Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,695 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on July 23rd, 2012


A fairly standard Rufus, though with (I think) a larger helping than usual of anagrams, especially the three long acrosses. These should give a good start to the puzzle for those who sometimes find it hard to get on the wavelength of Rufus’s double and cryptic definitions .

5. APACHE PA (father = governor) in A CHE [Guevara]
6. ROMANS Double definition
9. NICKER Double definition, using two slang meanings – nicker = pound and nick = steal
10. DISARMED I think of this sort of clue as a definition + cryptic hint, or definition-and-a-half, which I shall call a sesquidef. The Venus de Milo is famously missing its arms.
11. ANNA Formerly one sixteenth of a Rupee, with “either way” indicating that it’s a palindrome
21. UPAS UP (not down) AS. It’s a poisonous plant
22. PRICE TAG PRICE (cost) + TAG (quotation). As per my grumbles last week, I find the clueing of PRICE rather weak.
23. READER Cryptic definition
24. SHINDY DIN* in SHY . Shy and start can both mean to make a sudden movement.
1. BACKLASH Double definition
2. CHORUS Cryptic definition – a chorus can be “a composition which is sung by a chorus”, i.e. by a number of people.
3. CONSOMME CON + [Battle of the] SOMME
4. BARREN Homophone of “baron”
7. SEEMED Homophone of “seamed”
8. ODDLY ENOUGH ODDLY (not even) + ENOUGH (sufficient)
15. LAUDABLE Reverse of DUAL + ABLE (demonstrating skill), definition “Excellent”
16. LITRES A very obvious anagram of LISTER
17. MAKE DO MAKE (produce) + DO (act), with a nice surface reading referring to theatrical or cinematic activities. As commenters have noted, there’s a typo in the clue (which may get corrected later) – “mange” should be “manage”.
19. PICNIC Cryptic definition
20. SCRAPE Double definition (jam = scrape = difficult situation)

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,695 – Rufus”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. The only bit that was slightly tricky was the bottom right – a combination of the grauniad’s rendition of manage as “mange” (although it was obviously a misprint) and the fact that, despite living on the island of Java, I’d never come across the UPAS tree!

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew, Rufus and NeilW … I had been puzzled by MANGE in the clue for 17d but I got there nevertheless.

  3. William says:

    Thank you, Andrew.

    Like Bryan, I went straight for MANGE = MANAGE at 17d. Was your version different or did you just assume a Grauniadism too?

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I too had a double-take at the mange/manage misprint. I liked this one, with some good cds and dds, which I personally enjoy. But can we please give this grid a decent burial? It felt like solving four separate crosswords; and if you don’t need the outer letters for a nina, then why use it? The trickiness with Rufus is usually the cds and dds, and some starting letters are often a help.

    Thanks to Rufus for a pleasing puzzle to start the week.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew. What a lovely new word! You need to slap a © on sesquidef, cf Muck’s ‘Araubetical’! ;-)

  6. Eileen says:

    And thanks, Rufus, too, of course!

  7. William says:

    Shamefully, missed sesquidef – very nice, Andrew!

  8. Andrew says:

    I have to admit that I didn’t notice the manage/mange typo – my blurry midnight vision read what “should have” been there..

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    The usual mixed bag – some very easy and some harder. Some typical smooth surfaces e.g. 12a.

    I did not know that ‘scrape’ can refer explicitly to thinly spread butter or margarine. As others, I was only briefly puzzled by ‘mange’.

  10. Andrew says:

    tupu – I knew that sense of SCRAPE from the expression bread and scrape (though I had a vague feeling it referred to dripping rather than butter).

  11. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    What a brilliant new ruse to solve the problem of the Monday crosswords.
    We get the usual, with over 80% of the clues being write-ins, but to provide a welcome mini-challenge there are three thought- provoking clues.
    Never mind that they (23ac,25ac, 17d) are all clustered in the SE
    and contain a misleading misprint, anything to improve the Monday malaise.
    Unlike others, I spent quite a while accepting ‘mange’ (it is a word!). Hey-ho! All’s fair in love and Monday puzzles.

    My recollection is also of bread and scrape being dripping, and fighting over the brown goo at the bottom!

  12. tupu says:

    Hi Andrew and RCW
    My Chambers mentions butter and marge. explicitly – as I said I did not know the expression.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Further thoughts on 1d,given as DD in the blog.
    If ‘violent reaction against’ is one definition how can ‘corporal punishment’be the other? ‘backlash’ would be support corporal punishment, wouldn’t it?
    Or is it lashed on the back? Not good.

  14. aztobesed says:

    ‘Scrape’ will be familiar to anyone who has read Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. It was the free ‘meal’ along with a cup of weak tea in the ‘spikes’, the (state- / church-run flop-houses of London). He specified it as very, very thinly-spread margarine on sliced bread.

  15. Thomas99 says:

    I don’t see a problem with “corporal punishment?” cluing backlash. It could be either a lashing of the back (corporal punishment) = back-lash (cf. bottom-spank, leg-pull or whatever); or back (adj.) meaning “of the back”, therefore corporal and lash = punishment. It took me longer to see the other half, where “against” is adverbial, not prepositional (so it doesn’t need to say what it’s against, as in “He’s in favour; I’m against”).

  16. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to Rufus and Andrew. Pleasant start to the week. I don’t mind what grid I get! And I just love sesquidef.

  17. Col says:

    Nice start to the week. Learned a new word – upas. Last in was 17d, which was maybe seen as too easy, so they added the misprint to keep us on our toes. Heh-heh…

  18. sidey says:

    Thank heavens for no ‘smooth surfaces’ in the blog.

    Best thing about all of today’s puzzles.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    As my last line in @13 shows i did see your interpretation,just didn’t like it much.
    I would have liked ‘violent reaction against/for corporal punishment.’

  20. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Andrew
    Good to have an easier start to the week after the tough work at the end of last week. Found this took a little more effort than usual though with new words NICKER (for pound that I hadn’t seen before) and the mushroom was also unknown.

    Last in was PICNIC and favorite was probably READER.

  21. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and Andrew.

    I thought that this was going to be easy at first but got stuck on a few. I, too, wasted a few brain cells in trying to parse ‘mange.’ Can’t see any correction/apology yet on the Grauniad site.

    I liked CONSOMME and READER.

  22. Trailman says:

    Thanks Andrew, you’re absolutely right, it’s a bit less Rufusish than usual and that means those like me who are not quite on his wavelength can get there. Indeed I found this fairly straightforward. Slow on the SE corner ‘cos of the misprint. Two ‘typical’ Rufus clues, ROMANS and PICNIC, last in.

  23. tupu says:


    :) Sorry to have let you down @9

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Robi @21: “I, too, wasted a few brain cells in trying to parse ‘mange.’ Can’t see any correction/apology yet on the Grauniad site”

    Well, Boys & Girls, if you would have done Dante’s Monday Prize Crossword in the FT (quite recently, 2 July) – like I did, because I had to blog that puzzle – the solution was rather a write-in as the clue was 100% the same.

    Apart from that, an enjoyable crossword and (for us) slightly harder than usual. We didn’t get PICNIC, although in hindsight it is rather obvious. Where others liked READER, we found it a pretty poor clue.
    But we’re all different, aren’t we? [it’s quite a while since I’ve used that :)]

    And there’s that Pasqualian grid again (well, I associate it with the Don). If you can’t get 8d and 13ac, then the puzzle becomes 4 for the price of 1.
    Luckily, we didn’t have problems with these, so no real complaints.

    We liked CONSOMME, NEAP TIDE and LAUDABLE (among others).

    Thanks Andrew for the blog and Rufus for an effort that once again seemed to be so effortless …. :)

  25. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Andrew.

    My recollection of scrape accompanied “parlour bread” – otherwise bread cut so thinly that a scrape of butter was all one needed. This was served by the redoubtable sisters when one had important visitors.On a good day, damson jam might have put in an appearance! No doubt a bishop would have been worth a cake!

    Giovanna x

  26. Paul B says:

    Guardian grid 31 is your man, SvdH. The infectious disorder has now become MANAGE again, just as it was in FT 14045 Dante, 02.07.12, 1 across.

    Paul x

  27. Huw Powell says:

    Putting “Renter” in pencil in 23 killed 15 for me. Awful grid. Why does Rufus keep using these horrid grids, when very often CDs and DDs only result in pencil, since one can’t be certain of the answer?

    Never heard of the fungus or the poison, might be nice on a later in the week puzzle, but I thought the Grauniad tried to start easy on Sunday and work their way towards the Saturday prize?

    I really hate pure CDs. I don’t like DDs. I already dropped the Everyman a while back, I don’t want to also not like Mondays. Low checking combined with CDs and DDs an unpretty puzzle makes.

    And since when is a SALAMANDER a “monster”? I got the anagram easily, but the definition is simple poor. Grumpy grumpy.

    But as always, thanks for offering, Rufus, I don’t have to like them all, and the blog, Andrew!

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