Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,533 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on January 16th, 2012


It’s Monday, it’s Rufus and so we know what to expect – what’s often called a gentle start to the week, with the usual quota of double and cryptic definitions and some smiles along the way. Thank you, Rufus.


  CRUISE: CRUSE [vessel – as in the widow’s cruse of oil] around I[sland]; a rather unfortunately topical introductory clue
6   POTTER: two cryptic definitions: a snooker player is one who pots and Harry Potter is the wizard schoolboy
9   MASHIE: MAS [well-qualified people] + HIE [run]
10  ACCIDENT: anagram [change] of DICE CAN’T
11  BEAU: BE [live] + A + U [socially acceptable]
12  TIEBREAKER: double / cryptic definition, which I would have expected to be hyphenated
13  SHADOW-BOXER: two meanings of ‘dog’
18  APPRENTICE: cryptic definition, as in the the first line of the song, ‘The Lincolnshire Poacher': ‘When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire’
21  ORBS: cryptic definition, ‘orbs’ being a poetic word for ‘eyes’,
22  FURLOUGH: FÜR [German ‘for’] + LOUGH [Irish lake]
23  BACK UP: double definition
24  GANNET: GAN [reversal of NAG – ‘horseback!] + NET [catch]
25  PROSIT: anagram [drunk] of PORT IS – nice surface


1   HUSH-HUSH: self-explanatory, I think
2   ASCENT: A SCENT [trail]
3   CONCERTO: CO[mpany] + anagram [puts out] of CORNET – another satisfying surface
4   STADIA: ST[reet] [way] + reversal [to mount] of AIDA [Verdi opera]
5   CHAPEL: double definition, with further play on the double meanings of ‘press’ and ‘oratory’ – a clever clue
  RUNNER: double definition
8   PAPERWEIGHT: cryptic definition: I really liked this typical Rufus nautical reference!
14  DENTURES: cryptic definition
15  EXORCISM: and another
16  SPRUNG: double definition – but aren’t the two very close?
17  ABDUCT: AB [sailor] + DUCT [tube]
19  RULING: double definition
20  EMBARK: M [a thousand] in [accepted by] E BARK [bay – as hounds do]: this one made me smile. [I don’t think I’d come across ‘embark’ as a transitive verb before; Collins doesn’t have it but Chambers does – as the first meaning, in fact.]

29 Responses to “Guardian 25,533 / Rufus”

  1. Rick says:

    Agreed, Eileen, a typical Rufus and a gentle start to the week. Not being such a great fan of double and cryptic definitions (I often seem to have a problem convincing myself that I really do have the right answer) I don’t always enjoy these crosswords as much as other people – but that’s obviously my problem. Still, some amusing clues (I too liked “embark” and, despite my prejudices, “potter” made me smile) and the usual great blog from you. Much appreciated as always!

  2. Shirley says:

    5D Hi Eileen – I think you will find a press UNION is a chapel – remember the days when they held up the production of newspapers for a Chapel meeting?

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi Shirley

    Sorry if I didn’t make that clear. I was referring to the fact that ‘press’ could be a verb.

  4. Diagacht says:

    Thank you Rufus and Eileen.

    I’m not sure about FOR in 22a. The German word has an umlaut and should therefore be FUER. We probably have crossword conventions about ignoring umlauts, but I’m pretty sure forgetting them would be considered a spelling mistake in German.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thank you for that, Diagacht.

    German is not one of my languages and I thought I was being clever putting in an umlaut! ;-) I don’t know what the crossword convention is, either.

  6. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to Rufus and Eileen for an enjoyable puzzle and blog. With regard to Diagacht @ 4: I take the view that the umlaut, like all punctuation and diacritical marks, accents, etc., can be treated as invisible by compilers, so ‘fur’ is OK.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    I really enjoyed this one, but then again I’m a fan of Rufus’s dds and cds, which I know aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But when you do get them, they’re invariably a smiley moment, which in my opinion is what makes crosswords fun. I thought SHADOW-BOXER was clever; also liked FURLOUGH, where I think the FUR for the German word is fine, in a crossword context, although Diagacht is, strictly, right.

  8. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Another over-simplecontribution although I was heldup at the end for quite a while by 12 ac. No real excuse,but I think part of the problem was that ‘tiebreaker’ is the US version, we tend to call it a ‘tiebreak’.
    I thought ‘embark’ was clever but like so many of Rufus’ clever clues (and there are many) it was also a write-in.
    This is an English crossword written in English,forget your umlauts.
    The shop steward of a chapel is known as the father or mother.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    Typical enjoyable fare as said but some of the clever CDs & DD etc were a little bit harder than usual at least for me on this particular Monday morning.

    I ticked 12a, 2d, 5d (!), 8d, 14d and 17d.

  10. Citywit says:

    Thanks to all. Isn’t the difference between an umlaut and some other accents that there’s an acceptable way of rendering them in English – see Diagacht at 4? Re 16d, not sure we’ve fully covered the meaning of “trap” as a (sprung) vehicle, therefore two quite distinct meanings.

  11. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Citywit, for the comment re 16dn: you’re quite right, of course – I thought I must be missing something.

  12. tupu says:

    With apologies to Congreve, Rufus, and Anon

    The spring is sprung
    And hackles riz
    We wonder where the umlaut is.
    This ain’t the first time we’ve been warned
    Hell hath no furry like an umlaut scorned.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I liked 13a.

  14. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Typical Rufus, with a lot of clever cryptic defs, not all of which came to me immediately. ‘Sheet anchor’ for PAPERWEIGHT is very good, and took me a wee while to see.

    We’ve had this conversation about umlaut marks before. In French and Italian crosswords and Scrabble, diacritical marks are ignored. Not so in German, where the convention is, as Diagacht pointed out, to use the digraphs AE, OE and UE when Ä, Ö and Ü are unavailable. Scandinavian languages treat Å, Ä/Æ and Ö/Ø similarly. German words with umlauted vowels crop up much less often than accented French words in English crosswords, so there is less precedent, but the general rule seems to be to ignore the diacritic. Personally, I would never use an umlauted German word in a clue to avoid this problem.

  15. crypticsue says:

    A very enjoyable Rufus today – the d’oh moment for me was with the lovely 8a. Thanks to Eileen for the blog too.

  16. Robi says:

    Good Monday crossword, made slightly more difficult by my ignorance of hie and cruse.

    Thanks Eileen for a good blog; and for explaining eBay. Re RCW @8; I do hate the way that English tennis commentators use TIEBREAKER, when, as you say, the English word is ‘tiebreak’ (John Lloyd is the persistent criminal here.) I did like the GANNET.

  17. Eileen says:

    Thanks for all the information about umlauts [and for your contribution, tupu ;-) ]. The extent of my knowledge was ‘Für Elise’!

    For the record, neither Collins nor Chambers identifies TIEBREAKER as American usage.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen. I had thought of ‘füry’ for the last line but chose the probably less clear ‘furry’ to try to get an umlaut free pronunciation change in ‘für’.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    I think the terms ‘tiebreak’ and ‘tiebreaker’ were both used, in this country, interchangably, with the former more common.
    Then in the 1970s when the concept was introduced to tennis we adopted the former almost exclusively while the USA did the opposite.
    Unless someone knows otherwise!

  20. Bamberger says:

    I had to look up cruse, hie and furlough -I can safely say that I had never come across them before.

    Anyone baffled by prosit/prost


  21. tupu says:

    As the following from OED shows both terms were used at much the same time at least till the 1982 and mostly hyphenated. The quotes for tiebreak lend some support to RCW’s view of this as specially UK English in the 1970s.
    “tie-break n. = tie-breaker n.

    1970 Times 5 Mar. 13 In principle, the tie-break is an undesirable expedient, but there is a case for it in indoor tournaments confined to one court.

    1974 Observer 1 Sept. 18/6 In the tie break Miss Mappin led 4–1.

    1979 Daily Tel. 10 Dec. 19/1 Nigel?failed in a tie-break to win the British Chess championship in August.

    tie-breaker n. a means of deciding a winner out of two or more contestants who have tied; also fig.

    1961 Webster’s 3rd New Internat. Dict. Eng. Lang., Tie-breaker.

    1970 New Yorker 10 Oct. 179/1 There are several species of tie-breakers, but the one that Bill Talbert, the tournament director, selected?was the ninepoint sudden-death variety.

    1971 Computers & Humanities 6 68 The identifiers will be indexed and will serve as ultimate tie-breakers in all sorting operations.

    1979 G. Hammond Dead Game xiv. 188 At the end of the quiz, honours were even?and the chairman asked for a tie-breaker from the audience.

    1982 Daily Tel. 21 Sept. 16/4 [Rifle-shooting.] Belither?beat Paul Kent?by a single point on a tiebreaker.

  22. Eileen says:

    Wow, tupu – I am impressed! Many thanks.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    I declare tupu the winner…….on a tiebreak (of course).

  24. FranTom Menace says:

    A few mixed ones today! Strange, I didn’t think that ‘paperweight’ was a great clue as I just looked at it and wrote it in, whereas Fran and others here didn’t see it. ‘Gannet’ was very clever and we loved the eBay clue! Great to see some more modern (as in the last 20 years) references among the slightly less contemporary ‘Jack tar’, ‘Ur’ and ‘larboard’ which crop up every other week.

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus.

  25. Sylvia says:

    5a I thought the vessel was a Cruse misssile

  26. Eileen says:

    I don’t think so, Sylvia; it’s ‘cruise missile’.

  27. Richard says:

    On the trap, I took it as you can spring a trap, in which case it is sprung, and it can have a spring in it, therefore it is sprung!

  28. Eileen says:

    That’s the way I took it initially, Richard: as I said, I thought the meanings were rather close.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    Not as close as all that. You can easily spring a trap which contains no spring.
    I think that sense is allied more to the ‘jump up suddenly’ meaning ie if you spring it you allow it to spring.
    I hope that is understandable?

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