Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,892 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on March 11th, 2013

Eileen.

Back to normal Monday with a Rufus puzzle, with perhaps fewer cryptic definitions than we sometimes have. There were some very neat anagrams, I thought, and some nice surfaces, as always. Many thanks, Rufus.

Across

1 The ne plus ultra conversion, very bland
NEUTRAL
anagram [conversion] of NE + ULTRA – this gave me a smile to start the puzzle

5 She plays with electricity switch
ACTRESS
AC [electricity] + TRESS [switch]

10 Once put down, it can be served
WRIT
double definition – the old past tense of ‘written’  [put down] as in ‘The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on’

11 Be unlucky in raffle, but lucky in Russian roulette
DRAW A BLANK
double definition

12 Go faster in the present, though beaten in the past
OUTRUN
double definition – active voice in the present tense, passive in the past

13 Farewell present for a member of the party?
GOODY BAG
cryptic definition

14 It teaches fashion in accordance with good taste
AESTHETIC
anagram [fashion] of IT TEACHES

16 Five Gaelic lines of poetry
VERSE
V [five] ERSE [Gaelic]

17 Where to see runners, as on a bed
ASCOT
AS + COT

19 Special among men, a legendary Greek hero
AGAMEMNON
clever anagram [special] of AMONG MEN A

23 Best to appear in public well-dressed
OUTSMART
OUT SMART

24 Took exercise when reminded
JOGGED
double definition

26 Wealth is about to provide security for girl in panto
GOLDILOCKS
GOLD [wealth] + IS round LOCK [to provide security]

27 Boring makers of laws
AWLS
anagram of LAWS – cryptic definition

28 Sat out next to hut, hidden away
STASHED
anagram [out] of SAT + SHED [hut]

29 Singular-looking giant?
CYCLOPS
cryptic definition – which made me laugh

Down

2 On the way to speaking French?
EN ROUTE
cryptic definition

3 Teacher‘s expression of disgust with our skipping university
TUTOR
TUT [expression of disgust] + O[u]R minus u [university]

4 Neat and refined, but rather slow
ANDANTE
anagram [refined] of NEAT AND

6 Greek ferry operator casts anchor
CHARON
anagram [casts] of ANCHOR, for a third Classical reference

7 Athletes who take part in four-legged races?
RELAY TEAM
cryptic definition

8 Model lass and her footwear?
SANDALS
anagram [model] of LASS AND

9 Comedian’s repertoire is one that’s ridiculous
LAUGHING STOCK
double / cryptic definition

15 Photographed both teams, but was biased
TOOK SIDES
double definition

18 Tried to make a little yarn go a long way?
SPUN OUT
double / cryptic definition – reference to ‘spin a yarn’ – tell a story

20 May accept joke with dignity
MAJESTY
JEST [joke] in MAY

21 Cover too many a circuit
OVERLAP
OVER [too many] + LAP [circuit]

22 Scottish magistrate that is after guarantee of court appearance
BAILIE
IE [that is] after BAIL [guarantee of court appearance]

25 A girl in distress, the object of chivalrous attention
GRAIL
anagram [in distress] of A GIRL – a lovely surface, reference to chivalrous knights rescuing damsels in dstress, as well as searching for the Holy Grail

26 Responses to “Guardian 25,892 / Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus.

    I was baffled by the parsing of ACTRESS and am not all that much wiser now – in what sense is TRESS = SWITCH?

    I too was amused by CYCLOPS, and I liked GRAIL as well.

  2. John Appleton says:

    Fairly average Rufus, by no means a complaint. ACTRESS caused me problems, because the tress/switch connection was unknown to me. WRIT and OUTRAN also eluded me, but I blame that on it being Monday.

    Fleetingly thought we might have a theme of setters here, seeing both CYCLOPS and —SHED on the bottom row. Not to be, though.

  3. michelle says:

    I clearly enjoyed this puzzle by Rufus as I marked so many clues as favourites including CYCLOPS, DRAW A BLANK, LAUGHING STOCK, ACTRESS, GOODY BAG, GOLDILOCKS & OUTSMART.

    I learnt two new words: ERSE & BAILIE.

    I solved but could not parse 7d & 12a. I’m still not sure I understand the parsing of 7d. Is it a relay race of only two runners (= 4 legs)?

    Last in was WRIT.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

  4. brucew_aus says:

    Hi muffin
    A switch is a thick strand of real or synthetic hair …

  5. muffin says:

    Bruce @ 4
    Thanks – I hadn’t come across that sense of the word.

  6. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Rufus and Eileen. Hi muffin. I found ‘tress, usu false’ in Chambers under ‘switch’ but I’m not sure I’m much the wiser. Is it about hairpieces?

  7. Ian SW3 says:

    Michelle @3, I had the same thought about Relay Team, but then realised relays are typically run or swum in four stages (legs).

    Thanks as always to Eileen.

  8. dunsscotus says:

    Yes it is.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    michelle, I too was contemplating the number of runners’s legs, thinking horses, but it is the number of stages (=legs) in a relay race such as the 4 x 100m.

  10. Eileen says:

    Sorry, folks, about the switches and legs – I never know how specific to be! Thanks to those who filled in the gaps.

  11. michelle says:

    Ian SW3@7 and Dave Ellison@9
    Thanks for your explanations of “four-legged”. Now I understand where I went wrong!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen. As you say, a better balance than often between Rufus’ cds and dds (which I do enjoy tackling) and other clue types. I too liked NEUTRAL (always a bonus when 1 across makes you smile) and I thought RELAY TEAM was also clever. Like others, I put in ACTRESS without understanding why.

    Thanks to Rufus for the Monday morning diversion.

  13. Paul B says:

    Did anyone else like the construction at 14 ac?

  14. Eileen says:

    Yes! ;-)

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    Some nifty cluing as one expects from Rufus. I particularly liked 12a, 14a, and 9d.

  16. george says:

    Surprised myself by writing in 1ac as soon as I read the clue, but about half way through the puzzle I slowed down and struggled with some towards the end, especially in the SW corner.
    I nearly had GRIT rather than WRIT at 10ac, but realised that although it could be put down and eaten, it did not quite fit the clue.
    I liked quite a few of the clues including those for CYCLOPS and RELAY TEAM. Despite me getting TEAM it took a while for the penny to drop as I went off on the wrong track.

  17. Chris says:

    Not too bad a showing here from me, with just the NE corner failing to yield.

    I was momentarily non-plussed when, using the “Check” button to make sure I’d spelled Agamemnon correctly, the Grauniad website removed my leading A! Eventually, the “Cheat” button revealed that they wanted an À (A-grave)!

  18. Robi says:

    Enjoyable crossword – I agree with Eileen that it was better balanced than some.

    Thanks Eileen; I was misled into thinking of a team with two people before the penny clanged. I thought you would like your Greek hero even if, as Chris @17 stated, the Grauniad wanted to spell it with an À.

    I particularly liked ACTRESS and GOODY BAG, having convinced myself for a protracted time that the second word would be man. :(

  19. Giovanna says:

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

    Like others, I liked CYCLOPS.

    Chris @17, I wondered why the check button wouldn’t have the first a of AGAMEMNON, when I checked at the end of the puzzle. It couldn’t have been anything else!

    EN ROUTE reminded me of an early French book at school, which contained the ‘adventures’ of a French family. I can still remember huge chunks of the stories and the accompanying drawings.

    Giovanna x

  20. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I think there’s possibly an additional dimension to RELAY TEAM – in the relay zone (or whatever it’s called) both runners are running together so there are four legs!

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi NeilW

    For once, i disagree with you. Surely there are four runners running in each leg?

  22. NeilW says:

    Yes, but representing different teams… sorry, I’m just being provocative really!

  23. NeilW says:

    Or, if you take each team, only two of them on the track at a time! ;)

  24. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I am another who tried to imagine a relay team of two people having two legs each :(

    In 8d I tried, for a long time, to use ‘model’ in its usual crossword sense of meaning T but eventually spotted the correct interpretation. That comes as a pleasant surprise.

  25. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Usual Rufus fare!

    Am I missing something or does 1A not have a surface but is merely a mechanical instruction on how to construct the answer?

    Thanks to Eileen

  26. Martin P says:

    I printed off an earlier puzzle to take to the pub, so I’m even later than usual, having just done this.

    I thought there were some nice touches in this customary gentle start to the week. 10a and 12a being two I liked particularly.

    Thanks setter and everyone else.

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