Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,677 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on July 2nd, 2012


A typical Monday miscellany of cryptic / double definitions, ingenious anagrams and smooth surfaces from Rufus to start our week.  Many thanks to him.

[Readers will no doubt be glad to hear this morning’s news of  the safe return of Rufus’s namesake.] 


7   PRICELESS: double definition
8   SEPIA: PI [very good] in SEA [water]
9   MINUSCULE: MINU [two thirds of a minute] + anagram [solving] of CLUES – an excellent surface for a crossword puzzle!
10  HINGE: cryptic definition, with a reference to cricket
12  SHOALS: double definition
13  EDITIONS: anagram  [tricked] of INTO SIDE
14  OFFERED: anagram [entanglement] of FREED OF – another great surface
17  FRECKLE: cryptic definition
20  FLAGPOLE: cryptic definition
22  SOUGHT: [to non-rhoticians] sounds like sort
24  AFOOT: A FOOT [measure]
26  RAVER: R [right] + AVER [state]
27  MANGETOUT: MAN [chap] GET OUT [leave]: I don’t see what the ‘served’ is doing here, either for the surface or the wordplay: Rufus is not one for superfluous words


1   WRAITH: I [one] in WRATH [anger]: initially, I thought this was rather weak – almost anything ‘may appear’ – but, of course, a wraith is an apparition, which is, literally, an appearing
2   ACCURATE: AC [bill] + CURATE [clergyman]: I think I’ve seen this charade before but I did like ‘foot the bill’, which works so well in a down clue
3   SLACKS: cryptic definition: this one made me laugh, just a week after Rufus amused us with his ‘Victorian rear extension sublet’ anagram for BUSTLE: here, of course, both words are verbs in the surface reading
4   PSALTER: not quite a double definition: a psalter is a book of psalms and David wrote [much of] the Book of Psalms
5   GEMINI: G[arag]E + MINI: what a great surface!
6   DIAGONAL: reversal [raise] of AID [help] + anagram [organised] of A LONG
11  TIER:  T [time] IE [that is] R [right]
15  FALL FLAT: FALL [happen] + FLAT [on the level]
16  EROS: reversal [put up] of SORE [tender] for this capital statue
18  CRUMPETS: C [caught] + anagram [all out] of STUMPER – another great surface and a second cricketing reference
19  DECIMAL: anagram [treatment] of MEDICAL
21  GLOVES: an amusing cryptic definition
22  SLEDGE: SEDGE [plant] around L [fifty]
23  HOLD-UP: double definition

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,677 / Rufus”

  1. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Fairly straightforward although I struggled a little with the NW corner. I made a problem for myself by writing ‘RATIO’ (hidden in ‘operation’) in 24 on the first pass, whilst making a mental note to query a ratio being the same as a measure on this forum later in the day. Held me up on 15 and 21 for a little while. Ah well….

  2. John Appleton says:

    I thought the checking made this a bit more of a struggle than it otherwise might have been.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I do enjoy Rufus’ cds and dds, but with nearly a third of the clues of this type and – as John A says – a grid unfriendly to solvers, I found this a struggle, and gave up in the end. It was almost like solving four separate puzzles.

  4. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen. Could someone explain to a non-player why 10A has a cricketing reference?

  5. Eileen says:

    I’ll let K’s D do that. 😉

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    At your service, Auntie Eileen.

    HINGE is ‘one of a pair of openers’, as in the metalwork on your front door; and a ‘pair of openers’ are the two batsmen who open the innings in cricket; the reference is just there for the surface, I think.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    I have to agree with the comments about the grid – we seem to get this one very frequently from Rufus.

    Thanks, Eileen, couldn’t see 10ac.

    Some of the extra words for the “surface” detract from the aesthetics for me (“required” and “or” in 9a, for example, and in particular the “a” of “a minute” – when it is actually two thirds of “minute”)

    I refrain from commenting on 22ac!

  8. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I found the right hand side to be the usual Monday fodder but fortunately the rest gave me a bit of a struggle.
    Last in was ‘shoals’, I failed to attach sufficient importance to the unusual plural (fishes)and was looking for a particular fish.
    I liked 21d and 10ac, which in spite of the above comments actually has nothing at all to do with cricket although I did fall for the misdirection briefly.
    Better than the usual Monday offering.

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Dave “I refrain from commenting on 22ac!”


  10. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I failed to spot 7a and that left me with an un-guessable 4d :(

  11. Meic says:

    What’s cryptic about the defn to HINGE? It seems to me, like so many of Rufus’s supposed CDs, to be plain and non-cryptic, but in this case inaccurate as hinges do not necessarily come in pairs. But might it not be a reference to one of comedy duo Hinge and Bracket?

  12. Median says:

    I agree very much with Kathryn’s Dad @3 – too many cryptic definitions and an unfriendly grid. Like him, I gave up. Disappointing.

  13. Robi says:

    Fairly gentle, although HINGE took a while and was my last in.

    Thanks Eileen; the opening pair was I think, like RCW @8, just a misdirection with regards to cricket. Although hinges may come in other combinations than pairs, that is a usual set, so I think the clue is fine. MANGETOUT, according to Chambers, are usually cooked, so maybe that is the reason for ‘served’ in the clue. At the beginning, I thought the answer to 3 might have been girdle. 😉

  14. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks, K’s D, though I did know about batting openers – not so ignorant after all. I therefore agree with Meic @11; it’s a bit thin, surely. I also, like Meic, considered the Hinge and Bracket route for a bit.

  15. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen
    Found this one a little tougher than normal Monday – had never heard of the vegetable before.

    I actually like the Rufus cd / dd puzzles mainly for his tight surfaces – I initially thought that sunny spot was going to be a weak TROPICS and was pleased to see FRECKLE come through. It along with 1,21 and 3 (my last in) were my faves.

  16. William says:

    Thank you Eileen.

    Failed to finish as I can’t spell MINISCULE/MINUSCULE and I got worn out with all the double defs.

    PRICELESS was an excellent clue, as was HINGE.

    This is a horrid grid – I find I solve a clue only to discover that I’ve moved no further forward with the rest!

    No complaints though, he’s still among the smoothest.

    Thank you, Rufus.

  17. Paul B says:

    Grid first seen, by me anyway, at Guardian 24228. It’s a real shocker, quite unch-tastic, and doesn’t seem to want to communicate with itself at all.

  18. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. This took me slightly longer than usual, considering it was Rufus.

    21dn made me smile — and I’m not a huge fan of cds.

    Usual smooth surfaces — although I agree with some of the comments that there were a few superfluous words here and there, which isn’t like Rufus.

  19. Trailman says:

    No, still not on the Rufus wavelength I’m afraid. Struggled with several of the dds and cds, esp 7ac, 10ac (thought of Hinge & Bracket but discarded it, silly me), 3d. Agree with William and Paul B @ 16/17 re the grid too. Sorry to moan!

  20. rrc says:

    Some very nice clues – particularly 27a and 19down

  21. drago says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus. Glad I thought of the PS_ combination or I would never have got 4d from the clue or crossers.
    Btw Eileen, you have put the fodder not the solution for 22d.

  22. Eileen says:

    Thanks drago – fixed now. [I know exactly how that happened but I won’t bore you with the details. I’ve never got away with a mistake for as long as that before!]

  23. rhotician says:

    In today’s (now yesterday’s) Times:

    1ac Cut an Irishman announced in speech (5)

    How outrageous is that? ‘in speech’ is TOTALLY redundant.

  24. rhotician says:

    On second thoughts it’s ‘in speech’ as opposed to ‘in the Times’.

  25. BobG says:

    Re: 10ac – When specifying ironmongery hinges are always listed in “pairs”. When a door is hung on three hinges these are described as “one and a half pairs”. You don’t often see hinges used singly.

  26. Huw Powell says:

    I found this to be a bit sloppy.

    First, our dear Rufus should be banned from using this awful grid, which he uses *a lot* and almost no one else does. Why? Because his heavy use of CDs and DDs, which are very hard to be sure of, should be buffered with stronger checking.

    I completed all the puzzle at various times, except FELL FLAT, but left a lot in pencil and even changed “correct” answers to others in pursuit of happiness, like ditching RATIO for “admin” – “A” “DeciMeter” “IN” = “operation”. I caught HINGE very late – that one was just a guessing game, not a clue for a cryptic puzzle. Maybe H?N?E would have been fair, but who knows with that weird clue. Many doors have three. My homemade mediaeval living room doors have four.

    Back to my “hard to be sure of” comment. A well structured cryptic clue, when solved, is usually “provably” correct, in that the definition is “acceptable” if a bit stretched, and the wordplay is *exact* in interpretation and result. Then ink can be used and the checks are solid for further work.

    With a DD, or worse yet, a CD – which I do not object to in principle – there is no way to be sure one has the correct answer, which makes the checked letters so much more useful. If there are any.

    I wish I had some favorite clues to list – all I have are grumbles. “Required or” is redundant in 9. “in a” is redundant in 26. Some people pronounce “sort” with an “r”. 4 isn’t a double definition, it’s a mess – I went with an “M” not a “T”, although I equivocated on it. The clue does not provide an answer to finish the answer.

    Now don’t get me wrong, the other half of the puzzle was nice typical Monday fare, speckled with easy anagrams and amusing surface/charade combinations. But I prefer to get an “aha, THAT’S how that worked” (like I did with FELL FLAT) when I come here to see where I went wrong, rather than to continue to groan. Not my happiest outing of late.

    But as always, thanks and best regards to our friend Rufus, the valiant blogger Eileen, and all you who comment here, however regularly.

    A final comment: is there anywhere on 225 or elsewhere where there are ongoing discussions of the world/hobby of crossword solving at a more general level? I often find myself with comments (like most of this one) that are really far broader than the confines of discussing one puzzle let me explore. I think this thing posts my email; suggestions would be delightful. Thanks in advance, as the the hip young kids say.

  27. Huw Powell says:

    Ah, I see only the blogger has access to email addresses. But the url I chose is published. Just write to “one@” that domain name, if you have any suggestions to help with my closing query. Thanks!

  28. Huw Powell says:

    Paul @ 17, I loved the way you put that!

  29. Huw Powell says:

    PPPPS, Ironically, I had “gripes” at 21d. Very early on.

  30. Huw Powell says:

    BobG, I hadn’t read your comment before my whinging about HINGE. Not that I ever saw them referred to or sold that way, but your explanation is helpful.

  31. Eileen says:

    Hi Huw @26

    “A final comment: is there anywhere on 225 or elsewhere where there are ongoing discussions of the world/hobby of crossword solving at a more general level?”

    Click on ‘General Discussion’ at the top of this page. 😉

  32. rompad says:

    16 It is a common misconception that this statue is of Eros, it is actually of Anteros. See Wikipedia for Eros.

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