Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,503 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on December 12th, 2011


Another straightforward but nicely-constructed puzzle from Rufus, with the usual smooth surfaces.

6. YVES Hidden in grubbY VESt
8. PUBLICAN PUBLIC (people) + AN (variant of “a”)
11. ELSINORE NOR (“no alternative”? Not sure how that works) in ELSIE
12. UPPERS To be “on your uppers” is to be very hard up: apparently from the idea that the soles of your shoes have worn away
15. SHINDIGS SH (mum= quiet) + IN DIGS
16. COUPLING O (live) UP (in the air) in CLING
19. EXACTS EX (out of) ACTS (of the Apostles)
21. BEDTIMES Cryptic defintion
22. CAUSES Double definition, though the two meanings are very close
24. ADROIT A DR + O + IT
25. UNBUTTON Cryptic defintion
26. TREK Reference to STAR TREK, which was a TV programme with numerous spin-off films
27. SPECTACLE Hidden in reSPECT A CLEver
3. RACED AC (account) “in the RED”
5. LANDSLIDE Cryptic definition – referring to a landslide election victory, which might happen after a large “swing”.
6. YEARNED YEAR + reverse of DEN (study)
7. EYES RIGHT EYES (looks) RIGHT (fine)
14. SHIPMATES STEAMSHIP* – a very appropriate anagram that I don’t remember seeing, though I dare say it’s been used before
17. POTHOOK POT (vessel) + (Captain) HOOK
23. EVOKE OK in EVE – the second use of EVE

20 Responses to “Guardian 25,503 – Rufus”

  1. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the blog – I didn’t previously understand 3d, doh.

    re 11 – neither this nor that – ‘nor’ means ‘no alternative’ ?

  2. MarionH says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus.

    Re 11 ac, the way I looked at it is that if something is neither one thing NOR another, the word “nor” is a negative alternative. Or it could simply be N (for “no”) and OR (alternative).

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I wasn’t keen on CAUSES but I liked SHINDIGS and LANDSLIDE a lot – and SPECTACLE was nicely hidden, too.

    Re 11ac; I thought immediately of Coleridge’s,
    ‘Water, water, every where
    Nor any drop to drink’ – I think it works OK.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    PUBLIC A N(ew) was how I parsed 8.

  5. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to Rufus and Andrew: pleasant Monday fare. Eileen @ 3: I sympathise with your hesitancy about ’causes’. Philosophers and lawyers expend a good deal of energy precisely analysing the differences between motives, reasons and causes. On the other hand, there would be a measure of agreement that some reasons can be causes (of action) and compilers usually take this kind of one-way implication as fair game.

  6. Paul B says:

    It’s a contraction of AS ‘nother’, itself a collision of not+other, that NOR: maybe Roofer is going for the ‘neither nor’ at Collins 1.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    A nice Monday morning puzzle.

    I agree with Neilw re 8a and agree too that ‘nor’ seems fine, indeed quite clever.

    re ’causes’, this seems OK to me. Apart from anything else, the fact that ‘why?’ can be often construed as ‘For what reason?’ and is typically answered by ‘Because’ seems to reinforce the connection in everyday usuage.

    :) I thought at first that Rufus was in a bloodthirsty mood, but it was just me. My first thought for 5d was ‘lynchings’, and 17d was nicely misleading.

    I liked 12a, 16a,26a, 14d, 17d amonge others.

  8. Eileen says:

    Re CAUSES: I just meant that I agreed with Andrew that the two meanings were very close.

  9. Paul B says:

    I think ‘and not’ for NOR fits your Coleridge quote best, Eileen!

    Horrible grid, btw: the two halves of the puzzle are joined by 2 & 20D only.

  10. cholecyst says:

    22 ac “Reasons for which people fight” = causes made we wonder if Rufus had “casus belli” in mind.

  11. Paul B says:

    Just reading through the clues now, and 17D I think would be my victim for the day. Not an &lit, so the definition, suggesting something adjectival, might be a bit suspect: the order of events too isn’t really correct, for a down clue, where ‘on’ is used to mean ‘on top of’ (where deployed across, it generally means ‘placed after’, and would have been fine). And the suspicious double appearance of Eve … hmm.

  12. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I liked this one a lot – perhaps because it is relatively light on the double defs. Particularly good cryptic defs at 25a and 5d, fun hidden clues at 6a and 27a, and 15a and 3d are clever.

    And the bad news? SHIPMATES didn’t wow me, because ‘ship’ appears in both anagram fodder and solution, and, like others, I felt that CAUSES was barely cryptic.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I had LANDSLIDE as the only word that would fit that space but I needed you to remind me that ‘party’ and ‘swing’ also have political meanings!

    Some excellently misleading clues here: on 6a I spent some time trying to fit M (French Monsieur) into a three-letter word meaning grubby. Then I looked again and saw it staring me in the face.

    I also read 8a as PUBLIC + A + N(ew).
    Good clues also at 15, 1d and 14.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    At last a Rufus with some teeth.
    The SW corner plus ‘unbutton’ kept my brain working for a good few minutes longer than the usual Monday offering.
    That’s postponed the dementia for a while.
    I thought ‘landslide’ was clever.
    I think the argument over 22ac is totally unreasonable.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Re: 12ac It would seem that in past centuries the state of a person’s footwear was considered the most prominent indicator of their financial standing. ‘Down at heel’comes to mind but I think their are others.

  16. Anth says:


  17. RCWhiting says:

    No,I think there are others!

  18. tupu says:

    Re causes

    I differ on this from Eileen and Gervase.

    Although different components of the spectrum of meanings of ’cause’ merge into each other, the list given in Collins (below) shows the outer edges concerned here to be reasonably far apart.

    1. a person, thing, event, state, or action that produces an effect
    2. grounds for action; motive; justification
    3. the ideals, etc., of a group or movement

    ‘Reasons’ in the clue fits clearly in differing senses as part of 1 and 2 – NB 1 does not in ordinary usage predicate the presence of mind or intention, nor the key terms of 3.

  19. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Just for the sake of accuracy, in 16a you have ‘live’ in brackets instead of love.

    A very enjoyable puzzle from Rufus which I actually finished for a change although my wife came up with landslide. I asked her if she could think of a word with the letters L_N_S_I__ and she came straight back with the correct answer. I was humbled and told her that nobody likes a smart a**e.

    Favourites were PORTRAYAL, YVES, COUPLING, SPECTACLE, RELIEVE, PROVENDER and GESTURE. I also thought that 4d (YANKEES) was wonderfully concise.

    Thanks Rufus.

  20. slipstream says:

    UPPERS has two definitions:

    1. The part of a boot or shoe above the sole.
    2. A stimulating drug, esp. amphetamine.

    Here in the US the second meaning is more common. And I think it fits the clue better: “Yet one may be at one’s lowest on them.”

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