Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,407 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on August 22nd, 2011


Standard Rufus fare, rather heavy on the cryptic definitions for my taste (six of them). I don’t think I was quite on the right wavelength for this one today, as it took me a while to get started, but once a few answers were in there were no major difficulties to overcome.

5. MAHOUT Cryptic definition – an elephant being a “grounded jumbo”, I suppose, as opposed to a jumbo jet
6. FUTURE Cryptic definition – when the future arrives it becomes the present
9. KISMET K (1000) + TIMES* – Kismet = fate or lot
10. ORGANDIE ORGAN + DIE (=stamp)
11. SEMI SE (home counties) + M1
12. RETRACTION RE (note, as in do-re-mi) + TRACTION (drawing)
18. ABSTAINERS (IN BAR SEATS)* A nicely [in]appropriate anagram
21. LOOK Double definition – a look is an expression, and “look!” is cry to attract attention
22. SIDESTEP SIDE (team) + STEP (=space – I suppose so, but I’m not entirely happy with that: could it possibly be a misprint for “pace”?)
23. ARTERY Cryptic definition, an artery being a vessel that carries blood away fro the heart
24. TRIPOD TRIPOS with S replaced by D. Not entirely accurate, as tripos exams aren’t just finals.
25. ACROSS You vote by making A CROSS
1. CHAMPION Double definition
2. BUTTER Double definition (nanny=goat)
3. CUT GLASS CUT (snub) + G LASS
4. PUNNET Cryptic definition – a punnet is a small holder for fruit
5. MAILED Double definition, the protective cover being chain mail
14. IDIOT BOX IDIOT (fool) + BOX (fight)
15. RELATION Double definition
16. OBOIST Cryptic definition, the oboe being a woodwind instrument
17. BOARDS This looks as if it’s going to be another CD, but it’s actually a double definition – “the boards” = the stage, and boards are made up of directors
19. TIEPIN Cryptic definition – rather a weak one, I think

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,407 – Rufus”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Standard stuff from Rufus. I agree with you about the Grauniad’s contribution to 22.

    As you’ve whizzed through this, you tripped over the parsing of 13 – should be the girl’s name, ANN + (RIVERSAY)*

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Neil, I don’t know how that happened – now corrected.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew & Rufus, this was a typical Rufus which didn’t require too much agonising.

    However, I did hesitate over TIEPIN … I’ve never seen one for decsdes while even ties are now only worn by toffs.

    Has has anyone noticed that, on last Saturday’s Prize Puzzle, The Grauniad has has posted …

    Special instructions: Friday’s puzzle (No 25,405) was was originally reposted in error instead of this intended Saturday prize puzzle.

    Can’t they get get anything right?

  4. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew. I think 24a sort of works since s (son) is the final (letter) in tripoS.

    Top for me today was BUTTER with PUNNET, OBOIST … and FUTURE following on closely (if you see what I mean). Agree re the (s)pace Grauniadism at 22a and also entered TIEPIN without much conviction.

    MAHOUT seems to wander into crosswords from time to time but have never knowingly met one !

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    Pretty much usual form, as said. It took me some time to see ‘future’ ( :)after all I’m not a blooming clairvoyant!). Also I was convinced for a time that 4d would be peanut, even though it’s not a fruit.

    I liked 6a, 10a, 18a, 17d. Less taken by retraction (a bit too literal).

    Re the Grauniad’s double error, apologies if I have noted before that Freud notes this is typical behaviour (Andrew can no doubt remind me). He quotes a newspaper correction of ‘bottle-scarred’ to ‘battle-scared’ (or vice versa)in describing some venerable war veteran.

  6. William says:

    Thank you, Andrew.

    I must be in a grouch today as I found this rather weak soup and was impatient to get it over with.

    The ‘grounded jumbo’ is grim; a tiepin is a retaining device first, not a decoration.

    I hope you’re right about the Grauniad’s contribution to SIDESTEP. Perhaps someone would tell us.

    Nothing terribly wrong with the puzzle, just not much fun.

  7. Robi says:

    Like Andrew, I took a while to get started because of all the cds and dds.

    Thanks, Andrew; ‘pace’ seems to fit the surface and parsing better. Nanny=BUTTER made me laugh.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree with William @6. Last week I managed to praise a Rufus CD, but just the reverse this week. I wasn’t sure I had the correct answers MAHOUT and ARTERY till I checked here. Thanks, Andrew.

  9. mike04 says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    I agree with Robi @7 as Chambers gives “a small step” for SPACE.

  10. mike04 says:

    Sorry, I misread Robi’s comment, but step is there!

  11. mike04 says:

    Sorry again. Chambers gives “a small space” for STEP!

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. Too many CDs for me this am. Favourite clue was SEMI, which made me smile for some reason. I agree with the others about TIEPIN.

  13. Trebor says:

    Like pulling teeth as usual

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Only if the teeth were already falling out.
    Future I liked – just future.

  15. superkiwigirl says:

    Thanks for your usual fine blog, Andrew.

    And thanks too, Rufus, for what I thought was an entertaining puzzle – I seem to be in the minority, but I enjoy CDs, and I thought there were some good ones here. I particularly liked FUTURE and PUNNET, as well as ABSTAINERS.

  16. ofHesselink says:

    And does a mahout have to be a man? I haven’t met one either but surely… Why on earth does Chambers give ‘a small space’ for ‘step’? Can anyone provide a sentence in which the two would be interchangeable?

  17. superkiwigirl says:

    ofHesselink @ 16: I agree that the Chambers entry looks odd – perhaps, it would make more sense if small “space” were replaced by small (or better, short) “distance”. Then you could use the two interchangeably, as in “it’s only a step to …”

  18. tupu says:

    OED gives under ‘step’
    The space traversed by the movement of one foot beyond the other in walking or running; a pace. Hence as a measure of length or distance, sometimes vague, sometimes defined, as military step…

    So a ‘pace’ is a ‘space’. Not wholly satisfactory but ‘pace’ in the clue would give too much away.

  19. mike04 says:

    Hi ofHesselink

    When measuring the length of a stride, you need to measure the space passed over in one step.
    So in this case you could either “Measure the step” or “Measure the space passed over.”

  20. otter says:

    Didn’t like much of this at all. I think I was on the wrong wavelength as well, as I struggled through a lot of this, although I do think this was an off day for Rufus as well: little of his trademark elegance, and some really poor cryptic definitions.

    OBOIST was awful; nothing to help at all. (I did think of the woodwind connection, but that didn’t help.) In MAHOUT the word ‘grounded’ complicated things: I thought of elephants, and the people who drive them, but was sure there must be more in the clue that ‘elephant driver’. And ARTERY was simply wrong: my immediate thought was AORTA, as only this and the pulmonary artery lead straight (ie directly) from the heart; the other arteries branch from the aorta, so can’t be said to lead straight from the heart. Once aorta had been discounted, I decided the clue much be referring to something else. TIEPIN also far too weak, FUTURE was a bit ropey and PUNNET too obvious.

    I can’t think of any clue which gave me any joy or satisfaction. Glad someone got a laugh out of nanny = butter, but I’ve seen it too many times. ABSTAINERS was probably closest to being a good clue.

    Sorry, Rufus, for being so critical, but I really don’t think this was up to scratch.

  21. Rosmarinus says:

    Very disappointing today with too many weak clues. 25 ACROSS was the only one that amused me.

  22. FranTom Menace says:

    Thanks Rufus and Andrew. We struggled to get going today too. Strange for a Monday crossword. There were also some blanks at the end, namely 5a (hadn’t heard of it), 16d and 19d (which some others had problems with too!)

    That’s the second week running we’ve failed to finish a Rufus puzzle. Contrary to some comments, I quite liked 6a. 18a made me smile too!

    22a we got, but had the same problem as a lot of others in understanding the whole step=space thing.

  23. Huw Powell says:

    I liked 2 down, wonderful misdirection. Sadly, it was the only clue that gave me joy to finally solve.

    6 CDs and 6 DDs makes about half the puzzle not truly cryptic at all, they make it so if you don’t simply know the word (MAHOUT in someone else’s case, PUNNET in mine) there is simply no way to finish the clue – at least with a normal cryptic clue one might stumble one’s way through and then research it to confirm. Entering ?u?n?t in OneLook and clicking on the choices until one is a fruit basket is not fun, it’s tedious.

    Sorry Rufus, and I recall being very, very pleased with your work last week. I’m sure this is partially a fluke and partially a matter of taste, so thanks anyway. And thanks Andrew for the blog.

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