Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25443 Rufus

Posted by scchua on October 3rd, 2011


Another Monday crossword in Rufus’s recognisable style.  Quite a few cryptic and double definitions with an economy of words.  And a couple of nautical references.  Thanks Rufus, I enjoyed this.  For some reason, 14D, my last one in, took me longer that it should have.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Hidden connections in 2 of the picture sets.


5 Seek to obtain funds to cover university entrance (6)

PURSUE :  PURSE(metonym for money,funds) containing(to cover) U(first letter,entrance of “university”)

6 Criminals taken in hand by bishops (6)

CROOKS :  Cryptic defn:  The word refers to the symbol of pastoral office carried,taken in hand by bishops, a staff with a crook on top (sometimes a cross).  Same name and similar appearance to the staff carried by shepherds.  So I’m almost sure it arises from the comparable symbolism between the respective “flocks”.

(Could also be seen as double defn. depending how one sees the rest of the clue.)  A nice surface of bishops saving criminals (at least their souls – if they have any).

9 Doctor in habit of fighting (6)

COMBAT :  MB(from Neo-Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus,Bachelor of Medicine,doctor) contained in(in) COAT(an item of clothing,habit)

10 Many lads fancy being a success with females (5,3)

LADYS MANAnagram of(fancy) MANY LADS.  Lovely surface.

11 Hot time for wife of Zeus (4)

HERA :  H(hot) ERA(a long time period)

12 Remove vital parts of broken tea service (10)


Defn:  In addition to physical disembowelment, it can also refer figuratively to the work of censors.


13 Show how devil and saint rank in estimation (11)

DEMONSTRATE :  DEMON(devil) ST(abbrev. for saint) RATE(as in “how they rate,rank, in relation to one another, in someone’s estimation”)

18 Do see lunch is set out at the correct time (2,8)

ON SCHEDULEAnagram of(set out) DO SEE LUNCH.

21 Appeal to counsel (4)

URGE :  Double defn:  1st:  To stimulate, excite or incite; and 2nd:  As in “He urged his client to drop the suit”.  I’ve chosen the most diverse meanings I could think of, but I may be wrong.

22 Force to serve port (8)

SHANGHAI :  Double defn.  1st:  Use force (or drink or drugs) to kidnap persons to serve on board,crew ships sailing to the Orient, including to the 2nd defn.



23 Capital A followed by S? (6)

ATHENSA THEN(followed by) S

24 The slippery slope taken by some sportsmen (3,3)

SKI RUN :  Cryptic defn.

25 More than one rock group? (6)

STONES :  Cryptic defn.  Short name for The Rolling Stones, going-on septuagenarian rockers by now.  “Rock” doubles up in the clue.


1 Cheat to secure point in card game (8)

CRIBBAGE :  CRIB(cheat by bringing in answers, other illicit aids into an exam, by stealing someone’s work, or by just petty thieving) BAG(to get,secure eg. a prize) E(east,compass point)

2 A loose word for the BBC (6)

AUNTIEA UNTIE(verb, as in to loose a boat from its moorings)

Defn:  Nickname,word for that venerable institution, the BBC, sometimes also called “the Beeb” or even “Auntie Beeb”

3 Director has staff dressed in purple – king or queen coming (8)

PRODUCER :  ROD(staff,baton) contained in(dressed in) PUCE(a shade of purple) plus(coming) R(abbrev. for king or queen, from Latin Rex or Regina respectively)

Defn:  In former usage, in British theatre, a producer was a stage director.  In today’s age of specialisation, the director is the operations guy, and the producer is the finance and administration guy.

4 He hopes to find you well (6)

DOWSER :  Cryptic defn.  In earlier times, person whom you paid, if you were desperate enough, to find underground water for you, using a divining rod.


5 Fake ring revealed by youth leader (6)

PHONEY :  PHONE(verb, to call,ring on the telephone) plus(revealed by) Y(initial letter,leader of “youth”)

7 Sea air (6)

SHANTY :  Cryptic defn.  Song,air that sailors,sea-going personnel sing.

8 Pretty smart? Quite the reverse (5,6)

PLAIN STUPID :  Cryptic defn.  Antonyms respectively of “pretty”, as in “plain Jane’, and “smart”.  Together, a phrase that’s the opposite,reverse of “pretty smart”.

14 Service pass (8)

OVERHAUL :  Double defn.  1st:  Verb/noun for a major and thorough service of an engine; and 2nd:  Verb, to overtake,pass, say, a vehicle, or a competitor.

15 Moving about (8)

TOUCHING :  Double defn.  1st:  Appealing to your emotions,moving; and 2nd:  Refering to,about a subject or topic, eg. “he gave a speech touching on the government’s education policy”

16 Moves slowly in unfinished game on board (6)

INCHESIN CHES(game on board,“chess” without its last letter,unfinished).  Nice surface.

17 They may be after estate – amen! (6)

AGENTS :  A GENTS(“amen” split into “a” and “men”,gents)

Defn:  Literally coming afterestate” in the phrase “estate agents” and figuratively on the lookout for,after estate,property they can manage/market for the owners.  Nice surface.

19 Open prison was adequate (6)

CANDID :  CAN(prison,jail) DID(past tense of is sufficient,adequate as in “one drink will do me fine”

20 Raises new taxes, accepting pound (6)

EXALTSAnagram of(new) TAXES containing(accepting) L(from Latin ­Libra, £, symbol for the pound sterling)


21 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25443 Rufus”

  1. Miche says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    A gentle start to the week, I suppose. But “sea air” is an old chestnut, and the definition in 11a is so unambiguous that the cryptic part is superfluous.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    Relatively few clues to trip over today. I liked 4d most. Cribbage took me some time to parse, and I expected ‘bs’ in 6a. Usual pretty immaculate cluing, though the two meanings of ‘urge’ are rather close to each other as scchua implies.

  3. William says:

    Thank you, scchua, nice entertaining blog as usual. I’ll have a bash at the picture links when I have a minute.

    Rather liked AGENTS even if it is a little Araucarian.

    Not very happy with PRODUCER however. A producer is not a director and Chambers actually gives ‘cf director’ in the definition.

    ATHENS was neat too, I thought.

    Thank you Rufus for easing us into the week.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I particularly enjoyed this Rufus this morning – all pretty straightforward but with some nice touches, including COMBAT and ATHENS together with some nicely constructed anagrams.

    Thank you for blogging, scchua.

  5. harry says:

    Thank you, scchua.
    Nice easy start to the week.

    Not sure if there is a deliberate allusion in 5d to the derivation of “phoney” from the 19C criminal slang “fawney dropping”, for the substitution of worthless jewellary, usually rings, for apparently valuable items “found” in the street and sold for a giveway price to passing mugs.

  6. William says:

    harry@5 – how interesting. Any idea where ‘fawney’ comes from?

  7. Scarpia says:

    William @ 6

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    Maybe it’s just all that black (intimidating?), but I never feel I’m enjoying a crossword when the grid is of that form, regardless of how much fun the clues are. Very strange.

  9. William says:

    Scarpia @7 – many thanks.

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Yours x 10.

  11. apiarist says:

    Pleasant start to the week for a rusty brain ! And I hope we all pronounced 18 ac as “shedule” and not “skedule”. Sorry, one of my pet hates !

  12. scchua says:

    Hi apiarist, it all depends on where you went to shool.

  13. artoo says:

    OK, I’ll bite. What does Chinese Medicine (angelica root, eucommia and a sea cucumber) have to do with evisceration? Or for that matter, what do Timbuktu and the Vatican have to do with Shanghai?

  14. apiarist says:

    Hi scchua. Now that’s a good point. Are you pronounced “Shooer” or “Skewer” ?!!!

  15. Martin P says:

    Thanks Rufus.

    Quite a quick solve, but jolly good fun I thought.

    My favourite was 17d.

  16. Niall M says:

    I thought of that too Harry.
    The word phoney comes from fawney which comes from the Irish word fainne meaning ring. I had a gold fainne (fainne or) when I was a young man for my ability to speak my native tongue. Sadly not a lot of it has stayed with me (except fainne of course).

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I’m the last one [or should I say: we are the last two] to not enjoy a Rufus puzzle, but this one was really a quicky, wasn’t it?

    I wouldn’t have commented, weren’t there the fact that today I had quite a few déjà vus.
    I am pretty sure Araucaria used a similar cd for DOWSER a while ago. And ATHENS has been done a few times before (sometimes referring to the A and S being adjacent on a computer keyboard). And 5ac, well, that clue was almost identical to a clue in the Dante puzzle that I will blog this Thursday.
    Maybe, I am seeing things that aren’t there, but OVERHAUL (14d), INCHES (16d) and the clues (though not their solutions) for 6ac and 8d were also part of my Past Experience (which, to be clear, isn’t necessarily related to Rufus puzzles).

    However, dear Rufus, we ticked (at least) four that belong in Category 1. LADY’S MAN (10ac) [even though, again, Araucaria clued it not so very long ago], EVISCERATE (12ac) [splendid anagram], ON SCHEDULE (18ac) [my PinC’s second favourite of the day] and 17d (AGENTS)[without doubt today’s winner, for both of us].

    Thanks scchua for the blog.

    In a way, Rufus is just like The Stones.
    Going on and on, always being himself.
    BTW, how about the next album by The Rolling Stones being called “Septuagenarian” …. :)

  18. Ian says:

    I feel “touching” = “about” is rather frail. I like to be able to quote a sentence where the words are interchangeable but in this case doesn’t it need to be “touching on”?

  19. scchua says:

    Hi artoo and William.  Couldn’t reply earlier because of the time difference.  These are the answers to the picture connections.

    12A EVISCERATE. The sea cucumber (animal, not vegetable despite its name) can defend itself by evisceration of some of its internal organs through its anus.  These regenerate after a while.  Varieties of this animal, when dried, are used in Chinese medicine, a practitioner of which is shown taking his female patient’s pulse.  Treatment is with medicines composed of various parts of plants/herbs and animals, stored in those drawers to be found lining the wall behind the counter of a Chinese pharmacy.

    22A SHANGHAI.  Like the latter, other cities have lent their names to English words/expressions:
    Naples – see Naples and die
    Rome – all roads lead to Rome, Rome wasn’t built in a day, when in Rome….
    Bristol – ship shape and Bristol fashion
    Newcastle – bringing coal to Newcastle
    Timbuktu/Timbuctoo – eg. It might as well be in Timbuktu – to mean it’s extremely remote.

    Apologies to Bristolians that I couldn’t find a picture that I thought many would identify with your fair city.  I did find a picture of one of the good-looking cars named after your city and handbuilt by the Bristol Car Company, which started off as a division of the aircraft manufacturer.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    ‘He was touching six feet in height.’

    I do agree about your criterion.

  21. artoo says:

    Hi sschua, very nice, I would have been really impressed if you’d managed to work in the precise herbs shown on that medicine cabinet. For the other I was going with “ports”.

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