Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,581 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on March 12th, 2012


The usual Monday mix of double and cryptic definitions and a couple of really nice anagrams. Thank you, Rufus!


5   STAYED: double definition
6   KOPECK: KO [knock out] + PECK [large quantity]: this took longer than it should have, as I hadn’t come across peck = [Chambers] ‘an indefinitely great amount [eg a peck of troubles]': in fact, I’m afraid I’d always thought of it as a fairly insignificant amount – and I’m more used to seeing the ‘kopek’ spelling of the coin!
9   COP OUT: double definition
10  OPPOSING: OP [work] + POSING [puzzling]: Chambers says that pose = puzzle is archaic and Collins calls it rare – but we still say, ‘That’s a poser’.
14  MERE: ME [object of ‘I’] + RE [Religious Education]
12  REHEARSALS: cryptic definition
13  ANACHRONISM: great anagram of A CORNISHMAN, with nice play on ‘untimely’
18  PATISSERIE: PAT [Irishman] + IS + SERIE [reversal – backing] of  EIRE’S [Ireland’s]
21  NUNS: [not very] cryptic definition
22  HARA-KIRI: cryptic definition
23  BUCKET: cryptic definition, referring to the euphemism [?] ‘kick the bucket’ for ‘to die’ – take your pick from the suggested origins
24  TEUTON: a rather unusual clue for Rufus: you need to take an anagram [sadly] of ‘far’ from ‘unfortunate’ and then form another anagram [in trouble]
25  COARSE: anagram [confused] of SCORE A


1   JACOBEAN: JEAN [girl] round [straddles] A COB [a horse]: JACOBEAN: of or characteristic of the reign of James I of England [1603-25]
2   HECTOR: double definition, as a verb and a proper noun
3   COMPLAIN: A in COMPLIN [service]: another slight hold-up for me, as I’ve never seen the name of the service without a final ‘e’.
4   CENSUS: cryptic definition – nothing to do with birth control!
5   SCORED: I suppose I have to call this a cryptic definition!
7   KINDLE: anagram [switch] of LINKED
8   MOTHER’S RUIN: amusing anagram [sad] of MOURNERS HIT
14  CAST IRON: CAST [actors] IRON [press]: the definition is ‘hard’, so the pedant in me would have expected a hyphen
15  SINECURE: IN [at home] in SECURE [safe]
16  BASALT: BA [reversal [climbed] of AB [able-bodied seaman] + SALT [another sailor] – two for the price of one from Rufus today!
17  ANNEXE: sounds like [say] AN X [kiss]
19  ICARUS: cryptic definition for the lad who flew too close to the sun
20  EN BLOC: anagram [fails] of BEN + reversal [set up] of COL [pass]

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,581 / Rufus”

  1. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen, for the explanations to 24a and 3d; I haven’t heard of COMPLIN.

    Surely the SADLY is not needed in 24a, as removing the letters of FAR would be sufficient (and usual)?

  2. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen. At 18a, presumably ‘opening’ simply implies that “Pat is” opens the word ? The second ‘S’ comes from the reversal of EIRE’S I believe.

  3. Eileen says:

    I agree, Dave: I didn’t think ‘sadly’ was necessary but justified it as best I could.

    Thanks, Roger – careless transposing, corrected now.

  4. tupu says:

    Many thanks Eileen and Rufus

    Eileen, you really are working hard these days!

    A bit of more haste less speed for me today as I wanted to finish before going out. So one or two false starts before successfully completing this. A nice puzzle with very good anagrams (13a and 8d) as noted. I also ticked 1d and 20d. The final parsing of 20a escaped me – I carelesslessly left the ‘s out of my calculations though the answer was clear enough.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. re the ‘sadly’ in 24ac, I think that this indicates that the letters FAR are not in order in ‘fortunate’ so it isn’t just a straight removal. (I agree — an unusual device for Rufus to use!)

    I also expected a hyphen at 14dn.

    My favourites were 13ac and 18ac and the anagram at 8dn.

  6. Robi says:

    Smooth as ever.

    Thanks, Eileen; I’ve never heard of complin(e), so I appreciate the explanation. I’m not sure why you thought that PECK as two gallons would be an insignificant amount. I didn’t know the ‘peck of troubles’ sense.

    I did like TEUTON, although as others have pointed out the ‘sadly’ seems sadly unnecessary.

  7. Median says:

    Is it just me or was this the easiest Rufus for a while?

  8. andy smith says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    I read 17 as slightly better than you suggest – an ‘X’ at the end of e.g. a note also ‘indicates attachment’ to make a semi &lit, but maybe I am reading too much into it.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    Mostly straightforward for me, but I was held up for a while in the NE corner; KOPECK I got immediately, but I couldn’t see why 3d was COMPLAIN and therefore didn’t put it in at first. (Like Eileen, I am familiar with the spelling ‘compline’ for the last service in the monastic day).

    I agree with Liz about 24a: because the letters of ‘far’ are not in order in the word ‘fortunate’, the clue strictly needs two anagrinds. All the Ximenean setters would do this, although, personally, I’m on the same page as those who think that the clues works perfectly well with just one.

    Great anagrams at 13a and 8d.

  10. Rishi says:

    I remember ‘peck’ from the tongue-twister “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers…” – something that I read when I was a lad of 16 years.

  11. Eileen says:

    Rishi, I think that’s what I may have been thinking of, too.

  12. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Eileen for a pleasant start to the week.

    To my surprise, my edition of Chambers gives complin before the more usual compline; although my father’s very old edition has them the more familiar way round.

    Like Eileen, I am more familiar with kopek.

    Giovanna x

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi Giovanna

    Is yours the latest edition of Chambers? My 11th [2008] edition gives ‘compline’ first, as do Collins and SOED.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Sorry, Eileen but my thought processes on ‘kopeck’and ‘complain’ were identical to yours.
    I thought this was very slightly more taxing than the usual Monday offering.
    Mainly because I couldn’t get ‘Hector’ for a while and became fixated on the possible but less satisfactory ‘dexter’.
    I liked 13ac and (illogically) 23ac.
    The latter is a fine example of what makes Rufus different; very clever but too obvious to make a satisfying clue.

  15. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen. COMPLIN was new to me. Took too long on 8d trying to anagram sad mourners instead of mourners hit. I thought 23ac might be a double because a bucket may go down well.


  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Agree it was one of the easier ones, despite the lad’s growing obsession with that too black grid!

    Sniff. Sniff. Nope, I can’t smell any smoke, despite the mentions of EXPRESS and CORNISHMAN. A missed chance of a theme methinks.

  17. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I agree with grandpuzzler on 23a: a bucket goes down a well and ‘kick the bucket’.

  18. Paul B says:

    24ac seems to have the right idea to me.

    FRA is what needs subtracting from the arbitrary construct FORTUNATE, and the fact that FAR is an anagram has to be indicated for the clue to be fair. That leaves us with the remainder of the arbitrary construct, OTUNTE, which then itself needs to be indicated as an anagram.

    For some reason, nonetheless, I don’t like the use of IS: that doesn’t seem at all necessary, or helpful to the grammar.

  19. FranTom Menace says:

    We really enjoyed today’s crossword, some really good surfaces as ever and some more taxing (but equally as clever) clues. Somehow ‘mere’ evaded us, as did ‘Jacobean’. I was sure that Kopeck was correct but like others didn’t put it in straight away having only been aware of the spelling without the ‘c’.

    A Cornishman? Brilliant anagram!

    Many thanks Rufus and also thanks to Eileen for the blog.

  20. Monkeypuzzler says:

    I used to think the phrase “We’ll all eat a peck of dirt before we die”, or something very similar to it, meant “Don’t be too fussy, nothing is absolutely pure”, before finding out some years ago that a peck is in fact two gallons. That’s a fair bit of culinary contamination.

  21. Edward says:

    Chambers seems happy that ‘hector’ is a perfectly good noun – no proper required. I think 2d makes more sense like this.

  22. nametab says:

    Typically neat and straightforward Rufus. Usual admirable anagrams. Is exclamation mark at 2ac needed? I had ‘belter’ as a result because it’s a colloquial expression meaning ‘well done you!'(but I should have thought it through).

  23. Eileen says:

    Edward, I have a bad habit of not looking up words that I think I know and I had not come across ‘hector’ as ‘a bully’ but I see now that it is in Chambers as a common noun. However, without the second definition of the boy’s name, Hector, there’s surely nothing at all cryptic about the clue?

  24. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Median @7 no it’s not only you apparently but I personally found this harder than the usual Rufus!

    Nametab @22, I also had Belter for 2d and still think it’s as good (or bad) as the suggested “Hector” ;-)

  25. Plotinus says:

    Sad to see the noblest of the Trojans reduced to a bully, even though the dictionaries support it.

    When mother said ‘eat a peck of dirt before you die’ she meant a whole lot of it. Not that there might be a few impurities.

    Not that we expect our crosswords to convey deep truths…

  26. RCWhiting says:

    “eat a peck of dirt before you die”
    This is about one fiftieth of a cubic inch per day – hardly a health risk!
    (for those of a metric bent that’s about 300 cubic millimetres)

  27. Plotinus says:

    Mother had an ironic bent – as did many of these old sayings.

  28. tupu says:

    re 2d
    I have only come across ‘hector’ as a verb meaning to bully and assumed, as Eileen’s comment, that that was intended.

  29. Giovanna says:

    Hi Eileen,

    My Chambers is the 2001 edition, so they must have decided to return to the original. My father had written 18th February 1913 (his birthday) on the fly leaf of his edition, which is very well thumbed and loved.

    Giovanna x

  30. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Eileen! We were short of puzzles to do today and downloaded this one based on your preamble!
    Needed to cheat for the last one – Hector – but Chris (aka Bert) really laughed at Bucket!

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