d’Arc, the Maid of Orleans, who claimed divine guidance, and led her nation’s army to several important victories against the English.  Finally burned at the stake in Rouen.  Edit.note:  The original picture in the middle was probably blocked because it had an embedded link.  It has been replaced.

on Horseback   

8 Sect takes up clergyman involved in a runaway affair (7)

CULVERT :  CULT(religious or pseudo-religious sect) around(takes) reversal(up, in a down clue) of REV(the Reverend so and so,clergyman)

Defn:  Basically a drain to take runoff,runaway water

9 Drag one’s feet on stair carpet that’s laid out (13)

PROCRASTINATE :  Anagram(that’s laid out) of ON STAIR CARPET

15 Happen to finish in the first three (4,5)

TAKE PLACE :  Double defn:  1st:  To occur,happen; and 2nd:  The first three competitors to finish in a race, earning a gold, silver or bronze.  However, for those, me included, who have had at least the occasional wager on the ponies, it’s win, place and show for first, second and third respectively in a horse race.

18 His examinations necessitate a lot of bookwork (7)

AUDITOR :  Cryptic defn.  He who carries out an examination of the books of a company to detect any irregularities, assuming he’s better than the company’s bean-counters/conjurers

20 Detailed sort of investigation showing trendy profundity (2-5)

IN-DEPTH :  IN(with the in-crowd,trendy) + DEPTH(state of being profound,penetrating deeply into subjects and ideas,profundity) 

21 It is important to change lanes when encircling motorway (7)

SEMINAL :  Anagram(to change) of LANES around(when encircling) MI(=M1, the motorway in England)

Defn:  Important to the extent that it is highly original and influential

22 Dog dropped tail to receive fuss (6)

FIDGET :  FID(“Fido”, the nominal dog, minus,dropped its last letter,tail) + GET(to receive)

25 Hail enters two points in part of roof (5)

EAVES :  AVE(greet,hail) in(enters) E&S(east & south, two compass points)

Defn:  That part between the overhanging roof and outside wall of a building.  Convenient place for birds to build their nests, wasps alike, and bees their hives.  “Eavesdrop” derives from this word, as the water dripping from the eaves is in a position to listen to what’s said in the building.


44 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25395 Rufus”

  1. crypticsue says:

    Very nice as usual from Rufus. I expect this one will get a lot of attention from solvers today as the Telegraph Puzzles site server has been hit by lightning so people can’t get their usual Monday Rufus fix there.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua. Unlike you, I thought this was rather harder than our usual Monday Rufus but, in any event, it was very enjoyable.

    I also though today’s Dante (alias Rufus) in the FT was also a bit trickier.

    I did like 1a and, not being familiar with Ruthie’s work either as the written word or on tv, I did wonder if it could be ‘Wexford’. Indeed, I bet most solvers have now tied themselves in a knot by entering this.

    I also liked 4d SUPREMO. These two are my CODs.

    Unusually, I couldn’t find any nautical reference today which is Rufus’s usual ‘trademark’.

    I was sorry that he missed chosing a better clue for 7d for example:

    ‘What was Noah’s wife called?’

  3. chas says:

    Welcome, scchua, to the Guardian team.

    As you said, this was a pretty easy crossword. No clue stood out for me as hard or questionable. I think my favourite was PARDONABLE.

    Looking at your pictures I am floundering.
    Under REMORSE is one that I recognise as Inspector Morse from the TV series and the others mean nothing to me.

    Under CHEROKEE is a picture of three men who are presumably present day Cherokees.

    Under RATTY there is a picture from the book and the Ratpack, Frank Sinatra et al. Who are in the other picture?

    Under OPTIC is a pair of pictures of optics.

    Under JOAN OF ARC is a picture of Joan, a box labelled Jean Seberg circa 1965 plus a man I do not recognise.

    Under EAVES there are three different pictures of eaves.

    I can see no connection.

  4. Bryan says:

    Incidentally, your image of Jean Seberg has not reproduced on my screen.

    Here she is:

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, scchua. I’m sure such an elaborate blog took a lot longer than the solving!

    Wasn’t happy with OPTIC for “an eye.”

  6. NeilW says:

    Bryan, I thought 17 was the nautical reference.

  7. scchua says:

    Hi chas, there’s only connections for 3 of the pic sets. I’m sending you an e-mail to give you the answers.

  8. Wolfie says:

    A typically pleasant Rufus; a nice gentle start to the week. I am sure the usual suspects will complain that it is too easy, but I am happy for the Guardian to cater for all abilities over the course of the week. I was just reading on John Halpern’s (Paul) website that the first cryptic crossword he ever solved was by Rufus, and that he was ‘buzzing for hours’ afterwards. I had exactly the same experience when I started as a novice solver, cutting my teeth on Rufus and Everyman.

    Beautiful blog scchua!

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    From a usual suspect:-
    After two good challenges on Friday and Saturday this was a complete wash-out; along with the newspaper was a letter from The Guardian telling me that my subscription has increased so even less value for money!

  10. Eileen says:

    Hurrah, wolfie @8!

    I did think, after Rufus’s own comment here last week, where he explained yet again – it must get wearisome for him – that it is his brief to provide a relatively easy puzzle to start the week and that that, in itself, is not an easy task, that we might have some respite from the ‘too easy’ complaints.

    Double and cryptic definitions are, of course, Rufus trademarks – as are clever anagrams and beautifully smooth, story-telling surfaces, which we have here in abundance: 1, 11 14, 24ac, 4, 8, 9, 21dn, for instance. Easy they may be but witty and elegant enough to give those aha moments to beginners and more experienced solvers alike.

    I really don’t understand why those solvers who know they don’t like Rufus puzzles put themselves through the torture of doing them week by week. ;-)

    Thanks for blogging scchua.

    [I think ARRESTS is a double, rather than cryptic definition.]

  11. Disco says:

    The pictures under RATTY are giving me more trouble than today’s Rufus (which is certainly not a complaint as I still get a buzz from finishing any Guardian setter’s offerings). I’m fine with the first two but the third has me stumped.

    Is that Tom Hanks in there? George Clooney? My immediate thought was that they were 80’s brat-packers but my eyesight doesn’t bear that out.

    Thanks for the blog and, if you put me out of my misery on that third picture then another thanks on top.

  12. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, even if it was too easy for RCWhiting. I echo Eileen’s comments.

    Thanks scchua for a great blog. I enjoyed the pictures as well. Didn’t know ‘ruth’ apart from the female name – I’ve learnt something today. I particularly liked SUPREMO.

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    Typical Rufus with a mixture of easy and sometimes not so easy clues (mainly in the west). I liked 1a, 10a, 17a, 4d, and 22d.

  14. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Rufus for the puzzle and scchua for the picturesque blog. The 3rd picture at 16ac includes the characters from a remake of the original Ocean’s 11 movie featuring the original Rat Pack. The 3rd picture at 7dn is Otto Preminger who directed the blank-looking Jean Seberg in the movie Saint Joan.


  15. walruss says:

    A quiptic puzzle in the cryptic section. No challenge at all.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua and congratulations! Thanks also for your entertaining picture sets.

    Totally agree with Eileen and Wolfie.

  17. scchua says:

    Hi Disco@11, I’ve been out, and in the meantime, grandpuzzler@14 has put you out of your misery, I trust. Your eyesight’s 50/50 :-) – George Clooney is there, but that Tom Hanks-looking guy is actually Andy Garcia.

  18. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks for the puzzle, Rufus, and for your highly entertaining blog, scchua – as has been said already, it must have taken you a long time to prepare.

    Yes, this was a fairly easy solve, but given Rufus’s brief for the Monday cryptic I don’t have a problem with that. The blog, with it’s detailed explanations, was the perfect compliment to the puzzle with new(ish) solvers in mind.

    My favorite clues were PROCRASTINATE and SEMINAL.

  19. Disco says:

    Thanks scchua and grandpuzzler for the mutual relief of misery.

    In defence of my eyesight, Internet Explorer handled the picture-resizing really badly!

  20. RCWhiting says:

    If I pay money to a commercial organisation and in return expect some form of entertainment like a film, a book, a TV programme then I am perfectly entitled to complain when that entertainment is, in my opinion, substandard.
    I cannot see any difference when the provider is a newspaper (which I have supported financially for 50 years).
    This MB sometimes reminds me of a fan-site for a pop group where hosts of teenagers express lifelong devotion to their favourite member and crticise anyone who dares to differ.
    Compilers and editors are professionals who should earn their considerable rewards and expect criticism when they fail.

  21. Phil says:

    If I pay good money to a commercial organisation I feel perfectly entitled to offer praise for a job well done. Rufus’ crosswords may do less for the world than Nick Davies’ revelations about the lengths to which Murdoch will go to sell a newspaper but they do almost always entertain with far more elegance and wit than some of the other compilers.

    Keep up the good work!

  22. Eileen says:


    I have absolutely no desire to enter into a slanging match [indeed, at my time of life, having been a Guardian reader for, it seems, nearly as long as you, I find being compared to a teenager almost a compliment!]

    You are absolutely right in saying that, if someone doesn’t do his / her job properly, there is cause for complaint. My point is that Rufus does faithfully fulfil his brief, week by week.You know what this brief is yet, week by week, on a Monday, you come here to complain. Why?

    As a Guardian reader of such long standing you obviously [surely – since the crossword is free online?] don’t buy the paper purely for the crossword -and, even if you did, the variety of setters that we have would surely justify your outlay?

    If you really have cause for complaint, the proper channel is via the Crossword Editor and not this message board, which you also find somewhat lacking.

    I regard your initial comment, describing this puzzle as ‘a complete wash-out’ as unworthy of this site.

    [Phil’s comment has appeared while I’ve been typing this – thanks Phil! :-)]

  23. Eileen says:

    Re “I regard your initial comment, describing this puzzle as ‘a complete wash-out’ as unworthy of this site.”

    I should have said that it does not comply with Site policy:

    “Any criticism of a puzzle or clue must be valid, constructive and presented in a polite manner. The reason for any dissatisfaction should be clearly indicated.”

  24. superkiwigirl says:

    Good Evening All, and especially RCWhiting @ 20,

    I hope that what follows won’t be misinterpreted as being aggressive in any sense, but it seems to me that we have another “marmite crisis” brewing here.

    I’d like to say firstly, RCW, isn’t this a case of “caveat emptor” ? I think that you have a scientific background from what I recall, but as an old(ish) lawyer, I’d say that you’ve been sufficiently advised that the “Monday Rufus” is not intended for the likes of you. You’re clearly a very experienced solver with a high degree of proficiency, and that’s just not the intended profile for the Rufus “target market” any more than is the Quiptic.

    Secondly, I presume that you don’t bother with other puzzles than the Guardian cryptic (correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that I’ve seen you contribute to any of the other Blogs on this site) because the Grauniad is your Daily and you don’t want to buy another paper. Fine, don’t change your Daily, but why not give yourself other options at the beginning of the week, either by tackling a Listener type puzzle (which will keep you going for days and days, as I understand it) or else by solving online? I have no option other than to do this for my preferred cryptics (I’m not a cheapskate, but neither the Indy nor the Guardian are available where I live in France) but believe me there’s a whole world out there, just waiting to be discovered!

  25. scchua says:

    As no-one has commented on the pics under 1A, before I retire for the night (in case comment is needed)…
    Together with Endeavour Morse, played by John Thaw, based on Colin Dexter’s novels, are fictional English detectives, from left to right:
    Reginald Wexford, played by George Baker, based on Ruth Rendell’s novels;
    Adam Dalgliesh, played by Roy Marsden and later by Martin Shaw, based on P.D. James’s novels, she being a friend of Ruth Rendell.

  26. morpheus says:

    Wot Eileen and Superwikigirl said. Big up Rufus. You are da man.

  27. superkiwigirl says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    Actually, I took the pic of Martin Shaw to refer to his further role as Inspector George Gently, a fictional tec from a series of novels by Alan Hunter – displaying my ignorance now, but is there any link between RR, PDJ and AH (such as e.g. winners of the Silver Dagger Award or something similar?)

  28. FranTom Menace says:

    Like any entertainment you pay for, sometimes you enjoy it and sometimes you don’t! I’ll be honest and say I didn’t enjoy this as much as some of Rufus’s previous puzzles, in fact I probably enjoyed it only marginally more than the football I paid to see on Saturday, but I’m glad that the Guardian continue to have an easier start to the week. Were it not for that, how would new starters to cryptic crosswords learn the ropes?

    This helped my girlfriend to learn the basics; I’d be doing the crosswords on my own were it not for the variety of setters and difficulties, so I’m happy with it. Thanks Rufus!

  29. superkiwigirl says:

    Hi Morpheus @ 26,

    I don’t think that I can fight the inevitable – you’re the second one (at least) to attribute this marvellous avatar to me, so I will officially change tomorrow (wish I’d been the first to think of it!)

  30. Gaufrid says:

    Hi superkiwigirl
    I hope I wasn’t one of them. Please don’t change your avatar, you will contravene the Site Policy if you do ;-)

    In any event, I like being reminded of a country that I have for a long time wished I had visited and which has such an excellent rugby team.

  31. Davy says:

    Thanks scchua,

    Full marks for your first blog which is very well-presented. Also thanks Rufus for another entertaining puzzle which I thought was up to his usual standard although some people are never satisfied. I do wish RCWhining would go and whine elsewhere.

    Lots of great surfaces today and particular favourites were REMORSE, CHEROKEE, SECTIONAL, ADOPTION (nice economy of words), EMOTIVE and SUPREMO.

  32. superkiwigirl says:

    Hi Gaufrid,

    I’m very sorry to have been a source of consternation to you at this late hour, when all you probably want to do is to put your feet up in front of the tele.

    I had no idea that a change of avatar would be problematic (so my apologies for suggesting that this might be intended). And no, you weren’t one of the folk to address me as “superwikigirl”.

    As for the rugby, well, we’ll just have to see …..

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As I am in a ‘holiday mood’, for example having canoed all afternoon on the river Great Ouse and being to ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ in King’s College Gardens last Saturday whilst picnicking, my crossword performances are very low profile the last few days.
    So, thank you Rufus, for getting me back on the track again!

    Since no one has mentioned it so far, I think 1ac (REMORSE) has a construction very unlike Rufus. It is more the kind of ‘lift and separate’ device we would expect from Alberich and the like.
    I think, 1ac was the best of the bunch today …. which was not as bad as …. thought it was, but I have decided to ignore these probably heartfelt but, in my opinion, insulting comments from now on.

  34. PeeDee says:

    Thanks scchua for your entetaining blog.

    I like Rufus (just because something is easy that does not make it bad). I’m with Eileen @10 – why not just do a different crossword on Mondays then?

  35. MikeC says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus. I agree that this was not the hardest of puzzles but it was still imho very entertaining. My COD was 8d. Perhaps I was in a Paul-ine mood but the idea that “a runaway affair” was a culvert struck me as wonderfully absurd – though perfectly fair.

  36. Scarpia says:

    Just imagine if the Guardian printed a Rufus puzzle every day this(or any other)week – RCW would,undoubtedly,explode in a fit of apoplectic rage!
    Is Mr. Stephenson bribable? :)

  37. sheffield hatter says:

    I think some of you are being a little unfair to RC Whiting. The standard of some of the clues in this Rufus was woeful. “A French maid (4,2,3)” was not by any stretch of the definition a cryptic clue. Similarly, “The never ending round” was so obvious that I hesitated to put it in, thinking that it might be a red herring.

    I buy the Guardian every day and like to do the crossword every day too, and I don’t think the suggestion of doing another paper’s crossword on Mondays is very helpful. What if all the papers decided to do beginner-level crosswords on Mondays?

  38. Rufus says:

    A special thank you to scchua for his first and very thorough blog – I think RCW should have had his moneysworth from the photographs and info alone. Also many thanks for other more supportive comments, obviously knowing my brief with the Guardian, FT and Daily Telegraph is to supply relatively easy Monday puzzles.

  39. scchua says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Rufus. I only caught up with your comment after I had finished my FT blog today. I very much look forward to my next opportunity to blog another of your puzzles.

  40. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks Sheffield Hatter.
    When I started on cryptics the ‘experts’ told me that The G. was the cream and I should practise on The D.Tel. Maybe others here should try the same.
    I do complete (usually) Azed on Sundays.
    I also make a vey small contribution to the compilers’ wages and hope to keep the dear old G. going at least as long as I do.

  41. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks Quixote for the blog and Rufus for the fun. Didn’t quite finish, though most went smoothly and enjoyable. Missed OPTIC, I suppose research might have found the brand name, but I’m not so sure, so I don’t feel bad. Didn’t get CIRCLE, didn’t like clue/answer. Probably just too much x^2 + y^2 = r^2 on my mind. I wanted it to be MOBIUS, but alas, twas not to be. Especially since you British don’t even spell it that way…

  42. Huw Powell says:

    Whoops I read the wrong name for the blogger! Sorry and thanks, scchua!

  43. Huw Powell says:

    Oh, and to RCW, you know these puzzles are all available completely free on the web site, right? Or for the small price of one sheet of paper and 0.1 mg of toner, you can do it away from your computer…

  44. Smoz says:

    I finished! This is probably the 4th cryptic I have completed, 3 of which were from Mondays oddly enough. (the other being a prize one – I nearly wet myself). So many many thanks to Rufus for restraining yourself and allowing poor saps like me to glow with inner lexicographical joy for a day. I aspire to being good enough one day to make snotty comments about your Monday puzzles.

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