Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25635 Rufus

Posted by scchua on May 14th, 2012


It’s a regular Monday, in other words, it’s an enjoyable puzzle of dds and cds and anagrams from Rufus.  A bit tricky towards the end, in the NW corner, which, for me, took as much time as the other 3.  Thanks Rufus.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Each of the pictures at the bottom has a link with the crossword or with the blog.


1 Put out fire (9)

DISCHARGE :  Double defn: 1st: Put out,release, as in “discharge from prison”; and 2nd: To fire a firearm.

6 Entrance for spectators (4)

GATE :  Double defn: 2nd: Collective noun for spectators at a sporting event, say.

8 First love, with a girl in torment (8)

ORIGINAL :  O(looks like zero,nil,love as in tennis scores) plus(with) anagram of(torment) A GIRL IN.  Penultimate one in – nice surface concealing well the definition and anagram indicator.

9 European may be French (6)

POLISH :  Double defn: 1st: Descriptive of someone from Poland; and 2nd: An example,may be of furniture polish, not of French but Asian origin, the main ingredient of which is shellac, purified from the secretion from the lac beetle deposited on trees.  The art of using this polish was refined by the French in 18thcentury, in return for which, it was named after them.

10 Bunk with a woman! (6)

BERTHA :  BERTH(a shelf-like sleeping place on, say, a ship,a bunk,bed) plus(with) A.  First nautical reference, and as risqué as Rufus gets! 

Answer: A woman’s name, from on Old High Germanic for “bright”.

11 Leave out one note in introductory piece (8)

PRECLUDE :  C(one note from the musical scale of A to G) contained in(in) PRELUDE(introductory piece as part of a longer work or preceding a more important movement, a musical foreplay)

12 Free-for-all sort of arrangement (6)

FLORALAnagram of(free) FOR-ALL.  Clever anagram indicator, hidden amongst 2 other potential ones (“sort” and “arrangement”).  Where does a wise man hide a leaf?  

Answer: An example,sort of arrangement, using, mainly, flowers.

15 Widespread, half in verse (8)

EPIDEMIC :  DEMI(prefix indicating half, as in the musical notes, demisemiquaver, and, even more – less, really – hemidemisemiquaver) contained in(in) EPIC(a long poetic composition,verse).

16 Inducts into office when answer is correct (6,2)

SWEARS INAnagram of(correct) ANSWER IS.

19 Attacked and bombed at random (6)

MOBBEDAnagram of(at random) BOMBED

Answer: Set upon,attacked by a, well, mob, either because they hate you or love you.

21 Struggles to maintain faith in the past (8)

CRUSADES :  Cryptic defn:  With an initial capital letter, the military expeditions in the 11-13th centuries,past by the Christians in Europe to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.

22 Agree it’s of small account and acquiesce (6)

ACCEDE :  AC(abbrev. for,smallaccount”) plus(and) CEDE(acquiesce,give way to).

24 He’s learned to park a vehicle in the street (6)

SAVANT :  [A VAN(a vehicle)] contained in(park…in) ST(abbrev. for street). 

Answer: A man of profound or extensive learning,a learned (2 syllables) scholar.  An amusing surface.

25 Intent on rendering two notes on an instrument (8)

RESOLUTE :  [RE + SO](a drop of golden sun and a needle pulling thread respectively, two notes from the sol-fa musical scale) plus(on an) LUTE(an old-fashioned stringed musical instrument)

26 I object to an average standard (4)

MEAN :  ME(the objective case, in grammar, of the pronoun I) plus(to) AN.

27 Hoist sail to break loose from personal unpleasantness (9)

HALITOSISAnagram of(to break loose) HOIST SAIL

Answer: Aka bad breath.


1 The strain of mourning (5)

DIRGE :  Cryptic defn:  A tune,strain expressing mourning at a funeral.  Another apt surface.

2 Reg is involved with this trial shot (7)

SIGHTERAnagram of(is involved with) [REG + THIS]. 

Answer: In archery, one of the 6 practice,trial shots allowed to each competitor in a tournament.  Last one in, as this meaning is new to me.  Nicely hidden anagram indicator/fodder.

3 Layer on article turned to shade of red (5)

HENNA :  HEN(egg layer) placed above(on, in a down clue) NA{reversal of(turned) “an”, the indefinite article}.

4 Not a change for the better (7)

RELAPSE :  Cryptic defn: Not so cryptic?  As a result, held me up a bit, as I was expecting something more.

5 Left for dead, for example (9)

EUPHEMISM :  Cryptic defn: “Left” as a substitute word for “(dearly) departed”,”dead” is an example of a euphemism.

6 It’s an Israeli region I allege, wrongly (7)

GALILEEAnagram of(wrongly) I ALLEGE.

7 Straight hit in international cricket — going for a run (4,5)

TEST DRIVE :  DRIVE(a batting stroke,hit in cricket with the bat swinging more or less vertically, and the ball going very hard and straight) during a TEST(an international cricket match).  Nice cricketing surface of aggressive play by a batsman – what’s required to make the match more watchable :-) .

Answer: A test run in a car to see if you would want to buy it – assuming there’s a colour you like :-) .

13 Inferior position he’s in, not I (5,4)

LOWER CASE :  Cryptic defn: The word “he” is,’s in LOWER(inferior) CASE(position,situation,state of things) letters, unlike,notI”.

14 Where to make a final stand in trench warfare? (4,5)

LAST DITCH :  Cryptic defn:  A last effort to avoid defeat,final stand, and if it’s trench warfare, it will be at the last trench,ditch you’re defending.

17 Refuse to vote, putting Jack on the spot (7)

ABSTAIN :  AB(abbrev. for Able-Bodied seaman,Jack Tar) placed above(putting…on, in a down clue) STAIN(spot,blemish).

18 It joins another for a breather (7)

NOSTRIL :  Cryptic defn: A breathing hole,breather that comes in pairs,joins another.  Again not so cryptic.

20 Secures damages (7)

BUCKLES :  Double defn: 1st: What one does with one’s seat belt before driving off; and 2nd: To cause something to bend or warp,damage through pressure or heat.

22 Advantage point in a number of games (5)

ASSET :  S(abbrev. for south,compass point) contained in(in) [A SET](in, say, tennis, a point gained or lost after a  number of games played, as indicated in the hierarchy “game, set and match”.  Nice tennis surface.

23 Takes a girl out fruit (5)

DATES :  Double defn.




Edit.note:  Answers:  Picture 2 here .

Picture 5 here.

Picture 6 here from 5th paragraph (skip the political commentary).

Picture 8 here .

Picture 9 here .

Picture 10 here .

Rest of the answers in various comments below.

39 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25635 Rufus”

  1. Barry McNorton says:

    Funnily enough the NW corner was fairly quick and straightforward for me – it was the SW corner that took a bit more time. I missed ‘left’ as a euphemism for ‘dead’. Thanks for explaining that one. I think the anagram indicator for 12 ac is ‘free’ though, rather than ‘sort’ or ‘arrangement’.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    The usual smooth fare and light touch from Rufus with one or two old chestnuts but also some clever devices and polished surfaces. A generally enjoyable solve.

    I missed the exact parsing of 5d. Very nice. I did not know ‘sighter’ and had to work it out and check.

    I ticked 8a, 16a, 24a, 26a, 3d, and 20d.

  3. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for the blog which I needed for the explanation of 8a. I had O with GINA in RIL but couldn’t justify why RIL meant ‘torment’. Doh!

  4. postrophe says:

    Is that I see Big Bertha (howitzer) in the picture quiz?

    Comfortable puzzle and fine blog, thank you scchua.

  5. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua.
    Eased into the week with typical and pleasant puzzle – my quickest finish of Rufus – last one in was 21 – which I thought was cleverly disguised.

  6. postrophe says:

    And an old record made of shellac

  7. postrophe says:

    Dustin Hoffman played a savant in Rainman

  8. Rick says:

    Excellent blog for an enjoyable puzzle – many thanks to both scchua and Rufus!

    I too missed the exact parsing of 5d but scchua’s explanation is convincing.

    For some reason it took me a long time to get 26 across (and I teach statistics!) but that was an excellent clue (and provoked a wry smile when I finally got it!).

  9. Robi says:

    Enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks scchua for your usual excellent blog. Strangely enough, I found the SW corner more difficult. I did like CRUSADES and LOWER CASE.

    I agree with postrophe about Big Bertha – I’ll try the others in due course.

  10. William says:

    Thank you, scchua. Nice gentle start to the week. I liked EUPHEMISM – nice clueing.

    Perhaps I’m wrong but I thought that ‘gate’ meaning spectators had the same root as ‘gate’ – the place where they all entered. In which case it’s not really a double definition, is it?

    Does anyone know?

  11. postrophe says:

    The savant played by Dustin Hoffman was, of course, of the idiot variety.

  12. Paul B says:

    Horrid grid – almost cut in half!

    Got a feeling that LAST-DITCH, as an adjective or noun modifier, needs a hyphen. And, in another feeling, I’m fairly sure its etymology relates literally to the last line of defence, so not sure if that clue really has a cryptic component.

    I liked ‘left for dead’ though.

  13. Paul B says:

    Yes, GATE too is a bit suspect: I agree with William that the gate = the number of spectators passing through it!

  14. postrophe says:

    @William re GATE:-

    Are “dd” clues not ones in which the lights are defined twice, then?

  15. William says:

    Re the pics, other than Dustin Hoffman & Big Bertha already mentioned, I might add:

    Ian Holm (possibly from Alien)(EPIDEMIC?)
    Kemneth More as Father Brown
    Geoffrey Rush Pirates etc (swashBUCKLEr ???)
    The golf club might be a DRIVER and thus link with TEST DRIVE

    That’s about all I can manage.

  16. Allan_C says:

    In the last pic he’s looking up – a ‘sighter’ perhaps? Not really convinced.

  17. Barry McNorton says:

    Are those buckled battery plates in the fourth picture?

  18. Gervase says:

    Thanks scchua.

    Mixture of ‘write-ins’ and some more challenging clues. Rather more anagrams than is usual in a Rufus, I thought.

    SW corner was the last part I completed; CRUSADES held me up for a while because I first interpreted it as a container clue. Rufus is very skilled at disguising his cryptic definitions. With a few crossing letters I originally thought the ‘two notes’ in 25a were LA TE at the end – a clever ambiguity.

    GATE, meaning the total number of spectators at an event, is clearly etymologically connected to GATE = ‘entrance’, but these meanings are quite distinct, irrespective of their origin. Therefore, for me, the double definition is valid. (Not a difficult clue, though!)

    5d is a good construction, which I parsed easily, although I have never come across the usage ‘left’ meaning ‘dead’.

  19. Robi says:

    As for the quiz, apart from the above:

    I think 2 is the golf DRIVE
    4 are the grooves of a vinyl record as opposed to the SHELLAC 78
    5 is Len Deighton, who wrote the screenplay and was an uncredited producer for ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ about trench warfare
    6 is G.K. Chesterton, who wrote Father Brown
    8 – Ian Holm who appeared in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’
    9 – Geoffery Rush, who appeared in the ‘Potato Peeler’ in which he spoke POLISH

    Can’t see anything about the CRUSADES, however.

  20. Paul B says:

    Re postrophe @ 14 the most satisfying dds, I suggest, are those in which the etymologies *as well as* the meanings are distinct. The GATE one is too close for my taste, but as Gervase points out the two meanings are not quite the same.

  21. Miche says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    Some very neat clues, including EUPHEMISM and LOWER CASE. “I object” for ME is good, and I don’t think I’ve seen it used before. Can’t say the same about the well-worn conceit at 9a.

    RELAPSE is one of those Rufusian oddities with enough misdirection in the surface to send me looking for wordplay that wasn’t there. In this case I thought “better” might have some gambling connection, then concluded rather glumly that no, it just meant what it looked like.

    I wonder whether the Graun dropped a word from 23d? “Take a girl out for fruit”? It’s very clunky as it stands.

  22. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    I also was disappointed with 4d – not cryptic.

    As for the pictures there looks, to my eye, to be duplication. The first picture shows an LP on a record player and the fourth shows a magnified view of the grooves on a record such as an LP. This tells me I have failed to understand what’s going on :(
    I also failed to recognise any of the men pictured :(

  23. Robi says:

    …… the Geoffery Rush connection is rather obscure; otherwise he appeared in ‘DEAD man’s chest.’

  24. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Even Eileen’s favourite list of euphemisms for ‘dead’ does not include ‘left’, consequently 5d was my last in.

    I hope this does not upset people, it is not meant to,but could posts which refer only to the quiz have such a suitable heading.

  25. Robi says:

    And Chesterton’s EPIC “Ballad of the White Horse”

  26. scchua says:

    Thanks for all your comments.
    Re dds: I take a more liberalised position: regardless of their etymologies, if 2 words have deviated sufficiently in meaning, IMHO that works. My rule of thumb would be that if one can find sentence(s) where one sense could not be substituted by the other, that’s a double defn:
    eg. The gate was left open; and The gate for yesterday’s match was 50,000.

    Similarly for a cd. If a word/phrase has a literal origin, but has taken on a figurative meaning(s) far beyond its origins, then even a reference to its origins would be cryptic IMHO, eg. “last ditch”.

    [[Re the pictures, the plot so far: A shellac (pre-vinyl) (9A) record and the groove in it; Dustin Hoffman as a SAVANT (24A) in Rain Man; Len Deighton; G.K. Chesterton, creator of Father Brown; Big BERTHA (10A) howitzer; Ian Holm; Geoffrey Rush; Kenneth More as Father Brown – correct. Missing are the links. Hints: The pics can be regarded as pairs; and the links may also be in my comments, not just in the crossword.]]

    RCWhiting, re your reguest, please avert your eyes when you come across [[.

  27. Ian SW3 says:

    [[Is it Lepanto, then?]]

  28. RCWhiting says:

    That is precisely the problem – I cannot.
    I usually arrive here quite late and try to skim through previous posts (maybe 10-20) to prevent repetition and show agreement etc as appropriate.
    Take @7 as an example (there are many others): I read this at face value as a reference to 24ac, which I went back to read looking for a possble reference to DH. I then wondered why postrophe had bothered to post such a comment which seemed to have no connection to the clue or the puzzle in general. I then scrolled up to read your comment on the clue in case you had made some reference to DH. On the way I spotted a photo of DH.
    Do you understand my point.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    I have just belatedly read your @26,assuming it would be about the quiz. I was wrong and I agree entirely with you re: gate and last ditch.

  30. scchua says:

    RCWhiting@28, I’m sorry, frankly, I do not understand your point. I made what I thought was a good suggestion (obviously it will only apply from this point on), even going beyond your original request, as my suggestion would apply to any comment whether or not they “refer only to the quiz”. I thought it was a simple, easily followed instruction, as understood and implemented by Ian SW3@27. I leave it to individual posters whether they would like to assist or not. But if you’re not happy with it, then I will rescind my offer (and maybe others too) – no hard feelings.
    But going by your #29 it looks as if you may have not read my note properly, before responding with #28.
    P.S. you know what they say about “assume”.

  31. Matt says:


    Seems like a sensible system to me]]

  32. Robi says:

    :) QUIZ :)

    [[ Where does a wise man hide a leaf? The quotation comes from one of G K Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, The Sign of the Broken Sword.]]

  33. scchua says:

    Further use of [[ ]] dependent on RCWhiting’s response.

    [[Before I retire for the night, I’ve edited the blog to give links to answers to the picture quiz. Thanks to all those who gave it a shot. Robi, you’re right about the Father Brown quotation.]]

  34. RCWhiting says:

    It is quite amusing scchua that all the {[[ etc from both Ian and you completely passed me by.
    Because I assumed it was all something to do with the quiz!
    If the {{{}}} became standard that would certainly alleviate the problem.
    Thanks for trying.

  35. Robi says:

    [[Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man as the SAVANT famously says: ‘Raymond: I’m an excellent DRIVER.’]]

  36. scchua says:

    RCWhiting, glad something’s amused you :-) .
    BTW, to be exact, it’s [[ ]] I’m using, not {[[ nor {{{ }}} – just to ensure you haven’t made another ass-umption.

  37. scchua says:

    [[Robi@35, that was the amusing image I got of 24A – a savant having to learn to park a car. But there is a more direct link for DRIVER.]]

  38. Robi says:

    [[scchua; thanks for the links – I should have got the savant pianist David Helfgott. I concede defeat this time.]]

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Another Rufus with its pluses and minuses.
    Let’s concentrate on the real pluses: ORIGINAL (8ac), SAVANT (24ac), also 13d (LOWER CASE).

    Rufus defeated us once more today – 5d.
    According to Chambers, the only word that fitted was EUPHEMISM.
    What a wonderful clue, worth the price of the paper alone. Priceless! :)

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