Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25874 Rufus

Posted by scchua on February 18th, 2013


A Rufus with, I thought, a more than usual share of anagrams, cds and dds, so it might win even fewer friends.  There are some nice surfaces and misdirections, though.  Thanks Rufus.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.  Please enclose any comments on them in double brackets.  Thank you.]]

1 Ground and house might be theirs (9)

LANDLORDS : Cryptic defn: Owners of house rented out and maybe of land;ground, from which the term is derived.

6 Scratch starter? (4)

ITCH : Cryptic defn: What might cause you to start scratching.

8 Cock-a-hoop, still following City (8)

ECSTATIC : STATIC(still;unmoving) placed after(following) EC (abbrev. for Eastern Central, the group of postal areas including almost all of the Roman to Middle Ages City of London, as distinct from the larger city of London).

9 The short answer about foreign capital (6)

ATHENS : THE contained in(… about) ANS(abbrev.;short for “answer”).

10 Note the world shortage (6)

DEARTH : D(a note in the musical scale) + EARTH(the world).

11 Ill-disposed ladies to be separated (8)

ISOLATED : Anagram of(Ill-disposed) LADIES TO.

12 Unfriendly country, we hear (6)

CHILLY : Homophone of(we hear) “Chile”(the South American country).

15 Unnecessary to curtail one’s requirements (8)

NEEDLESS : NEED LESS(enumerated as 4,4, to curtail or decrease one’s needs or requirements).

16 Old coach  station (8)

VICTORIA : Double defn: 2nd: Underground and mainline rail station in London.

19 Part of the Mass is identified with St Francis (6)

ASSISI : Hidden in(Part of) “Mass is identified “.

Answer: The town from which St. Francis came from, and by which he is identified.

21 Embraces sweetheart and wives (8)

ESPOUSES : The central letter of(…heart) “sweet” plus(and) SPOUSES(wives).  Nice surface – that’s one sweetheart and how many wives again?

22 Mountain retreat needs freezer for fish (6)

PLAICE : Reversal of(retreat) ALP(a mountain in the Alps chain) plus(needs) ICE(something used to freeze).

24 Orphan who was accepted as a Wolf Cub (6)

MOWGLI : Cryptic defn: Not a Wolf Cub (a junior Boy Scout) but the boy raised by wolves in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

25 Producing  elastic (8)

YIELDING : Double defn:. 2nd: Yielding to pressure.

26 Worst — and best! (4)

BEAT : A synonym for 2 apparent antonyms. To “worst” is to defeat, as in “he worsted his opponent easily” and to “best” is to get the better of;to defeat.

27 One step up from the gutter (9)

KERBSTONE : Cryptic defn: The step bordering the street gutter.

1 No end of good fortune concerning money (5)

LUCRE : “luck”(good fortune) minus its last letter(No end of) + RE(concerning;with reference to).

Answer: Slang for “money”.

2 Living in the wild, not a flat (7)

NATURAL : Double defn: 1st: In one’s natural habitat, as opposed to, say, being cultivated in a greenhouse; and 2nd: A musical note that is not flat (nor sharp).

3 Drop a catch in the close (5)

LATCH : Double defn. , I think. 1st: To drop the catch of a latch, thereby locking it; and 2nd: To close;shut, presumably with a latch. The 2 definitions being a bit too close in meaning?

4 Disturbance in court, perhaps (7)

RUCTION : Anagram of(perhaps) IN COURT.

5 Propose a broadcast on a serial TV drama (4,5)

SOAP OPERA : Anagram of(broadcast) PROPOSE A placed above(on, in a down clue) A.

6 Elisha ordered to take in male Biblical outcast (7)

ISHMAEL : Anagram of(ordered) ELISHA containing(to take in) M(abbrev. for “male”).

7 Agreement to study population count is announced (9)

CONSENSUS : CON(to study) + homophone of(is announced) “census”(a national population count).

13 A drop of the hard stuff (9)

HAILSTONE : Cryptic defn: One of many pellets of ice falling from a (cumulonimbus) cloud in a hailstorm. Nothing to do with hard liquor.

14 It’s a rigid rule (9)

YARDSTICK : Cryptic defn: Literally, a graduated rigid stick, one yard long, used for measurement. Figuratively, a standard or measure for comparison purposes, as in “by any yardstick, his actions were unforgiveable.”

17 The first half of this should be considered (7)

THOUGHT : The first 2 letters of(The first half of) “this” + OUGHT(should be;to indicate duty or obligation).

Answer: As in “he was thought/considered a hero”.

18 Years possibly follow as a metal tester (7)

ASSAYER : Anagram of(possibly) YEARS placed below(follow, in a down clue) AS.

20 An unpleasant person, but an unnamed one (2-3-2)

SO-AND-SO : Double defn: 1st: A euphemism for an unpleasant person;a real SOB; and 2nd: Someone (or thing) not definitely named, as “to gossip about so-and-so”.

22 Decrease in newspapers (5)

PRESS : Double defn: 1st: Cryptic, to de-crease;to remove creases;to iron or press clothes; and 2nd: Newspapers collectively.

23 Ocean-designed craft? Hardly (5)

CANOE : Anagram of(designed) OCEAN.

Answer: Hardly a craft meant to be used in the open ocean. A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.



Answer to pic#2 please click here;  to pic#4 here.

37 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25874 Rufus”

  1. michelle says:

    I found the RHS easier than LHS and I took longest on NW corner as I had over-confidently entered ‘emotion’ as the answer to 4d but when I realised 1a must be LANDLORDS I could then fix up 4d and finish off the puzzle.

    I liked CHILLY and ESPOUSES (thanks to Eileen for telling me that ‘sweetheart’ often = ‘e’).

    New word for me today was ASSAYER.

    Thanks for the blog, scchua

  2. AndrewC says:

    Thanks for the blog. Like most of Rufus’ puzzles, this was not the most challenging, but it was certainly not without charm and humour. 13d. produce a rye (sic) smile. :)

    I parsed 1a. a little differently – ground = land, and house = lords (as in ‘house of…’).

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    ITCH as a CD is pretty weak. I wondered if Rufus was trying to do something much more devious (but I very much doubt it): dITCH = cancel = scratch. If you scratch the starter, you’re left with ITCH. ;)

    Isn’t LATCH just a, slightly, cryptic definition?

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Rufus

    Wow – was this hard!

    I am, of course, referring to your Image quiz; the Puzzle itself was a gentle stroll.

    [[1: A cartoon of Rufus;

    2: The Victoria Cricket Ground, Sydney;

    3: St Francis himself; and

    4: The teenage Queen Victoria on a State Visit to Alaska.]]

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I agree with you about LATCH. I liked the CD YARDSTICK.

    I though it was very easy today, the RHS completed in 6′, the whole in 14; this is unusual for a Rufus, as a quick first half often has a stickier second.

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus.
    I actually rather enjoyed ITCH!
    I didn’t see the second meaning in PRESS, so was a bit puzzled by this – one of the cleverer clues, in fact.
    I too agree about LATCH – not a great clue, unless we are all missing something.

  7. NeilW says:

    muffin and Dave E, the reason why I say LATCH is a CD, not a DD, is that there is a clear non-cryptic meaning of dropping a catch as a close fielder.

  8. NeilW says:

    …for what it’s worth!

  9. Apple Granny says:

    This was a bit disappointing – some good clues (and we failed to pick up the de-creasing in Press) but we entered answers like latch, itch and beat without being quite sure they were right, because there was no other option. Never-the-less, it always pleases us if we manage to finish the crossword over our breakfast, and we didn’t need any delays to refer to dictionary or Wiki. So now no excuse not to get on with our other tasks for the day.
    Thanks Bryan for your suggestions for the picture quiz. Are there no other ideas for number 4?

  10. muffin says:

    [ 4 isn’t Sarah Palin, is it?]

  11. Anne says:

    I thought 1a was LAND for ground + house of LORDS

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Rufus

    Plenty of other things to do so not too worried about an easier puzzle.

    My heart sank a little when I saw the grid, after last week’s experience with ‘rapture’, but it was straightforward enough. I wondered at first why Romulus or Remus would not fit in 24a.

    22d was obvious enough but it took a few moments before I saw de-crease.

    I missed AndrewC’s parsing of 1a.

  13. scchua says:

    [[muffin@10, yes it “is”; and Bryan was definitely being tongue-in-cheeky.]]

  14. William says:

    Thanks scchua and good morning everyone.

    AndrewC @2 me too – House of Lords.

    Re LATCH, I wonder if Rufus was going for a cricketing surface and somehow “the” crept in? Perhaps he meant “Drop a catch in close” Perhaps he’ll tell us.

    Have a nice week.

  15. William says:

    [[ Best I can offer is as follows:

    1 Helga from the cartoon strip Gar The Horrible

    2 I’m pretty sure this is Chicago, and if it is, then the baseball ground is Wrigley Field

    3 This looks like the Man in the Moon logo of Procter & Gamble

    4 The well-endowed Alaskan has to be Sarah Palin

    Problem is, I can’t put them together.]]

  16. William says:

    Sorry, meant Hagar The Horrible.

  17. Trailman says:

    MOWGLI, VICTORIA only a step away from a general knowledge xword. Had to pinch myself before entering them. Not without compensations though; I particularly enjoyed THOUGHT.

  18. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, I enjoyed this one. I like to tussle with Rufus’ cds and dds, as long as he gives me a reasonably friendly grid and some other stuff to get me going, and this was the case today. I liked particularly CANOE, because it demonstrates this setter’s ability to clue concisely; there were many other examples of this.

    In fact, if you cast your eye over the set of clues, there aren’t many long ones; in the online version, there are none that are longer than one line. This is something I admire about Rufus’ Monday offerings. Don’t use two words where one will do.

    Thanks to S&B.

  19. tykeitfromme says:

    [[Helga is often an ill-disposed lady (11a),

    Wrigley Field is the home of the Chicago Cubs (24a),

    Proctor & Gamble make soap powder (5d)

    Sarah Palin lives in Alaska, a chilly (12a) pla(i)ce (22a) and got beat (26a) in 2008.]]

  20. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua.

    I tried flagstone and pavestone for 27 before getting the ‘R’ crosser and the right answer. I also got caught by the DE-CREASE for a while, AND I didn’t spot the anagram in RUCTION for far too long – thought it must have been ‘rocking,’ although, of course, I couldn’t parse it.

    [[Thanks to Brian @4 for almost ;) getting the quiz correct:
    #1 is the comic strip character Helga Hagar the Horrible, but I can’t see the connection yet
    #2 is the baseball venue of the Chicago CUBS – is that it?
    #3 is the logo of Proctor & Gamble who started the SOAP OPERAS
    #4 is a porn star pretending to be Sarah Palin – is it ‘a drop of the hard stuff?’]]

  21. Robi says:

    [[Thanks, tykeitfromme @19; we crossed. I think your explanation for #1 is probably correct]]

  22. John Appleton says:

    Nice enough from Rufus, though 24 doesn’t strike me as being at all cryptic.

    [[ First pic is from Hagar the Horrible; Hagar was Ishmael’s mother. If that IS Wrigley field in Chicago, it’s home to the Cubs (Mowgli link). ]]

  23. scchua says:

    [[2 correct so far – Proctor and Gamble, soap makers, sponsored the first soap operas, hence the term, and Hagar was Ishmael’s mother. Some very inventive and applaudable answers for the rest, but this time round, the links are to answers themselves, and not words in the clues. And it is Chicago’s Wrigley Field.]]

  24. John Appleton says:

    [[ Best I can think of for Wrigley Field is the Cubs’ 100-year plus DEARTH of World Series wins. ]]

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Oh dear!

  26. tykeitfromme says:

    [[Alaska is ISOLATED (11a) from the rest of the USA as it does not have a common boundary?]]

  27. ToniL says:

    [[Natural DD]]

    2d Hahaha

  28. Rowland says:

    I though the Guradian rule is ‘don’t use one word where two will do’!! But then, it’s nice to get some sort of idea into clues. I was expecting the usual stuff, especially when i saw the best/worst chestnut, and, really, that’s what I got. Took about 5 minutes!


  29. Rick says:

    A slightly pedantic point but I’ve never been convinced that Mowgli really was an orphan. In the tale “Tiger! Tiger!” it seems that Messua might well be his mother (although this is admittedly not clear and Mowgli does not think so himself as he says “I have at least paid for thy son’s life” to her at the end of the story).

  30. scchua says:

    [[I’ve posted links to the answers to pics#2 and 4…I guess the picture was a distraction?]]

  31. Robi says:

    [[Thanks scchua; I should have got ‘The Natural’ but not very good on bible stuff.]]

  32. MDatta says:

    KERBSTONE and MOWGLI as cryptic? That’s generous…..

  33. RCWhiting says:

    Is this a yardstick?

  34. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Oh dear indeed!

  35. coltrane says:

    Cleavage on Fifteensquared!! I’ve seen it all now, (well nearly all)

  36. una says:

    Lots easier than the Quiptic, or ,perhaps the clues were better ? thanks to Rufus and sccua.

  37. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and scchua

    Don’t even know why I’m posting so late – except that I’m only checking answers now. A 12 min solve which is on the fast side for me.

    Only thing different from me is that maybe Rufus was dropping a (C)ATCH to a (L)ATCH – as in old Roman cricket !!

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