Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,934 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on April 29th, 2013


The usual Rufus style, which was pretty much a write-in for me today, though I’m puzzled by the construction of 20d. Not any more – see comments

6. LOGS Double definition – logs can go on a a fire; younger solvers may not know that in the days before pocket calculators we used to do mathematical calculations with the help of tables of logs (logarithms).
8. PROVIDED Double definition
9. AMAZON Double definition
11. RESOLUTE RE + SO (notes in the tonic sol-fa system) + LUTE
12. ABUSED AB (Able Seaman) + USED (accustomed, as in being used to doing something)
15. ELECTION Cryptic definition
16. ACROSTIC A + homophones of “cross” and “tick”, signs used by teachers to mark wrong and right answers
22. UNSTOP SUN* + TOP (roof)
25. ENTREATY NE reversed + TREATY
26. STAR ST + A R
27. NO STRINGS Double definition (remember the song from the Disney film: “I’ve got no strings to hold me down..”)
1. AORTA Not-very-cryptic definition
3. ENDED D (many) in NEED* – D is “number” in 10a, which intersects with this, though the actual crossing letter from that answer is from a different part of the wordplay
4. ENDORSE END + SORE* – strange to have two consecutive words starting with END
7. GHOST TOWN Cryptic definition
13. BUCHAREST (A SCHUBERT)* Bucharest is the capital of Romania
17. ON PAPER ON (running) PAPER (exam)
18. CUDGELS A cudgel is a club, and to cudgel is to beat someone (with one) – seems a bit unsatisfactory, unless I’m missing something
20. WESTERN I don’t entirely get this – a WESTERN is a film, and RN is (Royal) navy, but “way in short” = WESTE? Short for WESTER? ST (street, way) in WEE (short) + RN (Royal Navy)
22. UTTER Double definition

42 Responses to “Guardian 25,934 – Rufus”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    20d is ST (way) in WEE (short), then RN (the navy).

    Never quite as easy as some imagine, is he – Quixote is easier today, for instance. I always enjoy Rufus, a really intelligent setter, when I don’t get stuck…

  2. michelle says:

    I parsed 20d as WESTERN = film. WEE (small, short) with insert of ST (way) + RN (Royal Navy.

  3. Muffyword says:

    Re 20 dn:

    ST in WEE

    I thought there were some nice clues – I liked OATHS and UNSTOP (my last-in).

    Thanks for the blog and to Rufus!

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Rufus

    A tricky offering in places from Rufus. I too puzzled over 20d before the penny dropped.

    I ticked 1a (misled at first into thinking a cryptic definition was involved), 10a, and 4d among a number of typically neat clues.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew & Rufus.

    I also agonised over WESTERN before the penny dropped.

    Has anyone else noticed that precisely the same clue (not 20d) appears in precisely the same place in another Crossie today?

    I won’t be more precise because the other Crossie is a Prize Puzzle.

    I bet that this doesn’t happen very often.

  6. Muffyword says:


    I spotted the same clue business as well. We recently (April 17th) had very similar clues for LET GO, but not exactly the same.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Not a write-in for me, although having been a bit critical of some of Rufus’ offerings over the last months, I thought this was him back on best form. Okay, a couple of weakish clues, but some witty and OMG I should have seen that clues as well.

    I doubt 15ac was everyone’s cup of tea, but ELECTION was my favourite clue today.

    Thanks to Rufus.

  8. Andrew says:

    Thanks all re WESTERN – now you mention it, I remember seeing that construction when I solved the puzzle at stupid o’clock, but had forgotten it again by the time I came to write the blog this morning.

  9. MickinEly says:

    Re 18

    I share Andrew’s puzzlement re 18. The answer is a plural noun and a third person singular verb. Or am I missing something really obvious (almost certainly, I suspect).

  10. Daniel Miller says:

    Unstop was a bit contrived. Any other words fit U-S-O- perhaps?

  11. MickinEly says:

    upshot, unshod

  12. michelle says:

    RE 12a I parsed it as AB (sailor) + USED (accustomed to). I think it may be a typo in Andrew’s blog above.

  13. aztobesed says:

    Upshot? Clued by Rufus?

    Richtofen’s Manfred hit? (5)

  14. michelle says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle by Rufus. My favourite was UNSTOP and I also liked 1a, 11a, 27a, 5d, 20d.

    Unless I am missing something I thought that 1d and 18d were barely cryptic.

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

  15. Schroduck says:

    I wonder if there’s some sort of &lit wordplay in 1d. The middle (“vital”, if you squint) of “importance” is ORTA, and an “Arterial way” might be “A” (as in an A-road). It’s very loose though, I’ll admit.

  16. aztobesed says:

    I’ve been puzzling over CUDGELS for longer than I care to — it seems to be some sort of CD — the noun being used as a verb. But the way it’s worded doesn’t seem to match its tense. It would ‘sort of’ work as “Clubs with which to beat”. I know this would detract from the card-playing surface but does it really work as it is? Am I missing something?

  17. Robi says:

    Enjoyable crossword with some nice clues.

    Thanks Andrew; I thought CUDGELS might have been ‘clubs to beat’ [with – assumed.] Michelle @14, I think the other meaning is pertaining to football, rugby, cricket etc clubs.

    I particularly liked HATRED and UNSTOP – I don’t really understand Daniel’s @10 comment; UNSTOP seems to be a perfectly acceptable word to me, as in unstop a bottle.

  18. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    I also was puzzled by 18d and concluded that Rufus had simply slipped up. A little while ago somebody here mentioned that Rufus constructs a large number of puzzles – my memory says 40 per week. If that is true, or anywhere near, then he clearly does not have time to ensure that all the clues are error-free.

  19. Andrew says:

    Oops, sorry for the typo (or thinko, more like) in 12a – I’ll correct it

  20. aztobesed says:

    Chas @ 18

    I think you must be right. And I hadn’t thought of the football club possibility in tha surface. If it had been CUDGEL — Club to beat – it would have made a dinky clue.

  21. Andy B says:

    Apart from a couple that were barely cryptic, as has already been mentioned, I thought this was one of Rufus’s more enjoyable puzzles.

  22. Rowland says:

    Well if he has not time to make a sure cluies are ‘error free’ he is doing too much and should cut dowm. A lot of his work has this oh that’ll do feel, so I do wonder. Terrible grid today too!!


  23. michelle says:


    Re “Michelle @14, I think the other meaning is pertaining to football, rugby, cricket etc clubs.”

    I still don’t get it regarding 18d CUDGELS (sorry to be so dim-witted but I’m not a football fan).

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Re 11ac: It never seems to happen, but why does no one ever query the spellings of musical notes? To quote a song I have zero fondness for, what, in English, is going to precede “a drop of golden sun” other than “ray”? Certainly not “re”.

    Is it simply that there is so little agreement on a definitive spelling of notes that it would be a never ending argument?

  25. John Appleton says:

    I took the surface (if a cryptic def can have such) of 18d to be a card game reference, nothing to do with other sports. Don’t see anything wrong with the wording of it. But yes, barely cryptic.

    Mostly I found this to be about the right level for a Monday. Only real quibble is about REVERES…not much of an anagram there.

  26. aztobesed says:

    Derek @ 24

    The notes were named after partial Latin words in the hymn Ut Queant Laxis (where the note corresponded with the syllable) and are so governed in their spelling to ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la. For example the fa comes from famuli etc.

  27. crosser says:

    I enjoyed this, thanks Rufus.
    Here’s how I saw 1d: the term “arterial way” could be understood as (1) a main road (the clue’s misdirection) and (2) an artery. The aorta is of vital importance because it supplies blood to the whole system and therefore keeps us alive, from “vita”, life.

  28. Robi says:

    michelle @23; I just meant that clubs, as well as referring to cudgels could mean sports clubs. Then the ‘Clubs to beat?’ could mean Manchester United (the current premier league champions) or some such. As I said @17 for the other meaning, if you assume the word ‘with,’ clubs to beat gives cudgels.

  29. PeterO says:

    Crosser @27

    As I read your comment, it seems that you are simply explaining at length the clue as a cryptic definition, which strikes me, as it does Andrew, as rather weak. I am intrigued by Schroduck’s suggestion @15. I wonder if that was Rufus’ intention – we have in 20D a clue construction outside his normal range, so perhaps here as well.

    For those who have been concerned about the absence of RC Whiting, he has posted a comment on with some explanation. The news is not good, so we with him well.

  30. Mitz says:

    Thanks very much for the link PeterO – would have missed it otherwise.

  31. crosser says:

    PeterO @27.
    Yes, I was, and it was really in answer to Schroduck’s suggestion @15 which I found unnnecessarily complicated and unlike Rufus. Perhaps I just like things simple!

  32. tosh says:

    Peter @29 and Schroduck @15

    I think Schroduck is on to something with his reading. Vital = essential to give orta seems fine. I thought way of could indicate a as in the French a la ? If way is allowed to do double duty, the wordplay works nicely.

  33. PeeDee says:

    I like Schroduck’s explanation of 1dn as &lit with A raod and impORTAnce (vital=middle part). As mentioned this explanation does not seem in the Rufus style, but it is a super clue regardless.

    I can’t fathom 18dn except as an exceptionally weak cryptic definition, so much so that I wonder if we have all missed something?

    All in all a very enjoyable crossword that has restored my confidence in Rufus, I was getting pretty disheartened after the last couple of offerings.

  34. viscosity says:

    Can anyone expound on 9ac? River obviously but I’m having a senior moment re shrews.

  35. Andrew says:

    viscosity: Chambers gives “A strong, vigorous or aggressive woman” as one of its definitions of “Amazon” – perhaps one like Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew

  36. Derek Lazenby says:

    viscosity @34, it took a bit of lateral thinking for a search string, but I eventually found this in The Free Online Dictionary….

    virago [v??r??g??]
    n pl -goes, -gos
    1. a loud, violent, and ill-tempered woman; scold; shrew
    2. Archaic a strong, brave, or warlike woman; amazon

    Hmmm. I felt the same as you about it during solving too.

  37. Vigo says:

    I really enjoy Rufus’s work and look forward to all his Monday puzzles but did get a slight feeling of déjà vu when solving 6d and 21d in the FT today!

  38. Vigo says:

    Sorry – just realised FT is prize puzzle today. Please disregard my previous comment. I was referring to entirely different Rufus puzzle.

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Usually Rufus, however easy his crosswords might be, defeats us.
    There is always one clue that leaves us with some empty squares in the grid.
    Not today though.

    We thought this was pretty easy, even on the Scale of Rufus.
    Perhaps not an Andrew-like write-in, but it came very close.

    As ever, some very nice touches like 19ac (TOWING) or 23d (OATHS).

    To all who said something about one of the clues that was identical to one in a puzzle I’ll have to blog, I would like to say: look at its position in the grid – it makes it even spookier!

    Two blatant Guardianisms today: 10ac and 22ac.
    No problem with them, but they are Guardianisms, aren’t they?

    All in all an enjoyable (though very easy) crossword.
    That said, It was an article that was in the way of making, in this case, 2d a good clue. “Perhaps the reserve” suggests (THE REVERSE)*. Not here though. I know Rufus/Dante isn’t very precise when it comes to using articles, making me almost immune to it. However, here we weren’t really happy with it.

    Thanks, Andrew.

  40. aztobesed says:

    All the very best to RCW – I always enjoy your posts.

  41. michelle says:

    thanks, I understand your point now.

  42. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks Rufus for a much more interesting than usual offering. Loved the easy clues, after all, it’s a Monday, and loved the more complex ones. Nice balance. My COD was 22a, especially since my sunroof is damaged! I almost did not finish, due to only coming up with analog and avalon (both obviously wrong) at 9, but luckily penciled in the right answer at the last second.

    I also had an odd experience at 1 – early on I penciled in atria – it almost works – but what was amusing is that this is the first time I have penciled in a wrong answer and had all the checked letters work. It just didn’t really fit the clue, and then I remembered the quick crossword world’s favorite blood vessel.

    And thanks Andrew and the rest of you for the blog, especially explaining the correct parsing of 20.

    Now on to the sadder side. PeterO @ 29, thanks for the link. It is a new way the world works in that we can feel compassion, and genuine sadness, over life events that befall people who live thousands of miles away.

    RCW’s comment that he has a benchmark for assessing his brain functions really hit home, as I am a heavy drinker (can’t solve a single clue after 10 PM!), but at least convince myself that I am not doing particularly serious damage to my brain since I can keep up with this lovely little world of wordplay.

    But it is so sad and cruel and unfair for someone who remembers breezing through these little mind games to be struggling so just a few weeks later. I hope he keeps improving and eagerly await his return to these blogs. One good sign is that he was able to solve the “math problem” in order to post!

    PS, I wish there were a way to have a setting where we could get an email telling us there has been a further comment on a blog we posted on.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

4 + eight =