Quick Cryptic 825 by Izetti

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I think the consensus has been that Izetti sets some of the harder Quick Cryptics around but this one seems to be a little milder in terms of difficulty, no doubt courtesy of the half-dozen anagrams (i.e. one quarter of the total number of clues) that he has strewn throughout the grid. Combine these helpful footholds with a good mix of vocab, none of it especially obscure, and you have a puzzle to put you in the right mood for celebrating David Attenborough’s 13D-first birthday.

Commiserations to Oran, whose good luck Nina to his team Coleraine in Friday’s puzzle was rewarded with a 3-0 spanking at the hands of Linfield in the Irish Cup Final on Saturday. How many Coleraine FC supporters work as compilers, I wonder?

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170508/23760/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission.

1 Professional and devout person, highly thought of, completely overcome (10)
PROSTRATEDPRO (Professional) + ST (devout person, i.e. saint) + RATED (highly thought of). I can’t say this was a meaning I was familiar with – ODO has “Reduce (someone) to extreme physical weakness” as one of its definitions, which I suppose is close enough. Both Collins and ODO have an adjectival definition of prostrate as “completely overcome”, but they don’t explicitly include that in any of their verbal definitions. This is the kind of distinction that I wouldn’t think twice about if I was simply solving the puzzle rather than blogging it, but as I am blogging it I will say that this equivalence doesn’t leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
8 Fictional thief in gambling enterprises (7)
RAFFLES – double definition, the first referring to the character A.J. Raffles, who appears in various stories by E.W. Hornung. I have not read any of these stories, nor could I have told you who wrote them, but I think the name Raffles has become synonymous with “gentleman thief” in the language. Not to be confused with Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore.
9 Page by girl, not poetic writing (5)
PROSEP (Page) + ROSE (girl)
10 Boy bowled over having got hold of hard author (4)
DAHL – reversal (bowled over) of LAD (Boy) around (having got hold of) H (hard), the most famous author with that name being Roald Dahl
11 Great sin could make you most irate (8)
ANGRIEST – anagram of (could make you) GREAT SIN. There are 11 anagrams possible from this fodder, according to Chambers –  I wonder if Izetti also considered “Tasering” instead of “Great sin” in the clue?
13 Female occupying barn or mansion (5)
NORMA – hidden in (occupying) barN OR MAnsion
14 Do well reading out two letters (5)
EXCEL – homophone of (reading out) X L (two letters)
16 Piece of music? Criticise performance in the auditorium (8)
NOCTURNE – homophone of (in the auditorium) KNOCK (Criticise) + TURN (performance, e.g. a star turn). Not difficult once you have some checkers if you know the word. In general, I find that homophones where the initial letter differs are the hardest to solve.
17 One past Shakespearean villain (4)
IAGOI (One) + AGO (past), to give the character in Othello
20 Jack obtained, not good card (5)
TAROTTAR (Jack) + {g}OT (obtained, not good, i.e. the word “got” without the letter g (good)). Tarot can mean either the entire pack or just one of the cards.
21 Greet us, somehow giving signal (7)
GESTURE – anagram of (somehow) GREET US
22 Men’s debate rambling: a lowering of quality (10)
DEBASEMENT – anagram of (rambling) MEN’S DEBATE
1 The old man, looking embarrassed, shaved (5)
PAREDPA (The old man) + RED (looking embarrassed)
2 No longer in the groove musically and not to be talked about (3,3,6)
OFF THE RECORD – literal interpretation, where if the stylus of a record player is no longer in the groove then it is OFF THE RECORD
3 Legendary marksman’s order (4)
TELL – double definition, the first referring to the Swiss folk hero William/Wilhelm/Guillaume/Guglielmo/Guglielm Tell
4 Agreement as communicated (6)
ASSENTAS + SENT (communicated). I suppose the sense is the same in sentences such as “His orders were communicated/sent to us” but, oddly, I can’t find a direct equivalence in any of the usual sources.
5 Former hospital worker becoming international trader (8)
EXPORTEREX (Former) + PORTER (hospital worker)
6 Terminology set out in lecture on Man (12)
NOMENCLATURE – anagram of (set out in) LECTURE ON MAN
7 Intellectual fellows converse endlessly (6)
MENTALMEN (fellows) + TAL{k} (converse endlessly, i.e. the word “talk” without its last letter)
12 Get a tube made specially for lunch in France? (8)
BAGUETTE – anagram of (made specially) GET A TUBE. I don’t generally eat bread nowadays but my memories of baguettes revolve around inadvertently scraping the skin off the roof of my mouth with them, meaning they won’t be making a comeback in the mohn2 kitchen any time soon.
13 Number I catch being smuggled into US city (6)
NINETYI + NET (catch), inside (being smuggled into) NY (US city). Not an anaesthetic but an actual number – don’t get used to it.
15 Puzzle in game to be worked out (6)
ENIGMA – anagram of (to be worked out) IN GAME
18 Open a series of deliveries arriving on time (5)
OVERTOVER (a series of deliveries, i.e. in cricket) + T (time)
19 Passage cut off at one end — it is surrounded by water (4)
ISLE – {a}ISLE (Passage cut off at one end, i.e. the word “aisle” (Passage) without its first letter)

22 comments on “Quick Cryptic 825 by Izetti”

  1. The two that slowed Vinyl down slowed me down, too, and proportionately probably for the same amount of time. And it should have been a snap, if ‘number’ means number, and given the initial N; and that should have made 16ac a cinch, with the C. The SENT/communicated match did cause a brief pause, but very brief; it seems good enough. I never notice the setter’s name when solving–print’s much too small, for one thing–but in retrospect I suppose this was an easy Izetti. 4:56.
  2. 58m. Found this very tough, especially prostrated, raffles and nocturne.

    I had most of the east and very little of the west and was preparing for a spectacular dnf but 13a and 12d provided the way past.

    Took ages to twig jack for tar in 20a. And off the record can be talked about but not credited to the source?

    COD 13d ninety

    Edited at 2017-05-08 04:50 am (UTC)

    1. I had thought that off the record meant the same as you say, i.e. the information imparted can be revealed but not the source, but the dictionaries support both this meaning and the one used in the clue.
  3. A welcome return to QC form for me, as I completed this in 6 minutes which seemed pretty good for an Izetti puzzle until I read that others thought it easy. I suspect it may have been a wavelength thing, although others deny that this exists. Maybe it’s just a case of having the right GK for the day and quickly making the right connections.
  4. Clue after clue went by without an answer going in. Then I got a foothold in the east and chipped away at the west. Like others, I was left with ninety/nocturne – only getting the latter after the former went in. At the end of all this it was 13 minutes – and, as I’ve taken longer on Izettis in the past, I suppose I have to agree that it’s easier than some.
  5. … is a bit of a weird one, as it contains quite a lot of odd words although in the main with clear wordplay. The Crossword Club leaderboard suggests people are finding it harder than I would have expected.
  6. Around 5 minutes for the easiest Izetti I can recall, with all the anagrams leaping straight out at me and no issues with the GK.
  7. Really hard. Nothing easy in here for a beginner. I almost don’t bother with Izetti anymore as they are generally too hard for me. I also don’t find I learn as much from the blogs on izetti as I do from others. Maybe normal crossword rules don’t apply to izetti puzzles.

    This is not a comment on the blogger, but on puzzle construction. I have made great progress with others but get nowhere with izetti.
    Probably just me!

    1. I’ll grant you Izetti takes a bit of getting used to, but I think he is well worth the effort. You get some cracking clues, and you will need to be at or near that level to do the 15×15 – if that is what you are aiming for. Invariant
    2. To echo Invariant above, do persevere with Izetti – many of the people doing the Quick Cryptic are hoping to graduate to the main cryptic at some point, and these harder puzzles do provide a nice bridge between the two. Having done many of Izetti’s puzzles in other newspapers, I would also say that he is generally a scrupulously fair setter in that he doesn’t throw in impossible parsings or ludicrously obscure words. Of course, newer solvers may have different definitions of “impossible” and “ludicrously obscure” than grizzled vets!

      If you would like further explanation of some of the answers then please ask. I am failing as a blogger if people read the blog and are still none the wiser about the parsings.

  8. This felt harder than my completion time of 15 minutes would indicate. As mentioned the number of anagrams helped a lot. My biggest issue was 1a as I was unfamiliar with that definition of the answer, however once I broke the clue down it couldn’t be much else. The two clues that stood out for me today were 8a and 12d. LOI 4d
  9. I don’t know why I struggled with this today, but doing it at work in little blasts probably didn’t help, as I couldn’t get in a flow. I struggled with 1ac and 16ac for a while, whilst trying to spell NOMENCLATURE caused some issues! 14ac also took me a while, as I would pronounce the “c” in EXCEL, but I see where the setter is coming from. All in all, probably took me 30 mins. Gribb.
  10. Izetti always seems to me to have a different approach to all other setters. I can’t define it, but it always takes me a while to tune in. This was no dfferent although my time of around 40 mins is not exceptional for me. So maybe it is one of his easier ones.
    I was quite happy with PROSTRATED. Seems to me to fit “prostrated by grief”, say, admirably.
    PlayupPompey (they certainly did Saturday}
  11. 30 mins here, which is quick for Izetti. Like Jackkt I was hoping that this indicated a return to form, but on reflection I am forced to agree that the large number of anagrams helped make it one of his easier offerings. Invariant
  12. Forgive my below the belt pun for anyone with prostate issues. Found this tough but improvers completing this can attempt the main puzzle with some confidence. The cluing by Izetti is excellent. Thanks blogger. Oh, just under 15 mins for me which is a bit disappointing.
  13. No major problems with this one. Had to get pen and paper to solve my LOI, NOMENCLATURE. The NINETY/NOCTURNE crossing didn’t give me much trouble, although I needed the N_C_U crossers before it yielded. 8:30 in all. Thanks Izetti and mohn2.
  14. After Friday’s QC from Oran I spent part of Saturday in front of my computer watching the Irish Cup Final – a nice role to have. The BBC streamed it online.
    Quite a good watch but one-sided. A man called Oran is the manager of Coleraine. I presume he is not the setter, but who knows.
    As to today’s puzzle, I finished in 17 minutes. LOI was 13d after 16a. There were some testing clues but I agree with other comments that this was not the hardest puzzle from Izetti. As ever, some nice surfaces. I liked 12d and 15d amongst others.
    1. The current crossword editor of the Times is a Coleraine supporter, however I was under the impression that he used a different pseudonym (i.e. not Oran) for his Quicky setting. Hence I was left pondering whether he actually uses two Quicky pseudonyms, or if there are two different people from Coleraine (population: ~25,000) who both support the town’s football club and set Quick Cryptics for the Times.
  15. This was tough. Some clues were, for me, only possible with checkers in place, eg NOCTURNE and OVERT (another sports clue, grrr). And 2d, I think, should have ended “publicly” (surely if it’s off the record, you’re still talking about it, just privately?). But: I finished it eventually! Thanks to Izetti for giving me a headache and mohn2 for helping me out.
  16. In the main, I enjoyed and sailed along with this one. I always respect Izetti (Don, etc) as a rigorous (Ximenean) setter, with none of the sloppiness so frequently encountered nowadays. But although I eventually got 16ac I had no idea why. ‘In the auditorium’ was pushing it, I thought.
    1. “In the auditorium” is maybe not as obvious as something like “we hear” or “reportedly” and perhaps on a par with “on the radio” but not as oblique as “picked up”, all of which get regular use. In general I don’t think we get anywhere near the same variety of homophone indicators as we do for, say, anagram indicators, so I would cautiously welcome new ways of indicating such. Izetti has used this device at least twice before so it didn’t hold me up, but I can imagine that seeing it for the first time might send someone down the route of thinking it meant that a word for auditorium was acting as a container. Or is your objection more that “in the auditorium” is no more valid than, say, “in the kitchen”, since any old room could be considered as somewhere where you might hear something instead of reading it?

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