Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25419 Rufus

Posted by scchua on September 5th, 2011


An apt and enjoyable start to the week, thanks to Rufus.  Nice surfaces.  As usual, definitions are underlined in the clues.  Hidden connections are in 3 of the picture sets.


1 Writer shares out novel development (9)

AUTHORESSAnagram of(novel development) SHARES OUT


6 Flight path incomplete (4)

ROUTPath,route minus its last letter,incomplete

Defn:  An overwhelming defeat accompanied by flight,dispersal of the defeated

8 Successfully manage an abduction? (5,3)

CARRY OFF :  Double defn: 1st: Successfully manage, say,?, an abduction; and 2nd: Abduct someone without consent, usually by force.


9 A man’s entitled to them, but they’re not left to son (6)

RIGHTS :  RIGHT(not left) plus(to) S(son)

10 Bring the match alive with shot at goal (6)

STRIKE :  Double defn:  1st: What you do to light,bring alive, a matchstick

11 Frighten with errors and bloomers (8)

COWSLIPS :  COW(intimidate,frighten) plus SLIPS(mistakes,errors)

Defn:  Plant with white and yellow flowers,bloomers, not to be confused with its relation, the oxlip, another crossword staple.


12 Detectives in US agency retired, remaining sharp (6)

ACIDIC :  CID(Criminal Investigation Department, filled with detectives) contained in(in) reversal of(retired) CIA(the US Central Intelligence Agency)

15 Put on heavy music symbolic of Ireland (8)

SHAMROCK :  SHAM(fake,put on) plus(on) ROCK(heavy music)

Defn:  Symbol of Ireland, together with leprechauns and Guinness?

16 The kindly feeling of its beneficiaries? (8)

GOODWILL :  Cryptic defn:  The beneficiaries of a GOOD WILL, descriptive of one with no nasty surprises, such as a “beneficiary” being left $1, will show a lot of GOODWILL all round.

19 This by itself is only a gradual process (6)

LITTLE :  Cryptic defn:  This, the word LITTLE plus by plus itself, the word LITTLE, ie. “little by little” denotes a gradual processEdit.note: to make my intended meaning clearer in view of comment#1.

21 Shadow boxing, a contest between fighters? (8)

DOGFIGHT :  DOG(to follow,tail,shadow) FIGHT(one form of which is boxing)

Defn:  An aerial combat,contest between fighter planes.  Hesitated a bit because of “fight” in both clue and answer.

22 Feast on one’s bed in the dormitory? (6)

SPREAD :  Double defn:  1st: Food and drink,a feast spread large on the dining table; and 2nd: The linen cloth spread over one’s bed, also known as a bedspread.  Edit.note: Ditto as 19A

24 Italian banger unfortunately going the wrong way joining the motorway (6)

SALAMIReversal of(going the wrong way) ALAS(unfortunately) plus(joining) MI(=M1, first major motorway in England, running north-south)

Defn:  Italian sausage,banger, not to be confused with banger = old car.  Nice surface.

25 Substantial list includes gin cocktail (8)

TANGIBLE :  TABLE(list) containing(includes) anagram of(cocktail) GIN.

26 A venerable name in our illustrious past (4)

BEDE :  Cryptic defn:  7/8C monk, Saint BEDE, our,English historian,a chronicler of the illustrious past, also known as the Venerable BEDE


27 Stomach is churning — but he enjoys it! (9)

MASOCHISTAnagram of(churning) STOMACH IS.

Defn:  He who enjoys pain inflicted on himself, eg. when his stomach is churning, and whatever else there is!  Yet another nice surface with intertwining definition and wordplay.


1 Fit girl given bodybuilding exercises (5)

ADAPT :  ADA(girl’s name) plus(given) PT(physical training,bodybuilding exercises perhaps)

Defn:  Verb, to fit into the environment or circumstances, as in “Adapt or die”

2 Delayed sailor with dire consequences (7)

TARRIED :  TAR(sailor,tarpaulin) plus(with) anagram of(consequences) DIRE.

Defn:  Past tense of tarry,linger,delay.

3 One’s put on weight – it’s something in the air (5)

OZONE :  OZ(abbrev. for ounce,unit of weight in the Imperial system) placed before(put on) ONE

Defn:  An allotrope of the element oxygen with 3 instead of the common 2 atoms in a molecule, great for protecting earthly life against cosmic rays.

4 Impressions left by the dead (7)

EFFECTS :  Double defn:  1st: The resulting effects,impressions, usually mental or emotional, on you when something, well, affects you.  An example could be the consequential effect of someone’s death,left by the dead; and 2nd: The personal effects of some person, left by him/her when he/she is dead, the subject of a 16A maybe.

5 Idiot – to get tight and then dance (9)

SCREWBALL :  SCREW(verb, to tighten, using, say, a screwdriver; unsure about compatibility with the adjective “tight” in this case) plus(and then) BALL(an event with dancing and feasting mainly)

6 Soldier‘s uniform? (7)

REGULAR :  Double defn:  1st: A fulltime soldier

7 Restoration play in cut that’s not normal (9)

UNTYPICALAnagram of(restoration) PLAY IN CUT.

13 Drink most commonly sold in bars (9)

CHOCOLATE :  Double defn:  1st: The (liquid) drink made from cocoa; and 2nd: the solid form commonly sold in the shape of bars, not to be confused with bars that serve drinks.  Nice surface.  It could be a single cryptic defn. depending on how different one considers the liquid from the solid form.

14 Put hold on the picture – it’s a wrap! (9)

CLINGFILM :  CLING(verb to hold on to,stick to) placed before(put…on, in a down clue) FILM(moving pictures,movie)

Defn:  Modern plastic product used mainly in the kitchen, but outside it as well, as an airtight wrap, not to be confused with the movie director’s jargon, to be satisfied with what’s been filmed, and thus no more re-takes of a scene.  Nice surface.


17 Lose wind when seeking muddy shoal in Cheshire estuary (7)

DEFLATE :  FLAT(sand bank in shallow water,muddy shoal, commonly found in eg. an estuary) contained in(seeking…in) DEE(the estuary in Cheshire where the river Dee flows into the sea).  Another nice surface.

18 T.S. Eliot play shows understatement (7)

LITOTESAnagram of(play) T.S.ELIOT.

Defn:  An understatement playing down on affirmation.  Would I not be wrong in saying that the English are generally not bad at using understatements?

20 There’s merit in unhappy endings (7)

TERMINIAnagram of(unhappy) MERIT IN.

22 Describing a boom in the travel industry once (5)

SONIC :  Cryptic defn:  The boom that one gets when an airplane breaks the sound barrier, once heard in the aviation travel industry when the Concorde flew passengers at supersonic speed.

23 Share out a tax rise (5)

ALLOT :  A plus reversal of(rise) TOLL(tax,levy)

31 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25419 Rufus”

  1. Roger says:

    Thanks scchua. I think 19a refers to the expression ‘little by little’ (little by itself) and 22a maybe bedspread ?

    T S Eliot / LITOTES rings a bell from somewhere and like you, wasn’t convinced about DOGFIGHT.

    STRIKE was rather clever though. Still working on the pictures.

  2. smutchin says:

    Crikey, scchua, that must have taken you a while to put together. Good effort!

    All fairly straightforward as usual for a Monday morning, except I couldn’t get 12a because I’d entered TARDIER for 2d… doh!

  3. smutchin says:

    Roger – yes, that’s how I read it. “[Little] by itself” = “little by little”

  4. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    I also worried about 21a: surely Rufus could have constructed a clue without fight?

    I liked 27a.

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I also hesitated with 21a for the same reasons, to the extent I entered CONFLICT, with CRITICISM for 14d. I wasn’t happy with either, and I see why now.

    Not so keen on some of the other clues today, too: why IN THE DORMITORY in 22a, I don’t think it is needed; 20d, the THERE’S.

    4d I was trying to fit in EFFIGIES for a while.

  6. chas says:

    As for the pictures – I am totally at a loss.
    I guess that under Bede is a picture of the venerable gent himself but who are all those others?

  7. Gervase (formerly known as Geoff) says:

    Bravo, scchua – the blog must have taken a lot longer than the puzzle.

    Typical Monday Rufus – on the easier side of the spectrum, containing lots of compact clues with good, and often very misleading, surfaces. Like smutchin, I first put TARDIER in as 2d, until ACIDIC showed my error.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks for the blug, scchua — and the extra puzzles!

    re 21ac the double use of ‘fight’ held me up, too. I wondered if it was an editorial error — ‘fliers’ or something similar would have been better, although it may have made the answer more obvious.

    re your picture puzzles.

    1. The only authoress I can identify with any certainty is P D James (second from left)

    2. I’m wondering whether one of the women with the image of Bede is George Eliot, who wrote Adam Bede?

    3. And I think it’s Charles Lindberg in the middle picture — his son was abducted. It’s definitely Yoko in the last picture — was there a threat to abduct Sean?

  9. William says:

    Thank you, scchua, helluva blog but you mustn’t feel the need to go to quite those lengths – must have taken ages.

    Loved LITOTES and LITTLE but struggled for ages with DOGFIGHT because of the ‘fight’ reference in the clue. I think I’ve become like a batsman who’s been exposed to an excess of spin – can’t see an innocent straight ball when it comes my way. Come to think of it, this is perhaps what happens to politicians, too.

    Thank you Rufus.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks Scchua and Rufus

    Typical fare from Rufus with some answers much harder to see than others.

    Like 27a I tend to admire the more taxing ones (providing I get them).

    I quite liked 21a despite the double use. It took me some time to see the plane idea. I also liked the surface in 9a, plus 15a, 27a, 5d and 14d (my COD).

  11. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Really unsatisfying for unearthing solutions.

  12. Mr Beaver says:

    Call me a churlish ingrate if you will, but I have to say I prefer my blogs without the illustrations.
    By all means comment on the merits or otherwise of the clue, but I think most people will be familiar with the concept of clingfilm, say, without the visuals.

    Back on topic, I didn’t see what ‘illustrious’ contributed to 26a. ‘Illuminated’ might have made some sense, as a reference to medieval manuscripts, but why illustrious ?

  13. Jan says:

    I’m sure you’re not a churlish ingrate, Mr Beaver, but I really enjoy scchua’s illustrated blogs. Maybe I’m a fawning sycophant. 😉

    re. 21a. Given the question mark at the end, I wondered if Rufus had been hoping to use ‘boxers’ (dogs) rather than ‘fighters’, but then thought of ‘shadow boxing’. It has the feel of a clue which changed direction and got lost.

    I entered CARRY OUT at 8a which held me up with 4d.

  14. hughr says:

    MI(=M1, first major motorway in England, running north-south)

    Wasn’t the M6 the first motorway or was that just the Preston bypass part and it was actually the M1 that was the first completed motorway?

  15. scchua says:

    Thanks for all your comments.

    When I started blogging regularly (on the Tuesday FT), I did write a preamble pointing out, in case anyone wondered, what my blogging objectives were:
    a) The serious business of explaining the crossword clues and solutions. From experience, I know that blind spots can occur at odd places with different people, including my own blind spots, and therefore I try to be as comprehensive as possible. I would have failed if someone asked me for an explanation of my explanation.
    b) In addition to serious business, I try to lighten up the blog. In addition to the entertainment that the setters have provided, I try to add some more that I can think of. Isn’t that why we’re doing crosswords in the first place?

    Of course one, might not want lightening up, or might not want to join in the swing of things, or might not like being entertained any further, or knows all about clingfilm, or have seen cowslips, and clingfilm being wrapped round a jet engine, or have seen all the pictures, or just doesn’t care about them. But that’s all right, and, honestly, I won’t hold it against you. By all means, stick to the serious business only, and skip all the other stuff. And I might add: showing a visual is by no means doubting that you have knowledge of the subject.

    Which brings me to the (terse) comment “Really unsatisfying for unearthing solutions” by RCWhiting. I presume you’re referring to having to unearth the solutions within the blog, and if I’m right, I’d be interested to hear what you suggest. As it is, clues are recognisable by starting with a number, with text in blue. In the line immediately that, is the answer, in upper case text in cyan, followed by the analysis/explanation/comments. This is followed sometimes, on the next line by an explanation of/comments on the definition. Then sometimes some images. The order is the same always. So I’m surprised there would be a problem in scrolling from one clue/solution to the next. And if like Mr Beaver, you don’t care for the images, it probably takes half to a second to scroll past those irksome things to the next clue/solution. :-)

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you scchua for explaining the lot.
    This was really a quicky.
    At times Rufus can gear up a bit, but certainly not today.
    But apart from our ‘fighters’ there is technically not much wrong with the puzzle, and it will suit those that were in for a gentle ride.

    When we looked at 24ac, we knew that it had to be BEDE, the venerable Bede. But what about this: we took the second part of the clue as a construction – ED (name) inside B.E. (British Empire (our illustrious past)). I know, it’s not right for more than one reason: B.E. is not British Empire in its own right (though as such part of OBE) ánd, moreover, some people might think that the Empire is not passé yet …. :). But, still.

  17. cholecyst says:

    Thanks ,scchua. An excellent blog. So far nobody’s solved the picture clues. Are you an ‘Only Connect’ fan? You are right. The M1 was the first MAJOR motorway but the M6 Preston bypass was your actual first motorway and had the first motorway service station (now a listed building).

  18. scchua says:

    Before I call it a day, here are the hidden connections for those who made the effort, especially Roger, chas and liz, and perhaps Jan as well.

    1A AUTHORESS: Four outstanding examples, who also happen to be among my favourites, who wrote/write in the mystery-detective genre:
    Margery Allingham who created Albert Campion
    P.D. James – Adam Dalgliesh
    Dorothy L. Sayers – Lord Peter Wimsey
    Josephine Tey – Alan Grant.(and Miss Pym)

    8A CARRY OFF: Three couples whose children were abducted:
    Mr and Mrs Frank Sinatra, parents of Frank Jr.
    Mr and Mrs Charles Lindbergh, parents of Charles Jr.
    Mr and Mrs Anthony Cox (nee Yoko Ono), parents of Kyoko Chan – the kidnapper being the father himself

    26A BEDE: The historical figure Saint Bede, which reminded me of the fictional Adam Bede, created by authoress George Eliot, a masculine pen-name, which reminded me of another authoress with the masculine pen-name George Sand (in retrospect I should have added a picture of Frederic Chopin, which would have made it easier).

    You had parts of it, liz.

  19. scchua says:

    Hi cholecyst@17, I am a fan of James Burke, British science historian, author and broadcaster, and of his documentary series, “Connections”, though, of course, I’d be the last to make any comparison/connection :-) I’m also a fan of Griff Rhys-Jones (of Smith and Jones fame), who did a hilarious imitation of Burke in “Not The Nine O’Clock News”.

  20. grandpuzzler says:

    Nuts. Had too many chores this morning to take care of before I could get my entry in the scchua sweepstakes. I did know the three kidnappings. Oh well, there is always next week. Please continue with the picturesque blogs. Learned a new word today: CLINGFILM. Tried to make TARDIER work at 2dn.

    Happy Labor Day!

  21. RCWhiting says:

    “Which brings me to the (terse) comment “Really unsatisfying for unearthing solutions” by RCWhiting. I presume you’re referring to having to unearth the solutions within the blog, and if I’m right, I’d be interested to hear what you suggest. As it is, clues are recognisable ……………..”
    As I said to Eileen some time ago, when I come here the last thing I read is the blog, and often not at all.
    My comment was intended as a gentle criticism of the puzzle (did you notice the initials).
    Still consider continuing hubris, unless avoidable.

  22. chas says:

    Thanks for the picture explanations scchua. Actually, I recognised Yoko but did not remember that she had been associated with a kidnap. Equally I had not known about Frank Sinatra and kidnap.
    I did know about the Lindbergh kidnapping, but I did not recognise the people in the photo. :(

  23. Robi says:

    Pleasant enough puzzle.

    Thanks scchua; and I did like the pictures, although I’m glad that you explained the links so that I don’t have to think too hard before University Challenge and ‘Only Connect’ (the latter is on BBC4 and worth a look – they even had a panel of crossword addicts once……)

  24. Dave Ellison says:

    grandpuzzler @ 20. Is it still known as saran wrap in the States? In the 60s I was grinding my own telescope mirrors and the book I was using referred to saran wrap to measure the thickness of something (which I forget now). I had no idea what saran was was, and I am not sure we had cling film then.

    Sorry if this is a bit off topic.

  25. scchua says:

    RCWhiting, I do apologise for making the wrong presumption/interpretation. Now that you point it out, I see what you meant to say. And this time I noticed your last line, and I’m not making any presumption whatsoever.

  26. tupu says:

    Hi Sil

    I like your suggestion re 26a which is otherwise uncharacteristically wordy, I think, for Rufus. Perhaps he will emlighten us?

  27. FranTom Menace says:

    Enjoyed today’s puzzled – although thought that the “in the dormitory?” was misleadingly redundant. Nothing standout but a pleasing evening solve.

    RCWhiting – You obviously understand Rufus’s easy Monday offerings seem to target entry-level decipherers. Instead of unhelpful slating of the crossword every Monday you could always accept that it’s not for everyone.

  28. Paul B says:

    The trouble with some of Mr RC Whiting’s comments, in my opinion, is that they can require clarification. IIRC he has attracted attention in a bad way once or twice before, where, apparently, no offence was intended.

  29. Davy says:

    Thanks scchua,

    I enjoyed this although Rufus’s style of clueing isn’t always to my taste. My favourite clue was AUTHORESS which took me quite a time to get as all five words in the clue could be considered anagrinds which is a definite rarity. Thanks Rufus.

    RCW : Your acronyms for Rufus and scchua, would be more interesting if they made any apparent sense.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    To criticise the work of a journalist cannot be inherently offensive.

  31. liz says:

    Thanks, scchua, for letting us know the connections in your picture puzzles. I should have spotted Dorothy Sayers, great fan that I am. I welcome your additions to the Monday puzzle and please keep them coming!

    I REALLY don’t see the point of criticising Rufus on the grounds of how easy his puzzles are (and sometimes they are not). We all know what his brief is and the fact that he executes it so elegantly is a source of pleasure to me. (When I don’t like his cds I will say so.)

    re Mr Beaver @12. I do think you are bit of a *churlish ingrate*. Can’t we enjoy a variety of blogging styles just as we enjoy a variety of setters’ styles? I thought the blog was funny.

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