Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25755 Rufus

Posted by scchua on October 1st, 2012


Another Monday Rufus.  Not one for the more advanced (though 27 did hold me up, why I now can’t see).  Thanks to Rufus, for the compact and smooth cluing.   Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom between them share 2 links with the puzzle.  Please enclose any comments about them in double brackets.]]

7 Abandon one on flight (9)

DESERTION : DESERT(to abandon) + I(Roman numeral for “one“) + ON. Not very cryptic, with the answer as the noun of the main component of the wordplay.

8 Importance of respect (5)

VALUE : Double defn: 1st: As a noun; and 2nd: As a verb.

9 He may counsel the sexual offender (9)

THERAPIST : THE + RAPIST(sexual offender).

10 Timber reordered by one (5)

EBONY : Anagram of(reordered) BY ONE.

12 Animated or dead — idolised (6)

ADORED : Anagram of(Animated) OR DEAD.

13 Ability to stick to point, perhaps (8)

GUMPTION : GUM(to stick to) + anagram of(perhaps) POINT.

Answer: Initiative or courage, demonstrated by the ability to persevere, stick to. A WIWD(wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

14 After getting in the beer he went round preaching (7)

APOSTLE : POST-(a prefix from Latin, denoting after,posterior to) contained in(getting in) ALE(beer).

17 Attractive artwork (7)

DRAWING : Double defn: 1st: As in “drawing in,attracting the crowds”.

20 Document to be filled in by don or graduate (3,5)

PRO FORMA : PROF(short for “professor”,an academic don) + OR + MA(abbrev. for a Master of Arts graduate).

Answer: A standardised document, showing only some information ahead of one with the rest of the information.

22 Pop a question that’s somewhat obscure (6)

OPAQUE : Hidden in(that’s somewhat) pOP A QUEstion.

24 Seven dancing castaways? (5)

VEILS : Cryptic defn: Reference to the Dance of the Seven Veils, an elaboration of the biblical tale of the execution of John the Baptist. Usually described as performed by Salome, with the seven veils being cast away in turn. An early example of the striptease?

25 Way home from the inn (9)


26 It’s worn by sailor in a blow (5)

HABIT : AB(abbrev. for “able-bodied seaman”,sailor) contained in(in) HIT(a blow).

27 Safety device to protect bird (9)

GUARDRAIL : GUARD(to protect) + RAIL(a bird).

1 Become acquainted with brick carrier’s way of working (6)

METHOD : MET(Become acquainted with) + HOD(a portable trough with a handle,a brick carrier).

2 Carry a gun with sleeves rolled up, say (4,4)

BEAR ARMS : Homophone of(say) “bare arms”(arms showing with one’s sleeves rolled up).

3 Dull-witted, confused type taken in by boss (6)

STUPID : PI(a jumbled,confused pile of types, those pieces bearing the letters for printing, possibly obsolete in the electronic age) contained in(taken in by) STUD(a circular rounded projection,a boss, especially an ornamental one on a ceiling or shield)

4 It may wilt and droop in the centre (7)

CORSAGE : SAG(droop) contained in(in) CORE(the centre).

Answer: The flowers in it may wilt.

5 Poor performing animal? (6)

RABBIT : Cryptic defn: A poor sportsman, especially in golf, tennis or cricket, is also called this animal.

6 Refuse to reduce the volume (4,4)

TURN DOWN : Double defn: 1st: To reject,refuse; and 2nd: To soften whatever sound you’re emitting.

11 Middle East overturns one ruler — or another (4)

EMIR : Reversal of(overturns) M.E.(abbrev. for the Middle East) I(Roman numeral for “one“) + R(abbrev. for “Regina” or “Rex”,ruler).

Answer: Another ruler,a head of state in some Islamic countries.

15 Grating that goes on top, of course (8)

PARMESAN : Cryptic defn: Grated Parmesan cheese is added,goes on top
of some Italian dishes,courses.

16 Game bird? (4)

LARK : Double defn: 1st: A carefree adventure or frolic; could be considered a bit of a game, I suppose.

18 Any power may produce armaments (8)

WEAPONRY : Anagram of(may produce) ANY POWER. Smooth surface.

19 Nothing in the ship is of extravagant style (7)

BAROQUE : O(the letter that looks like zero,nothing) contained in(in) BARQUE(a sailing ship of three or more masts).

Answer: An extravagant style of architecture and art that flourished in the late 16C to early 18C, characterised by extensive ornamentation.

21 Line up on parade and collapse (4,2)

FALL IN : Double defn: 1st: Command in the parade ground for personnel to get into formaton,line; and 2nd: To collapse into the centre.

22 Nuns take what superiors give (6)

ORDERS : Double defn: 1st: Nuns take holy orders to become ordained, a qualification they aspire to; and 2nd: what superiors give their subordinates to follow.

23 International organisation’s help is implicit (6)

UNSAID : UN(abbrev. for the United Nations Organisation) ‘S + AID(help).



29 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25755 Rufus”

  1. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for the blog. Unusually for a Rufus, I found today’s quite difficult. I wasn’t too happy with 1D and 2D. To my mind, the former seems to mix past and present tenses (‘met’ and ‘become’); the latter suggests singular (‘a gun’) although ‘arms’ is plural – can it also be used in a singular sense?

  2. scchua says:

    Re 1D: I interpreted it as in “I have become acquainted/met with her”.
    2D: I think the phrase is “to bear arms”, whether a singular weapon or more is not significant, “arms” being used as a collective noun. “To bear arm” sounds awkward.

  3. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Rufus and sschua. Nuns can’t in fact take Holy Orders, at least in the RC church, where, contentiously, the priesthood is still reserved for men. I suppose that an Anglican nun is now able to become an Anglican priest, but I think the reading of the clue should be that a nun ‘takes’ (i.e. chooses) an order such as the Benedictines. It is a common error to talk of an order of nuns when what is meant, strictly speaking, is a congregation.

    Old joke: what are the three things God doesn’t know? What a Jesuit is thinking, where the Benedictines have put their money, and how many congregations of sisters there are in France.

  4. KeithW says:

    On the first pass my answer for the sexual offender’s counsellor was SOLICITOR.

  5. Eileen says:

    Me too, KeithW! ;-)

  6. KeithW says:

    [[In the pictures Jon Pertwee (Dr Who), Ronnie Barker (Open All Hours) and Leslie Phillips (CBE) were in The Navy LARK]]

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    I found this harder than the average Rufus, and was not helped by the grid of four almost separate mini-puzzles. Some excellent cluing, and some reminders of things forgotten – pi(e) and corsage as bouquet.

    I liked 13a, 14a,24a, 27a, 15d.

    I too was not much taken with the apparent change of tense in 1d. I came slightly reluctantly to a similar conclusion to scchua’s though his version leaves ‘with’ in double duty. ‘Became’ might have been simpler though the shift this involves from ‘perfect’ to ‘simple past’ tense also leaves me a tiny bit uncertain.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    I was left irritated by this offering, because of redundant extras. I failed to get 8a because there is an “of” in the clue which does nothing but connect the two words for a “surface”. Had it been “Importance respect”, I would no doubt have solved it. In my view this is a poor clue and should not be allowed through.

    The second one was 26a: “It’s worn by sailor in a blow”. Again the “a” is redundant and I am not sure it is there for the surface this time. If Rufus wants to add redundant words at will, why was the clue not “It’s worn by a sailor in a blow”?

    I also agree with Aoxomoxoa@1 about 1d; I was convinced it was another error (for “Became”) creeping in.

  9. Robi says:

    Good Rufus fare.

    Thanks scchua for your nice blog. I particularly liked VEILS and HABIT.

    Dave Ellison @8; I think you could put yourself in the setter’s shoes: ‘Importance respect’ would be a very ugly clue; ‘Respect importance’ would be better, but I see nothing wrong with the existing clue. For 26a, hit can be a blow; again, ‘It’s worn by sailor in blow’ would be fairly nonsensical. Sometimes an extra word or two can add to the attraction of the clue.

    [[#2 and #4 are Stephen Fry and Tim McInnerny from ‘Blackadder.’ I don’t suppose the link is black to EBONY. Can’t think of anything else at present.]]

  10. John Appleton says:

    No real problems with this – but thanks for explaining STUPID.

    [[There are a few military sort of words, which perhaps link to Melchett Lord Percy has the ruff that mnakes him look “like a bird who’s swallowed a plate” – I thought that might link to LARK.]]

  11. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    90% was the usual disappointing Monday write-in.
    However, I was held up a little at the end by 15d (which I liked) and last in ‘guardrail’.Like the blogger this was confusing since I had strongly considered ‘rail’ early on.
    Someone recently commented here that they frequently failed to consider ‘QU’ as a possibility. I did the opposite here and was fixated on ‘qu?r?rail’.

  12. rowland says:

    Yes, adding ‘of’ and ‘the’ or ‘a’ all the time is very annoying, probably the most annoying thing for me about this compiler, who does it quite frequently if I remember correctly. But re 1 and 2 down I don’t think we can complain? They do seem to work.

    Cheers to all, esp scchua.

  13. scchua says:

    [[KeithW@5, you’re right, well done. Robi@9 and John@10, pics #2 and 4 share the same link. Hint: there’s an alternative spelling involved.]]

  14. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    I am another annoyed by 1d: become (present tense) and MET (past) !!

  15. Gervase says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I got stuck for a while on a few of the short clues. This seems to be Rufus’s favourite grid; lack of initial letter crossings can make CD and DD clues tricky to spot (VEILS and VALUE took me ages).

    Like others, I confidently inserted SOLICITOR as 9ac, until I found it didn’t work. And I would also have preferred “Became acquainted” in 1dn as it would have been a better match for MET.

    I liked 4dn and 18dn especially.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    ‘importance of’ = ‘value’
    (to) ‘respect’ = (to) ‘value’
    Seems fine to me.
    I am with the ‘become’ is the wrong tense group.
    Apologies for over pedantic clue details analysis.

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I like Rufus’s cds and dds as a rule, but a grid that has almost half its entries with less than 50% checking and a lack of initial letters makes this kind of puzzle hard work, and I can’t say I really enjoyed this today. For example, 8ac with ?A?U? and a not very precise definition means – for me at least – that it could be many things.

    Given that Rufus’s brief is to produce an accessible puzzle on a Monday, I don’t see the point of using grids like this one.

  18. John Appleton says:

    I don’t really see the issue with “become” in 1d. It can be past participle, as can “met”. That it’s used in the present tense in the clue is surely a valid misdirection. It did indeed misdirect me – but the brick carrier put me back on the right track.

  19. Paul B says:

    In that ‘I am become Death’ leads logically to ‘He is become Death’, I can’t see how Rufus has any problem here.

  20. Thomas99 says:

    I agree with John Appleton, scchua, Paul B and anyone else who realises there is nothing at all wrong with 1d. “Met” (past participle) is an exact synonym of “become acquainted with” (also past participle). As John Appleton says, anyone trying to use the present tense, as in the surface, has been successfully misdirected. After so many failed to parse this clue I shall treat the complaints that Rufus is too easy with even more scepticism.

  21. rhotician says:

    RCW @16: ‘importance of’=’value of’. I can’t think of a sentence in which “importance of” and “value” can be interchangeable.

  22. rhotician says:

    scchua @2: I think you mean “I have become acquainted with/met her”.

    John A @18: “I don’t really see the issue with “become” in 1d”. I think you do really. You just don’t agree with those who don’t “see” that it is a valid misdirection.

    Thomas99 @20: “is an exact synonym of”. I think you mean “is loosely synonymous with”.

    Misdirection makes a clue more difficult to parse and therefore, in theory, more difficult to solve. In this case those posting here (and in the other place) who “failed to parse this clue” seem to have had little difficulty solving it. The misdirection, though valid, was only partially successful, unless it was Rufus’ intention to annoy solvers by misleading them to conclude, wrongly, that the clue was yet another mistake and should have read “became”.

    Paul B @19: I don’t know what you mean.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    rho @21
    How great is the importance of (value of) owning a copy of Chambers when solving these crosswords?

  24. Robi says:

    [[Sorry, can’t get this one.]]

  25. Paul B says:

    Optician, I don’t know what you mean when you say you don’t know what I mean. What DO you mean?

  26. scchua says:

    [[Robi@24. #2 and 4 were in a Whitbread commercial cf.
    based on the poem Abdul ABulbul Amir(alternateive spelling of EMIR) cf. ]].

  27. Robi says:

    [[Nice one, although a bit obscure, perhaps.]]

  28. RCWhiting says:

    rho @22
    I think PB often writes in a style which politicians refer to as ‘deniability’.

  29. Huw Powell says:

    Late to the game, the ugly grid Rufus appears to be addicted to combined with 7 DDs and 2 CDs – which cannot be “proved” by the solver in the normal manner – tends to make me enjoy his puzzles far less than the wittier clues and gentle anagrams should.

    I still don’t get the PI in STUPID. OK, Chambers clarifies it. A link would have been nice for an obscure term.

    Was left with STUPID and RABBIT in pencil, Chambers has confirmed both. Maybe in British English (sorry) these terms are more common. And 15d and 24a were blank until I thought “VEILS”! Yes, that might be what this cryptic definition refers to. Then taking P?R?E?A? to OneLook suggested PARMESAN. Oh. Probably the worst clue in the puzzle.

    It’s hard appreciating the wit when the ones one found hard didn’t elicit a smile when finding how they worked, and they were the last 1/4 of the puzzle. It makes one forget the wit and wisdom that might have been stumbled upon previously.

    Lark was weak, very weak, ruined by the attempt for yet another “surface” (“adventure bird” would have made sense as a clue, but not as a surface).

    I am in the “became” camp @ 1. It doesn’t wreck the surface and is more accurate for a supposedly easy puzzle.

    Let me see, working back, what did I like? 4 and 13. 17 was a good DD. 20 was witty.

    So thanks to scchua and all for the blog, and Rufus for what, indeed, you are supposed to provide. But can you please retire this grid, Sir?

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