Times Quick Cryptic 2555 by Izetti – Meowy Catmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  Or successful avoidance of the festivities.  Delete as appropriate.  I hope in any case that today finds you well and happy.

Izetti rarely causes problems for me (which can’t be said for all his alter egos), but I know some of you will feel like your stocking has been filled with coal.  What did you do to deserve such punishment?!  Feel free to confess all below; I won’t tell anyone …

However, the most recent Izetti was generally found to be much friendlier (and today’s took me nearly exactly the same time as that – two seconds less) so perhaps this one went down a treat too.  I’d only really consider 8d  7d to be potentially problematic, but I find it hard to judge QC difficulty.

We don’t have any real festive content to speak of, which is fine by me.  There is a drink in 19d and just a single tiny seasonal nibblet in 5d.  And adding an S to the latter could turn it into what your family might drive you!

I think my COD is 4a, but 9a and 6d were also lots of fun.  Thanks Izetti!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, specified [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Flourish as learner in time of prosperity (5)
BLOOM L (learner) in BOOM (time of prosperity)
4a Criticise star with a “wonder cure” (7)
PANACEA PAN (criticise) + ACE (star) with A
8a Propose changes? Voter not in favour (7)
OPPOSER PROPOSE is anagrammed (changes)
9a What a serial! Characters in it provide a shocker (5)
TASER — WhaT A SERial! Characters in it provide the answer
10a Punishing writer and boxer, I perform song (10)
PENALISING PEN (writer) and ALI (boxer) + SING (perform song)
14a Female performer gets agent (6)
FACTOR F (female) + ACTOR (performer)
15a Work with solicitor or choose to depart? (3,3)
OPT OUT OP (work) with TOUT (solicitor)
17a Grown-up to speak furiously, having swallowed drug (impure stuff) (10)
ADULTERANT ADULT (grown-up) and RANT (to speak furiously) around (having swallowed) E (drug)
20a Doctor and a mother in play (5)
DRAMA DR (doctor) + A + MA (mother)
22a Excellent time in side anticipating action? (7)
WAITING AI (A1, excellent) and T (time) in WING (side)
23a Want a source of light, becoming angry (7)
NEEDLED NEED (want) + LED (a source of light)
24a Continue to chatter in the country (5)
GABON GAB ON (continue to chatter)
1d Smear second-rate group (4)
BLOT BLOT (second-rate group)
My first thought was BLUR: smear/group.  But nothing second rate about them so I had to think again!
2d Exclamation of love, repeated with afterthought (4)
OOPS O (love) and O again (repeated) + PS (afterthought)
3d Devious importers giving false account (9)
MISREPORT — An anagram of (devious) IMPORTERS
4d Person shunned in French city endlessly, a husband (6)
PARIAH PARIs (French city) without the last letter (endlessly) + A + H (husband)
5d Head is crazy person (3)
NUT — Two definitions
6d Extremely robust, a prison? Prisoner gets outside it! (4-4)
CAST-IRON A STIR (a prison).  CON (prisoner) goes around that (gets outside it)
7d Claim Yorkshire town has no hotel (8)
ARROGATE — The Yorkshire town of [h]ARROGATE is missing (has no) H (hotel)
11d One politician finishing on the way (9)
IMPENDING I (one) + MP (politician) + ENDING (finishing)
12d Two cricket sides making irregular appearances? (3,3,2)
OFF AND ON — The two cricket sides are OFF AND ON
Those of us who gain most of our cricketing knowledge from crosswords, quickly learn that on=leg … but OFF AND LEG doesn’t fit and isn’t a phrase!
13d Exact account given by junior minister (8)
ACCURATE AC (account) + CURATE (junior minister)
16d Like a manned boat sounding primitive (6)
CREWED — A homophone of (sounding) CRUDE (primitive)
18d Member to ascend without leader (4)
LIMB — cLIMB (to ascend) missing the first letter (without leader)
19d Not in favour of a drink with tonic? (4)
AGIN A + GIN (drink with tonic?)
21d Tool making holes everyone heard (3)
AWL — ALL (everyone), sound-alike (heard)

34 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2555 by Izetti – Meowy Catmas!”

  1. 8:58. A gentle holiday treat for me. I didn’t really like NEEDLED=angry, or OPT OUT=choose to depart, but in the spirit of the season will refrain from going on about these! P.S Also thought of BLUR first.

  2. I never know what shire a town is in, so a clue like 7d always makes me nervous, but I did know Harrogate, so no problem. (Unlike today’s 15×15.) 5:14.

  3. Merry Christmas to all!

    “ I’d only really consider 8d to be potentially problematic, but I find it hard to judge QC difficulty.” – there is no 8d?

    Not trying to be festive pedant, just interested to know which one you felt was verging into “proper” crossword territory!

  4. No problems from FOI OOPS to LOI CREWED and thoroughly enjoyed along the way.
    Favourite PENALISING. I like the type of clue where you build from WP.

  5. No problems and a nicely clued puzzle. Started with BLOOM and finished with IMPENDING in a slightly below average 7.30.
    Thanks to Kitty and happy Christmas to all.

  6. Found this a pleasant start for the festivities.
    Not posted since the new sight was set up but been following avidly as usual.

    As the year draws to a close I’d like to thank all setters and bloggers for all their hard work in providing great entertainment and wish all the very best for the coming year.


  7. No real problems other than LIMB – which was so obvious! Finished in well under my new 2 hour target so I’m happy.
    How, have I got time to defrost that turkey…….
    Happy Christmas everybody.

  8. DNF, could not see the anagram for OPPOSER and had TEMPORISE as the anagram for “importers” not MISREPORT. Along with OOER (as in Oo Er Missus, Frankie Howerd), with ER as “afterthought” So NW corner a bit of a mess.

    Back to the Saturday Jumbo, with another Jumbo tomorrow, I’m getting behind.

    Merry Christmas

  9. A second Izetti running which was a genuine QC and excellent fun. My festive cup runneth over! All complete in 11 minutes with no hold-ups and much enjoyment.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog and Merry Christmas to all

  10. Certainly at the gentler end of the Izetti scale, and I’d have been quicker still if I’d not joined Vinyl1 in entering ‘adulterate’, only realising my error when I couldn’t immediately crack IMPENDING.

    TIME 3:56

    Thanks to Kitty and Izetti, and best wishes to all bloggers and posters for Christmas 🎄

  11. ’Arrogate is exactly how most of us Yorkshire folks pronounce the town. I’ve often wondered why we’re not as infamous as cockneys, in crosswordland at least, for dropping our aitches.

  12. Yay! I finished, albeit in a slow 30 mins.

    Merry Christmas all! 🍾🥂🎉🎊🎈❤️ 🎄🤶❄️☃️

  13. I’ve eaten so much I may never need to eat again, so maybe attempting this was a bad idea?

    There was actually a lot of vocab in here I didn’t know, the Yorkshire place, a stir being a prison, agin, curate, tout.

    And also a few words I wouldn’t have thought of to start, like ace being a star, agent being a factor, a1 being excellent (that one comes up a lot so that’s on me)

    So really, a bit of a disaster but I got the cricket clue very quickly lol

    I find the clues with the question marks very tricky

    Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Happy Holidays to everyone!

  14. Happy Christmas all. No dramas today even though only a very narrow window to complete this as on Christmas kitchen duty. Enjoyed building up PENALISING. Thanks Kitty.

  15. Merry Christmas to all the setters and bloggers. Thank you for all the help this blog provides, I am usually able to complete the QC in a 15 -25 minute time frame. Then I head over here to check the answers, and if my understanding is the same.

  16. No paper, so I had to do this online for probably only the second time since I started this game. What a nightmare! 25:22 on the clock at the end, but I’ll take that as equivalent to a sub-20 with a pen 🙄 Dnk Arrogate, but it had to be, and nearly everything else was simply a case of ‘follow the cryptic’. Loi, and CoD, was 16d Crewed, a pleasing pdm to finish. Invariant

    Merry Christmas and best wishes to all our Bloggers, Setters and, of course, fellow posters.

  17. A gentle Izetti to ease me into the crossword solving part of day in between breakfast, present opening and dinner time. From BLOOM to WAITING via a detour into ADULTERATE before IMPENDING showed me the error of my ways. 8:08. Thanks Izetti and Kitty and Merry Chrismas to all. Coffee time is now over, the Newcastle Brown has just been brought to me. Cheers me dears!

  18. Oh no – another gentle Izetti! Def miss that moment of triumph he usually provides when I finally manage to complete them. Now I have to fill in until I start preparing Christmas Dinner for 5pm… However, I did try Adulterate and that caused a lengthy hiccup at the end.
    The Season’s Greetings to all contributors and especially to our Setters and Bloggers. Thanks for 2023 and looking forward to next year – to my successes and failures alike!

  19. Had a swell Christmas morning with this and took 32 minutes, so continuing to improve! Enjoyed OPT OUT, unlike some, maybe just because for once, a somewhat eyebrow-raising clue caused an immediate penny drop.

    Merry Christmas from the Yankee side and thanks to all for setting, blogging, and commenting!

  20. Festive greetings to all. I enjoyed this Izetti treat but I wasn’t as quick as last time perhaps due to the lunchtime tipple. Thanks to Kitty for blogging on a holiday. I needed 8:59 and finished in the NE with CAST IRON and ARROGATE.

  21. 8:56 but with one spelling error – ADULTURANT, which I should have spotted from the fact that U is not a drug that I have heard of.

    Happy Christmas everyone

    Thanks Izetti and Kitty

  22. 6.15 WOE

    Managed to put in TASAR. Whoops! Cant really blame too much over overindulgence either

    Belated Merry Chrimbo to one and all

  23. Someone has to be last …..Just had a last look at this and lo and behold those I’d struggled with earlier fell into place, except LOI CROWED which the Gentleman managed to do (I taught him all he knows by the way).

    Thanks Izetti, Kitty and all contributors for all your thoughts. Hope you all had a lovely day.

  24. Oh dear. Tried to do it a 11 pm and failed with BLOT and IMPENDING, as I put ADULTERATE for 17a. Too much turkey, champagne and St Emilion, obviously. Off to sleep now. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day.

  25. 8:00

    Finished this on Boxing Day – enjoyable puzzle with a couple of unusualities in ADULTERANT and ARROGATE. Thanks both Kitty and Izetti.

  26. 10.53 WOE. I put BLOB, thinking of the group government ministers like to grumble about. Thanks Kitty and Izetti.

  27. 10:11, done on Boxing Day. I solve on my phone and so I don’t see the setter. I would not have spotted this as an Izetti offering.

    Thanks to Izetti & Kitty.

  28. Boxing Day treat by the fire, excusing myself from yet another board game … unfortunately it only took me 05:56 and I may yet be spotted as inactive and therefore pressganged! Eeek!

    Many thanks Izetti and Kitty


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