Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,575 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on March 5th, 2012


Classic Rufus fare today, with five cryptic definitions and a few doubles. No naval references that I can see (unless you count 15d), but perhaps a wave to one of my fellow bloggers in 5ac.

5. EILEEN [Robert E.] LEE in EIN – hello Eileen!
6. ARCHES Cryptic definition, referring to the condition of fallen arches, aka flat feet
9. STAPLE Double definition
11. AREA Reverse of A ERA
12. TAKES A DROP Double definition. In the drinking sense this is more often (or only?) seen in the negative sense, as in “he never takes a drop”.
13. CHICKENS OUT Double definition
21. STAR Double definition. STAR and “blaze” can both mean a light mark on a horse’s forehead.
22. ON STRIKE ON (leg side, in cricket) + STRIKE (hit), and people go OUT on strike
23. VARIES V + ARIES (astrological sign)
24. PILLAR I’LL in PAR[agraph]
25. BLOWER Cryptic definition,”the blower” being slang for the telephone
2. BEREFT BEER* + FT (foot)
5. EXTORT EX (once) + TORT (a civil wrong)
8. BACKBENCHER Cryptic definition, with “form” meaning a bench
14. CARDINAL Cryptic definition, referring to an “important priest”
15. UNSCREWS SUN* + CREW (e.g a rowing eight) + S (compass quarter)
16. JOIN UP Cryptic definition – referring to armed rather than domestic service
17. CAREER Double definition

16 Responses to “Guardian 25,575 – Rufus”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Morning, Andrew, and thanks for blogging.

    This was all pretty straightforward and even for me it was a quick solve. But you can still enjoy that, and today I liked ON STRIKE for its smooth cricketing surface, and UNSCREWS once I’d understood what was going on.

    The only slightly weak clue was JOINS UP, I thought.

    Thanks as always to Rufus for a pleasing puzzle to start the working week.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. As K’s Dad says, very easy for Rufus. Obviously resting on his laurels after his 80th!

    That’s an interesting neologism you’ve come up with as the solution to 1. :)

  3. Andrew says:

    Thanks Neil – typo corrected.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Andrew – and Rufus. 😉

    Favourite clues: COSTA RICAN and PILLAR for the fine surfaces and UNSCREWS for the construction. CHICKENS OUT made me laugh, as did the idea of playing rummy for money.

    I agree that JOINS UP seems rather weak – but only because we’re now less familiar with the second meaning: for my grandmother, ‘going into service’ did not mean joining the armed forces.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew for a very good blog and Rufus for a typically smooth puzzle.

    I took 14d possibly to refer also to a prime number.

    Some predictably smooth cluing, as the eponymous Eileen notes, including 10a, 24a, and 4d. I agree re relative weakness of 16d, though I must confess it took a little time to see ‘join’ in the answer.

    I ticked 13a (my COD), 22a, 25a,2d, and 15d.

    It’s nice to have a bit of Rufus’s light teasing after Saturday’s masochistic work-out :).

  6. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Typical piece of Rufus; like tupu I was held up a while by 16d, although in retrospect I can’t see why, as I spotted the double meaning instantly. Otherwise very straightforward, but the SE corner was last for me as 15d also took a bit of disentangling – nice clue. Favourite has to be CHICKENS OUT.

    5a also brought a smile, of course.

  7. Robi says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus. As tupu said, nice and relaxing after Saturday’s nightmare.

    I wondered about the ‘on’ in the clue to 25. Thanks for reminding me of BLOWER=telephone, which I missed completely.

    What a starring role to have your name in the crossword! I can’t see Robi going in one anytime soon.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. It was good to see Eileen get a mention :-)

    I rather hurriedly put SIGN UP at 16dn, while thinking that SIGN ON would justify the question mark better. Only real hold-up in what was a smooth solve.

    Lots of good surfaces today, as you would expect! 10ac, 19ac and 24ac were my favourites.

  9. PeterO says:

    Andrew, thanks for the blog. On the subject of naval references, I have a suspicion about 25A, but the only reference I can come upon to back this up is (somewhat improbably) a 1945 Dictionary of RAF slang by Partridge:

    Blower, from the Naval sense, ‘telephone’ or, rather, the speaking-tube connecting Bridge and Engine-room.

  10. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Andrew for a nice start to the week.

    I wondered if Eileen would get this puzzle to blog.

    See what you mean, Robi @7 and they may struggle with Giovanna, too!

    Another naval reference at a pinch is Senior (Service).

    Giovanna x

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer for 22a.

    The SE corner held me up for a time until I spotted NOVELS in 20d. Once I had that V then the rest fell into place fairly swiftly.

  12. Robi says:

    Of course, the naval reference is in ‘ARK’ANSAS………. 😉

  13. Robi says:

    PeterO @9; you might be interested in this piece of Wikiness:

    ‘the telephone, for which the blower is a slang term, especially in the United Kingdom. The slang came from the Royal Naval ships prior to telephones. Communication was direct, through a voice pipe. The pipe had a whistle inserted at each end. When a message was to be passed, the caller would remove the whistle at his end, place his mouth into the cavity, sealing it. He would then blow hard. The whistle at the other end would attract the man on watch. He would remove his whistle and call into the pipe. Conversations over, both whistles were replaced.’

  14. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus. Had to smile at 22ac because in cricket when you are ON STRIKE you are IN and not OUT.

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes, all good clean fun, though it took me longer than the rest of you, but nothing new there.

    Minor details

    1. Rufus seems to be getting into the habit of using overly black grids. I really don’t like them.
    2. A blaze and a star may well both be marks on a horse’s face, but they are not synonyms, they are completely different marks
    3. And Eileen, you shouldn’t be surprised at the idea of rummy being played for money, any game can be gambled on on a win/lose basis but also any game with a score gives ample opportunity for the score being converted into units of money (gin rummy for examplle).

  16. shuchi says:

    Thanks Andrew for the blog. Good fun puzzle. Enjoyed the simple anagrams for the clue surfaces – 18a, 7d, 19d. 15d (UNSCREWS) was my COD.

    I read 14d as a double definition, ‘prime’ referring the adjective ‘cardinal’ and ‘minister’ to the noun.

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