Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,497 – Rufus

Posted by manehi on December 5th, 2011


As expected for a Rufus, a pleasant and straightforward start to the week. I liked 2dn and 15dn.

7 RESTRAINT =”reservation” REST=”No action” around TRAIN=”coach”
8 REPEL =”Ward off” EPE[e]=”shortened sword” inside R[ight] and L[eft], i.e. “both hands”
9 STOUTNESS =”strength” STOUT=”beer” + NESS=”head”
10 GREAT =”large” G[ang] + RE=”about” + AT
12 FRIGHT =”Shock” R[ex]=”king” in FIGHT=”battle”
13 EVENSONG =”service” EVEN=”regular” + SONG=”air”
14 ASSERTS =”Maintains” A + rev(STRESS=”pressure”)
17 SEAWARD =”away from land” SEA=”main” + rev(DRAW)=”drawback”
20 CAROUSEL =”musical” [wiki] CAROL=”girl” around USE=”employment”
22 TRILBY double def: The novel by George du Maurier [wiki], and the type of hat
24 LEAPT =”Moved quickly” LEA=”field” + P[hysical] T[raining] = “exercise”
25 STRAPPING double def: “Robust” & “form of corporal punishment”
26 PURSE double def: “Contract”, as in pursing one’s lips & “there could be money in it!”
27 RETENTION =”storage” (enter into)*
1 JESTER cryptic def
2 STRUGGLE double def: “Try hard to get free” & “labour”
3 WALNUT double def: “Decorative wood” & “likely to be cracked”
4 ANISEED =”It’s sweet” I + SEE=”observe”, all inside AND
5 METRES =”measures” ME + TRES=”very” in French
6 RETAINER =”family servant” “old” meaning in the (feudal) past. (Retire an)*
11 HERE =”present” HER=”Woman” + E=”note”
15 STAKE-OUT =”police surveillance” S[econd] + TAKE OUT = “murder” as a verb
16 TUSK cryptic def referring to an elephant’s trunk
18 WHIPPETS =”dogs” PET=”sulk” as a noun, inside WHIPS=”cats” as in the cat o’ nine tails
19 CLUTTER =”Chaos” L[earner]=”novice” inside CUTTER=”boat”
21 OPPOSE =”face” OP[us]=”work + POSE=”model”
22 THAMES double cryptic def
23 BUNION =”footsore” UNION=”group of workers” following B[lock]=”blockhead”

18 Responses to “Guardian 25,497 – Rufus”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Rufus

    I found this a little hard to get into after a brief absence by Rufus but I got goinf in due course with the NW corner last to go in. Someone remarked recently that grids of this sort are almost four sepaarte puzzles.

    The penny has only just dropped re 21d – the parsing puzzled me but of course the apostrophe is for ‘is’ or just about possibly ‘has’.

    Some nice clues inc. 7a, 9a, 13a, 3d, 18d.

    Despite manehi’s liking for it, I was less taken with 2d which was rather literal despite its likely shift from v. to noun.

  2. Gervase says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    I found this one easier than many Rufus puzzles, but perhaps this morning my brain was just better tuned into his tight and well-crafted clues.

    First in was TRILBY, as ‘Du Maurier’ leapt out at me. Novel by George du M and not his better known granddaughter Daphne. Hardly anyone reads it these days, but it was widely popular in its day. The name for the hat came from its being worn in a stage production of the novel, which is also the source of the term Svengali (the evil musical genius in the book). George was also a cartoonist; one of his Punch cartoon is the origin of the expression ‘curate’s egg’ (which we often have recourse to on this site).

  3. chas says:

    Thanks to manehi for the blog.

    I was totally stumped by 4d: I took ’round’ to mean letter O and failed to consider any other meaning :(

    I have been working on Grauniad puzzles for quite a few years now. Even so, I find I can still get caught out by devices that I have seen before but failed to remember when needed!

  4. dunsscotus says:

    Many thanks to Rufus and Manehi for a pleasant Monday morning.

    I provisionally put in ‘tremor’ for 12ac. And yes, there was a battle at Temor in old Ireland.

    Many thanks, Gervase, for an interesting post, as always, and the info about ‘the other’ du Maurier.

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    being an ignorant pleb I’d never heard of the other Du Mauriers, so thanks to Wiki. Hmm, runs in the family then!

    Anyway, no time to stay here, I must go feed my singular 18!

  6. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Rufus and manehi. Slow going for me. Tried to make MOSS work at 16d – was wrongly thinking tree trunk. Entered FLIED at 24ac with exercise being the anagrind. Took a while to recover from those errors. Enjoyed the puzzle though.


  7. FranTom Menace says:

    We struggled with a few today but got there in the end. Another ‘flied’ here, that caused us problems! We also considered ‘moss’ for 16d, but immediately realised ‘tusk’ was a far better answer and popped it in. Thanks Rufus!

  8. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Manehi.

  9. morpheus says:

    only 8 responses at 9pm! what is happening? did I miss a bank holiday? time to stir up the Rufus is too easy debate? 😉

  10. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Rufus for an enjoyably gentle start to the week and Manehi for the parsing.

    I particularly enjoyed 13a and Evensong used to be broadcast regularly “on air”, which led me to the solution.


  11. stumped says:

    Many thanks to Rufus for a nicely crafted puzzle and to manehi for the blog. Cruised along for most of it. Got 22ac despite never having heard of George du M, it was the only hat that fit. Took a while to get 9ac, didn’t know Ness = Head. Got held up in SW corner.

    Last in 24sc, eventually figured out Lea = Pasture (from childhood fondness for Dairylea, a cheese-like substance) decided ‘quickly’ gave ‘p’ for presto (I know, totally wrong) and stuck in ‘T’, just because. Took ‘exercise’ as a sort of anagrind. ‘PT’ was something I was double-plus ungood at, so mental block there.

    Just goes to show how wrong one can be and still get to the solution.

  12. stumped says:

    Giovanna @10 – wasn’t it called “Songs of Praise”?

    Morpheus @9 – Rufus may to ‘too easy’ for the jaded set, but there are plenty of folk out here who are glad of something that accustoms us to cryptics. I, for one, would give up completely if there was a Paul or Enigmatist every day.

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, this is exceptional – 12+ comments so far.
    On the other hand, there’s not much that might be seen as controversial in this crossword. So perhaps, thát’s the reason.
    Unlike you, manehi (thank you for the blog), we didn’t like 2d that much.
    But in our opinion EVENSONG (13ac) is a fantastic clue.
    Simple, neat, splendid surface, only three words.
    In fact, the one reason I wanted to post a comment tonight.

  14. Mr Beaver says:

    Like Tupu, the NW corner was last for us. Several solutions (2d, 3d, 16d) were penciled in as I was only partly convinced they were right. Other setters may be harder but Rufus’s clues often lack the satisfactory ‘aha’ moment when you’re certain you’ve cracked them.
    On the plus side, 4d was crafty

  15. Giovanna says:

    Stumped @12. I’m not sure but it was the service of Evensong from different churches around the country and was broadcast at around 4-4.40pm. No doubt one of the Revs could help. I remember that some of the services were described as Choral Evensong.


  16. Alexlotl says:

    @stumped – I actually find Rufus more stressful than some other setters, as his grids tend to be heavy on cryptics and double defs; I’m more at home with an anagram/construct/inclusion etc, as it feels like you have “proof” to back up your hunches. I guess I just don’t have the confidence as yet.

    Did dreadfully at this one. Spent too long trying to rearrange DAPHNE into a type of headgear (I was also ignorant of George Du Maurier, and took “novel” as an Anagrind – probably exactly what Rufus planned). Also didn’t know that Ness meant head, and Pet for Sulk must be not-my-regional.

    1d, 5d, 22d and 23d are all very good. One day, Rufus, one day.

  17. dunsscotus says:


    Choral Evensong: Radio 3 wednesdays 3.30 ish. Been running for years.


  18. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, dunsscotus.

    It was an echo of childhood, as my father was keen on church music from different denominations.That makes the clue even better.


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