Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25827 Rufus

Posted by scchua on December 24th, 2012


Firstly, thank you to PeeDee, Andrew and BertandJoyce for filling in for me while I was away.  Also, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all at Fifteensquared.  In keeping with the times, today it’s a Christmas-y Rufus, with (I thought) a lot of CDs (or DCDs, if you like), even for this setter.  I was a bit slow finishing this, probably because of my lay-off.  Thanks to Rufus.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have an unidentified link to the puzzle (sorry, nothing seasonal).  Please double-bracket any comments on them.]]

1 Head off disaster, having a party with fruit (7)

AVOCADO : “havoc”(disaster, or the aftermath of one) minus its initial letter(head off) plus(having) [A + DO(a party)].

5 They hold the shooters’ ammunition before the shelling starts (7)

PEAPODS : Cryptic defn: The containers of peas before they are shelled and the peas dried for ammunition for the toy weapon, the peashooter.

10 She takes part in a Victorian nativity play (4)

ANNA : Hidden in(part in a) “Victorian nativity“.

11 Happy 16 across turns out to be unauthentic (10)

APOCRYPHAL : Anagram of(turns out) “HAPPY CAROL(answer to 16 across)”.

12 Warming drink that takes some beating (6)

EGGNOG : Cryptic defn: The alcoholic;warming drink containing whipped;beaten eggs, associated with winter celebrations, like Christmas.

13 Crying, small boy rejects gift (8)

FLAGRANT : Reversal of(rejects) ALF(shortened;small name for a boy} + GRANT(a gift).

Answer: Reprehensible, as in “a crying shame”.

14 They put a word in when required on stage (9)

PROMPTERS : Cryptic defn: Those who supply the lines when actors on stage forget them.

16 Girl’s name on many people’s lips at Christmas (5)

CAROL : Cryptic defn: Also what many people sing at Christmas.

17 Cause embarrassment at a party (5)

ABASH : A + BASH(a party, especially one that’s lively).

19 Many awakening us with their 28 across (9)

CAROUSING : C(Roman numeral for 100;many) + AROUSING(awakening from, say, sleep).

23 Touch of viral infection? Shiver! (4,4)

FEEL COLD : FEEL(to touch) + COLD(a viral infection, common around this time of year).

Answer: As a result of which, one shivers.

24 Marital relations welcomed over Christmas? (2-4)

IN-LAWS : Cryptic defn: Well, that’s the theory (hence the ??), but largely depends on what your MIL is like, doesn’t it?

26 Tonic water possibly keeps you warm over Christmas (6,4)

WINTER COAT : Anagram of(possibly) TONIC WATER.

27 Drink at Sheba’s place? (4)

BEER : Cryptic defn: Reference to the city of Beersheba in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

28 Noisy celebrations in back bar at the turn of the year (7)

REVELRY : Reversal of(back) LEVER(a bar with a fulcrum) plus(at the) reversal of(turn of the) YR(abbrev. for “year”).

29 They’re to be found in the stable at the inn (7)

OSTLERS : (Not very) cryptic defn: Archaic term for the stableman, especially at an inn. The predecessor of the modern day car valet (who could park your car, or groom it).

2 In grave trouble, certainly in a pickle (7)

VINEGAR : Anagram of(trouble) IN GRAVE.

Defn: and Answer: As either verbs or nouns.

3 A paper decoration from China (5)

CHAIN : Anagram of(from) CHINA.

Answer: A paper chain for decoration.

4 Drink to give us the shivers? (7)

DRAUGHT : Cryptic defn: Also what will give you a chill, if you happen to be in the path of one.

6 Organ swell may affect one’s hearing (6)

EARWAX : EAR(the sense organ of hearing) + WAX(to swell;increase in extent, like the moon waxing and waning.

7 Apt phrase to describe party wear? (5,4)

PAPER HATS : Anagram of(to describe) APT PHRASE.

8 Attracted by inconclusive result in game, not settled (5,2)

DRAWN TO : DRAW(a no-win, no-loss result in a game, nowadays, in knockout football at least, decided by a penalty shootout) + anagram of(settled) NOT.

9 16 across that provides glad tidings of rest with happiness (7,3,3)

COMFORT AND JOY : Cryptic defn: Reference to part of the lyrics of Christmas carol(answer to 16 across) “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”: “….brings tidings of comfort and joy…”

15 A Christmas overhead? (9)

MISTLETOE : Cryptic defn: A parasitic plant that’s hung as a Christmas decoration, with an ancient custom that a man and woman who met under it were obliged to kiss.  Apparently the name is derived from “dung-on-a-twig”, the plant propagating via birds that eat its berries, and the seeds then excreted by the birds onto twigs.

18 No deviation from a working party policy? (7)

BEELINE : BEE(a social gathering;party to perform some task;working, such as a sewing bee) + LINE(a policy, eg. of a political, or any other, group).

Answer: As imagined to be made by a bee heading straight for a flower.

20 Mince pies to include a number of drugs (7)

OPIATES : Anagram of(Mince) pies to containing(include) A.

Answer: Any of a number of drugs producing sleep, dullness or inaction, the name having the same derivation as “opium”, from the Latin for “poppy juice”.

21 Occasion for facing the future with resolution (3,4)

NEW YEAR : Cryptic defn: The time when resolutions are made (and often aborted later) for the coming year.

22 New route right for sightseeing visitors (6)

TOURER : Anagram of(new) ROUTE + R(abbrev. for “right”).

Answer: A (large) open car for passengers to sightsee from.

25 A bell-shaped attachment to the Christmas parcel (5)

LABEL : Anagram of(shaped) A BELL.



Answer to pic#1 click here, cf preamble and section 1.3

13 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25827 Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus
    It being Rufus, I wrote in “otitis” for 6dn without much thought, which obviously held me up – EARWAX is, of course, much better and makes the clue very satisfactory.
    There has been discussion elsewhere about “crying” as a definition for FLAGRANT. It seems that it just about works, but surely there was something better available?

  2. muffin says:

    How about “Notorious small boy rejects gift” for FLAGRANT?

  3. ToniL says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua, slightly tougher than normal Rufus (for me)I had ‘Grant’ as the boy for a while which held me up.

    [[Tim Conway and Harvey Korman from CAROL Burnett show??,

    Arkin and Falk from film In-Laws]]

  4. Trailman says:

    A nice bit of Christmas fun. Thanks scchua for your blog and Rufus for an appropriate puzzle.

    Dallied with ‘abuse’ for ABASH but decided that this would not have been in the spirit of the season. Didn’t know the sense of ‘bee’ in 18d either. But it’s good to learn new thing, even on Xmas Eve!

  5. HKColin says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus. The puzzle was pleasant but unremarkable I thought.

    [[What prompted me to reappear after lurking for several months was the first photo. After 12 years in Tokyo I recently returned to Hong Kong and that is a photo of the Star Ferry crossing Hong Kong harbour taken from the Kowloon side, i.e., looking away from the China mainland. The only possible connection I can see is to the anagram fodder, China. But I must say it still doesn’t feel like China.

    The final photo must be from the remake of The In-laws with Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.]]

  6. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua

    This one took a little longer than normal Rufus – got held up a little in SW with ABASH and BEELINE the last in. Made a bit of a mess with spelling of APOCRYPHAL which slowed down that corner a little as well.

    Santa’s just about to arrive down under, so Merry Christmas to all and all of the best with the New Year.

  7. nesciolatine says:

    Several rather nice anagrams I thought. A gentle festive puzzle. Thanks to Rufus and to scchua for the blog.

    [[I seem to remember reading somewhere the New Year lights/Fireworks in Victoria Harbour are in the Guinness Book of Records? or is that too tenuous?]]

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus and a Merry Xmas to all

    Some write-ins and some trickier bits in this good-natured Christmas puzzle.

  9. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua. Happy Festive Season to all.

    Flagrant=crying seemed to be a bit strange but I guess it is in the sense of a crying shame.

    [[Not sure I can add much here, except the HK harbour; is it ‘from China’ or as it is Victoria Harbour is it related to the ‘Victoria nativity’ or a BEELINE across the bay?? – didn’t think so!]]

  10. Neill91 says:

    Went wrong with METEORITE for 15d, which I thought was a rather good clue!

  11. Gasman jack says:

    19 a Sorry to nit-pick but C is Roman numeral for 100, L being 50

  12. Apple Granny says:

    This was a quick one for us – even for a Monday Rufus. Everything worked first time, though we left 27d “Beer” until last and failed to connect with Beersheba. Just assumed it must be right – which is why I came on the blog to check. I didn’t pick up the connection of the photos at the bottom, until I read the speculations above. Happy Christmas to all Guardian crossword addicts and compilers.

  13. scchua says:

    Gasman jack, you’re right, blog corrected – what was I thinking of?
    [[ToniL and HKColin, correct.  That’s Peter Falk and Alan Arkin in the original “The IN-LAWS”; Harvey Korman (pre- Blazing Saddles) and Tim Conway, 2 stalwarts of the CAROL Burnett Show; Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas in the remake (sort of) of “The IN-LAWS”.  I’ve added a link for pic#1, the HK connection.]]
    [[P.S. Apologies, I initially put in a wrong link.]]

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