Times Quick Cryptic 1201 by Izetti

An excellent QC, in my opinion, as it was quick (8:28) but definitely put up a struggle. Unusually, I had several half answers around the grid at one time waiting for a crossing letter (e.g. 15dn). Dnk the country at 15dn and had some fun at 12dn. COD to 13ac for the surface.


1. RICOCHET – result of gunfire. Anagram (spoiled) of HEROIC (a)CT – not the first letter – edited thanks to flashman.
5. WOLF – animal. Stream (FLOW) heading west – backwards.
8. TOTEM – emblem for tribe. Carry (TOTE), male (M).
9. DECIDER – critical game. Half of si(DE), drink (CIDER).
11. DELIVERANCE – liberation. Anagram (about) of VICE LEARNED.
13. AFLAME – very excited. A(A), female (F), anagram (strange) of MALE.
14. FARMER – country worker. This person (ME) plugged inside distant (FAR) and river (R).
17. GIN AND TONIC – drink. Anagram (nasty) of INN DOG I CANT.
20. END USER – ultimate employer. Take ENDURES and swap the ‘R’ and the ‘S’.
21. INDIA – country. Home (IN), help (AID) setback – backwards.
22. SIRE – father. Son (S), rage (IRE).
23. CHESTNUT – double definition.


1. RATE – have high opinion of. Some of schola(R AT E)ton.
2. CITADEL – fortress. Anagram (excitedly) of EL CID entertaining fighting volunteers (TA).
3. COMPLIMENTS – words of praise. Remarks (COMMENTS) around place (PL) above island (I).
4. ENDIVE – leafy herb – aka chicory – a plant, Cichorium endivia, cultivated for its crisp curly leaves, which are used in salads. The last thing (END) this person has (I’VE).
6. OLDEN – ancient. Haunt (DEN) with nothing (O) and left (L) on its roof – above it.
7. FORBEARS – refrains. Supporting (FOR), Chicago (American football) team (the BEARS).
10. CERTAINTIES – have no doubts about them. Particular (CERTAIN), obligations (TIES).
12. WANGLERS – manipulative folk. With (W), points of view (ANGLES) about (R)ussia. I didn’t pay enough attention to the ‘with’ to start with so was wrestling with tanglers and manglers until light dawned.
15. MACEDON – ancient kingdom. Staff of authority (MACE) – which I had pencilled in before getting the whole clue – assume (DON – wear – as in clothes).
MACEDON was a region of the S Balkans, now divided among Greece, Bulgaria, and Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). As a kingdom in the ancient world it achieved prominence under Philip II (359–336 bc) and his son Alexander the Great
16. STARCH – formality. Celebrity (STAR), first couple of letters of (CH)ildren.
18. NADIR – low-water mark. The clue ‘admits’ – has inside itself – the answer ‘whe(N A DIR)ector’.
19. PART – character (in a play). Political group (PART)y falling one letter short.

34 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1201 by Izetti”

  1. Slowed down mainly by 12d, where I started running through the alphabet until I finally thought of ANGLE and, like Chris, took ‘with’ seriously. Spoiled everything by typing WANTLERS, giving me 2 errors. (There seems to be a difference between concise and cryptic puzzle scoring of errors; I’ve had checker typos in concise puzzles and been assessed with just one error.) 7:36, but.
  2. 13 minutes here, delayed by WANGLERS at 12dn as my LOI and before that WOLF at 5ac. Like vinyl1, I was somewhat annoyed that I was unable to write in the latter on first glance at the clue.

    Edited at 2018-10-16 04:35 am (UTC)

  3. 24 minutes for me so slightly above average. I am another who had Wanglers as LOI. I didn’t think it was going to be a real word but just put it in and hoped! A very enjoyable puzzle today I felt.
  4. I did this on my phone and so couldn’t see the setter until coming in here, but as I was progressing it occurred to me that this was probably an Izetti – he does have a rather distinctively elegant style. I don’t think I could pick any other setter.

    Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed that and took two and a bit Kevins despite the inconvenience of the phone and the irritation of two people on my train have an interminable and banal conversation about their office politics. I really hope that the Helen they’ve been slagging off for the last five minutes turns out to be hidden round the corner and sacks them when they get in. Sacking’s too good for people who talk on commuter trains, don’t they realise that some of us have crosswords to do?

    Did not know that “with” can signify W (is it shorthand notation?) so that held me up. Hard to pick a COD from so many good clues but I thought 20ac was quite brilliant.

    Thanks to Izetti and Chris.


    1. I share your commuting frustration. At one stage I commuted in on a local rail (rather than tube) line and could have written a book on the oral health (or lack of it) of two ladies who, sadly, always managed to be in the same carriage.
      W can, seemingly, stand for anything beginning with ‘w’ – abbreviation for
      1. week
      2. weight
      3. width
      4. wife
      5. with
      1. Gosh thanks – of that list I would only have got “wife” as a certainty. Every day’s a school day!
  5. 37 minutes, slow but happy to finish with quite a few stragglers: end user, g&t, macedon, sire, nadir, and LOI wanglers. I knew angles was in there but got bogged down looking for folk.

    cod decider

    I don’t miss the commute to cannon st!

    By the way ricochet is an anagram of heroic (a)ct

    Edited at 2018-10-16 08:28 am (UTC)

  6. Does this phenomenon really exist? Is it possible to (metaphorically speaking) tune into the setters way of thinking and near instantly see answers as the clue is being read? Or is it just a case of the old grey matter having a particularly good day?
    Whatever the answer is I had one today. An Izetti all done, dusted and parsed in 4’30”. Now for the 15×15 (which is currently Snitching at 149) so I’m bound to crash and burn.
    Many thanks as always to setter and blogger.
    1. I think there very much is. Time and again I’ve limped through a puzzle, QC or biggie, thinking it was very tough only to see the commenters here airily dismiss it as barely worth getting out of bed for. So I feel chuffed to have enjoyed a rare day being ‘in phase’ with the wavelength, coming in at 6’41 (a full 90 seconds of that was spent on 12d where my experience was the same as Kevin’s and the blogger’s).

      Before ever trying a 15×15, many years ago I asked a seasoned solver the hardest clue he’d seen. He replied ‘ebb (4)’. That’s stuck with me since, so 5ac came quickly…

  7. Once again about 12 mins to complete. LOI 12d WANGLERS. I needed the C from MACEDON to belatedly solve 17a GIN AND TONIC and the simplicity of 20a END USER threw me at first. A very enjoyable solve. Thank you Chris and Izetti.
  8. My hedonistic extended weekend seems to have caught up with me despite a 9 hour sleep, as I struggled to get going with this one. Looking back at the completed grid, nothing seems too difficult, but I certainly made hard work of it. WOLF took ages to see. 15:19. A nice puzzle though. Thanks Izetti and Chris.
  9. About 14 minutes today with LOI Wanglers requiring some thought and care at the end as many words would have fitted the squares -but not the clue.
    I thought this was an excellent puzzle with a couple of tricky clues (e.g the Chicago teams) but nothing untoward.
    My FOI was 2d. I see that Wolf is a chestnut but I had not seen it before; 23a was.
  10. A group of us do the QC and we have all agreed we mostly don’t bother on the days Izetti sets them. I tried and failed today to get more than 5 clues. He is definitely not an ideal setter for the QCs.
  11. But I so very nearly got there today! After nearly 40 minutes, and with just one answer – 12 down – still eluding me, I gave in and checked this sanity-saving blog! My problem was instantly revealed : I’d put “Salome” in for 13 across, hoping that it was a mongrel result of an anagram of “male” coupled with “so ” for “very” to produce “a female “. Alas, no. But my version of the answer certainly scuppered any chance of answering 12 down. All in all, though, I put my biro down not feeling too pathetic as, in my humble estimation, there are some toughies here that I DID manage to solve. Thanks so much, setter and blogger.
  12. As so often with Izetti, took a long time to get going. FOI 8ac then nothing until 21ac, but ended up with a reasonable time. Thoroughly enjoyed END USER (unusual), CHESTNUT (clever), (CODs) and WANGLERS (LOI). I had come across ‘w’ for ‘with’ before, which helped. Knew MACEDON because of Phillip and Alexander.
    1. Well, you can’t satisfy everyone all the time! Suffice it to say that there is often a fine line between success through endeavour and failure through equal endeavour. And if an experienced solver can solve my puzzle in under five minutes I am by no means ‘impossible’ as suggested above!
      1. Your puzzles are not impossible! They’re a stretch, yes, but if all the QCs were easy, they wouldn’t be much of a challenge nor offer much chance for newbies like me to get smarter at it. Thank you for your efforts to produce puzzles that stimulate the intellect and which improve our solving skills!
      2. I am thoroughly satisfied!

        Wavelength or not, it is one of my fastest solves in recent weeks at 18 minutes. I think there have been a whole spate of much tougher ones until last week when things eased off a bit. I love the smooth surface of the clues, making it very hard to choose a clue of the day. In the final analysis I think 13a and 20a share that accolade.
        LOI (and I’m pleased not to be alone here) 12d

        More like this please, Izetti. MM

  13. A enjoyable challenge today despite the grey matter feeling a little sluggish, but I crossed the line in 21.31 with LOI WANGLERS. COD to CHESTNUT as it was nice to see it in the grid rather than the blog/comments.
  14. Hi – I’ve been trying the QC for about a year now and stalking this blog for several months. Have finally got to the point where I regularly either finish or fall one or two clues short. Last week I finished one day and, frustratingly, fell one clue short for 4 days. As for time, I regularly exceed an hour – and sometimes need 2 hours which means late nights! But I am quite pleased with progress and this blog has been a great help and fun to read. Thanks to all contributors who have helped my education and to the setters for such a brilliant variety of puzzles.

    So today I fell one short again – couldn’t quite get MACEDON. I worked out Wanglers but wasn’t sure until I read the blog.


    1. Hi, good to hear from someone in same boat as me, making same sort of progress, rather than the awe-inspiring but frankly demotivating blogs from those solving in 10 minutes
      1. If you persevere then in not so long you’ll be posting about times which currently feel inaccessible. I did and so, I think, did everyone else here. Learning curves are what they. Please don’t be demotivated – there is an alternative.
  15. We see ourselves as improving newbies and we now look forward to the Izetti QCs. We don’t always finish them although this one we did but, for us, they are utterly consistent. The key is always in the clue somewhere which is strangely reassuring. Thank you Izetti and bloggers – we are learning so much
    1. Keep up the good work L&I – the key, actually, is always in the clue – but sometimes it can be a bit more hidden.
    2. Keep up the good work L&I – the key, actually, is always in the clue – but sometimes it can be a bit more hidden.
    3. I’m with you. They are a stretch for me — did half of this one yesterday and all the rest bar 12D this morning, drove son to dance class and finally finished just now — but, hey, how else to improve? And at least my interest in Ametican Football came in handy…

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