Quick Cryptic 2024 by Izetti

I found this awkward to start with, though it started to flow once I got going. I’ll be interested to see how others get on, but I reckon this is at the trickier end of the scale. There are some chewy compound anagrams and a couple of bits of arcane general knowledge, too. 10 minutes for me, way over target.


1 What abused pussy did was greatly appreciated (4,4,4)
WENT DOWN WELL – double definition
8 Note small amount drunk (5)
MINIM – a note worth two crotchets, but also a unit of volume, equivalent to 1/60th of a drachm
9 European lying in his love-nest (7)
SLOVENE – hidden word: hiS LOVE NEst
10 Keep quiet with yen to be diffident (3)
SHY – SH + Y
11 Eurasians who may have lived in the 1700s? (9)
GEORGIANS – double definition
13 One who avoids work being performed” is about right (5)
DRONE – DONE (performed) around R
14 End of Christmas month? One may be glowing (5)
16 Being very scared, became very hard (9)
PETRIFIED – double definition
17 Little man in fleece (3)
ROB – double definition
19 Unsteady elephant transporter accompanying ruler (7)
ROCKING – ROC + KING. A roc is a mythical bird that once carried an elephant for some reason
21 Having resolution halved, being put off (5)
22 Writer’s essay — Milking in a New Way (8,4)
KINGSLEY AMIS – anagram (‘in a new way’) of ESSAY MILKING. Amis is responsible for my favourite piece of life-coaching advice “No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home in Weston Super Mare”

1 Caribbean politicians who lack confidence to act? (5)
WIMPS – WI (West Indian) + MPS
2 Minder of child facing attack — one doesn’t offer human milk! (5-4)
NANNY-GOAT – NANNY (minder of child) GO AT (attack)
3 Making unattractive maiden get out and celebrate (13)
DEMAGNETISING – anagram (‘out’) of MAIDEN GET with SING (celebrate)
4 Wife is beginning to demand order — that’s being prudent (6)
WISDOM – W + IS + D(emand) + OM (Order of Merit)
5 Thus Barry could become Harry as mindless mistake gets made? (13)
WRONGHEADEDLY – kind of self-explanatory
6 Policy to omit name in story (3)
LIE – Policy is LINE, take off N for name
7 Meals served with hesitation — there’s a problem (6)
12 But roamer may get confused in this tree garden (9)
ARBORETUM – anagram (‘may get confused’) of BUT ROAMER
13 Go quietly when external trade is bad (6)
DEPART – P for quiet with anagram (‘is bad’) of TRADE round the outside
15 Poet, six, extraordinary girl (6)
VIRGIL – VI (6) + anagram (‘extraordinary’) of GIRL
18 They are tedious drills (5)
BORES – double definition
20 Less than completely stylish character in Athens (3)

75 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2024 by Izetti”

  1. I agree this one was hard with some quite complex clues and wordplay, but my only actual unknown was the ROC/elephant connection.

    16 minutes took me into my red zone (>15 minutes) to end a week in which I achieved my target 10 minutes only once – on Wednesday – and that was a skin-of-the-teeth job.

    Later edit: I forgot to say I had no idea about MINIM other than the musical note. Having read the blog I really think that unit of liquid is one for the Mephisto and definitely doesn’t belong in a QC.

    Edited at 2021-12-10 09:50 am (UTC)

  2. Way too difficult for me. Got absolutely nowhere. Fortunately I am doing far better with the cryptic crossword in today’s Daily Mail. Oh well, let’s see what Monday brings.
    1. Wondered for a while if ‘want more milk’ was the answer to WENT DOWN WELL. Spotted it eventually but had to resort to the internet to see what a cat was doing down a well — Ding Dong Bell. Had to see the title to remember the next line. I’d forgotten about Little Johnny Flynn and his misdemeanor. We should all try to be more Little Tommy Stout.

      Hesitated over roc before ROCKING went in unparsed as did half of MINIM.

      DEMAGNETISING was a terrific clue, SLOVENE stayed hidden until desperation set in and WRONGHEADEDLY doesn’t mean quite what I thought it did.

      Hard, not totally pleasurable. All green just barely under 30.

  3. A rare quickie DNF 😩 I never see DRONE used to mean ‘shirker’ anywhere else except in crossword blogs. I kick myself every time I miss it but need to see it used “in real life” somewhere before it sticks. Missed SLOVENE too which was basic but the ROC carrying away an elephant rings a very distant bell – is it from Arabian Nights? Tough puzzle I thought but fair now I see the explanations.
  4. Definitely a tough end to the week …
    … which took me 16 minutes to complete with three left unparsed: I did not know the small drink meaning for 8A Minim, or the mythical Roc bird in 19A Rocking, and I biffed the goat part of 2D Nanny Goat and never worked out where it came from.

    So quite a struggle, and more than once I thought Izetti was going to defeat me on this one — a year ago he certainly would have done.

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all

  5. Much howling over the two long ones. DRONE = Idler, I only saw a couple of days ago in the 15×15, but it took ages to see today. DEPART was LOI, because it was hanging off DRONE. I had LEE for ROB for a bit, but luckily ARBORETUM was a gimme, and I was never really sure why Lee was a “little man”!

    > twice my target time, which is rare.

    I enjoyed it though. WENT DOWN WELL was my favourite.


  6. A real tough one to get started, I still had a blank grid after 3 mins. The long downs required almost all the checkers, and I was slow with 1a, trying expression with “cats” in. But It was a great clue, very Izetti.

    WRONGHEADEDNESS didn’t quite work for me. And does “go at” really mean attack?

    MINIM is an unfair clue. Although guessable, the OED has this meaning as meaning number 6, both obsolete and rare. Not necessary, plenty of other ways to clue this.

    Some countries get to have a demonym that is different from the all purpose adjective (e.g. Dane, Spaniard, Croat, Turk) add SLOVENE to that list.

  7. This must be a PW for me. Had no idea how ROC got there, although I was perfectly familiar with the bird. 12:44, for heaven’s sake.
  8. A very slow start but I got going when I had just three checkers WOD and that was enough to find “wrongheaded”

    Edited at 2021-12-10 10:00 am (UTC)

  9. 18 minutes for a tricky QC, even Kevin is in the rough. Is a ‘PW’ a ‘Poison Wywern’ or ‘Personal Worst’!?

    At 13ac In an apiary there are workers, drones and a Queen or two.

    ‘A drone is a male honey bee. Unlike the female worker bee, drones do not have stingers. They gather neither nectar nor pollen and are unable to feed without assistance from worker bees. A drone’s only role is to mate with an unfertilized queen.’ Wikipedia

    Are Messrs. Mango and Merlin beeing abstruse?

    FOI 1dn WIMPS




  10. I amazed myself by completing it in a little under 20. I think overall this was way too hard for a quickie. A good challenge though . Thanks setter and blogger!
  11. Wow! Like Kevin, this must be my slowest ever QC finish at 27 minutes — a real struggle to get started. I only got SHY, TEASER, VIRGIL and BORES on the first pass through, with everything else a complete blank, not even much idea about how the clues must work. ARBORETUM came next and gave me the writer and other crossing clues as the grid started to fill — very slowly. This felt like a very different Izetti from the usual one, and he easily beat me today. Thanks to him and Curarist.

    I’m going to be trialling a few new avatars over the next few weekdays, please do let me know which ones you like.

      1. I see the amusement value in experimenting but your original is so iconic it would be a shame to drop the ‘brand’
    1. I dont normally write here but do follow everyday. Rotter… please re-think. I read your excellent entertaining offering everyday and T-T is so easy to locate.
      Phil C

      PS Hardest QC for me since it started. Definitely a DNF today — do not usually find Izetti anything like this difficult.

    2. The new avatar is also T-T and anything that reminds me of him is always welcome. Do you have any info on the origin of this cartoon?

      BTW I found out last week that the gap in the teeth is called ‘diastema’. May come in useful. In some cultures it’s considered to be very attractive.

      1. Sorry Jackkt, not sure of the origin, I just googled ‘images of Terry Thomas’ and selected it from the hundreds of results, and now I can’t find it again.

        Looks like I’ll have to keep the old picture by popular demand.

        1. Thanks, Rotter, I managed to find it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/530905277/terry-thomas-print
          on sale for £40 plus postage.

          Going by the amazing range of T-T photos and caricatures I found whilst looking for this – some of them hilarious – I wouldn’t mind at all if you used others from time to time.

          I think some of the objections at your suggestion may be based on a misunderstanding of your proposal (assuming I have understood it correctly myself) which was not to ditch your T-T persona but to use alternative representations of it.

          Edited at 2021-12-10 05:56 pm (UTC)

  12. Great fun, but I am wedded to your original. I would imagine you are presently busy ‘in Conference’ with Brendan?
    1. I’ve been doing a lot of the main ones and I thought this was much more in tune with them. Recently my quickies are more like 10 mins.
  13. Back online today and struggled. Was it just me I thought.
    I can see it wasn’t. I could not happily parse MINIM; but ROCKING was just a let’s hope.
    DRONE no problem as I have only just caught up with the 15×15 discussion.
    I spent nearly five minutes on my last two which were DEMAGNETISING (COD to that) and finally GEORGIANS, another clever one.
    17:51 in the end.

  14. Fell at the last hurdle, just couldn’t crack 3D even with all the other letters in: didn’t think of that type of attraction and though there seemed to be anagram fodder I didn’t think of a half and half. Excellent puzzle, lots of little battles won even if I lost the war. Knew the roc, only the musical version of minim so had to hope for that one, remembered my nursery rhymes although it took a while for that clue to click. Thanks for the blog.
  15. Like others, this was a struggle. I was well over 30 minutes despite leaving and returning. I was trying to remember the name of the thing you sit on on an elephant for a long time… howrah… but of course that was irrelevant. I also had Lee for a while at 17A as well as Shone at 14A which didn’t help! Some great clues but it has been a tough QC week.

    FOI: Shy
    LOI: Depart
    COD: Demagnetising

    Thanks Izetti and Curarist

  16. My time was 6:51 with LOI Minim causing trouble as well as 5dn. COD 1ac which went down well! Liked Rocking.
  17. Failed on relatively easy DRONE and hence DEPART. Pity as after a big struggle I solved DEMAGNETISING and WRONGHEADEDLY.
    WENT DOWN WELL was amusing, though put Ding Dong Bell at first. Also liked GEORGIANS and the confidence building ARBORETUM. KINGSLEY was one of the few write-ins. I also struggled to parse ROCKING.
    Now exhausted. Thanks for much needed blog, Curarist.
  18. I thought this was a strange one – it took 20 minutes, my slowest time for ages, but at least I finished it, even if it wasn’t fully parsed. I had similar problems to many others who have commented so far regarding 8a and 18a. I knew the ROC was a mythical bird but not what its cargo was! And I was trying to justify MINI+M (small + M for a small amount to drink!) but it was clearly nonsense, so I just biffed.
    TBH I didn’t really enjoy this as a quickie – borderline 15×15, I’d say. In fact, although I found the biggie VERY hard today, I did finish it all bar two in about 45 minutes, so I don’t know what that tells me 😅
    Having said that, there was plenty to like – GEORGIANS, EMBER and KINGLSEY AMIS all got ticks. It was just quite tough!
    FOI Shy
    LOI Slovene (those pesky hiddens)
    COD Petrified
    Thanks Izetti and Curarist
  19. I found this very tricky too. I knew of the roc but not its predilection for transporting pachyderms. 3d and 5d took a while to see. Knew the musical note but not the obscure volume. Liked the damp feline. Spotting the Eurasians allowed me to see the correct sort of attraction. 12:10. Thanks Izetti and Curarist.
  20. I had to glance up to check I wasn’t doing the 15 x 15 because after 10 mins the grid was still looking empty. Guesses included ROC and MINIM. I also struggled to work out the tail end of WRONGHEAD(EDLY). Eventually, I finished in 20:42 with my LOsI BORES and ROB. I think this takes me back to when I started solving the QC. The dearth of checkers in a grid makes things so much harder.
  21. This rounded off a tough week for me, not having hit my target once – can’t remember the last time that happened. Same issues as many others – ROC and MINIM both went in with a bemused shrug – and both of the long down answers required all the checkers.
    Finished in 17.03 with LOI 5d, COD to GEORGIANS for the PDM.
    Thanks to curarist
  22. ….I would almost certainly have struggled a little with this, but he’s one of my oldest adversaries (I first came across him in the Grauniad nearly 50 years ago !) and I can usually finish his Sunday Mephisto offerings.

    My only real problem was ROCKING, which I biffed. MINIM was one I probably knew from Mephisto Land.

    TIME 4:33 (currently 9th on the leaderboard, which reinforces the general opinion that this was well above average difficulty — there are only 93 correct solutions this late in the day).

  23. At well over the hour mark, this was probably my slowest ever completed QC. I’m glad it wasn’t just me who found this incredibly tricky. CoD to 3d Demagnetising, but overall this was anything but a QC. Invariant
  24. 40 mins, but I got 1dn and 1ac wrong, putting “Gimps” and “Gone Down Well” respectively. Didn’t think 1dn was right, but struggled to think of anything else at the time.

    Have to admit, nearly spat out my tea at the surface of 1ac.

    Main issues though were unlocking those long clues at 3dn and 5dn which took a fair chunk of my time. Tough end to the week.

    FOI — 2dn “Nanny Goat”
    LOI — 5dn “Wrongheadedly”
    COD — 3dn “Demagnetising”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Very different from Izetti’s usual churchy stuff! It did very much remind me of Mrs Slocombe 😅 I read the other day that the tv companies put out warnings before broadcasting Are You Being Served (among others) these days — Are We Being Offended? Probably 😉
      1. I watched that (and the majority of carry on films) when I was a kid and it’s safe to say that the majority of jokes went way over my head.
  25. Crikey, this was a toughie. Took us 27 minutes to complete with approx half of the time solving DEMAGNETISING, DRONE and DEPART. Happy that we didn’t throw in the towel and declare a DNF — it was a close run thing…


    Thanks Curarist (especially for explaining 19A — who knew a roc could carry an elephant!) and Izetti.

  26. Wow. A bit of a b****r. I have never found a QC so difficult. I finished but not comfortably. I took a couple of minutes longer than rotter (but was well under 3K by way of face-saving). I did have interruptions and had to reply to urgent emails regarding organisation of a wine tasting this evening but that is no real excuse.
    A fascinating puzzle with lots to chew over later but hardly a QC. Thanks to curarist for battling this one. John M.
    And DEMAGNETISING is my anagram of the year!

    Edited at 2021-12-10 03:47 pm (UTC)

  27. Very tricky. Managed to finish in 27 mins but not all parsed (thanks for the explanations Curarist). Knew ROC as a giant bird nut never heard of the elephant connection. Didn’t know MINIM except from music notation.

    FOI – 10ac SHY

  28. With only 3 clues solved after my first pass, and still only 6-7 solved as I entered SCC territory, this had ‘DNF’ written all over it. I was shattered. It was my 400th puzzle since starting these QCs on 1st June last year and I had so wanted it to go well. However, if I’ve learned one thing in the past 18 months it’s not to throw in the towel too soon (giving up is for WIMPS). So, I continued to plug away and, to my amazement, I managed to cross the finish line unscathed in 46 minutes.

    I had NHO the ROC/elephant connection or a MINIM as a unit of volume. All four of the longest clues (WENT DOWN WELL, KINGSLEY AMIS, DEMAGNETISING and WRONGHEADEDLY) took absolutely ages to find, as did GEORGIANS. So many empty cells in the grid for so long! Also, I never fully parsed NANNY GOAT or WISDOM so, overall, I count myself very fortunate to finish today.

    Many thanks, as usual, to Izetti and curarist.

    1. Well done for persevering! This time I chucked in the towel – a rare thing for me as I usually push on until it’s done.
  29. It’s probably no surprise when I say that, unlike Mrs Random, I struggle with words. This is partly why I put myself through QC torture every day. Also unlike Mrs R, numbers are my true comfort zone, and I have kept track of our QC adventures ever since my first attempt – No. 1625 (Joker, 01/06/20), which ended as a thumping DNF (7 clues unsolved).

    For anyone out there who may be interested, the metrics below give a flavour of how we have developed our crosswording skills over the past year and a half.

    First 100 puzzles:
    No. successfully completed: Mr R = 47, Mrs R = 80
    Median time (excl. DNFs): Mr R = 43 mins, Mrs R = 30 mins
    Total no. clues unsolved: Mr R = 187, Mrs R = 30

    Most recent 100 puzzles:
    No. successfully completed: Mr R = 76, Mrs R = 90
    Median time (excl. DNFs): Mr R = 35 mins, Mrs R = 27 mins
    Total no. clues unsolved: Mr R = 41, Mrs R = 15

    In summary: an improving picture for both of us, but such a long way still to go (especially for me). And, we are both in awe of the real speedies.

    Very many thanks to all involved – setters, bloggers, posters, lurkers, … It’s exasperating and great fun at the same time. Roll on the next 400!

  30. Well I just about finished but only using all possible aids and still not fully understanding 6 of the answers. Seemed like one of the hardest QCs yet.
  31. One hour and quarter to finish this one, admittedly with a phone call and a much needed revigorating g&T. We found this very tricky and needing much perseverance.
  32. Definitely tricky! I wrote in about four answers (the same ones as others had problems with) and had to read the blog to help with parsing. Good to be stretched.
  33. This was a quick cryptic for me as I bailed out with more than half the clues unsolved. Very glad I did.
  34. Heartening to see the experts struggling with this one. Failed with DEMAGNETISING and DRONE.
  35. Well, after reading the above comments I’m quite pleased with my finishing time of 27:28. I did think it was quite tricky, but once I had got started things started to go in at a reasonable pace. My last two were the two long ones. WRONGHEADEDLY in particular is a word I shall not be surprised never to use again, but thanks anyway to Izetti and Curarist.
    1. But if you do use it again at some stage you will have thought you won’t WRONGHEADEDLY.
  36. A DNF – my first in a long time. Well and truly trounced by a Setter I generally reckon to be hard but fair with all the answers being clear enough. Maybe it was a slow day for me but left with 8 to do/wrong by the time I called it a straight defeat. 1a went for the wrong end and couldn’t see beyond ‘well, well, well’ and was encouraged by some of the crossers even though it was clearly insufficient . 13a toyed with the Drones Club option but didn’t make the full connection (damn). 19a I should have got but settled for ‘shaking’ despite not being able to parse it and another to kick myself about. Solved 9a but failed to see the hidden. 2d was completely bamboozled… my earlier errors or failures robbed me of 20d chi and 13d depart. So not too pleased with myself this evening!
  37. Did this half cut on the train back from a superlative dinner at Core. Thought I would’ve been slow and put it down to the wine but now feeling maybe in fact I was too fuzzy to spot the problems!

    FOI WENT DOWN WELL, LOI KINGSLEY AMIS, COD VIRGIL, time 09:48 for a Red Letter Day

    Thanks Don and curarist


    Edited at 2021-12-11 12:29 am (UTC)

  38. I started this yesterday evening, and had to go to bed with 8,13 and 3d unsolved. Once I had the long anagram at 3d sorted, I had 8, although didn’t understand it/ never heard of the unit of volume- and I carelessly put in DROLE. So I end the week as I began, with one clue wrong.
  39. Really a quick cryptic? Or trying to get rid of newbies to crosswords? Minim as a unit of volume?? Roc as an elephant transporter??? Clearly we dont have the general knowledge to do “quick” crosswords 😥 Dave ans Sal

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