Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,892 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on March 11th, 2013


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.


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

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

10 Once put down, it can be served
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
double definition

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

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

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

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

17 Where to see runners, as on a bed

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

23 Best to appear in public well-dressed

24 Took exercise when reminded
double definition

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

27 Boring makers of laws
anagram of LAWS – cryptic definition

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

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


2 On the way to speaking French?
cryptic definition

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 Photographed both teams, but was biased
double definition

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

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

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

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

25 A girl in distress, the object of chivalrous attention
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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