Quick Cryptic 2424 by Izetti

A distinctly over-par 9 minutes for this offering by Izetti. A good chunk of the clues were write-ins, but I got bogged down by  a chewy SW corner.

1 Stone in ring presented to mate (4)
4 Measures to make cheaters look silly (8)
HECTARES – anagram (‘make look silly’) of CHEATERS
8 Greek character’s Kitty wants the Spanish wine (8)
MUSCATEL – MU’S + CAT + EL. A type of fortified wine popular with homeless alcoholics during prohibition. I can’t say I’ve ever tried it.
9 Board member or lowly worker? (4)
PAWN – double definition
10 Employs tricks to remove leader (4)
USES – RUSES minus its first letter
11 Special offers? Pub benefits (8)
12 Host drinks wine, sticky stuff (6)
MASTIC – MC with ASTI inside
14 Spirit? No alcoholic drink to be knocked back (6)
DAEMON – NO MEAD backwards
16 Endless worry with one boy who played in group? (8)
HARRISON – HARR[Y] + I + SON. George, obviously, who gets to be in the Times crossword by virtue of being dead.
18 Cheese is component of buffet always (4)
FETA – hidden word: bufFET Always
19 List old books in possession of artist (4)
ROTA – OT (old books) with RA (Royal Academician, i.e. artist) outside
20 City is in downward move, becoming resolute (8)
22 Thus treated, madam is unchanged (8)
REVERSED – Cryptic definition, ‘madam’ being a palindrome
23 Run hard, finally coming to wood (4)
DASH – D (end of ‘hard’) + ASH
2 Head of poor country, a realm of yesteryear (7)
3 Doesn’t have to sound sloppy (5)
LACKS – sounds like LAX
4 Husband getting with it is a success (3)
HIT – H + IT
5 American army officer, or a martial arts expert? (9) 
COLORADAN – COL + OR + A + DAN. ‘Dan’ being any of ten degrees of advanced proficiency in judo or karate.
6 Had to keep quiet, coming to a church away from conflict (2,5)
AT PEACE – ATE with P inside, then A + CE
7 King starts to expect downright victory (5)
EDWIN – E[xpect] + D[ownright] + WIN. Seventh century king of Northumbria.
11 What spectators sit on to support teams (9)
13 Row a bit, having stifled hesitation (7)
TERRACE – TRACE with ER inside. My LOI
15 Notes avocets flying (7)
OCTAVES – anagram (‘flying’) of AVOCETS
17 Notice gong in brick building (5)
ADOBE – AD + OBE. A form of clay building material common in the  SW United States and elsewhere.
18 Joined female journalist crossing United States (5)
FUSED – F + ED outside US
21 Fish? Record catching nothing (3)
COD – CD with O inside

86 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2424 by Izetti”

  1. 11 minutes. Mostly straightforward but I was delayed a bit by the intersecting answers at 5dn and 14ac. Citizens of U.S. states often take me by surprise!

  2. I missed my target, and took a fair while before the penny dropped for my LOI. A little disappointed with my performance.

    TIME 5:58

  3. Ouch! A very hard one to end the week for me, with two pinkies after around 50 minutes – being defeated in the end by REVERSED. Others that were very slow to come were DAEMON, TERRACE, HARRISON (nho) and COLORADAN, which was a great clue. I thought MASTIC was very good too even though it took a long time to click.
    I shall be revitalising myself with a nice walk in Nidderdale today whilst girding the old grey matter for Monday’s offering.
    Wishing you all a happy and peaceful weekend.

      1. Ah. From the clue I thought it was a band called ‘Harrison’. I was never a fan of The Beatles but I can’t claim never to have heard of GH so stand corrected. 😊

  4. Probably the longest I’ve taken over a QC and despite clear and fair clueing barely any satisfying PDMs in what I’m afraid I thought was a sparkle-free puzzle. And even then I managed to enter AbOdE not ADOBE, goodness knows why or how. Not all green in 33.

  5. 7.33

    Yup, SW was chewy. In slight desperation I bunged in the ER of TERRACE into the grid and the answer suddenly jumped out. That gave me my LOI HARRISON.

    Liked HECTARES BARGAINS and PAWN though suspect they’ve all been seen in one form or another many times before

    Thanks Excurarist and Izetti

  6. All corrected at 1hr00min45sec for a classic inappropriate QC from Izetti 💩 Kept my expectations low and he met them so won’t be too het up today. Good example of how he makes it not quick, I’ve seen OPAL numerous times in QCs and it usually goes straight in. Today even with a tentative P, it took 25mins or so to get it.

    Reached final one of REVERSED at 37mins – so was fairly pleased to that point. Decided it would be more enjoyable to go feed the neighbour’s cats at 43mins so took a break. Came back, bunged something in around 46mins and discovered for the DNF the reason why I hadn’t felt comfortable with BACKSside and inCISIVE. Still the better part of 15mins to get that last one.

    Only three QCs have taken me over 30mins this month. Last Friday’s Felix and the two Izettis. While I’d like to give him a swerve, I can’t duck a challenge. It would be like England saying “We want to play test cricket, but we’ll just give Australia a miss”. So on, I plod.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    1. What he said ^. I almost didn’t bother, but in the end, I did. It reminds me of foul medicine – you know it’s supposed to be good for you, but it’s deeply unpleasant.

      1. Honestly, he grows on you. Hard but fair. Couldn’t do his to start with but now I (usually) can and (usually) enjoy the tussle. But done by REVERSED today, although I kicked myself after as I have seen that form of clue before.

        1. I wish that were true for me Plymouthian.

          I entered this year feeling positive about his QCs … the six he set across Oct / Nov / Dec … 33mins (2 corrected), 33 (1 corrected), 27, 34, 28, 32 … probably no complaints if they were all like that.

          But since March, they have all been impossibly difficult apart from one in mid-April that I banged out in 18mins!

  7. I liked this crossword and especially liked the way we got to give a nod to the magnificent GEORGE, good clue too. I admit it took longer than it should have for the P to D on that one, the word ‘group’ should have been an instant give-away. Glad to see my comprehensive knowledge of 7th century Northumbrian kings finally turned out to be useful, but I wonder if Excurarist (ta for the blog) could expand on the popularity of muscatel among homeless alcoholics during prohibition? Quite a niche category in wine classification. Got bogged down with TERRACE and the clever REVERSED, dragged me out to 10.48.

  8. Thought I was going to have to find a seat in the club today but finally seeing HARRISON unlocked the rest of the SW corner and I narrowly avoided it.
    Spent some time wondering if a ‘lop’ was a type of fish and trying to get ‘bleachers’ out of my head for COD BACKSIDES. Also thoroughly enjoyed COLORADANS and MASTIC.
    Finished in 18.31 with a mighty PDM for LOI REVERSED
    Thanks to Excurarist for the blog and Izetti for the workout.

  9. Today reminded me why I will never be a fast solver and there is no point in timing myself. I am apt to go off on a tangent. Today was PRUSSIA falling in an early part of the solving, I then spent the next 20 or so minutes reading the history of Prussia before getting back to the job at hand.

    An enjoyable workout from FOI: OPAL to LOI: REVERSED which took a while for the PDM.

    Favourite: The building of MUSCATEL from WP.

    1. Being a fast solver, it’s my tendency to leave any such research until I’ve submitted, and then looked at the blog (I note anything I want to research at the blog stage, and look at it/them next).

      1. Nice idea but unfortunately it’s part of my makeup to go off on a tangent and I seem to do it automatically, then realise what I was meant to be doing.

    2. Same here. I never time myself. Part of the fun for me is reading about unusual words/events/people. Today it was ADOBE and EDWIN 😃 Fast times for me don’t necessarily equate to high levels of enjoyment.

      Just seen Busman’s comment: love how different we all are. Your way sounds great but I’m clearly not as disciplined!

  10. A pretty bare grid after all the acrosses and downs, but the few crossers I had enabled me to start picking them off here and there.

    Bottom left corner was the hardest part for me, and REVERSED was LOI. That or BACKSIDES COD.

    V good puzzle at the harder end of things.


  11. I found this more difficult than most early posters (as ever!) and found quite a lot in common with the post from Mendesest. I started well and filled in most of the grid quite quickly and got pleasure from seeing answers like MUSCATEL, BACKSIDES, and DAEMON quickly. However, I thought AT PEACE was just too contrived and a bit weak for Izetti and had trouble with COLORADAN. I then came to grief in the SW. HARRISON, TERRACE, and (LOI) REVERSED took forever. TBH, the last one was a biff and I needed Excurarist’s help in parsing. Too clever for me on a Friday morning.
    Not a good end to the week. Thanks to Izetti for another pasting (I used to complete his puzzles under target; I wonder what has changed) and to Excurarist for a good blog which I will now read again properly. John M.

    P.s. I am not convinced that sun-dried adobe is the same as kiln-dried brick. Try immersing adobe in water and see it it lasts as long as a brick!

  12. This WAS tough but I was ultimately beaten only by the H of HARRISON and biffed GARRISON thinking the clue was “group” – deceived by clever double use of “one boy”.

    PAWN, EDWIN, COLORADAN, MASTIC and DAEMON also held me up. Thanks Izetti for a proper test and Excurarist for the great blog.

    Have fine weekends all

  13. 15:04 Michelangelo’s sculpture of David is completed in Florence.
    I was hoping for a King EDWIN time, (586-632 AD), but that would be a PB for me.



  14. 13:28

    Found this quite tough in places, but failing to lift and separate the American army officer didn’t help – even with COLOR____ and knowing about DANs, the answer still wouldn’t smack me in the face.

    SW corner was slowest – entered ADOBE early on but MASTIC, REVERSED, TERRACE and particularly HARRISON were slow to rise to the surface.

    Thanks Izetti and Excurarist

  15. As I wrote on Izetti’s last appearance, I enjoyed this less than usual, feeling we were expected to work too hard for an allegedly QUICK crossword. But this one did have a tiny bit of humour. FOI MUSCATEL, LOI OPAL, COD BACKSIDES. Completed three quarters, but not motivated to attempt the SE corner, so DNF. Thanks, Izetti and Excurarist.

  16. DNF and CNC (could not concentrate) at all with this one. I could feel time running away as answer after answer gradually revealed themselves, and with one to go (REVERSED), I started entering letters in the blank squares looking for inspiration. Then the grid disappeared for no reason, and came back completely blank, and I couldn’t be arsed re-entering it all and just pressed reveal on 22a to see the answer. Now, when I go to the puzzle, the grid is completed again and I get a message saying I completed in 24 minutes. Very strange! Thanks all.

    1. A clear case of “to err is human, but to really foul up you need a computer”.

  17. DNF. Beaten by REVERSED. Worked out HARRISON from the wordplay, but my mind was not on a Beatles wavelength, so couldn’t see who was being referred to.

    I got EDWIN early, and was hoping for a finish just over 9 minutes that would match some event in the life of Edwin of Wessex (I was already too slow for his Northumbrian namesake) but the SW corner defeated me.

    Thanks Don and Excurarist

  18. DNF. My final solve was REVERSED which was a lovely PDM but I failed to get ADOBE. I didn’t know the word and misread the clue as ‘Notice going in brick building’ so I was never going to get OBE for gong.

  19. Not in a hurry today, which was just as well as this took me 27 minutes.
    Then at the last moment I inexplicably changed COLORADAN to COLORIDAN – so a DNF after all that.
    But I enjoyed it. Izetti is often a stiff test.
    I too wasn’t expecting Harrison but question 5 of the daily quiz perhaps provided a prompt -his friend Ravi Shankar.

  20. Top half went in quite nicely although having entered COLORADAN from word play I had word blindness and for the life of me could not relate to the word so resorted to a dictionary and felt suitably foolish.
    Struggled with Madam but the penny dropped and felt a bit short changed with HARRISON.
    No problem with MUSCATEL, despite being born long after prohibition and not homeless, I have enjoyed the odd after dinner glass of Muscat de Beaumes de venise, well chilled to take away some of the sweetness and a reasonable companion to a strong cheddar or a vanilla icecream.
    No time but well into my usual corner chair in the club.
    Thanks all. Have a good weekend.

  21. I got a little over half of the clues before giving up on this joyless QC.

    1. I did slightly more than half before giving up. Way too hard for this inhabitant of the SCC.

  22. DNF in 18:10 for a Very Bad Day – the SW had taken so long that I bunged in GARRISON in desperation, thinking it might be an obscure wind instrument played in Chamber groups! Never occurred to me that I was looking for a dead pop star (nor did I remember that GH was dead …). Fortunately I had so little confidence that I submitted without leaderboard.

    Took an age over MASTIC (had “tarmac” on the brain), TERRACE and POI/COD REVERSED. I also really liked DAEMON, OCTAVES and BACKSIDES – lovely clues.

    Many thanks Izetti (I thought of you at Glyndebourne last weekend during L’Elisir d’Amore) and TAFKA curarist.


    1. I wonder how many ‘K’s your score would have been? Interesting that K didn’t post today. Perhaps his time is on the club site – I never look.
      Btw what does TAFKA stand for? I must confess to putting entirely inappropriate words to it…..🤭 John

      1. Apologies for jumping in, but I think Templar is thanking the blogger Formerly Known As Curarist

        1. Thank you, Invariant. Much appreciated!
          I should have worked it out but Izetti seems to have destroyed my few remaining brain cells. John

  23. I also found this chewy. I didn’t manage to parse ADOBE as, like others, I only saw going, not gong in the clue. My last 3 were ADOBE, REVERSED and DAEMON. 11:%%. Thanks Izetti and Curarist.

  24. Well, I found this the toughest one for a while. Problems encountered with HARRISON (never did like the Beatles) REVERSED (doh) and COLORADAN (very clever). BACKSIDES made me smile. Seemed a mix of chestnuts and trickier clues. Very enjoyable overall. Many thanks all.

  25. Tough today I would say, and I’m actually not too disappointed with my time of 12.15 for that reason. I was delayed mainly by the sw corner, and like others biffed GARRISON before thankfully returning to it working out the answer. I feel uncomfortable with the setters choice of answer here, and note others have expressed their surprise. I was going to make a point about adobe being the claylike material that formed bricks rather than being considered as a brick building, but after looking it up I see that in the USA it can have that derivation.

  26. I had crossed into SCC land by the time I was down to the same last three as everybody else in the SW corner. Harrison was the first to fall, and that produced Adobe more or less straight away, but I just couldn’t see Reversed for the life of me. I was probably too fixated on an -ised ending, but either way had to resort to aids for the (clever) answer. DNFs are always disappointing, all the more so when involving the loi, but I still enjoyed the challenge. CoD to 13d, Terrace, which I must have seen before given how quickly it went in. Invariant

  27. Dnf…

    Everything after 20 mins, but couldn’t get 22ac “Reversed” – and gave up when I hit my limit of 30 mins.

    Looks simple in hindsight – but still think it’s on the difficult side for a QC.

    Had a debate about 17dn, whether it was Adobe or Abode, but I figured a Photo Shop could still be a brick building.

    FOI – 4dn “Hit”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 5dn “Coloradan” – clever disguise.

    Thanks as usual!

  28. 29.24 I found this really hard with only a quarter done on the first pass. The rest went in slowly. Having spent far too long looking for an American officer, COLORADAN and HARRISON were the last two in. If my progress continues I might manage to solve a puzzle in 40 minutes next week.

  29. DNF x 2 HARRISON, TERRACE. Also looked up wine for MUSCATEL, though fairly clued. Might have got that one but I had made so little progress at that stage I felt I needed a lift.
    So, yes, rather dispiriting. Did not enjoy this one apart from BACKSIDES.
    Had a PDMs with REVERSED and COLORADAN. NHO DAN=Karate expert.
    Thanks vm, Excurarist.

  30. Dnf. Much too hard for a QC but very typical Izetti. Unlike others I actually found the clueing to be poor and not offering much of a chance to anyone other than very experienced solvers. I think if the clues had been a bit more generous the puzzle might have been fair and helpful to those of us not experienced. On to next week and hopefully no Izetti

    1. Hello Tim.
      I agree that this was too hard to be classified as a QC. However, please don’t wish Izetti away. His clueing is invariably meticulous and, whilst not often easy, his offerings are generally a little kinder than today’s.
      All of the setters can be beastly at times, even those whom you normally find relatively benign.
      Good luck next week!
      P.S. According to my records, each of the six primary setters (Izetti, Teazel, Orpheus, Hurley, Mara and Joker) comes around roughly once every 11 days).

      1. May I suggest that since I did manage to complete it, it can’t have been “too hard to be classified as a QC”?

  31. 24:14. HARRISON, REVERSED, and COLORADAN each took a long time. Sillier early choices were peon for PAWN and thinking lose/loose instead of LACKS/lax. AT PEACE and BACKSIDES were my favourites. ( I was another who experienced the “going for gong” optical illusion!)

    1. I also immediately went for PEON and took forever to get it out of my mind, even though it didn’t parse at all!

  32. After 18 minutes I had only about 40% of the grid completed, the NE and SW quadrants being almost completely blank. Noting that 18 minutes was already over my time for each of the completed Monday to Thursday QCs I took a break. When I came back to it I gave it a further 18 minutes and then came here with just 22ac outstanding. I had considered REVERSED as an answer but couldn’t understand its relevance to the clue – it didn’t make any more sense to me than DECEASED, which I had already rejected. Thanks to Excurarist for the explanation. Bit of a MER at OCTAVES for notes, it’s actually an interval between notes.

    FOI – 1ac OPAL
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 11dn BACKSIDES

    1. Well! Not strictly. Here you play octaves; those octaves are out of tune; pound those octaves out! All are, in fact, notes. If you want the interval, it’s an octave (singular).

  33. Well, what a battle! This was my 800th QC since starting in June 2000 and I was hoping to celebrate by breaking out of the SCC for once. It soon became evident that a sub-20 wasn’t going to happen, but after about 22 minutes and with only four clues to go I expected to have it all wrapped up within the half-hour. Unfortunately, the SW corner made a mockery of that.

    I had ROTA and the NHO ADOBE was written in faintly, but MASTIC, HARRISON, TERRACE and REVERSED (all interconnected) took around 35 minutes between them. Had it not been a landmark attempt I would probably have given it up as a bad job.
    Total time = 57 minutes.

    Many thanks to Izetti and Excurarist.

    1. Well done in clocking up 800 – this ‘hobby’ of ours can be quite addictive 😉

    2. Well done on getting there successfully Mr R.

      For what it’s worth, adobe buildings tend to be built in hot countries – sort of thing you see in the Spaghetti western films.

  34. I found this really hard and didn’t finish. I always find Izetti hard – just not on his wavelength!

  35. I found this tricky, but unlike many it was the NE corner where I struggled. Needed to use CCD to get BARGAINS, and then stared blankly at C-L-R-D-N, until I switched to the list view. Down clues are just so much harder to see!

    Finished in 24:54, so please budge up a bit on the SCC sofa.

    Thanks to Izetti and Excurarist.

  36. Joined those defeated by the sw corner, otherwise slow but steady progress. A challenging puzzle from Izetti.

  37. Same as Invariant.
    Don’t like reversed.

    My suggestion for reversed is:
    Never ever seduce nurses turned the other way!

    COD backsides.

  38. Izetti is always a challenge, but as he is always fair I always persevere. Surprised by some easy ones and had to convince myself they were correct!
    FOI 1a Opal
    LOI 13d Terrace – I had missed it earlier…
    COD 8a Muscatel – lovely Ikea clue. Must try it chilled with cheese per earlier suggestion.

  39. Hooray! Completed [this morning, in the train] in something over two hours. Two wonderful CsOD BARGAINS and BACKSIDES; LOI (took up the final half hour, a long blind alley trying to remove ER from TIER) TERRACE. Couldn’t quite parse COLORADAN (not, as I said the other day, knowing grades of judo and karate!) or AT PEACE, so thank you, Excurarist, for your (as ever) instructive blog (nice to see TERRACE was your LOI, too).

      1. Thank you!
        Do you by any chance know whether the meeting, advertised a few weeks ago, at the George pub in Borough High Street at noon today Saturday, is happening? Thank you!

  40. That SW corner was horrible. Managed most of the puzzle in about half an hour, which is about normal for me, and then spent the same again on HARRISON and TERRACE for a total of 58:12. It was a bit like physical exercise, in that I’m glad I did it but it wasn’t much fun at the time.

    Thank you for the blog! Am I right to assume that ER means “hesitation” in the same sense as “umm”, when speaking?

    1. I went out and ran sprints after my QC attempt. I loved every minute of them – hot, sweaty and gasping for breath. The QC not so much enjoyment.

      Hesitation can be “er” or “um” in a crossword. Only earlier this week the 15×15 used hesitation to finish off “substratUM”

  41. A second day running where I came to the QC after a hard day’s driving, but this time, far from sharpening my grey cells as it did yesterday, it seems to have completely flattened them, as I scored a DNF in well over double my standard time. Adobe and Reversed the blanks, and a definite MER at Adobe which I thought was a building material, not the building itself.

    I know everyone always says that Izetti is “fair”, but too many people here, including many who do not DNF at all often, seem to have struggled today, and “being fair” is not in my view identical with “setting a quick cryptic”. I’m sure the setters of the Mephisto are also, according to their customs, “fair”.

    I would say that a number of clues – including some I did get so it is not I hope just sour grapes – were definitely questionable as QC material; and perhaps, channelling the wonderful TAFKA from Templar, this puzzle should be filed as TPFKAQ – The puzzle formerly known as Quick.

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

    1. I strongly dislike this word “fair” around here. People often seem to use it as an excuse to rationalise an inappropriate QC.

      And what is fair about MUScatel being clued as Greek character? Do you want MU or NU? If you don’t know the wine, you’re on a 50-50.

      On reflection – no pun intended – the REVERSED clue was very clever but misplaced. Perhaps if the checkers had been R-V-R-E- it would have been fine. But with -E-E-S-D; there were so many more options that a simpler clue would have been better.

  42. Gave up after 2 horrible hours, 50 mins of which was spent on REVERSED (had it in the grid a few times along with deceased, recessed and many other words, but couldn’t parse).

    This QC broke me and destroyed the little self-confidence I had.

    Well done to anyone who finished.

    Thanks for the blog and best wishes to everyone for the weekend.

    Not sure if I’ll be back. I can do without this humiliation.

    1. Sorry to hear that GA 😥 I maintain you’re still a decent solver but I also empathise with the emotional demolotion that comes with every Izetti QC these days. I hope this will be mentioned to the Editors at the Southwark meetup as you are far from a beginner at these things.

      More importantly, I hope you will be back soon 🤞

    2. So sorry to hear this, Gary, especially as you were the one to give me encouragement and say “after all, it’s only a puzzle in a newspaper”! As you may know, I have been there several times, and each time I then manage to complete one after all, my hope is renewed. Yours will be, too.

  43. Dnf. 6 clues. SW corner a mess

    I’m a bit late today but could someone explain how 22a is reversed.
    Word by word of the clue would be helpful. J

    1. If the word MADAM is reversed, it’s still MADAM i.e. it “is unchanged”.

      In an unwieldy way (“Thus treated”) the clue is asking … if you did this to madam, it doesn’t change. What is being done to it?

      Answer – reversing it. As the clue is all past tense, it has been reversed.

      1. Thx L Plates. Think I get it now.
        There’s a line between cryptic and mind reading which I think was crossed Friday
        But I’ll keep coming back for more

  44. Hi Eliz, I think it’s I ate a pie = I had a pie. With a P for quiet and A CE (a church) at the end. They often use ate or eat for worried or worry as well!

  45. I had to look some up but I don’t mind that as long as it helps me to get other clues. I don’t think adobe is brick, it’s mud isn’t it, used in Africa? We never had prohibition in UK but I do love Muscat. Dessert wines are known as ‘stickies’ so clue 12 might have been apt too!😆
    Adore the Beatles and have since a child,
    so pleased to see George there, often overlooked. There is a lovely Beatles song- This Boy.
    What is a Curarist and why are you an ex one?

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