Times Quick Cryptic No 1179 by Izetti

A typical witty and thought-provoking crossword from Izetti today, with plenty of practice at cracking cryptic definitions. A couple of fish, a couple of trips abroad, the police and their collaborator, a bit of Greek mythology, some wizardry and a nasty bit of witchcraft feature in the wide range of vocabulary and general knowledge to give us plenty of variety. A couple of new words to me, but the generous wordplay meant I got them fairly easily. Lots of lovely clues so it’s hard to pick one, but my vote for Clue Of the Day goes to ROLLS UP. About 1/2 minute over average for me at about 7 minutes, so slightly on the tricky side, but not too much so. Thanks Izetti for a great puzzle! How did you all get on? [Edit: Well it would appear I underestimated how difficult others would find this. But some great comments – thanks to all for sharing their experiences. And, boy, did we learn some lessons today! Commiserations to all who didn’t manage to finish, but I hope the discussion below helps make some of the tricks easier to spot next time]

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Part of USA I love — want, not half, to go to it (4)
IOWA – I O (love) WA{nt} [not half]. See here for things you might want to go to Iowa to see.
3 Fish making one bad tempered? (7)
SNAPPER – If you are bad-tempered, you might snap at people. Watch out for a “?” at the end of the clue – it generally shows you need some sideways thinking to solve the wordplay.
8 Enjoyment obtained by lady with holy books and friend, in essence (13)
FUNDAMENTALLY – A neat 4 part charade. FUN (Enjoyment) DAME (lady) NT (New Testament – holy books) ALLY (friend)
9 Knight is recalled by king (3)
SIR – Turn IS around [recalled] and add R (for Rex – king) and get someone dubbed with a sword, by a king perhaps.
10 One struck perhaps in game (5)
MATCH – Another bit of cryptic fun (here indicated by “perhaps”). If you want to light your cigar you might strike a MATCH.
12 Country given stamp of approval when holding information back (7)
SENEGAL – Information in crossword land is often GEN. The stamp of approval is SEAL. Put the former backwards into the latter [holding back] to get the small West African country. The name is said to come from the Wolof phrase sunu gaal, which means “our canoe”, resulting from a miscommunication between 15th-century Portuguese sailors and Wolof fishermen.
14 Arrives with something to eat and drink (5,2)
ROLLS UP – Here’s another little trick to watch out for. Sometimes you need to ignore the enumeration of the answer for the wordplay, in this case we combine ROLL (something to eat) and SUP (drink). Nice one.
16 A coastal feature sited inappropriately (5)
TIDES – Our first anagram – (sited)* [inappropriately].
17 Witchcraft needs redbreast with wings plucked off (3)
OBI – A new word for me. The redbreast is a {r}OBI{n}. With the outside letters removed [wings plucked off], you get the kind of witchcraft originating in Africa and practised by some West Indians, also known as Obeah. I hope they don’t really do such things to little birds.
20 East Anglian student involved in a row? (9,4)
CAMBRIDGE BLUE – A cryptic definition (again indicated by the “?”). A rower at the highest level in a Cambridge University boat for Cambridge in the annual Oxford v Cambridge boat race is awarded a blue. [Edit: Thanks Jeffrey and Templar for the clarification (see comments)].
21 A Tuesday’s fare, not fast food by tradition (7)
PANCAKE – Some more sideways thinking needed here. The Tuesday in question is Shrove Tuesday, the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent, traditionally celebrated with pancakes in many countries.
22 Officers work in Civil Service (4)
COPS – Put OP (abbreviation of opus – work) into C.S. (Civil Service) to get a band of Bobbies.

1 Being favoured, yesteryear’s collaborator with the police (8)
INFORMER – Combine IN (being favoured) with FORMER (yesteryear’s) to get a nark.
2 Rod, being pale, died (4)
WAND – WAN (pale) + D (died) gets the sort of rod waved by wizards.
3 Aboard ship try to get a cutting tool (6)
SHEARS – The ship is SS.  Insert (put “aboard”) HEAR (try – as in what a judge does) to get the garden implement.
4 Possibilities to change the inhabitants of a community? (12)
ALTERNATIVES – ALTER (change) NATIVES (the inhabitants of a community). Possibly by invading.
5 Sacked person, initially unwell, deteriorated over time (8)
PILLAGED – Combine P{erson} [initially] ILL (unwell) and AGED (deteriorated over time) to get what the Visigoths did to Rome.
6 Man’s getting sunshine maybe (4)
RAYS – The man is RAY, which is also a bit of sunshine.  So Man’s is RAY’s. Of course there are other sorts of ray, hence the “maybe” to indicate definition by example.
7 As hermits, say, in trouble, creating widespread emotion (4,8)
MASS HYSTERIA – (as hermits say)* [in trouble] creating something like the dancing plague of 1518  – “a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (then part of the Holy Roman Empire) in July 1518. Numerous people took to dancing for days without rest, and, over the period of about one month, some of the people died from heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.
11 Charm of various animals after first bit of training (8)
TALISMAN – Take T{raining} [first bit] and add (animals)* [various] to get “an object that someone believes holds magical properties that bring good luck to the possessor or protect the possessor from evil or harm”.
13 Showing little enthusiasm, cut down on agenda? (8)
LISTLESS – If you cut down an agenda you would LIST LESS. Nice surface.
15 Willing factotum, European, holding party up (6)
POODLE – The European is a POLE. Insert DO (party) upwards [holding up] to get a servile lackey.
18 Fish salon’s No.1, given trophy (4)
SCUP – Take S{alon} [‘s number one] and add CUP (trophy). A scup is a fish which occurs primarily in the Atlantic from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Also commonly known as a porgy. A new word for me, I think, but I’m not a fisherman.
19 Muse about wild animal losing tail (4)
CLIO – C (about) LIO{n} wild animal [losing tail]. The Muses, of which Clio is one, are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology. Clio’s domain was history… and thus we end our history lesson for today.

47 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1179 by Izetti”

  1. This felt sluggish, though I can’t remember why. And not just for me, to judge from the leaderboard; it took Verlaine almost 3 and a half minutes! 6d is one of those times where the ‘s is part of the wordplay rather than just being a short form of ‘has’ or ‘is’: man’s is RAY’S. 6:15.
  2. I’m another who found this hard and it stretched me to 18 minutes which, being over 15, put me in the red on my spreadsheet of QC solving. This is conditionally formatted and colour-coded to represent the level of difficulty I experienced (yes, I really am that sad!).

    My main problem was getting properly started. After 5 minutes I had 5 or 6 answers but they were all scattered around the grid – not the way I like to work.

    CAMBRIDGE BLUE was the first of the long answers to reveal itself but the other three long ones held me up unduly.

    My only unknown was SCUP, although I note that on the only previous occasion it appeared in a 15×15 I seem to have solved it and let it pass without comment. Any regular Jumbo solvers will have been reminded of it in a puzzle last May, but I was not amongst them.

    Edited at 2018-09-14 05:37 am (UTC)

  3. This was my worst DNF for ages. I was 10 minutes over my 30 min target with seven still to get when I gave up. Definitely one for the experienced solver, I think.


  4. Definitely hard – 33 minutes eventually once I had finally cracked Cambridge Blue – I had Spot instead of Scup for a while – there seem to be innumerable four letter fish I have never heard of! Enjoyable nonetheless and the clue for Pancake is brilliant in my opinion.
  5. I really liked this week’s QCs as a collection — starting on Monday with something gentle and working up to a real challenge on Friday. This was Izetti at his chewiest best, and it took me three attempts (as opposed to the PB on Monday). But I did finish, which was very encouraging — a few months ago I don’t think I would have. FOI Sir and LOI Alternatives. COD Senegal. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  6. I was fortunate to have done the Jumbo mentioned by Jack, so SCUP was no problem. CAMBRIDGE BLUE on the other hand held me up for quite a while, as did CLIO, as she wasn’t Erato. I was considering all sorts of East Anglian towns such as Diss, Norwich, Aldborough and Ipswich, but it was only when I had all the crossers I thought of the correct one. As I completed the top half, I thought “this isn’t too difficult for a Don puzzle”, but the bottom half disabused me. 12:06. Thanks Izetti and John.
  7. Really struggled with this one, so I’m glad to see others found it hard too. I took 92 minutes and still got three wrong words. Slightly annoyed with myself for not getting the blue bit of 20a even after I had got Cambridge. Being a former student of the other place, I am familiar with blues, but somehow didn’t connect row with rowing, and bunged in line, thinking a Cambridge line might be a thing. This inevitably made getting the muse difficult, especially as I don’t know any of their names offhand (must rectify that). I hoped one might have been called Biso to fit with bison, but it always seemed unlikely. I did get Clio as soon as I read that I should have had blue in there. Also didn’t know what a ‘Willing factotum’ was in 15d and missed the fact that ‘do’ was meant to be reversed and inside the European rather than the word having an E at the bottom. A good learning experience anyway. CsOD 11d and 21a.
  8. No time today as I have squeezed in a paper copy solve between step and yoga classes. Last two in were SCUP and CLIO both unknown to me. I was also held up for a time with CAMBRIDGE BLUE
  9. Pedants’ Corner perhaps, but in order to get a rowing Blue at Cambridge you must participate in the Boat Race with Oxford. If you miss that, you may be of Olympic standard but “Sorry, no Blue”.
    1. Thanks Jeffrey. As a Cambridge man I should know, but I was never a boatie. So you don’t get a blue if you are not in the Boat Race crew, but you row in the Cambridge boat at Henley?
      1. Correct. Same in all sports: it’s only the match against Oxford that gets you a Blue (or half Blue depending on status of the sport). So eg you could play all the matches against other opposition and then get injured (or lose form) and miss the Varsity match – no Blue.
      2. NB The main Boat races (men and women) all take place on the Tideway. Only the lightweights now race at Henley – and they get half blues, at least at Cambridge.
  10. I don’t know what it is about Izetti but he just has the knack of producing witty, elegant, clever puzzles. I thought this one was brilliant, so full of art and forehead slapping moments. All done in 2.5 Kevins.

    Can I just say to beginners that before I discovered this blog I could no more have finished an Izetti puzzle than flown. So don’t be discouraged; read the blog and learn the new tricks and you’ll get better. The bloggers (and regular contributors) are great tutors and we are lucky to have them.

    Too many great clues to list but my COD definitely went to PANCAKE, so clever.

    It may be red on your spreadsheet jackkt but that makes it a red letter day for me since I was faster than you! I’m going to look outside tonight, it must be a blue moon.


  11. CLIO defeated me. Stupidly kept looking for a word meaning “muse about” .Didn’t know Clio was a muse anyway. So 1-0 to Izaetti there. Never heard of SCUP or OBI (although relied on wordplay). Enjoyed CAMBRIDGE BLUE and LISTLESS (COD).
  12. Certainly didn’t pick an easy one to come back to, and I was rusty with quite a few answers, but got there in the end. Might have been a bit quicker had I trusted the wordplay for 18d Scup, but having never knowingly come across the fish (you never know what goes into some processed foods) I hesitated until Pancake came to mind. Likewise I knew Obi as a sash, but not as witchcraft, so that was another one where I ignored Izetti’s clear prompt. Lots of nice clues, but my favourite today was 5d Pillaged – amazing what doubt you can cause by the position of a comma. Invariant
    1. Good point about the comma. It is a lovely piece of misdirection which delayed me momentarily… but I’ve learned to ignore the punctuation in the clue in pursuit of the wordplay. A very nice example. What an educational puzzle this has been!
  13. I’ve had a great week with the QCs but it has ended on a low note. In fact, today was a DNF. I’ve never heard of “scup” although I knew it had to be the right answer. Ditto “obi. ” in addition, I couldn’t get 21 or 22 across nor 15 down. I have attempted to complete the QC every weekday for the last six or seven months and it’s rare that I don’t finish it – although, sometimes, it can take me half a day! I don’t know what I’d do without the wonderful work of the bloggers! You save my sanity on DNF days. Thank you! And thank you, too, Izetti, even though you utterly defeated me today.
  14. I thought this was really going to be a QC for me but I gradually slowed to a crawl, especially with Alteratives, Listless, Pillaged, and Cambridge Blue (LOI). Finished in 3 Kevins (again!).
    A very clever puzzle (as expected from this setter). Many thanks to Izetti and to John.
  15. Much too hard for me. I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to include specialist words in a QC – OBI and SCUP, anyone. Remind me not to bother with Izetti in future…I can use the time in much more pleasant ways. Smacking my forehead on the wall, for instance.
    1. I agree that both are obscure words, but the cluing was fair. Unless you are very knowledgeable, you are bound to come across words that you don’t know, and where you just have to trust the cryptic. If you want to give up on Izetti then that’s your choice, but you will miss out on someone viewed by many (me included) as the best QC setter, which would be a shame. Invariant
      1. Well said. It is an important thing to learn if you are going to move on to the 15×15 – there will be words you’ve never heard and sometimes you just have to trust the wordplay. So thanks to Izetti for the practice!
  16. It took about 40 minutes – and some months ago I would have given up with about 7 unsolved – but CUP came to mind to save SCUP and having tried LINE, BLUE triggered LION and I remembered C= about (as well as RE) and got CLIO.
    It also helped having a forced break and coming back to it – I think that the brain works on it even when you are away from it…
    Thanks all
    John George
  17. An outstanding puzzle that unfortunately defeated me. As I approached the half hour I decided to stop torturing myself to try and work out what was going on in 4d and 21a. With hindsight I should have got ALTERNATIVES but Tuesday food was too good for me.
    Thanks for the blog
    1. I don’t know if this helps – your comment got me thinking about how to solve a clue like 21a. This was my thought process as I recall…
      “A Tuesday’s fare, not fast food by tradition”. Eh? What’s this all about? Tuesday? Why Tuesday? Oh look “fast” food… Hmm. How about Lent? Yes! Shrove Tuesday! So the answer has to be PANCAKE.
      I think the key was not being duped into thinking “fast food = Burger? Hot Dog?”. Neat misdirection like that is a mark of the art of the setter, I think. …and a rather nice example!
  18. Coming here late after a day golfing near Tunbridge Wells.
    I agree with our blogger’s assessment of the puzzle. Izetti always educates us.
    My FOI was Sir and I then got 7d which was a big help.
    No major hold-ups but LOI 4d required a serious analysis. Done in about 20 minutes. David

    Edited at 2018-09-14 07:41 pm (UTC)

  19. As others have said, at one time I would have given up with this one, but I persevered. It took me about 43 minutes in two sittings (about twice as much as my average time), but the elation at finishing with everything parsed made it well worth it. I reiterate others comments that, without this blog, I would never have been able to attempt a puzzle like this, so thank you all once again.
    How can one choose WOD and COD when Izetti provides so many enjoyable penny-drop moments? Having said that I loved building FUN DAME NT ALLY. I also enjoyed learning a new word: SCUP and a new meaning for OBI. MM
  20. We are beginners and could barely start an Izetti 2 months ago so this was a real test. We almost finished (foxed by the poodle!), forget the time but a real sense of achievement. Clues difficult but perfectly constructed and the blog is fantastic.
    1. Lovely to hear of your progress.. And thanks for the kind words about the blog. As it happens, I had a similar sense of achievement with today’s (Saturday’s) 15×15 prize crossword, which I found very tricky. Sorry you missed this one by one, but defeating a difficult crossword gives me a buzz too… and sometimes I am happy with one wrong too.
    1. I’m sorry. I cannot let this lie unchallenged. Maybe it’s the name “Quick Crossword” that’s the problem, but the whole raison d’etre of the QC is to provide an introduction to the more challenging 15×15. A set of simple clues that require little thought might be a useful introduction, but to fulfill the aims of preparing for the 15×15 we need to be exposed to trickier clues. Today’s QC, in my opinion, is a brilliant example of an intermediary between a basic cryptic crossword and the higher levels of difficulty you will encounter in the 15×15. Yes, it’s at the harder end of the scale, but plenty of people have commented on how they enjoyed the challenge. So. Not “Poor” at all!
  21. Managed to finish this, much to my surprise. There was a time when I would avoid Izetti like the plague so perhaps I’m improving. Excellent blog, by the way
  22. We are beginners and could barely start an Izetti 2 months ago so this was a real test. We almost finished (foxed by the poodle!), forget the time but a real sense of achievement. Clues difficult but perfectly constructed and the blog is fantastic.
  23. Glad I did this on Saturday as I needed more than a century of minutes to complete it. This is a Izetti trap indeed for a weekday even for a Friday. Do the setters not understand some of us approach a quickie purposefully?


  24. We are beginners and could barely start an Izetti 2 months ago so this was a real test. We almost finished (foxed by the poodle!), forget the time but a real sense of achievement. Clues difficult but perfectly constructed and the blog is fantastic.
  25. Has anyone ever claimed a DNS? After a great week, on Friday I couldn’t get a single clue. Anyway, today is a new week so onward and upward, hopefully. RB

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