Quick Cryptic 2481 by Izetti


I don’t have much time, so please, even though I like his puzzles, anyone but a certain setter…, oh, no!

In the end I didn’t think this was unreasonably hard though it still took me nearly 13 minutes. There were four anagrams and three double definitions to help and the only unfamiliar word was my last in, our amphibian friend at 20d, which as a three-letter word was not difficult with crossers and wordplay. Favourite was 13d.

Definitions underlined in bold, strikethrough indicating deletions

1 Seasonal visitor Rod repeatedly comes to a Californian location (5,7)
SANTA BARBARABAR BAR (‘Rod repeatedly’) contained in (‘comes to’) SANTA (‘Seasonal visitor’)
8 Malice of archdeacon, old male (5)
VENOMVEN (‘archdeacon’) O (‘old’) M (‘male’)

VEN is an abbreviation for “The Venerable”, a title for an archdeacon in the Anglican church

9 Fighter in crusade in awful scare, a knight (7)
SARACEN – Anagram (‘awful’) of SCARE A and N (‘knight’)
10 Man offering bit of illumination (3)
RAY – Double definition, the first definition ‘Man’ either standing for our random man or as the first name (an abbreviation of Emmanuel) of the American surrealist painter and photographer
11 Northern personality, note, had to bargain (9)
NEGOTIATEN (‘Northern’) EGO (‘personality’) TI (‘note’) ATE (‘had’)

ATE for ‘had’ as in I had a meal = I ate a meal

13 Attempts to provide photographs (5)
SHOTS – Double definition
14 Little female and I can go well together (3,2)
FIT INF (‘Little female’) I (‘I’) TIN (‘can’)
16 Pray in Bury church with leaders of diocesan evangelism (9)
INTERCEDEINTER (‘Bury’) CE (‘church’) DE (‘leaders’ = first letters of ‘diocesan evangelism’)

A bit of ecclesiastical wordplay for our consideration

17 Girl quiet in the morning (3)
PAMP (‘quiet’) AM (‘in the morning’)

A random girl’s name this time

On edit: As Kevin has pointed out, not the random girl’s name as part of the solution, but the solution itself.

19 A mister, extraordinary, may be in this group? (7)
MAESTRI – Anagram (‘extraordinary’) of A MISTER
21 Playwright‘s nib’s broken around end of line (5)
IBSEN – Anagram (‘broken’) of NIBS containing (‘around’) E (‘end of’ = last letter of ‘line’)
22 Beginning job that is on the racecourse (8,4)
1 Cut not entirely drastic (5)
SEVERSEVERE (‘not entirely drastic’)
2 Butter with any tang? No, unfortunately (5,4)
NANNY GOAT – Anagram (‘unfortunately’) of ANY TANG? NO

Butter as in the sense of “one who buts”; a bit of a chestnut

3 Transmit radio broadcast as manager (13)
ADMINISTRATOR – Anagram (‘broadcast’) of TRANSMIT RADIO
4 Appoint some jackass, ignorant (6)
ASSIGN – Hidden (‘some’) in ‘jackASS IGNorant’
5 Sacrifice for which Alfred was responsible? (5,8)
BURNT OFFERING – Double definition

The first definition refers to a form of sacrifice in Judaism. The second definition refers to this legend. I was aware of the story but had to look up the details

6 My ascending bird — fabulous (3)
ROC – Reversal (‘ascending’ in a down clue) of COR (‘My’)

My! as an exclamation. The definition, with the adjective following the noun, is in what I would have called Yoda speak (word reversal), but looking it up, I don’t know that it qualifies without a verb

7 An academic leader in the mountains (6)
ANDEANAN (‘An’) DEAN (‘academic leader’)
12 A new hint regarding Italian food (9)
ANTIPASTOA (‘A’) N (‘new’) TIP (‘hint’) AS TO (‘regarding’)
13 Mark of saint, almost magic somehow? (6)
STIGMAST (‘saint’) and anagram (‘somehow’) of MAGIC (‘almost magic’)

The whole clue can also be read as the definition which may be the reason for the question mark. This is the phenomenon being referred to

15 Stars, say, turning up with skimpy attire (6)
GEMINIGE (‘say, turning up’ = reversal of EG for ‘say’) MINI (‘skimpy attire’)

MINI as in mini-skirt; RIP Mary Quant. Good surface

18 Artist married one student finally (5)
MONETM (‘married’) ONE (‘one’) T (‘student finally’ = last letter of ‘student’)
20 Creature not right without head (3)
EFTLEFT (‘not right without head’)

The terrestrial juvenile stage of the eastern newt as I’m sure you knew

71 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2481 by Izetti”

  1. EFT is a NYT chestnut. PAM is hardly a random girl’s name here; it’s the solution! 5:46.

  2. 15:11. I first wanted to put in NAT instead of RAY and COR instead of ROC, but once these were rethought everything went in smoothly. NEGOTIATE ,INTERCEDE, GEMINI and ANTIPASTO were favourites.

  3. Smooth as ever from Izetti, and quite straightforward I thought. I have noticed that there always seems to be some Church of England reference among his clues or answers – here the VEN plays that role.

  4. 11:20 which is a PB for an Izetti puzzle – and fairly close to my best QCC time of 9:43. Really enjoyed this crossword, but concerned that I may have to resign my membership of the SCC. FOI SANTA BARBARA & LOI SHOTS. Thanks Izetti and Bletchley.

  5. 7.33. I too went for NAT instead of RAY first time around. BR I think you may have meant second, not first, name of Man Ray as the def, but I have possibly confused myself here. Thanks for explaining NEGOTIATE, I never paused to parse. I was glad an EFT turned out to be a thing, and while I spotted the seasonal visitor early (there is no shortage of SANTAs in California) it took a while to get rod = bar. That, and BURNT OFFERING, were LOsI.

    1. Thanks Lindsay. I’ve become confused myself here. I’ve slightly re-worded the comment to hopefully make things a bit clearer, but it may well have done the reverse!

  6. Hi, new solver/cryptic enthusiast here, not used to all the tricks yet but greatly enjoying the puzzles and everybody’s helpful comments here, as well as Cracking the Cryptic. Mistakenly had ENT for the creature (thinking of BENT for not right (!)).

    1. Hello Luke – welcome to the blog! The EFT lives in the Crosswordland Zoo, next to the OUNCE and two cages down from the RHEA, the KEA and the ELAND.

      1. Let’s not forget the Jenny, the cat that’s a queen and more types of antelope than you have ever seen. G’day Luke!

  7. After solving all the UK references in the 15×15 (there are a few!), I come to the Quickie and am left with one question: “Alfred who?” Did Batman’s butler cook too? Ha.

    STIGMA is not quite the “mark of (a) saint.” That’s STIGMATA. No &lit here, sorry.

      1. That’s what I thanked him for!
        I might have guessed which Alfred, but I didn’t know the tale.
        It’s very likely that it’s come up here before. I’ll remember next time!
        (I see that my choice of tense above could have occasioned confusion.)

    1. Collins gives this for the plural STIGMAS so I think the blog is fair enough: “7. (plural) Christianity
      marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ, believed to appear on the bodies of certain individuals”

        1. True, oh Turk. But then again … since STIGMAS = “marks [plural] resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ” (per Collins), then it’s not much of a stretch to suppose that STIGMA might = one such mark.

          1. Merriam-Webster has “a stigmata plural.” I’ve never seen any other form of the word used for that sense.

      1. Collins gives two plurals for STIGMA, and specifies “plural stigmas or for sense 7 stigmata.”
        Sense 7 being the gory religious nonsense.

    2. I just read STIGMA as the singular form of stigmata (mark of saint rather than marks of saint). That said, I’ve never heard of them appearing singly!

  8. 8 minutes. Another solver who thought of NAT first at 10ac but didn’t get as far as writing it in. Readers of Sellar & Yeatman will remember Alfred the Cake as being the first ‘Good King’ with the exception of Good King Wenceslas.

  9. Biggest PDM in weeks and weeks when I finally realised ‘not right’ might not mean ‘wrong’ and there is was, all green done in a shade under 12. Except I managed to type ‘ssevr’ for SEVER so the record will show two errors – annoying but I’d never have done it on paper etc etc. Really, really liked FIT IN. Overall a really excellent quick crossword I thought.

  10. Too hard for me so I gave up after 40 minutes having completed about 75%. Very disappointing and only the second time in 5 years I’ve had to throw the towel in completely.
    Anyone wanting a genuinely quick cryptic, which is free each day, could do worse than look here:


  11. Working my way through this I was thinking that Izetti had got the memo that some of his recent offerings had been a bit on the hard side as this felt more gentle.
    Started with SANTA and then was slightly taken aback when ‘monica’ didn’t have enough letters for the second part so left that until I had some checkers. A couple of nice PDMs for NANNY GOAT (which I remember seeing before) and for LOI EFT after a brief alphabet trawl.
    Finished in 5.39
    Thanks to BR

  12. All done in a very smooth 8 minutes and I am then both dumbfounded and embarrassed when I turn to the blog and find who the setter is. In recent weeks I (along with some others) have really struggled with Izetti’s puzzles and we may have let some of our frustrations show – this puzzle is chalk and cheese with some of those! Random chance, editor intervention on reading comments, or Izetti showing he is the full master of all ends of the complexity spectrum? Who knows.

    Anyway, puzzle and blog both much enjoyed. Many thanks to BR and, this time, to Izetti as well.


  13. Any Izetti under 20 mins makes for a good day for me, so a happy start to Tuesday. The 1s went in quickly and if I had seen 3D sooner I would have been even faster but it came together quite methodically. Liked FIT IN when I worked out the parsing. Hopefully the anti -Izetti faction will be mollified by this offering.

  14. Like most, I completed this in below average time and was pleased to see some humour in my COD, NANNY GOAT. Had to look up NHO LOI EFT, and didn’t like GROUP for MAESTRI. FOI SARACEN. We were told the legend of the king who BURNT cakes in primary school, but I couldn’t see where the OFFERING cane from. Thanks Don and BR.

  15. I didn’t spot the setter until I submitted. Really quite straightforward.

    NANNY GOAT COD, GEMINI LOI – I couldn’t get BIKINI out of my head.


  16. 925 Aethalstan crowned King of England at Kingston (the stone is still there).

    Sadly, if Alfred the Great ever actually burnt the cakes, it would have been a few years earlier. No matter a sub 10 on an Izetti is a good time.

    GEMINI appeared recently in the 15×15. (Clued by “in June”, as I recall), so that kept me away from BIKINI=Skimpy Attire, which also fitted the two Is.

    Couldn’t get STARTING GATE out of my mind, so POST was LOI.


  17. Couldn’t get either 1a or 1d so had to go bottom up. Reasonable progress anti-clockwise from STIGMA (which immediately made me think it was Izetti – DEAR EDITOR, PLEASE FIX IT SO THAT WE CAN SEE THE SETTER WHEN SOLVING ON A PHONE! THANK YOU!). Got really stuck on LOI ANDEAN, which required a double trawl. COD to INTERCEDE, what a brilliant surface.

    All done in 08:30 for 1.5K and a Decent Enough Day. Many thanks Don and Bletchers.


    1. The editor does look in here from time to time but you may do better addressing Times newspapers directly. Our blogs are usually up before dawn UK time so you can check the name of the setter from our front page without reading any blog secrets.

  18. 12:52 (birth of Eleanor de Montfort, wife of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd)

    Hesitated for a long time over my LOI, EFT. It fitted the wordplay, it fitted the letters, but surely there was no such creature? Thanks BR for the information about what an EFT is.

  19. Passed on six. NHO EFT; NEGOTIATE, SHOTS, MAESTRI, STIGMA, GEMINI simply too difficult for me (and N-G-T-A-E looked an obvious NIGHTMARE!). Thank you, BR, for your helpful blog.
    Funny: I’m so much the bottom of the class here that I’m always surprised when I read that one of you experts had trouble with a word which came to me quite easily (e.g. ANDEAN). I live in hope that I may one day ascend in the ranking to join you all ……

  20. I decided to solve online for a change and was very quick (i.e. heading for under 10 minutes) when I was held up by my last two-18d and 22a.
    I could not get ROLE out of my mind for Job so that necessitated an alphabet trawl to get POST. So I just needed the artist and bunged in MANET to stop the clock.
    Oh dear! A DNF in about 12 minutes.
    Experienced solvers will have seen many of the “crossword” words before, like Roc and Eft; and surely we have by now learnt that Archdeacon =Ven. All worth remembering.
    An enjoyable puzzle.

  21. 4:53

    I usually consider Izetti as one of the consistently harder QC setters, however this went in quite smoothly, helped no doubt by getting all of the long answers first time round – SANTA BARBARA was the first thing I thought of with that enumeration. Didn’t know that INTERCEDE meant Pray and missed parsing the DEAN in 7d. LOI NEGOTIATE (figuring it could not be NIGHTMARE)

    Thanks Izetti and Bletch

  22. I was surprised to see that this was an Izetti when I finished it. A good puzzle and not too tricksy. MONET/MANET needed care to avoid a biff and NEGOTIATE had to be but I found the parsing a bit clunky.

    However I went over target, not because my answers were wrong but because of THREE typos. I have never had such a problem before but I didn’t actually proof-read through the whole grid before I finished. It is a consequence of moving to the new ‘Classic’ Times app (which downloaded automatically) and which led me to easy and unrecognised over-typing of existing crossers. I have now turned off the ‘skip filled squares’ choice and hope to do better tomorrow.

    I can’t say I warmed to the new ‘Classic’ format of the paper in general. It is not an improvement on the former app IMO. We are warned off reverting to the old version because of loss of features in future. Is it just me or does ‘progress’ in online formatting often lead to a prettier appearance superficially but also as many steps backward as forwards?

    Thanks to both. John M.

    1. I confess that my whole entire knowledge of Monet vs Manet comes from this scene in Ocean’s Eleven (and it kind of helped today! although I don’t think Monet’s second wife actually was his student so the clue isn’t actually &lit)

      Danny: (pretending not to notice she’s too anoyed with him to want to make small talk) I always confuse MO-net and MA-net. Now, which one married his mistress?
      Tess: Monet.
      Danny: Riiight. And then Manet had syphilis.
      Tess: (through gritted teeth) They also painted, occasionally.

  23. There seem to be some quick times today, and I followed suit finishing in a faster than average time of 7.44. FOI was SANTA BARBARA which set me up nicely, with only a minor delay with my LOI which was NEGOTIATE.

  24. Forgot newty EFT so DNF.
    But otherwise relatively quick for an Izetti, despite distractions – hosting next door’s cement lorry. (Dog disapproves)
    Biffed the long down clues early on which helped.
    Liked GEMINI, INTERCEDE, NANNY GOAT (PDM), VENOM, among others.
    Thanks vm, BR. Biffed MAESTRI but didn’t understand why it was/they were a group. Also failed to parse FIT IN. Doh !

  25. I rattled through the first half dozen, but then foolishly wasted a minute trying (and failing) to get the seventh (Fit In) to keep the run going. Hopped around a bit after that, before finally seeing how Gemini worked, which then opened the door to loi Maestri. At 16min definitely on the easier side for an Izetti, but still packed with quality. Enjoyed Negotiate, Intercede and the Andean pdm, but CoD to 14ac, Fit In, for such a smooth surface. Invariant

  26. 24 mins…

    I enjoyed this and thought there were some great surfaces and a couple of classic chestnuts. I particularly liked 12dn “Antipasto”, 15dn “Gemini” and 13dn”Stigma”.

    FOI – 4dn “Assign”
    LOI – 15dn “Gemini”
    COD – 14ac “Fit In”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. 13 minutes after a few days off (Navy reunion on Gold beach Normandy) and pleased with that for an Izetti. No real problems with anything, I even remembered EFT from my pre-cryptic days. Lovely to be back, and I now need to detox and catch up on sleep. Thanks to the Don and Bletchers.

  28. I had MERITAS for 19a which gave me RAT for 20d (drat without the d) and then left an impossible 15d despite thinking GEMINI was probably the answer though I couldn’t parse it.
    Despite this it was a perfectly fair QC puzzle from IZETTI and with more time I might have resolved it.
    COD: Fit In.
    Thanks both. The blog was very helpful especially in explaining Butter.

  29. Steady progress today. Minor hold up over LOI FIT IN/BURNT OFFERING. Didn’t know the Alfred story. Pleased to remember EFT from a previous QC (I think). Liked ANTIPASTO and GEMINI. Easier than most Izetti offerings. Very enjoyable. Thanks for the links in the blog, very informative.

  30. 11.13 This was a really nice puzzle. The association between California, The Beach Boys and Bar-bar-bar, Bar-Barbara Ann helped 1a go straight in and most of the rest followed quickly. I was slowed down by GEMINI, EFT and NEGOTIATE at the end. Thanks to BR and Izetti.

  31. Got them all. About 40 mins. Always good to finish the Izetti puzzles because even when they are hard they are fair. The blog explained a good few questions I had such as Negotiate. Nanny Goat and Maestri. Glad I persevered. Thank you for the explanations.

  32. Delighted to finish correctly in 24 minutes – fast for me, especially with Izetti. A moderately slow start, but picked up speed when I reached the down clues.

    Had to tread carefully with ANTPASTO, MAESTRI and EFT. My LOsI were STARTING POST and GEMINI.

    Many thanks to Izetti and BR.

  33. 7/24. Would have been 8, but I put ANTIPASTI. I also put NAT rather than RAY. Don’t feel bad about that now, as several experts did the same thing. Also had most of the letters for Saracen, but I had K for knight, rather than N, so didn’t get it. I am quite pleased with this for an Izetti.

    1. Chess notation – the King has pulled rank and already nabbed the K, so it’s just N for the knight

  34. Enjoyed this. And whilst way back on the push me pull me behind the SCC I was very satisfied to get all bar Saracen, Gemini ( also couldn’t get bikini out of head) and EFT. Loved the explanation of where to find in zoo!
    CoD Santa Barbara.
    Thanks all for enjoyable puzzle, blog and comments.

  35. 4.06

    Maybe a PB – pretty sure I’ve never ducked under 4 minutes before. Had a bit of a moan about Izetti’s last offering. This on the other hand was a masterpiece of precision, smoothness, subtlety ….

    Thanks BR and the Don

  36. Foiled by the sw corner, did not know maestri, not getting eft or Gemini did not help. Otherwise a fairly quick solve.

  37. I tried to work on the puzzle before bed (my midnight is y’all’s 6am) and floundered, but was delighted to find that this morning most of the clues made sense. (I try the “sleep on it” trick a lot and that doesn’t always happen!)

    The only real struggle I had was trying to remember if the correct spelling of 9a is SARACEN, SARECAN, or SERACAN — the vowels were all unchecked, all three fit the clue, and somehow they ALL look misspelled to me 🤣

  38. This was the easiest Izetti I have done for some time. I got seven across answers on the first pass. It was still quite challenging, though – and I thought it was about the right level for me. I needed to look at the blog to understand Negotiate. Thanks Izetti and Bletchley Reject.

  39. A little easier than average, and a lot easier than the average Izetti, though I was held up a little at the end by my last two in NEGOTIATE and ANDEAN. Still finished in 15:58 though, so pleased with that, especially after a long day. I don’t really understand why BURNT OFFERING is a double definition. I mean, Alfred wasn’t offering the cakes to anyone was he? Anyway, thanks Izetti and BR.

  40. 25mins with 2 corrected errors … put GUY for “Man offering …” and SAVAG. Have just got too used to Izetti including NHOs that I assumed the latter was one of those. Spent 5mins at the end trawling to get SHOTS otherwise would have been sub20 or thereabouts – but that’s on me, not him.

    Biffed SANTA-BARBARA straight in after Monica wouldn’t fit. Followed by BURNT-OFFERINGS, IBSEN, MONET, PAM; ASSIGN, ROC, SARACEN all probably in first couple of minutes.

    Grateful for what I found to be a relatively straightforward Izetti. The previous one also seemed easier so perhaps we are turning a corner with his setting.

  41. Another with NAT to start for 10A. Otherwise safely negotiated in 4:15. Thanks Izetti and BR.

  42. Total nightmare as usual with Izetti. 40 thoroughly unenjoyable minutes. Thought I was making progress yesterday but back in doldrums today. Made even worse by seeing so many comments about how ‘easy’ it was. How anyone can find this straightforward is beyond me! What am I missing?

    MAESTRI, GEMINI, FIT IN and ANDEAN all took ages. I just cannot see it with this setter, who never fails to destroy what little confidence I have. So many unparsed.

    Already at 51 mins for the week.

    Thanks for the blog.

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