Quick Cryptic 2074 by Izetti

Straightforward with some nice touches. My favourite is 24ac with its spotless surface. 20dn is a cracker too. 7 minutes for me.


8 Information being published concerning property contract (7)
9 Saw notice ahead of time (5)
ADAGE – AD + AGE. ‘Saw’ meaning proverb or maxim is used vastly more in crosswords than in the real world.
10 Start to sample white wine in jar (5)
11 German city reds getting excited in small room? (7)
DRESDEN – anagram (‘getting excited’) of REDS inside DEN
12 Got off school in exploit (9)
DETRAINED – TRAIN inside DEED. A word used more by railway employees than passengers
14 Some feel magic in this wood (3)
ELM – hidden word: feEL Magic. Whenever you see ‘some’, look for a hidden word.
16 Endless anger in cheap newspaper (3)
RAG – RAG[e]
18 Excellent facility for bride-to-be’s stuff? No! (3-6)
TOP-DRAWER – a bride-to-be’s trousseau is stored in the bottom drawer.
21 Mum rants terribly, producing oft-repeated phrases (7)
MANTRAS – MA plus anagram (‘terribly’) of RANTS
22 Wee child, one locked in big building (5)
BAIRN – I inside BARN. Scots and Northern English dialect word, most likely reflecting Danish influence. When Danish TV was all the rage with The Killing and whatnot, lots of Geordies were surprised by how much Danish they could understand.
23 Enchantment for a period of time? (5)
SPELL – double definition
24 Green leader beginning to make waves (7)
EMERALD – this is clever. It’s an anagram (‘waves’) of LEADER + M for make

1 Salvation Army taken in by more rough-and-ready evangelist? (8)
2 Energetic, like a team with ten players dismissed? (3-3)
ALL-OUT – double definition, the second a cricket reference.
3 Sailor is a knave (4)
JACK – double definition
4 Ambassador and a university lecturer face to face (4-2)
HEAD-ON – HE (His/Her Excellency, ambassador) + A DON
5 Times collection for a whole year? (8)
CALENDAR – cryptic definition I guess
6 Doughty-sounding old Labour leader (6)
HARDIE – Sounds like HARDY. Keir Hardie was the first leader of the British Labour Party
7 Thin film director (4)
LEAN – double definition, the second is David Lean as in Lawrence of Arabia
13 Pursuing every possibility, despite expectations (5,3)
AFTER ALL – self-explanatory
15 Created about awful rain — it’s wet in the kitchen! (8)
MARINADE – anagram (‘awful’) of RAIN with MADE outside
17 Male bird wrecking garden (6)
GANDER – anagram (‘wrecking’) of GARDEN
19 Bill as user of letterbox? (6)
POSTER – double definition
20 Place in Germany — you and I arrive on St David’s Day (6)
WEIMAR – WE + I MAR (i.e 1st March). Nice
21 Muddle in dining-room (4)
MESS – double definition
22 Busy type coming to river for drink (4)
BEER – BEE outside R for river

59 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2074 by Izetti”

  1. Found this tricky in places and I thought it was going to be a long haul when I had a very blank looking grid after my first run through. The SW gave me a toe hold and I gradually tuned into the puzzle but CRUSADER, DETRAINED and an unparsed CALENDAR proved stubborn. A carelessly biffed POSTIE at 19d made LOI EMERALD tricky.
    Thought WEIMAR was excellent, despite initially having a mild panic about not knowing the date of St David’s day. Finished in 11.22, a lot less over target than originally feared.
    Thanks to curarist
  2. About 30 minutes on this most enjoyable solve needing attention to wordplay. But ending in A DNF as I had one wrong.
    LOI: WEIMAR which once I had worked out from the cryptics also COD just pipping GANDER which is a fun clue.
    7dn KEEN was a leap of faith as it sounded more likely to be a film director than LEAN which having read the blog, I now know it wasn’t.

    Edited at 2022-02-18 08:05 am (UTC)

    1. I made the same mistake for the same DNF — Keen for 7D Lean. It seemed a fair enough answer; there is a film director called Bob Keen, and given that one can have a keen edge to a blade it almost parses — I’ve certainly seen more contrived parsings. And for everyone who cries at me “I’ve never heard of him” — well, I had never heard of David Lean!

      Which rather gets to the point of this post, which is that answers which rely on GK and have unhelpful checkers (in this case -E-N) can be rather hit-and-miss affairs. Another possible answer is Mean, which also parses well (thin = mean is quite fair). I am sure there is no-one who has not heard of the famous film director Sally Mean …


      1. 15×15 solvers will be at an advantage here because Sir David Lean has made several appearances and some of them very recently. He has also come up before in a QC but that was in 2016.
      2. Post-solve I had found Bob Keen and Keen is synonymous with thin so a possible answer, just the wrong one.
      3. Yes Cedric, I agree with you. I also found all three for ‘thin’, and I also had NHO the film director(s). Luckily, I opted for LEAN, but I would suggest it would be an unsatisfactory clue in a competition (not that I’m ever likely to qualify for such an event — the SCCC, the SlowCoach Club Cup, perhaps?).
      4. I find it hard to believe that you have never been aware of David Lean, Cedric.
        Dr Zhivago? Brief Encounter? Hobson’s Choice? Lawrence of Arabia? Bridge on the River Kwai? et al..

        Edited at 2022-02-18 01:43 pm (UTC)

          1. Yes, and A Passage to India, Great Expectations, In Which We Serve, Oliver Twist, Blithe Spirit……..
            My, he directed some memorable films!

            Edited at 2022-02-18 02:17 pm (UTC)

            1. … but if one isn’t a filmgoer …

              I have watched three films in the past 5-6 years: The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Dawn Wall and Free Solo. Prior to those, I think it was Kramer Vs Kramer (1980). I suppose I prefer to do stuff rather than watch stuff, but it does mean my knowledge of actors, directors and the like is poor.

              N.B. Other than Oliver, which I saw on the telly when I was young, I haven’t watched any of the David Lean directed films mentioned above. Sounds like I have missed out.

              Edited at 2022-02-18 02:58 pm (UTC)

              1. It may seem odd, but even when I do go to see a film, the identity of the director is a level of detail I often don’t register. Yes I had heard of most if not all of those films, but ignoramus that I am, I still have David Lean in the “GK I do not know” box. My failing, no doubt, but true …

                Edited at 2022-02-18 03:49 pm (UTC)

              2. I think you have, Random. However, you make me feel old. 🙄
                I saw many of these films many years ago (but some had been out for yonks when I saw them). They all left a deep impression.
                1. Yes, I must ask my offspring if they have seen David Lean’s films. Dr Zhivago was on the other day but son 3 not that interested, it appeared. Maybe only oldies and film buffs have heard of Lean, sadly.
      5. I agree on your comment about poor checkers. How was I meant to know HARDIE isn’t spelled HARDEE?!?

        On the other hand, as a film buff (pre-2010 reboots and superheroes), LEAN was FOI.

  3. An unusually gentle Friday solve allowed a chirpy stroll into the club promptly on the 20 minute opening bell. NHO doughty but HARDIE as a deceased Labour leader did not cause any hesitation. LOI DETRAINED which I struggled to parse. Thanks Curarist and Izzetti.
  4. 13 minutes, but with a carelessly mis-spelled calendEr. I knew what I wanted to type in, even if I was less sure about why, as it isn’t the best clue in the box in my opinion. Maybe I was thinking about this when I made the typo. Otherwise, this was a nice puzzle from the Don, with a few gnarly bits to make one think. Thanks Curarist and Izetti.
  5. An excellent puzzle from Izetti, once I ignored his reputation and just got on with it. I moved around the grid, as always. I am getting used to making little or no progress in the NW at first so I explored the rest of the grid before returning to complete things. My LOI was DETRAINED. I finished a couple of seconds over 14 mins so within target.
    I liked WEIMAR, too (but left it to Curarist to parse this one) and I thought a theme might be developing when I saw DRESDEN. I thought TOP DRAWER was very neat. Thanks to Izetti and Curarist. John M.

    Edited at 2022-02-18 08:59 am (UTC)


    I thought ‘ten players dismissed’ was getting ten players sent off in football, so was trying phrases in “one”. Did not see the cricket reference.

    Didn’t like DETRAINED, nor “deplaned” either. What next, “debus”?

    COD WEIMAR. I actually knew March 1st.

  7. Fifteen minutes. FOI adage, DNF as could not see emerald. Husband supplied Weimar, and said Sarah Everard was the leader of the Greens, so I stuck it in – grrrr. COD Crusader. Twelve on first pass, nineteen quickly, had to think more about head on, Dresden, (thought the small room would be a loo again), detrained and crusader. Needed all the checkers for Hardie. Thanks, Curarist, and Izetti.
      1. Thank you for your post. Lesson to me – always check your sources, or else you can end up looking like a real idiot as I have here.
  8. 9 minutes. HARDIE put up a bit of resistance as Labour leader as I was working my back from the last deceased one (Smith) and there was a long way to go get to Hardie who resigned as the position 1908.
  9. All green in 13 but more importantly, a typo free week! Enjoyed BEER as a simple pleasure. HARDIE was no problem, my Dad names his pets after notable leftish Leaders: Ramsay, Harold, Lloyd, Kier, Hugh and Aneurin have all been and gone, as has Indie who came as an older dog so already had a name. Edith (Cavell) is the current dog — running low on good names and slim pickings for female leaders (Lloyd the cat was Lydia to her friends).
  10. … for which see my small reply to alfweard above. A DNF is of course a DNF, but when it is due to not knowing the GK I don’t worry myself quite so much about it!

    Before failing on 7D, my LOI was 6D Hardie, which I got entirely from the “old Labour leader” not the homonym. And this set me thinking a bit about the range of options open to a setter. The pivot of the clue is of course the word Hardy, and there are many synonyms for hardy that Izetti could have chosen when writing the clue — one can think of robust, healthy, strong, rugged, tough etc, any of which would slip seamlessly into the surface in place of doughty. There are also many synonyms for doughty — for example fearless, determined, resolute, indomitable. But interestingly, “doughty” is not on the standard lists for synonyms of hardy, and “hardy” is not on the standard lists for synonyms of doughty. I think even so it does just about work, so no real complaints at the clue, but what encourages Izetti or any setter to go right to the outer edges of the synonym field when choosing how to construct a clue when there are other less arguable alternatives? Is it just an attempt to be even more devious than necessary?

    Enough musings on the art of crossword setting — not a skill I am ever likely to master anyway!

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

  11. About 15 minutes to get to my last two which were EMERALD and then, after a long think, WARDLE. Submitted after 21:59 with the one GK failing. I was trying to think of old Labour leaders but Keir Hardie did not occur to me.
    Otherwise an enjoyable tussle. I thought DETRAINED was very good as a clue; but it’s not a word I like.
  12. Worked through steadily but held up by DETRAINED (not keen on that) and CALENDAR, which took a while to see.
  13. I had all bar three (Detrained, Hardie and Weimar) done at the 20min mark and then spent another five minutes teasing those three out for a slightly disappointing 25min finish. Crusader was the only other hold up along the way, thanks to a very timely flash of inspiration with Emerald. CoD to 18ac, Top Drawer, in a strong field. Invariant
  14. 40 minutes for me today, although I had to trust to luck with LEAN (or should it be KEEN, or even MEAN?). ADAGE was also a bit of guess, as I couldn’t remember what ‘Saw’ meant in crosswordese. The real time-consuming clues however, were DETRAINED (‘untrained’ yes, but DETRAINED?) and CRUSADER (my LOI) – more than 10 minutes at the end to get these two.

    Many thanks to Izetti and curarist.

  15. I did get DETRAINED fairly early on after spotting DEED as part of the word play. I couldn’t parse EMERALD so that was a biff (very clever wordplay) and my LOI HARDIE occupied at least 2 minutes of my 9:23 solving time. Thank you curarist for unravelling EMERALD.
  16. All in after 20 mins apart from 6dn “Hardie”. My knowledge of old labour leaders not being the best, I had to concede defeat as there were too many possibilities.

    Overall, not a bad puzzle — with some nice clues although I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the word/expression “detrained” to get off (not in every day usage at least).

    FOI — 16ac “Rag”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 24ac “Emerald” — just couldn’t see the parsing on this at all.

    Thanks as usual!

  17. ….rather than Starmer. Well, of course, he’s not dead yet !

    I enjoyed this one, which I completed at five past midnight when I was no.1 on the leaderboard. Actually, I WAS the leaderboard. Time has shuffled me down to reasonably respectable 18th.

    TIME 4:01

    1. Out of interest, could someone point me in the direction of the leaderboard please?

      And is there a wooden spoon available? 😀

      1. If you go to the crossword club from the puzzles page and then to the quick cryptic you get to be on the leaderboard.
  18. … DNF by misspelling HARDIE (hardee) at the end *roll eyes* Not helped by not knowing what doughty meant and not being able to think of Keir.

    Wary of CALENDAR and whether it was an ER.

    Another slow-building day with answers coming between frequent trips to secure the gate Eunice kept blowing open, sticking the TV aerial back on and nipping to the neighbours two doors down to tell them their rabbit had escaped through the blown out fence panel.


  19. As we had AWARE for 9a. Treating it as a double def this parses at least as well as the answers in some crosswords (although probably not Izetti’s!).
  20. But enjoyed the puzzle. Started on line as the village shop was late opening, but transferred to paper during 3 hour electricity cut, in between taking photos of huge fallen birch tree nearly blocking our drive.
    Must buy a battery-powered phone charger.
    Liked LEAN (as a director too) also WEIMAR, HEAD ON, among others.
    Quite forgot Hardie, while thinking of Blair, Brown, Wilson etc.
    Thanks all, esp Curarist.
    1. “while thinking of Blair, Brown, Wilson etc.”

      I even threw in some Conservative leaders (Baldwin, Chamberlain, Douglas-Home, Heath) as before my time and no idea who they represented.

      Eventually Hardie occurred as I was alphabet trawling

    2. There is a (strict) convention that people have to be deceased before their name can appear in a Times puzzle.
  21. Dear L_Plates,

    The good news about any ‘leaderboard’ is that a successful completion, no matter how long it takes, beats any superfast DNF – even if the error was a simple typo. After coming a cropper early on by trying to go too fast, my tactics are now to aim just to finish successfully and to enjoy the challenge. A good time is a bonus, but that’s all.

    N.B. I think I may (but only ‘may’) have progressed on from ‘L’ plates to ‘P’ plates. It has taken me 20-21 months to get to this stage.

    Edited at 2022-02-18 04:38 pm (UTC)

    1. L to P huh? There’ll be no further need for Mrs Random to ‘sit you up’.

      In my L state, I’m still filling in and trialling letters in answers in the hope it triggers an answer. The downside is when you do this on the LOI, it triggers the completion screen. Consequently I leave a square blank elsewhere so I can reflect on the possibilities before submitting.

  22. Kept us guessing over our target, did not know the conductor and detrained also caused problems. Tried Attlee for 6d, soon deleted. Enjoyable puzzle as ever from Izetti, always something to ponder over afterwards.
  23. Rather slow today. Struggled with DETRAINED and CRUSADER and never did parse LOI EMERALD.
  24. Didn’t know Hardie — disappointed with the inclusion of this in the QC — it could have been Caddie or Candle or Handle or Paddle or Saddle etc. Just annoyed because I didn’t know the answer.
    Just got Weimar, Adage and Detrained and didn’t understand bride and drawer connection.
    Great QC apart from Hardie IMO.
    Thanks all!
  25. For the record:

    PORTCULLIS grid — so no easy starters.

    On the 11:15 from Dresden to Weimar, very pleasant.

    FOI 9ac ADAGE

    LOI 23ac SPELL


    WOD 7dn David LEAN. Some older folks had never heard of him!?

    I simply don’t believe it! Meldrew

  26. Didn’t know Hardie — disappointed with the inclusion of this in the QC — it could have been Caddie or Candle or Handle or Paddle or Saddle etc. Just annoyed because I didn’t know the answer.
    Just got Weimar, Adage and Detrained and didn’t understand bride and drawer connection.
    Great QC apart from Hardie IMO.
    Thanks all!
  27. I struggled with this one. Got most of them quickly but took ages to work out CALENDAR, SHOCK and DETRAINED. I was proud of myself for finishing, but rather downhearted after seeing some of the times. I was a little over the hour mark!


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