Times Quick Cryptic 2006 by Izetti


7:27. Rather held up in the end by the bottom-right-most clues. I have some parsing to do while I write the blog!



1   Not long ago, left-winger moved to the middle again (9)

6   Modern music king appearing in South Africa (3)
SKA = K in S.A.

8   Like a new business celebrity meeting organised workers quietly (5-2)

9   Imperfections — bedding material must be sent back (5)
WARTS = STRAW reversed

10   Think about getting proficient, becoming hugely important (12)

12   Wine provided in summer — lots (6)

13   Take no notice of Italian man heading off (6)
IGNORE = {s}IGNORE without the first letter

16   Make idle one react differently, slowing down (12)

19   Smart / trick (5)
STING = double definition

20   Correspondence on the up? (7)
AIRMAIL = cryptic definition

22   Wild beast‘s jaw (3)
YAK = double definition

23   You hope they won’t be the thorns in your side! (4,5)
TEAM MATES = cryptic definition
The only way I can understand this is that TEAM MATES are ‘in your side’, but you hope they won’t be ‘thorns in your side’.


1   Flush and terribly sorry, having lost heart (4)
ROSY = anagram of SO{r}RY

2   Beat in court, briefly causing outcry (7)

3   Fool knocking container over (3)
NIT = TIN reversed

4   Odd drips around a fast-flowing stream (6)
RAPIDS = anagram of DRIPS around A

5   Utterly depressed, correct? (9)

6   Clean / area with dense vegetation (5)
SCRUB = double definition

7   Ascetic American hiding in a tree, dishevelled (7)
AUSTERE = US in anagram of A TREE

11   See land as focus of attention (9)

12   Decorum in dirty hovel, way above (7)

14   Fragrant old Dorothy has managed to get hugged (7)
ODORANT = O + DOT around RAN

15   Prepare for war — notice a fleet prepared to attack our shores (6)

17   Ringing sound in prison (5)
CLINK = double definition

18   More than one drink is bad, we hear (4)
ALES = homophone of AILS

21   Strange bottom, bottom not to be seem! (3)
RUM = RUM{p}

82 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2006 by Izetti”

  1. This setter needs to get out more

    Otherwise an enjoyable 5.6 minutes after having trouble getting started in the NW

    Edited at 2021-11-16 01:22 am (UTC)

    1. I think the ‘modern music’ clue is a reference to the people who performed and listened to ‘ska’, ‘Modernists’, or ‘Mods’.
  2. Same thought as Lou on SKA. I thought of TEAM MATES–that’s all I could think of–but aside from spelling it as one word, the only reading I could come up with was Jeremy’s, which didn’t convince, so I decided the hell with it.
  3. 23ac TEAM MATES!! Give us a cue!! DNF

    FOI 6ac SKA- Jamaica late fifties!

    (LOI) 21dn RUM!?? seem?

    COD None

    WOD None. I’m also not a Merlot fan! Terrible puzzle from Donizetti. Meldrew

  4. Oh dear, what with this and the 15×15 I’ve not had a good day’s solving so far! This one took me to 15 minutes staying just, but only just, in my amber zone. One more second and I’d have been in the red. I was actually surprised to see the time on the clock as I wrote in my last entry because the puzzle hadn’t struck me as particularly hard but evidently I needed that little bit of extra thought on too many clues, and they all add up.

    Jeremy’s interpretation of TEAM MATES was my best guess too, but I wasn’t fully convinced.

    I think saying the puzzle is terrible is overstating it but maybe it wasn’t one of Don’s best considering how high he has set the bar.

    Edited at 2021-11-16 05:33 am (UTC)

  5. A few clues short, but no smiles on seeing the answers. Not a great puzzle, as I see it.

    Could not get IMPONDERABLE out of my mind.
    AIRMAIL is a weak cryptic
    At 3d I had TUN/NUT so would have been a pink square had I got as far as submitting.
    I knew ODOROUS was wrong, but never heard of ODORANT.

    SPOTLIGHT is an example of a clue with two common words, where the compound isn’t very different from the two words, then the setter just provides homonyms. They end up being surprisingly hard. Compare with DOWNRIGHT, where the compound is not related to the shorter words.


  6. Downright rapid(s) through the north, but a deceleration as I moved downwards until the sting of TEAM MATES — didn’t seem Izetti-ish but went in with a shrug -and the typo? “seem” in the final clue making me wonder if it was more fiendish than I thought. About 30 mins whilst pottering generally.
    1. Had to clean my glasses to check ‘seem’. Then forgot it didn’t say seen as I continued to struggle.
      1. I print off from the Times webpage and there it was ‘seen’ so someone seems to have made a correction…
  7. Most of the puzzle went in without any major issues but I found the SE tricky and it accounted for most of my time over target.
    Like others I had a raised eyebrow for modern/SKA and an unparsed TEAM-MATES at the end which went in after an alphabet trawl with a bemused shrug. I also had a slight pause over CLAMOUR as it had appeared so recently but the parsing was clear.
    Finished in 14.00
    Thanks to Jeremy
  8. This is a major contender for Room 101. My first DNF – as 23ac TEAM MATES went way over my head. The Lord only knows what the SCC will make of this, especially the SE quadrant? COD 13ac Ignore!

    Edited at 2021-11-16 08:55 am (UTC)

  9. Tossed and turned around the grid with several biffed shrugs for 2.5x SCC.
    Made CONSIDERABLE progress after that but generally was puzzled and assumed ‘seem’/’seen’ was a typo just to add to my confusion. Thanks all.
        1. ‘Disappointing, we expect better’; ‘car crash’; ‘poor’; ‘to hell with it’. How was your time?
          1. Your Baby Has Gawn Down the Plughole
            (A Mother’s Lament)Traditional Song/Cream

            A mother was washin’ her baby one night
            The youngest of ten and a delicate mite
            The mother was poor and the baby was thin
            T’was nought but a skelington covered in skin.
            The mother turned round for the soap on the rack
            She was only a moment but when she turned back;
            Her baby had gawn and in anguish she cried,
            “Oh where has my baby gawn?” The angels replied…

            “Your baby has gawn down the plughole
            Your baby has gawn down the plug;
            The poor little thing was so skinny and thin,
            He should have been washed in a jug – in a jug!
            Your baby is perfectly happy
            He won’t need a barf any more;
            He’s a muckin’ about wiv’ the angels above,
            Not lost but gawn before…”

            Edited at 2021-11-16 01:49 pm (UTC)

  10. 16 minutes, so over target AND unsatisfactory. I suppose SKA can be classed as relatively modern, compared to more classical music, but as it has been around almost as long as me, if not longer, it is stretching things a bit — maybe the Don has only recently discovered it. TEAM MATES is a poor clue on a number of levels; it is a single word in my experience, there is no real connection between the wordplay and the definition to justify it. I put it in anyway because nothing else fitted, but didn’t like it, and could come up with no better reason than Jeremy. There is a women’s football club from Portland, Or that goes by the name the Thorns, but I can’t see a better reason from that. Finally, the typo in the RUM clue is just plain bad editing. Disappointing from Izetti — we expect better.
  11. DNF.
    Just could not make head or tail of this one.

    Having read the answers I am still no clearer on some clues for example:
    23 Across. You hope they won’t be the thorns in your side! (4,5)
    TEAM MATES = cryptic definition
    ‘Thorns in your side’ ??

    1 Across RECENTRED ? Sounds like a made up word to me though I am sure that someone will say it is in every dictionary.

    ODORANT. This obscure word is,I believe, a noun – therefore the clue should have been a noun such as fragrance.

    1. My Dear Chairman Mao, you have obviously never worked in an art studio – RECENTRED images are common in paste-up both in old and new techs. Back to the drawingboard!?
      1. Guilty as charged. I have never worked in an art studio.
        Just so I know, why are images recentred ?
        1. Artworks in the trade were known as ‘mechanicals’. So many magazines had slightly different page sizes, taking into consideration, bleed, trim and the gutter for a DPS (Double Page Spread). Sometimes similar ‘mechs’ were duplicated (to save money), so the studio artist would perhaps need to recentre one ‘element’ – the image, the copy (text) or the logo to satisfy the studio manager or the client. An ‘element’ was then marked-up with a white chinagraph – ‘RECENTRE’ on the overlay.

          Since c. 1990 Adobe Photoshop (&tc) does most of that automatically, but if say a headline is slightly altered and is then overlooked, it might well carry the instruction ‘RECENTRE’, or more likely ‘RECENTER’, from an online editor.

          1. Thanks for that detailed explanation.

            I feel that I have opened a door into another world.



  12. I do not usually attempt Izetti QC’s as I often find them way too difficult for this setting. However, I was feeling brave and so dived in. I never thought I would say this about an Izetti puzzle, but I enjoyed it.

    I was not able to complete this one, with four clues unanswered (20a, 23a, 18, and 21d). In addition I answered 3d incorrectly with NUT. Must admit that NUT did not sit comfortably with me.

    I did answer 14d with ODORANT but I was initially hesitant, as it seemed like an American spelling; I was looking for a U to go in there.

    So, even though it was a DNF for me, and taking into account that it was an Izetti QC, I liked this one.

    Whilst I am here, can somebody help me with a clue I was able to answer yesterday in a cryptic crossword book, but did not fully understand:

    It tells you how to operate keyboard (6)

    I entered MANUAL, and this was my reasoning:

    Defintion: It tells you how
    To operate = man

    I know MANUAL is correct as I checked the answers on completion. However, I just cannot understand the “keyboard” part of the clue. I wondered if UAL was related to keyboard, but I just cannot see it.

    Is somebody able to help me understand?

    Thank you.

    Edited at 2021-11-16 09:52 am (UTC)

      1. Ah! As simple as that. Thank you very much, pedwardine. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to help me.
  13. Hit my 30 min mark and still had 23ac “Team Mates” and 20ac “Airmail” to complete. Didn’t get the latter as I’d put “Poor” for 18dn (thinking it was shorthand for another drink — ok, maybe Father Ted territory there). Similarly, couldn’t parse 1dn and biffed “Rash”.

    Just found the whole thing a slog — wasn’t sure if I was just tired or it was too difficult for a quick time. In the end, I can see 23ac “Team Mates”, but it still feels a bit of a shrug.

    FOI — 6ac “Ska”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 5dn “Downright” — although I struggled to find one that stood out.

    Thanks as usual.

  14. but, like everyone else, became bogged down in the bottom right.

    Shoved in TEAM MATES from the checkers and very little else (I’m always hesitant to criticise, but this was a clunker), then AIRMAIL eventually floated into my mind followed straight after by ALES.


    1. He who hesitates is lost. I believe that the Old Blighter has it spot on today – Jeremy had no opinion – just a slow time – for him. It would seen that Izetti has become somewhat lax recently, perhaps he’s mislaid his keys?

      Edited at 2021-11-16 10:16 am (UTC)

      1. I’ll quibble with TEAM MATES, but oldblighter has picked on plenty of others that, while a little difficult, were perfectly gettable. MODESTY was probably my clue of the day for example, and there’s nothing wrong with any of the other clues he mentions, though I’ll grant that flushed would be better than flush, but the wordplay was very clear — SO(R)RY anagram with the checkers R?S?. It ain’t going to be RYSO…
        1. I would agree with your first sentence if you removed the word ‘perfectly’. You may find nothing wrong with the other clues I mentioned and, taken individually, that is probably a fair claim from a seasoned solver. Like you, I managed to get them all — but slowly in my case.
          However, I was trying to make a point. The QC is aimed at less experienced solvers and those who want a quick fix (not often a feature of the 15×15).
          I am sure I was not alone in finding the cumulative effect of these clues deeply disappointing (especially from a setter like Izetti). I trust that newer and less experienced QC solvers will have their say. John.

          Edited at 2021-11-16 10:43 am (UTC)

      2. 7:27 is a little faster than average time for me. My opinion on TEAM MATES was clearly that it made little sense to me. Beyond that it was not a puzzle I had very much to say about, and that I suppose is a comment in itself.
  15. This was an awful QC by any standards IMO. It seemed to have been thrown together with too many poor quality clues.
    I started slowly but accelerated when I had a few crossers; most of the answers then went in with some MERs. However, the SE corner was a biff-fest (as others have said above). TEAM MATES? Purleez! ALES? RUM (not to be seeM)? Should it have been flushED to mean ROSY? Too many others were fingers-crossed biffs — CLAMOUR, MODESTY, odorANT, land/light (alight?)..…
    Really disappointed (and not because it took me into the SCC). Thanks to Jeremy for making the best of this car crash. John M.

    Edited at 2021-11-16 11:24 am (UTC)

  16. I share the general confusion over TEAM MATES, which took me slightly over my target to 10:04. I had to rethink a biffed DECELERATING to get ODORANT too. Thanks Izetti and Jeremy.
  17. This took me 12 minutes. LOI ARMADA which helped to confirm TEAM MATES which I had pencilled in.
    I see this puzzle has created considerable clamour; Izetti should ignore any sting and have a merlot and some ales.
  18. Twenty-one minutes, FOI ska, LO’sI SE corner. Had odorous, then saw armada and airmail, hence odorant, the opposite of deodorant. I used to do research work on fast-moving consumer goods, i.e. deodorant, shampoo and the like, so was familiar with odorant as perfume, or the more humble scent. Pong, even. I had to scratch my head and ruminate, and Izetti almost had me beat. I did consider having a walk round the garden to let my brain work on the SE, but with armada and airmail in, the rest crawled in. I enjoyed the challenge. I don’t have an opinion really on the quality of the QCs, I suppose I’m just glad to have the chance to pit my wits for a while. I don’t much like being beaten by a QC, but it does happen, only not today. COD modesty. Thanks for the blog, Jeremy, and the puzzle, Izetti.

    Edited at 2021-11-16 10:23 am (UTC)

  19. I think people are being a little hard on izetti. Liked quite a few answers and wasn’t much more of a slog than usual for us. Would like to know why TEAM MATES though. Is so incomprehensible to all — mistake?
    SE Corner not our problem, more SW.

    Edited at 2021-11-16 11:42 am (UTC)

  20. DNF with the same problems as all above with TEAM MATES, compounded by failure to spot ALES/AILS.

    Gave up after 18 mins, but few problems before that – avoided the NUT/NIT trap, just about parsed RUM.

    Still not sure of the clueing of AIRMAIL. Doesn’t quite work for me.

  21. I’m glad it wasn’t just me then. I found this unusually clunky for an Izetti and so was relieved to cross the line just short of 40mins, with my last pair, Ales and Team Mates, responsible for quite a few of those. I’m still looking at Team Mates and wondering how on earth one of our most respected setters let it see the light of day. Invariant

    On edit: In view of Vinyl’s comment below, add ‘in a QC’ to the end of my last sentence.

    Edited at 2021-11-16 08:32 pm (UTC)

  22. 15 minutes, with much shrugging of shoulders …
    … at all the clues others have highlighted. Whole of SE corner very MER-worthy. One to move on swiftly from in my view.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

  23. 31 minutes for me, the last 10 of which were spent on STING (I DNK it means ‘smart’) and TEAM MATES (a weak clue, IMHO). Otherwise, I was quite happy with the level of difficulty, and I made good progress (especially in the NW corner).

    Mrs Random is out at the moment, so I must now go and clear the greenhouse of old tomato plants (etc.) to enable her to over-winter various pots/plants from around the garden. That’s top of the long list she left me.

    Many thanks to Izetti and Jeremy.

      1. Ah, thankyou! I should have known really, having kept bees for a few years. Unfortunately, I developed an allergy to bee venom and had to undergo a 3-year de-sensitisation programme involving >40 injections. Mrs Random took over my bee-husbandry duties, but 18 months later, she also suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a sting and had to go through the same programme. Needless to say, we said bye-bye to our bees at that point.
        1. After the last 2 puzzles, I am thinking of trying a similar de-sensitisation programme for QCs.



    1. Gosh, well done finishing, Random Chap. (STING was one of the few that did spring to mind fairly quickly. ).
  24. Well I was quite relieved to come on here and find I wasn’t the only one to run aground in the SE corner. I started this on the tube and finished in my lunch hour but took 33 minutes.
    I like the Eurythmics song Thorn In My Side better than I liked this crossword!

    FOI: Ska
    LOI : Ales
    COD: Modesty

  25. I didn’t mind this one. All done in 10 minutes. I thought there were some neat clues although I agree that there seems to have been a bit of a problem with cluing / subbing in places, as others have said. I liked CONSIDERABLE, MERLOT and SCRUB, and the surface for ODORANT made me laugh. TEAM MATES though – oh dear! I got the answer but not the parsing. Thanks to Vinyl for coming to the rescue – you definitely earned a nice cup of tea after that!
    FOI Ska
    LOI Team mates
    COD Deceleration – I liked the slightly different structure of the anagrind
    Thanks Izetti and Jeremy
  26. ….was IMPONDERABLE at 10A — the sole reason why I missed my target.

    FOI SKA (I used to “dance” to ‘Al Capone’ by Prince Buster’s All Stars at Rowntree’s nightclubs in Manchester in 1965, so definitely not modern !)

    LOI CONSIDERABLE (after a lot of faffing around)

    COD AIRMAIL (I think there’s a dodgy homophone clue just begging for construction)

    TIME 5:11

    Edited at 2021-11-16 02:01 pm (UTC)

  27. DNF – totally bemused by the SW corner. Still cannot see why TEAM MATES fits and AIRMAIL is pathetic. Could not see ALES at all, either, but I get it now. Not the most enjoyable puzzle, this.
  28. At least I am not alone in thinking this a dreadful puzzle. I don’t like Izetti puzzles but he has hit a new low with this. Anyone starting out as I am best ignore this setter.


  29. Ran out of time at 20 mins with the SE corner blank apart from ARMADA and ODORANT. Also failed to spot the rather obvious 1dn ROSY, much to my annoyance. I thought of TEAM MATES for 23ac but could make no sense of it so left it blank. This and 20ac AIRMAIL were very poor clues IMO. I assumed there was a typo in 21dn but still did not manage to solve it or 18dn, which I probably should have done, but I’d rather given up by the time I got to them. All in all a poor effort, both from myself and from Izetti!

    FOI – 8ac START UP
    LOI – DNF

  30. Made satisfactory progress until the se corner like others, failed to get armada, so team mates became almost impossible.
  31. meaning not a QC old hand, I just answered the questions and slumbered through the funny ones. Izetti suits me. Thank goodness I did not have to meet a Solve Crash, which happened yesterday. I now know more three letter words for a fish than I could ever imagine. Grateful thanks.
  32. At least I am not alone in thinking this a dreadful puzzle. I don’t like Izetti puzzles but he has hit a new low with this. Anyone starting out as I am best ignore this setter.


    1. It wasn’t Izetti’s best but it was generally fine, with a slight “hmm” for TEAMMATES”. No problem with AIRMAIL, it says what it is. Izetti clues may not be immediately obvious (thank goodness) but they are fair and almost always precise. I have learned more from him than any other QC setter.
  33. Well, while I’d agree this may not have been one of the Don’s best, I am happy that, apart from AIRMAIL, ALES and TEAM MATES, everything went in pretty quickly for me. Those last three took me about five minutes longer, landing me on 19:18 in the end, comparing very favourably to those I usually use as benchmarks. It certainly helped that CLAMOUR came up yesterday though. Thanks to Jeremy and Izetti.
  34. Finished this one fairly easily. Not worried about an obvious mistype as it was so obviously so.
    Some nice cluing IMHO
  35. All went smoothly apart from the SE corner. Team mates didn’t make sense but having spent 5 minutes without progress put it in speculatively, at which point rum, ales and airmail all clicked.
  36. Our problem was SKA which we’d never heard of it, but at least it was pronounce-able whereas R for King wasn’t!
  37. Don (Izetti) often comments on our blogs of his puzzles, but sadly not today. I hope we wasn’t put off by the adverse comments, some of which I feel were over the top. It’s possible and valid to query individual clues without rubbishing the whole puzzle and being rude to the setter.
  38. Don’t see what the fuss is about with team mates. Thorn in your side is a problem. If you are in a team, you don’t want team mates who are a problem. Can’t see why this is causing such a fuss!
    1. I agree that the definition seemed relatively clear — it was how to get there that threw a lot of us. Fortunately Vinyl resolved that!
        1. Credit to Jucrow too, although Vinyl came up with the answer a couple of hours earlier, in fairness!
  39. Yes, I have seen the word in the dictionary and I’m still not convinced. Shrug. I think the explanation I put in the blog seems reasonable… we’ve certainly seen looser.

    But I am happy to be corrected by Gaetano himself.

  40. I enjoyed this until I came unstuck.
    I didn’t get Airmail, Ales, Odorant, or Team Mates.
    But I was annoyed that I didn’t see Airmail since I had the A/R beginning and I did think of Odour and Team but failed to convert. I didn’t like the Ales clue though. Maybe ‘More than one beer, perhaps, is bad, we hear.’
    Interesting to read all the comments.
    Thanks all
    John George
  41. I quite enjoyed this. About an hour.
    Got stuck in the SE as many but eventually went for TEAM MATES after getting TEAM from side — had to be MATES but a little indirect.

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