Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25665 Rufus

Posted by scchua on June 18th, 2012


Thanks Rufus for another enjoyable, not too difficult start to the week.  (Apologies to all for late posting – incredibly slow connection today.)  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[Each picture at the bottom has an unidentified link to the puzzle.  Please double bracket comments about them thus]].  Thank you.


1 There’s only one in Eire (9)

CONSONANT :  Cryptic defn: A literal reading of the clue – there’s only one consonant in the word “Eire” .  I can’t find a deeper connection between “consonants” and “Eire” or Gaelic.

6 The prosecutor has to act — see foot of column (4)

DADO :  DA(abbrev. for “district attorney”, the prosecutor in US courts of law) plus(has) DO(to act).

8 Hard task master? (8)

HERCULES :  Cryptic defn: A reference to the “Labours of Hercules”, hard tasks he had to master.

9 Brilliant travellers encountered in small firms (6)

COMETS :  MET(encountered,came across) contained in(in) COS{plural of the abbrev.,(small) for “company”(business firm)}. 

Answer: Brilliant travellers in outer space.

10 Dispose of at a higher price (4,2)

SELL UP :  Not sure of how to categorise this clue.  A double defn? 1st: To dispose entirely of one’s assets/merchandise, lock, stock and barrel; and 2nd: To dispose of something at a higher price than what you paid for.

11 Short skirts tempt the clergy! (8)

MINISTRY :  MINIS(short form of miniskirts,short skirts) + TRY(a former meaning is “to tempt“,” to test” – I guess of one’s willpower, resistance).  Amusing surface – try wearing a mini to church :-)

12 Spots city maze complex (6)

ECZEMAAnagram of(complex) of [EC(abbrev. for Eastern Central, the London postcode area that includes almost all of the City of London, what was London in the medieval period) + MAZE]

15 Pet cried out, on its last legs (8)

DECREPITAnagram of(out) PET CRIED.

Answer: On the verge of breakdown,exhaustion,failure.

16 Gathered together and called to order (8)

COLLATEDAnagram of(order) CALLED TO

Answer: As of pages of a report, book, or multiple sets of copies.

19 Cupboard key (6)

LOCKER :  Double defn: 1st: A cupboard that can be locked, especially in a gym, sports centre, etc. for clothes and valuables, and to be found in a locker room; and 2nd: Something that locks.

21 They enter offices uninvited (8)

USURPERS :  Cryptic defn:  Those who take over positions or titles of office, sometimes by force but certainly uninvited.

22 Minister no longer has an alternative (6)

PASTOR :  PAST(no longer,of time since passed) plus(has) OR(introducing an alternative).

24 It lives in Madagascar with the agreement of sailors (3-3)

AYE-AYE :  What sailors say to orders, of course with “Sir” at the end. 

Answer: A nocturnal lemur from Madagascar.

25 A novice in the actor’s union has the same rights (8)

EQUALITY :  [A + L(abbrev. for a learner,novice)] contained in(in) EQUITY{the trade union for stage actors (and managers and models) in the UK, not to be confused with the one in the USA}

26 Matters of give and take between our betters (4)

ODDS :  Cryptic defn. I think.  That which determine the probability of an event coming true, and therefore how much a gambler,better wins,takes versus what he/she lays,gives on his/her bet.

27 Commonsense item worth development (6,3)

MOTHER WITAnagram of(development) ITEM WORTH

Answer: Natural or innate commonsense,practical intelligence.


1 West Indian going round Cheshire town (5)

CREWE :  CREE(a native American Indian) containing(going round) W(abbrev. for compass point, west).

2 In France she can ascend in a flying gondola (7)

NACELLEReversal of(ascend, in a down clue) [ELLE(the pronoun, “she”, as would be heard in France) + CAN]. 

Answer: The gondola,compartment hanging under a flying balloon,dirigible housing passengers.

3 Neat border plant (5)

OXLIP :  OX(an example of a bovine animal,a neat) + LIP(the edge,border).

4 Put it on without being told? (7)

ASSUMED :  Double defn: 1st: Put on,don, as with an item of clothing; and 2nd: Took for granted,without being told that it is fact.

5 Unravel catch line, using a specialised skill (9)

TECHNICALAnagram of(unravel) CATCH LINE.

6 The estate needs me for organisation (7)

DEMESNEAnagram of(… for organisation) NEEDS ME.

Answer: An extensive piece of landed property,estate.

7 Decide to stop on my own (9)

DETERMINE :  DETER(to stop,prevent) placed above(on, in a down clue) MINE(possessive pronoun for “my own”)

13 Inward-looking (5-4)

CROSS-EYED :  Cryptic defn: If you’re cross-eyed, each eye looks inward in the direction of the bridge of your nose.

14 In control of a race taking two men over fifty miles (2,3,4)

AT THE HELMA + TT(abbrev. for the annual motorcycle Tourist Trophy race held on the Isle of Man, or abbrev. for a time trial race – take your pick) plus(taking) [HE + HE](two x pronoun for a man) placed above(over, in a down clue) L(Roman numeral for fifty) + M(abbrev. for miles).

17 They’re not often miscast in Westerns (7)

LARIATS :  Cryptic defn: In Western movies, that which is often thrown,cast and not often,perhaps never, misses its target, be it human or otherwise.

18 Upbraided a fool, perhaps (7)

DESSERTReversal of(up-, in a down clue) TRESSED(descriptive of hair that has been –braided/plaited).

Defn: A type of dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.

20 Prejudiced legal system? (4,3)

CASE LAW :  Cryptic defn: “prejudice” is derived from Latin for a judgement or opinion formed beforehand.  The setter whimsically describes as such, those previously judged cases – the precedents that form the bases for the legal system of “case law”.

22 Dad has to exercise in break (5)

PAUSE :  PA(one of the names for dad) plus(has) USE(to exercise, as in “use it or lose it”).

23 One of those pieces of eight (5)

OCTET :  Cryptic defn: A piece of music for eight voices or musicians.



18 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25665 Rufus”

  1. AndrewC says:

    Thanks for the blog (and thanks, Rufus, for another elegant outing).

    [I usually find these impossible, but today, order seemed to emerge from chaos, thus: Richard Branson (1) and Steve Fossett (3) travelled by balloon – so, presumably there was a nacelle in there somewhere. Steve Reeves (2) played Hercules. And when not being Tim the Enchanter, John Cleese (4) might be found in the Ministry for Silly Walks.]

  2. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog. It seems to me that in 3d we have an example of Neat = Ox which only ever appears in crosswords :)

    [[I identified Richard Branson and John Cleese but was quite unable to make anything more of the pictures]]

  3. Robi says:

    I found some of the cd’s quite difficult; not helped by the grid being in four parts.

    Thanks scchua; I think you are missing an ‘a’ in 25.

    I liked the miniskirts exciting the clergy and the LARIATS.

  4. Robi says:

    [[I think AndrewC @1 has got all the links, including MINISTRY]]

  5. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua. 11ac and 3dn stood out for me as great examples of elegant surfaces. 23dn I liked less…

  6. JamesC says:

    Even by Rufus standards I thought this was poor. Consonant, unless there’s something we’re all missing, is one of the worst clues I’ve ever seen.

    Plenty of other weak cryptic defs, ambiguities and loose cluing… Roll on Tuesday!

  7. scchua says:

    Thanks Robi@3, omission corrected now.
    JamesC@6, I think the point about 1A CONSONANT, is that it’s a double bluff, and speaking for myself, I didn’t see it immediately. And I think that other setters have used a similar technique.

    [[Well done AndewC. We’ll try the impossible next time :-)]]

  8. Robi says:

    Thanks scchua; I thought 1a was quite a clever (misleading) clue.

  9. Miche says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I thought the use of the Irish for Ireland at 1a was a bit of a giveaway that it was the word Éire we were to consider, rather than the country.

    USURPERS took me a while. Otherwise straightforward stuff.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    JamesC @6 –
    It’s fine to complain about “weak cryptic definitions” and “loose cluing” – but only if you say which clues and what you think is loose or weak (and why). To complain about the presence of ambiguity in a cryptic crossword, however, is absurd.

    (To be fair you are specific about 1a but I can’t imagine what you think is wrong with it.)

  11. John Appleton says:

    1a doesn’t feel, IMHO, misleading enough to be cryptic, if that makes sense. A better example of such a clue comes from Rover:

    “Three swans” is one of the answers (7) – ANAGRAM.

    There’s something in the surface of the above that makes it just that bit more misleading, and perhaps a bit more satisfying when the penny drops.

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Twas OK by me.

    I think the blog suggestion in 11 would definitely cause a stir given the majority here are of the male persuasion!

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not a puzzle worth much discussion. I agree with JamesC @6.
    More interesting is Derek’s amazing perceptiveness revealed @12.
    How does he know that I am female?

  14. rrc says:

    1a was my last answer – I thought it was quite clever

  15. Patrick Traill says:

    Is 10A not an and lit? Sell = dispose of, at a higher price = up.

  16. Innocent Abroad says:

    [6] No: I think 1A is fine, indeed I wonder if the Reverend himself has not done similar things in the past. The real howler is 20, where the clue wants “prejudged”, not “prejudiced”. They don’t mean the same thing!

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Prejudice and prejudgement did mean the same,they have moved apart with use over time, as many words do.
    Hardly an howler in a cryptic crossword.

  18. Paul B says:

    Re 10ac I should say not, as it seems to be a pun, or cd, without any true definition. &lits tend to be unerringly accurate in defining their required words and phrases, even where large dollops of poetic licence are allowed.

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