Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,880 – Rufus

Posted by manehi on February 25th, 2013


Much as usual for a Monday Rufus. I did like the trio of linked double defs at 8ac, 1dn, 11dn.

7 OLEASTERS =”shrubs” (late roses)*
8 SPLIT double def =”Rent” in the sense of torn; =”a place in Croatia” [wiki]
9 RACEHORSE =”Fast mover” (chores are)*
10 BOXER cryptic def a BOXER will try to stay standing through their opponents rights [and lefts]
12 DENIAL =”rejection” (Daniel)*
13 OVERBOLD =”Too adventurous” sounds like “Over bowled”=”series of deliveries completed”
14 AGITATE =”excite trouble” IT, with A GATE=”those attending” outside
17 PRECEDE =”go before the others” P[iano]=”quietly” + RECEDE=”withdraw”
20 DAUGHTER =”girl” (Guard the)*
22 REMAIN “Don’t go” ‘EM=”clip them” inside RAIN=”wet weather”
24 ADORN =”DECK” A DO=”A party” + R[oyal] N[avy]=”sailors”
25 BEGGARMAN =”pauper” The seventh in the rhyme “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man, Thief…”, which is used to count cherry stones among other things.
26 HOSED cryptic def
27 NAVIGATOR =”One who gives guidance” (to a raving)*
1 CLEAVE double def =”Stick” as in “CLEAVE to…”; =”split” as in “CLEAVE asunder”
2 FACELIFT =”superficial improvement” FACE=”Brave” as a verb + LIFT=steal/”pirate”
3 STROLL =”Walk slowly” ST[reet] + ROLL=”list”
4 BRISTOL double def Bristol is known both as a [sea]port and for its sherry.
5 APLOMB =”confidence” rev(PA)=”Father about” + LO=”see” + MB=Bachelor of Medicine=”doctor”
6 LIBELLED =”smeared unfairly” BELLE=”Beautiful lady” inside LID=”hat”
11 TEAR double def =”Drop”; =”rent”
15 GRANDSON cryptic def “issue” in the same sense as “offspring”
16 TUTU double def “What the ballet dancer wore”; =”the archbishop” Desmond Tutu
18 CAMBRIAN =”Welsh” rev(MAC)=”Scotsman comes up” + BRIAN=”chap”
19 ARSENAL double def =”Reserve of strength”; =”football team”
21 GARNER double def =”Acquire”=”Husband”
22 REGAIN cryptic def I think the surface is alluding to recovering one’s composure=”possession”
23 IN A ROW double def =”Lined up”; =”during altercation”

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,880 – Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks manehi and Rufus
    I failed on BOXER (hence I think the clue is a bit weak!), but I liked OVERBOLD and BEGGARMAN

  2. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Manehi. The repetition of ‘rent’ will, I dare say, cause some comment but this was, I thought, just right for a Monday.

  3. John Appleton says:

    I got BOXER and HOSED only by guessing, as they vauely seemed right. I often complain about the grids that Rufus uses; in this case I don’t think it’s helpful having two solutions that appear as -O-E- when checked letters are in – more so for 26a, where the first crossing word could either be GRANDKID or GRANDSON.

  4. muffin says:

    John Appleton @3
    A family expression when we get mucky (usually eating) is “I need to hose down”, so HOSED struck me quite quickly.

  5. michelle says:

    This was an enjoyable puzzle, although I failed to solve 10a BOXER, and I was unable to fully parse 25a & 26a.

    I still don’t fully understand 26a as a dd. ‘Piped’ = ‘hosed’, ‘down’ = what? Can anyone put me out of my misery?

    I especially liked 17a, 13a, 15d & 6d, with 16d TUTU bringing a chuckle.

    New word for me was CAMBRIAN.

    Thanks for the blog, Manehi.

  6. michelle says:

    Regarding 26a HOSED (= piped down) I now understand that it was not a dd but a cd. Amazingly, I had “solved” it but I couldn’t parse it.

  7. Shuna says:

    Thanks for the blog. I completely failed with 26a, inserting ‘lowed’ on the basis that it meant making a sound and carried the connotation ‘down’! Favourite clue of the day was 13a.

  8. michelle says:


    By repetition of ‘rent’, are you referring to 1d, 8a and 11a? (Are there other clues as well?)

    I filled in 8a first but if I hadn’t, 1d would have helped me solve 8a. Later, 11a was an easy fill-in, I think, but by then I must have been thinking of ‘rent’ in a different way.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, maheni.

    Half finished in about 6 minute, but then shuddered to a 25 minute failure.

    I thought 13ac was OVERKILL, then OVERSOLD, which both fit the clue, so failed to get OVERBOLD, and APLOMB.

    Too many CDs,again, for my taste, and I agree about the grid.

    Isn’t it time for a new clue for CLEAVE?

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Sorry, manehi, manehi.

  11. michelle says:

    Dave Ellison @ 9

    I enjoyed the CDs in this puzzle and 13ac OVERBOLD was one of my favourites.

    Good luck with hoping for new clues for CLEAVE. Literally all of the clues are new for me so I cannot complain of having seen ANY clues too many times!

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, manehi. I failed on BOXER too. Also didn’t get SPLIT. I’ve v rarely not finished a Rufus, so I’m putting this down to the disruption caused by my recent house move. :-)

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Rufus

    Lots of write-ins and some more difficult clues. I got ‘boxer’, but in some desperation put ‘bored’ in for 26a. I can’t say I like ‘hosed’ much either but it is better.

    I ticked 13a and 15d.

  14. george says:

    I liked OVERBOLD when I finally got it and had a ‘doh’ moment with BEGGARMAN as that had me really puzzled for ages. I remember as a child counting out plum/prune stones around my plate to the rhyme, but had been thinking along the lines of weight, the Indian game and prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge. I won’t be fooled again by an n-stone clue, unless of course n is greater than 8.

  15. PaulW says:

    26a – put bored for piped down.

  16. Robi says:

    Thanks Rufus & manehi.

    Strangely enough, BOXER was one of my first (or should that be fist?) in. I, too, got caught by the ‘seven-stone’ for a while. I think Archbiship Tutu should be given a rest for a while; there is, after all, tote, tots, tate, tits etc. I particularly liked OVERBOLD and the nice anagram for NAVIGATOR.

  17. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus for a nice start to the week and manehi for the blog.

    Like others, I particularly liked BEGGARMAN with associations of counting prune and plum stones. It brought back memories of my mother’s wonderful plum pies made from plums from the orchard and you could see the shape of the whole plum through the pastry. All with home made custard. What bliss. 5 was the optimum number of stones as it foretold a marriage this year to a rich man and a coach to travel to the wedding in!

    Giovanna x

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    michelle @ 11 (and Guardian Xword Editor)

    Well, I should rephrase my comment slightly: isn’t it time the idea of chop/stick for cleave was dropped?

    A quick check found the following for Guardian Xwords (There were other papers I didn’t check):

    Stick that’s split? Rufus 25 Feb 2012
    Sticks together or splits apart Rufus 5 Oct 2009
    Chopstick Rufus 10 November 2008
    Chop stick? Boatman 1 Aug 2012
    Stay separate Rover 1 Dec 2009
    Become attached or separate Brendan 12 Oct 2007
    Chop stick? Start to chop up sticks Orlando 3 June 2011

    That’s 7 similar ones; two different are:

    Be united at the start of Christmas break Rufus 21 Dec 2009
    Conservative leader has holiday cut Chifonie 8 Mar 2012

    (Incidentally when looking for these on the Guardian’s Cryptic site using the search, the Rufus of Oct 5 2009 was stated as being on a Sunday – probably something wrong with their calendar)

  19. Robi says:

    Dave @18; yes, it’s a Monday.

  20. Dave Ellison says:


    yes, I also checked Brendan Oct 2007 and it is given as Thursday 11 Oct 2007 (however, if you search for # 24, 206 it gives the correct Friday 12 Oct 2007).

    I have sent them an email

  21. michelle says:

    Dave Ellison@18

    Sorry I did not pick up on the ‘chop/stick’ for cleave point you are making even though (as it happens) I am half-Chinese.

    As I mentioned, I am a newbie to cryptic crosswords, so all of these clues are new and fresh to me.

    You are a good researcher. Good luck with new clues for CLEAVE.

  22. Mike M says:

    Didn’t enjoy this much – far too many cryptic defs and double defs, which Rufus obviously enjoys setting, but I don’t particularly enjoy solving.

    So now someone will say “So why did you bother starting, if you knew it was Rufus?” – which is frankly an excellent question… I don’t think I shall again. Will hold fire for a Paul or a Brummie…

  23. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I too gave up on this one. I’ve said it several times before, but at the risk of boring everyone, this grid (few starting letters and lots of clues with less than 50% checking) and the large number of cds and dds just make it too difficult, for me at least.

  24. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Truly an awful crossword. Even for a Rufus.

    Either write ins or terribly weak dd or cds. Half of them are barely acceptable others are simply wrong!

    If it was any other setter this would be panned!!!!

  25. WBE says:

    In fact 26a is a DD: ‘hosed’ is a – slightly slang – synonym for down when applied to IT equipment. As I remembered at 5 o’clock this morning.

  26. Tom says:

    Interested to read comments from Brendan @24 and Mike M @ 22.
    I decided to give up on Rufus after a particularly unsatisfactory and unsatisfying recent puzzle of his left me feeling rather cheated. Life is too short.

  27. Huw Powell says:

    Not my cup of tea at all. Nightmarish grid and far too many CD/DD/Not even clues. Sorry to be so negative, but I didn’t even care how the clues I couldn’t figure out were parsed – since most of them weren’t, really.

    Boxer? Hosed? Garner? 13 lacked a homonym indicator.

    The clues are poor and the grid is awful. I hate CDs and DDs because one can never “prove” the answer is correct. One or two in a puzzle are fine, since they usually fit in with the other answers. Puzzles built around them are just not cryptic. I was tempted to just fill in the NE and SW with words that fit and offer new clues for them.

    Oh well, hopefully next week will be more fun.

    Sorry to be so grumpy.

  28. Paul B says:

    Re 13, ‘Huw’, I think you’ll find it didn’t. That should ungrump you a bit.

  29. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Rufus and manehi

    Late for this – have never taken longer than half hour to solve Rufus – but both 10 and 25 defied logic for me this week. Eventually wrote in VOTEE (more in hope than confidence) – and still don’t think that BOXER is any better a fit – which to me makes it a poor clue.

    Didn’t twig to why BEGGARMAN was right – but really couldn’t be much else.

    For HOSED – I interpreted it as a dd for piped (as in transferred water) and killed (as in one man down / to hose (shoot) someone with a gun).

  30. Wilson says:

    I thought Boxer was an allusion to the character in Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

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