Times Quick Cryptic 2081 by Izetti (Izippi!)

Very zippy indeed today, charging home in 5:43. Didn’t get 1ac at first go so started with 4ac 6ac and worked quickly down the left and up the right finishing with 1ac and then 5dn. Even with this unusual speed, I did find a lot to enjoy on the way – and am now looking forward to examining the clues at leisure as we go through the blog – for which, please click on ‘Read more’ below.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Those who mimic sport said to be funny? (9)
PARODISTS – anagram (to be funny) of SPORT SAID.
6 Car — nothing right after its test? (5)
MOTOR – nothing (O) and right (R) after its test – the test of a car – (MOT).
8 Dear lover no longer philosophical? (9)
EXPENSIVE – lover no longer (EX), philosophical (PENSIVE).
9 Poet takes off (5)
KEATS – anagram (off) of TAKES.
10 International experiment with something in a box? (4,5)
TEST MATCH – experiment (TEST), something in a box (MATCH).
12 Homeless girl gets home in Rugby maybe (6)
GAMINE – home (IN) inside Rugby maybe (GAME). I knew gamine to be the English definition – a girl who’s attractive in a boyish/elvish way. I wasn’t aware that ‘homeless girl’ is the American definition but it wasn’t a stretch too far given the straightforward word play.
13 Former statesman seen in China’s serious (6)
NASSER – seen in Chi(NA’S SER)ious. Another unknown definition which ‘had to be’ as a hidden. It turns out that our statesman was Gabel Nasser – Egyptian soldier and statesman who was part of a coup to depose King Farouk (whom I had heard of) in 1952.
16 Withdrew soldiers given medical attention? (9)
RETREATED – soldiers (RE), given medical attention (TREATED).
18 Approach continuous period at university (3-2)
RUN-UP – continuous period (RUN – as in of dnf’s), at university (UP).
19 Conservative member has chosen to become a monk (9)
CARMELITE – Conservative (C), member (ARM), chosen (ELITE). Chosen as in a top/choice pick. I don’t suppose I know that many monks but this one popped out after the obvious C and ARM (once I’d discounted leg).
21 Criticise material used for roofing (5)
SLATE – double definition.
22 A wee pest’s destroyed pretty plants (5,4)
SWEET PEAS – anagram (destroyed) of A WEE PEST’S.
1 Very quick train’s ending in northern city (7)
PRESTON – very quick (PRESTO – as in hey), trai(N).
2 Model again to get rest? (6)
REPOSE – model again (RE-POSE).
3 Material in study I am sunk beneath (5)
DENIM – study (DEN), I am (IM) sunk underneath.
4 Slide and jump not quite to the end (3)
SKI – jump not quite to the end (SKI)p.
5 Her dish — Peep’s — potentially? (9,3)
SHEPHERDS PIE – partial &lit anagram (potentially) of HER DISH PEEP’S.
6 Leaving the job for rail builders to do (6,6)
MAKING TRACKS – double definition.
7 Broadcast across American university (8)
TRANSMIT – across (TRANS), American University (MIT – Massachusetts Instutute of Technology). If you didn’t know MIT – then I’m sorry but it just is.
11 It’s a man wandering over a part of Australia (8)
TASMANIA – anagram (wandering) of IT’S A MAN, over a (A).
14 Sermon maybe in specific location (7)
ADDRESS – double definition.
15 Small child’s wheeled toy making impact (6)
STRIKE – small (S), child’s wheeled toy (TRIKE). Generously clued.
17 Outcome is not odd when looked at over time (5)
EVENT – not odd (EVEN) when looked at (in the answer) over time (T).
20 Regret being impolite, putting daughter out (3)
RUE – being impolite (RU)d(E) putting daughter (D) out.

61 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2081 by Izetti (Izippi!)”

  1. NASSER was a major figure in the Arab world, and much in the news back in the 50s and 60s, especially the Suez Crisis. I’m not sure why the clue has ‘former’; he wouldn’t be in the puzzle if he were a current statesman. I don’t think I knew GAMINE (LOI) as a homeless girl, but I knew ‘gamin’. 5:51.
      1. Hi
        How did Billy Joel teach you about these people ?

        Were they mentioned in the same song or different songs ?


        1. Not sure whether you’ll see my first reply as it says it’s been marked as spam under forum rules.

          Basically Billy Joel wrote a song called “We didn’t start the fire” which is a historical trawl of his formative years.

          My spam post contains a link to Youtube where you can find it – very catchy tune it is.

  2. My FOI (and Chris’) was 4D (not 4A) and MIT seems to have come foul of the typo curse.
    Col Nasser (as I remember his usual reference), was Egypt’s president during the calamitous 6 day war with Israel, a defeat of biblical proportion.
    A pleasing puzzle which I sauntered through a couple of minutes before the club opened its doors.
    As said, unaware of the US GAMINE meaning, elfish is more familiar.
    COD Probably one or other anagram.
    Thanks Chris and Izetti.
      1. “MIT – Massachusetts Instutute of Technilogy”.
        Engineers’ spelling often seems a bit creative.
  3. Nearly 9 minutes for me, nothing especial holding me up.

    PRESTO means very quick as a musical instruction, probably more that than “hey presto”.

    It’s a clever trick to start with 4ac since there isn’t one! But since you worked your way down the left I guess you mean 6ac.

  4. 9 minutes, delayed by SHEPHERD’S PIE needing several visits before it gave up its secret. Odd grid.
  5. It may have been generously clued but STIKE was still my last one in, ahead of CARMELITE where I’d never heard of the order and thought I’d only seen the word in thrillers relating to rifles but the internet suggests I’m mistaken. PARODISTS didn’t jump out from the anagrist easily even with all the checkers. Those delays were what prevented a swift solve becoming turbocharged. All green under 8.
    1. I think you mean ArmaLite AR-15 (US Army M16)!
      Probably not something your Carmelite would be in the habit of carrying!
  6. I found this a little tougher than the duty blogger but a very enjoyable 30 minutes.
    LOI: MAKING TRACKS. Not sure why this took till the end for the penny to drop.
    That meaning of GAMINE I had not met before but wordplay helped and the hidden NASSER just jumped out.
    COD: SHEPHERDS PIE. Amongst lots of choices.
  7. Seemed to be on the wavelength for this one. No idea what was going on with 1ac which was my LOI after starting with MAKING TRACKS and steadily working round anti-clockwise.


    Thanks Izetti and Chris

  8. A friendly Izetti …
    … which took me just under 12 minutes — indeed i solved this on my phone, where you cannot see the identity of the setter, and I was somewhat surprised to learn it was by the Don.

    No real problems, though like others I DK this meaning of 12A Gamine.

    I thought the surface of 13A Nasser a bit clunky and perhaps below Izetti’s usual high standards. What is the word serious doing, and would not “Statesman in China’s service” have been neater?

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

    1. that Nasser was in China’s service, even very obliquely, in a cryptic crossword, would be a step too far, and the editor changed it from service to serious at the expense of the surface?

      Edited at 2022-03-01 09:18 am (UTC)

    2. I thought you had missed the wordplay, but on rereading I see you were referring to the surface reading which doesn’t make any sense.

      Edited at 2022-03-01 08:57 am (UTC)

    3. Surely China’s a contraction of ‘China is’ and that the clue should be read: Former statesman seen in China is serious. But for the hidden to work the contraction is used.
  9. PARODISTS LOI, as I thought “said” was a homophone indicator for a long time until the penny dropped.

    Lots of good clues, even though on the easier end of the spectrum, especially for Izetti. CARMELITE my favourite I think, the surface bringing to mind (nearly), the Revd Jonathan Aitken.


  10. Lovely, elegant puzzle. What fun.

    FOI MOTOR, LOI STRIKE (“generously clued” my foot! – I spent ages trying to work “tot” in there), COD the brilliantly laconic KEATS, time 07:59 for 1.35K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Don and Zippy Chris!


  11. Twenty-five minutes. FOI motor, ten on first pass. LOI parodists, COD to this one, I thought it was very clever. 4d – I thought it was skid AND skip, as in slide and jump, both without the last letter – just in parsing, as it were. Abysmal time for me, but all parsed, unusually. Thought I was in for a DNF here, but persisted and triumphed in the (rather) long run. Thanks, Chris, and Izetti.
  12. On the SCC border today which I count as a good result with Izetti and after a slow start. Very few immediate answers in the first few apart from MOTOR, but then they started to come. PARODISTS was clever but a late solve once I had checkers. SHEPHERDS PIE wasn’t hard but a good laugh, clever.
  13. 36 mins to a DNF after misspeling CARMELInE.

    Was 3 to go as I entered SCC; left with NHO GAMINE and CARMELITE at 22-mins. Managed to construct the former although gemini and gaming both wanted consideration. memory dredged the monks but therefore no idea how to spell and couldn’t parse it.

    FOI SHEPHERDS PIE (early contender for COD)
    COD KEATS (damn obvious really)
    BIFD RETREATED (thought it was a double def), PRESTON (thought end of train was exPRES – doh).

    Strange shaped grid today. Once I got some checkers the answers flew in. Overall pleased with today’s effort.

    Edited at 2022-03-01 10:03 am (UTC)

  14. I rejected GAMINE as I knew it didn’t mean homeless girl so rather helplessly I biffed Gaming.
    Hm. Major eyebrow raise.
    Otherwise zoomed through relatively quickly between chats with the 2nd boiler man – yes, he fixed it! (Now to clear up all the ash and dust from dubious fuel neighbour kindly gave me for the fires.)
    Liked MAKING TRACKS which helped a lot, also liked CARMELITE, MOTOR, PRESTON, among others.
    Thanks, Chris.
  15. 07:04 today and would have been quicker but for a good think about LOI GAMINE. The word had occurred to me on first pass but I did not know the homeless girl meaning. Before that I biffed PARODISTS not wanting to slow down.
    Generally I followed Izetti’s instructions and the answers emerged.
    An enjoyable well -constructed puzzle.
    COD to KEATS.
  16. A fairly gentle offering today, apart from CARMELITE & EXPENSIVE which did not come readily for some reason. DNK GAMINE in this meaning, but guessable.
  17. A surprisingly comfortable sub-20 was snatched away at the death by loi Parodists — I was tying myself in knots with homophones until I realised it was an anagram. Gamine as a homeless girl went in with fingers crossed, but everything else seemed straightforward enough until the curse of the loi. CoD to 10ac, Test Match, just ahead of Expensive. Invariant
  18. Nicely inside target at 12 minutes after a thoroughly enjoyable solve. I have always liked the image used on the Les Mis posters, where I always connect the image with the word GAMINE in my head — I didn’t know the US definition of homeless, but it fits I think. I would have struggled to come up with PARODISTS as a word, despite thinking of parodies when first reading the clue, but as soon as I spotted the anagrind, it became obvious. The anagrams at the right and bottom both leapt straight out at me, requiring no thought. Thanks both.
  19. Failed with PARODISTS, as did not see the anagram, NHO the word either. Was trying to make “parrot” work homophonically.

    GAMINE was a weak clue in my opinion. This is a British crossword, and Gamine does not mean homeless girl. Clue would work perfectly well with the British definition.

    1. I’m American, and GAMINE doesn’t mean ‘homeless girl’ to me either; but we got it, no? And the ‘British definition’ isn’t specifically British. Not that I thought it was a very good clue, mind you.

      Edited at 2022-03-01 01:03 pm (UTC)

  20. I was delayed by looking for a homophone at 1a, but not for too long. I then rapidly completed all bar the SW which delayed me considerably. Eventually CARMELITE and SWEET PEAS allowed me to see MAKING TRACKS which allowed me to get GAMINE and RETREATED. LOI was STRIKE. 9:01. Thanks Izetti and Chris.
  21. I have NHO the word GAMINE, so whether the clue was referring to the British or American definition made no difference. I just had to hope for the best. Similarly, I had NHO the word PARODISTS (my LOI), and didn’t see it was an anagram until after I had entered it into the grid. Several minutes were wasted wrestling with PARODYERS/PARODIERS/PARROTERS before SKI arrived to scupper them all. In fact, troubles also with REPOSE, DENIM and EXPENSIVE meant that moreorless the whole NE corner was a mystery to me until very late on.

    In summary: I was relieved to finish all correct in 39 minutes, but I didn’t really enjoy the process today. I’m not sure why – probably just me.

    N.B. Mrs Random will tackle this and yesterday’s puzzles sometime this afternoon, so I may come back to report on her experience later.

    Many thanks to Izetti and chrisw91.

    1. To imagine if I could spell CARMELITE I would have finished ahead of the revered Mr Random.

      We live in strange times!

      Edited at 2022-03-01 02:02 pm (UTC)

      1. “Revered”? You must be thinking of Mrs Random. Plenty of adjectives apply to me, but I think “revered” is absent from the list.
  22. Held up for ages by CARMELITE. Knew the word courtesy of my catholic schooling but couldn’t parse the ‘elite’ part, falling into the trap of not separating ‘has’ and ‘chosen’. Very obvious now of course. As others, DNK GAMINE in the sense of homeless. LOI STRIKE (expecting tot somewhere), FOI MOTOR, COD SHEPHERDS PIE. Nicely challenging puzzle for me. Many thanks Izetti and Chris
  23. Completed everything in 23 mins, but got 12ac wrong. I stuck in “Gemini” — taking a punt is was something I didn’t know. Well, it was something I didn’t know, but I still got it wrong. In restrospect, it was obtainable from the clueing (very much like 19ac), but for some unfathomable reason I didn’t equate Rugby to “Game”.

    FOI — 1dn “Preston”
    LOI — 12ac (incorrectly)
    COD — 6dn “Making Tracks” — haven’t heard that expression for a while.

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2022-03-01 12:27 pm (UTC)

  24. Nothing too taxing, although I had trouble spotting anagrams today. Like some earlier commenters I spent time in a confused search for a homophone at 1a and then thought that LOI KEATS was going to be a double definition 😂. MAKING TRACKS was also slow to reveal itself and needed most of the checkers before the penny dropped.
    Enjoyed CARMELITE, which may have been because I impressed myself by remembering it, but COD goes to PARODISTS for the misdirection. Finished in a respectable 8.32.
    Thanks to Chris
  25. ….for an Izetti, though I shared the views of others regarding GAMINE, but threw it straight in on the parsing.

    TIME 3:46

  26. We really enjoyed this puzzle. We had to biff GAMINE as we had only come across the British definition of the word. We eventually finished in 18.57.

    As an aside, we think the presentation of the grid in the new version of the App in which the “Down” clues have to be solved “vertically” rather than “horizontally” (as in the Classic version of the App) is taking some getting used to and is slowing us down.


    Thanks Chris and Izetti.

  27. Finished correctly today – first time in a while (though I took a long time to start). Nothing too difficult – just not on the same wavelength as the setter today.

    Nonetheless, well done to Izetti for knowing that Preston
    is a city (has been since 2002); though it has a population of only 122,000. Nearby Bolton has still not got city status despite the fact that its population is larger (139,000).

    Regards to all.

    1. … and Southend became England’s 52nd city with its presentation of the Royal Charter today. One to remember for Pointless!
  28. 18 minutes for me today. Nothing stood out as either a write-in or unusually tricky, but some fine clues along the way. Couldn’t parse PARODISTS as I completely failed to spot the anagram and, like most, have never heard of GAMINE in this sense.

    FOI – 6ac MOTOR
    LOI – 15dn STRIKE
    COD – 9ac KEATS

    Thanks to Izetti & Chris

  29. But not before a scare as soon as 1a and others looked fearsome.
    21 minutes working from the bottom half up with 1a LOI. (Nicely disguised anagram)
    COD to Keats.
    A good mix of difficulties.
    Thanks all
  30. Finished in 30m, needed help to get parodists having missed the anagram. Gamine got from word play. Good puzzle as usual from Izetti.
  31. makes the parsing go wrong. I put in Gamine because I mixed it up with ‘Fantine’ from Les Miserables. Oddly enough I did remember the French word Gamine and did not think it meant homeless, but I bunged it in, seemed good enough to me! [A point, wiki reckons gamine/homeless is ‘dated’, it doesn’t mention American.] Time by certified subtraction 23 min a creeping ahead GN5.
  32. I found this relatively easy for an Izetti, and if it hadn’t been for getting in a twist over PARODISTS, I would have finished in under 10 minutes. As it was, it took another minute or so to see that it was an anagram and not a sound-alike! All the same, I thought it was a very good clue. I also liked MAKING TRACKS and SWEET PEAS. I knew GAMINE as a French word, but thought it just meant youthful – I wasn’t aware of the mischievous element, and certainly didn’t know the US version.
    FOI Motor
    LOI Parodists
    COD Shepherds pie
    Thanks Izetti and Chris
  33. Mostly straightforward but had to lake a leap of faith with the last 2 PARODISTS and GAMINE. Mightily relieved to see all green on pressing the button.
  34. For an Izetti this was a gentle puzzle
    Gamine makes sense if you look at the clue imho
  35. …of 7’29” – perhaps I should make more of a habit of a late-in-the-day quickie.

    Really enjoyed the puzzle throughout.

    Dragged GAMINE from the recesses of memory, not a word I’ve ever used. MAKING TRACKS my favourite today.

    Thanks setter n blogger

  36. Slowed by the GAMINE PARODISTS, but completely undone by those wretched CARMELITE monks. I had all but these three in a speedy (for me) 12 minutes, but eventually stopped my watch on 27:50 after bunging in CARMELINE. I suppose I should have thought of the elite as being chosen, but to my mind, while elite means the best or the top people, they haven’t been chosen. No doubt it is in the dictionary though. NHO GAMINE but the wordplay was clear and I missed the anagram for PARODISTS, which is also new on me. Scrolling down to Verlaine’s blog of the Club Monthly puzzle makes me realise that there are some things I am never going to achieve – only heard of PELVIC. Thanks Chris and Izetti.
    1. Language does always seem to have latitude – e.g. best/top/chosen. Also – rather than focus on the things we won’t achieve (and it applies to everyone), I try to revel in those things which we can do, and which can cause awe and wonder – appreciating a sunset, a choir singing, being faster than Kevin by a few seconds today (now that IS awe – well, it is for me!).
    2. I’ve just looked at Verlaine’s blog – after I’d made my previous comment, and, yes, I completely see what you mean. Huge respect to those that can from those who can’t. Special crosswords, ballet, classical music (well, any music), say – each to their own though!
  37. Struggled to get started but things began to click when I got a few of the down clues. Still very much in the SCC but there was a time when this would have defeated me, so progress!


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