Quick Cryptic 731 by Izetti

I had thought this might be a gentle, festive offering today – but our setter has finer ideals in mind. Having divined that we’d got a little soft and flabby over Christmas, Izetti has thoughtfully dished up a QC boot camp to get us all back into shape. He also shook up a lot of the clues – anagrams abound.
Thanks to Izetti for this challenging yet enjoyable crossword in which 2dn deserves a special mention.


1. Behold – witness. What (EH) is admitted by courageous (BOLD).
4. Stupid – foolish. Anagram (idiotic) of DUST UP. This clue nearly works both ways with a definition of idiotic and an anagram indicator of foolish/involved. Well, I had fun with this clue having blindly thought it was an anagram – thank you to Bob for setting me straight. Getting involved in du(ST UP ID)iotic.
8. Beauty Parlour. A cryptic definition of ‘room for personal improvement’.
10. Otter – animal. In bo(OT TER)rible.
11. Enamels – paints. Anagram (flogged) of SALE MEN.
12. Protagonist – supporter. Anagram (rendered) of SONG PATRIOT.
16. Placebo – sham medicine. Old boy returning (BO) to location (PLACE).
17. Curse – utter rude words. Stream (CoURSE) without love (O).
18. Episcopalians – certain church members. Anagram (disturbing) of ICONS APPEAL IS.
19. Dogger – double definition. I sail a boat occasionally so know of the shipping forecast area but I’d never heard of this Dutch fishing vessel with two masts – but I have now!
20. Barely – only just. See (ELY is a bishop’s diocese commonly used in crosswords) at far end of pub (BAR).


1. Baboon – monkey. Nicely following on from 20dn – Bishop (B) has a (A) blessing (BOON).
2. Heartbreaking – very sad. COD for this excellent clue. Anagram (the indicator is ‘breaking’ from the answer) of HEART.
3. Later – at a future date. Some of contemp(LATE R)evolution.
5. Terrain – ground. Vehicle (TRAIN) carrying the Queen (ER).
6. Professoriate – (a group of professors) university teaching group. Person who claims (PROFESSOR), I (I), polished off (ATE).
7. Duress – compulsion. Top people (U – upper class) to appear in formal attire (DRESS).
9. Peer group – one’s equals. Look (PEER), good (G) or when rising (RO), up (UP).
13. Treacle – stuff that’s very sweet. Breakfas(T), anagram (horrible) of CEREAL.
14. Spread – feast. Anagram (stewed) of PEARS, last bit of foo(D).
15. Jersey – double definition.
17. Celia – girl. About (CA) to hug priest (ELI – another ‘standard’ crossword item).

22 comments on “Quick Cryptic 731 by Izetti”

  1. Agree that this is the hardest QC in ages (27 mins, here).

    Stupid is another contained clue from “du[st-up id]iotic”

    Thanks for the blog and best wishes to all


    1. Thank you! I was being particularly ‘stupid’ not having clocked the excess of ‘u’s and lack of ‘i’s.
  2. For me this was possibly the hardest Quickie ever – over 30 minutes. I could have made it a lot easier for myself by getting the long ones, but they stubbornly resisted. FOI 1d, LOI 1a.
    Anyone who gets anywhere near to completing this should definitely be attempting the 15×15.
    1. Well over 30 minutes for me too – usually about 10. I tried the 15×15 yesterday but couldn’t complete, although I made some headway. Bit of a jump for me still I’m afraid.
  3. I agree this was hard work, but worth the effort. I didn’t know DOGGER as a boat but knew the shipping area so I wasn’t delayed by it. 13 minutes.
  4. Agree a tougher-than-average quickie, with some nice structures – EH for what?, ELY for see, etc.

    PROTAGONIST has always struck me as one of those contradictory words, since it can mean either a supporter or a leading role. 9′. Thanks Izetti and chris.

    1. Always sad to see PROTAGONIST used to mean ‘proponent’. Clear from its etymology that its original meaning was ‘principal character’; and the other meaning (well-established, I concede) must have come from Mrs Malaprop
  5. Gosh! Nearly twice my target time. Held up by the long clues – I began to doubt I knew how to spell EPISCOPALIAN for a while before I twigged it was plural. Even a plethora of hidden words didn’t speed me up. I loved 2d. As well as the bishop min 1d and see in 20a we have a priest in 17d. Thanks Chriss and Izetti.
  6. I agree with our blogger-this was a good test. Nothing much went in on first reading but then I noticed some of the anagrams and hiddens. Fair progress was made but I stopped after 17 minutes with 7 left. After a brief read of the paper I managed to get some of these including 6d which resisted for a long time. After 25 minutes I had two left -1a and 2d. I had noted Behold as a possible for 1a and then took the time to see the parsing; so on to 2d and I finally saw the Hater “anagram”. An excellent clue; I also liked 20a and 8a. Thanks Izetti and setter.
  7. I’m glad it wasn’t just me that struggled with this and I had my man flu excuse all lined up. I’m not sure how long this took but I would guess it was close to an hour over 3 sittings. I wasn’t helped by thinking that 6d was going to end in ‘ship’ and struggling with the long anagrams. Couldn’t parse 2d and even having read the blog I’m not convinced I understand it. LOI 17d.
    Certainly a wake up call after a few at the easier end, thanks to chris for bringing clarity to a tired brain.
    1. I too struggled with 2d but it is one of those rare clues where the answer ‘heartbreaking’ is a cryptic clue to part of the clue! So if you ‘break’ ‘heart’, you get ‘hater’. In the clue ‘What could make hater’ is ‘heart’ ‘breaking’ and the rest of the clue ‘very sad’ is the definition. This convoluted explanation may not have helped at all but I hope it did!
  8. I understand what is going on with 2d now it has been explained -many thanks – but biffed the answer myself and would never have worked out such a convoluted clue.
    Why is EH equivalent to ‘what’ in 1ac? Is it Eh? = What? = Pardon? If it is I am disappointed by crosswordland.
    I’ve never heard of Dogger so had to biff that one too. Neither had I heard of Professoriate, which I worked out from the clue. I asked my sister, who happens to be here for Christmas and is a Professor, whether it was a word and she had never heard of it either.
    No idea how long it took me – a long time.
    1. You’re correct that eh? = what? = pardon? is what’s intended here. I can’t see a problem with it, but heigh-ho.
  9. FOI not sure – maybe OTTER or ENAMELS – looking back at the crossword there were very few answers that I found straightforward. LOI JERSEY

    Good puzzle, though a bit too tough, and PROFESSORIATE is too obscure for the QC, I’d say.

  10. Well, started this one in the morning and made good progress. Came back to it later in the day and struggled a bit but then needed a third attempt with 1ac and 2d. I have to say that eh for what is beneath a setter of Izetti’s standard, but so be it. Invariant
  11. As a regular 20-30 min QC-er, I didn’t see this one much harder than usual. LOI HEARTBREAKING. 6d certainly an obscure word, but a cognate with ‘secretariat’ I suppose. COD the elegant TERRAIN for a tidy surface.
  12. Agree this was a toughie. Agonised over 1a behold/beheld and went the wrong way! 6d a struggle to deduce a new word for me but nothing else would work. FOI 10a LOI 27d wrongly as cilla not recognising the OT reference. Didn’t parse 17a. Altogether a real workout!

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