Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,904 / Rufus

Posted by Gaufrid on March 25th, 2013


The scheduled blogger appears to have been unable to post today so here is a parsing of the clues. I cannot comment on the puzzle as I didn’t solve it but merely analysed the clues and published solution.

If anything needs further explanation please say.


7 No beer left? That’s the limit! (6,3)

BITTER END – cryptic def. & def.

8 A huge development in the city (5)

HAGUE – anagram (development) of A HUGE

9 Worn at funerals and clubs, for example (5,4)

BLACK SUIT – double def.

10 Southern stretch of water to satisfy one’s desire (5)

SLAKE – S (southern) LAKE (stretch of water)

12 Solicitor to go to work — or decide not to? (3,3)

OPT OUT – OP (work) TOUT (solicitor)

13 A gin before opening may let an actor down (8)

TRAPDOOR – TRAP (gin) DOOR (opening)

14 It may be charged or one may be charged with it (7)

BATTERY – double def.

17 Trust company wrongly fined (7)

CONFIDE – CO (company) anagram (wrongly) of FINED

20 Look at coin with lens (8)

EYEPIECE – EYE (look at) PIECE (coin)

22 Get the game moving and thrash (4,2)

BEAT UP – double def.

24 Skirt hem raised above the knee (5)

THIGH – [skir]T HIGH (raised)

25 Reckless person’s crazy road speed (9)

DESPERADO – anagram (crazy) of ROAD SPEED

26 Caught fish — put right in this (5)

CREEL – R (right) in C (caught) EEL (fish) &lit

27 Agreeing to study issue with worker (9)

CONSONANT – CON (study) SON (issue) ANT (worker)


1 Tablet providing uplift and stimulus (6)

FILLIP – PILL (tablet) IF (providing) reversed (uplift)

2 Continue to be stubborn, so cane produced? (5,3)

STICK OUT – def. & cryptic def.

3 Good health shown by professional model (6)

PROSIT – PRO (professional) SIT (model)

4 Concern of an eleven yet to be organised (7)

ANXIETY – AN XI (eleven) anagram (to be organised) of YET

5 Annoyed about article, became abusive (6)

RAILED – RILED (annoyed) around A (article)

6 Poor diet on Asian vessel? (4,4)

JUNK FOOD – cryptic def.

11 A light headband (4)

HALO – cryptic def.

15 New Year, when there’s a situation of uncertainty (8)

ANYWHERE – anagram (new) of YEAR WHEN

16 Rush animal from below (4)

REED – DEER (animal) reversed (from below)

18 Below standard tirade is outrageous (8)

FLAGRANT – FLAG (standard) RANT (tirade)

19 Elaborate blossom (7)

DEVELOP – double def.

21 Girl on cricket side is not a true member (3,3)

PEG LEG – PEG (girl) LEG (cricket side)

22 Circumvent with the aid of permit (6)

BYPASS – BY (with the aid of) PASS (permit)

23 Ruined but not executed (6)

UNDONE – double def.



48 Responses to “Guardian 25,904 / Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks Rufus, and Gaufrid for stepping in.
    Easy, as one would expect from Rufus, but also delightful – lots of clues that amused. I especially liked BITTER END, BATTERY, CREEL, FILLIP, PROSIT, JUNK FOOD and HALO.

  2. coltrane says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for the blog and Rufus for easing us into the week with a gentle, clever puzzle. I agree entirely with muffins picks and would also add BLACK SUIT as my COD!!

  3. Mikes says:

    Agreed as above,but as RCW might have observed, with an effective cost of 14p per minute for the printed edition, I had hoped for something more. Never mind, that released more time to engage with editor Rusbrdger’ comment re the Government’s response to the Leveson report!

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    I must say that I’m losing patience with Rufus: while I understand that his remit is to produce an “accessible” crossword, I find the sausage machine product (for that’s what it is, by his own admission) harder and harder to accept.

    The last couple of weeks have given us wonderful puzzles but with the Rufus islands, so far adrift of the others, ludicrous. What’s the point of “accessibility” if it provides no access?

  5. Johnh42 says:

    The problem with this blog is that so many of you are good / expert solvers. I wonder what proportion of people who attempt the Guardian crosswords finish even a Rufus? Come on guys give us ordinary mortals a chance.

  6. coltrane says:

    NeilW @4 I sympathise with your point, but as has been argued ad nausium, this is an editorial dictum, and not Rufus’s fault. I strongly urge you to do as Mikes did and read the Editorial on Leveson. It is well worth it and might be a subject to get irate about!! But not here!!

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Johnh42 – quite so.

    Does anybody actually use BEAT UP to mean “Get the game moving”? A real example whith it’s context would be helpful.

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Derek
    For ‘get the game moving’ think pheasant shooting and the associated beaters.

  9. coltrane says:

    Derek @7. Perhaps in the sense of beating the terrain near game birds so they fly up and can be shot???

  10. jeceris says:

    Derek, it’s what beaters do at a grouse shoot.

  11. coltrane says:

    Sorry Gaufrid we crossed!!

  12. jeceris says:

    You beat me coltrane

  13. Rufus says:

    Re comment 4. I don’t know where NeilW gets the impression that I have admitted my puzzles are produced similarly to a sausage machine.

    I am a full-time setter, having appeared regularly in virtually every national, but each crossword is made to the style and degree of difficulty I am asked to provide.

    How does he reconcile his comments with the first two comments today, for example?

    My puzzles are obviously not for him. I can understand that, but I seem to please some solvers. It is well-known one cannot please all the people, all of the time. It seems a very selfish viewpoint to me. I do not like vindaloo, for example, but I know many people really enjoy it and don’t waste my time decrying it.

  14. jeceris says:

    And, I’ve just noticed, so did you gaufrid!

  15. Colin says:

    Thanks to Rufus and especially Gaufrid for stepping in and blogging.

    Only last week izzythedram wrote “I love Rufus!” We all have setters we really like and others for whom we perhaps have less affection. Yes, Rufus is at the easier end of the scale but he clearly has a following. I wouldn’t care for more than one Rufus per week but then the same goes for Enigmatist. I rather like the variation in the Guardian crosswords. Long may it continue.

  16. coltrane says:

    WELL SAID RUFUS. This puzzle had some gems as muffin and I both said earlier. Let us hope your timely post will put this particular argument to bed once and for all; it has been boring for some time now!! And thanks for so many great puzzles at different levels in different publications over many years!!

  17. MDatta says:

    De gustibus non est disputandum. Not every meal needs to be a chewy steak; the occasional quiche is welcome too.

  18. NeilW says:

    Thanks for responding, Rufus. I wrote an elaborate defence of my position but deleted it because I realised I would never win: you are a much loved stalwart of the crossword world: that’s fine by me.

  19. John Appleton says:

    Rufus’ crosswords aren’t always to my liking, but aren’t always bad (to my estimation) either – usually somewhere in the middle, but suitable enough when my brain is trying to get over the weekend. I’ll try them anyway. Today’s was pleasant enough, just three answers eluding me where they might not have on a day other than Monday.

  20. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Rufus, you always bring a smile to a Monday for me.
    I like your range of topics, too.

    Good of you to drop by today and long may you continue!

    Thanks, Gaufrid or stepping into the breach.

    Giovanna x

  21. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when I was getting back into cryptics a few years ago now, I discovered Rufus on a Monday; I really enjoyed trying to finish and eventually found I could manage him most weeks. I quite like dds and cds, because they make my brain work in a different way. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you don’t like these types of clues and ‘easy’ puzzles, then don’t try Rufus. Or at least don’t try him and then complain about it afterwards. WYSIWYG.

    I agree with coltrane at no 16 – we’ve been having this discussion for some time now and it’s not going to go anywhere. Let’s just agree to be different and enjoy the variety of crosswords we get from the Guardian.

    Thanks to Gaufrid for stepping in.

  22. tupu says:

    thanks Gaufrid and Rjufus

    I enjoyed this. I wanted a quick solve before a busy day, but I managed to get stuck on 19d and it took some time before the penny dropped. I particularly liked 27a, 15d, and 18d.

  23. serene says:

    Someone blogged last week ‘we love rufus’. Well so do we. Fantastic start to the week and it’s not as if the whole thing is a ‘write in’. Some of the clueing is pretty fiendish and challenges the little grey cells.

  24. Eileen says:

    I have virtually given up on commenting on Rufus puzzles, except when it’s my blog [where I’ve long since given up on trying to find alternative epithets for ‘witty’,’elegant’ and ‘smooth as silk’, when describing Rufus’ surfaces].

    But I really have to join in today. Bravo, Rufus,for [again] raising your head above the parapet and reminding us [once again] of your brief. I’m just sorry that it was necessary.

    I really don’t understand people who take the trouble to solve a puzzle they know they won’t like and then complain about it and I agree with all Kathryn’s Dad says @21. It would be really wonderful if we could finally put this predictably tedious weekly discussion to bed.

    Thanks, Gaufrid, for the blog, and Rufus for a congenial start to what seems to be going to be another horrible week, weather-wise.

  25. regalize says:

    I love Rufus. I love Rufus. In fact I love all Crossword Setters (some more than others, I admit), and I thank them for all the pleasure they give me on a daily basis, including the headaches. NeilW…. its a no-brainer really; if you don’t like a puzzle by a particular setter, then DONT DO IT! But there is no need for the personal attacks.

  26. Eileen says:

    Hurrah, regalize – we crossed! 😉

  27. Mikes says:

    Perhaps I should add that I quite enjoy the Rufus surfaces and style on a Monday morning. It’s just that I would have preferred to have spent a litlle more time in his company today. Maybe next week eh?

  28. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ta people.

    For the first time in 27 years we are between whippets. Maybe when we get the next one we should go on a shoot and acquire some jargon. Oh, no. Wait. That wouldn’t work. Whippets tend more to the “if you want one of these, go find your own” viewpoint.

  29. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for stepping in and also Rufus for the puzzle.

    Variety is the spice of life – if you know the setter and don’t like them then please go elsewhere as far as we are concerned! We thought that this was an OK puzzle. We don’t expect and don’t want challenging puzzles everyday. If we want a real challenge then we know where to go!

    Thanks Rufus for starting the week and also for your comment.

  30. Eileen says:

    Mikes @27 but more particularly @3

    I can’t decide which group puzzle me more – those who buy the paper, apparently purely for the crossword, when they could get it for nothing, or those who get the crossword free – and still complain.

  31. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid and Rufus

    A tad harder than usual I thought but I’m not complaining.

    I lived in The Hague for 5 years – where both my daughters were born – and it’s always nice to see a place I know mentioned.

  32. Andy B says:

    A typical Rufus offering, and as has been said many times in this forum you know what you are going to get and why it has been set the way it has.

    However, I’m surprised that nobody commented about HAGUE because the name of the city is THE HAGUE (DEN HAAG in Dutch). Rufus provided a similar clue several weeks ago when CAROLINA was the answer to a state. NORTH CAROLINA and SOUTH CAROLINA are states, CAROLINA isn’t.

  33. Eileen says:

    Hi Andy B

    I think the definition is ‘THE city’. [I can imagine there might otherwise have been objections on the grounds that the ‘the’ was superfluous!]

  34. regalize says:

    Well, we live in THE UK, or possiblY THE USA, or THE Gambia or THE Lebanon, but this is Crosswordland and we can dispense with the articles if we want to!

  35. Brendan (not that one) says:

    As many of us non-Rufusphiles have often said we do not object per se to the Monday crosswords being easy.

    What I do object to is the totally different style of crossword that Rufus provides which I consider to be out of place with the rest of the weeks offerings. (On top of that there are always some dodgy clues which seem to be totally overlooked. Come on Eileen your defence of Hague is unconvincing to say the least.)

    If, as is posited, these “easy” puzzles are there to give beginners hope then it’s a little counter productive as developing skill in Rufus solving wont help much with the rest of the week.

    The argument that we shouldn’t do the Monday crossword if we don’t like Rufus doesn’t hold water either. Even a Rufus is better than nothing but it doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to voice our disappointment at what we consider to be inferior to the rest of the week.

    Nothing personal Rufus but I don’t like your style of setting. Do you actually believe your puzzles to be the same style of cryptic crossword as the rest of the week?

    You may not like vindaloo but if it was all there was in your favourite restaurant almost every Monday I’m not sure you’d fast or go elsewhere without at least a comment!

  36. michelle says:

    I always look forward to Monday’s Rufus cryptic.

    Thanks to Rufus for a great puzzle. It truly lifted my spirits to be able to finish a puzzle in 25 minutes which is excellent for me! It was especially heart-warming after my dismal failures with the Prize puzzle over the past two weeks.

    My favourites were BLACK SUIT, FILLIP & OPT OUT.

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.

  37. michelle says:


    I disagree with your comment that “developing skill in Rufus solving wont help much with the rest of the week.”

    Having started to do the Guardian crosswords in January 2013, I consider myself to be one of the beginners who post to this blog. I can testify that doing the Rufus puzzles has considerably helped me improve my solving skills. I think that the most important puzzles for beginners are the Everyman and Rufus puzzles.

  38. gnomethang says:

    @35 – I started to type a response but frankly I wouldn’t touch it with yours!.
    I solve and review crosswords on another site and I struggle on Rufus puzzles on Mondays every week whereas I can crunch out complicated wordplay from other setters.
    That is the beauty of a Rufus crossword (more bruises from kicking!). He reminds me of the joy of the DD and the CD and all that is elegant about words.
    All setters should have their own unique styles (certainly in this newspaper!) and if you don’t like this particular setter then I suggest that you contact the Guardian Crossword Editor who will, I suspect, take out a 12″ rule, break off the last inch, break that in half again and give you that much shrift.
    ‘Nuff Said

  39. Marisa says:

    No need to be so 1a – variety is a challenge and there are always the other papers’ puzzles if this ain’t your cup of tea!

  40. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Re gnomethang @38

    I’ve already had discussions with the Crossword Editor. I don’t believe any rulers were damaged in the process!

    As regards other people’s advice regarding other paper’s puzzles I think I’ll decide for myself. I would advise that if you don’t like my opinions or others that are similar then don’t read them :-)

    I for one will continue complaining (when appropriate of course!) 😉

  41. izzythedram says:

    It’s ok expressing your opinions, but it is just mean to repeat over and over ad nauseam that one particular setter’s puzzles are beneath contempt, when many other people love them and would be extremely sorry if they changed or disappeared.

  42. Rowland says:

    At least you can spell ‘ad nauseam’ right.

  43. Martin P says:

    I enjoy Rufus’ puzzles among the variety of setters. But why are they almost every Monday? It’s part of the fun wondering who the setter will be most days, and I don’t see why we’re denied that on Mondays.

  44. Paul B says:

    It may not be a secret that you’re being let into here Martin, but some setters actually have a contract, or, at least, some sort of gentleman’s agreement with The Guardian to produce a certain number of puzzles per month.

    I believe Roger Squires is one such, and I’m sure John Graham is. Those two would have the lion’s share, I would think, while creatures such as John Halpern won’t be doing so badly either. Everyone else probably one, or two a month. It’s the same with The Indy, or at least I think so, and at The FT and The Times.

    Sorry to spoil your surprises, or diminish your fun, but there it is.

  45. Huw Powell says:

    Irony. I know very few of you ever see my comments, since I tend to hoard these little things that give my life meaning, usually starting them in my cups in the evening and finishing them over some coffee in the early afternoon.

    The irony is that I can often as not finish the late week complex puzzles, and half the time bang out the Saturday Prize by early Sunday afternoon. Yet I don’t think I have fully solved a Rufus (thanks for stopping by despite the brickbats, that was classy!) – ever. At best I have a lot of pencilled in answers to the DDs and CDs.

    It’s sort of a balance thing for me – 8 DD and CD clues work ok, but when there are 12 or 15, and the grid is grumbly awful, I end up frustrated.

    That said, sometime last year I read Squires’ interview about his puzzles, and I accept what they are. I try not to get frustrated or angry over the clues that aren’t really clues, and enjoy his anagrams and wordplay in the others.

    Today, almost the entire NW is in pencil and the SW is blank. The NE went in fairly easily, the SE took hours.

    I have no problem with the setter. I know what I am getting into on most Mondays. I love the variety and individualism of the puzzles the Grauniad publishes, and also the editor’s comfort with the libertarian setters. It would be unfair of me to try to argue that the CDs and DDs are anything but that – intriguingly non-Ximenian puzzles. But I hate this grid. Often I find that spending 20 minutes finally solving a clue gives me nothing to work with elsewhere.

    Thanks Gaufrid for stepping in, and Rufus, for not only setting this enigma, but for having the stones to walk into this barrage of criticism.

  46. PeeDee says:

    Eileen @24 – “It would be really wonderful if we could finally put this predictably tedious weekly discussion to bed”

    This is a bit like saying that fifteen squared should be a private club for “regulars” only. If the comments are to be open to all then this discussion will continue to re-occur as long as people keep coming to the site.

    See this as a strength of the site not as a weakness. To dissuade people from posting because we have “heard it all before” is not the way to go.

  47. crosser says:

    Brendan (not that one) @40 says
    “As regards other people’s advice regarding other paper’s puzzles I think I’ll decide for myself. I would advise that if you don’t like my opinions or others that are similar then don’t read them.”
    I may be too late – is there anybody there? – but I feel that this is a specious argument. We know what we’re getting with Rufus and can go ahead and solve or not (I do, with great enjoyments of his lovely surfaces) but in the comments section it’s impossible to decide not to read someone’s opinions until one has read them, which tends to defeat the purpose.

  48. PeeDee says:

    Hi crosser, I’m still reading at least. A similar thought occured to me.

    I don’t have any problems with Rufus on Mondays myself, but I think NeilW et al have every right to express their personal opinions here in a non-offensive way. I don’t really follow Rufus’s argument that if one does not like something then one should keep quiet about it. The purpose of the coments sections is just the opposite. There is no rule that says all comments here should be positive.

    To me answer is if you don’t want to hear other peoples opinions then don’t read the comments.

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