Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25683 Rufus

Posted by scchua on July 9th, 2012


Another Monday Rufus in his standard easy style.  Thanks Rufus.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[Pictures at the bottom have an identified link to the puzzle.  As usual, please double-bracket any comment about them.]]


 1 Bound to score in this game (9)

HOPSCOTCH :  HOP(bound,jump) plus(to) SCOTCH(to scratch,gash,score). 

Answer: A children’s game whose name is derived from “hop”, to jump on one leg over the “scotch”, a line drawn on the ground as part of the game.  A WIWD(wordplay intertwined with the definition) clue.

6 Indicate a suitable victim (4)

MARK :  Double defn: 2nd: A suitable victim for a scam,swindle,assassination.

8 Dejected when name is not top of the bill? (8)

DOWNCAST :  Cryptic defn: If a performer’s name is not at the top of the billing, then it’ll be somewhere further down (in the) cast.

9 Prescription for success in the kitchen (6)

RECIPE :  Double defn: 1st: A medical prescription; and 2nd: A list of ingredients and instructions to make or prepare a food, presumably a prerequisite for making the dish a success.

10 Church is about to suspend innovation (6)

CHANGE :  CE(Church of England) containing(about) HANG(to suspend).

11 Eve’s late, perhaps, but gives a lift (8)

ELEVATESAnagram of(perhaps) EVE’S LATE.

12 Master switch for the current (6)

STREAMAnagram of(switch) MASTER.

15 No chores undone in this vessel (8)

SCHOONERAnagram of(undone) NO CHORES

Answer: A vessel that sails, or one containing liquid, eg. beer or sherry.

16 Best clothes in tatters after having left to wander around (4,4)

GLAD RAGS :  RAGS(tatters) placed after(after having) [GAD(to wander,move aimlessly from one place to another) containing(around) L(abbrev. for left)].

19 Former name to cause a stir (6)

EXCITE :  EX-(former) + CITE(to name,refer to eg. as in a citation).

21 Made about a thousand to be burned (8)

CREMATED :  CREATED(made) containing(about) M(Roman numeral for a thousand).

22 One habitually taking things did wrong in law (6)

ADDICTAnagram of(wrong) DID contained in(in) ACT(a law).  A WIWD clue, if the things taken are illegal or illegally taken.

24 Trendy company needing support? (6)

INFIRM :  IN(trendy,fashionable) + FIRM(a company,business concern).

25 Joins members of the embassy staff (8)

ATTACHES :  Double defn: 2nd: With an acute accent, ´, above the “e”, members of the embassy staff

26 Lockers A to G, perhaps (4)

KEYS :  Double defn: 1st: What are used to lock (and unlock); and 2nd:  In music, the letters from A to G, the various keys in the musical scale.

27 Monocle is readjusted half a stop (9)

SEMICOLONAnagram of(readjusted) MONOCLE IS.

Answer: The punctuation mark that denotes a pause, shorter in length,half of a full stop, joining related clauses in a compound sentence.


1 Spirited Dutch painter? (5)

HOOCH :  Cryptic defn: “hooch” is alcoholic liquor,spirit.

Answer: Pieter de, Dutch painter, a contemporary of the more famous Jan Vermeer.

2 Coppers must accept an imposed punishment (7)

PENANCE :  PENCE(pennies,coppers, so called because they contain bronze, an alloy of copper) containing(must accept) AN.

3 Make cracks on passing fashion (5)

CRAZE :  Double defn: 1st: To crackle,make small cracks on the surface of a ceramic glaze, paint or the like).

4 Is in danger of falling for accountants? (7)

TOTTERS :  Cryptic defn: A (disparaging?) description of accountants as those who count,add,total or tot.

5 Work of a forger, bent but possibly lucky (9)

HORSESHOE :  Cryptic defn: A product,work of a blacksmith,forger, that is U-shaped,bent, considered a sign of good luck.  A WIWD clue.

6 Can come to play with model construction set (7)

MECCANOAnagram of(to play) CAN COME

Answer: The trademark name for a child’s model construction set.  A WIWD clue.

7 What MPs do about now (9)

REPRESENT :  RE(about) + PRESENT(now,at this time). 

Answer: MPs have been elected to represent their constituents.

13 Allowance made to new cleaner (9)

TOLERANCETO + anagram of(new) CLEANER.

14 When to make me smile at cook? (9)

MEALTIMES :  Cryptic defn: Anagram of(cook) ME SMILE AT.  A WIWD clue.

17 Two thousand and one in fees? They’re not real (7)

DUMMIES :  MMI(Roman numerals for two thousand and one) contained in(in) DUES(fees due).

18 Weapon of no use at the front? (4,3)

SIDE ARM :  Cryptic defn.

20 A note added willingly (7)

CODICIL :  Cryptic defn: A note,clause added to the will, modifying or explaining part of it.

22 Athenian garret (5)

ATTIC :  Double defn: 1st: Descriptive of,pertaining to Athens.

23 How one comes to confess (5)

CLEAN :  Cryptic defn: When one confesses, one comes clean.



27 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25683 Rufus”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus.

    Funnily enough I didn’t “see” the two parts of 1ac – Hop & scotch; I just took the clue to mean a game where you had to hop/bound to score.

    [[Pic 1. Chris Farlowe singer of my favourite version of Handbags and Gladrags (16ac)
    Pic 2. Rod Stewart (with ridiculous hair) also recorded this song.
    Pic 3. Ricky Gervais co-writer/director of The Office the theme tune of which was said song – sung at end of show by Fin Muir (Ian More)of Waysted, except for one episode where it was sung in inimitable style by David Brent himself. Song was written by Mike D’Abo vocalist with Manfred Mann whose version is also excellent.]]

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    I too missed the double element in 1a.

    A fairly typical example of R’s clever and exact cluing.

  3. Dave Ellison says:

    All praise today, even for the grid; enjoyed it.

    Thanks, scchua, for the blog.

  4. Trailman says:

    Mercy me, I’ve just finished a Rufus at one sitting. Yes, I know he’s meant to be the easy one, but dds and cds are my blind spots.
    And (unlike Dave @ 3) I had groaned on seeing the grid. Didn’t we have this last week? Not keen on grids with only two links between N and S.
    Still, liked 16ac, 13d, 5d amongst others. Waiting in keen anticipation for next Monday now – I don’t often say that!

  5. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I too parsed 1ac a la EB @1.
    There was a tiny piece of meat to chew over in the NW to slightly compensate for the surplus of write-ins especially in the S.
    My print version has four links between top and bottom.

  6. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog. I quite failed to parse 16a so I’m glad you did it.

    I liked 14d – the surface fitted the answer beautifully.

    [[I did not recognise any of the faces – in part because I got rid of the TV years ago! Thanks to EB for explaining them.]]

  7. Paul B says:

    Depends on where you cut it. The main problem, to my way of thinking, is the coupling of the nine-square divide N/S with the seven-wide schism E-W: problems with linking are inevitable as a result.

    Yes, it’s an easy puzzle, but why use this grid? There’s no NINA or theme to accommodate!

  8. Robi says:

    Enjoyable crossword made somewhat easier by the number of anagrams.

    Thanks scchua; hope you are feeling better now.

    I failed to parse HOPSCOTCH and GLAD RAGS; the latter one of my favourites, together with HORSESHOE and CODICIL.

    Can anyone give me the context of SCOTCH=score?

    [[Well done EB @1; I guess that must be correct]]

  9. Barry says:

    I don’t think modern UK pennies contain copper any more, since the value of the copper content got close to the face value of the coins! Old, non-magnetic 1p and 2p pieces do have the copper content and are worth melting down!

    All that doesn’t stop us calling them coppers.

  10. Robi says:

    ……… re my comment @8, I found this: ‘scotch (verb) [obsolete] to cut or score,’ but as a noun it just says ‘archaic.’ Even I am not old enough for that.

  11. Paul B says:

    Robi, see Collins: scotch 1.3, obsolete, ‘to cut or score’ and scotch 1.4, ‘a line marked down, as for hopscotch’.

  12. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and schhua

    All over rather quickly … had not heard of CRAZE in this context before.

    Also did not parse 1 and 16, but may have just been the haste factor !

    Both 5 and 8 raised a smile.

  13. Robi says:

    Thanks Paul B@11; the online Collins gives the following:

    — vb

    1. to put an end to; crush: bad weather scotched our plans
    2. archaic to injure so as to render harmless
    3. obsolete to cut or score

    — n

    4. archaic a gash; scratch
    5. a line marked down, as for hopscotch

    So, I think for score it is 3 or 4 i.e. obsolete or archaic. Still fair for crossword-fare, I suppose.

  14. scchua says:

    Thanks for all your comments. Robi@8, “score” as in to make scratches, is one of the (archaic) meanings of “scotch”, cf the bottom half of, which cites Collins. (By the time I submitted this, your @10 and 13, and Paul B@11 had just come in.)

    [[Well done, EB@1, you’re right on re the pics.]]

  15. eimi says:

    Paul B @7

    Have just had lunch with the good professor and the subject of unfair grids came up. He would genuinely like to know what grids solvers consider unfair/unhelpful with a view to phasing such grids out.

  16. Trailman says:

    Thanks Eimi
    At least three, pref four, links between E and W or N and S. Not always easy to spot; today the only NS links are 2d and 20d, it’s as if the grid was skewed. This can be less of a problem if there are plenty of linked clues; I seem to remember Paul doing this recently.
    Not too many 5-letter words with only two checked letters. Some grids seem to make a habit of this!
    I’m sure others will have their betes noires too.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    If there is to be a logical discussion of grid choice (hardly a necessity to me) then we need some clear definitions.
    How can 2d be a link (NS) when apparently 13d and 14d are not?

  18. rhotician says:

    On the subject of grids:

    RCWhiting, in a comment on Enigmatist’s 25680, observed that of the checked letters 34% were vowels, and wondered whether that is high or low. I investigated this and my prelimanary findings are that the value in question is normally in the range 27-41%, with a mean and a median of 34%! I don’t know what RCW will make of that.

    Now I don’t want to get into a lot of detail about sample size, statistical significance, deviation etc. Suffice to say that the only anomaly was in last week’s Rufus, where the figure was 48%.

    I realize that this has to do with the content rather than the structure of the grid but I had to calculate the number of checked letters and these ranged from 52 to 60, with a mean of 56. In the Rufus there were 44. In percentage terms 34% to 37% norm, compared with 30% Rufus.

    Today’s Rufus is 56 and 37%.

    As far as sectors and connectors goes that’s getting complicated but it is obviously related to the simple number of checked letters.

  19. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I’m afraid, I am a bit of a simpleton when it comes to grids.
    While I appreciate that choosing a ‘suitable’ grid is part of a setter’s job, I personally cannot be bothered too much about it. In short: I just try to solve the puzzle regardless the grid (for me, it’s all about the cluing itself).

    That said, I can imagine that grids that cry out loud for a Nina (like today’s) might be seen as less user-friendly than grids in which we have more first letters checked.
    And indeed, grids that look like four separate puzzles are perhaps less stimulating too.

    While I cannot be bothered too much, I must admit also that the grid used, for example, by Rufus in 25,659 (11 June 12) is not one of my favourites. If you can’t make too much of the cross in the middle, the puzzle almost falls apart. The first time I was really aware of this grid was in a Pasquale, who was so friendly to include some new (others would say obscure) words to make things even harder.
    I forgave Pasquale, but perhaps not The Grid.
    Generally speaking, though, I’m going with the flow.

    If editors really like the figure out which grids we, the solvers, like or dislike, I would say: put these (or at least a selection) on the website of The Guardian and/or The Independent. Then ask people to vote: ‘yes/no’ or perhaps ‘yes/neutral/no’ – don’t make it more complicated (like using a 5-point scale). See what happens next.

    To change the subject, normally I do not comment very much to Rufus puzzles. As a regular blogger of his alter ego I know what to expect, what I like and sometimes dislike and, most important, what I learnt since I started doing crosswords.
    Today, however, I was a bit surprised by 1d (HOOCH).
    Looking for a Dutch painter, having ????H, I was really puzzled – never heard of any. After I saw that it had to be Hooch, I googled a bit to find out that he was there!
    Mainly English sites told me it was a painter, one that we, Ze Dutch, know as Pieter de Hoogh, with a g. Never heard anyone in Holland call him Hooch with a c.
    Moreover, ‘de’ (lower case) is part of the surname, just like ‘van den’ in mine. And although it is, in an encyclopedia one would indeed list him (us! :)) under H.
    It felt a bit like saying ‘Goch’ instead of ‘ van Gogh’. Bit odd, isn’t it?

  20. Trailman says:

    RCW @ 17: imagine cutting with scissors: what would be the fewest (least? sorry, blind spot) number of number of links you could cut through, and leave two symmetrical halves? It doesn’t need to be a straight line cut; it needs to preserve the symmetry. In this case, it’s more of a NE/SW split than N/S, but the principle is the same.

  21. Taco_Belly says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus.

    I thought this good fun for a Monday and (Philistine that I am) can never seem to get too worked up about the grid. Didn’t know a Dutch painter named Hooch or this meaning of Attic. Must get around to buying a Chambers!

    Great blog and for some reason really liked 14d

  22. John Appleton says:

    With grids, it only really annoys me if there’s only one (sometimes 2) links from one part of a crossword to another. Usually in those cases, as I think has been mentioned numerous times, it’s like having four mini-crosswords. If one of those mini-crosswords is proving difficult, there’s not much leeway to break into it from another part of the crossword.

    Regarding checking, it is obviously more helfpul to the solver if more rather than fewer letters of solutions are checked. I don’t really mind either way, as long as the setter gives some consideration to the checked letters and how much of a clue they might give to the solver. -A-E- in a word is not terribly helpful, but if the clue for such is done neatly and without too much deviousness, it’s forgiveable (as in 26a, Rugus 25677).

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Sil’s comment:
    “While I appreciate that choosing a ‘suitable’ grid is part of a setter’s job, I personally cannot be bothered too much about it. In short: I just try to solve the puzzle regardless the grid (for me, it’s all about the cluing itself).”
    sums up my view entirely.

    Thanks for doing that tedious analysis. I could (should) have done it myself. Anyway it shows that my original comment was just a bit of nonsense.

    That all looks extremely complicated, it is not one of my fetishes to cut up crossword grids.(although it was the sort of idea which I used in my previous incarnation!)
    I prefer the simple fact that solving 13 and 14 down undoubtedly makes 12ac much easier. Ditto for 5 and 7 down and 19ac.

  24. rhotician says:

    RCW @17: I agree that there would need to be clear definitions. I also think that it would be very difficult to state them. I can see why 2dn is the only link between the NW and SW segments but I can’t really define what I mean by a segment. Trailman @20 makes a valiant attempt to explain but I think I only understand it because I already know what he means.

    My own observation about checking letters is irrelevant. If we start by blocking alternate spaces round the edge of a grid then only a maximum of 49 checking letters is possible and in reality the best I’ve seen is 48. Last week’s Rufus’ use of only 44 had no effect on the number of links.

    I quite often find with all sorts of grids that NE and SW, say, are very incomplete but have become separated despite adequate links from NE and SW.

    I do find the four mini-puzzle phenomenon irritating but I try to look on it as a challenge.

  25. Fat Al says:

    Hi all.

    I’m another antipodean newcomer to this cryptic crossword game. The Guardian is the only one published in my local newspaper, and I’ve been attempting it for a few months now. I stumbled across the on-line access to it and also this excellent site a while ago. Many thanks to all of you for your blogs and comments. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

    With regards to the grid, I only recently even noticed that it was always symmetrical. D’oh! I’ve just done a bit of googling and it appears that it has traditionally always been done this way. I’m interested in you more experienced solvers’ opinions about that. My (impertinent) newcomer’s opinion is that it would be much better to give the compiler the opportunity to tweak the grid as necessary, if it could improve the quality of the clueing.

    Thanks again to everyone here. Now off to have a crack at Philistine’s 25684. Cheers.

  26. Rufus says:

    Re symmetrical grids. While word squares and other similar puzzles have been around for donkeys’ years, the modern crossword is now accepted to have developed from a puzzle, called the Word-Cross, in the New York World, published in December 1913. It was set by the puzzle editor, Liverpool-born Arthur Wynne, and was diamond- shaped, and, as I always try to remember, had 1 across as FUN.
    The puzzle was deemed a success and it continued to be modified with the help of the readers. It became a Cross-Word before dropping the hyphen. The type-setters weren’t too happy with setting up the grids and other mistakes in clues and solutions caused many complaints. Eventually, to make things easier, the grids became symmetrical, making checking far more simple.

  27. Fat Al says:

    Thanks Rufus. I thought there must be some historical reason behind it. Thanks also for your puzzles. I’ve really enjoyed some of your CDs.

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