Times Quick Cryptic 2320 by Izetti


Solving time: 14 minutes.


Not the best of days for me. I had all but 2dn solved within my target 10 minutes but then suffered a mental block. So foolish of me as it’s almost a chestnut. I later found I had a wrong answer at 24ac as the result of a very careless guess.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Diffident when admitting a gee-gee is hairy (6)
SHY (diffident) containing [when admitting] A + G G (gee-gee)
4 Unfinished article is not that (4)
TH{e} (definite article) [unfinished], IS
9 Disorder upsetting grandee (7)
Anagram [upsetting] of GRANDEE
10 One charge to get you very angry (5)
I (one), RATE (charge)
11 Letter maybe showing integrity (9)
Two meanings
12 Model in non-U outfit (3)
S{u}IT (outfit) [non-U]
13 Group of swimmers in educational establishment (6)
Two meanings
15 Teasing talk in suburban territory (6)
Hidden [in] {subur}BAN TER{ritory}
17 Female horse losing tail is hurt (3)
MAR{e} (female horse) [losing tail]
18 Where to put croutons?  Having difficulty (2,3,4)
A literal hint precedes a figurative definition
21 Huge US soldier meeting little worker maybe (5)
GI (US soldier), ANT (little worker)
22 Staying-power of Santa, flying across motorway! (7)
Anagram [flying] of SANTA containing [across] M1 (motorway)
23 The girl married Noah’s son (4)
SHE (the girl), M (married). Noah had two other sons: Ham, and Japheth
24 Cell entrance is blocked by this writer (6)
GATE (entrance) contains [is blocked by] ME (this writer). This was the one I got wrong. I biffed the name of a writer, misspelling his name to fit the checkers. I’m too embarrassed to give further details as it was careless and stupid and I ignored all the conventions of methodical clue solving. And there wasn’t even a hope of it fitting the remainder of the clue.  Can’t think what came over me but it just goes to show we all have our moments!
1 Understands about foreign duke manifesting charms (7)
SEES (understands) containing [about] DUC (foreign duke)
2 A type, not the first to get on a vessel (5)
A, {s}ORT (type) [not the first], A. As mentioned in the intro this was my LOI and I needed nearly 5 minutes to spot it, yet ‘vessel’ meaning ‘blood vessel’ has come up countless times before, often cluing this very same answer. I wasted time trying to think of a word meaning embark on a ship.
3 More than one tree expert goes stealing nuts (12)
Anagram [nuts] of GOES STEALING. Family trees of course.
5 Principal decided to provide piece of audio equipment (7)
HEAD (principal), SET (decided)
6 The fellow in group producing bit of newspaper? (5)
HE (the fellow) contained by [in]  SET (group). Some repetition here  with ‘set’ twice in consecutive clues, and ‘he /the fellow’ following ‘she / the girl’ at 23ac.
7 Aptitude to be crooked? (4)
Two meanings
8 Invaders are beaten on a mountain range (6,6)
Anagram [beaten] of INVADERS ARE, then A
14 Plants in container put in this place (7)
BAG (container) inserted [put] in HERE (this place)
16 Agent with fine material as substitute (7)
REP (agent), LACE (fine material). This might have been clued with reference to two materials but the setter chose to be kind to us.
17 Arts graduate introducing grand American wizard (5)
MA (arts graduate), G (grand), US (American)
19 Rubbish? You have to keep quiet! (4)
TO, SH (keep quiet!)
20 Woman overturning wicked circle (5)
EVIL (wicked) + O (circle) reversed [overturning]

65 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2320 by Izetti”

  1. 18:04. Couldn’t see any of HERBAGE, GAMETE, or SIERRA NEVADA for a long time. I always think the word is “herbiage’ so the answer was not appearing. I thought the mountain range clue was a single 12 letter word so I was searching for some barbarian people who invaded the Roman Empire. Must get vision checked. I was aware of the term GAMETE but not clear on meaning. Even though past puberty I’m still quite hazy on how reproduction works.

  2. 7:13. I was lucky to see GAMETE once I had the crossers, otherwise I might well have been IN THE SOUP like our blogger. AORTA often gets me too and I’d just started on the list of containers and ships before the correct sense occurred to me.

    Maybe not very exciting, but I liked the clue for THIS.

    Thanks to Jack and Izetti

  3. Hi everyone, I’m back after a bit of a break and I missed you all. I had a wonderful summer.

    I DNF this one due to AORTA – it never occured to me to have a blood vessel and even if it had, I don’t think I would have worked out the wordplay.

    Cheers to the setter for picking geography and bible bits that I *did* know, but the wordplay would have gotten me there anyhow

    The rest of it I did in just under 17 minutes!

    FOI: This
    LOI: Character (before the aorta DNF)
    COD: I liked the image of Santa flying across a motorway – Stamina

  4. 11 minutes for this, with 1A and 1D my LOIs. With the lower checkers in for 1D I thought the foreign Duke was Duce, and this made getting the rest of the clue difficult as I needed a three letter word for “understands”. PDM when Shaggy appeared (followed by “D’oh, why did I not see that earlier?”) and then Seduces was the only answer for 1D and led to the correct parsing.

    So all a bit scrappy at the close. But a nice puzzle to start the week.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  5. The NW was last to fall after AORTA and SHAGGY finally getting me going. Before that I’d been going quite well with nine on the first pass of acrosses. Before sitting down I couldn’t have named SIERRA NEVADA but with the checkers there it was – only I managed to enter an E not an A at the end and that added a bit of time to solving to GAMETE, which is a pity as it was the first cell I thought of and I was so proud of myself for getting the mountain it took me an age to go back and check. All green in 17.

  6. Slow quick slow today. It seemed to take a while to get my brain working but once it had woken up most of this went in without too many problems. Pleased to have plucked GAMETE from the depths but then tried to convince myself that HERCANE was a type of plant, before sense prevailed. LOI SHEM went in with fingers crossed as he was new to me.
    Crossed the line in 7.54 with COD to GENEALOGISTS for the PDM and relief that I wasn’t looking for something obscure and leafy.
    Thanks to Jack

  7. 7.20

    No dramas. Guessed it might be an Izetti (I do on phone so don’t see who the setter is). Main hesitation was seeing where the TO in TOSH came from

    Thanks Jackkt and Izetti

  8. Whenever I see a puzzle by Izetti my heart drops. Can’t think of one I have enjoyed or thought obtainable by those of us starting out.

    1. I always felt that too. However, over the past few months I feel that he has mellowed out a little. On the other hand I used to enjoy Joker’s QCs, but now find him becoming more difficult and less enjoyable.

  9. Like others, I was slow to see the type of vessel at 2D, my LOI, looking, like our blogger, for a word meaning to get aboard a boat. Clever misdirection by the setter, I think. I liked THIS best. Thank-you Izetti and Jackkt. 4:27.

  10. This would have been my quickest unaided solve at 22:56. Alas, I put SET instead of SIT at 12a.

    DNF – 1 incorrect answer.

  11. Well, I thought I was going really well -the time flew by and I was totally immersed in this tussle with Izetti. I was shocked to find that I had almost reached the SCC with my LOI, AORTA.
    Lots of good clues. I needed the crossers for GAMETE, HERBAGE, MAGUS, and I resorted to pen and paper for GENEALOGISTS. SHEM came from the depths of my memory and SIERRA NEVADA popped out quickly (with memories of the Sierra Club, incredible trips, and the remarkable black and white photographs of Ansel Adams).
    Lots of pleasure -my time is becoming less important for me than enjoyment. Perhaps that is me dealing with a slowing brain or perhaps I am finally beginning to see cryptic crosswords as fun rather than as a daily race with bragging potential. About time!
    Thanks to both, John M.

  12. No problem with Aorta as it has come up so many times as a vessel it doesn’t catch me out. No time as I kept picking this up between other things and the clock kept running in the background.
    Quite tricky for a Monday and definitely put me in the club.
    Onwards and upwards.
    Thanks Izetti and Jackkt

  13. Taken nearly to my target at 14:40. FOI SHAGGY 1a, LOI SEDUCES 1d. After SHAGGY and DERANGE I didn’t get many acrosses in the north half, but the south was kinder, although GAMETE held me up looking for the name of a writer until the penny dropped. I think I liked CHARACTER best. Thanks Jackkt and Izetti.

  14. An OK solve, finishing in the NW corner. I struggled with the spelling of GENEALOGISTS initially putting the e and a in the opposite order, but when my LOI of CHARACTER required an A where I had an E I saw my error. 10.12

  15. 12:59, with 5 minutes on the CHARACTER/AORTA intersection. Was sure that clue was “get on a vessel” like ABROAD, ADRIFT, AHOY or some such.

    COD STAMINA (Good surface)

    WOD MAGUS. So much better than a Magician.

  16. I thought this was a fairly tough start to the week and I just crept in under target at 9.47. I was quite surprised to find I’d broken 10 minutes as it seemed longer than that when doing it. I’ve never come across MAGUS and initially put in BAGUS before MAR came to my rescue. LOI was 24ac GAMETE, which was just about recalled from previous crosswords.

  17. DNF, had mindlessly entered 19d TUSH when I spotted the Q above about where did the TO come from, so noticed my boob. I use a real copy of The Times.
    The anagrist for the 8d Sierra Nevada needs another “a” from a bit farther along the clue

    1. Thanks, Andy, I had it correct on my print-out but missed the final letter in my write-up. Not that it matters much but as a blogger I needed to indicate that the third A isn’t part of the anagrist, but the anagram sits on top of it [on].

  18. All OK, finally. Quite quick at first, then slow in NW. I don’t know why I didn’t think of SHAGGY sooner. As soon as Duc came to mind, SEDUCES appeared, followed by CHARACTER. On return from Pilates, AORTA a PDM.
    I reckon BENT has 3 meanings.
    Luckily biffed GAMETE.
    Lots to like. Thanks all, esp Jack. Am always pleased to finish an Izetti.

  19. Finally my brain seems to have woken from its torpor of last week and I fairly flew through this in 10 minutes – probably my fastest ever for an Izetti. Managed to drag the word GAMETE up from the depths of memory somewhere without too great a pause and saw AORTA quite quickly also. Thanks to Izetti for what seemed to me a very approachable puzzle and to Jack for the blog,

    FOI – 1ac SHAGGY
    COD – the very simple surface for 12ac SIT

  20. Got off to a good start with SHAGGY and GENEALOGISTS giving plenty of crossers. Like others, was very slow to see AORTA, which was my LOI. 7:15. Thanks Izetti and Jack.

  21. A few tricky bits, aided by my inability to think of a three letter container (*a* that wasn’t a can or vat. . . 🙄), meant that I only avoided the SCC by the skin of my teeth. On the other hand, a five letter vessel in a crossword is always an Aorta until proven otherwise, so swings and roundabouts today. The token biblical clue from Izetti, 23ac Shem, is near the limit of my OT knowledge, so Japheth is certainly going to be a struggle if he turns up any later than next week. Overall, an enjoyable solve, with CoD to 19d, Tosh, for the novel parsing. Invariant

    1. SETH was clued as “Fourth Man” in a recent Times crossword (After Adam, Cain and Abel)

      1. Yes, I remember the clue. I see Noah had four sons as well – Aram being the other one.

          1. Yes, you are right – I did say Shem was pushing the boundaries of my knowledge, and Aram proves it ☺

  22. 10 minutes, with one silly spelling mistake – even though my mind said HERBAGE, my pen wrote HERBARE. Like all bad workmen, I shall blame my tools!
    I think we had HAM in a crossword last week – time for JAPHET to make an appearance before long? I thought SHEM was a very nice clue, along with THIS and MAGUS.
    FOI Shaggy LOI Sit COD Genealogist
    Thanks Izetti and Jack

  23. A very slow 27 mins today. Wrestled with spelling of GENEALOGISTS and couldn’t see DERANGE for love not money. My LOI was SEDUCES – not sure why. No problems with the biological clues – always my favourites. Have only just realised that MAGUS is singular form of MAGI – how did I not know this! In my head Magus has a negative connotation whereas Magi does not – very strange… A really entertaining puzzle. Thanks for the blog Jack. Thanks to Izetti.

    1. MAGUS has a bad connotation for me due to memories of the terrible movie of that name with Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn.

      1. 😂
        I’ve only heard it in connection with the John Fowles book that I’ve never read…

  24. Reasonable start to the week.

    THIS was my favourite, almost the platonic ideal of an Izetti clue, a very neat surface, but follow the instructions and it’s there, with a whimsical definition.

    LOI was HERBAGE – spent a little time thinking of the container, having discounted HERVATE and HERCANE.


  25. So near to a finish but had HERBANE instead of HERBAGE. I knew BAN didn’t parse as a container but by then I was at my 1 hour cut off and missed the should have been obvious BAG.
    Pleased though to have almost finished an IZETTI after 3 previous fails.
    COD to GENEALOGISTS for the misdirection.

  26. 20 mins…

    Main struggle was 24ac “Gamete” and for a while had the unknown word “Danete”. The rest I didn’t think were too bad, although I wasn’t sure about the parsing for 1dn.

    FOI – 4ac “This”
    LOI – 24ac “Gamete”
    COD – 14dn “Herbage”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. 15 mins for a couple of pink squares with biffed HERCANE not HERBAGE. Foolish.

    Took a while over AORTA GAMETE and CHARACTER too.

    Disappointing start to the week!

    Thanks Izetti and Jack

  28. 12.44 Last three were GAMETE, HERBAGE and AORTA, any of which could have left me scratching my head for ten minutes so I’m pleased with the time. Stuck on the concise crossword however.

  29. We like Izetti.
    DNF due to geneologists and gamete and feeling rather cold in a semi outside cafe

  30. I solved this at the British Museum after visiting the Hieroglyphs exhibition. Maybe that helped; I was finished in 12 minutes.
    LOI was GAMETE.
    I biffed AINT at 4a which took longer than it should have to unravel.
    Otherwise no real problems SHEM vaguely known but the clueing was clear as is usual from Izetti.
    COD to STAMINA -made me smile.

    1. Dear Mr 1,
      I also had AINT for a very long time at 4a. It seemed to work, didn’t it?

  31. Having failed on CARTOUCHES on Friday and struggled with GAMETE and MAGUS today, I’m thinking my vocabulary is way too small for these crosswords.

    1. Dear Mr C,
      I think the same about my vocabulary. In fact, mine is generally too limited for my own household, the only other member of which is Mrs Random.

  32. I never saw the bag in HERBAGE, so had vile pink squares there and on TUSH, which also didn’t parse properly. Should have known better. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

  33. Superquick today. 5:53 with my LOI CHARACTER correcting my misspelled GENEoLOGISTS. GAMETE was not a problem (my degree is in Genetics).

  34. A silly DNF. I spelt out Genealogists on my printed out copy, then entered it with an O instead of the A – this messed up 11a with the only word I could come up with (a non-parsing Comforter) and that stumped the obvious and familiar 2d Aorta.
    FOI 4a This
    LOI 1d Seduces
    COD like me today 18a In The Soup.

  35. 11:56

    Pretty straightforward and easily under my 20 minute target. Several answers seem to have come up recently including AORTA and SCHOOL. Only LOI TOSH caused any delay.

  36. A late and exceptionally difficult solve for me, today. I found it hard to get started, but then found some success in the lower half of the grid. However, any semblance of flow dried up all too soon and the last 10 or 11 clues really had to be chiseled out. In the end, I had question marks hanging over many clues (incl. THIS, SIT, SHEM, MAGUS, SEDUCES, AORTA, DERANGE and GAMETE), so I was mightily relieved when I read Jack’s excellent blog and found I had solved the whole puzzle correctly. Total time = 57 minutes. Very slow, but not a DNF!

    Mrs Random experienced some of the same doubts and difficulties as me (e.g. with SHEM and MAGUS), but she finished in 27 minutes and is now getting on with some knitting for her mum.

    Many thanks to Izetti and Jackkt.

    1. Persistence pays off in the end! Well done on avoiding a DNF as there were pitfalls aplenty here.

  37. I thought this was fairly easy for an Izetti at first, but I was worried I hadn’t got anything in the NW and indeed this proved my undoing. When I returned to it, it took as long again as everything else had, with my LOI being GENEALOGISTS as I just didn’t see the anagrind for ages. I haven’t been doing these as regularly lately because of work, instead taking the 15×15 in to puzzle over at a more leisurely pace. I guess they have fewer anagrams, so I’m out of the habit of spotting them. That’s my excuse anyway. Finished up on 25:22, so not a disaster for me, but definitely off pace. Thanks Izetti and Jack.

  38. Didn’t expect much today as I have a nasty head cold and blocked ears. However, I was on the wavelength and, for once, didn’t overthink an Izetti. A little way into the SCC, but I don’t really care about that because I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

    LOI – SIT

    Thank you for the blog.

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