Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,773 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on October 22nd, 2012


I’m surprised to find that it’s almost four months since I blogged a Rufus puzzle. Here we have the familiar collection of clever anagrams, interspersed with double and cryptic definitions, several of which made me smile on a grey Monday morning. Many thanks, Rufus.


5 Run in to stop batsman reaching it
R [run] in CEASE [stop]
I know enough about cricket to know that, if the batsman didn’t reach the crease, he’d be ‘run out’, so I thought this was a very neat clue

6 Feeling of grief in this way starts never-ending quarrel
SO [in this way] + R [‘neveR-ending’] + ROW [quarrel]

9 It’s old, decrepit and not easily moved
anagram [decrepit] of IT’S OLD

10 They lead the way in the present transport system
amusing cryptic definition

11 The barrel end of a gun
double definition

12 Still a place to board a railway
STATION [place to board] + A RY [a railway]
a useful mnemonic for the spelling of this word

13 Lets her cool off — it may cause problems of the heart
neat anagram [off] of LETS HER COOL

18 Organ movement
cryptic definition

21 I must leave firm, betrayed
SOL[i]D [firm] minus [must leave] i
as in ‘sold down the river’

22 Complaint of untidiness
double definition

23 Lizard again becoming animated around mid-January
anagram [animated] of AGAIN round U [middle letter of January]

24 Suffocatingly sexy?
double / cryptic definition

25 Pat is anxious, starting school
CARES [is anxious] + S [start of School]
a lovely surface, I thought


1 How to pedal to coast
cryptic definition, depending on double definition of ‘coast’

2 Remarks not intended for the other players
cryptic definition

3 Is caught hacking into a phone — take action!
IS in [caught hacking into] MOBILE [phone]

4 Poet makes uninteresting study
DRY [uninteresting] + DEN [study]

5 Eminently suitable to be excluded
Double definition

7 The reason to go off course in a boat
WHY [the reason] round ERR [go off course]
this perhaps sounds like the wrong way round: you need to read it as WHY [with] ‘to go off course’ in

8 Kent resort offers wide-ranging flights
BROAD [wide-ranging] + STAIRS [flights]

14 A rapidly replaced stone worker
anagram [replaced] of A RAPIDLY

15 Old students better out of sight
OBS [old boys] + CURED [better]

16 Coaches coaches
double definition

17 They’re fired and spaces need to be filled
double definition – and another nice surface

19 Mug one may put one’s teeth into?
double / cryptic definition

20 Await trouble on North Pacific island
anagram [trouble] of AWAIT + N [North]

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,773 / Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks to Rufus and Eileen

    Trickier than the usual Monday Rufus, I thought, and all the more enjoyable for it. “Present transport system” for “reindeer” made me chuckle!

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I agree with muffin – the first time I can remember with a Rufus going off to do something else for five minutes to let my subconscious catch up on a couple of the right-sided clues.

    I think the def in 5ac is a bit better as “batsman reaching it” rather than just “it.”

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    Started very easily (5a, 5d, 9a, 2d) but some nice clues on the way. I particularly liked 10a, 18a, 3d, and 15d. Given the crossing letters I wondered if 10a might be ‘children’ and 18a ‘triumphant’ and the right answers raised a smile when I saw them.

  4. fearsome says:

    Harder than usual Rufus, did enjoy “reindeer” but isn’t it way too early for Xmas clues :)

  5. Rick says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen; very helpful as always and much appreciated.

    I do agree that some aspects of this were a little trickier than usual for a Rufus. I still have problems with some of his cryptic/double definitions. For example, for 24 across “Suffocatingly sexy?”, I wrote in “STEAMY” initially (which I think fits the clue pretty well). I accept that, with any crossword, one gets moments of “I think that’s the right answer – it fits the clue – but there may be an alternative” but it seems (for me) to happen a lot more on Rufus crosswords than those from other setters.

    Of course, it could be I’m just on the wrong wavelength a lot of the time … )-:

    Still, some fine and amusing clues (and, given my latest health check up, a particularly apposite one for me at 13 across!).

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen; some of the cryptic definitions a bit obscure/hard [I didn’t like NOODLE.]

    I did enjoy REINDEER though.

  7. Dayvdee says:

    Good Monday crossword, but I have sympathy with Rick. Some clues not quite definite – particularly double definitions. Here 25a fooled me. Not sure pat and caress equate. Caress is touch or stroke, but pat is soft hit. Surface might have had to much influence on the definition.

  8. tupu says:

    I too wondered about ‘noodle’ but remembered the description of pasta cooked to the right texture as ‘al dente’.

  9. postrophe says:

    Thanks Eileen, and to Rufus for an eminently fair and non-convoluted puzzle.

    For a daily Rufus puzzle, try

  10. John Appleton says:

    Really wasn’t on Rufus’s wavelength today; may be a Monday thing. REINDEER was one I didn’t get, but it’s a great clue.

  11. crypticsue says:

    Tricky in places but enjoyable. Incidentally Rufus is trickier in the DT today too. Thanks to Eileen and Rufus for their parts in my Monday crossword fun.

  12. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I was unhappy with NOODLE. I could see the ‘mug’ meaning but the rest left me scratching my head. The comment of tupu @8 helped me see it.

    As for 13a: no matter how much care I take with my diet I just cannot keep it under control. I have to take a daily statin pill :(

  13. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Eileen for a lovely start to the week.

    Much to smile at here. Reindeer would be OK any time and many shops have been full of seasonal wares for weeks.

    Giovanna x

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Shocks like this are not good for my health.
    A Monday puzzle which left me puzzling for quite a while.
    ‘Reindeer’ – wonderful – very allusive definition.
    Last in was ‘declutch'; strangely I had seen the misdirection of ‘coast’ early but not the use of ‘pedal’.
    ‘Pat’ = ‘caress’ is no vaguer than ‘is anxious’ = ‘cares'; both fine for me. Give the man a break.

  15. William says:

    Thank you, Eileen, nice blog.

    I started at such a lick I was beginning to dread the Monday morning “too easy” tirade, but quickly ran into the sand. (Do my eyes deceive me? Has RCW requested “give the man a break”?)

    Loved REINDEER and DECLUTCH. The first for its fun and the second for its smoothness.

    NeilW @2 by “right-sided” did you simply those on the right of the grid, or something more psychoanalytic?

    Thank you, Rufus, enjoy your much deserved break!

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Finished reasonably quicky, so it was easy, yes? Had to use more gadgetry than usual for Rufus so it was hard, yes? It was marginally spoilt by accidently reading REINDEER from here in my RSS Reader before I started despite my best efforts not to look, dang.

    Minor quibble, LAPIDARY is stone working not a stone worker which would be lapidarist.

  17. Trailman says:

    Declutch/Butt caused me problems, and I took ages to recall that students = OBS not just LL. Noodle went in without much enthusiasm; pleased to see it wasn’t just me.

  18. NeilW says:

    William @ 15, no, nothing to do with neurophysiology – just the right side of the grid. An example of the subconscious mind though? ;)

  19. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Derek @16 – not so.

    Lapidary = stone worker [cf missionary, apothecary] in all my three dictionaries [Collins, SOED – and Chambers!]

    Ironically, of the three, only Chambers lists ‘lapidarist’ at all – and then as ‘an expert in gems’. ;-)

  20. Trailman says:

    Declutch/Butt caused me problems; took far to long to recall that students = OBs as well as LL. Wrote in Noodle without enthusiasm, so share the comments about this clue.

  21. Trailman says:

    Two comments for the price of one. Connection problems. Sorry.

  22. Eileen says:

    Re 19

    More accurately, I should have said that the dictionary definition is ‘stone cutter’.

  23. Mitz says:

    Just over a year ago my family and I visited 8 for a day at the beach. 30 degrees C in October – distant off-shore wind farm only 15 by a gentle haze. I gather that next week it is likely to be a bit less 24…

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm, that’s all a bit inconsistent! There are (according to OneLook) 11 online dictionaries that list lapidarist, including Collins, so Collins’s dictionaries disagree!

    I would have thought a stone worker was a mason. I would have thought a stone cutter might be either trade. And I’m not sure that the word expert is really relevant as who would want to trust precious stone cutting to a non-expert? I suspect expert in the gems meaning may cover a wider range than usual!

    There is also the inconsistency that we don’t have missionarists or apothecarists. So the cases are not the same. And as lapidarist does exist one might expect it to be prefered, otherwise what is the point of having the word?

    So it’s back to square one then, English is right b****y can of worms. It’s no wonder others struggle with it.

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Derek

    Lapidary does seem to be the standard term for experts who work with precious stones whereas stone masons work with stones for buildings. However
    lapis (stone) seems to have a wider range of meanings beyond precious stones since it is the root of deplapidated e.g describing a stone house whose components have been falling off. I have not heard it used to describe a brooch whose diamonds are missing. :) To add to the confusion, delapidated is I suspect used at least as oftent to describe non-stone structure in a state of ruin or collapse etc.

  26. Mitz says:

    Surely without this kind of confusion / inconsistency / downright b****y-can-of-worms-ness the English language would be a very straightforward case of one word for one concept (a la 1984 Newspeak) and our beloved crosswords would be a lot less fun?

  27. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    Just back home, hence late comment.

    A splendid Rufus, which took me longer than either the Crux Monday prize crossword in the FT and the Quixote in the i (train journey!), but then I don’t usually find his puzzles as easy as some do. The NE corner proved a bit recalcitrant, although when I had eventually solved these clues, I couldn’t see why they had given me so much trouble. REINDEER was masterful.

  28. RCWhiting says:

    Mitz @26
    I couldn’t agree more. Precise definitions to satisfy the pedants lead to facile puzzles.

  29. Paul B says:

    Pedants is Jolly Swag-manual territory usually, so a nice change.

  30. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen

    Finished quite quickly – but nonetheless enjoyable. Like others I thought that REINDEER was very clever. Funny how I didn’t immediately associate TAIWAN with the Pacific – a little Chinese girl in a hula dress didn’t quite gel for a while.

  31. Brendan (not that one) says:

    A more varied and challenging puzzle from Rufus! Good mixture of clue types too. Long may it last. :-)

    I’m surprised that nobody mentioned that 2d isn’t actually crptic. (or am I missing something again?)

    Chambers says

    ” words said by a character in a play which the audience can hear, but which the other characters cannot.”

    So why a cryptic definition?

    P.S. Surely the use of “Onelook” voids the claim to have finished a puzzle? The ultimate cheating tool and only one I resort to when I have given up!

    Nevertheless, well done Rufus and thanks to Eileen.

  32. Sil van den Hoek says:

    See, that’s the thing with Rufus crosswords. You think they are easy (and mostly they are) but completing them without any available resources is not always that easy.
    Today we failed on 1d’s DECLUTCH (which, unlike others, I do not like – I have also seen a similar clue leading to ‘freewheel’ (which, of course, makes no sense here)) and on CARESS (25ac).
    Do I see something that I have in common with RCW today? :)

    And Rick @5, we entered – just like you – ‘steamy’ at 24ac.
    Indeed just as legitimate.
    I am not sure whether your statement about Rufus (having this more often than others) is correct, but in last Monday’s Dante puzzle in the FT (which I still have to blog, so I cannot say much more about it than this) there is indeed another example.

    Like many of you, we cherished the REINDEER @ 10ac.
    And I (so, not: we) was particularly pleased by Rufus using “I must leave” in 21ac instead of “I leave”.
    That has to with cryptic grammar. For that, perhaps I may refer to Jolly Swagman’s ‘The Deeper Secrets Of XWords’. :) (yes, a genuine :))

    Well done Rufus.
    And a big thank you (again) to Eileen.

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    “That has to DO with cryptic grammar” I meant to say, but ya see I don’t like parties … :)

  34. Paul B says:

    Possibly an eternally-awaited tome, more’s the pity.

    ‘I must leave’ is jolly handy when you’ve already used up your i=1.

  35. Karen says:

    Still not getting 19 at all :( Oh well, guess that comes from having English as a second language.

    And thanks, Eileen – I love that you explain the clues :)

  36. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Karen @35
    19dn mug=simpleton=noodle (from Chambers’ definitions) and a noodle is something you can eat (put one’s teeth into). Again from Chambers “a string- or ribbon-shaped strip of pasta or other unleavened dough”.

  37. Karen says:

    @36, thanks a lot :) I knew neither mug or noodle as synonyms for simpleton

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