Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,605 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on April 9th, 2012


A fairly typical Rufus mix of anagrams, double definitions and cryptic definitions – except that several of the cryptic definitions are rather less cryptic than usual.


1   WELL OFF: WELL [oil producer] OFF [on holiday]
10  BEAR: double definition
11  DEEP BREATH: cryptic [?] definition
12  ETCHER: cryptic [?] definition]
13  MATTRESS: anagram [form] of SMARTEST
14  WRESTLING: cryptic [?] definition
16  ANDES: AND E S [points]
17  BANNS: BAN [exclude] N S [poles]
19  BE CAREFUL: cryptic definition
23  MEASURES: a hand is ‘a unit of length measuring four inches, used to measure the height of horses’
24  UMPIRE: cryptic definition, referring to Lord’s cricket ground
26  WITHOUT END: double definition
27  LAGS: double definition
28  TALLY-HO: TALLY [agree] HO[me]
29  TRINITY: I NIT – reversal [turn] of TIN [can] in TRY [essay]: there is a Trinity College at both Oxford and Cambridge


2   ELECTOR: cryptic definition
3   LURCH: double / cryptic definition
4   FEDERAL: anagram [new] of FEAR LED
6   ORBITS: OR BITS [portions]
7   FREE-RANGE: cryptic definition
8   ARTISTE: anagram [fantastic] of ATTIRES
9   GERMAN MEASLES: GERM [virus] + A + anagram [development] of LAMENESS
15  SENESCHAL: anagram [out] of SHE CLEANS: ‘a steward of the household of a mediaeval prince or nobleman’
18  AMERICA: A [article] + anagram [wave] of A CRIME
20  ASUNDER: anagram [to play around] of AND SURE
21  UPRIGHT: double definition – nice clue
22  CROUCH: cryptic definition
25  PYLON: cryptic definition

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,605 / Rufus”

  1. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I agree with you about the cryptics – I counted, I think, eight of them. I thought perhaps 14a WRESTLING was definition “Coming to grips with” and also a kind of an &lit, rather than a CD. Actually I entered GRAPPLING at first, but had to replace it with Wrestling as 15d was clearly an anagram.

    Wasn’t happy with “their” in 5a.

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    Sorry, nine of them – I overlooked 24a in my counting

  3. Eileen says:

    “Actually I entered GRAPPLING at first, but had to replace it with Wrestling as 15d was clearly an anagram.”

    Me too! 😉

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    Nice to see Rufus back in his usual slot. Enjoyable in its own way after Saturday’s double dose of amusing mischief. Grappling was my first thought too but clearly wouldn’t do.

    I ticked some as I went along. I find I tend to do this for the surfaces and when the answer takes a bit more time to come to mind – not necessarily the best of reasons.

    So rather arbitrarily I quite liked 10a, 12a, 17a, 27a, 29a.

  5. Ian W. says:

    Sorry, Eileen, I know you like Rufus, but I would have said the cryptic definitions are exactly as cryptic as usual — that is to say, not at all. I honestly don’t know why crossword editors and solvers put up with it. Were it not a bank holiday with too much time to fill I would have given the Grauniad a miss as usual on a Rufus Monday. Thanks for the blog, though.

  6. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    It does get tedious to repeat views like Ian W’s @5 each Monday so instead I will be grateful that the lovely double Araucaria from Saturday still lingers.
    I have solved all the clues but I am still intrigued to sort out the ancillary bits. Spanish girls are so confusing for this old man.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, I liked it. Maybe a few too many cds, but I don’t have a problem with clues like DEEP BREATH or ETCHER. If a cd puts two images in my head, then it works: the first had me thinking of carburettors; the second of the stuff that goes on in our inner cities de nos jours. And I particularly liked BE CAREFUL.

    If you’re not enamoured of cds, then the best advice is to try another puzzle on a Monday. And indeed, RCW, it/you does/do get tedious …

    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  8. Ian W. says:

    Well, Kathryn’s Dad, I never tire of reading and writing statements of how unsatisfactory most Rufus offerings are. Maybe some day he or Hugh Stephenson will take note. In the meantime I can and do try other puzzles on Mondays, but that doesn’t mean I should be content that the Guardian usually gets away with only four cryptics (and a prize puzzle) a week. They have so many good setters, why can’t they make more use of them?

  9. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.
    I had totally missed AND plus points of the compass for 16a – I just thought it was another of his ‘cryptic’ clues.

    I also started with GRAPPLING. Since so many of us had the same thought this suggests to me that the clue was pretty poor.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    We completed this quickly over lunchtime. We don’t think it was as bad as some say but also it wasn’t as good as it could have been!

    Liked 17a, hadn’t heard of 9d and thought that 12a was rather weak! We also had grappling but kept thinking that 15d was an anagram so it was the last but one in.

    We are now looking forward to Punk in ‘Another Place’!

  11. crypticsue says:

    Nice straightforward crossword thank you Rufus. I went straight for ‘wrestling’ rather than ‘grappling’ – don’t know what that says about me. Thanks to Eileen too.

    All those who moan about easy Rufus Mondays (and they do about the DT where he also appears on a Monday), they might be easy for you but how is someone learning to solve cryptic crosswords supposed to get a start and progress if there aren’t any easy ones. They certainly wouldn’t be able to do an Enigmatist or Paul. After almost 42 years of cryptics, I enjoy all the various levels of difficult from the Rufus to the ‘where’s the darkened room’ ones.

  12. Robi says:

    Enjoyable enough, I thought. Some of the cd’s are not necessarily straightforward for me. I didn’t much like MEASURES as I thought it could have been virtually anything.

    Thanks, Eileen; another GRAPPLING here – and I also tried ‘paragon’ for 21 at first.

    I did like CROUCH and BANNS, so some entertainment here for me.

  13. Ian W. says:

    It’s not that they’re easy, it’s that they’re poorly compiled, which does no service for the novice solver. I don’t mind doing an Everyman on occasion, as they’re always logical and consistent. An Everyman may include a cryptic definition that is so obvious it’s easy, but it is cryptic nonetheless, which makes it fair game for a good, approachable crossword. A “cryptic” definition that is really just a definition neither satisfies the experienced solver nor shows the inexperienced how crosswords work.

  14. StanXYZ says:

    Reply to crypticsue @ #11 – the Quiptic, perhaps?

    However, I normally find the Quiptic more difficult than the Monday Rufus! Hmmmmm!

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry,KD,but I shall tediously repeat something I have said before.
    When I started out 50 years ago it was generally recognised that The Guardian cryptic (every day) was the cream of British daily crosswords.
    Beginners would tackle the far inferior D.T.
    I am a great fan of and supporter of The G. and do not like to see it lose its vaunted position.
    The failings are not,sadly, restricted to Mondays or Rufus.
    As Ian W.says we have as much right to be critical as others have to be sycophantic and to hope that things will improve.
    I find the cries of “Oh dear, what about the beginners” to be most patronising.

  16. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, but are you sure that this was a Rufus?

    To cast doubt in your mind, may I point out that there was no trademark NAUTICAL reference.

    My case rests!

    And thanks to the Setter – whoever you are.

  17. aztobesed says:

    @ Bryan # 16

    HMS Umpire N82
    HMS Tally Ho P317
    HMS America

  18. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    More examples than usual of that Rufus speciality, the straight definition with misdirecting surface (I can’t think of a pithier description, but “cryptic definition” doesn’t quite fit either). Unsatisfying to many of us because we automatically look at the conjuror’s left hand when he points with his right, and the misdirection doesn’t work.

    I did like “union notices” for BANNS.

    RCWhiting @6: Not all of us have looked at this week’s prize puzzle yet. No hints, please, even about “ancillary bits”.

  19. Colin says:

    I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this at all, and had far more fun with Saturday’s beast of a prize puzzle, even though I’m still waiting for two of the small ones on that. I know someone has said that cryptic clues are the style of Rufus, but by the time I was left with Wolfram, Etcher and Wrestling I’d given up interest, although I’d got Wolfram from Chamber’s Word Wizard and could have checked the definition. And I thought Deep Breath couldn’t possibly be true until I’d got the down crossers.

  20. Headteacher says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Ian W #5. This really is poor fare and not worth the price of the paper (although I suspect most of you on here don’t actually buy it). However, I would have happily paid twice over for Saturday’s delight. Time for the Guardian to dispense with Rufus.

  21. Robi says:

    Well, it’s Monday and it’s déjà vu with respect to the postings.

    With respect to all the experts out there, I’ll post my own humble story [with Gaufrid’s indulgence.]

    I had always found the Guardian crosswords fairly impenetrable but just over a year ago I picked up my Monday Guardian and tried the crossword, and to my amazement I solved it. I then came back to earth with a bump with the subsequent ones and looked for help on the web, and found this excellent site. This has enabled me to improve and enjoy my solving, and I can now usually finish most of the crosswords.

    So, without the Monday crossword, you all would have been denied my pearls of wisdom and strange humour. The fact that the Monday Rufus is easier than most of the subsequent week’s offerings should not come as much of a surprise to anyone, and if it encourages others like me to take up the cudgel, surely that is a good thing?

    Today’s crossword, like any others, is fair game for criticism and comment, and I indicated a clue that I didn’t particularly like. It’s fine in my opinion for people to say that they found it easy. However, negative remarks should perhaps be restricted to the technicalities of the clues. I would have more respect of [constructive] criticisms if they came from setters as well as solvers.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Miche @18
    If anything I said helped you:
    a) I apologise;
    b) you are a genius.

  23. tupu says:

    Thanks Robi.
    This was not Rufus at the very top of his formidable ability as Eileen implies in her very balanced blog. But it is a sad day for me when contributions to this site (or more accurately, those of the gaggle of moaners who argue mainly by repetitive assertion week by week and, as today, comment after comment) start to become immeasurably less interesting than the puzzle under review. For what its worth I much enjoyed Saturday’s double puzzle and the hard ones of the week before last, but I also found considerable pleasure in this one. :) And although I don’t use old newspapers any more for six penneth of chips or placed ‘conveniently’ on nails in the wall, I do buy the paper every day and find lots more of interest in it than just the crossword.

  24. Eileen says:

    Thank you, tupu and Robi.

    I’ve just been looking back at these sets of comments,

    which illustrate the huge respect and affection in which Roger Squires is held by solvers and fellow setters alike and go some way to lifting the depression which settles on me most Mondays these days, at the predictable, tedious, repetitively negative comments – particularly when I’m blogging, as they clog up my inbox!

  25. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Aztobesed @ 17

    I’m now a believer!

    Many thanks, Rufus

  26. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Sorry but I must be tedious!

    Dull, dull and dull……Again.

    Why is this almost non-cryptic fare considered easy?

    Surely the Grauniad can find somebody else to more than occasionally make Monday interesting.

  27. Ruth Sanders says:

    I’ve only returned to doing the cryptic crosswords in The Guardian since I retired a couple of years ago and usually just attempt the prize crossword on a Saturday with mixed success. I did enjoy Saturday’s double puzzle – but it was a tough one. I have now taken to doing Monday’s puzzle as well because it is a bit easier and I can finish it in a few hours. Perhaps when I get more experience and can finish the crossword in a shorter time I’ll expand into the rest of the week.

    So thank you Rufus for giving me a crossword I can solve, though I still don’t understand “bear” for 4ac.

  28. Derek P says:

    Ruth @27:

    Bear = harbour as in ‘bear/harbour a grudge’ and also bear = carry/convey = transport.

  29. Rosmarinus says:

    I got started with Rufus too so please give him a break.

  30. Huw Powell says:

    I used to complain almost weekly about the plethora of CDs and DDs in the typical Rufus, until I read the interview, which I think was Eileen’s second link @24.

    If we can be happy with and enjoy various setters’ forms of libertarianism, and even prepare mentally for them, surely we can similarly settle down to a Rufus *expecting* his style? CDs (even if barely cryptic) and DDs are the deep roots of this form of setting – the “missing link”, if you will, between the “quick” or “American” crossword and today’s Byzantine art form, and part of what Rufus sees as his mission is to keep that link alive.

    For myself, this puzzle went very slowly – started last night and got about three words, then finally this morning ANDES dropped (on my head like an anvil) and the NE corner mostly yielded, gradually mestastasising out into the other three quadrants. I was nervous about BEAR, wondering if something else was meant; “grappling” occurred to me moments before WRESTLING, but I was as convinced as everyone else that 15 was an anagram, which is why they are called “crosswords”. Had to look up SENESCHAL to verify the uncrossed letters.

    As with many Rufus puzzles, I often find myself overthinking some clues, making them seem much harder until I suddenly realise what they mean (WELL OFF, for example). I think that’s as fun as any other type of solving we run into.

    I also greatly enjoyed the Easter Prize offering, although I’m a few head-scratches away from finished, so thanks for avoiding the spoilers!

    Thanks as always to Rufus for filling his place on Monday with his own special flavor, and to Eileen for enduring the slings and arrows by blogging it.

  31. Matt says:

    Well said.

  32. mark says:

    Well said Ian W

    I printed this off very belatedly (glad I didn’t buy the paper) and wasted a train journey trying to find “there must be something better than that!” answers. If there is no lightbulb moment then how do you know you’ve got it right? I speak as a relative beginner.

    I shall know to avoid Rufus on a monday.

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