Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,821 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on December 17th, 2012


A fairly typical Rufus mix of anagrams and double and cryptic definitions, with the usual silky-smooth surfaces, mostly straightforward, which is no bad thing at this busy time, with a couple of [for me] less familiar words. Thank you, Rufus.

Definitions are underlined.


1 Knocked about a lot, as veteran campaigners?
double definition

6 Painter’s material
a painter [line attached to the bow of a boat to tie it up] is made of rope – a trademark nautical reference from Rufus

8 Pulling up and filling up
double definition

9 Wild parrot, a bird of prey
anagram [wild] of PARROT

10 Grinds away at university course, say
sounds like [say] Greats, the Oxford University Honour School of Literae Humaniores

11 Remote chance for a sniper?
double definition

12 Ancient city‘s role in South Africa
SPARTA [role] in SA [South Africa]

15 Abandon wickedness? Not this woman
SHED [abandon] EVIL [wickedness]

16 Clock at one perhaps? Have a drink
anagram [perhaps?] of CLOCK AT I [one]

19 Gift for producing story book in abbreviated form
TALE [story] NT [abbreviation of New Testament – which, of course, is actually a collection of books and usually clued as such]

21 Try repeatedly to express approval
HEAR [try] repeatedly

22 Gun dog disturbed a mammal
anagram [disturbed] of GUN DOG

24 Staff, say, joining English riding school
MAN [staff] + EG [say] + E [English]
This word seemed familiar [probably from crosswords] when the wordplay unfailingly led to it

25 Graduate as a footballer?
BA [graduate] is half of BAck – this made me smile and is my joint favourite clue

26 Small supports in the river
double definition

27 Ships carrying right pennants
STEAMERS [ships] round [carrying] R [right]


1 Put down as late
cryptic definition

2 He will have marked cards, of course
cryptic definition, referring to racing cards and race courses

3 Departures could be set about eleven
anagram [could be] of SET round XI [eleven]

4 Guardian supported by American in prayer
ANGEL [Guardian] before [supported by, in a down clue] US [American]

5 Rigid line taken by hospital department
STRING [line] + ENT [hospital department]

6 So “Tripe” is silly retort
anagram [silly] of SO TRIPE – a great surface

7 In favour of moving to get a better job?
PRO [in favour of] MOTION [movement]

13 Walk recollected in Arden poem
anagram [re-collected] od ARDEN POEM

14 Various news areas provide knowledge
anagram [various] of NEWS AREAS

17 We hear officers are at the heart of things
sounds like [we hear] colonels

18 One staggering on all fours?
double / cryptic definition – a lurcher is a type of dog

20 Good characters are, for example, caught in wicked libel
EG [for example] in anagram [wicked] of LIBEL – a great surface and my other joint favourite clue

22 A current coastal issue
cryptic definition

23 Cuts with no sound
sounds like NIX [no]

28 Responses to “Guardian 25,821 / Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus
    I didn’t finish, never having heard of manege (I found the word, but it meant so little that I didn’t even bother to look it up).
    I liked ROPE and LEGIBLE.
    I’m probably missing something, but in what sense is STOPPING = FILLING UP?

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi muffin

    STOPPING as in ‘stopping a gap’.

  3. muffin says:

    Thanks eileen

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    I found this a bit more puzzling than usual for some reason though it’s not easy to see why in retrospect. Perhaps some of the cryptic and double definitions were a tiny bit more ‘remote’ from the answers than is often the case. But all were OK when one thought about it and Rufus’s typical artistry with words was clearly visible.

    I particularly liked 1a and 18d.

  5. Aztobesed says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen.

    I put trainer at 2d which seemed to fit at the time.

    Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
    Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
    O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
    Should patch a wall to expel the winter’s flaw!


  6. ToniL says:

    A ‘game of two halves’

    A lot of write-ins then some more serious thinking
    to solve and parse.

    Most enjoyable (small point 16 is Clock at I)

    Thank-you Rufus and Eileen.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Aztobesed – that quotation did occur to me, too: ‘Hamlet’ so often supplies an example and, as I’ve said before, my A Level English still comes more readily to mind than something I heard last week!

    And thanks, ToniL – careless error, corrected now.

  8. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    I sailed through most of this, but MANEGE was elusive and I failed on 1a and 1d. Rufus is very good at disguising a (single) cryptic definition as a double def or other type of clue – which is what I was looking for at 1d. Heigh-ho.

  9. Trailman says:

    A nice solve, completed between Stratford and Billericay on a day out to Burnham-on-Crouch.

    I appreciate Muffin’s concern, as MANEGE was new to me too. Had to check both that and BAREGE to see which worked. Nothing wrong with learning new things though.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen – penny didn’t drop for HALFBACK till I read it.

  10. nesciolatine says:

    ‘Stocking’ for 8a was ‘in the ball park’, and with it being rather festive I entered it in haste.

    I sometimes underestimate Rufus, entering answers far too quickly then spending more time having to double check them.

    Mostly enjoyable, thank-you, and to Eileen also.

  11. tupu says:

    Hi Gervase

    I like your point re doubles and cryptics – it probably lies behind some of my puzzlement this morning. Id is a good example. I wondered for a time (till I got 1a)if ‘enter’ was an alternate form of ‘inter’ which would have made it a dd.

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase and tupu

    I had the same sort of thought about 6ac: I had originally thought of it as a double definition – and a rather weak one, since a rope is, er, made of rope. And then I realised that that’s the whole point! :-(

  13. Robi says:

    Good puzzle; one or two difficult ones.

    Thanks Eileen; HALFBACK was also my favourite. I put it in before the parsing became apparent. I got a bit stuck in the NW corner, but eventually found the way through. DUGONG reminds of the manatee hunting in Florida where you can see ripples in the water surface, but little else! MANEGE was new to me and I thought the ‘say’ was another strange homophone. :(

  14. Rowland says:

    ‘Ham let often supplies an example’ because it is very very long!

    I don’t really like Rufus much because the style is so ‘old hat’, but there was much here that could be borne.

    That was my charitable Xmas spirit!!


  15. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    On 12 I saw ‘ancient city’ and immediately locked into Ur which always appears as such a city. I spent some time pursuing that and getting nowhere. Eventually I had another think and found the right answer :(

  16. fearsome says:

    thanks Eileen and Rufus
    particularly liked 25a

  17. Mitz says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen.

    Quite hard in places, I thought. I’m another that had never heard of manege and so had to reverse engineer it; like Aztobesed I had “trainer” in at 2 so that held me up for a bit; the homophone at 10 escaped me.

    I liked “she-devil”, “kernels” and especially “halfback”, the last of which struck me as a very unusual type of clue for Rufus.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’ve always thought people here should get out more. Never heard of manege? That’s what comes of hiding in cities and/or ivory towers. There’s nothing like spitting out the sand after being unseated to deflate social pretensions.

    Ah lurchers, wonderful dogs, though I prefer whippets for myself. I once saw an advert in a dog paper, “Lurcher puppy for sale. Battery included.” Those who do actually get out more will know what that means!

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    ToniL @6
    “A ‘game of two halves’

    A lot of write-ins then some more serious thinking
    to solve and parse.”

    Absolutely perfect description for me too, and quite unusual for a Monday.
    Robi @13
    I might be wrong but I do not think that the ‘say’ is an homophone indicator for the whole word ‘manege’. Rather it stands for ‘eg’ after the ‘man’ = ‘staff’.
    I liked ‘halfback’, an unusual clue for Rufus.

  20. Robi says:

    RCW @19; what I wrote @13 was supposed to indicate that I MISTAKENLY (hence my sad emoticon) thought it was a homophone – but as Eileen and you state: say=eg in this clue.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry,Robi,emoticons pass me by. I use old-fashioned words.

  22. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Typical Rufus Monday fare. Dull to be honest. Unlike Rowland @14 I’m a bit of a Scrooge. However I did agree wholeheartedly with his other comments.

    I’ve never heard of manege, like many others it would seem although the word play did lead me to the dictionary.

    Sorry DL @18 it’s obvious I didn’t get out enough! It would appear that you didn’t spit out quite enough sand yourself 😉

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

  23. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus and Eileen – as you say, just right for this busy time of year.

    Rowland @ 14, I like Rufus because of the old-fashioned expressions, which take one back to childhood listening to the radio.

    ANGELUS evokes the sound of church bells floating over the vineyards…

    Giovanna x

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Apparently, nobody had any trouble with 10ac (GRATES). It was our last non-entry i.e. we entered it without knowing why.

    On average an easy solve, but.
    25ac (HALFBACK) is worth a Paul.
    Rufus said it many times before, the editors [Guardian, FT, DT] want him to produce a gentle starter of the week.
    But he is perfectly capable of writing clues that are on the next level.
    IOI (in our opinion), COCKTAIL (16ac) is another example of that.

    We found INTER (1d) a bit macabre, but, with both of us being teachers, we “liked” the surface very much. Daily routine!

    MANEGE (24ac) was a new word to some of you. For me, it was a write-in. In the country where I come from (The Netherlands) MANEGE is a very common word for a place where people ride horses. Not the first time, when solving crosswords, that I encountered a word that is ‘very normal’ on the other side of the North Sea while being ‘obscure’ here.

    Thank you, Eileen, for the blog.

  25. RCWhiting says:

    When I was young people seemed to talk of ‘stopping’ teeth, now it is almost always ‘filling’,I wonder why.

  26. rhotician says:

    Lit.Hum. and riding school. Mens sana in corpore sano.

  27. Brendan (not that one) says:

    orandum est ut sit …….

    studying the writings of the long dead, falling of horses and chewing sand?

    Just the way to go about it :-)

  28. Huw Powell says:

    1D. That’s it? That’s not a cryptic clue. Got most of this, didn’t like much of it. Oh well.

    25 – HALFBACK was so truly cryptic and wonderful (I didn’t get it, in this environment) it belonged in a real cryptic puzzle.

    Thanks Eileen and everyone else for the blog, and thanks to Rufus for the predictably confusing Monday puzzle.

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