Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,916 / Rufus

Posted by Eileen on April 8th, 2013


The familiar Rufus medley of anagrams and double and cryptic definitions.  Some witty misdirection and the usual silky surfaces made this an entertaining puzzle for me – a couple of unusual words, but easily gettable. Many thanks, Rufus, for the smiles.


7 Place for watching TV? It’s a matter of opinion
double / cryptic definition

8 Instruction book?
double definition

9 Quickly get past those dithering
anagram [dithering] of PAST THOSE

10 Shoots game
double definition

12 Basic security for sailors
cryptic definition

13 Brazil’s outer defence?
cryptic definition: ‘Brazil – where the nuts come from’  [‘Charley’s Aunt]

14 Lead on?
cryptic definition – which took longer to see than it should have!

17 X-ray pet, perhaps — a kiwi?
anagram [perhaps?] of X-RAY PET for the genus of kiwis
there has been discussion recently about the cluing of an unfamiliar word with an anagram but the crossing letters and knowing that ‘pteryx’ was Greek for ‘wing’ [cf pterosaurus and pterodactyl] made it gettable for me

20 Pop article in French newspaper
A [article] in LE MONDE [French newspaper] – one of my favourite clues

22 Shortage put right in the end
R [right] in DEATH [the end]

24 She appears in an ensemble that’s rather colourless

25 Discovering jewellery rightly leads to conviction
RINGS [jewellery] + TRUE [rightly]

26 Silly girl that is going out
NAN [girl] with IE [id est, that is] going out[side]

27 Such a suit might make Ian pretty upset
anagram [upset] of IAN PRETTY


1 Refuse to acknowledge down is out
anagram [out] of DOWN IS

2 Changes locks
double definition
I remember this use of ‘switch’ causing some puzzlement fairly recently: a switch is ‘a tress of false hair used to give added length or bulk to a woman’s own hair-style’ [Collins]

3 Doctor goes to hospital bearing material
MO [medical officer – doctor] + H [hospital] + AIR [bearing]

4 This month worker’s dependent on tick
INST [this month] + ANT [worker] – it’s unfortunate that INST is short for ‘instant’ but it’s a lovely surface

5 Rift created by a broken promise?
a rather weak double definition but, again, a nice surface

6 People correspond, but not physically
MEN [people] + TALLY [correspond]

11 Stage favourite’s elevation
reversal [elevation] of PETS [favourite’s]

15 Nevertheless netting first and last service
EVEN SO [nevertheless] + first and last letters of NettinG
My favourite clue by far: I have seen this word clued umpteen times as a very simple charade but the construction and misleading surface here is excellent

16 Hawk always returns south
reversal [returns] of AYE [always] + S [south] for the second ‘rara avis’ – a fledgling hawk – which I have met before in crosswords

18 Demanding much in either effort or money
double definition

19 Group studying ruined remains
anagram [ruined] of REMAINS

21 The earth’s five main features
cryptic definition, with a play on ‘main’

22 Graduate’s graduation?
double / cryptic definition

23 Convict getting privileges can be relied on
double definition – but they’re very closely connected

15 Responses to “Guardian 25,916 / Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus
    I found this much harder than the usual Rufus, and even had to cheat on LEASHED. Several others were also loose enough for me to resort to “checking” them – VIEWPOINT, ORDER, ANCHOR and SWITCHES, for example.
    On the other hand there were some delightful clues, EVENSONG and LEMONADE being my favourites.

  2. Colin says:

    Thanks to Eileen and Rufus.

    Like Muffin I also found it trickier than normal.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I didn’t really enjoy this, and in fact gave up with only about half done. Maybe it’s just me, but this grid – which Rufus seems wedded to – is really solver-unfriendly (or perhaps just KD-unfriendly) in my opinion. Getting on for half the clues have fewer than 50% checking letters and there is a dearth of starting letters that are cross-checked, as well as a construction that is very nearly four separate puzzles.

    I just find that if I’m trying to get my head round Rufus’ cds and dds, which often involve intuitive rather than logical solving, then without a decent sprinkling of starting letters and 50% cross-checking, I struggle. Which is a pity, because there were some good clues in here.

    Thank you for blogging, Eileen.

  4. Muffyword says:

    I also found this tough and cheated on last-in (or not in) LEASHED after staring at it for 5 minutes. I thought it was a really good crossword. LEMONADE and LEASHED were my favourites.

    Thanks for the blog!

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Rufus

    As others have noted, this was less easy in parts than many of R’s puzzles.

    Leashed was my last in also. I have been irritated in recent years by the use of ‘lead’ as a past tense of ‘lead’, and began to worry that this was happening here. But it is, as Eileen defines it, just a cryptic definition – a dog with a lead on is leashed.

    Some very good clues e.g. 13a, 20a, 1d, 3d, and 15d.

  6. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I also found this harder than usual, with VIEWPOINT and ORDER being the last ones in.

    BREACH and ANCHOR were a little weak, I thought.

    But I loved the clues for PATERNITY and LEMONADE — great surfaces! And LEASHED had me scratching my head for a long time until the penny eventually dropped.

  7. Robi says:

    I also found this more difficult than usual; perhaps as there seemed to be even more dd/cd constructions than normal.

    Thanks Eileen; I think it is actually quite helpful to have an unknown word clued by an anagram. At least you know what you are aiming at.

    I also particularly liked LEMONADE. I didn’t much like girl=NAN, but I suppose it is as valid as any other name. I think I would have used grandmother or some such, although perhaps that would be deemed too obvious.

  8. John Appleton says:

    A few too many double and cryptics defs for my liking, but each to their own.

    Don’t think “Discovering” is really necessary in 25a – similarly “dependent” in 4d.

    Insert standard whinge about this sort of grid (which K’s D @3 has kindly done for me).

  9. Rog says:

    Kathryn’s Dad has summed up my feelings about this one. I don’t think I’m really on Rufus’s wavelength, and can never understand why people find him easy. This one in particular I found a chore, and ended up resorting heavily to the checker and guesswork simply to get it over with. Otherwise, I think it would have taken me longer than Araucaria’s delightful prize double last weekend. As JA says, each to their own.

  10. BillyK says:

    Re 26 – I interpreted girl’s name as anagram of ANN (going out) rather than NAN, with “going out” also used to place ie

  11. michelle says:

    In this enjoyable puzzle from Rufus my favourites were PATERNITY, NUTSHELL, MOHAIR & EVENSONG.

    New words for me were APTERYX, EYAS, and ‘aye’ = ‘always, still’.

    I solved but could not parse 21d & 23d. ‘Trusty’ = ‘someone who is trusted, esp a convict to whom special privileges are granted’ is new to me.

    I had no problem with LEASHED = ‘lead on’.

    Maybe Rufus (or someone else) will give me a better explanation as to why OCEANS = the earth’s five main features’? I still don’t completely understand it.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

  12. Eileen says:

    Michelle @11

    ‘The main’ is a poetic expression for ‘the high sea’ or ‘the ocean’

  13. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Utterly tedious. To me this type of puzzle stretches the definition of “cryptic crossword” beyond breaking point.

    No fun and yet again dodgy cluing.

    Why does 17A have a question mark? There is misdirection and there is dishonesty!

    22D is laughable.


    Anyway many will be pleased to hear that this is my last comment on Rufus as I wont waste any more time on him. Sad that most weeks will only have 5 Guardian puzzles but I’ll get over it. :-)

  14. Huw Powell says:

    Before solving a single clue or reading the blog… this grid is simply ugly. The only way to redeem it is to, as I think our friend Rufus said a month or two ago, link the sections via double lights. This one ain’t got that.

    I hate the combination of undecipherable – unprovable double defs and even worse, so-called “cryptic defs” with a miserable grid.

    I’ll be back in a day or two, I am sure.

  15. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    Enyjoyable on the whole, but too many weak CDs and DDs for my liking.

    I like some cryptic defs in the mix but this puzzle went too far, even for a Rufus. To me when you solve a cryptic it should be clear that you have the answer and only one answer will do. Too often with Rufus the problem is trying to figure out why the clue could be regarded as cryptic rather than getting to the solution itself.

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