Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,461 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on October 24th, 2011


A pleasant Rufus puzzle to start the week, with the expected succinctly elegant surfaces and touches of wry humour, with a liberal sprinkling of double definitions. There are a couple of old favourite prison-related clues at 6dn and 11dn but one or two clues which needed a bit more thinking about. Many thanks, Rufus, for starting the day with a few smiles.


7   SOLITAIRE: double definition – a noun in both cases
8   PILOT: PI LOT: ‘pi’ often raises a query: it’s an abbreviation of ‘pious’, now listed in dictionaries as a word in its own right.
9   SHATTERED: SH [mum] + anagram [badly] of TREATED: both adjectives used in their modern, metaphorical sense
10  HEARD: nice triple definition
12  BRAINY: anagram [code] of BINARY
13  LATITUDE: double definition
14  SCUTTLE: double definition
17  CRICKET: double definition: at first I thought we might be looking for a musical term and laughed when the penny dropped. I shall make no comment on the suggested sentiment: I think it might divide solvers more than the puzzle! The reference is to the saying, ‘lively as a cricket’.
20  CASSETTE: CASTE [class] around [containing] SET [group]
22  FIANCÉ: FI[n]ANCE [funds] minus N[ote]
24  SPLIT: cryptic definition, referring to the pedants’ anathema: I’m not going there, boldly or otherwise. 😉
25  SIGNALMAN: SIGNAL [give a nod to] MAN [chap]
26  GRATE: double definition
27  CHASTISED: CHAS [Charles] + IS in [in hiding] TED [Edward]: a neat reference, I think, to Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, The Young Pretender


1   MOTHER: cryptic definition
2   DISTRICT: reversal [‘set up’ in a down clue] of I’D + STRICT [rigidly defined]
3   BARELY: double definition
4   ORDERLY: double definition
5   DIVEST: DIVE [joint] + ST[reet] [way]: an amusing surface
6   PORRIDGE: double / cryptic definition
11  STIR: double definition
15  CHAMPERS: C [hundred -‘many’] + HAMPERS [picnic baskets]
16  LATE: double definition
18  CHAPLAIN: CH [Companion of Honour – which we’re more used to seeing clued as ‘companion’] + A PLAIN [a simple]
19  JERICHO: anagram [makes] of JOE RICH
21  SHIFTY: SHIFT [move] + [pla]Y
22  FINISH: double definition
23  COAXES: COS [companies – ‘firms’] around [about] AXE [to make drastic cuts]

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,461 / Rufus”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for an excellent commentary and Rufus for an engaging puzzle.

    The usual mixture of easier and trickier clues. I ticked off 8a, 26a, and 6d which took me a little time to see. :) My first simple-minded and irreverent thought for 8a was ‘big’ + ‘OT’, but it clearly would not do, lacking both Rufus’s exactness and his light touch.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I know Rufus is meant to be am ‘easy’ start to the week, but I did find bits of this really quite tricky. I put in LEFT for 16dn (it works, doesn’t it?) so that didn’t help, and struggled in the NE corner, where there were a number of intersecting cds. I like Rufus’s cds normally, but a surfeit of them can make life tricky because it’s a question of twigging it or not. But good fun – I liked PILOT and SIGNALMAN especially (but wasn’t so keen on CRICKET). I echo your request to judiciously avoid the subject of split infinitives.

  3. Berny says:

    A most unsatisfying crossword. On the other hand the Times offering was delightfully clued.

  4. Robi says:

    Tricky in parts, I thought.

    Thanks, Eileen for a good blog. CHAMPERS was clued by Pan in Sep as ‘Drink in cold picnic baskets?’ I particularly liked the surface of the clue for CHASTISED.

  5. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I disagree with Rufus over 3d: barely means that something is complete but only just. Not quite means it is incomplete.

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi Chas

    Collins, Chambers and SOED all have ‘barely’ = ‘not quite’ as well as ‘only just’.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    May one enquire of our dear blogger whether knowledge of the quote is merely en passant or indicative of being a closet Trekkie?

    Strange puzzle this. It felt like it was harder than a usual Rufus whilst I was doing it, but then I noticed I’d finished it marginally quicker than usual. Weird.

  8. chas says:

    It is sad the way that the language is being blurred these days.

    Did you catch the train?
    Barely means I did catch it.
    Not quite means I missed it.

  9. Eileen says:

    Not the latter, Derek! It was the [then] topical example used by the headmistress in the school where I taught. Even then, she was fighting a losing battle – see here:

    Talking of losing battles, chas …

  10. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen. Agree with K’sD about the trickiness of the puzzle. Also entered LEFT at 16d. Enjoyed the puzzle nonetheless.


  11. Thomas99 says:

    It is nothing to do with language getting blurred. You are simply making the far too common mistake of assuming that because a word means one thing it can’t also mean something else. In comment 8 you then compound the error by suggesting that because “not quite” has a certain meaning no other word can also have it. And that sort of woolly reasoning really does do violence to language.

    Any reasonably sophisticated speaker of English can handle the fact that a word can have two different and even opposing meanings, depending on context and usage. Your example is meaningless as it only allows for the possibility of one context.

  12. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Eileen as always.

    This was a good start to the week and cricket made us smile, too. 24a raised a smile. If nothing else,the Startrek publicity now means that many people are aquainted with the split infinitive!This was not as easy as Rufus often is but we missed you last Monday!


  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Still a quite straightforward puzzle but a little more bite than the usual Monday effort.
    I was held up slightly by the NE corner. I also thought of chastened and needed a while to clear my mind before entering the obviously correct ‘chastised’.
    Thomas99 has done a suitably destructive job above so I will not add anymore.

  14. dunsscotus says:

    Nice puzzle, though I too fell into the ‘left’ and ‘chastened’ trap. On homophonic antonyms, my favourite is ‘cleave’ and there is, of course, the quite famous ‘quite’. I rest Thomas99’s case.

  15. MattD says:

    Thought that was tough and for the first time in months didn’t complete a rufus. Agree with previous poster that a lot of dd and cd can slow you up if you aren’t really on the ball.

    I just wished 8a was rabba as some version of rabbi as it would explain the ? Which pilot does not. Shame it is neither correct nor a word as it made me smile at the possibility.

    Thanks eileen for filling in the ne corner for me.

  16. chas says:

    In my comment 8 I gave a clear example of barely meaning complete but only just.
    I see that Thomas99 is unable to provide an example supporting his view so he chooses to attack me.

    I have nothing to add.

  17. Wolfie says:

    Chas – I think the point Thomas makes is that it is possible – indeed extremely common – for an English word to have more than one meaning. ‘Barely’ is a good example of such a word.

  18. FranTom Menace says:

    MattD, was that pun intended?

    We agree with some that it was a trickier Rufus than normal, and we didn’t complete the NE corner. Funnily, Fran said ‘left’ for 16d and I said ‘late’, we agreed that the correct answer was ‘late’. Looking at it it seems that both are valid, just that ‘late’ felt the likely answer likely because of the more cyptic ‘gone’ meaning ‘dead’.

    Thanks Rufus, and thanks to Eileen for helping with the NE corner!

  19. stumped says:

    Nice puzzle. Glad to see I wasn’t only one held up in NE corner.

    Had 27a = chastened until penny dropped on 17a :) and gave 18d.

    Favourite clue 25a.

    Gave up on 3 clues.

    4d – Orderly = Soldier – well, now that you mention it…
    8a – First thought Abbot, then considered Simon (as in Simon Peter the “rock” etc)
    10d – Porridge – didn’t make the prison connection – d’oh

    I thought the split infinitive thing was dead & buried. The objectors should go and start something along the lines of the French Academy.

  20. MattD says:

    Frantom. A pun? No and I can’t see an accidental one either. Unless it was hilariously clever, in which case yes, I am a comic genius.

    Also thought “left” btw until the “f” caused too many problems.

  21. stumped says:

    Rabba – Head of a rabble (esp. religious groups)

  22. Paul B says:

    Our problem is with these dratted splittable infinitives.

    On 3dn I’m not sure about the 2nd def: can ‘barely’ *really* mean ‘in the altogether’?

  23. Huw Powell says:

    I know I am over a week late to the party, but I really struggled with this, keeping it “open” on the table because I wanted to come here and kvetch a bit about one of my pet cryptic peeved, which when combined with another, takes a lot of the fun away for me.

    The first is this grid. Rufus seems to use it a lot, and it’s a rough one – only a few (ten?) first or last letters are checked, and the four quadrants are barely connected.

    Combined with heavy use of DDs and CDs (I count 13 in this puzzle, ignoring the TD), it can make for a tiresome slog.

    That’s why I wish Rufus would stop using it – take one or the other – reduce the DD/CD usage or use a more interlocked grid. Quite a few of these answers could have been any of many words, making the construction less interesting.

    I also slipped into the “LEFT” trap at 16d, leaving me unable to solve 20a. Can’t see why PORRIDGE = “time”…

    Oh well, I’ve said my bit and I’ll stop whining now. Thanks for the puzzle, Rufus, and the blog, Eileen!

    Anyway, I did like the TD at 10a, and probably a couple others early last week.

  24. Huw Powell says:

    Oops, that’s weird. The last sentence belongs somewhere in the middle of my post, not at the end.

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