Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25850 Rufus

Posted by scchua on January 21st, 2013


The usual Monday fare from Rufus.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, as the many cds do not allow the solver to synthesise the answer from scratch, but require one to take a macro view.  Thanks Rufus for the usual enjoyable (to me) puzzle.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[Each pictures at the bottom has 1 of 3 unidentified links to the puzzle.  Please double bracket any comments about them.  Thank you.]]

1 Trees making longbows (7)

LARCHES : L(abbrev. for “long”) + ARCHES(bows;forms a curve).

Answer: And the wood from these could be used for making longbows. A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

5 Cup of tea left to go cold (7)

CHALICE : CHA(tea, from the Chinese language) + L(abbrev. for left) + ICE(to go cold;to form ice).

10 Cutting reminder? (4)

SCAR : Cryptic defn: A reminder of where you’ve been cut, and the wound healed.

11 The services may prove decisive in this struggle (10)

TIEBREAKER : Cryptic defn: The crucial part of, say, a tennis match after a tie in regulation play, when the serves;services may help to win or lose the whole set.

12 Resentment one can bear (6)

GRUDGE : Cryptic defn: As in “to bear a grudge”.

13 Catalogue to the French pictures (8)

TABLEAUX : TABLE(a catalogue of contents, say) + AUX(“to the” in French).

14 One helping satanists out (9)

ASSISTANT : Anagram of(out) SATANISTS.

16 Increase in shouts of disapproval at end of act (5)

BOOST : BOOS(shouts of disapproval) placed before(at) last letter of(end of) “act”.

17 A number well-suited to fashion (5)

ADAPT : A + D(Roman numeral for 500) + APT(well-suited to;fit for its purpose).

Answer: To fashion;modify from one form or function to another form or function, eg. from a novel to a screenplay.

19 Notice job is to be relocated — protest! (9)

OBJECTION : Anagram of(to be relocated) NOTICE JOB.

23 State of California, if left in chaos (8)

CAROLINA : Anagram of(in chaos) “California” minus(… left) “if”.

Answer: Either of the two, North or South, Carolina states in the USA.

24 A motto rewritten for the vegetarian (6)

TOMATO : Anagram of(rewritten) A MOTTO.

Answer: Item of food for the vegetarian.

26 A travelling case? (10)

OUTPATIENT : Cryptic defn: Someone who comes for medical treatment;a case, as the hospital staff refer to him/her, and then leaves afterwards without staying – travelling, as in a “travelling” sales rep.  A clever misdirection into thinking “luggage”.

27 Become wedged, we hear, in the doorway (4)

JAMB : Homophone of(we hear) “jam”(to become wedged;stuck).

Answer: Either of the 2 vertical sides of a doorway.

28 The smoke after battle? (7)

CALUMET : Cryptic defn: Often refered to as the peace pipe, smoked after battle, though, properly, refering to any of the various ceremonial pipes used by the American Indians.

29 Trial makes sense (7)

HEARING : Double defn: 1st: In a court of law; and 2nd: The faculty or sense by which sound is perceived.

2 Gives a hundred lines? (7)

ACCORDS : A + C(Roman numeral for 100) + CORDS(lines of rope or string).

Answer: As in “to accord hospitality to”.

3 An apple may be firm and brightly coloured (5)

CORED : CO(abbrev. for a company;a commercial firm) plus(and) RED(brightly coloured).

Answer: What you might have done to an apple.

4 Appeal in French to doctor (7)

ENTREAT : EN(the preposition “in” in French) + TREAT(to doctor;to apply medical treatment).

Answer: To implore;to beg.

6 By means of joining present and past (6)

HEREBY : HERE(in answer to a roll call to indicate one is present) plus(joining … and …) BY(past, as in “she walked by me”).

7 Doesn’t include  signs of spring (6,3)

LEAVES OUT : Double defn: 2nd: Cryptic, referring to springtime in temperate climes, when plants begin to bear new leaves.

8 High-spirited children? (7)

CHERUBS : Cryptic defn: Members of an order of angels;spirits high above, often represented as winged children.

9 Double indemnity to secure cover for members (4,3,6)

BELT AND BRACES : Cryptic defn: Two forms of securing one’s trousers;cover for one’s legs;members, just to be sure in case one of the two safeguards fails. The surface refers to the insurance cover which pays double in case of accidental death.

15 I’m bang on time with socially acceptable ad-lib (9)

IMPROMPTU : I’M + PROMPT(to be bang on time, not early nor late) + U(a British term for characteristic of or appropriate to the upper classes). This time, “time” is not “t”.

18 Stoker’s batman (7)

DRACULA : Cryptic defn: Writer Bram (originally Abraham) Stoker’s creation who was vampire bat-cum-man.

20 Give claim  to name (7)

ENTITLE : Double defn.

21 Old Empire  sofa (7)

OTTOMAN : Double defn: 1st: Of the old Turkish Empire; and 2nd: A kind of sofa.


22 Very much the opposite (6)

LITTLE : Cryptic defn: Merely the antonym;the opposite of “very much” – the crypticness coming from it being a simple definition put in Yodaspeak.

25 Key  man in the army (5)

MAJOR : Double defn.


   Michelle Pfeiffer 01 downblouse  

Answer to Pic#1 click here; answers to Pics#2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 respectively click here, here, here, here  and here.


50 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25850 Rufus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Rufus

    I’d never heard of CALUMET before although the clue was fair enough.

    [[I am quite sure that all the images at the bottom are of others who have also never heard of CALUMET.]]

  2. scchua says:

    [[Hi Bryan, maybe not quite all…and that’s only 1 link you’ve given!]]

  3. Stella says:

    Hi scchua, thanks for the blog, though you have a slight slip in 13ac – AUX in French is “to the”, the article being plural.

    I found the SW a little tricky, being misled by the misdirection at 26ac and not remembering 28ac

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Stella, blog corrected.

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks scchua. Nothing much to add, except that I thought it was a bit unfair to clue CALUMET as just a cd – it’s not a common word and some wordplay would have helped (and it has the smoke-related LUM in it, which must lead to something..)

    [[Picture 1 is The Shadows, who were originally called the DRIFTERS. Picture 2 is Shakespeare, of course, and 5 is T S Eliot, but I can’t find a connection for either. Is 6 Sir Walter Raleigh?]]

  6. Andrew says:

    [[Oops, as you were: DRIFTER was an answer in a different puzzle this morning! ]]

  7. scchua says:

    [[Hi Andrew, those are The Shadows, but the link lies not in their name(s). Those are Shakespeare and T.S.Eliot, and there’s one other Englishman, and two from across the Channel. And they have something in common, besides being authors.]]

  8. Andrew says:

    [[Ah, more writers: 3 is Victor Hugo, 6 is Cervantes and 7 is Dickens. ]]

  9. Andrew says:

    [[.. and 4 is Michelle Pfeiffer – file name gives it away! Over to the rest of you to find the connections..]]

  10. scchua says:

    [[Oops, an error on my part – giving it away like that.]]

  11. Le Petomane says:

    American Indians? Very non-PC! “First Nation Americans.”

  12. muffin says:

    Thanks scchua and rufus
    I found this very hard – in fact I gave up with LITTLE and CALUMET unsolved.
    Is larch used in longbows? I thought that they were traditionally made from yew.

  13. Robi says:

    Quite difficult to gain traction here, but enjoyable.

    Thanks scchua; usual impressive blog. CALUMET was a new one to me. I liked SCAR and DRACULA, but not so keen on TIEBREAKER, although I see Chambers does equate a meaning of ‘service’ as ‘serve’ in tennis.

    [[Phew, the quiz is as bad as the crossword!

    #1 The Shadows – connection with Dracula?
    #2 W.S. – anything to do with Romeo & Juliet?
    Two households, both alike in dignity
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
    #3 Victor Hugo ???
    #4 The gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer who appeared in SCARface
    #5 T.S.Eliot ??
    #6 Cervantes ??
    #7 Charles Dickens – an update of Barnaby RUDGE, called ‘Carol for Another Christmas’ had Daniel GRUDGE as a main protagonist

    I’ll let those with better literary knowledge sort out the connections!]]

  14. rrc says:

    more smiles than normal for a Rufus – I loved 7d

  15. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua

    A tad harder than is the norm today and he drew the error with me in 12 where I made BRIDLE fit – but drew a long bow that it allowed one to bear rather than steer !

    Thought all clues were fair enough and although I had heard of CALUMET before, I did google peace pipe to recall it – thought it was quite clever as were 26a, 7d and 22d.

    Last in was TIEBREAKER even though it is very topical down here with the Open in full swing – anyone watch that cracker Djokovic match!

    Quite enjoyable today.

  16. scchua says:

    [[Hi Robi, you’re right about Michelle Pfeiffer (on both counts). Right Shakespearean play, but wrong connection. Just a pinch of literary knowledge required – as meagre as mine is, I think.]]

  17. DunsScotus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Scchua; good fun today. [[Eliot, Hollow Men, ‘between the motion and the act (etc.) falls the shadow’.]]

  18. DunsScotus says:

    [[Hi again. Michelle’s 2012 movie is of course called ‘Dark Shadow’.]]

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    Harder than usual but enjpoyable overall. Calumet defeated me and I agree with Andrew that more help through word play was needed in this clue if one was not to wander wildly in Googleland or resort to a solving aid..

    Some excellent clues otherwise. I particularly liked 11a, 26a, and 17d.

  20. Eileen says:

    Thanks, scchua for the blog and Rufus for a rather tougher puzzle!

    I understand the reservations about CALUMET, especially as all the crossing letters are vowels, but I don’t understand robi’s query re TIEBREAKER /service: service is surely the correct word? [‘Let – first service'; ‘service game’] – ‘serve’ is a verb, though admittedly often used as a noun in this context.

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned CHALICE, which I think is an absolute gem.

  21. Robi says:

    Eileen @20; doh! Bad day at the office – I must have been half-asleep. :(

  22. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi

    I thought it was not like you not to be on the ball! 😉

    [Apologies for decapitalising you earlier.]

  23. Robi says:

    My head is still attached – just! 😉

  24. Tom says:

    I understand that it is important for criticism to be constructive, so I should start by commending Rufus on 5ac with its clever, natural-sounding surface meaning.
    But I’m afraid the rest of the puzzle was pretty standard fare.

    I know I am not alone in finding the over-reliance on CD clues (with many of these barely even “cryptic”) deeply unsatisfying. A comment from ‘DavidinPenarth’ on the Guardian website’s crossword page today sums up my feeling:
    “The essence of a good CD is to take a common word and define it in an oblique and witty way which, when ones gets it, leaves one in no doubt that you have the answer.”
    Of the 8 CD clues – 8,9,10,11,12,22, 26 & 28 – only ‘belt and braces’ and ‘outpatients’ seem to me to fit this description.
    According to Wikipedia, Rufus (Roger Squires) is recognised by Guinness World Records as “The World’s Most Prolific Crossword Compiler”. Apparently, he has written over 2 million clues! Impressive – in one way. But, personally I’m more a fan of quality than quantity.

  25. SeanDimly says:

    Quite agree with Eileen @20 – the clue for CHALICE is terrific.
    Thanks to Rufus and Scchua.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I solved about 75% of this as a usual Monday wash-out but then I came to a shuddering halt and had to think very hard and still left ‘calumet’ unsolved.
    Both the NE and SW corners were a struggle.
    This, to me, was a good continuation of the improved level we had all last week.
    Favourite was 23ac.
    I agree with Eileen about the serve/service point. Where I think you might have a minor complaint is that although Americans (I don’t know about Aussies etc) use ‘tiebreaker’ we seem to use ‘tiebreak’.

  27. Stella says:

    [[I wonder if the Shakespeare clue has anything to do with 5ac – Juliet drank the supposed poison from a chalice?]]

  28. JustJim says:

    [[ All of the authors have had musicals based on their works. ]]

  29. scchua says:

    [[JustJim, well done! Andrew, Robi, DunScotus and Stella, I was just about to put links to the answers under the pictures, so I’ll put them up anyway (and. the answer to pic#1). Goodnight!]]

  30. Stella says:

    [[Let’s see:

    – Shakespeare: “Love’s heralds should be thoughts,
    Which ten times faster glide than the sun’s beams,
    Driving back shadows over louring hills.”

    – Victor Hugo: “les Rayons et les Ombres”, translated into English as ” The distance and the Shadows”

    – Michelle Pfeiffer – Dark Shadows

    – T.S. Eliot: “Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow”. . .

    – Dickens: “I saw no shadow of another parting from her” (..but see here:

    As for Cervantes, I’ve found a couple of alternative “shadows”, to wit, “The Shadow of Cervantes”, by D.B. Wyndham Lewis; and “Beneath the shadow of the Freeway”, by Lorna Dee Cervantes.

    If I’ve cracked it, I’ll kick myself, if only because it would be the first time I’ve ever worked out scchua’s fiendish picture puzzles :-)

  31. scchua says:

    [[Hi Stella, you get full marks for persevering, and for constructing something I would never have been able to. :-). Looks like we crossed – answers are in the links under the pictures.]]

  32. Sunburn says:

    Good puzzle, but failed 28across

  33. SuzeeMoon says:

    I prefer crosswording in tandem but flew solo (and mangled metaphors!) with this one. Managed to complete except “calumet” which I thought pretty difficult if you didn’t know the word! Not impressed with “scar” or “little” but liked “Carolina” when I eventually got it. Didn’t get the “service” in tiebreaker but now the answer makes more sense. Enjoyed reading others’ comments.

  34. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Usual Rufus fare only slightly held up by SW corner.

    Some nice clues 9d, 13a & 26a for instance. Some not so nice or just awful, 21d, 25d & 24a etc.

    CALUMET was new to me and apparently to lots of others. However as it was RUFUS and the answer didn’t spring to mind it was obviously an obscure (to me anyway) word for peace pipe. Google “peace pipe” and it’s the first answer!

    Tom @24. I totally agree with you. I’ve not noticed you on here before so welcome if you’re new. Good job you put something positive in there as Rufus has a few pals on here! I’d still put your tin hat on though :-)

  35. sppaul says:

    I think 28 ac and 22 down (which like muffin @ 12 I gave up on) are really poor clues. Actually I thought of ‘little’ but just couldn’t believe it was the answer: not cryptic not gramatical. And the peace pipe – fair enough as a word but the clue gives someone who has never heard of it no chance of solving it. Several other poor clues too. Harrumph! I like to recommend Rufus as a intentionally straight forward setter to friends who might want to start crosswording but if I had suggested today’s puzzle they would have been put off for ever.

  36. Martin P says:

    Calumet, if I remember correctly from another life are a firm of coachbuilders.

    They supplied, for one thing, outside broadcast vehicles to the once-great BBC Television Outside Broadcasts (now sold).

  37. PaulW says:

    Took twice as long as normal, most of the extra time being spent on Calumet, Tiebreaker, Outpatient and Little.

  38. Stella says:

    Hi, scchua, it seems I won’t be kicking myself for now :-)

    It’s not that I knew those connections, it just occurred to me that the link might be nº1; then I googled and stretched my imagination 😆

  39. Thomas99 says:

    If you think 22d is either ungrammatical or “yoda speak” you haven’t solved it.

  40. RCWhiting says:

    SuzeeMoon @33
    Is that the well-known Welsh writer, SuzeeMoon?
    How are you?

  41. SuzeeMoon says:

    One and the same. I tend to print, save and do puzzles a while after publication so miss the dialogue here, but always check for the clues that confuse or annoy me and have noticed your comments when I’ve lurked. Actually did this one on the day and didn’t like a few and thought “calumet” a bit of a swizz but see the puzzle brightened your day…

  42. john McCartney says:

    Not sure of “cds ” meaning, but I always find with Rufus is that I have simply to guess answers then see if the guess fits. Very little working out. Has too much in common with “quick” crosswords for my taste. Sorry for naivety of expression!

  43. tupu says:

    Hi John @42. cd = cryptic definition introduced to me by Uncle Yap’s blogs – see his list of abbreviations at the end of today’s.

  44. sppaul says:

    Hello Thomas99 at 39 – I accept the rebuke but you could have helped by further explanation! I still don’t get it. Admittedly I ignored ‘yodaspeak’. But now I have looked it up and I still still don’t get it!

    Does anyone reads these blogs the day after?

  45. SuzeeMoon says:

    I usually read later as I have irriegular habits with my x-word activity! I too don’t really get “little” – it fitted the x-word and “sort of” made sense at best for me so got written in reluctantly…

  46. nodracol says:

    Thanks Rufus – I always look forward to tackling your puzzle with the knowledge that I stand a chance of completing it! I regularly tackle the G crossword, but rarely finish it. I’m probably one of many who fit into this category and enjoy, some of what the expert solvers consider, the easier puzzles set by the likes of Rufus et al. This was a typical Rufus challenge for me with many of the answers only confirmed from the “macro” view as scchua rightly noted. The last one to go in was in fact calumet which I had to look up!

    In answer to sspaul yes someone does read the blog the day after. Me! I’m sure there are many others too, just to check out why the answers are what they are!

  47. tutu says:

    I am a bit at odds with 24a. On this basis different anagrams could produce apples, pears and bananas etc as a tomato is a fruit.Vegetarian is unnecessary in the clue. Very enjoyable crossword though.

  48. Jan says:

    @sppaul @44 – Here am I reading the blog the day after. Like SuzeeMoon, I print them out and solve them when I have time. I will often printout several puzzles at a go and solve them, in one sitting, many days after their newspaper appearances.

    I confess that I don’t relish Rufus’s puzzles but it is more often his dds rather than his cds which defeat me. I’m only commenting because I know the word CALUMET but I didn’t get it. I thought of a peace-pipe in response to the clue, but it’s one of those words that I know when I meet it but would never think of when needed.

  49. RCWhiting says:

    I frequently check back after the day of publication.
    Just to see whether there are any interesting late postings, unlike this one.

    Good to see you are still active, SM. I am, just.

    Further thought on ‘little'; if acceptable it does open up a totally new, very widely applicable and hardly cryptic, class of clue: antonyms.

  50. SuzeeMoon says:

    Oh, RC – I’m sure you’re as lively as ever! I’m still in practice for growing old disgracefully and enjoying life.

    “Little”! was annoying…!

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

+ five = 8