Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 26,030 by Rufus

Posted by flashling on August 19th, 2013


It’s monday, it’s Rufus, you know what you’re getting.

Usual mix of mostly double and cryptic definitions with the odd googly thrown in, this took me longer than eXternal in the Indy.

1 BLACKMAIL Exact money (9)
  Cryptic def
6 PLAN Unfinished aircraft design (4)
8 PLAY FAIR Don’t cheat in two forms of leisure activity (4,4)
9 FATHOM Think in depth (6)
  Double def
10 ASPIRE Aim ambitiously for praise, being wretched (6)
11 HOGSHEAD Gets more than one’s share of froth with this measure of alcohol (8)
  HOGS (takes more than one’s fair share of) HEAD (froth on a pint). It’s a large sized beer barrel.
12 CAPERS Saucy antics? (6)
  Cryptic double def
15 PLANTAIN Worker in the prairie producing fruit (8)
16 CRITICAL Censorious to a dangerous degree? (8)
  Double def
19 DRAINS Runaway affairs? (6)
  Cryptic def
21 PENTACLE Star of the Magic Circle? (8)
  Cryptic def
22 CASINO One takes no end of cash in, finishing with nothing (6)
  CAS(h) & IN & O &lit I guess
24 LEAN-TO Show preference for old penthouse (4-2)
  Double def
25 OBSERVED Said to be celebrated (8)
  Double def
26 OTIC Ring starts nervous reaction in the ear (4)
  O (ring) & TIC
27 HANDSHAKE Workers given fish — a gesture of goodwill (9)
1 BALES Bottle opener and drinks in packs (5)
  B(ottle) & ALES
2 ANYTIME Amenity switched to an unspecified date (7)
3 KNAVE A card cheat may be so described (5)
  Double def
4 AIRSHIP It goes up with inflation (7)
  Cryptic def
5 LIFEGUARD Soldier’s an expert swimmer (9)
  Double def
6 POTSHOT Saucepan’s ready for cooking what this has killed (7)
7 ADORATION Commercial address brings high esteem (9)
13 AGREEMENT Enter game play, making contract (9)
14 SACKCLOTH Dismiss ministers, a sign of contrition (9)
17 TITANIC Enormous disaster struck it (7)
  Double def
18 LIE DOWN It makes one wild what people do when they retire (3,4)
20 AUSTRIA American detained by courts in European country (7)
22 COSTS Expenses legally incurred (5)
  Cryptic def
23 NIECE Relative found somewhere in the south of France, we hear (5)
  Sounds like French city NICE

24 Responses to “Guardian 26,030 by Rufus”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks Rufus and flashling
    I enjoyed this one, though I did raise my eyebrows at some. (In what ways are capers a sauce? They might be IN a sauce, perhaps, but “saucy” is surely not a definition for them.)
    I’m not sure if I was more irritated or amused by DRAINS – a bit of both, probably.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks flashling and Rufus

    As flashling says, you know what’s coming. This looked harder than usual at first but it all unravelled nicely in the end. I was left a little unconvinced by 19a, but there is a ? and ‘affairs’ is vague enough, I suppose, and there is also the sense of ‘matters to be concerned about’. Plus it seems impossible to think of anything else at all relevant :).

    I ticked 27a and 6d among many smooth and clever clues.

  3. Robi says:

    Enjoyable enough, characteristic Rufus.

    Thanks flashling; DRAINS was my last in giving a similar emotion to muffin’s @1.

    I thought of balloon for 4 at first. I liked LIE DOWN.

  4. michelle says:

    I particularly liked 18d, 14d, 27a, 22a and my favourites were 9a FATHOM, 6d POTSHOT & 11a HOGSHEAD.

    New word for me was OTIC.

    Thanks Rufus and flashling [eXternal in the Indy took me 10 minutes longer than this puzzle.]

  5. Ian SW3 says:

    An annoying return to form from Rufus. I thought for some time that with 19 he was introducing a new clue type, the “double non-definition” (perhaps to complement his other favourite type, the straight definition). I still don’t quite see how one gets DRAINS but am past caring.

    Thanks, flashling, for the blog.

  6. sidey says:

    At least it was a decent grid.

  7. Ian Payn says:

    Drains is, indeed, a rubbish clue. I like the idea @5 of the “double non-definition”!

  8. george says:

    I found this puzzle quite hard until I got going (which wasn’t until I read 23 down). It might have had something to do with the fact that I was attempting to solve whilst still half-asleep at about 6.00am.

    Like Robi @4 I floated the idea of BALLOON. With Robi and Muffin @1 on DRAINS, but did admire the clue for 22ac CASINO.

    Thanks for the blog Flashling and since I am retired I might now go and LIE DOWN.

  9. Paul B says:

    Ooh, you boys. I liked 1 & 17 down quite a lot.

  10. don says:

    11a Hogshead.

    I know it’s a measure, but what has it got to do with ‘one’s share of froth’?

  11. Gervase says:

    don @10: ‘hog’s’ ( = takes more than one’s share of) ‘head’ (froth on beer).

    Off-centre definitions made this a bit tricky for me but, as sidey said @6, the grid didn’t have unchecked letters all round the periphery for once. I did like 22a.

  12. Gervase says:

    PS Sorry for the greengrocer’s (greengrocers’?) apostrophe in ‘hogs’.

  13. Rowland says:

    In CASINO the answer is the place, not the person whi uses it, so the clue cannoy be ‘&lit’ I think? It seems off some how.

    I dsid like this one, but some of the ‘CDs’ were close to not being cryptic. like 22, and DRAINS I did not understand.

  14. Andy B says:

    As most of you have already noted, a typical Rufus. I liked the clue for LIE DOWN, thought that PENTACLE was barely cryptic, and wasn’t as annoyed by CAPERS and DRAINS (my next to last in) as some of you. OBSERVED was my LOI.

  15. John says:

    Re. 25a, how do the last three words of the clue turn it into a double definition?

  16. Simon S says:

    John @15

    You ‘observe’ (for instance) a religious holiday = a form of celebration [ longer-winded than I intended, but *I* know what I mean :-) ]


  17. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Rufus and flashling. I also started with BALLOON at 4d. I liked LIE DOWN and FATHOM.
    Last in was DRAINS; couldn’t find anything else that would fit.


  18. Geoff Cusick says:

    Sidey @6 hit the nail. A decent grid, but some pretty unsatisfactory clues (1ac – hardly cryptic, pentacle, drains – need I go on). Pretty disappointing overall

  19. claire says:

    Held up for a while by putting ‘poacher’ for ‘potshot’ at 6 down but then twigged ‘fathom’ and that sorted things out.

    Typical Rufus, but fine for my (usually) Monday-addled brain

  20. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Rufus and flashling. As always I am perplexed as to why people look down on Rufus. If you don’t like his style, why bother to complete the puzzle? And what’s wrong with 19ac DRAINS? Some people sound a bit cross because they couldn’t immediately solve the clue (it’s Rufus, so it’s easy, right?). I thought it a brilliantly succinct cryptic clue – you have to understand affairs = things (see Chambers).

  21. PeeDee says:

    I put in PLAY BALL which I had to change to PLAY FAIR
    Then I put BALLOON which I had to change to AIRSHIP
    I put POACHER (a type of pan), which turned out to be POTSHOT
    I put SHARP (cryptic definition) which turned out to be KNAVE (double definition)

    By this time I could hardly read the grid because of the crossings-out. Sidey got it spot on @6.

    cholecycst @20 – I attempt Rufus because I get the Guardian newspaper and on Mondays there is no other cryptic crossword in there. Sometimes Rufus delivers a great puzzle, but then again sometimes not…

  22. Anon says:

    Agree with cholecyst – 19a is excellent, the sort of clue I immediately want to read out to whoever will listen.

  23. Paul B says:

    All you need is an audience, matey. Gosh, how I know that feeling.

  24. Fabius says:

    Rufus’s are the only ones I end up doing – we start one at work on Monday and it takes us the rest of the week, over lunchtimes, to (hopefully) come close to finishing it.

    But he is sometimes unsatisfactory, with clues that seem like plain definitions, or that are more ambiguous than I’d like from a cryptic. We’re very accustomed to not solving many clues, but even some of those we manage are filled in with a resigned, “Well, I *suppose* that works,” rather than a more satisfying, “Ha! Of course!”

    This week we had POACHER instead of POTSHOT, PLAY BALL instead of PLAY FAIR, and BALLOON instead of AIRSHIP. In the latter case, BALLOON seems the better answer, given that some airships don’t “inflate” (they’re rigid), whereas all balloons do. Onward!

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