Times Quick Cryptic 2590 by Izetti – fancy that!

Hi everyone.  How did you find this on the Izetti Scoville scale?  For me it was mild, but then I’ve been doing these a while and may be held up by different things to you.  Like anagrams – of which I spy only three here.

When solving, the only clue I had to the setter was the additional (but perfectly allowable) indicator for the abbreviation in 10a.  This is something we often see in Izetti puzzles.  My COD is 4d, with a mention too for 7d.  Those are also the two clues featuring exclamation marks.  Fancy that!  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.

8a Managed to continue in Asian capital once (7)
RANGOON RAN (managed) + GO ON (to continue)
9a Jock’s exclamation about a particular colour (5)
OCHRE OCH (Jock’s exclamation) + RE (about).  Alternatively I think you could choose the simple definition “colour” and interpret RE as “about a particular”; I’ve gone with the interpretation that works best for me
10a Appeal of domestic cleaner, little maiden (5)
CHARM CHAR (domestic cleaner) + M (little maiden, abbreviation of maiden)
11a Be a girl, disguised in nativity play role? (7)
GABRIEL BE A GIRL anagrammed (disguised)
12a Register thanks, having got home nurse (9)
ENTERTAIN ENTER (register) + TA (thanks) + IN (home)
14a Resort in Iberian country not favoured (3)
SPA SPA[in] (Iberian country) without (not) IN (favoured, popular)
16a Juice to some extent poisonous apparently (3)
SAP — Hidden in (to some extent) poisonouS APparently
18a With cry, Teresa upset office worker (9)
SECRETARY — An anagram of (… upset) CRY with TERESA
21a Take out old pamphlet (7)
EXTRACT EX– (old) + TRACT (pamphlet)
22a Tree in land close to sea, we hear (5)
BEECH — Sounds like (… we hear) BEACH (land close to sea)
23a Nothing in trick to excite (5)
ROUSE O (nothing) in RUSE (trick)
24a Joy with members of family ousting extremists (7)
ELATION — rELATIONs (members of family) removing the letters at each end (ousting extremists)
1d Nuts as items on Christmas table (8)
CRACKERS — Two definitions
2d Sport enthusiast impedes international — someone very young (6)
INFANT FAN (sport enthusiast) goes inside (impedes) INT (international)
3d Uplifting demeanour in dire situation (4)
DOOM — Reversing (uplifting, in a down entry) MOOD (demeanour)
4d Imagine avoiding one tricky puzzle! (6)
ENIGMA — An anagram of (… tricky) [i]MAGINE without (avoiding) I (one)
5d Unhappy about German city’s educational establishment (8)
SORBONNE SORE (unhappy) around (about) BONN (German city)
6d Caught fibres in items of furniture (6)
CHAIRS C (caught) + HAIRS (fibres)
7d Source of water? Fancy that! (4)
WELL — Double definition
13d Said again, looking embarrassed about country (8)
RESTATED RED (looking embarrassed) around (about) STATE (country)
15d Ought US city to be gripped by an obsession? (8)
ANYTHING NY (US city) going inside (to be gripped by) A THING (an obsession)
17d Erects billets (4,2)
PUTS UP — Two definitions
19d A hundred and one restrictions in places like Leeds (6)
CITIES CI (a hundred and one) + TIES (restrictions)
20d Cain’s brother, one with a shrub (6)
ABELIA ABEL (Cain’s brother) + I (one) + A
21d Peer coming ahead of time stopped prematurely (4)
EARL EARLy (coming ahead of time) without the last letter (stopped prematurely)
22d Boy eating a vegetable (4)
BEAN BEN (boy) taking in (eating) A

112 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2590 by Izetti – fancy that!”

  1. I believe Izetti tends to have a religious-related clue, although I don’t know if he’s Oink-like in regularity. GABRIEL here, anyway.
    My only problem today was LOI DOOM; I wasted some time trawling the alphabet (not thoroughly), as MOOD is wrong: demeanor is behavior, how one acts, while mood is a mental state. 5:50.

  2. 7 minutes. I thought I NHO ABELIA before but it came up last February in a 15×15. Sometimes new words from easy clues such as today’s, fail to register in the brain.

    A person’s mood is usually conveyed to others by their demeanour so there’s surely some crossover, but my thesaurus doesn’t list the words as synonymous.

  3. Good going today until I hit ANYTHING – I could parse but couldn’t associate with the answer with ‘ought’. I take it that’s the proper spelling of ‘owt’, opposite of ‘nowt’ – but even then I would have defined as ‘something’ rather than ‘anything’. Regardless, all green in just over 9 so a good start to my crosswording week. Enjoyed CHAIRS and SORBONNE.

  4. Yay! An escape from the SCC today at 19.40. Feeling quite pleased about it too, given it’s an Izetti. If he’s dialled back the difficulty to make his puzzles more accessible, then I’m very grateful!

  5. Swift progress until hitting buffers with ENTERTAIN, where I struggled with the definition, but eventually seeing that unlocked LOI SORBONNE.
    Finished in 7.18.
    Thanks to Kitty

  6. Also struggled with LOI ANYTHING, eventually got it from dictionary giving nought but still can’t quite see it. Must remember country can be state rather than trawling the world for something to go inside red!
    24.12 for us
    COD crackers, reminds me of two Ronnies’ rude butler “your crackers my Lord”.
    Thanks Izetti and Kitty

  7. 13:44
    Thought this would be much quicker but slowed down by last few clues: sorbonne, rouse, earl, extract. LOI was puts up, I saw it early on but couldn’t parse the billets bit.
    COD chairs

  8. I had not heard of Abelia, but the wordplay was generous, and like others I also drew a blank explaining Anything – a rare case of the checkers leaving no alternative, the parsing being clear, but the definition not clicking in my mind at all. Indeed several online thesauri suggest that ought more often means nothing than anything.

    That apart, Izetti was in remarkably friendly mood I thought, and I completed the grid in 8 minutes, for a Good Start to the week.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

  9. I’ve still never knowingly seen an abelia outside the grid, so this was the only slight hold-up, but otherwise a soft Monday launch.

    COD to ANYTHING. I still don’t automatically register ‘thing’ as synonymous of ‘obsession’ but I’m getting there.

  10. I too struggled with ANYTHING/ought which I’ll take on trust as a synonym. 8.57, held up by the GABRIEL anagram which I feared might refer to some obscure shepherd or wise man or something, possibly called Elibarg. A nice puzzle from Izetti and thank you Kitty. I’m watching the Brits slowly succumb in India, it’s a tough place to tour. Last year Oz came away with 1 win, 2 losses and a draw and it seemed like a triumph.

  11. Certainly one of Izetti’s gentler offerings, and, like Kitty, having engaged with him for years, I found it straightforward.

    TIME 3:40

  12. 11:23, fast for me with an Izetti.

    Slowed down in bottom left, after trying RETRACT, DETRACT

    14a and 16a are anagrams of each other. Glad Izetti avoided the temptation of a cross reference clue.


    Uh-oh, only one wicket left.

  13. 16:02 (excellent Neil Gaiman comic book series that sets the Marvel superhero characters in the year 1602)

    Always happy to get a geography clue closer to this side of the globe!

    Collins dictionary has ‘ought’ as a variant spelling of ‘aught’ which means ‘ANYTHING’ esp in the phrase ‘for aught I know’. I have not heard of that word, or the phrase, which Collins also says is archaic/literary, let alone known that ought is also the same word.

    But wordplay was fair. Same with ABELIA.

    I don’t understand the clue for OCHRE which I just biffed from the definition. Is Jock a particularly Scottish name? There seems to be a lot of them I don’t know. Ian. Mac. Sean, any others?

    1. Notwithstanding Connery, Sean is more of an Irish name. Ian, Iain, Jock, Hamish, Mac, Sandy are all Scottish names that may appear in crosswords.

    2. Tina I think the point was ‘och’ which is something that Scots (like eg Jock) apparently say, ‘Och aye’ meaning something like ‘expletive yes’ I believe. Or did you know that? In answers usually Mac or Ian will be required…

      1. I didn’t know that before reading the blog, but where I really stumbled was not knowing Jock is a scottish indicator

        I’ll remember now cos Jock Zonfrillo was Scottish.

    3. Proceed with care! ‘Och’ is one of those stereotypes; an exclamation that someone that is Scottish might say. ‘Jock’ has to be used with care as it is both derogatory to call someone Jock, and also acceptable if it is an affectionate short form of their name (usually John or Jack). So putting both together in a clue is a bit bold for The Times. As I am not Scottish though, it might be that nobody from those parts has ought to say on the matter.

  14. I planted an ABELIA last year so that went straight in! As did almost everything else, for once, so a bell pepper on the Izetti-Scoville scale. COD to RANGOON because it always sets me off on Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

    All done in 05:44 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Izetti and Kitty.


  15. 7:19 (death of Radbod, last King of the Frisians)

    I agree that this is one of Izetti’s easiest. My only delay was on 22d, where I wondered whether BEAT was a vegetable, before seeing how BEAN worked.

    Thanks Izetti and Kitty

  16. 4:39. As others have said, quite gentle for Izetti. LOI WELL. COD to ANYTHING which made me smile when I saw it that meaning of “ought”. Thank-you Izetti and Kitty.

  17. Jock is often used as a general nickname for someone of Scottish origin, but also Scottish form of the name John. Scots use the expression ‘och aye’ to mean yes.

  18. Faster then usual for Izetti, I have an average of 2 clues remaining so glad to solve this quickly. Thought “peer coming ahead of time” was LORD at first, have to thank the Pet Shop Boys for SORBONNE

  19. 8:39. As others have said I thought this was Izetti at his most benign. The MOOD / ‘demeanour’ thing passed me by; it seemed close enough but looking it up since, I see what Kevin is getting at. Favourite was the def and misdirection of ANYTHING.

    Thanks to Izetti and Kitty

  20. Taking advantage of a day off to get the QC done early. I was flying through this until I got held up in the SW corner, as well as by BEAN and my LOI ENTERTAIN, which doesn’t exactly mean nurse to me, but I’m sure would be in the usual sources. NHO of ABELIA or BILLETS but they went in straight away anyway. COD to ANYTHING, Time 15:56. Thanks Kitty and Izetti.

    1. How about “I am nursing a few doubts about that definition” = “I am entertaining a few doubts about that definition”?

      1. Yes, that works perfectly and words have appeared many a time as definitions of each other. Amongst several synonyms they have in common is ‘foster’.

  21. Managed this in about 10 minutes but only by putting things in which had to fit rather than because I could explain them. I did enjoy it so thanks Izetti and Kitty but I felt that quite a few were a bit of a stretch. I don’t think quickie solutions should ever be iffy but maybe that’s me! Enjoyed Gabriel because it reminded me angels in the bible are always male when specified 🙂

  22. All green except ANYTHING which is just too obscure; has anyone here ever seen “ought” to mean that (except in a large dictionary)? NHO ABELIA but had to be. Can’t quite see how nurse = ENTERTAIN but that’s minor in comparison to ANYTHING.

    1. My wife (from Lancaster) often says ‘ought’ and ‘nought’ (heard it pronounced as owt/oat and nowt/noat by others) meaning ANYTHING and nothing

      1. Yes, Mike – but if you *say* it, surely what you’re saying is owt (which of course I agree, you hear in the North), isn’t it? Can it ever be – is it ever – written with -ught ? Isn’t this judged too obscure for a QC (or any C) ?
        But thank you all for your replies (below); I know, we all just have to learn …

        1. You may be right Martinů – if it were ever written down, I would have expected ought to begin with an A, but obviously either is acceptable. As for whether it belongs in a QC (or any C), any word is fair game, even those with less-used alternative spellings.

          1. I agree with Martinů that personally I would spell it aught, as in “I can’t see aught wrong with that”. But I also agree that if it is in a dictionary one cannot say the setter is outright (or even autright) wrong.

  23. ANYTHING = ought slowed me up at the end. Otherwise in agreement with others, pretty easy for Izetti.

    ENTERTAIN and CITIES were v good I thought, but ANYTHING gets COD.


  24. A very gentle start to the week, and at 6.07 it was nice to register a quick time after my recent efforts in the last few weeks. Nothing held me up to any great extent although I did hesitate momentarily on ABELIA, which was new to me.

  25. Oddly enough my FOI was ABELIA, from wordplay and then recognising the plant name. It was the first clue I read.
    I made the error of trying to fit REPEATED into 13d; spent quite a while looking for a country. Corrected when SECRETARY arrived for work.
    Last two were ANYTHING then ELATION.
    A good QC; hard to pick a COD but I liked GABRIEL.
    11 minutes.

  26. Very gentle for an Izetti, as others have said. Zipped through this one pausing only for last two in: BEAN and then ABELIA, latter unknown but generously clued. Liked OCHRE (pleased to remember ‘och’ from another recent crossword clue with similar wordplay) and ANYTHING (lovely misdirection). Many thanks all.

  27. 6:25

    Had all but four in the SE corner in 4 minutes – spotted ELATION, but it was more than two shakes of a lamb’s tail before BEECH came to mind (doh! should have got that more quickly) after which BEAN and ANYTHING came quickly from the checkers (though I missed obsession = THING). Another here who’d never heard of ABELIA but the parsing was clear.

    Thanks Kitzetty

  28. 16 minutes in with just SORBONNE to go, which breezeblocked me for about 9 more minutes before the penny dropped. If I’d realised Bonn was a German town rather than Swiss I’d have escaped the SCC, but it wasn’t to be. All green though, despite never having heard of ABELIA so a good-ish start to the week.
    Thanks Izetti and Kitty.

  29. Did not find this one too difficult, though my last one answered, 4d, had me puzzled for a while.

    I have to agree with Crispian regarding ENTERTAIN, and thought Simjt’s explanation was rather weak (no offence intended).

    A nice start to the week and did not have to “Ask Pumpa” (the cat) for help today.

    1. Oh did we know that the cat’s name is Pumpa? I didn’t!

      I imagine a tuxedo cat, a very handsome sir of a cat.

      Would love to know what Pumpa looks like!

      1. I imagine the cat to be like the one in Red Dwarf, described by Wikipedia thus: “He is a descendant of Dave Lister’s pregnant pet house cat Frankenstein, whose descendants evolved into a humanoid form over three million years while Lister was in stasis (suspended animation). As a character he is vain and aloof, and loves to dress in extravagant clothing.”

      2. I’m not sure if I can post pictures here, so in way of description; he’s a short-haired orange tabby cat of about 13 years of age.

        I called him Pumpa due to the colour of his fur. Pumpa is a Swedish word meaning pumpkin. Seeing as both the cat and pumpkins are orange, I thought it a good name for him.

        1. We thought we were getting a ginger cat from our grandson and prematurely listed him as Pumpkin but when we were due to collect him, he had disappeared and we had the very last kitten (that no-one else wanted) but she was a tortoiseshell and ended up as Nutty – which she is! Quite delightful all the same .

        2. My best beloved cat of all time was also a ginger tabby and because of his colour was called Kipper for all his 19 years

  30. Not too many difficulties here. I have never heard of ABELIA (plants and shrubs are definitely not my strong point) but the answer was clear from the clueing. Couldn’t parse SAP, having completely missed the hidden! I finished in 12 minutes – possibly a PB for an Izetti.

    FOI – 8ac RANGOON
    LOI – 21ac EXTRACT
    COD – 4dn ENIGMA, closely followed by 6dn CHAIRS

    Thanks to Izetti and Kitty

  31. That was an exciting way to start the week – 5:32, in two passes. Ahead of Kevin,Templar and Plett by a whisker, so it’s A Red Letter Day here too. Much better than my DNF on Saturday, when I gave up after about 25 minutes.
    Our printer has run out of ink so I had to do this on the laptop – I’m sure it is a much quicker way to fill in the grid, but I like sitting down with paper and pen and taking my time to ponder and enjoy, so will return to normal practice tomorrow, even if it means my time is slower.
    No SNAG (in the unches in the SE corner) today – the only thing that caused some doubt was ought for thing. Like Mendesest, I presumed it would be pronounced owt in this context.
    We had an ABELIA a few years ago – they’re meant to be good doers but ours wasn’t!
    FOI Rangoon LOI Anything COD Gabriel, although Enigma was a close second.
    Thanks Izetti for the kind start to the week, and Kitty for the helpful blog – I parsed OCHRE in the same way as you

      1. Most likely I bought one from the plant rescue corner of a garden centre (my default hunting ground) so it was probably not in top condition in the first place! I will certainly consider getting an other one in light of what you said below 😊

    1. I totally agree with you Penny on being able to ‘ponder and enjoy’ using pen and paper. Both my husband and I tackle it, me in the paper and he printing a version off. We only compare answers when we’ve either both completed it or run out of steam!

  32. Yes, amazingly quick for an Izetti. Slowed in SE with ELATION (parsing OIH!) and ANYTHING (PDM re Ought).
    ABELIA is my favourite shrub and I urge you to plant one as it flowers for months, late into the autumn, and bees love it.🪰
    An encouraging start with RANGOON.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  33. 7:39. NHO ABELIA and slowed down by definitions for ENTERTAIN and ANYTHING. The latter was my COD when I finally twigged. Thanks, Kitty, your cheery blogs always set me off in the right mood when I read them Monday mornings!

      1. We’re experiencing a very mild Jan-Feb over here so I’m not feeling as hibernatory (i.e. drowsy) as I usually do this time of year. Must be giving me a good few minutes boost!

        1. You’re not in Alberta then! I saw they hit historically low temps of -40s a few weeks back and the electricity company was asking people to ration their use. That’s the nice things about Canadians they did it 👍

          1. Now that I think about it I’ve only ever travelled out into the really frigid Canadian regions May to September!

  34. 11 mins…

    I’ll have to check my records, but that could be my fastest Izetti ever and was definitely on the mild side for me. Only struggle was trying to get my head around the 15dn “Anything” = “Ought”, and 12ac “Entertain” = “Nurse” defintions.

    FOI – 8ac “Rangoon”
    LOI – 12ac “Entertain”
    COD – 11ac “Gabriel” – maybe I’m overthinking this, but I thought the surface was very clever.

    Thanks as usual!

  35. All was going rather too well and after 40 mins I naively anticipated a PB. Got to the 60 mins mark defeated by 21a&d. Both obvious in hindsight. Must try harder!!!!

  36. Loads to do, so (mercifully to all readers) a relatively brief comment from me today.

    Only 21 minutes. Yippee! I was fortunate to get CRACKERS straight away, which led me quickly to RANGOON and CHARM. I then bounced around the grid until being interrupted with 18 minutes on the clock and just three to go. When I returned EXTRACT, EARL and ENIGMA delayed me just long enough to prevent a rare SCC escape, but I’m still delighted with my time.

    Thanks to Izetti and Kitty.

  37. Enjoyable and managed in one sitting! Some seemed quite hard so I must be getting better at this.

    COD ROUSE and PUTS UP – I like the more succinct clues.

    Thanks Kitty and Izetti

  38. 8.31 I hadn’t checked the setter so I wondered if I’d clicked on the wrong blog for a moment. It was easy for an Izetti. The NE yielded nothing on the first pass but it all followed from ENIGMA on the second go. Thanks Kitty and Izetti.

  39. The explanation of 15d is missing the ‘A’ FYI

    I personally found this quite easy before I got held up by SORBONNE for a long time. Ultimately doing an alphabet trawl to find SORE and being satisfied that SORBONNE was a private school id never heard of… after googling what it actually was I felt my assumption was close enough!

  40. A lovely accessible QC, Izetti always has such pleasing surfaces. Did it in 22 minutes, under my current par of 25 or so.


    Thanks IzettiKitty!

  41. A mild and consistent difficulty, I progressed in clue order very quickly until….. I hit some dubious definitions, unhappy/sore, rouse/excite, mood/demeanour, entertain/nurse. Not in my book nor my thesaurus.

  42. After Friday’s 20+ and a DNF on Saturday we were much cheered to have an 8:01 PR today. It helped that we have an ABELIA, though the clueing is pretty clear. Likewise the wordplay for ANYTHING was sufficiently helpful (+we had all the checkers). I hadn’t come across that meaning of ought before and aught isn’t a word I’d ever write but, being a Yorkshireman, I’ve said ‘owt’ countless times!

  43. 12:22 … very much enjoyed. I feel Izetti managed to pitch that really well. More of the same please

    Edit: Confirmed as my fastest Izetti solve online. The one before Christmas (20-Dec) was 13:40. However there are two from the early QC days #22 and #49 which I did in QC Book #1 which were both sub-10s.

  44. NHO ABELIA, but obvious from the clue. The rest very approachable for an Izetti. I did this on line today – 20 minutes 58 seconds: very quick for me!

  45. Done in 7:27 which puts me outside the top 100 on the leaderboard. ABELIA was unknown but it didn’t give me any problems. The only clue that gave me considerable pause for thought was ANYTHING.

  46. Would have been a first izetti finish except for a daft typo. That will teach me to check my solution. I had to retro fit parsing after I has dropped a few clues in.


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