Quick Cryptic 2351 by Izetti

When I saw the clue for 1a I thought we were in for a Classics-based toughie but…

Thank goodness things were a bit gentler from then on. The part of speech for the word at 3d was unusual, making the clue harder than it should have been, but otherwise I didn’t find there were many obscurities here and I finished in 7:40.

My favourite was the double def at 17a.

Thanks to Izetti

Definitions underlined in bold 

1 Old Greek writer’s place, penning line, by bridge (8)
PLUTARCHPUT (‘place’) containing (‘penning’) L (‘line’) ARCH (‘bridge’)
6 Some idiots ignoring omen (4)
SIGN – Hidden (‘Some’) in ‘idiotS IGNoring’
8 A heartless religious teacher with cold language (6)
ARABICA (‘A’) RABI (‘heartless religious teacher’=RABBI with middle letter B deleted) C (‘cold’)
9 Fool engaging leaders of English society doesn’t stop talking (4,2)
GOES ONGOON (‘Fool’) containing (‘engaging’) ES (‘leaders (=first letters of) of English society’)
10 Old bird in repeated act (4)
DODODO DO (‘repeated act’)

‘Act’ as noun in surface reading, verb in answer

MOA, DODO and there are many others (sadly) in the real world but these two are the commonest ‘Old bird(s)’ in crossword land

11 Anonymous female star, not so great (8)
FACELESSF (‘female’) ACE (‘star’) LESS (‘not so great’)
12 Snake less happy after losing its head! (5)
ADDERSADDER (‘less happy’) deleting first letter S (‘after losing its head!’)
13 Reference book eventually cut short (5)
ATLASAT LAST (‘eventually’) deleting last letter T (‘cut short’)
15 Bits of hymns in church old vicar finally employs (8)
CHORUSESCH (‘church’) O (‘old’) R (‘vicar finally’= last letter of ‘vicar’) USES (’employs’)
17 Ruin work of art? (4)
BUST – Double definition
19 Arrangement of chairs, first put out for dining (6)
EATINGSEATING (‘Arrangement of chairs’) deleting first letter S (‘first put out’)
20 Success obtained by the French pair (6)
COUPLECOUP (‘Success’) LE (‘the French’)
21 Don’t go and wander off — not right (4)
STAYSTRAY (‘wander off’) with R deleted (‘not right’)
22 What risk-averse people want, certainly (2,2,4)
TO BE SURE – Double definition, the first descriptive, the second in idiomatic use
2 Mythical ship sinks below lake slowly (5)
LARGOARGO (‘Mythical ship’) under (‘below’ in a down clue) L (‘lake’)

A few months ago, jackkt posted a link to a performance on trumpet and organ of the well-known LARGO “Ombra mai fu” from “Xerxes” by Handel. Here is a vocal performance by a boy soprano; the accompaniment is a bit bare bones but it’s worth it for that first sung note alone.

3 Jeer during special date is forbidden (7)
TABOOEDBOO (‘Jeer’) contained in (‘during’) anagram (‘special’) of DATE

I’d forgotten (if I ever knew) that TABOO can be a transitive verb.

4 Legendary bird eaten by crocodile (3)
ROC – Hidden (‘eaten by’) in ‘cROCodile’
5 Top-quality school form (4-5)
HIGH-CLASSHIGH (‘school’) CLASS (‘form’)
6 Son not ill? Excellent! (5)
SWELLS (‘Son’) WELL (‘not ill?’)
7 Head of Government whips up complaints (7)
GROUSESG (‘Head’ (=first letter of) of Government’) ROUSES (‘whips up’)
11 Looking ahead for potential development area we hear (9)
FORESIGHT – Homophone (‘we hear’) of FOR (‘for’) SITE (‘potential development area’)

I thought ‘area’ by itself would do for SITE, but this doesn’t account for ‘potential development’. I suppose a SITE could also be regarded as a ‘potential development area’ and this is supported by the Collins definition: “the piece of land where something was, is, or is intended to be located”.

At least the homophone is uncontroversial, to my ear anyway.

12 A hatter is mad, essentially (2,5)
AT HEART – Anagram (‘is mad’) of A HATTER
14 Party’s travails (7)
LABOURS – Double definition
16 Wet home bathed in bit of sunshine (5)
RAINYIN (‘home’) contained in (‘bathed in’) RAY (‘bit of sunshine’)
18 Sun’s to rise with a hint of light being introduced (5)
SOLARL (‘hint of light’) contained in (‘being introduced’) SOAR (‘to rise’)

Apostrophes do matter. I’d have to say that ‘hint of’ indicating “first letter of” is not my favourite wordplay device.

20 Loaf of bread for horse (3)
COB – Nice double definition to end with

I like the OED definition for the ‘horse’: “A short-legged, stout variety of horse, usually ridden by heavy persons”. Poor old thing, stoically plodding along.

61 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2351 by Izetti”

  1. 9:42. PLUTARCH first in and hardest for me because I got fixated on span so didn’t see ARCH for a while. Then rest of puzzle flowed smoothly. Thanks for beautiful Handel!

  2. I could only think of ‘nameless’, which didn’t work; needed the C to see the light. 5:14.
    Just went back to listen to the Handel; incredible!

  3. 5.37

    Wanted something PLATO related in 1ac but once that was sorted the rest flowed. I tend to get on with Izetti’s offerings and this was no different.

    Thanks to him and BR

  4. Came into this on a high having had to hang around a bit yesterday and completing a rare treble of QC, 15×15 and Telegraph but a tough NW brought me back to earth. Ended up all green in a shade under 15 but HIGH CLASS, ARABIC and especially TABOOED (even harder to spot in a down) and the NHO PLUTARCH slowed me at the end. Lots to like here!

  5. 9:05 with FACELESS my LOI.

    Only parsed SOLAR post solve. Don’t think I knew that TABOOED existed as a word but couldn’t be anything else.

    Biffed LARGO but ditto above.

    Thanks Izetti and BR

  6. Not fast, not slow. Chewed pencil over most of NW corner, especially PLUTARCH and TABOOED. Took a long time to see LOI GROUSES.

    All done in 09:21 for 1.8K and an OK Day.

    Many thanks Bletchers and Izetti.


  7. Quality puzzle which I made harder for myself with a careless TO BE SAFE at 22a, making SOLAR decidedly tricky.
    For once I knew all of the GK so, apart from the above, made decent progress through the puzzle until breezeblocked by GROUSED. Fortunately there aren’t too many letters that can go between g and o at the start of a word so wasn’t delayed for too long.
    Finished in 9.05.
    Thanks to BR and now off to listen to Handel

  8. A steady solve ending with the clues in the NW corner mentioned above and then the SE which I had omitted on my ramble around the grid. I finished under target by over a minute (all parsed) so things are developing more consistently this week (so far).
    I am enjoying the QCs more as I just enjoy them without worrying about the TFTT.
    Some nice clues. I think my COD was probably PLUTARCH but I was surprised to see ATLAS(t) again so soon in a QC.
    Thanks to both, John M.

    1. I tend to agree about removing the time element. Certainly when Feb was a run of ‘impossibles’; I focused on getting a successful solve and the stress ebbed away. I still log the time and want them to improve; but it’s good for mental wellbeing to remind myself if I’ve given everything I could then the time doesn’t reflect who I am.

      I too was slightly surprised to see ATLAS come up again so quickly. But clued differently enough to last week that it wasn’t obvious to me. I think it’s beneficial to beginners to have something familiar popping up.

  9. 33.06 … breezeblocked for almost ten minutes on a last two of EATING / FORESIGHT. Just couldn’t ‘see’ what needed to go in FORES—T and was expecting to rearrange chairs for an unknown word.

    The NW a bit chewy with PLUTARCH/ TABOOED / LARGO (brain couldn’t remember name of Jason’s ship, NHO of LARGO itself). FACELESS, I played around with it ending as -ALIST (star) for a while. GROUSES started life as Grumbles where rumbles doesn’t quite work for whips up.

  10. Quite quick but then stuck on CHORUSES until PDM. FOsI ROC, DODO. PLUTARCH sprang to mind after I thought of Arch. Fortunately remembered the Argo.
    Liked COB, ADDER, BUST.
    Thanks vm, BR. Loved the boy treble’s voice.

    1. I’m no classical music expert but you can expect the most common terms to appear in Times Crosswords quite often e.g. adagio, lento, etc. I’m sure there’s a short list of them somewhere on’t internet that you can mug up on.

  11. I will leave Handel until later – my iPad’s speakers will not do it justice. A workmanlike solve of a workmanlike puzzle which shouldn’t have taken average time, but I had to.pause quite a lot, perhaps because there were many stretches which I thought only just OK in a QC (eg STAR = ACE). .FOI SIGN, LOI GOES ON, COD FACELESS, eventually. Thanks BR and Don.

  12. I made hard work of this by going down a number of blind alleys. FORSEEING at 11d and DOUBLE at 20a for example.
    Eventually I sorted things out finishing with CHORUSES after 14 minutes.
    COD to TO BE SURE. Another good QC.

  13. Straightforward offering from Izetti as far as I am concerned with no major holdups, completing with all parsed in 8.02. Briefly considered why BASH was a work of art, but quickly came to my senses.
    I’ve listened to the Handel’s Largo rendition and many thanks to BR for including it, a truly outstanding voice. I was a cathedral chorister myself at a similar age, and sang this as a solo, not to the same standard I’m sure! I also sang it with my mother accompanying me on the piano at home for her enjoyment, and I confess that a few tears have just flowed at this memory of over sixty years ago.

  14. All done in 1h 16m and happy with that and the puzzle.
    Could not get PLATO out of my head for 1a and needed all the crossers in the end.
    COD to 3d TABOOED which made me smile.
    Just listened to the Handel and can’t believe the ethereal sound that came from that boy. Thanks for the link

  15. Nudged into the SCC again, thanks to a couple of Izetti rabbit holes – arrangement of (chairs)* being top of the list. The time spent on my last pair, the intersecting Couple/Solar (not your finest clue, Don), capped off a poor effort on my part. CoD to 15ac, Choruses, in recognition of the parsing. Invariant

  16. All done in 10 minutes which is pleasing for an Izetti, but having biffed Plutarch from definition and checkers, parsing it escaped me. I think I was fixated on place giving the PL, which left the UT unaccounted for.

    Tabooed an odd word (indeed my spellchecker turns it into tabloid), but clear from the clue.

    Many thanks BR for both blog and link.

  17. 21 mins…

    I also wanted to stick Plato into 1ac, but I just couldn’t get it to work. The rest went in steadily, with my only hesitation on the slightly unusual 3dn “Tabooed” which you don’t see that often.

    FOI – 2dn “Largo”
    LOI – 1ac “Plutarch”
    COD – 11ac “Faceless”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. I’m glad we don’t see words like ‘tabooed’ too often. Just another lazy, ugly word. Who would wish to use it?
      The conversion of nouns into verbs by the addition of -ed is becoming increasingly common and is a sad distortion of language in my opinion: e.g. medalled, podiumed (ugh). Even worse than unnecessarily adding ‘ise’ or even ‘ize’ to a word: e.g. alphabetize or burglarize….. The ‘new’ word is often not even shorter or clearer: e.g. to merchandise meaning to sell.
      Yes, I know there are countless accepted, traditional examples in common use (and that language always develops and changes) but this ‘verbing’ of nouns is becoming so widespread and is simply unnecessary when there exist perfectly good, attractive verbs to do the job. Why make language so ugly? Is there an equivalent tendency to distort French or Italian?
      OK. Rant over.

      1. Blimey Blighter, that certainly got you riled.

        With regards to distorting French, I’m sure it does occur, although I believe one of the biggest threats is the inclusion of English words in everyday speak which certainly annoys the body that “looks after” the language (no idea what it’s called – but I’m sure there is one).

        1. The Académie Française certainly takes a dim view of things like ‘Le weekend’ and probably any attempt to turn a noun into a verb, but my colloquial French is nowhere near good enough to come up with an example.

      2. I know what you mean. Years ago, at the conclusion of a golf event in the USA, a player was praised for a spectacularly long drive at a particular hole and his response was “Yeah I really pured that one”…..

      3. According to some, King Charles will be ‘coronated’ in May! Definitely longer and clumsier than ‘crowned’. Has a different meaning as well

  18. Enjoyed this one but nothing like as much as I enjoyed the Handel. A real gem! Thanks for the recommendation.

    FOI LARGO, LOI GROUSES after a lengthy delay and alphabet trawl that eventually led to the PDM. SW seemed to be straightforward followed by most of NE. Gradually the rest surfaced for a green finish in 22:59. Thanks Izetti and br.

  19. 9:43

    Some chewiness detected, not helped by bunging in a careless NAMELESS at 11a. Eventually revisited when I couldn’t think of a SIGHT that would begin N_R_

    Thanks Izetti and Bletch

  20. 4.23. Straightforward but still a joke. Last one in eating. I had to smile when reading Blighters comment earlier. There is much to raise the blood pressure in the news these days, and it is amusing to see somebody else having a little rant too.

    1. Entirely agree – not pleasant for the ranter (and Blighter is undoubtedly one of my most sought after commenters) but rantees normally feel so much better.

      And without wanting to raise everyone’s bp too high, isn’t using medal and/or podium as a verb rather a neat way to describe something that would otherwise need two or more words?

      There’s the sofa. I’ll make my way behind it forthwith

  21. 11.33 Slight holdup with FACELESS and LOI DODO, which should have been obvious. ADDER is shared with today’s concise, which helped. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks for the link, the singing gave me goosebumps.

  22. Just in under the 30 min mark. Lots of interruptions but also a few trickier clues including FACELESS, CHORUSES, GROUSES and TABOOED. LOI was PLUTARCH, although I really don’t know why. SOLAR parsed post-submission. Liked FORESIGHT. Many thanks BR and Izetti. Enjoyed the beautiful singing.

  23. I needed a few crossers before PLUTARCH went in, but worked my way steadily through the puzzle after ROC and ARGO dropped into place. Loved the Handel! I was held up by LOI, GROUSES, for no good reason, except a mental aberration, as it was so obvious when I finally saw it. Scraped in under my target at 9:34. Thanks Izetti and BR.

  24. 12 minutes in the end, and happy enough with that. I also wanted NAMELESS to work for a while. Late today because of running errands – a retiree’s work is never done! Many thanks both.

  25. Like L-Plates I was breezeblocked today. I was getting set to report a near-record time when I became stuck on GROUSED even with all the checkers. I just couldn’t see ‘roused’ and so sadly DNF today. Fun puzzle all the same.

  26. FOI SIGN and LOI PLUTARCH. Many of the clues I solved quickly but I was held up by the FACELESS/FORESIGHT crossing and by GROUSES. PLUTARCH needed all the checkers and I think the name came to me from The Hunger Games. 8:45

  27. My FOsI were SIGN and DODO, but precious little else went in during my first pass. In fact, the lower half of the grid was almost entirely empty, except for RAINY. Amazingly, however, I was able to build my way away from that solitary clue and it wasn’t too long (in my terms, at least) before I found myself entering my LOsI – FACELESS, FORESIGHT, and EATING.

    I parsed most things, but didn’t fully understand PLUTARCH, ARABIC and ADDER. Total time = 27 minutes, so a good day for me.

    Many thanks to Izetti and BR.

  28. Middle of the road from me today.

    Bottom right held me up. BUST was my LOI, and I liked COUPLE once I got it.


  29. 4:24 this afternoon, for what I reckoned was one of Don’s more gentle QCs, as long as you’d heard of the old Greek.
    I was held up briefly by 15 ac “choruses” where I went for “chorales” initially, until I realised I couldn’t parse it.
    Quite liked 22 ac “To be Sure”, although in an Irish crossword it would presumably need to repeated and so wouldn’t fit a QC grid.
    Thanks to Don and to BR for the blog and the cultural add-on.

  30. A nice steady solve with no particular hold-ups. All done and parsed in 14 minutes. Thanks to Izetti for a relatively gentle offering and to BR for the blog.

    FOI – 6ac SIGN
    LOI – 14dn LABOURS
    COD – 7dn GROUSES

  31. Late news:
    Following some reports yesterday of the relative accessibility of yesterday’s 15×15, I thought I would (for the first time) give it a real go – timed and without aids. Unbelievably, I crossed the line fully parsed in 64 minutes.

    Astonishmentness! I may never again achieve such a feat, so I will pour myself (and Mrs R, of course) an early ‘yardarm’ this evening.

    1. Magnificent. Congratulations. I am sure it will in time be the first of many.

      Did Mrs R give it a go too?

    2. You might also want to have a go at today’s – it’s no harder and only one nho.

    3. Any more of that and we’ll revoke your membership of the SCC! Seriously, well done. You should be very proud. 👏👏👏

  32. DNF again. Could not see PLUTARCH or CHORUSES (where I was trying to make VERSES work)

  33. I very much enjoyed this QC. Like the COB, I plodded stoically to a time just under the half hour mark.

    A host of fine clues and misdirection, and a great tonic after a dull day at the coal face.

    FOI – SIGN
    LOI – GROUSES (a few minutes to get that one)
    PDM – DODO (looking for something much more complicated, my usual IZETTI problem).

    Great blog BR, many thanks 😊

  34. All green in 9:27, but had to come here to get the parsing of HIGH CLASS, which I had bunged in with a shrug. Enjoyable puzzle, lots of “add/subtract a letter” clues, which I like, and very few anagrams, which I don’t.
    Thanks to Izetti & BR

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