Times Quick Cryptic 1621 by Izetti

I saw the setter’s name and took it carefully, only to gradually realise that this was one of the milder examples of the genre. I was happy to complete in a little over 9 minutes.
No particular comments from me – just the good, tight clueing we’ve come to enjoy. Please ask any questions.


1. Chaps score in terms of intellect (8)
MENTALLY – chaps (MEN), score (TALLY)
5. Composer taking taxi back to hotel (4)
BACH – taxi backwards (cab=BAC), Hotel (H).
9. Heavenly body shown by the first person getting into bed (5)
COMET – first person (ME) getting into bed (COT).
10. Against having trip – something seen on map? (7)
CONTOUR – against (CON), trip (TOUR).
11. Love divine is out of the ordinary (3)
ODD – love (O), devine (DD).
12. At risk, prior to a breakthrough? (2,4,3)
ON THIN ICE – humourous illusion to a very cold dip.
13. Crude and hearty, husband taking new position (6)
EARTHY – husband (H) moving in the word hearty (EART H Y).
15. Plague in soldier’s home country, not unknown (6)
BLIGHT – a UK soldiers home country is (BLIGHT)y not the unknown ‘y’.
17. Grovels so awkwardly in attempt to cover up (5,4)
GLOSS OVER – anagram (awkwardly) of GROVELS SO.
19. Criticise Greek god (3)
PAN – double definition.
20. Criticises a government charge in speech (7)
ATTACKS – hompohone (in speech) of a tax.
21. Provide feline companion for Queen (5)
CATER – feline (CAT), Queen (ER).
22. Absence of marines is what one expects (4)
NORM – absence of marines (NO RM – Royal Marines).
23. Cleaner goes round everything in dance hall (8)
BALLROOM – cleaner (BROOM) round everything (ALL).


1. Bug in fleece carried by rodents (7)
MICROBE – fleece (ROB) inside (carried by) rodents (MICE).
2. Identified little man hugging a maiden (5)
NAMED – little man (NED) hugging a (A) and maiden from cricket (M).
3. Study of outer space that could be made from a cosy starship (12)
ASTROPHYSICS – anagram (could be made from) COSY STARSHIP.
4. Landed outside Channel Islands according to legal requirements (5)
LICIT – landed (LIT) outside Channel Islands (CI).
6. Loving a party circle (7)
ADORING – a (A) party, (DO), circle (RING).
7. Crowd restricted by fresh order (5)
HORDE – inside fres(H ORDE)r.
8. New alliance, critical, not half, opposing ministers? (12)
ANTICLERICAL – anagram (new) of ALLIANCE CRIT – not the ‘ical’ half.
14. Bird in kangaroo’s territory (7)
ROOSTER – inside kanga(ROOS TER)ritory.
16. Time to get insect, strange pet (7)
TANTRUM – time (T), insect (ANT), strange (RUM).
17. Good shower? It may swell growth of this (5)
GRAIN – good (G) shower (RAIN).
18. Undergarment on a goddess (5)
VESTA – undergarment (VEST), a (A).
19. Boy or girl I love? One may be just outside the house (5)
PATIO – boy or girl (PAT), I (I), love (O).

46 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1621 by Izetti”

  1. Whizzed through this one, biffing COMET, parsing post-submission, and ASTROPHYSICS and ANTICLERICAL, where I never bothered to verify the anagrist. ANTICLERICAL is a sneaky one; you eliminate -ical to get a word that ends in -ical. 3:47, which is either a pb or as near as dammit. (And over a minute behind Verlaine.)on edit: I forgot to mention that I was puzzled by ‘soldier’s home country’, as I didn’t realize ‘Blighty’ was a soldier’s term; the only person I know who uses it, a Brit friend, was never a soldier. I just now looked it up.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 05:56 am (UTC)

    1. Great time Kevin. For reference, I think your fastest time is actually 3:17 on QC 1453 in October 2019. I remember it because I scored a PB on the same QC which equated to 2K!
  2. I needed a few seconds under 10 minutes for this excellent example of Izetti’s skill as setter. I hope he pops in today as I wonder if he realises that this is his 150th QC and I for one would like to offer Don my congratulations and thanks for many hours of enjoyable solving.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 08:41 am (UTC)

  3. Many congratulations on the time Kevin, I think your experience of this puzzle may have differed from mine. I was all green in 15.46 so a pretty solid performance for me. I only got five acrosses on the first pass but even if the answer didn’t present itself I could see what was needed in each clue so wasn’t too disheartened. Didn’t do too much better on the downs but then the clues steadily fell with greater application and I generally filled the grid from east to west and north to south. LOI was BLIGHT ahead of GRAIN, ATTACKS and NORM – all had been just dangling out of reach, bravo Izetti. Enjoyed PATIO!
  4. 08:53 so good for Izetti.
    Held up by LOI anticlerical.
    My only doubt when solving was divine = dd.

    COD gloss over.

      1. Hi, I knew the DD was doctor of divinity, just haven’t seen the divine = DD before.
  5. Smooth sailing today, with a brief pause over the parsing of LOI BLIGHT and, like Flashman, a query over DD for divine. I guessed it must be related to the Doctor of the Divinity thing. Lots to enjoy but for me ON THIN ICE and the wordplay in GLOSS OVER were the standouts. Finished in 9.07.
    Thanks to chris
    1. It’s a fit of bad temper, although all the usual sources suggest it’s more of a childish sulk than a full-blown tantrum.
  6. I was a coffee or two off the pace here, finishing in just over 10 minutes for 2.8K and a Not Very Good Day. I just couldn’t see 1ac or 1dn despite lots of pen sucking and that always deflates me. (I always approach 1ac in a spirit of cheery optimism so a fruitless minute on it takes the wind out of my sails!)

    In the end solved this from the bottom up, helped to break into the top half by the two long anagrams.

    Thanks for letting us know that it was Izetti’s 150th, Jack, and thanks to him for all the pleasure I have had from his excellent puzzles.



  7. Sorry. Still don’t get this. I can’t find a definition of “pet” that makes it a fit of bad temper (ie a tantrum). What am I missing?
    1. For instance, ODE sv pet2: a fit of sulking or ill humour. As Jack said, ‘tantrum’ is rather different–a pet hardly suggests kicking and screaming–but they’re both expressions of bad temper. Whether you want to grant the setter this much latitude or not is up to you–I’m not sure I do–but this isn’t the first time it’s shown up here.
  8. Well, let me be the first to enter the SCC (only just!) at 5 mins over target. I was very slow to start with CONTOUR followed by a bitty tour of the grid with MICROBE as my LOI. I enjoyed BACH, PATIO, and EARTHY but there were too many other clever clues so I won’t pick them all out. I’ll just go back to chris’s crisp blog (thanks) and enjoy them at leisure. Why do I worry about my time when there is so much to savour? Thanks to Izetti for a fair but testing QC. John M.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 08:58 am (UTC)

  9. ….he scores ! Hopefully my solver’s block has been cured this morning.

    A lovely puzzle from Izetti. His 150th QC eh ? I wonder how many puzzles he must have had published altogether ? I first solved one of Don’s puzzles (Quixote in the Guardian ?) some 40 years ago ! He is a master of his art.

    TIME 0.89K

  10. After yesterday’s disgrace, tomorrow was definitely another day as I managed a rare sub-20 (19:49) with all but four of the across clues going in first time (it was actually all but three, but for some reason I put OVERGLOSS instead of GLOSSOVER, which held me up for a bit later when I realised it was wrong, but didn’t see I could just turn it round). At that point I was under 7 minutes and thought a pb might be in reach, but even though I went through the downs almost as quick, it only takes a few sticky ones to add the couple of minutes which makes the difference. The other blight on my record was parsing 1d with ROBE instead of ROB for Fleece, but of course that would mean the E was used twice. LOI was 8d. Thanks Izetti and Chris.
  11. NAMED went in first followed by ODD, then a steady ramble around the grid with ASTROPHYSICS and ANTICLERICAL dropping in with only a brief glance at the anagrist, saw me over the line in 8:21. MICROBE held me up briefly as I tried to insert CON instead of ROB at first. Thanks Izetti and Chris.
  12. I did not find this as easy as others,so congratulations on some amazing times.
    I thought I was doing quite well just needing 15a and 8d after 11 minutes. FOI MENTALLY and proceeded well from there. Unfortunately I misread 12a as 2,3,4 and had ON THE … until finally decoding LOI ANTICLERICAL. COD to BLIGHT.
    About 20 minutes in total. An excellent puzzle and thanks to Izetti for 150. David
  13. A good challenge. I got tantrum quickly, but on listening to the arguments against I’m inclined to agree that it’s too strong a word for how I react when annoyed with someone who consistently puts the spoons away in the wrong drawer.


    Edited at 2020-05-26 10:09 am (UTC)

  14. Enjoyed though.
    Thanks all.
    Stuck on Microbe at first and struggled with parsing of Named.
    Agree that a pet is more of a hump than a Tantrum
    Smiled at Grain and Thin Ice
  15. Bang in the middle of my target range at 12 and a half minutes, so quite happy here thank you. Congrats all round; to Izetti on 150 fine puzzles, to Kevin on a PB, and to Chris for the blog. Let’s not forget our resident statistician Jackkt, who adds to our enjoyment of this little club. Thanks all!

    On edit, I just saw Phil’s time – well done to you too!

    Edited at 2020-05-26 09:34 am (UTC)

  16. An easier one from Izetti although none the less still enjoyable. Came in around 20 mins with the main hold up on 15ac “Blight” and not recognising 16dn “Tantrum” = Pet.

    FOI – 1ac “Mentally”
    LOI – 4dn “Licit”
    COD – 22ac “Norm”

    Thanks as usual.

    1. It wouldn’t be as they aren’t equivalent. The definition in the clue is actually ‘in terms of intellect’ i.e. ‘intellectually’ which you will probably find under MENTALLY. It’s in mine, anyway.
  17. Normal service has resumed. I solved bang on my target 10 minutes. FOI BACH, biffed MICROBE and ANTICLERICAL and was slowed down considerably by my last two in….BLIGHT and TANTRUM. Thanks Chris and congratulations to Izetti on his 150th.
  18. Started in the NE corner after drawing a blank with 1ac, and a steady solve thereafter saw the finishing post in sight after about 20 mins. Unfortunately 15ac Blight and my (eventual) CoD 16d Tantrum were in the way. Really struggled with these last two and should really have stopped for a break, but persevered. Tantrum was first to fall, quickly followed by Blight. Both perfectly fair clues but just couldn’t see the answers for ages. My congratulations to Don for reaching 150, and I hope his ‘innings’ continues for a long time yet. Invariant
  19. I got NORM, but don’t understand the “Absence of marines” part. Could someone explain please, as 22A isn’t included in the explanations :).


    1. Thank you. I hadn’t noticed that 22ac was AWOL – now returned to barracks.
  20. Great puzzle today, thank you. Circumstances beyond our control meant that we don’t have a specific time to offer. However, it was a fairly straightforward solve just held up in the final stages by taking longer than we would have liked to get anticlerical.

    FOI: Bach
    LOI: Blighty
    COD: on thin ice (😄)

    Thanks for the blog Chris.

  21. A good puzzle for me solved in just over 45 minutes, though I couldn’t parse 13ac or 15ac even after I worked out the answers. And a new definition as well, as I didn’t know pet could mean tantrum/similar. But it was nice to be able to work out the cryptic despite not understanding the answer. Still a beginner but gradually getting quicker week by week which is good! Thanks for the blog, I would not be improving without it.
    1. Glad you’re enjoying the QCs – it is amazing what vocabulary you can pick up – the trick is to try and remember them all. If you register for free with LiveJournal then folk here will know who you are and also you get an email notifying you if anyone replies to one of your posts.
  22. Many congratulations and thanks to Mr Izetti.
    I tackled yesterday’s and today’s puzzles back-to-back. They were both very enjoyable and each took around 15 minutes which is good for me.
    Tricky ones today were MICROBE and TANTRUM with my COD going to EARTHY. Yesterday’s COD was GROSSER which made me smile.
    Thanks to Chris for the blog (and a belated ‘thank you’ to Orpheus and Jack).

  23. of a straightforward QC with neat cluing. BLIGHT was my LOI, and I think my COD.

    I thought I was quick at a handful of seconds over 5 minutes, but left standing by the usual suspects! If I could eliminate stupid typos due to using my phone, I would do the crossword club. Maybe I should do what Phil does, do the puzzle on paper (if I can make my home printer work), time it, then type the answers in carefully in the same time.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 01:35 pm (UTC)

  24. Several interruptions today so never got a smooth run at it. Nevertheless I didn’t encounter any major obstacles although the interrupted progress meant I tended to dodge around the grid a bit. I left 8dn for quite q while as I wasn’t sure which half of critical I was supposed to be dropping.

    FOI – 5ac Bach
    LOI – 13ac Earthy
    COD – so many to choose from but I think I’ll do for 1dn.

  25. … and a 16 minute solve. A very nice puzzle with enough to chew on but no queries or raised eyebrows when I saw the answers. The perfect workout; thank you Izetti.

    COD to 16D Tantrum – well constructed clue!

    Thanks to Chris for the very clear blog.


  26. Always a feeling of apprehension when seeing Izetti as setter, but we enjoyed this one very much. No real hold ups, had to look twice to parse 22a, and also did not know the other meaning of pet. Thank Izetti, and look forward to many more.

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