QC 752 by Izetti

It’s been a fair while since I’ve had an Izetti offering cropping up on my QC blogging day and I must admit that when they do, I always anticipate a serious grapple (albeit with very elegant material). Maybe I was just seeing the ball particularly well today, but I found this one somewhat more straightforward than usual for a puzzle from this setter – interested to see what the rest of you thought.

That said, it was by no means plain sailing – particularly, I suspect, for very new players in cryptic crosswordland who might not yet have picked up some of the more frequently recurring synonyms that tend to lie outside day to day common usage (e.g. ‘cunning’ for ‘arch’), or the kind of playful device in 17ac.

Thanks to Izetti for a highly enjoyable puzzle with a number of very elegant surfaces and some whimsy to keep us all smiling.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–): letters omitted indicated by {-}

1 Holy person with cunning formality (6)
STARCH – ST (holy person) ‘with’ ARCH (cunning)
4 Quietly takes the initiative making petitions (6)
PLEADS – P (quietly) + LEADS (takes the initiative)
8 Terrible Barnaby’s maladjusted to some extent (7)
ABYSMAL – Hidden inside (‘to some extent’) barnABYS MALadjusted. Cunningly disguised with two potential anagram indicators (‘terrible’ and ‘maladjusted’) attempting to throw us off course.
10 Danger for each one left (5)
PERIL – PER (for each) + I (one) + L (left)
11 Woman of fifty with distinctive character (5)
LAURA – L (fifty – Roman numeral) ‘with’ AURA (distinctive character)
12 Chivalrous worker faced with irritation (7)
GALLANT – ANT (worker) preceded by GALL (irritation)
13 The elders reconvened in a place of refuge (9)
SHELTERED – *(THE ELDERS) with “reconvened” indicating the anagram
17 The old man to continue teasing perfect person (7)
PARAGON – PA (the old man) + RAG ON (somewhat cryptic wordplay from ‘continue teasing’)
19 Composer retained by clever dictator (5)
VERDI – Another hidden (indicated by ‘retained by’) in cleVER DIctater
20 Atmosphere in firm in the capital (5)
CAIRO – AIR (atmosphere) in CO (firm)
21 Face pain showing flamboyant confidence (7)
PANACHE – PAN (face) + ACHE (pain). “Pan” as slang for face was new to me, but seemed probable based on “deadpan”
22 Name of German who chooses food carefully? (6)
DIETER – Nice droll cryptic (looks like rather than sounds like)
23 Boy going to ocean for the summer maybe (6)
SEASON – SON (boy) follows SEA (ocean)
1 Firm providing accommodation for Arab maybe (6)
STABLE – DD, the second based on the Arab being a type of horse
2 Here to help in church as you worship? (2,4,7)
AT YOUR SERVICE – Amusing cryptic definition
3 Companion cared terribly, hugging old maiden (7)
COMRADE – *(CARED) – with “terribly” giving the anagram indication – and O + M (old + maiden also in the mix)
5 Flap as animal trapped between lines (5)
LAPEL – APE (animal) ‘trapped’ between L & L (lines)
6 Tunes to introduce awfully grand stars in side (4,3,6)
AIRS AND GRACES – AIRS (tunes) in front of (to introduce) *(GRAND) – with “awfully” indicating the anagram – + ACES (stars). Quite a tricky clue to unravel (not least because of the definition being non-obvious), but very neatly constructed.
7 Salvationists with musical instrument offering tribute (6)
SALUTE – SA (salvationists – i.e. the Salvation Army) + LUTE (musical instrument)
9 Become cheerful, helping out in a mess — nothing to lose
LIGHTEN UP – *(HELPING {O}UT) with “in a mess” indicating the anagram and ‘nothing to lose’ telling us to ignore the O
14 Incoming money about to be given to sports ground? (7)
REVENUE – RE (about) ‘given to’ VENUE (sports ground?)
15 Son walked with deliberate stride, getting separated (6)
SPACED – S (son) + PACED (walked with deliberate stride)
16 Soldier on vessel to surrender (4,2)
GIVE IN – GI (soldier) ‘on’ VEIN (vessel – i.e. blood vessel)
18 Last bit of tiring ramble in wood (5)
GROVE – G (last bit of tirinG) + ROVE (ramble)

21 comments on “QC 752 by Izetti”

  1. Couldn’t see the NW corner when I started but progress was straightforward elsewhere (slowed up a bit by 6dn). FOI AT YOUR SERVICE, LOI STABLE (which took me much longer than it should, especially once I realised what Arab signified!), COD Lieber Dieter.
  2. This went in fairly quickly, although I misparsed 11ac, looking for ‘she’ or ‘her’ at first. Biffed 9d, failing to go back before typing the last letter. I was helped by the enumeration and a couple of checkers at 6d–nice clue, which US solvers may have some trouble with, since we don’t use ‘side’ in that sense. 3:35.
  3. 7 minutes and 27 seconds to finish off the Izetti Spaghetti.


    Much improved blog now that the @ word is no longer in evidence – thank-you Cricklewood!

  4. 9 minutes. Mostly straightforward. Like Nick I hadn’t heard of PAN for “face” but unlike him I didn’t make the “deadpan” connection.

    Edited at 2017-01-25 05:51 am (UTC)

  5. Yep, I came a cropper at 1dn, and eventually gave up. Just didn’t make the horse connection. A straightforward answer now I’ve seen it. I thought this and 1ac were the hardest, with the rest slotting in fairly quickly. Gribb.
  6. Much enjoyed.

    Normal service resumed after Izetti’s January 2nd offering.

    As the setter said on this blog, “I just hope the next one from Izetti gives less trouble.”

  7. Dieter was a new one for me but caused a smile when I eventually saw it. 1a and 1d just slipped in for me – it was my attempts to make an anagram of Barnaby which held me up – as mentioned by Nick, good misdirection! 22 mins.
  8. I agree with Nick that this was both enjoyable and not too taxing .
    It took me just over 15 minutes. LOI was Stable – which seems to have caught out a number of us. Liked 22a amongst others. David
    PS are we to believe that Bob and Margaret are two different people?
    Do any other setters work in a team?
  9. A very enjoyable 32 mins with 1ac responsible for about 5 of those – had to do an alphabet search and even then I hesitated, but I could just about see that arch might mean cunning. If you follow the cryptic definition carefully, Izetti’s clues never let you down. Invariant
  10. Would someone please explain to me why AIRS AND GRACES means side? It’s all very well having the blog describe it as “non-obvious” … 🙂
  11. Yes, nice puzzle. I originally entered AT ONES SERVICE until ABYSMAL showed me the error of my ways. When I started, my brain got hooked on 1a because I was convinced it must start with ST, but couldn’t for the life of me get the rest of it. The answer only really occurred to me after getting all of the crossers, meaning I wasted time completing the NE corner before tackling the rest. I’d probably have been quicker if I could have put STARCH behind me and looked elsewhere earlier, but I still managed in 11 minutes, so not too bad.
  12. Sure. The OED gives “boastful or pretentious manner” as one of the definitions of “side”.

    Personal feeling is that it was probably used more in the ’50s and ’60s than today – I remember my father often used to talk about some bloke “having a bit of side on him” (generally someone who wore a waistcoat!)

  13. 27 mins on my phone with no pen and paper for anagrams so quite quick for me.

    Very enjoyable, foi starch, I knew it had to be st, and I spent a couple of minutes until starch popped into my mind, which has come up before for formality. I convinced myself arch was ok for cunning via arch rival, although probably incorrect.

    Lots of great clues.

    LOI was stable and I’m glad I thought of Arabian horse as i was racking my brain for synonyms for arabs, or accommodation for arabs!

  14. Some excellent clues aided by generous checkers, particularly 6d which may otherwise have been a head scratcher. Loved 8a, great deception, again checkers were generous. 4′
  15. As usual with Izetti at first glance this looked like it was going to be tough but a more careful examination of the clues and the answers became apparent. That is until I got to my final three; 1d, 8a and 11a when I came to a grinding halt. After putting it down for a bit I saw the hidden in 8a and realised I’d made a mistake in putting ‘ones’ instead of ‘yours’ in 2d. The final 2 swiftly followed.
    An excellent puzzle completed in around 25 minutes over 2 sittings.

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