Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25587 Rufus

Posted by scchua on March 19th, 2012


The usual from Rufus today, with some enjoyable surfaces.  Thanks Rufus.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  The picture set at the bottom has an unidentified link with the crossword.


1 Two animals bound for cover (7)

BUCKRAM :  [BUCK + RAM](two animals). 

Answer: A stiff cotton or linen cloth used as a liner or cover, eg. of books.

5 Game in which Diana and Jack have nothing on — look! (7)

DIABOLO :  DI(short for Diana) plus(and) AB(able-bodied seaman,sailor,Jack Tar – Rufus’s trademark nautical reference) plus(have…on) O(looks like zero,nothing) + LO(look, as in “lo and behold!”) 

Answer: A game played with a top, string and 2 sticks.

10 Sailor goes to and fro to see pop group (4)

ABBA :  Forward and reversal of(goes to and fro) AB(ditto above). 

Answer: Swedish pop group consisting of Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

11 Possibly end a better woman — even a saint! (10)

BERNADETTEAnagram of(possibly) END A BETTER

Answer: A woman’s name, and the saint aka Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous.  A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

12 Note to change flag (6)

FALTER :  F(musical note in the diatonic scale) plus(to) ALTER(change). 

13 Not a very bright lot, but sturdy (8)

THICKSET :  THICK(not very bright) + SET(a collection,lot of items).

14 Warder organising a fete gets in something to drink (9)

BEEFEATERAnagram of(organising) A FETE contained in(gets in) BEER(something alcoholic to drink). 

Answer: Popular name for one of the Yeomen Warders, in principle, guardians of prisoners at the Tower of London (when there used to be) and the Crown Jewels (there still are).  But nowadays, more of a tourist attraction collectively, and also tour guides individually. 

16 Coming from Lake Nyasa to land further north (5)

KENYAHidden in(coming from) laKE NYAsa

Answer: African state further north of Lake Nyasa.

17 Black market trader’s location (5)

PITCH :  Double defn: 1st Answer: Any of black viscous substances used for caulking and paving, or tar and asphalt for roads.  But I’m not sure how to use black as a noun in this sense;  I know of shoe-black, which is a dye/pigment but not pitch, and there is the derived adjective pitch-black; and 2nd Answer: A vendor,trader’s stall,location in a market.  Nice surface with “black market trader”.

19 Close to a hypotenuse? (9)

ALONGSIDEA + LONG SIDE(a hypotenuse is the longest side of a right-angled triangle)

23 Drive from A to B with mini, erratically (8)

AMBITIONAnagram of(erratically) [A TO B plus(with) MINI]

24 Key to passage leading to kitchen (6)

GALLEY :  G(presumed major, in music, one of the 24 major and minor diatonic scales defining the key,tonal framework of a piece) plus(to) ALLEY(a passage between 2 buildings)

26 Composer in far off New Zealand heard record (5,5)

FRANZ LISZTAnagram of(off) FAR + NZ(abbrev. for New Zealand) + LISZT{homophone of(heard) “list”,a record of items}.  Nice surface with the smooth “in far off New Zealand”.

27 Game reserves (4)

POOL :  Double defn: 1st: Any of various games, similar to snooker/billiards but played with enlarged balls and a stunted table.

28 State what customs require travellers to do (7)

DECLARE :  Double defn: 2nd:  Somewhat cryptic.  What customs officers require travellers to do when they ask the leading question: “Anything to declare, sir/madam?” before you can travel into their country.

29 It reminds me repeatedly not to change (7)

MEMENTO :  [ME + ME](“me” twice,repeatedly) + anagram of(to change) NOT.


2 R. Mugabe gives offence (7)

UMBRAGEAnagram of(gives) R. MUGABE.

3 Soldier in full gear that creeps around at night (5)

KRAIT :  RA(for a change, not an artist but soldier in the regular army, or, if you like the Royal Artillery) contained in(in) KIT(full gear,outfit). 

Answer: A poisonous reptile that creeps around at night.

4 Here in Canada it’s a pound over the fixed rate (7)

ALBERTAA + LB(abbrev. for pound weight in the Imperial system) placed above(over) anagram of(fixed) RATE

Answer: A province of Canada.

6 Literary type with a leaning to the right (6)

ITALIC :  Cryptic defn: The font,type leaning like so.

7 Worker’s joints are wonderful (4,5)

BEES KNEES :  BEE’S(worker’s) KNEES(joints). 

Answer: Describing person or thing that’s wonderful.  Akin to the cat’s pyjamas or whiskers, or the kipper’s knickers  or the dog’s (the second anatomical part of the phrase which rhymes with dogs, is implicit).

8 Gamble a great deal on a patched-up tyre (7)

LOTTERY :  LOT(a great deal,amount) plus(on) anagram of(patched-up) TYRE.

9 State of the fraternity — rows among the monks (13)

BROTHERLINESS :  LINES(rows) contained in(among) BROTHERS(what monks call each other).  Nice surface meaning the opposite of the answer.

15 It’s not true that oil, in fact, needs changing (9)

FICTIONALAnagram of(needs changing) OIL IN FACT

18 Put into liquidation (7)

IMMERSE :  Cryptic defn: To sink,put into something liquid, or, whimsically, the product of liquidation.

20 The late shift (7)

NIGHTIE :  Cryptic defn:  The garment,shift that one wears late at night to bed.

21 Poor side away from home fails to survive (4,3)

DIES OUTAnagram of(poor) SIDE + OUT(not in,away from home)

22 He finishes off game with the queen (6)

KILLER :  KILL{noun for the animals,game that have been killed for food or sport(?)} plus(with) ER(Elizabeth Regina, the queen).

25 Error made by student before recess (5)

LAPSE :  L(abbrev. for learner,student) plus(before) APSE(inside a church, a recess in the wall).



24 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25587 Rufus”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    Typical Rufus fare with good surfaces and the usual light touch. I wondered about krait which I did not think of as particularly nocturnal and which I remembered from Rikitikitavi.

    I was slightly disappointed by AB twice (thrice) in the NW but enjoyed the trip around the old empire.

    Ticked 13a, 17a, 19a, 23a, 2d, and 20d as I sailed along.

  2. Pianoman says:

    Thanks scchua. This was right up my street. Never heard of a krait, but happy to learn. 19a is a delight which made me smile. I put “thickies” for 13a, at first, which fitted, but didn’t seem right. Good Monday fun, thanks Rufus.

  3. Gervase says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    Not for the first time, this actually took me longer than Saturday’s prize puzzle (which, admittedly, I raced through). 1ac and 3dn took me a long time, inexplicably.

    Some splendid clues, as expected, but a few uncharacteristically wobbly ones: I didn’t like ‘black’ = PITCH, and IMMERSE is not ‘put into liquidation’, it’s ‘put into liquid’, which is quite different; ‘melt’ would have worked better as an answer. And there were too many able-bodied seamen, as tupu pointed out. Great surfaces, however, and the usual clever cryptic definitions.

  4. andy smith says:

    Thanks scchua,

    1ac rang a distant bell – a quick Google on the 225 archive confirms – Rufus 24934 (15Feb2010) 7d “Two animals bound into cover (7)”, but I’m not complaining really.

  5. Pianoman says:

    Hi scchua. Is your picture quiz something to do with George? Paul and Brad’s artistic brothers (Harrison and Clooney)’ and Ray and Shirley’s real brothers?

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    I,too, tried ‘thickies’ at the beginning. I didn’t know KRAIT; haven’t met one in my travels.

    I think the quiz is related to black as in pitch black. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder collaborated on ‘Ebony and Ivory.’ Shirley Temple became Temple Black after marriage. Anna Sewell famously wrote Black Beauty. Brad Pitt starred in ‘Meet Joe Black.’ Los Bravos had a hit ‘Black is black.’

  7. Pianoman says:

    Oh, that’s much better!

  8. Robi says:

    …….. and, of course, McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Black man.’……..

  9. scchua says:

    Hi Pianoman@5, didn’t have a chance to answer your question as Robi@6 has done it again with spot-on answers. Well done!

  10. martin says:

    22d. Killer is, of course, also a game in its own right, so an extra definition slipped in there.

  11. Chris says:

    Y’know, I can’t think of an anatomical reference that rhymes with “dog’s”…

  12. KayOz says:

    Thanks to both Rufus and Scchua

    Scchua, you are a bit devious with your competition. Lovely. We were trying to work it out but did not do well. Congratulations to Robi. Wow!

    I quite liked Rufus’ crossword. First in was 2d UMBRAGE, or was it ABBA? I got 11a but didn’t know that BERNADETTE was a saint – the girl I remember from boarding school was anything but.

    I liked FRANZ of the Liszt, and being ALONGSIDE the hypotenuse. I needed your explanation of KRAIT. RA is not an abbreviation that I was used to. I know nothing about army levels but I suspect that RE, the old chestnut (Royal Engineers) wouldn’t be the main part of their workforce?

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    I also was a bit disappointed by the number of Able Bodied seamen – but people in the past has often commented on Rufus’s nautical references.

    The only place I have come across a KRAIT is right here in crossword land :)

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    For a Monday, I found this a slightly better challenge than the usual fare.
    Last in (by a long measure) was ‘pitch’ because I had definitely settled on BI-C- ?
    I entered ‘thickies’ at 13ac and still think it is just as good as ‘thickset’. There is an area of cultural (?) life where thick and thickie are regularly used for a sturdy build.
    Do any musicologists know why my reference music dictionary gives Ferenc Listz. Is it the same person? Is Ferenc Hungarian for Franz?

  15. KayOz says:

    Thanks for the extensive explanation, scchua. You have excelled.

  16. PeterO says:

    I think black=pitch is OK with verbs on both sides of the equation.

    RCW _ Yes, but the Hungarian convention would be to put the patronymic first – Liszt Ferenc.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    All jolly good stuff, but don’t you need limbs to be able to crawl?

  18. tupu says:

    Hi Derek
    :) Yes but doesn’t it say creeps?

  19. Robi says:

    tupu @1; extract from Wiki: ‘All kraits are nocturnal. They are more docile during the daylight hours; at night they become very active, but are not very aggressive even when provoked.’

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, scchua, for the blog and Rufus for the Monday morning entertainment. Some lovely, typical Rufus clueing here – especially for FRANZ LISZT and ALONGSIDE.

    I was really annoyed not to be able to get BUCKRAM without a wordsearch, because I knew I’d seen it somewhere before. The fact that it intersected with KRAIT didn’t help, because I struggled with that too. I know the clue said ‘creep’ but I think in any case snakes can crawl, can’t they?

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Creep, crawl, whatever, I always thought either implied limbs. Snakes slide, glide, slither and the like.

  22. morpheus says:

    This may be a bit obvious but presumbly RA here simply means Royal Artilleryman? RA=Royal Artillery normally clued by soldiers?

  23. Paul B says:

    I think it *should* be plural – the RA is ‘soldiers’.

  24. Dominick says:

    Anyone that played Elite in the 80s would know what a Krait was. However, I agree with Derek, One requires legs to creep and that prevented me from entering the word for a long time. Ended up using the checker. Funnily enough, I think crawl would just about be ok but a snake can’t creep surely?

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