Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,425 – Rufus

Posted by manehi on September 12th, 2011


The usual gentle but pleasant start to the week from Rufus. Favourite was 15

1 GRATIFY =Please. (Ray gift)*
5 APOSTLE = a missionary who may appear on a spoon handle
10 AFAR =some way off. A + rev(RAF)=”service”
11 ENTERPRISE =initiative. ENTER=Gain admission + PRISE = force (open)
12 EGGNOG =Drink. (3xG[in] + ONE)*
13 INSIGNIA crytic def?
14 READY TO GO =”All set” & cryptic def
16 HOIST =Give a lift. I=one inside HOST=army
17 EBBED =weakened. rev(Be) + BED=bunk
19 QUALIFIER Cryptic def, referring to qualifying heats in e.g. athletics
23 CONSIDER double definition
24 USURER =Loan shark. SURE=certain in UR=city
26 FIGUREHEAD =”Nominal chief” & cryptic allusion to a FIGURE HEAD in the maths department
27 BAGS double def, these being the trousers
28 AGITATE =Stir. IT inside A GATE=attendance at a football match
29 GRENADE =explosive projectile. (range)* + DE=of in French
2 REFUGEE pretty straight definition, as far as I can tell
3 TURIN =Italian city. I with TURN=”go” around it.
4 FREIGHT =Charge. R[oyal] E[ngineers] = “soldiers” in FIGHT=brawl
6 PHRASE =”a few words from tourist guide”, the guide being a phrasebook. P[iano]=Quietly + (share)*
7 SHRUGS OFF cryptic def
8 LASSIES Would leave LASSES if the “I” is taken away
9 STRING QUARTET cryptic def
15 DRESS SUIT =formal wear. DRESS=Line up (troops) + SUIT = quarter of a deck of cards = “quarterdeck”
18 BOOKING double def
20 LAUNDER =Wash. LA=”the” and UN=”one” in French, and DER is the German article
21 EMERGED =appeared. rev(DEGREE)=unit of temperature, around M=thousand
22 ADVENT AD=notice + VENT=opening cryptic def
25 URBAN =City. rev(R[ugby] U[nion])=game + BAN=boycott

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,425 – Rufus”

  1. otter says:

    Thanks, manehi. As you say, a pleasantly gentle start to the week. I agree with 15 as the clue of the day – for ‘quarterdeck’, which was rather clever – among a lot of good surfaces. My only quibble is 2d (REFUGEE), in which I can see nothing cryptic whatever. Oh, and ‘degree’ for ‘unit of temperature’, allowable as people do say ‘it’s going to be 75 degrees tomorrow’, but a little iffy.

    Anyway, that blew a few cobwebs away without any nasty surprises.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Rufus

    The SE corner held me up for a short time.

    I liked 19a, 26a, 28a, and especially 15d.

  3. Robi says:

    Typical, pleasant Rufus start to the week.

    Thanks, manehi; I hadn’t heard of APOSTLE spoons before. I agree 15 was good, and I enjoyed the drink in EGGNOG. I thought ‘from tourist guide’ in 6 was somewhat superfluous.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    I forget (sorry) who is the contributor who quite rightly describes clues like 2dn as a “double bluff”. The construction looks like it’s going to be an inclusion type clue but actually it’s just a straight def.

    I think you missed AD (notice) VENT (opening) in 22.(Amongst a sea of cryptic definitions, I don’t blame you!)

  5. manehi says:

    NeilW – thanks, edited. I briefly thought that “Notice” could give AD and then somehow looked at the remaining VENT without the penny dropping.. ah, Mondays.

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks manehi, and of course, Rufus for another enjoyable one.

    My COD was 9D STRING QUARTET, which has the double definition: four players with a fiddle, as well as four strings on the (modern) fiddle or violin, both giving the answer.

  7. RCWhiting says:

    No comment ………………

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    NeilW, that would probably be me. I usually also point out that there is no rule against it, the only thing against it being those solvers with noses long enough to be looked down :D

  9. smutchin says:

    2d – I assumed the cryptic element was meant to be an ambiguity, in that you could read it as “his country” is being protected by another, rather than “he”. Not the greatest clue though.

    Anyway, I’ve learnt today what an apostle spoon is (thanks, manehi), and I’ve had a good groan at “quarterdeck”, which is enough to satisfy me on a Monday morning.


  10. William says:

    Thank you, Manehi, good blog.

    Iditiotically put in MISSIES instead of LASSIES and that reduced my normal ‘Rufus rate’.

    Nice to know what an APOSTLE SPOON is – grew up with them everywhere and never questioned it.

    Otter @1 – Don’t quite share your concern over a degree not being a unit of temperature. A millimetre is a unit of length; a gram is a unit of mass; so where lies your concern over degree? Is it that it is incomplete and strictly needs to be followed by F or C?

  11. smutchin says:

    I kind of agree with Otter – strictly, “degree” just means an interval on a scale, so “20 degrees” is meaningless unless you specify which scale (Celsius, Fahrenheit or indeed Kelvin), but it’s commonly understood what is meant by “20 degrees” so I think it’s perfectly acceptable here.

  12. smutchin says:

    PS “millimetre” and “gram” are different because the scale is specified in the name. “20 degrees length” or “20 degrees weight” would be equally meaningless.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Here we go again. One commits murder and the crowd argues over a parking offence.

  14. cholecyst says:

    Living 50 degrees north, I do sometimes wish degree was just a mention of temperature!

  15. RMG says:

    Had everything except for 8 down and 16 across, and was having a serious look at LESBIAN for 8d. Would fit as a cryptic definition but perhaps a little too risque?

  16. NeilW says:

    RCW – you miss the point. Rufus’ puzzles *are* the equivalent of a ding in the supermarket car park – why not just let those of us involved enjoy the fracas? Just stroll on by. These crosswords are produced to an express specification – that’s not to say I enjoy them particularly but: they are what they are.

  17. Matt says:

    Mr RCW,

    Is that a cryptic clue? I’m struggling without the enumeration I’m afraid.


  18. RCWhiting says:

    Crypticity is banned on Mondays.

  19. Wolfie says:



  20. otter says:

    Yup – what smutchin says – degree is a general term for an increment on a scale. Nothing ‘wrong’ with the clue as such, it just seemed a bit sloppy to me. Perhaps a ‘perhaps’ or ‘for example’ after it would have made it better – or just dropping ‘of temperature’.

    Anyway, I see I’m being accused of debating the number of angels on a pinhead, so I’ll stop there.

  21. Ian F says:

    RCW – If you don’t like Rufus crosswords why don’t you simply look elsewhere on a Monday? Many of us appreciate and enjoy his puzzles and I for one could do without your sour and tedious contributions! Many thanks Rufus and keep up the good work.

  22. Davy says:

    Thanks manehi,

    A puzzle from Rufus that I actually sailed through which is unusual, as I usually fail on two or three. Having a poor memory, I usually struggle on the DDs or CDs but not today. My favourite clue was STRING QUARTET which I thought was reasonably obvious but also amusing. Other clues I liked were QUALIFIER, PHRASE, LASSIES and DRESS SUIT.

    Thanks Rufus. I appreciate that your brief is to produce an easyish crossword on a Monday but some people do not seem to understand that no matter how many times it is reiterated !.

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    After the long discussion following Paul’s recent Prize Puzzle, I didn’t expect RCW to turn up here with the Same Old Story.

    RCW himself and Eileen made it clear last Saturday:
    “If a solver finds a puzzle too difficult sh/e has two options: go and find an easier one, there are plenty; or persist until you succeed” (RCW).
    “If a solver finds a puzzle too easy – and s/he knows that Rufus Monday ones, by definition, will be – why not give them a miss?” (Eileen).

    In both situations one should be tolerant and not dismiss the puzzle as ‘crap’. Although I see where RCW comes from (which I really do understand), I do not see why he keeps on showing his disdain for solvers who are looking for something else.
    I didn’t find this crossword one of Rufus’s best, but even in a situation worse than that I would never have posted a comment like the one @7. “No comment”?

    Dear RCW, I am beginning to think that your main problem is that The Guardian is your favourite newspaper [it is mine too, btw] while at the same the crosswords have gone in a downward spiral (that is, in your opinion).
    I think, the good thing about Guardian crosswords is the variety in difficulty. Setters have a pseudonym, and once you “know” them you know what to expect. Well, more or less.
    Unfortunately, this means that you cannot have your daily challenge six days a week.
    I fear, if you really want something that is more appealing, you will have to turn to the more consistent Indy offerings. But that is not your newspaper – see, that’s your problem.

    Please stop burning down crosswords that are not up your street.
    And surely, Rufus doesn’t deserve this.
    [He is probably laughing at all this right now with a glass of delicious wine in his hand]

    Rufus. Rufus? Who?
    As I said, not one of his best – but alas.
    I am pretty sure that I saw a similar clue for ADVENT (22d) only recently, but I am too lazy to figure out where.
    Although I am not a fan of double definitions, I must say that 18d (BOOKING) reads very smoothly.
    And in 3d I took “I go round” as “I am in a turn”, therefore “I in TURN”. Knowing that Rufus did things like this before, it could be it. But manehi (thx!), your more simple explanation is just as good. Or better? I don’t know.
    Oh, and the surface of EGGNOG (12ac) is quite good, isn’t it?

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks manehi and Rufus. I’m coming to the discussion late in the day, having spent most of it driving after finishing the puzzle without too much difficulty.

    And thanks to Sil for your excellent analysis of the situation. To Mr. Whiting, I appreciated your comment the other day praising a puzzle – at this time of night I can’t be bothered to look up which -, but in my opinion, criticism is only useful if it’s constructive.

    Nothing to add to the comments on the puzzle itself, except that at 9d I confidently entered “violin strings” :)

  25. PeeDee says:

    Can’t we just comment on the puzzles, not on the other posters? None of this stuff is enhancing fifteen squared’s reputation at all.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the puzzle, and thanks to manehi for the blog.

  26. Matt says:

    I may not agree with RWC (in fact I usually don’t) but I’m glad he comes along to throw a few fireworks now and then.
    It’s not necessary to start sniping at each other, but I think a bit of irascible displeasure, strongly expressed, is fine. I’m sure the setters have got skins thick enough to take it, and occasionally they even dish it out (I remember Paul coming along to blow off some steam about some puzzle or other a while back), so I don’t think we need to be too sensitive on their behalf.

    To add to the debate, I think it’s worth noting that for every puzzle tricky enough to satisfy a seasoned solver (your average Enigmatist, say), there are many others who might complain about the excessive difficulty, but who are reluctant to appear ignorant.

    Long may we debate.

  27. RCWhiting says:

    That’s a bit more rational,Matt.
    I have to say that since finding this MB I have been very surprised at the reaction which some of my posts have produced.
    First,I do not criticise people (posters or setters) but only the product of a journalist which I am confronted by each morning when I open my G. (yes, sil, it is my favourite paper and I shall at this late stage of my life, never change).
    Secondly I do not use abusive language unless a crossword puzzle has suddenly become an animate object which might be offended when called too easy.
    Thirdly, as sil says, the compilers and editors are surely not bothered by what I think. Why should they be treated any differently to (say) Polly Toynbee or George Monbiot who are regularly criticised for their work by readers. They are all journalists who put their work on public display and accept the responses.
    Stella,you want constructive criticism. Mine is. It is almost always that clues are too obvious, clearly I would suggest making them more difficult.I have even narrowed my criticism mainly to definitions which are too precise where, with the enumeration, it is a write-in and ceases to be cryptic.
    I could understand if a negative criticism of mine resulted in someone else disagreeing with it, what I totally fail to understand is the suggestions from some posters that I should not be allowed to post negative comments at all.

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