Quick Cryptic 865 by Izetti

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
An enjoyable offering from Izetti today, with a raft of good surfaces and no words dredged up from the lesser visited reaches of the dictionary (though I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in 4D). It’s a tough grid, however, arguably one of the “worst”, as almost all of the answers give you at best one initial letter of another answer, so even getting the two long down clues won’t necessarily open things up much. Good practice for thinking of likely words when given their second letters rather than their initial letters, though, especially if you’re as partial to biffing as I am. I saw some research online conducted on Google Books data that posited that O is the most common second letter in English, however whether that hypothesis holds up in the version of English used in Crosswordland is another question entirely.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170703/24702/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

7 Package friend put outside back of our church (6)
PARCELPAL (friend), outside {ou}R (back of our, i.e. the last letter of the word “our”) + CE (church)
8 Son unenthusiastic about hard educational establishment (6)
SCHOOLS (Son) + COOL (unenthusiastic) about H (hard)
9 You there: get right out! (4)
THEETHE{r}E (there: get right out, i.e. the word “there” without the letter r (right))
10 Far from being ill? OK then! (4,4)
VERY WELL – literal interpretation of a figurative phrase, in that if you are VERY WELL then you are “Far from being ill”
11 Garments with old tears, looking awful (8)
LEOTARDS – anagram of (looking awful) OLD TEARS
13 English boy returning to pry (4)
NOSE – reversal (returning) of E (English) + SON (boy)
15 Shout like coward, emitting ‘Ow!’ (4)
YELLYELL{ow} (like coward, emitting ‘Ow!’, i.e. the word “yellow” (like coward) without the “ow”)
16 Passion shown by daughter, being put down (8)
DEMOTIOND (daughter) + EMOTION (Passion)
18 Intelligent, getting on in coastal city (8)
20 Nervous journalist, guy that’s lost heart (4)
EDGYED (journalist, i.e. editor) + G{u}Y (guy that’s lost heart, i.e. the word “guy” without its middle letter)
21 Saunas after work? Capital! (6)
NASSAU – anagram of (after work) SAUNAS, to give the capital of the Bahamas. I visited Nassau for a few days in 2005 while on a visa run from the US and the main thing I remember was how incongruous all the cruise ships looked, towering over a sleepy town that didn’t seem to be exactly packed with sites of interest for day-trippers.
22 Talk about the French holiday home? (6)
CHALETCHAT (Talk) about LE (the French, i.e. one of the French words for “the”)
1 A schemer alters this material (8)
CASHMERE – anagram of (alters) A SCHEMER
2 Member of religious organisation clients go to is suspect (13)
SCIENTOLOGIST – anagram of (suspect) CLIENTS GO TO IS. Nice surface.
3 Smart Conservative crank? (6)
CLEVERC (Conservative) + LEVER (crank)
4 Very big girl, a goddess (6)
OSIRISOS (Very big) + IRIS (girl). All the usual sources give Osiris as a god, specifically the Egyptian god of the underworld, so I’m struggling to justify the goddess definition.
5 Talking things over as Jack Sprat couldn’t be doing? (7,3,3)
CHEWING THE FAT – according to the nursery rhyme, Jack Sprat could eat no fat, hence he could not be CHEWING THE FAT
6 Party lines established by dummy? (4)
DOLLDO (Party) + LL (lines)
12 Member of nobility ignoring king, as expected (3)
DUEDU{k}E (Member of nobility ignoring king, i.e. the word “duke” (Member of nobility) without the letter k (king))
14 What could make Doris get more formal? (8)
STODGIER – anagram of (What could make) DORIS GET
16 What gets you routed another way? (6)
DETOUR – &lit, where the surface reading gives you the definition and the entire clue gives you the wordplay – it’s an anagram (What gets you … another way) of ROUTED
17 Threaten soldiers: excellent (6)
MENACEMEN (soldiers) + ACE (excellent)
19 The way is wide, avoided by bishop (4)
ROAD – {b}ROAD (wide, avoided by bishop, i.e. the word “broad” (wide) without the letter b (bishop))

38 comments on “Quick Cryptic 865 by Izetti”

  1. I was wondering about OSIRIS, enough to make this my LOI. 2d was indeed a nice surface, but of course the definition is incorrect. 5:37.
    1. The organisation is recognised as a religion by the taxmen, and it’ll sue the pants off you if you say otherwise.
  2. I didn’t give OSIRIS a second thought either. Scientologist also went in without thinking. I did however struggle with the 16a/17d pair for a couple of minutes, taking me to 11:30. Otherwise a tough but fair grid. FOI was PARCEL, LOI, MENACE. Thanks Izetti and Mohn2.
  3. Was ‘she’ a swinger?

    9.37 for what should have taken far less – 2dn SCIENTOLOGIST doesn’t exactly cruise in.

    Back in 1990 – 21ac NASSAU reminded me of Skegness or Cleethorpes with clock-towers and cruise liners – but decent enough 9 holes on Eleuthera where I got my only hole-in-two!

    WOD 1dn CASMERE COD mmmmmm! 21ac NASSAU?

    Edited at 2017-07-03 02:35 am (UTC)

    1. Not sure I’d have fancied even one hole in that heat/humidity, but hey – you’ve ended up in Shanghai so I guess that you aren’t put off by torrid weather!
  4. Just finished within my target 10 minutes but it was a very near thing. Fortunately my knoweldge of mythology is patchy and didn’t include the gender of OSIRIS. In any case I was distracted at that moment because having deduced it from wordplay it forced me to rethink my answer at 10ac and change it from WELL WELL (a bit ‘dahn with the kids’, I had thought, for our distinguished setter) to VERY WELL (much more sedate and in keeping).

    Edited at 2017-07-03 04:42 am (UTC)

    1. This is what I thought as well. A DNF for me as didn’t know ORISIS, or that OS meant “very big”. Finished all the rest within 20 minutes, so not a hard crossword by any means. Gribb,
      1. OS stands for outsize. We’ve had it a few times before in the Quicky, but the last occasion was back in November of last year.
    2. ‘Emit’ can mean ‘discharge’ or ‘give out’ so perhaps by extension ’emitting’ = ‘getting rid of’?

      Edited at 2017-07-03 08:01 am (UTC)

      1. That was how I read it – also, the surface makes more sense with emitting rather than omitting.

  5. This went fairly quickly for me as I didn’t stop to ponder the gender of the outsize girl.

    LOI 9a which took far too long for me to see (should’ve made a cup of tea) and I think that has to be my COD. Very neatly done!

    Thanks Izetti and Mohn2

  6. 9.28 for an Izetti so a great start to the week. I also fell for the ‘well well’ to start with at 10ac and wanted 16dn to be bypass. Still they can’t have held me up much as I cruised to a close with the rather amusing 11ac – which could alsmost be a cryptic definition judging by some of the sights I’ve encountered in gyms (not that I’m any less awful-looking).
  7. But feel a bit cheated by OSIRIS because I knew he’s a God and couldn’t believe that he could have been clued as a Goddess. But nothing else fitted and the word play worked. So after 15 minutes hunting for a Norse/Aztec/Inuit/ Mesopotamian goddess which fitted, I gave up and very reluctantly pencilled in OSIRIS.

    Rest of it was great fun. Thanks Izetti and Mohn2.


    Ps why is a Scientologist not a member of a religious organisation? Seems ok to me as a definition.

  8. Confused by OSIRIS but everything else was as usual. Smiled at Nassau.
    The 15×15 took me half my typical time today so it may be worth a try?
    1. Yes, only just done the main cryptic and it is indeed a pretty gentle one.
  9. By Izetti’s standards I found this to be a very gentle offering. I did wonder briefly about the gender of 4d but the wordplay was clear. I parsed 16d as ‘another way’ meant that it was read backwards to give the answer rather than it being an anagram – but they both work. COD 3d for it’s surface, LOI 4d and completed in 11 minutes.
  10. Thanks for your explanation.
    But as a QC novice I’d appreciate some further illumination of “the surface makes more sense with emitting rather than omitting”.
    1. If you were to read the clue as a normal sentence (which is what we mean by the “surface”), it makes more sense that a shouting coward would emit an “Ow!” rather than that they would omit one. The surface is generally not relevant to solving the clue (except in certain cases) but good setters (at least in my opinion) try to make the surfaces read well. Let me know if that doesn’t help!
  11. I started this with slight trepidation, it being an Izetti puzzle, but it all came together well for me and I just broke the 15 minute barrier. The Oxford Uni Ladies’ reserve boat is called Osiris alongside the men being Isis. Therefore a female connection?
    1. I believe that the setter lives in Oxford so it’s possible that this was what he was thinking of, but I would find such a rationale uncomfortably oblique in the main cryptic and certainly not suitable for the Quicky. Izetti may chime in at some point so I look forward to seeing if there’s an interpretation that we’ve missed.
  12. I had two left after 15 minutes – 3d and 4d.
    The problem was that I had put Well Well for 10a. This took me at least another 5 minutes to unravel.
    No problem with any of this as classical knowledge hopeless. COD 16d and several other very nice clues. David
  13. Another slightly confused by 4d. Since I knew that Osiris was the father of Horus and husband of Isis, his sister (well the Egyptians had different views on incest than we have today. Just check out Cleopatra and Ptolemys XIII and XIV, her brothers)

    Edited at 2017-07-03 12:38 pm (UTC)

  14. I thought I was doing well to finish in 27 mins given that I had cashmeer as the answer to 1d for ages, but perhaps this was a more straightforward Izetti than usual. Trying to put spas into 21ac didn’t help either. Invariant
  15. 9 minutes which I think may be my fastest ever. Lots of anagrams which I enjoy – writing ‘A Schemer’ in a circle virtually spelt ‘cashmere’ which got me off to a flying start. Got 3d before 10a so didn’t have the ‘well well’ trap. Vaguely knew ‘Osiris’ was something to do with mythology so didn’t worry about god/goddess question. So with some luck and useful ignorance this was a great start to the week – I don’t expect it to continue! Pexiter.
  16. Good start to the week thanks to a forgiving Izetti. Something under 30 minutes I deduce. FOI 1a LOI 19d. COD 11a. Fingers crossed for the rest of the week!
  17. I am very puzzled by this gender assignment. One can only assume Izetti with his musical references would be familiar with Mozarts Magic Flute. One of the main characters Sarastro is the high priest of a sect following Isis and Osiris who he and his followers invoke in a very famous aria. There is no doubt they are both gods and thalt all sarastros followers are male. I think in early mythology they were brothers I think. So this clue really puzzled me.
  18. I managed this Izetti in less than 18 minutes which is close to a personal best, so was encouraged by the comments here to try the 15×15. I don’t know whether I felt intimidated (or what other excuse I can use!!!) but I only managed ONE and I’m not even sure about that. I think I shall have to stick to the Quickie to avoid a bout of depression!!! MM
    1. I suspect the problem is more psychological than anything else, which is completely understandable – even once I was a competent 15×15 solver, when I first tried some of the harder puzzles like the Listener or Mephisto I was afraid to write in any answers because I assumed that I just wasn’t good enough to be solving at that level so if I got an answer then it was probably wrong. I would suggest that, even if you only got one answer, it would be well worth reading the blog for the puzzle, so that you can see all the parsings and hopefully realise that the complexity is really not much higher than for a Quicky. In that way, the next time you try the 15×15, or maybe the time after that or maybe the time after that but definitely at SOME point, you’ll be able to treat the clues on their own merits rather than feeling cowed by the fact that it’s the 15×15. Don’t worry – that WILL happen!
  19. DNF : Osiris stumped me. Had not come across OS for outsized before : surely XL is by far the more common way of indicating this.

    Shame as was on for a good time. Agree about the hard grid.

    1. I think OS covers everything from XL up, i.e. XL, XXL, XXXL, etc, but OS does seem to be much more frequently encountered in Crosswordland than in real life.
  20. I wonder if Izzetti is going to explain why he thinks Osiris is a goddess. Any schoolboy (or girl) doing the Cambridge Latin Course knows that he was the husband of Isis and father of Horus (in very strange circumstances)? If not, how DOES the clue work? JJ


    1. Thanks for dropping by and clearing that up, Izetti. Though as any number of fish can do it, it would presumably be within the powers of a god!
  21. Just didn’t like the gender switch of the GOD Osiris. Let’s clue properly. Otherwise a beautiful puzzle Izetti.

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