Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,671 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on June 25th, 2012


I found this hard than average for Rufus, mainly because the structure of many of the clues (which is usually completely straightforward) is very well hidden in a smooth surface reading. I have some minor quibbles about a couple of definitions.

9. REGISTRAR Cryptic defintion referrin to the person who registers marriages
10. FIGHT FLIGHT less L. According to my references a squadron consists of a number of FLIGHTs, so the definition is a bit inaccurate
12. STRIDE ST[reet] + RIDE
13. ESPOUSAL Double definition (though the two meanings are very closely related)
14. ABIGAIL A BIG AIL. Abigail was one of King David’s eight wives in the OT.
17. HOLDALL Cryptic defintion
20. ANTELOPE ANTE (bet, e.g. in poker) + LOPE, &lit
24. NIPPY Double definition
25. CLEARANCE Double definition – the “potter” is a snooker player wanting to clear the table
26. CHANT CH[urch] + ANT
27. SEDENTARY EDEN (garden) in ST + A RY
1. INVERT V (number) in INERT
2. FLAILING L (another number!) in FAILING. I think of “flailing” as meaning thashing about ineffectively, but it can also mean to hit with a flail.
4. SHEARED ARE in SHED. A very simple clue, as both parts of the wordplay are in plain view; fooled by the double bluff I tried and failed to make something involing a HUT.
6. HIGHBALL HIGH (off, as in rotten food) + BALL (dance).
11. UP TO Double definition, though I think “scheming” can only define “up to something” (on seconf thoughts, maybe “what are you up to?” = “what are you scheming?”)
15. BUNFIGHT Cryptic definition, referring to a battle between Chelsea buns and Bath buns
16. IRON (OR IN)*
19. REPLIES REP (salesman) LIES
21. EXPAND EX-“panned”
22. REARED ARE “in the RED” – a second use of ARE in a clue that appears directly in the answer

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,671 – Rufus”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    Enjoyable overall. Despite some very easy clues, I too found this slightly harder in parts than many of R’s puzzles – the grid does not help.

    Smooth surfaces abound, as usual.

    I ticked 17a, 25a, 27a, 15d, 16d for their lateral thinking.

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    Contrary to the two views so far, I found this quite easy, apart from the last four (24a, 13a, 11d, 21d). For a change, I actually liked a couple of the CDs, 17a and 15d.

  3. Robi says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus; good, enjoyable puzzle.

    I forgot about the potter in snooker. :( Like Dave @2, I enjoyed HOLDALL and BUNFIGHT. I thought the two meanings of ESPOUSAL were sufficiently different in usage.

    I liked the misleading ‘turn up’ in INVERT, and, similarly, the ‘said’ in DISTASTE. I also appreciated the clue for BUSTLE.

  4. liz says:

    Thanks Andrew. I wouldn’t say I found this hard, but I agree with you that the surfaces were nicely misleading. I also agree with Dave Ellison @ 2 about the CDs. I thought 15dn was great.

    The other clue that particularly appealed to me was 3dn — great surface!

    Minor quibble — I’m sure I will stand corrected, but is ‘ail’ the same as ‘pain’?

  5. Robi says:

    Liz @4; Chambers has ail=indisposition and the Xword dic has ail=pain, so I guess it’s OK. :)

  6. liz says:

    Thanks Robi!

  7. tupu says:

    I should have included 3d among my ‘ticks’. In addition to the surface, I like the word itself if only because it evokes fond old memories of a student friend strumming a ukelele and singing an amusing pseudo folk-song ‘I was a bustle-maker once, girls’. It seems this was written by an Irish aristocrat (Patrick Barrington, 1908-90) who was well known for his ‘humourous verse’.

    Cf. for the words and for the man himself see,_11th_Viscount_Barrington

  8. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Andrew

    Normal start to the week with reasonably straightforward offering from Rufus – finished in the SW corner with 14A the last in.

    Did like the cleverly hidden short anagram at 16d. 17d brought a smile.

    Surprised to see ARE used as an insert twice in the same grid.

  9. Rufus says:

    Thank you Andrew for a comprehensive blog.
    Regarding Squadron and Flight,Chambers gives the definitions SQUADRON “a unit under one command” and FLIGHT “a unit of the air force”, so I thought my use was reasonably fair.
    During my 15 years in the RN in the Fleet Air Arm I served in several “flights” in Air Early Warning Skyraiders and Gannets, and ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) Avengers because 849 and 831 Squadrons were shore-based, but supplied several carriers with its aircraft. When embarked we were known as a Squadron, but became Flights when we were disembarked to our home base.

  10. Paul B says:

    Agree strongly with most of the above. Fave clue 25, and we’re a lot better at snooker than we are at footer, let’s face it. And thanks to salty old seadog Rufus for a nice challenge.

    I was intrigued by the ‘as sheep are in a shed’ clue, since the non-subsidiary part ‘as sheep’ does not adequately define SHEARED: perhaps sheep are WOOLLY, for example, before they are SHEARED. Reading the whole clue gives a better explanation, since sheep are quite often, one presumes, sheared in a shed, and so a semi-&lit kind of an aroma wafts over me. I’m brewing a pot of coffee right now, in fact, to try and reduce the pong.

    I wondered about ‘a shed’ though. Just ‘shed’?

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer on a couple of occasions.

    On 18d it took me a long time to spot that ‘complicated’ is being used as an anagrind :(

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Indeed wonderful misdirecting surfaces. Over 20 million of us were engrossed in a football match last night so the cunning compiler assumed it would take us into extra time to realise that 9ac was about marriages.
    For non soccer fans there were equally misleading matches available: England v. West Indies at Nottingham, Chambers (?) v Gemili at Birmingham or even some obscure tennis matches.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Enjoyed this one, with only CLEARANCE and INVERT holding me up at the end. Robi has already answered liz’s question, but I took it to be the equivalence between ‘What ails thee?’ and ‘What pains thee?’ A bit old-fashioned, but it worked for me. SHEARED? Hmmm. Thanks to Rufus for a good start to the week.

  14. Miche says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I did enjoy “Victorian rear extension” for BUSTLE.

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    The consensus seem to easy in places but hard in places. I’ll go along with that.

    It was a pity that “The only luggage one needs?” wasn’t (4,5) when one could reasonably get to “Your towel”. (Just to prove I do read books!)

  16. Jack_Dazley says:

    First of all great blog, thank you! I’m only just discovering the joys and frustrations of crosswords so it’s helping me to learn no end. Pardon my ignorance but could somebody please elaborate on 3d? I got “bustle” from “sublet for redevelopment” recognising it was an anagram. But the penny didn’t drop how “Victorian rear extension” was “bustle.” If somebody should shed some light I’d be much olbliged! Thanks. Jack

  17. Jack_Dazley says:

    Ahhhh sorry should’ve tried a trip to Google first. Silly me. Very clever!

  18. johnmcc says:

    Good puzzle. And thanks for that poem Tupu!

  19. Davy says:

    Thanks to johnmcc for alerting me to the poem and thanks to tupu for providing the link.
    Music is my first love and not poetry but I loved this. I wonder if there’s a similar
    poem about the demise of the crinoline although rhyming would be difficult.

  20. rhotician says:

    Paul B @10 & KD @13: I share your misgivings about SHEARED.

    Paul B @10 again: “Just shed?”

    I have seen others object, usually tentatively, to redundancy in clues. I can only remember one response, which essentially said it was OK if it made for a better surface. So, for instance, if you want to hide NADIA it’s OK to add the redundant ‘Pacific Railway’ to ‘Canadian’.

    Assuming that you think just ‘shed’ is better then, for what it’s worth, I agree. I will not say on what grounds, because I would probably need to refer to Ximenes, misunderstandings would arise and we would all stray far into General Discussion.

    I wonder what RCW thinks. I don’t suppose he’ll tell us. He doesn’t do quibbles.

  21. Paul B says:

    He likes ‘a bit of looseness on a Tuesday’ apparently, but this appeared on a Monday. If you do manage to contact him, let me know what he says.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Cannot be arsed,he loosely said.

  23. Sylvia says:

    RCWhiting: Loved your response! Impressed by a positive Mon blog too.

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