Quick Cryptic 2681 by Izetti


I thought today’s offering from Izetti was a bit harder than usual but wasn’t unfair for a QC. I finished in 11:33.

We had the almost expected (for Izetti) uncommon word at 8a and a few other pieces of multi-component wordplay eg at 1a, 1d and 15a. Favourite was 18a; take your pick of the threats faced by the planet in question.

Very sad to hear of the death of Allan Scott, the QC setter Tracy. RIP and condolences to family and friends. As Tracy, he was before my QC days, but I remember him well as Falcon in the FT and always enjoyed his puzzles. His penultimate cryptic (as Falcon), including a nice tribute, is in today’s FT.

Thanks to Izetti for today’s puzzle.

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions indicated by strikethrough.

1 Notice the old man in study being po-faced (7)
DEADPANAD (‘Notice’) PA (‘the old man’) contained in (‘in’) DEN (‘study’)
5 Servant quiet, taking time (4)
PAGEP (‘quiet’) AGE (‘time’)
7 Jockey very nasty, putting learner off (3)
VIEVILE (‘very nasty’) with L deleted (‘putting learner off’)
8 Broadcast got on air for church ceremony (8)
ROGATION – Anagram (‘Broadcast’) of GOT ON AIR

I recognised the word and its Latin derivation from rogare “to ask” but didn’t know what it referred to. According to Wikipedia ROGATION days are days of prayer and fasting observed with the Litany of the Saints and processions. The major rogation is held on April 25th and the minor rogations on the Monday to Wednesday before Ascension Thursday. Please don’t ask me for further detail, but feel free to add a more scholarly explanation!

10 Plant, first thing for summer border (5)
SEDGES (‘first thing for summer’) EDGE (‘border’)

Looking this up, I see that this family of grass-like plants (Cyperaceae) includes a mere >5,000 species in 90 different genera. I thought SEDGE was synonymous with “grass”, but apparently there are differences. Here’s a way to remember (=forget):

Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses have nodes from the top to the ground (Source: New York Botanical Garden website).

11 A repeated cheer, awkward problem for listener (7)
EARACHE – Anagram (‘awkward’) of A + A (‘A repeated’) and CHEER
13 Journalist going to a club cooled off (6)
ABATEDED (‘Journalist’) after (‘going to’) A (‘a’) BAT (‘club’)
15 A father, one getting about a continent (6)
AFRICAA (‘A’) FR (‘father’) I (‘one’) CA (‘about’) or C (‘about’) A (‘a’)

Easy to bung in from def, harder to parse.

17 A fast train, say (7)
EXPRESS – Double definition
18 Planet in fear, threatened (5)
EARTH – Hidden (‘in’) in ‘fEAR THreatened’
20 Mistake involving some lamb, maybe being salty (8)
BRACKISHBISH (‘Mistake’) containing (‘involving’) RACK (‘some lamb, maybe’)

A familiar enough term but another one I had to look up for the exact meaning. A rack of lamb is a cut of lamb from the rib cage including up to 8 ribs, which can be cooked and served whole or sliced into chops.

22 Rebel, the fellow confronted by Conservative (3)
CHE HE (‘the fellow’) with, as the first letter (‘confronted by’) C (‘Conservative’)

Given the current UK political climate, far from being the good Argentinian doctor, the ‘rebel… confronted by Conservative’ is more likely to be ‘Conservative’ him or herself.

23 Flower in Oxford for goddess (4)
ISIS – Double definition

ISIS being the name of the River (‘Flower’) Thames as it flows through Oxford. I see it can also be used as another name for the Thames from its source near the village of Coates in Gloucestershire (although there is apparently some dispute about the exact source) until it is joined by the Thame at Dorchester in Oxfordshire.

24 Fellow covering limb in item of clothing (7)
GARMENTGENT (‘Fellow’) containing (‘covering’) ARM (‘limb’)
1 Husband finally and woman said to be shattered (10)
DEVASTATEDD (‘Husband finally’=last letter of ‘husbanD’) EVA (‘woman’) STATED (‘said’)
2 Change last word of prayer, improved ultimately (5)
AMENDAMEN (‘last word of prayer’) D (‘improved ultimately’=last letter of ‘improveD’)
3 Agent suffering setback? Then hard to keep going (9)
PERSEVEREPER (‘Agent suffering setback?’ = reversal of REP) SEVERE (‘hard’)
4 Troubled horse starts to get every disorder (6)
NAGGEDNAG (‘horse’) then initial letters (‘starts to’) of Get Every Disorder

Potentially confusing when first trying to sort out the parsing with GG as an alternative for horse.

5 Vessel taking tons beyond Italian river (3)
POTT (‘tons’) after (‘beyond’) PO (‘Italian river’)
6 Choc mixed with gin in dish (7)
GNOCCHI – Anagram (‘mixed’) of CHOC ‘with’ GIN
9 Soldiers coming in chatted about their special unit? (10)
DETACHMENTMEN (‘Soldiers’) contained in (‘coming in’) anagram (‘about’) of CHATTED
12 Cool drink perhaps about to be given to new student? (9)
REFRESHERRE (‘about’) to which is added (‘to be given to’) FRESHER (‘new student’)
14 Current measures? See a PM struggling to accommodate Right (7)
AMPERES – Anagram (‘struggling’) of SEE A PM containing (‘to accommodate’) R (‘right’)
16 Begging when meeting monarch (6)
ASKINGAS (‘When’) KING (‘monarch’)
19 Scout in play area by church (5)
RECCEREC (‘play area’) CE (‘church’)

REC for ‘play area’ comes up often in crossword land but isn’t a commonly used expression hereabouts. RECCE here as a colloquialism for “reconnaisance” or “reconnoitre” so it can be a noun or verb, as can ‘Scout’.

21 Start to chew huge lettuce (3)
COSC (‘Start to chew’ = first letter of ‘Chew’) OS (‘huge’)

OS for oversized.

77 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2681 by Izetti”

  1. 8.22, held up by AMPERES and BRACKISH (started off trying to make a word out of ‘some lamb’) and LOI DEADPAN. I knew ‘ad’ and ‘pa’ were probably in there somewhere but couldn’t figure out where. Had to check that the weird-looking ROGATION was that and not ragotion or rigatoon. A lot of these were quite easy but many were not. Thanks Izetti and BR.

    1. Similarly, I’d decided it was RIGATOON, probably unduly influenced by Brigadoon (that place you saw, while I saw the rain dirty valley).

  2. This took me a long time, but that was mainly due to dropping off from time to time; I don’t recall any particular problems, even ROGATION, which I ‘knew’ although I couldn’t tell you what it means. This being an Izetti, one can expect a religion-related word somewhere, although this one is a bit arcane for a QC. 9:28 by the clock.

  3. 9 minutes for me is a good time when Izetti is the setter especially since racing the QC clock ceased to be a priority. ROGATION wasn’t a problem as I’m okay on days of the church calendar as long as they are ones marked by the C of E, and I’m still hoping that Quinquagesima will turn up one of the days.

    BRACKISH gave me pause for thought as my LOI. It rang the faintest of bells but I’d no idea it meant ‘salty’.

  4. Nearly ten minutes but with a quirky ‘rigatoon’ for the church ceremony, despite my upbringing in the C of E, not to mention much ecclesiastical reading around my CS Lewis project.

  5. A hard won six on the first pass of acrosses and then steady progress with lots of thought. RHS went in much quicker than the left. I was glad ROGATION was an anagram – rang the vaguest of bells – and had to work hard to unscramble DETACHMENT and to spot EARACHE was an anagram. DEVASTATION yielded only once AMEND (oh, that end to prayer!) allowed VIE. All green in 14.19. Good one.

  6. Anything but quick and not so easy. FOI SEDGE followed by AFRICA. Untroubled by ROGATION which I knew to gave something to do with prayer which was enough for me. BRAKISH was a write in, having mangroves in a salty bayou on my doorstep, and fond of the occasional rack of lamb, but I could not parse the BISH, familiar only with BISH BASH BOSH which did not help. ISIS was a chuckle as I immediately spotted the deceptive flower = river. VIE needed the checkers.
    LOI DEADPAN. Was it DE—-N or D—-EN I wondered as I struggled with AD and didn’t associate PA as old man before realising the definition of po faced. Oh well, I got there in the end with no passes but ran the clock out past 30 minutes as I head into the SCC to take my usual chair by the window, eye a coffee and a stale croissant and turn away from the distressing events of the front page news.
    Thanks Izetti and Bletch.

    1. Went straight to the BBC website after reading your post – in some trepidation -after returning from the sports centre. The front page of that is dominated by the ex Iranian President’s funeral, so breathed a deep sigh of relief. With all due respect to the people of Iran.

      1. My comment referred to the overall doom and gloom of the front page which predicted an increase in global insecurity and violent unrest.

  7. 6.11

    I solve on phone so don’t know the setter till I come here, but no surprise when Izetti’s name appeared. Knew the GK and found the gentler ones quickly enough to get some helpful checkers. EARACHE was good

  8. Slow to get going but once I’d tuned in it turned into a steady solve with everything fairly clued. Took a bit of time to sort out the most likely order of the unchecked letters in the unknown ROGATION and the parsing of AMPERES took way longer than it should have.
    Started with SEDGE and finished with ABATED in 8.24.
    Thanks to BR

  9. Remember asking my mates “going down the rec?” when I was a kid. Short for “Recreation Park”, ie the swings, witches hat, the horse, roundabout and all of the other health and safety nightmares!

  10. 6:00. The LHS held me up the most taking a while to see DEVASTATED. and how VIE worked. LOI ABATED not thinking of a bat as a club. COD DEADPAN for the surface, sitting here po-face in my study. Thank-you Izetti and BR.

  11. The easy ones were so easy. The ones I didn’t know… Well.
    I didn’t know that meaning of DETACHMENT. I tried ‘RECON’ for the scout but couldn’t see a church anywhere.

    I didn’t get BRACKISH. I didn’t know that meaning of ‘Bish’. These days, it’s a playful affectionate way of calling your girlfriends ‘bitch’, like ‘hey bish I didn’t know you were going shopping today too! ❤️’

    It’s also short for ‘bishounen’ for a young beautiful male in Japanese media. Like ‘that main love interest character is such a bish!’

    I was a little amused at discussions on yesterday’s biggie that that puzzle was for young folk because of references to media that had its heyday in the 90s. That’s 30 years ago now, guys 😅

    1. I think that discussion was slightly tongue in cheek! Certainly from my point of view. I can’t think that anywhere else would have cultural references from 30 years ago be described as modern!

      1. For a different take on “modern” consider that Modern(as opposed to Old and Middle) English seems to have started in the 16th Century.

  12. After finishing Izetti’s very interesting test I needed another distraction so thanks for the FT link as Allan provided a most enjoyable 45 minutes although the small text on the printout added to my time.

  13. NHO SEDGE. Thought of BRACKISH but DNK it meant salty, and mistake = BISH wouldn’t occur to me. Otherwise stumped only by DEVASTATED (lacked two of the crossers) and ABATED, not the first word you think of to = cool off, and there are so many possible words for club! So four to the bad, but then it was an Izetti …

  14. I so wanted ROGATION to be RIGATONI … surely there’s a ceremony for blessing pasta … oh there aren’t enough Is, bother.

    Otherwise not too easy, not too hard, up till my last two. With BRACKISH I spent too long trying to work a “chop” in there from the C, and with LOI ABATED I was fixated on the club being a C. It’s funny how hard it can be to stop running up and down the same blind alley.

    All done in 09:05 for an OK Day. COD to BRACKISH. Many thanks Izetti and Bletchers.


  15. Many years of grappling with Izetti in his various guises gives me an advantage over many here, and, although I could see clues that might trouble the members of the SCC, I sailed through in two passes. Currently 7th of 111 on the leaderboard (but it’s still early).

    TIME 3:48

  16. I also had only heard of BISH from Bish Bash Bosh (often used by Jamie Oliver in cooking demonstrations – still don’t know how he chops veg so quickly) but did know BRACKISH so managed to complete an Izetti without too many problems. Thanks BR for informative blog as usual.

  17. Bish I knew from reading Jennings books as a small boy (inherited from my father I hasten to add). “Gosh Darbishire, what did you have to make such a frantic bish of that for?”

    Otherwise, I was much more on the ball than yesterday. BRACKISH went in last, and I liked, though DETACHMENT also got a tick from me.


  18. DNF as had to reveal DEVASTATED and ABATED. No problem with ROGATION as the dog and I go on the parish Rogation Walk every year, where we ask for blessing for the farms/nature. Traditionally we are supposed to “beat the bounds” ie walk all around the edge of the parish, but these days we just do a couple of fields, and sing a couple of hymns, some of us out of tune.

    Difficult QC. Had to start at the bottom and work around. Among FOsI ISIS, BRACKISH, RECCE, and good old CHE. Then saw that PAGE and GNOCCHI helped. Liked AMEND, SEDGE, EARACHE, REFRESHER.
    Thanks vm, BR.

  19. 28 mins…

    I started off well, and thought for a moment it may be an easier Izetti offering, but then slowed down with 8ac “Rogation”, 13ac “Abated” and 20ac “Brackish” – all of which I wasn’t sure about. The only time I’ve heard “Bish” is from the mouth of a previous PM, and even then I didn’t know its meaning.

    Liked 12dn “Refresher”, 6dn “Gnocchi” and my COD 14dn “Amperes”.

    FOI – 1dn “Devastated”
    LOI – 20ac “Brackish”
    COD – 14dn “Amperes”

    Thanks as usual!

  20. One of those unusual days where others are finding challenges which I seemed to avoid. Completed in just under 9 minutes (and so a very rare sub-1K); could have been much less as I was breezeblocked for a full 2 minutes on my LOI Abated. Given A-A-E- and a pretty clearly telegraphed D as the 6th letter, I have no real idea why it took so long.

    Many thanks BR for the blog

  21. 7:21 (King Ine of Wessex slays Cynewulf)

    I found this on the easier side for an Izetti. I nearly slipped up on 1d with an EVE rather than an EVA, but spotted my misspelling whilst proof reading before submission.
    I have come across the ROGATION days in the prayer book, but I don’t think I have ever been to a ROGATION service.

    Thanks Izetti and BR

  22. I was going reasonably well at the 15 minute mark needing only another 4 to complete (1ac, 1dn, 7ac and 13ac). Unfortunately those 4 took a further 8 minutes, including a MER at cooled off = ABATED – a bit of a stretch I thought. BRACKISH was slow to come as I was looking to include some letters from lamb in the answer. No problem with ROGATION which I recognised as being ecclesiastical although I couldn’t have said exactly what it meant.

    FOI – 5ac PAGE
    LOI – 13ac ABATED
    COD – 1ac DEADPAN – lovely surface

    Thanks to Izetti and BR

  23. After yesterday’s poor showing I returned to form today finishing in 7.35. Looking at some of the times posted I think I must have been attuned to the setters wavelength today, as many are taking longer than usual to finish. ROGATION was a term I knew from my childhood as a choirboy, when Rogation week was celebrated with a church service every year.

  24. Always have to work a little harder with an Izetti, but not sure why as everything seems more than fair in retrospect. Made slow but steady progress today. Paused over LOI ROGATION and BRACKISH (VHO) but otherwise no particular problems. Favourites were EARACHE and DEADPAN. The source of the Thames is in my backyard, (not literally!). Many thanks BR.

  25. A nice QC today with a mix of the simple and the confusing. BRACKISH water is salty and slow moving or still. I like the idea of a gin and chocolate dish!

  26. I thought this was fairly straightforward by Izetti’s standards, but I still only just managed to squeeze a sub-20 thanks to loi Detachment – missed the Chatted anagram at first. I had to write 1d Devastated out horizontally after thinking that Eve didn’t look quite right, even if it was an Izetti. No problems with Rogation (Sunday, providing it’s not raining 😉), nor Amperes, but the ‘had to be’ Brackish involved a completely unknown Bish/error, despite having read Jennings (If this book should dare to roam. . .) CoD to 11ac, Earache, for the smile. Invariant

  27. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I don’t mind admitting that I found this one extremely tough. In fact I had a worse time of it than yesterday’s QC.

    Fairing much better with the cryptic in today’s Grauniad.

    1. Not alone PW! For me this was very hard work. NHO bish for error. ROGATION was definitely at the bottom of the list of services I’d heard of. Lots of other clues only being solved very slowly

    2. I agree- we didn’t start till supper time by which time we were too tired to cope with it. Not much better this morning when we tried and failed to finish.

  28. A very nice QC from Izetti with lots of standard crossword items which are worth learning: e.g. CHE, REP, REC,ED, VIE.
    I finished in 11 minutes with LOI ROGATION, not a term I knew but as soon as I saw the letters the word occurred to me; I just waited for the checkers.
    COD to DETACHMENT; also liked EARACHE and AMPERES.

  29. 6:27

    Held up at the end seeing VIE, DEVASTATED and finally ABATED but otherwise pretty comfy – even knew ROGATION though I don’t remember what it celebrates/commemorates. Just for using the word BISH, COD to 20a.

    Thanks Bletch and Izetti

  30. DNF; failed to spot a blank light amid 21d COS. It wasn’t difficult so I would have, should… finished.
    Astonished that Bish=mistake is not universally known. Mark you, I don’t remember it being used that way in the last 60 years….
    Thanks Izetti and BR.

    1. NHO BISH. But then it was a generous clue, a word for salty containing RACK and ending I _H.

  31. 12:22. BRACKISH and DEADPAN were favourites. Thanks for the parsing of VIE, I was trying to get something from EVIL instead of VILE! Also thanks for SEDGE, grass , reed differentiation.

  32. 12:17, very slow to get a foothold, things moved fast at the end.

    No problem with ROGATION. Old diaries always listed the Sunday, so Quinqugesima, 24th after Trinity and ROGATION Sunday are old friends.

    BISH=mistake is only used in crosswords now, I think.

    COD and LOI VIE.

  33. On form, today! I started with DEADPAN and progressed quickly (for me) without any significant hold-ups. My LOsI were DEVASTATED and VIE, which I never did parse, and I crossed the line in just 18 minutes. The SCC doorman was preparing to welcome me, but I didn’t require his services today.

    Possibly, my CoD was EARACHE.

    Many thanks to Izetti and BR.

  34. I was blindsided by 8a as I had all the crossers but was convinced that it was going to be RIGHT-O- (broadcast church ceremony = RITE, right?), so the time wasted on that until I eventually noticed that it was an anagram took me to 10:08. Thanks Izetti and BR.

  35. Enjoyed today’s puzzle which had a good mix of clues (and answers). It helped that I recalled Rogation Sunday from childhood and knew BRACKISH, even though I had only heard of bish in conjunction with bash and bosh. An about average 13:10 with LOI NAGGED. Thanks to Izetti and BR.

  36. We’re getting better at Izettis finishing today in 22.38. Sadly though with the DPS as thought Eve was the devastated woman and didn’t question the spelling.

    LOI Earache needed BR’s help in the parsing, thanks. NHO bish for mistake so with a second letter r spent too long trying to fit 2 of the letters of lamb into error!

    Thanks Izetti.

  37. BISH for mistake is very Jennings, but fortunately having read those books a lot as a youngster I recognised it having pulled BRACKISH from the depths of my memory.

    About ten of my 35 minutes were spent staring at A_A_E(D) doing an alphabet trawl!

    Unfortunately, had carelessly put EVE rather than EVA as woman in 1D, and didn’t spot the misspelling until after submission.

    1. I didn’t know Bish was considered a Jennings word – I used to use it myself until fairly recently. 😯

  38. Completed(slowly); had to check that ROGATION meant what I thought it did. Currently I seem to be finishing them easily enough, but getting longer and longer at it

  39. 11.00 ROGATION was very dimly remembered. EARACHE was nice. ABATED LOI. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks BR and Izetti.

  40. 13:26. Happy with that. LOI ABATED, after a determined effort to unsee AMAZED, which didn’t parse at all. 15a on the app had a full stop instead of a comma, which made me wonder if there was something extra tricky going on, but I think it’s just a typo.

    Thanks to BR and Izetti.

  41. NHO BISH for mistake, but got BRACKISH from salty. LOI ABATED. No problem with solving anagram for ROGATION. Not at all an easy QC, however.

  42. Bish was common parlance at prep school, normally meaning botch or mess up – “I made a right bish of that”. Still used in our family (when a recipe goes wrong). And we used to associate brackish water with pollution rather than salt – on Exmoor and Dartmoor brackish water was rust coloured and to be avoided! I avoided the SCC today and completed in 15 minutes, one of my faster times. Re 13a, abated was one of the first words uttered by the five year old Horace Walpole: hitherto silent, he hurt himself and then said to his granny: “Thank you. The pain is somewhat abated”. Apocryphal?

  43. DNF but 30 mins saw me nearly there, except Rogation (NHO) and Brackish (knew the word and its meaning) but Bish NHO for mistake.

    Really enjoyed piecing together some of those longer clues like Devastated and Detachment.

    Thanks all

  44. Ps I think you’ll find the moor water was made brackish by the peat and other organic matter.

  45. Lovely example of an Izetti. Beautifully clear wordplay, lots of subtle misdirection, it paying to go with the cryptics. Earache and Brackish each took a PDM to parse.
    FOI 5a Page
    LOI 20a Brackish
    COD 11a Earache

  46. No real holdups for an enjoyable puzzle. GNOCCHI seems to be the ‘plat du jour’ for crossword setters – at least three times recently – in the company, no doubt, of the beautiful ENA, who has appeared quite a lot also here and there. Not particularly enamoured of them myself (as a dish, I mean).

  47. 19:21

    A few head scratchers here. Struggled with RECCE and CHE but held up longest by LOI ABATED.


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