Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,629 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on May 7th, 2012


There are some clever clues here, mixed in with some rather tired ones. Nothing too taxing for a Bank Holiday and several to raise a smile. Thank you, Rufus.


1   PACIFIC: double definition: the Ocean was given this name by Ferdinand Magellan, after he had battled through the winds and currents of the Strait which bears his name
5   HANDS-ON: double definition – but I’m not very happy with the syntax of the surface: [ Edit: sorry, Rufus, I misread this: it’s HAND pass] + SON [offspring] – thanks, jvh]
10  OGLE: O [round] + anagram [in play] of LEG
11  PIANO TUNER: cryptic definition
12  PLASMA: not very cryptic definition
13  LANDLADY: and this isn’t really, either, I’m afraid
14  ARTICHOKE: anagram [break] of CHOIR TAKE, which, ‘after Jerusalem’ gives us this tuber:  there isn’t really a definition but the surface is so clever and amusing that I don’t think it matters.
16  STEER: ST [good man] + E’ER [poetic ‘ever’ – ALWAYS]
17  FANCY: double definition, as a verb and a noun
19  JACK SPRAT: JACK [weightlifter – car jack] SPRAT [fish] for the nursery rhyme character who could eat no fat [being fussy about meat]
23  WATERLOO: double definition
24  ISOBAR: anagram [strangely] of BORIS round [takes] – nice topical clue!
26  CRYSTAL SET: CRYSTAL [clear] SET [determined] for the early radio receiver
27  NAIL: double definition
28  SMASHED: MA’S [mother’s ] in SHED [outhouse] – another amusing surface
29 TRIPPER: double / cryptic definition: trip = dance as in ‘trip the light fantastic’


2   ANGULAR: anagram [erratically] of RAN GAUL: another clever surface
3   IDEAS: anagram [to move] of ASIDE
4   IMPEACH: EACH [every] after IMP [naughty child – at first]
  AMOUNT: A MOUNT [horse]
7   DOUBLE TOP: cryptic definition for the ‘score’ of 40 [which is double 20 – ‘score twice’] in darts
8   OVERDUE: OVER [finished] DUE [fitting]
9   EAT LIKE A HORSE: double definition, with a play on ‘champ’
18  ANAGRAM: a really neat surface, I thought
20  KNITTER: double / cryptic definition
21  AVARICE: AVA [woman] + [on, in a down clue] RICE [food] and AVARICE makes a man [or woman!] keen on money
22  PLEASE: homophone [oral] of PLEAS [entreaties]
25  OWN UP: anagram [somehow] of WON + UP [in a superior position]

51 Responses to “Guardian 25,629 / Rufus”

  1. crypticsue says:

    Typical Rufus – lots of old favourites and clever clues. Thanks to him and EIleen too.

  2. jvh says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I had 5A as a charade of hand (pass) to son (offspring).

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, jvh – of course! [I’m happy now – I thought it was uncharacteristic of Rufus to be ungrammatical!]

  4. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I would have preferred something a bit harder for a bank holiday, but this is typical Rufus and not to be despised: some of the clues are barely cryptic, but there are some really good ones as well.

    I don’t see a problem with ‘After “Jerusalem” maybe’ as an allusive definition for ARTICHOKE; ‘break’ is the anagrind. Best clue of the puzzle, for me. I also particulaly liked 7d and 18d.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    As is often the case with me and Rufus, the last few took a while to work out. There are some chestnuts in there, but as I’ve said before, someone (like me a few years ago) will be coming across them for the first time. ARTICHOKE and DOUBLE TOP were my favourites today.

  6. Ian Payn says:

    Not very impressed with the Guardian. Having failed to spring for a bonus Bank Holiday crossword (which I sort of understand, as times is ‘ard) they might at least have offered something that took more than five minutes today. Since it is a Bank Holiday the “easing you into the week with something with a difficulty level of 1/10″ argument doesn’t hold water.

    Nothing against Rufus or his fans, of course. Quite a lot against the paper.

  7. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Someone will have to state the bleedin’ obvious for me for 18d. I put it in as the only viable option, but I’m none the wiser for being told it was a neat surface!

    My other slight gripe is with 7d. Unless you can equate “top” with “dart” – not sure I can – it could equally be double ten or double two, or even double one or double six if you didn’t have the crossing t from 16a.

  8. Eileen says:

    Hi Monkeypuzzler

    Sue is an anagram of use. 😉

    Re 7dn: 20 is at the top of the dartboard – does that help?

  9. liz says:

    Monkeypuzzler @ 7 — ‘Sue’ is an anagram of ‘use’ — hence the neatness of the clue!

    7dn is just a play on the way the game of darts is scored.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. My favourite was 14ac which took me almost as long as the rest of the puzzle!

  10. liz says:

    Eileen @9 Snap :-)

  11. gasmanjack says:

    Sue is an anagram of use. Score twice is 20 x 2 equals 40 what you’d score for a double top.

  12. Headteacher says:

    Dear, oh dear. 1and 12 ac really do plumb the depths today. 27and 23 ac not far behind. Agree with Ian at #6. Thank goodness the rugby league is on the box later!

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I was prepared for disappointment when I saw what had been provided for my holiday entertainment.
    Well it was very slightly more puzzling than the usual Monday fare so I must be grateful.
    Last in was ‘tripper’ because it took me a while to convince myself that it was a ‘dancer’ until,like Eileen the ‘light fantastic’ entered my brain.
    I liked 18d, I didn’t like 1ac, 23 ac, 24ac etc etc.
    In 7d, a score is twenty.

  14. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    14a caused me a lot of trouble since I was trying to make something containing CHOIR and ZION :(
    Eventually I got the right answer and was very impressed by the misdirection!

    I was disappointed by those clues that Eileen rightly rated as ‘not very cryptic’.

  15. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen
    No Bank Holiday down here and hardest part was actually balancing to write answers on the train ride home.
    Still CRYSTAL SET took me back to youth when my brother used to build them.
    Last in was 17 for some unknown reason … after getting 18d which wasn’t bad.

  16. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Yup, they were bleedin’ obvious after all! Thanks all. Brain obviously on holiday without me!

  17. David Travis says:

    It’s a little disappointing that Rufus comes in for a lot of stick from the commentators on this blog. I just hope that Hugh Stephenson realises that you’re in the minority. I for one don’t want a week’s worth of Orlando-style toughies. Thanks to Rufus and Eileen for the blog.

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus; unlike the majority of posters, I didn’t find this particularly easy. In fact, I think it was harder than some of the recent Prize puzzles.

    Thanks Eileen; like monkeypuzzler, I was a bit confused by DOUBLE TOP until I realised the significance of ‘score.’ Thanks for the JACK SPRAT link; I didn’t know the historical derivation. I don’t think I understand the clue for NAIL. Is one definition ‘a hard thing?’ I can think of a few other things that might be described thus!

    I did like INCREASES, although maybe that is one of the old chestnuts.

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi

    Re 27ac: I took a nail as ‘a hard thing’, as in the simile ‘as hard as nails’.

  20. Robi says:

    OK, ‘hard as nails,’ I presume.

  21. Robi says:

    Thanks, Eileen; we crossed :)

  22. apiarist says:

    I’m afraid that with Rufus puzzles, I now don’t fully parse the answers before I fill them in. Does that mean they are too easy or am I just getting too lazy ?

  23. RCWhiting says:

    When confronted by ‘Admit’ (3,2) it would hardly be worthwhile parsing anything so you are not lazy.

  24. Median says:

    At 7, for a while I couldn’t decide between DOUBLE TOP and DOUBLE TEN. Eventually made the right choice, but I think there’s a case for the latter: ‘score twice’ = ‘double ten’.

  25. Robi says:

    Median @24; I see your point. At first I thought it might be ‘double one’ for twice until I realised the significance of score.

  26. Eileen says:

    I’m holding out for ‘DOUBLE TOP, because of the ‘score twice’.

    [I found the parsing of this clue, which I think is very clever, very hard to articulate, as you will have noticed!]

  27. Ian F says:

    I’d like to echo the comments of David Travis. I must admit that I haven’t visited the site for a while because of the self-indulgent and purile sniping at Rufus by a small minority. Sadly I see these cheerful little souls are still here! As I and others have said previously, if you don’t like Rufus puzzles why do you do them??! Even more to the point, why do you feel it necessary to inflict your childish and petty comments on the those of us who do like him??

  28. RCWhiting says:

    Ian F
    If you feel entitled to praise a part of The Guardian’s journalistic output can you explain why I should not be allowed to criticise it sometimes.
    By the way I think Polly Toynbee is fantastic, always.

  29. Gwyneth says:

    Well I enjoyed it so many thanks, Rufus. Also to Eileen for explaining why ‘Anagram’ was the answer to 18d.

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi Ian F

    I’m equally bewildered! I have all but given up commenting on Rufus puzzles, unless I’m blogging them, because I’m totally fed up with the tedious, predictable comments every Monday morning and don’t want to prolong the ‘discussion’ with equally repetitious counter-arguments.

    I made what I hoped would be my final comment here @24

    I only came back to ask you not to stay away from the site for this reason – we do have very productive discussions!


    Although I’ve vowed to keep quiet, I just can’t help myself. There is a world of difference between disagreeing with the subjective journalistic input of a Guardian columnist and persistently criticising the crosswords of a compiler who – how I weary of saying this! – has been given the brief of providing a relatively easy crossword at the beginning of the week.

  31. Eileen says:


    Thanks, Gwyneth. 😉

  32. Ian F says:

    Mr Whiting – Leaving aside the “sometimes”, the fact is we are not discussing the particular views of a political or social columnist! We are dealing with a recreational pastime! As I am sure you know, all setters have their own particular style and there are one or two that are not my cup of tea but others like very much. If you don’t like Rufus that’s fine. I also have no problem with anyone raising the fairness and/or construction of particular clues. However I really don’t see why you think it necessary to continue to make sarcastic and sniping comments just because the puzzle is not to your taste!!

  33. Eileen says:

    Ian F

    I think we crossed! 😉

  34. Ian F says:

    Thanks Eileen – Sorry I was typing my reply to RCW so have only just seen your response. I know the great majority of bloggers are a friendly and constructive bunch so I will resume my visits and try not to get too irritated with a small minority. I also apologise because, in my state of iritation, I forgot to thank you for the review and Rufus for the puzzle.

    Best wishes

  35. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ian F – come back soon. 😉

  36. Mr Beaver says:

    At the risk of flogging a very dead horse, I would characterise the Rufus-phobe argument as not that he is too easy, but that too many of the clues are poor.

    To be fair, there are some nice ones today (eg 18d, 14a, 19a) which make others more disappointing, like 12a (not cryptic at all), 13a (barely so), 20a (sort of works in a tired way), 27a (‘to catch’ IMO is an unsatisfactory definition of NAIL). There’s no ‘aha’ with this sort of clue, just a reluctant acceptance that it’s probably the intended answer.

    I do like the odd crossword that’s not too challenging, not being amongst the cream of the solvers, which is why I always return to this setter. But I often wonder why I bothered.

  37. RCWhiting says:

    If some of you are tired of me expressing my views I am equally tired of reading posts which refer almost exclusively to compilers rather than their work.
    I have been told several times what a lovely chap Rufus is; how folk have met him; even had a drink with him.
    I am not interested: the only thing which affects my enjoyment is the product. If it is weak and essentially non-puzzling then I will complain.
    But do not go away, Ian, you can praise all you wish as long as you leave me free to do otherwise, ‘sometimes’. I do frequently praise puzzles.

  38. Paul B says:

    Thing is, RCW old bean, you prefaced your remarks today with ‘I was prepared for disappointment when I saw what had been provided for my holiday entertainment’. That, to my way of thinking, looks suspiciously like what Herbert Spencer (allegedly) called ‘contempt prior to investigation’. That is to say, you went in, expecting the Rufus piece to conform to your idea about it, rather than with an open mind. You may not have liked it anyway, but that’s beside the point – you were never going to give it a snowball’s chance in Hell.

    I don’t like Rufus puzzles much either, because the clueing seems tired and old-fashioned to me, but as has been said above, there is a market for this stuff, and some punters like it. I moan occasionally about whatever aspect of Grauniad Monday fare, usually the grid, often some point of fairness about a clue, but hopefully I’m not like a scratched record that keeps going around and around the same groove. The point being, of course, that you are exactly like said scratched record! And I should add that I rarely find your comments to be all that specific: like all message board scoundrels, you dwell, except where insane pedantry offers a suitable platform, in the general.

    To me, you’re just a troll, here so, so very obviously to irritate and infuriate people with your asinine remarks, ad nauseam. I’ve asked Gaufrid to ban you on more than one occasion, but he’s much more forgiving than I am, and tells me to stop ranting. Unfortunately for quite a few posters here today, who it seems are all being forced to put up with you.

  39. flashling says:

    Well PB, I quite agree with the sentiment, but the Voltaire thing about defending rights nags a bit, although I suspect RCW does just come here to troll at times.

    I thought 15sq was meant to be a friendly place, but sometimes I wonder.

  40. Tata says:

    Just to lighten the mood a little. did anybody else recall th old phrase regarding a childrens television programme when solving 9 down? Champing on the wonder horse (Champion the Wonder Horse)

  41. Thomas99 says:

    Sometimes RCWhiting is just trolling but some of the time, as he has indicated himself, he’s trying to be funny. I think it’s worth bearing this in mind when we notice how little his comments seem to connect either to the puzzle or to the comments he purports to be responding to. He probably doesn’t really think that the Guardian crossword is meant to be harder than all the others, and that any easy one is thus a failure – he’s been put right on this time and again – but his schtick requires him to pretend to.

  42. Paul B says:

    For ‘shtick’ read ‘trolling style’. He plans what he says to the letter, in my view.

  43. RCWhiting says:

    I hope all the above posters will,in their obviously close reading of my posts, noticed that I never criticise or use insulting words about people: compilers, bloggers or posters.
    My comments are always about the inanimate objects which are crossword puzzles.
    Such respect is noticeably absent from many of those who oppose my right to express my views.
    These sort of comments are pure pomposity.
    “To me, you’re just a troll, here so, so very obviously to irritate and infuriate people with your asinine remarks, ad nauseam. I’ve asked Gaufrid to ban you on more than one occasion, but he’s much more forgiving than I am, and tells me to stop ranting.”
    And of course I plan what I say, it would be a very foolish poster who just came out with a rant, wouldn’t it?
    “He’s BEEN PUT RIGHT on this time and again.”

  44. Wolfie says:

    Given that Rufus’s specific brief is to provide an entry-level puzzle, complaining that his offerings are too easy is like complaining that Polly Toynbee is rude about the coalition government. When reading Polly in the Guardian, or tackling a Monday Rufus, you know broadly what to expect. There is plenty of other content in the newspaper (and the website) to keep us all entertained – even, I hope, RCWhiting.

  45. RCWhiting says:

    “Given that Rufus’s specific brief is to provide an entry-level puzzle”
    I didn’t realise that this was anything other than gossip on this MB.
    Also, Headmaster, Ian W.etc frequently complain that the puzzles are not just too easy but also of poor quality.I cannot agree or disagree with that view since an easy puzzle doesn’t really allow time for the quality to sink in.

  46. Wolfie says:

    Not just gossip RCW – Some time ago (perhaps Admin can find it) Rufus himself posted here confirming that his brief from the Guardian crossword editor was to provide an entry-level puzzle.

  47. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Wolfie
    He most certainly can. Below are extracts from Rufus/Dante comments giving the three most recent references to the brief.

    Financial Times 13,808 / Dante – 2011/10/06
    “Like the Guardian, I am asked by the FT to provide fairly straightforward puzzles for my Monday puzzles.”

    Guardian Cryptic 25395 Rufus – 2011/08/09
    “Also many thanks for other more supportive comments, obviously knowing my brief with the Guardian, FT and Daily Telegraph is to supply relatively easy Monday puzzles.”

    Guardian 25,102 / Rufus – 2010/08/31
    “As has been said, my brief is a fairly easy straightforward start to the week.”

  48. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks, I had not realised that. Pity, and that the instruction seems to have leaked into other days of the week.
    I wonder how recent that was; I do not remember from years ago (30/40) noticing the Monday puzzle being so obviously weak.
    I must not say ‘dumbing down’ because I usually complain when old people (like me) come out with that over nostalgic phrase.

  49. mark says:

    Mr Beaver at 36 hits the “a hard thing to catch” on the head.
    Ian F you miss the point.
    Easy or entry level is fine. Non cryptic or poorly structured clues are not.
    I did this a day late and struggled as usual with Rufus more than I do with supposedly ‘harder’ setters. I don’t like it when you don’t trust the setter and have no confidence that you’ll know for certain when you get the answer.
    To be fair today’s was probably the best effort from Rufus I’ve tried but I gave up because past experience suggested further time would only be wasted with “but hang on..” or “is that it!” type thoughts when I saw the answers.
    I will try again having seen today’s but I’m in the sceptics corner for the time being.

  50. Ian F says:

    Mark – I really have no wish to prolong this thread but, with respect, I don’t think I do “miss the point”. If you read my post you will note that I made crystal clear that I have no problem at all with anyone questioning the soundness or construction of a clue. No one likes a poorly constructed or unsound clue. Indeed to obtain the views of other solvers on the soundness etc of particular clues is often the reason I visit this and other sites! However what I dislike is sarcastic, petty and pompous sniping.

  51. promo code drugstore com free shipping says:

    coupon code for proflowers free delivery

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

8 − = six