Quick Cryptic 651 by Izetti

Izetti dishes up a clever puzzle today with a couple of twists on ‘usual’ devices which I suspect may be throughly enjoyed by the more seasoned hands but may prove problematic to the less experienced. It has been said before but breezing through a QC in record time is one thing, picking up the required bits and pieces to progress to 15x15s is another. So if this is a struggle think of it as a learning exercise.
Any questions please ask – the usual highly enthusiastic team of supporters is raring to give assistance!

9ac and 22ac caused me several of my 16 minutes and there are also some less usual pieces of vocabulary. Many good surfaces which are COD contenders today – I’ll plump for the toilet humour in 21ac.


1. Abrogate – get rid of. Anagram (wild) of BOAR by entrance (GATE).
5. Echo – sound coming back. From th(E CHO)ir.
9. Atoll – reef. Number of victims (TOLL) with A at the front. Thanks for the comments pointing out this omission. I struggled with this as I’d always thought island rather than reef.
10. Erudite – learned. English (E), not polite (RUDE) about Italian (IT).
11. The – article. Hidden in fa(THE)er and mo(THE)er. Usually hidden clues are in the clue once – I thought this device clever.
12. Somnolent – half asleep. Anagram (around) of MOONS then advanced (LENT).
13. Rascal – scoundrel. Anagram (awful) of SCAR, America gangster (AL – Capone).
15. Ethnic – exotic? Anagram (awful – again – unusual to have two anagrinds the same) of ETCHIN – not good (without the ‘g’).
17. Sheldrake – male bird. Female (SHE), doctor (DR) found inside mere (LAKE).
19. Din – terrible racket. Daughter (D), at home (IN).
20. At large – escaped from jail. Anagram (off) of LAG TEAR.
21. Loose – wobbly. Toilet (LOO), half of seat (SE). One of the many cleverly put together surfaces today.
22. Styx – underground water. We normally see it referred to as from the underworld but subterranean/underground is equally valid. Homophone of doesn’t flow – sticks.
23. Ethereal – heavenly. Part of Dors(ET HERE AL)ways.


1. Adaptor – device plugged in. Notice (AD), a (A), gym (PT), yellow (OR). Izetti once again choosing to go for a twist on the usual gold=OR.
2. Rhone – river. Anagram (flying) of HERON.
3. Gold standard – high level of achievement. Anagram (working) of ADD STRONG LAD.
4. Therm – a unit (of heat). The (THE), Marines (RM).
6. Chilean – coming from S American country. Foreign character (CHI), thin (LEAN).
7. Overt – open. A series of deliveries in cricket (OVER) on time (T).
8. Out of the blue – unexpectedly. Lacking (OUT OF), the (THE), Varsity competitor (BLUE as in rowing blue).
14. Shelley – poet. Case (SHELL), (E)ventuall(Y) – emptied of its contents.
16. Conceal – keep out of sight. Study (CON), homophone (sound of) marine animal – seal.
17. Shads – fish (plural). I hadn’t heard of this fish but the word play made it bung-in-able. Had (HAD) brought aboard/inside ship (SS).
18. Agent – who may spy for his country. A (A), chap (GENT).
19. Drove – moving cattle. Wander (ROVE) below end of fiel(D).

35 comments on “Quick Cryptic 651 by Izetti”

  1. The clue 21a was also in guardian quiptic yesterday by Orlando. Wobbly Toilet seat with half missing.

    Is it the same person?

    Finished under an hour, I found 17a, 17d and 22a the hardest.


  2. I could not parse Shelley. I think that shell should be case and not came as in the blog.
    One of the hardest for me in spite of having some knowledge of Varsity, Greek and cricket. We thought that 7d “open to take a series of deliveries on time” was going to be OCADO.

    Edited at 2016-09-06 09:50 am (UTC)

  3. Yes, a very good puzzle but I was aware whilst solving that it might prove a bit challenging for some newbies. Still the QC has to cater for a widening range of experience so this is to be expected from time to time. I got home in 11 minutes, just missing my target 10.
    1. Jackkt, you’re experience with the cryptic 26510 perfectly reflects my experience with this QC. Just found it too difficult so gave up.
  4. Very difficult today, I thought. Never heard of sheldrake, abrogate, shads or somnolent, so was always going to be a DNF today.
  5. 12′ today, half of it spent on 22ac, an alphabet search missing the X a couple of times. I am not sure about ethnic = exotic in this century. Thanks chris and Izetti.
    1. I can’t find a word-for-word definition but Collins has

      Ethnic. characteristic of another culture
      Exotic. originating in a foreign country

      which seems near enough to me.

  6. I thought that this was difficult, but to my surprise I still finished just over my 30 minute target. I”m not sure about ‘shads’ as a plural, my instinct is that it should just be “shad” like cod or herring.
    This was another puzzle that I don”t think I would have finished or enjoyed a few months ago, so it’s worth persevering.

    Edited at 2016-09-06 11:30 am (UTC)

    1. It’s fine, though “shad” as you suggest, is also valid. It’s most unlikely an old trouper like Izetti would have slipped up on such a detail.

      Edited at 2016-09-06 09:27 pm (UTC)

  7. I agree that this was a fun puzzle. I did not have any real hold-ups and completed it in 11 minutes so on the more straightforward side for me. I always find it very difficult to see what makes the QC relatively easy of hard.I did not find any clues difficult today and particularly liked 12 and 22 across and 8 down. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  8. Since generally Lord AMIENS appeared in the 15×15 this offering from Izetti was a mild relief. Only Verlaine seemed to know him personally and that was only after a few minutes consideration.

    8.19 with 1ac ABROGATE FOI. COD 21ac LOOSE

    An atoll is an island reef, is it not?

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Horryd, it would be appreciated if you would avoid quoting answers in other (same day) puzzles as it can spoil others’ enjoyment if they have not yet tackled them. I’m sure I’ve done it in the past but I try not to. Thanks.
  9. I got home too late to post about yesterday’s relatively easy puzzle. This was harder and took me 23 minutes. LOI was 22a. Some very nice clues for COD but I’ll choose 11a for the surface. David
    1. Snap! 23 mins. I managed both cryptics today without aids, which means that after a long lay-off it took me about a month to get back into the swing of things.
  10. The most famous atoll is probably Bikini atoll, the site of American nuclear H-bomb tests and the origin of the name of the garment.

    Edited at 2016-09-06 03:21 pm (UTC)

  11. As a relatively recent convert to the Times from the Telegraph I was quite pleased to finish this in 15m 35s without any major holdups along the way. 14d had me stumped for a while and 17d was a new one on me. The full cryptic is proving a little tougher to get used to!
    1. Welcome! We sound as if we’re on a similar level. If you get a free Livejournal sign on you get an email notification if you receive a reply.
  12. Found this very hard so managed only about a quarter of it. Just could not get into it. All learning though
  13. Got there in the end but very much in fits and starts!
    Could someone explain why Con = Study in 16d please. Probably obvious but I can’t see it at the moment.
    1. Not that obvious; con is an archaic word—that I’ve personally only seen in crosswords—that really does just mean study. It comes up a fair bit, so it’s one of the ones that’s worth remembering.

      My dictionary (the OS X dictionary, which I think is using the Oxford Dictionary of English) has:

      con4 |kɒn|
      verb (cons, conning, conned) [ with obj. ] archaic
      study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing): the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.
      Middle English cunne, conne, con, variants of can.

      Edited at 2016-09-06 08:39 pm (UTC)

    2. One of the meanings of con is to study. And no, I’ve never seen it in print outside of crossword land either. It’s just one of those tedious things that you have to remember until it comes up again in another 6 months time. See my comment below about obscure vs unusual. Invariant
  14. I was sailing through this until I got to the SW corner, which baffled me and I eventually gave up with 17a, 22a and 17d blank. I can’t remember the last time I had such a spectacular DNF – I’ll just have to put it down to a learning experience. Thanks for the explanations chris.
  15. Got the East settled but struggled to make real progress in the West. Abdicated through fatigue, so good to see the solution so well laid out. BTW I posted a late question on yesterday’s puzzle – just after midnight – but if anyone can answer my question, I’d be grateful! Thx.
    1. Interestingly enough I completed the east far in advance of the west – but that’s crosswords for you. I commented back to you on yesterday’s blog re Pope.
      1. I hope I have successfully replied to the helpful comments on yesterday’s puzzle. Much appreciated! Live and learn.
  16. Came to this at the end of a very long day (we have the builders in), but even so I thought it was very hard. Took over an hour and left me thinking that Izetti had strayed a little too far into the obscure rather than unusual. Invariant
  17. Got all but 17 down S_A_S!
    Thanks for your help with 17 down! Looked for a 3 letter fish inside SS to give a 5 letter fish but it was ‘HAD’ inside ‘SS’ to give the plural of a 4 letter fish!
  18. Found this very hard so managed only about a quarter of it. Just could not get into it. All learning though

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