Quick Cryptic 759 by Izetti

Morning all.  Many of you will recall that Izetti got the new year started for us with a bit of a stinker.  He then graciously reponded to our grizzling by hoping that 2017 would improve for us!  I certainly hope it has for you, and Izetti has done his bit, with his subsequent offerings being significantly more gentle.  This one was on the easier side of average, I thought, but no less enjoyable for that.

All the standard sources are represented….music, Greek characters, biblical and military references.  Thankfully no plants, but instead we had an old coin of which I had never heard.  Solid puzzle all round, took me 4:42 to complete.  As always, YMMV.

Might not be around today to respond to any queries raised, but the hive mind will take care of that I’m sure. So cheers and a happy weekend to all, and thank you to our setter.  Now on with the parsing.

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there’s the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’.

1 A search, following pet in series of tunnels (8)
CATACOMB – A + COMB (search) following CAT (pet)
Pretty gentle start.
5 Cut fuel coming to hospital (4)
GASH – GAS (fuel) + H (hospital)
9 Dwelling that’s bad in Virginia (5)
VILLA – ILL (bad) in VA (Virginia)
10 Took a chance and walked slowly beyond end of building (7)
GAMBLED – AMBLED (walked slowly) “beyond” G (end of building)
11 Boy offering a bit of illumination (3)
RAY – Double definition
Ray gets more mentions in Crosswordland than most boys, along with Des and Tim.
12 They steal bird by roof’s edge (3,6)
TEA LEAVES – TEAL (bird) + EAVES (roof’s edge)
“Tea leaf” is cockney rhyming slang for “thief”.  Memories of Arfur Daley.
13 Rob is rich man with tons (6)
DIVEST – DIVES (rich man) + T (tons)
Dives is a biblical name for a rich man.  You learn this stuff by either reading the Bible, or doing crosswords.  Your choice.
15 Strange grit is found in river (6)
First anagram of the day.
17 Nothing dull with companion: the perfect coupling? (4,5)
LOVE MATCH – LOVE (nothing, as in tennis) + MAT (dull) + CH (Companion of Honour).
19 Note the Sun (3)
SOL – Double definition
As in the musical note after do re mi, etc.  Can be rendered as SO or SOL.  And the Latin name for the Sun, of course.
20 The French in immoral act with church saying nothing (7)
SILENCE – LE (“the” in French) in SIN (immoral act) + CE [church (of England)]
21 Soldiers tucked into lousy food (5)
BREAD – RE (soldiers) into BAD (lousy)
Royal Engineers, a corps of the British Army.
22 Game in disarray (4)
RUIN – RU (game) + IN
The game being Rugby Union, a favourite of setters, and of mine.
23 Male into karate’s mad to start fighting (4,4)
TAKE ARMS – M (male) into (KARATES)*
1 Minister turning up in school given protection (7)
COVERED – REV (minister) reversed (turning up) in COED (school)
2 Time to meet friend and agree (5)
TALLY – T (time) + ALLY (friend)
3 Test machines outa punishing experience (12)
A long anagram to give you a good foothold in the grid.  If you solve it, that is.
4 Mum swallows good hot stuff (5)
MAGMA – MAMA (Mum) “swallows” G (good)
Not to be confused with lava, though I can never remember which one’s which.
6 A learner seen with sweetheart everywhere (3,4)
ALL OVER – A + L (learner) + LOVER (sweetheart)
7 Underworld offers comparative darkness, first to last (5)
HADES – SHADE (comparative darkness) with the first letter moved to the end
8 A rebel, impish, naughty, going on for ever (12)
Another nice long anagram.
14 I had smallest room, four, set up for composer (7)
VIVALDI – ID (I had) + LAV (smallest room) + IV (four, in Roman numerals), all reversed (set up)
“Smallest room” is pretty common for clueing “loo” or “lav”.
16 Reliable American gold coin no longer used (7)
SOLIDUS – SOLID (reliable) + US (American)
Slight leap of faith here, as I wasn’t familiar with the coin.  Fortunately the wordplay and checkers left little room for doubt.
17 You’re solver somewhat upset, one lacking success? (5)
LOSER – Reverse hidden (somewhat upset) in (you’RE SOLver)
Thought the “you’re solver” was a bit clunky.  Could have replaced “you’re” with “rare”, “doctrinaire”, “billionaire”.  Any other (better) suggestions?
18 Greek character in the group of volunteers (5)
THETA – THE + TA (Territorial Army, a volunteer force)
Some old favourites in play here.
19 Poet’s always following street guide (5)
STEER – ST (street) + EER (poetic for always)

33 comments on “Quick Cryptic 759 by Izetti”

  1. A solid sort of QC my time 8.17.

    A fine time from the Man of Perth and the 15×15…?

    1. Yet to be attempted Horrie.

      BTW, I don’t think of myself as a “man of Perth”. I’ve only been here thirty years, and I still believe it’s just a temporary aberration in my life.

      1. who he?
        You may not be the ‘Man of Perth” but did you wed the ‘Fair Maid of Perth’?

        Edited at 2017-02-03 05:23 am (UTC)

    1. YMMV:​ written abbreviation for “your mileage may vary”: used, in emails for example, to warn people that a piece of advice, although it has helped you, might not help them, or to say that different things are attractive to different people.
  2. A nice puzzle completed in 8 minutes here but I wondered if a couple or more of the answers might present difficulties for newbies. I lost a few moments having {illumi}NAT{ion} at 11ac.

    Galspray, I have just sent a special message to your LJ account

  3. I thought this was quite hard, actually. Didn’t get SOLIDUS or SOL (never heard of either), and I thought the anagrams at 8dn and 3dn were quite tricky to decipher. I got 17ac after a while, but I didn’t fully understand the parsing. I thought companion = match, so had no idea where “dull” came into it. I might be in the minority here, but I’ve faced easier crosswords. Gribb.
  4. Sub 7 minutes – can’t be precise as again the ipad app has added my time to the laboured 44+ it took me to crawl over the line in the main puzzle.
    Pressed the button on LOI SOLIDUS with crossed fingers but otherwise not much of note.
  5. LOI TAKE ARMS, remembered the Shakespeare as opposed to the common usage ‘take up arms’. Good offering for a Friday. 5’13” thanks gal and Izetti.
  6. Struggled all through with this, but then I often do with this setter. Never heard of SOL for a note, and SOLIDUS rings only a vague bell. So a DNF for me.
    Thoroughly enjoyed the 2 long anagrams though
    1. SOLIDUS occasionally crops up in the broadsheet cryptics with another meaning – the forward slash (i.e. /).
  7. A DNF for me today at my 30 min limit – couldn’t see 22a for love nor money – seems so obvious now.

    Also, I’d parsed 17d as an anagram (upset) of SOLER (solver mostly). Your way is better though, as even as I did it I thought something should have told me which letter to drop.

    Speaking of 17d, how about Shakespeare soliloquy as an alternative to you’re solver?

    1. No more entries please, we have a winner.

      Nice one QS.

      On edit: Sorry, and Sawbill of course. Team effort.

      Edited at 2017-02-03 04:22 pm (UTC)

  8. I seem to be in a minority in finding this pretty difficult. The top half went in ok, but Divest was unparsed as I had never come across Dives, and then 16, 19 (x2), and 21 combined to make the SE a real struggle. Just glad to finish in the end. Invariant
  9. I enjoyed this puzzle from Izetti. Favourite was 14d.
    LOI was 5a which held me up for some reason; but all done in 15 minutes. Solidus was unknown but clear from the clue. David
  10. I found this quite tricky with 3 unknown words in 13a, 19a and 16d (LOI) and I also spent time thinking 22a was a double definition, which didn’t help. I plodded away though and completed it in 27 minutes and then crossed my fingers when checking the blog. Overall though an enjoyable work out.
    Thanks for the clarifications glaspray.
  11. Found this fairly quick. Didn’t understand parsing of DIVEST or RUIN, which is why I’m here.
  12. I have just got into the crosswords in The Times (at age 37), so I’m a late starter.

    I haven’t yet completed even a simple cryptic one without help, but I just wanted to say that this site is invaluable. I, for one, wouldn’t be able to enjoy the XWDs without it, as the frustration would be unbearable without the insight I gain from your explanations.

    Thank you!

    All the best,

    M. Illsley

  13. 10:12 with GASH, FOI and TAKE ARMS, LOI. DIVEST held me up as I didn’t know the biblical meaning of DIVES as a rich man, and I also waited for 23a before deciding over SOLIDUS or SOLIDOR. Nice puzzle. Thanks Izetti and G.
  14. 22:22, TAKE ARMS as LOI. Was just about familiar with SOLIDUS, but never heard the note So as Sol. COD HADES for the rarely seen ‘first to last’.

    1. It’s a common device in the 15 x 15 Merlin. Another variation is where a letter in a word moves up or down, but not to the start or end.
  15. I had hoped leaving it overnight would lead to fresh inspiration, but no… I found this tricky and a DNF over 19d & 16d. I agree with the comment that the SE was the hardest but I was pretty unsure about parts of the SW, but happily correct. I also had to deduce 13a dive but I couldn’t see any alternatives. FOI 9a, LOI 21a, COD 12a.
  16. Finished in just under an hour. Tough puzzle.

    Struggled with sol, thinking ‘so’ for note.

    For steer I didn’t twig the eer for always, and was thinking the definition was a poet with map for street guide.

    Also take arms was hard.

    Dnk solidus or dives for rich man.

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