QC 2615 by Izetti


My time was 13:08. I think Izetti has given us one of his easier offerings today.

In this cryptic crossword, Izetti’s style shines through a selection of clues that vary in complexity and wordplay techniques. The crossword presents a balance between straightforward clues and more intricate ones, catering to solvers of different skill levels.  The crossword’s thematic coherence and clever word associations reflect Izetti’s expertise in crafting engaging and challenging puzzles that captivate crossword enthusiasts.

At least that’s what ChatGPT said when I pasted in my completed blog and asked for an opening paragraph. Fortunately ChatGPT is terrible at actually solving the things. We still have the edge.

A couple of NEDs causing trouble today, one smashing up looms, and one getting himself killed in a bar fight.

Definitions underlined in bold , synonyms in (parentheses) (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, other wordplay in [square brackets] and deletions in {curly} brackets.

1 A bishop among drunken actors and circus performers? (8)
ACROBATS – A + B{ishop} inside (ACTORS)*

An easy-ish one to start us off.

5 Map book has bit of Texas torn out unfortunately (4)
ALAS – ATLAS (Map Book) – T{exas} .

The minus sign indicates a takeaway clue. Not really convinced that “bit of” should indicate just the initial letter.

9 Greek  house’s storage space? (5)
ATTIC – Double def

Attica is the part of Greece around Athens, and since the Athenians wrote most of the classical texts, scholars usually referred to their version of Greek as ATTIC.

10 Edge of country accommodating a pupil in dormitory? (7)
BOARDER – BORDER (edge of country) contains A

This is from Boarding School. See 7d.

11 Rower initially on a river (3)
OAR – initial letters of “on a river”

I think OAR is often indicated by initial letters in crosswords. eg Quick Cryptic 2608 by Mara, just last week. (Object assisting rowers, primarily? )

12 Ex-PM in wrongdoing, needing good protection (9)
SHEATHING – HEATH (Ex-PM) inside SIN (wrongdoing) + G{ood}

My LOI. We’ve had ATLEE a lot recently, but not him. Major and Blair are both 5-letter PMs but they don’t work. After studying the word, I decided the letter between T-ING had to be an H, then it was easy.

Never called Ned Heath, though. That sounds so wrong.

This was ChatGPT’s COD.

13 Capture parent going wild (6)

Can a simple word such as parent really have a straight anagram? Yes, it can. This was my COD.

15 Trendy act certainly (6)
INDEED – In (trendy) + DEED (act)
17 British individual keeps a role for French ruler (9)
BONAPARTE – B{ritish} + ONE (individual) contains A + PART (role)
19 Last of tents etc., blown away in river (3)
CAM – CAM{P} (tents etc) missing final letter [last of, blown away]
20 Erudite King Edmund (7)
LEARNED – LEAR (King) + NED (Edmund)

Edmund is the only English king to have been killed in a pub brawl. I couldn’t find any evidence that anyone ever called Edmund NED. Perhaps that’s what started the fight.

21 Old footballer yet to be paid (5)
OWING – O{ld} + WING (footballer)

Is WING still used to describe a footballer? It’s usually a Winger, or someone plays “on the wing”. I just read Arsenal need a new Winger (or a new Wenger). If the article said they needed a new WING, it sound like a redevelopment of the Emirates stadium. WING sounds very 1960s, like Half Back. Maybe that “Old” is doing double duty.

22 Adam’s partner right always (4)
EVER – EVE (Adam’s partner) + R{ight}
23 Country folk — workers hiding behind vegetables? (8)
PEASANTS – PEAS (vegetables) + ANTS (workers)
1 A male do, crazy and fashionable (1,2,4)

If you visit a restaurant in the US you can get in trouble with this word. You ask for apple pie, and the server says “A LA MODE,  or just vanilla?” which means with ice cream or without anything at all. If you then say, I don’t want any Vanilla with it then things go downhill quickly.

2 Reversible component of machine (5)
ROTOR – Just a palindrome

I guess a RADAR is a component of an aeroplane. I couldn’t think of any others that fit. [Waits for counter-example from a Canadian blogger that has a Kayak-powered turbine]

3 Supports drinking and excessive cordiality? (12)
BACKSLAPPING – BACKS (supports) + LAPPING (drinking)

I was sure this was “Bacchanalian” after the first three checkers. Just the kind of word I expected from Izetti. “I’ll come back and parse that later”. Or not.

4 Story about second-rate item of furniture (5)
TABLE – TALE (Stort) about B (second-rate)

As in B-road, B-Lister. Both of which are words in their own right, and  setters have been known to make use of this.

6 Opponent of modernisation did wrong breaking into instrument (7)

Sadly, Ned Ludd, who is supposed to have broken two weaving machines in Leicester in 1779 seems to be fictitious. But smashing looms as a sign of protest was real, and they called themselves LUDDITES.

Maybe people will rise up against ChatGPT in a fit of neo-luddism.

7 Child participating in adventurous programme (5)
SPROG – Hidden in adventurous programme

And at my school this appellation was so ubiquitous for Year 7 (or First Year, as was called then) I thought it was the only meaning. Any Friday 13th was designated Sprog-Bashing day. And February 29th (last week!) was supposedly even worse.

8 A cur’s taken on manoeuvres, bad-tempered (12)
CANTANKEROUS – (A CURS TAKEN ON)* [manoeuvres as anagrind]

With “on manoeuvres” this gives a nice surface. Tory ministers are said to be “on manoeuvres” when they are jostling to defenestrate the leader, basically all of them, all the time, at the moment.

14 Duty to get horse into physical condition (7)
TONNAGE – NAG(horse) inside TONE (physical condition)

Not H for horse, today. There are a load of words that used to indicate fees to be paid: tonnage, cartage, millage, cellarage, drayage. Just about any word can have -age after it, and it represents a way for the lord to make money from his peasants.

16 It’s crazy, going up over a long time for Mars (7)
DAMAGES – MAD (crazy) [going up=reversed, in a down clue] + AGES (a long time)

The capital M there was a bit sneaky.

17 Beautiful female sounding gong? (5)
BELLE – Sounds like “bell”

Even Rhotic Scots can’t complain about this one.

18 Journey round grand location high up? (5)
RIDGE – RIDE (journey) around G{rand}

I decided to look this up G=Grand, I thought it might be in places like the G. Canyon, or the G. Canal. But it’s just Grand=thousand, which dates from early 20C USA, and has etymology unknown. Shortly afterwards it was cut down to G.

A G in 1915 is worth about 30Gs today. Thanks, inflation.

19 One in vehicle going over any number of stones in a heap (5)
CAIRN – CAR (vehicle) contains I (one) + N{umber}

72 comments on “QC 2615 by Izetti”

  1. Lovely puzzle, for example the misdirection of capital M Mars in 16d to keep me on my toes . . . But DNF because I’d never come across (NHO) TONNAGE for duty in 14d. 😥

  2. Hit my 30min target, also fell into bachanalia trap, might try 15×15 in a minute as recommended if also on the easier side.

  3. Spent a long time staring at TONNAGE at the end, which is a word I knew from shipping cases at the junior bar – but always and only as a measure of the size of a ship. Could it really mean duty as well? Took the plunge and was rewarded by … a DPS. I’d fat fingered BONEPARTE. For goodness sake. So in the end 06:30 but WOE and an Annoying Day.

    Many thanks Izetti and Merlin. I may try to redeem myself now on the biggy.


  4. Got there with the help of the Gentleman for SHEATHING and LEARNED.

    As said, a mix of difficulty and construction.

    Sadly no highs for me today perhaps with the exception, for me a townie, of those country folk hiding behind the vegetables.

    Thanks anyway to Izetti and Merlin.

  5. Particularly appropriate to do an Izetti this morning before going to Lincoln for the day. A wonderful tour round the cathedral and of course we saw the imp. No imps in today’s crossword though 😅
    Another lovely crossword which I solved in 8:25 in two passes, so am awaiting disaster before the end of the week. That, apparently, is the message of the imp – even when things are going very well, bad things can be lurking!
    The Luddite story is very well known round here – the Leicester Luddites were not quite as bad as the Nottingham ones, who committed some awful crimes. They succeeded in driving the main employers out of Loughborough though, who set up in Devon instead.
    FOI Acrobats LOI Cairn COD Learned
    Thanks Izetti and Merlin

  6. 23 minutes

    Back to my usual abysmal level of performance. Didn’t know whether this was in any way decent until I came here and saw that it wasn’t. So many amazing times and I am stuck in the SCC. As usual, I am absolutely nowhere with this. Struggling to see a way forward at the moment. How could I not see BONAPARTE or several others straight away? Sheer incompetence.

    Also, got only 4 on the Quintagram. Shocking does not begin to describe it. How can I miss the last one on a Quintagram?

    Second-rate sums me up at the moment. I just can’t get to the level I want to be at. Perhaps I never will? ☹️☹️☹️

    Thanks for the blog.

  7. Came to this very late in the day after a long drive, and hesitated seeing Izetti’s name at the top, wondering if I was too tired to take on the challenge. Fortunately it turned out to be a very gentle offering from the Don, with only loi Tonnage causing some doubt, but Tunnage looked nonsensical. A enjoyable sub-20, with CoD to Sheathing for the parsing. Invariant

  8. So glad to finish and avoid the SCC after some disastrous efforts recently!! Raced through at first but slowed by the CAIRN/CAM intersection at the end. 15:25 is good for me so I’m not complaining!

    Thank you, Merlin, for your informative blog but I have to say that I wish your comment “A G in 1915 is worth about 30Gs today” was correct. I am afraid to say that, according to my research, a £1000 in 1915 is the equivalent of a whopping £137,186.68 today!!!

  9. 15:27

    All fairly straightforward but an annoying pink square having misspelt BONEPARTE with an E in the middle.

  10. Apologies for the late post but I just finished this after a rather long lunch yesterday and felt compelled to say thank you for the puzzle and the blog both of which gave me a great deal of pleasure.

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