Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,761 – Rufus

Posted by manehi on October 8th, 2012


Typical pleasant but gentle puzzle from Rufus. 22dn and 27ac were my favourites.

1 VOLTE-FACE =”A change of view” in French
6 SACK double def “Bag” + “loot” (verb)
8 DECANTER =”wine pourer” CANT inside DEER=venison
9 BIOPSY =”Examination of tissue” (by op is)*
10 OSTLER =”groom” Can be both a best man and a groom at once.
11 NEW BROOM pretty much a straight def a term for a recent hire who intends to make a lot of changes
12 GHETTO =”city area” (Got the)*
15 ESOTERIC =”Secret” (coteries)*
16 ENGINEER double def “Technician” & “control”
19 MATINS Cryptic def the first monastic service of the day
21 ESCHEWED =”avoided” [W]ES[t] + CHEWED=”ground”
22 SINGLE =”run” (in cricket) (Legs in)*
24 DOUBLE double def “Stand in for the rehearsal” & “run” (in military usage)
25 OPEN SHOP =”business accepting non-union staff” OPEN=”Frank” + SHOP=”inform”
26 KNOT double def “Sandpiper” (the knot is a species) & “difficulty”
27 MOTORCADE &lit (Car demo to)*
1 VEERS =”Takes a new line” (verse)*
2 LEAFLET =”Tract” LEA=”meadow” + (felt)*
3 ENTER double def “Come in” & “register”
4 ARRANGE =”Organise” not sure how this parses – r[ow] inside A RANGE, where the Range is a US river? Is “Organise” doing double duty as an anagrind?
A R[iver] + RANGE=”row”
5 ELBOW ROOM =”scope for expansion” ELBOW=”joint” + ROOM=”study”
6 SCOURGE =”cat” (whip) CO[mpany]=”firm” inside SURGE=”rush”
7 CUSTODIAN =”Guardian” (discount a)*
13 HANDS DOWN double def “Passes on” & “effortlessly”
14 OVERWHELM =”master” OVER=”more than” + W[est]=”quarter” + HELM=”control at sea”
17 INHABIT =”Occupy” IN HABIT=”in monastic style”
18 REDCOAT double def “Old soldier” & “[one] who went to work at Butlins”
20 TUNISIA =”country” (in a suit)*
22 STEER double def “Direct” & “supplier of beef”
23 LOOSE double def “Dissolute” & “not tight”

49 Responses to “Guardian 25,761 – Rufus”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and rufus

    Mostly an easy write in, that the usual suspects will moan about, but 10a and 24a had me a bit puzzled.

    Although the answer was clear, I was looking for something more direct with 10a thinking that ‘ostler’ must have something specific to do with ‘best man’ and even thought of it as an anagram of ‘st role’.

    With 24a it took a few moments to see the ‘double definition’ ( :)almost &littish!).

  2. KeithW says:

    I think 4d is RANGE (organise row) on A R (a river) but “on” in a down clue usually means the top bit of the answer so maybe not.

  3. sidey says:

    4d RANGE = row on A a R river

    I don’t understand the ‘best man’ reference to an OSTLER.

  4. muffin says:

    I agree with KeithW @2 about “arrange” – at least that’s the way I saw it.

    Tupu’s expected moan – I know it is Monday and it is Rufus, but it really was a bit easy – only two or three weren’t write-ins. I started and finished it while “otherwise engaged” in the smallest room (but you probably didn’t want to know that!)

  5. crosser says:

    Thank you manehi and, as always, Rufus.
    I agree with KeithW @2 (why “on a river”?) and with sidey @3 (why is ostler a best man?).

  6. Robi says:

    Pretty straightforward with a lot of anagrams and some nice touches.

    Thanks, PeterO; for 10, a best man is a ‘groom’s attendant,’ so maybe that is the connection to OSTLER?

    I particularly liked ESCHEWED and OVERWHELM.

  7. Robi says:

    Might be a bit obscure but there is also a ‘memorable quote’ from William OSLER that goes:
    ‘No human being is constituted to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and even the best of men must be content with fragments, with partial glimpses, never the full fruition.

  8. tupu says:

    Re ostler. It seems manehi’s simple explanation must be right. An ostler can be a best man (or anything else for that matter) and a groom. Not very satisfying but there we are.

  9. Robi says:

    tupu @8; I find it difficult to believe that explanation. Are you saying that the clue could have read: ‘He could be fireman [postman, handyman, film star etc….]and groom?’

  10. Robi says:

    ……….OK, maybe not as there is an obvious connection between ‘best man’ and ‘groom.’

  11. manehi says:

    Robi @9,10: and the connection between best man/groom would normally make the two positions mutually exclusive.

    KeithW & others: that seems more sensible for 4d, thanks.

  12. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and manehi
    Nice and straightforward for Monday … but I still had Paul’s Friday jobbie to do as well.

    I read best man = groomsman and thence ostler … makes the groom a little redundant though.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    After the unexpected joy last Monday we are back in the basement of cryptic crosswords.
    It was not the worst example because I did have to pause to finish the SW corner. I still find ‘double’ unsatisfying* and none of the above explanations for ‘ostler’ seem to be watertight.

    * It would have been a mucch better clue as “Stand in at the rehearsal or run.”

  14. Jeff says:

    Thanks Rufus and manehi. “Best man” and “groomsman” are interchangeable. Since the best man is also the [bride]groom’s man, he may then be an ostler.

  15. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and manehi.

    What a joy to find Rufus today after a very hectic weekend.

    Ostler made me smile as it invoked memories of presenting ‘The Highwayman’as a glove puppet show at school with much hilarity all round.

    Giovanna x

  16. chas says:

    Thanks to manehi for the blog. You showed me the parsing for 14d which I had quite failed to see.

    I have seen these various attempts to say why an ostler is a best man: none has convinced me. Has anybody else got an explanation?

  17. Trailman says:

    Ostler last in for me, and Double not much better (it does follow Single, mind). But what about the positives? Motorcade was a very nice piece of misdirection; democrat* was hiding, and also I was looking for presidents’ names.

  18. John Appleton says:

    Trailman @17, glad I wasn’t the only one misdirected by a democrat.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    And 6a is ambiguous, could just have easily been SWAG as you have a Swag Bag and loot is Swag.

    Why are some people so dense that they are incapable of understanding that it is stated editorial policy to start the week with an easy puzzle? This makes the complaints not only boring in their predictabilty, but totally mindless too. So please shut up.

    If anyone is really so selfish that they want puzzles for their own level of expertise every day then please criticise the editorial policy elsewhere, not the individual puzzle which is merely conforming to editorial requirements.

  20. yvains says:

    Thought this Rufus had some lovely clues – OVERWHELM, ESCHEWED and MOTORCADE especially. I really can’t see a problem with DOUBLE, or with ARRANGE (‘on’ can work both ways, e.g. a statue can be on a plinth, or a pendant can be on a chain); not crazy about OSTLER, but the precision and inventiveness of other clues more than makes up for it.

  21. yvains says:

    … and I apologise for the omission, manehi – thank you very much for the blog :)

  22. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I’m amazed that no one has mentioned 7dn, which I thought was superb. Many thanks, Rufus. 😉

  23. Eileen says:

    Many apologies, Manehi – and thanks for the blog!

    [I’ve been out all day and got confused catching up on the Guardian blogs! :-( ]

  24. rhotician says:

    I think manehi, in the blog and @11, explains 10 very well. It’s an unusual type of clue, especially for Rufus.

    I took it to be like a riddle. Q:How could someone be best man AND groom? A:If he were an ostler.

  25. Lloyde says:

    Derek Lazenby @ 19 is right. I rarely manage to complete a Guardian cryptic, but had this one done before we’d gone through East Croydon. It’s days like these that keep me trying right through the week.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    “Why are some people so dense that they are incapable of understanding that it is stated editorial policy to start the week with an easy puzzle? This makes the complaints not only boring in their predictabilty, but totally mindless too. So please shut up.”

    Apart from the dreadful display of bad manners this is contadicted by the excellent and testing puzzle we had last Monday.
    There are many examples of much more serious issues which some people complained about for years (even centuries)before changes were made.
    To remain silent is to acquiesce and give up any hope of a change for the better.
    With (or without) your permission I shall continue my campaign to raise the general quality of The Guardian cryptic crossword.

  27. RCWhiting says:

    rho @24
    A groom is indeed an ostler. However,a groom’sman is simply another name for best man, so it doesn’t work.

  28. HGY says:

    For some of us Rufus is our only chance of completing a puzzle all week and thus, not only do we dread the Monday puzzle being made harder, we tire of the constant and predictable complaints that the puzzle is too easy.

    These, along with the equally predictable moans whenever anything remotely concerned with popular culture or sport apart from cricket is introduced, are the the main irritants in an otherwise reasonable place.

    As for your comparison of your ‘campaign’ to previous struggles to right serious wrongs…civil words fail me.

  29. rhotician says:

    Neither manehi nor I has mentioned groomsman. Because the clue/riddle works without it. Perhaps it would work better for you if the clue were “He could be groomsman and groom.”

  30. Brendan (not that one) says:

    DL @ 19

    I find your comments plain rude.

    It appears you are “well in” at The Guardian as you are so familiar with their editorial policy!

    However as RCW states I am perfectly entitled to complain about the appalling crosswords we are having to put up with lately on Mondays.

    As I have said before it is perfectly possible to produce an easy cryptic, if that is reuired, which is a true, balanced representation of the fare we enjoy for the rest of the week.

    Instead we get these more and more bizarre skewed Rufus offerings. No real help for “beginners” as the are so unlike anything else that will appear during in the week.

    Some of today’s clues were laughable and perhaps previously appeared in the Beano or Dandy whereas others are still to be explained???

    What I don’t understand is why an apparent clique of people on here defend these offerings. (Does Rufus buy you drinks? If so mine’s a pint of “Old Chokey” and thanks for the wonderful puzzles ;-))

  31. Sarah says:

    What arrogance! I have only recently started trying the cryptic crosswords, and see I am far from alone in enjoying being able to complete rufus on Mondays. I’ve been doning the Sudoku for a long time, and do find the Monday ‘easy’ ones unchallenging – so I just don’t do them! Maybe Brendan could try this strategy with cryptic crosswords?

  32. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Sarah @31

    What arrogance?

  33. tupu says:

    I agree with rhotician re 10 and had the same idea of a riddle but had to complete my tax return ( :) a more serious riddle!)instead of formulating it as neatly as he does.

    As my comment @1 implies, I sympathise with those who like a range of crosswords. As Sarah says, don’t do them if you don’t like them. There are plenty of others to do instead. Brendan (clearly not that one) is just gratuitously rude. Perhaps he and RCW could show a little more self restraint and only trumpet their prejudices once a month instead of every time they find a puzzle easy. Is the Guardian crossword the only chance of mental stimulus they get?.

  34. RCWhiting says:

    Sarah, try the Daily Telegraph or FT, they are generally easier.
    I do not want to see my favourite newspaper go down market.

  35. Sarah says:

    Well thanks, RC Whiting, but I think I’ll persevere with the Guardian, and maybe I’ll finish one of Paul’s crosswords one day! In any case, I don’t buy the Guardian solely for the puzzles. Become a Telegraph reader? I don’t think so! Not even online.
    I don’t think having one easy(ish) crossword a week is going downmarket, any more than is having one Sudoku a week marked ‘easy’.

  36. tupu says:

    Hi Sarah

    Ultimately it isn’t worth it. Lewis Caroll’s recommendation
    “Speak roughly to your little boy and beat him when he sneezes!he only does it to annoy,because he knows it teases!” doesn’t seem to work even though the motivation is the same.

    The relapse is a shame since he was beginning to participate quite interestingly in the blog.

  37. Brendan (not that one) says:

    tupu @33

    Tupu you amaze me.

    Please point out any statement I have made which is “rude”!!!

    Nothing I have said is gratuitous either?

    “Brendan (clearly not that one) is just gratuitously rude.”

    Now, that is rude and in my opinion gratuitous.

  38. Paul B says:

    I don’t see how His (er, yes that’s RCW folks) puzzle is any easier now than it has been over the years since Time Immemorial, when Rufus first began to compose Guardian Monday Crosswords. And so to me (and it is a personal opinion) his barking just makes no sense: how can the Monday fare be going so sharply downhill? It’s been of exactly the same ilk and standard for donkeys’ years.

    Another anomaly is why an avid Azed (er, yup, that’s the really, or at least comparatively, difficult plain barred puzzle also published in The Guardian once a week) solver such as erudite RCW lights on puzzles like today’s to moan about re difficulty: again, it simply makes no sense. If you like it THAT hard darling, just stick with good old Crowther.

    Another possibility is that a group of IDs has decided to have an argument with itself here just to vary the tripe we get in such abundance, particularly on Guardian threads. But again, that is a personal opinion which I do not expect anyone to share.

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, re @30, here we go:

    “the appalling crosswords we are having to put up with lately on Mondays”

    “… these more and more bizarre skewed Rufus offerings. No real help for “beginners”” …”

    “Some of today’s clues were laughable and perhaps previously appeared in the Beano or Dandy whereas others are still to be explained???”

    “What I don’t understand is why an apparent clique of people on here defend these offerings. (Does Rufus buy you drinks? …)”

    If you don’t like the puzzles of Rufus, please wait one more day. Perhaps on Tuesday the Real World opens itself.
    Tomorrow there’s a Puck, surely more of a challenge – lucky you!

    Is it rude what you said?
    I don’t know, but it’s not very friendly either.
    Also something, Rufus doesn’t deserve.
    I could say a lot more about these kind of ‘discussions’ but I do not. Something I promised myself some time ago, because it is wasting my time.

  40. rhotician says:

    DL @19. You seem to be saying, inarticulately, that SWAG is a valid solution for “Bag for loot”. That implies that “Bag for hero” would be a valid clue for GOODY. I cannot agree.

    Furthermore, Chambers does not recognize ‘Swag Bag’, nor even ‘swag bag’ or ‘swagbag’. The Urban Dictionary does, but I can’t believe that even you would recommend it over Chambers as a reference source. Google ‘swag’ to see why.

  41. Derek Lazenby says:

    R @40: Who cares what you think?

    Who cares what Chambers says? Only ivory tower dwellers refer to Chambers as being as infallible as the Pope.

    Brendan @ 30, and others elsewhere. If you ever bothered to read these blogs properly or even the Crossword Editors blog, you would see that one doesn’t need to be “well in” to know what has been freely published. Rufus himself has told us, here, what his job spec for Mondays is. So why don’t you try getting your facts right before you start making a complete fool of yourself by showing your ignorance of public knowledge.

    Why shouldn’t I be rude? You people never pause before being rude about Rufus. If you can’t take it, you shouldn’t dish it.

  42. Paul B says:

    Hear hear! Though ‘you people’ might be overestimating the numbers slightly.

  43. Matt says:

    Mr Lazenby,

    To answer your first two questions:
    *I* care what Rhotician thinks. (Just as I care what you and many others think – it’s why I come here)
    *I* care what Chambers says. (Although I do not think it is infallible, I could not do without as a reference work in my job)

    Why shouldn’t you be rude? Because you immediately lose any moral high ground.

    I may be wrong, but I believe that those* who disapprove of Rufus’ fare are taking issue with the very editorial policy you mention. Just as you advise the protesters to turn a blind eye to Monday puzzles, I advise you to turn a blind eye to the predictable howls of complaint from them.

    I agree entirely with everything that Sil says.

    *Not me.

  44. rhotician says:

    Well said, Matt. Considerate and considered. A demonstration of, as well as an argument for, why no-one should be rude.

  45. RCWhiting says:

    ” You people never pause before being rude about Rufus.”
    If you were to read carefully what I actually say rather than what occurs in your fervid imagination you would know that I have never been rude about any compiler.
    My criticism is always directed at the piece of journalistic work which I get in exchange for my subscription to the Guardian/Observer.
    Like all other forms of journalism which are published they should be completely open to criticism.

  46. rowland says:

    It strikes me that these ‘strong opinions’ are intended to rile and cause trouble. That’s what I don’t like, the disruption to what could be, as soon as people choose to stop being so silly, such a nice chat.


  47. Derek Lazenby says:

    So what you are all saying in the latest posts is that Rufus should take the rap on a weekly basis, when all he is doing is what he is paid for?

    Strikes me you guys need to make it clearer, starting next week, that your ire about the strength of puzzles is NOT directed at Rufus, but at the editor.

    But at the end of the day, you are still all being totally selfish in demanding tougher puzzles all round. Experts in any walk of life are a small minority. It would be utterly wrong of the newspaper to pander to just the experts to the detriment of the vast majority of solvers. You have paid your money? But you don’t give a fig about the thousands who can also rightly say they have paid their money too but who find even Rufus tough going.

    By all means bitch about the policy if you want to continue in your selfishness, but for heavens sake leave Rufus, and any other Monday setter, out of it, they are just doing what they are paid for.

    I don’t care about what rhotician says because I have several times pointed out that my eldest son is dyslexic and that he gets that from me, though I’m only boderline. And yet he is callous enough to use words like “inarticulately”, despite the fact that he was quite able to understand my meaning, which he wouldn’t be able to do if his claim were true. Rather he is being deliberately nasty to one less fortunate than himself. Now who’s losing the virtuous position? Would we all like to mock my other disabilities whilst we are on a roll?

  48. Davy says:

    Derek (47)

    I totally agree with you and am heartily sick of this never ending critique of Rufus. If anyone went to a concert and didn’t like the music then they
    wouldn’t come back to a concert by the same artist so why do these people come back week after week and say the same tired old things. They know what
    to expect of Rufus and his puzzles are never going to change significantly, so give it a rest and move on.

  49. Admin says:

    OK, this has gone on for long enough (some might say too long!). I’m closing this post to further comments.