Times Quick Cryptic No 1189 by Izetti

I approach my introduction to this blog with some trepidation given that I underestimated how difficult others would find the lovely QC from Izetti last time out and how much longer it took me today. I note also that plenty of people have found several recent puzzles harder than usual and are looking for something less stretching. Well, there I was, thinking this is very straightforward for an Izetti puzzle with just the SE corner to complete. Then I was interrupted by the wife looking for her laptop charger. When I restarted, the last 4 clues took me as long again as the rest, leaving me with my slowest time since the beginning of August at just over 10 minutes. But there are plenty of more straightforward clues than usual from Don, I think, so maybe it was just the effect of the interruption on my concentration. Or maybe those clues were a bit tricky. So if, like me, you struggled with the SE corner, commiserations, but we are here to learn, aren’t we? A very nice puzzle with lots of anagrams and several reversal clues.. and it’s a pangram!  That’s hard enough to achieve in a 15×15 grid and even more impressive in a 13×13. Some lovely surfaces too – I liked REINFORCE and thought QUARTERFINAL was brilliant. Thank-you Izetti for another fine, educational, pangramatic and entertaining puzzle. How did you all get on?

[Addendum: Unrelated to this QC, on a walk in Newmarket yesterday, I was challenged to come up with a crossword clue related to a sign we passed along the way… so here it is ” Hankers after coat, seen on boat at a distance, worth 1000 guineas, perhaps? (5, 8)”. Any better suggestions?]

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

1 Girl dancing with a brat in place noted for rock (9)
GIBRALTAR – We start with an anagram helped with a generous definition. (Girl a brat)* [dancing].
6 Opening article penned by doctor (3)
GAP – The doctor is a General Practitioner. With the article A inserted [penned] we get the unfilled space.
8 Protester when head of state appears at end of month (7)
MARCHER – The month is MARCH. Add our head of state, ER, at the end.
9 Claim by trader to be perfect (5)
IDEAL – If you claim to be a trader you might say I DEAL.
10 A tranquil ref gets rattled in cup match (12)
QUARTERFINAL – An anagram (A tranquil ref)* [gets rattled]. A lovely surface.
12 When Christians celebrate Pentecost a bit (4)
WHIT – Double definition – the second one hardly needed.
13 Bird caged by our headmaster (4)
RHEA – Today’s hidden word [caged] in ouR HEAdmaster.
17 Performances deemed very good? I came seventh, surprisingly (12)
ACHIEVEMENTS – Another anagram of (I came seventh)* [surprisingly]. Seventh? Good? That made me laugh.
20 Character at end, after party, had a kip (5)
DOZED – DO (party) with ZED (character at the end of the alphabet) [after].
21 Malign notice interrupts attempt to stop war (7)
TRADUCE – AD (notice) inside TRUCE (attempt to stop war). Not a very familiar word to me, but I recognised it when I solved the wordplay. It means to defame, calumniate or malign.
23 Female prisoner backsliding (3)
GAL – The prisoner is a LAG. Reverse [backsliding] to get the female.
24 Confused state means rest will be disturbed (5,4)
MARES NEST – (means rest)* [will be disturbed]. This one took me a while to disentangle, but I remembered it eventually. An odd phrase. See here for an explanation.

1 Electronic publication set up for football maybe (4)
GAME – If a MAGazine was published online, you might call it an E-MAG. Put it upwards [set up].
2 Old boy going up unpleasant part of city? (7)
BOROUGH – Another bit of reversal OB (Old boy) [going up] ROUGH (unpleasant).
3 A quiet wood (3)
ASH – A SH (quiet). A “let the dog see the rabbit” type clue.
4 European getting you upset, a failure (6)
TURKEY –  More reversing needed here. TURK (European) and YE (you) [upset]. Unlike 17a, a performance that’s deemed not good.
5 Engineers in, supporting church buttress (9)
REINFORCE – A 4 part charade – RE (Engineers) IN FOR (supporting) CE (Church of England). Another neat surface.
6 Inexperienced member of political party (5)
GREEN – A double definition.
7 Friend coming to cathedral city in half-hearted fashion (6)
PALELY – PAL (Friend) ELY (cathedral city). A slightly odd definition – but think of, for example, “a pale imitation”.
11 Bad person turning crazy in Dutch city (9)
ROTTERDAM – ROTTER (Bad person) with MAD (crazy) [turning].
14 See hunt going out and sound keen! (7)
ENTHUSE – (See hunt)* [going out].
15 Plod randomly round Austria’s capital with good person in attendance (6)
LAPDOG – (Plod)* [randomly] [around] A (Austria’s capital) [with] G (good).
16 Right famous detective novelist! (6)
DEXTER – My last one in. Misdirected to look for an author’s name beginning with R followed by the name of a famous detective, it took me ages to see it was a double definition. Colin Dexter, of course, was the creater of Inspector Morse.
18 Girl in mist going over lake (5)
HAZEL – HAZE [going over] L (lake). And hello to my cousin Hazel if she drops by.
19 Paris’s first person on street to make a joke (4)
JEST – JE (Paris’s first person – i.e. I in french) [on] ST (street).
22 Fool making girl lose her head (3)
ASS – Another gal – this time {l}ASS, losing her head (i.e. first letter).

99 Hankers after coat, seen on boat at a distance, worth 1000 guineas, perhaps? (5, 8)
EIGHT FURLONGS – LONGS (hankers) [after] FUR (coat) [seen on] EIGHT (boat). The 1000 guineas is a 1 mile race… run at Newmarket.

44 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1189 by Izetti”

  1. I thought I was doing well, but 12ac was a bit of aproblem–I have no idea when Christians celebrate Pentecost, and I’d never come across WHIT, only Whitsun(tide)–so I had to wait for checkers. But what really slowed me down, by a couple of minutes, was 16d. Like our blogger, I started by looking for an R author; and then the T suggested Agatha, which I couldn’t get out of my head. I had no idea who DEXTER was, although Morse has shown up here more times than I care to remember; so it took until I finally twigged to ‘Right’, and even then I had to take on faith that Somebody Dexter wrote detective stories. 7:42.
  2. Lovely stuff from the Don! Colin DEXTER may not have been a Tolstoy or a Hawthorne, but the TV series is peerless – at least, the best episodes are. Brilliant clue, that, and TURKEY was pretty darned good too.
  3. The blogger’s experience was very similar to my own, in that I had just started to think this was the one of the easiest puzzles ever set by Izetti, but then I ran into difficulties in the lower half and particularly in the SE where the combination of DEXTER, TRADUCE and MARE’S NEST slowed me down a lot and I ended up completing the grid only a whisker inside my target 10 minutes.

    The other clue that gave me pause for thought was 15dn where the definition seems very loose to me as a LAPDOG is a bit more than just a ‘person in attendance’.

    Awareness of (Colin) DEXTER and (Inspector) Morse are essential GK for Times solvers as both the author and his most famous character were ardent devotees of the Times crossword puzzle and this is featured a lot in the series of novels and the TV adaptations. As a result ‘Morse’ has appeared in puzzles quite a few times either as an answer or in the clue itself, and since Dexter’s demise (only last year) we shall probably be seeing more of his name too.

    Whitsuntide begins on Whit Sunday.

    Edited at 2018-09-28 06:13 am (UTC)

    1. I see why I was unfamiliar with Dexter while knowing about Morse, even his given name. I’m now prepared for the coming onslaught of ‘dexter’ clues.
      I suppose I should just look up Whitsuntide, or Pentecost, since I’m still ignorant about both.
  4. I struggled with the right hand corner too eventually giving up on Dexter. likewise I kept looking for something beginning with ‘R’ which was fruitless. I’m assuming that there is a detective called Dexter Very clever anyway! I guessed at mare’s nest and it is in my dictionaries even though I’ve never heard it used. Good puzzle though – thanks!
  5. This is the third puzzle this week that has been beyond my competence. There were ten clues that I couldn’t solve today. Either they’re getting harder or I’m getting stupider. I just keep running out of time. Once it gets beyond 45 minutes, life – or, more precisely, family – starts knocking on the door. Another week like this and the daily QC will become a thing of the past for me. Thank you anyway, setter and blogger
      1. I agree 4 this week that have been just too hard. The QCs are seen as training for the 15×15, when many of us have absolutely no interest in the main puzzle and want something we can complete in 30-49 minutes. Like you I am starting to lose interest.
        1. I’m trying to stay motivated but it is disheartening when you don’t seem to be improving!
          1. It can be a slow process but if you stick at it and learn the tricks and conventions, it eventually becomes much easier, although no one should expect to be able to solve every clue in every puzzle. I sometimes get blindsided by certain clues. As long as I learn from it, that’s fine. It regularly took me over 90 minutes(after I discovered the blog) to do a 15 x 15 when I started 7 years ago, and I would sometimes have a clue or 2 that I couldn’t solve, but now I can usually solve them in 20 to 50 minutes. This and its sister blog are invaluable sources of help. Don’t get disheartened, it’s part of the learning process.
            1. I sympathise with all who have struggled with the harder puzzles recently. It’s something I’ve been through myself too. But, and I hope this helps, after blogging the QCs every other Friday for the last year or so… and having the delight of blogging more than my fair share of Izetti crosswords along the way, I have enjoyed seeing some of our commenters here grow in confidence and solving ability through keeping at it… and even joining the unofficial Izetti fan club. So don’t be disheartened. There will be easier puzzles and you will find them easier as time goes on.

              Edited at 2018-09-28 06:11 pm (UTC)

      2. I agree 4 this week that have been just too hard. The QCs are seen as training for the 15×15, when many of us have absolutely no interest in the main puzzle and want something we can complete in 30-49 minutes. Like you I am starting to lose interest.
  6. Maybe if I had spotted we were on for a pangram but were missing the X I would have found the answer to my LOI quicker, but I only noticed after I had completed the grid.
  7. Well, like others I thought this was an unusually straightforward Izetti puzzle at first but soon realised that there were some very challenging clues (and holes to fall into). Like our blogger, I came unstuck in the SE corner struggling with Traduce and Dexter (my LOI). I liked Quarterfinal, Whit, and my doh moment, Jest. Not the easier Friday session I was hoping for (over 3 Kevins) but a good puzzle. Thanks to Izetti and John. Here’s to next week.

    Edited at 2018-09-28 09:58 am (UTC)

  8. I had the same sinking feeling as the last two days when I only got one of the accross clues, but a few more downs gave me some helpful checkers (for a change). I finished in 3 minutes over my 30 minute target, which was good for an Izetti.
    In the three years or so that I”ve been doing the cryptics Izetti’s puzzles have always been among the most difficult, but also the most instructional – I learned a lot from them and their blogs at the start when I was just getting five or six clues.
    The same can”t be said for the previous two puzzles which were just too dificult.


    Edited at 2018-09-28 10:17 am (UTC)

  9. I solved steadily whilst watching this morning’s Ryder Cup matches, but I was held up by 12a and 16d.
    Thinking in a quiet room let me find Whit, a clever clue I thought.
    I then spent ages trying to find a detective or writer in a word probably starting with R. I then tried to think laterally and I happen to know that Izetti knew Colin Dexter so that was a big help and got me through.
    Nice puzzle. David
  10. DEXTER beat me. To be honest I don’t regard him as particularly famous. Certainly not in the same league as Conan Doyle, or Christie, or Mailer. having said that, I should have thought more about why “right” was there at all.
    Didn’t know Pentecost was Whitsun, so learned something.
    Enjoyed TRADUCE (COD)
    Second DNF this week. I thought it was me, but from the comments I see it seems to have been an unusually tough week.
    Ah well, next week is another week.
  11. I battled with the club site and its Forbidden 403 notice for a while before giving up after 3 different browsers gave the same result and did the puzzle from the main paper section. After 15 minutes I lost patience and looked up DEXTER. Thanks Izetti and John.
  12. Well it is Friday and Izetti so I wasn’t expecting a fast time. I, like others, spent a lot of my 19:30 solve time in the SE corner. My LOI was 16d DEXTER which I finally solved with a quick alphabet trawl. 21a TRADUCE was my penultimate solve and the letter juggling for 17a ACHIEVEMENTS seemed to take an age. I also needed three attempts to spell 1a GIBRALTAR correctly and initially biffed 11d as Amsterdam until checkers proved otherwise. I found this an enjoyable end to a tough two weeks. Thank you John for the blog.
  13. I thought to clue Turk as European was a bit dodgy. Turkey straddles the border with Asia and is not in the EU as far as I know but it was the only word to fit.
  14. I bunged in DEXTER at the end after much head scratching having also fallen for all the misdirections described by others. I only put it in because it means “right” and I then had to come on here to see if it was correct and if so who (s)he was. Rather depressed to read Jack’s exhortation above to brush up our Dexter since I’d never heard of him …

    Otherwise held up only by ACHIEVEMENTS (saw the anagram; rather wordy definition I thought) and TURKEY (took an age to break it down!). Three and a bit Kevins.

    It has been a tough week but I have generally very much enjoyed the struggle, even when beaten.


  15. Does this work?

    Shrug and go left in about a mile.

    as ANAGRAM of Shrug go left in.

    I am not sure if the and is allowed.

    1. I like it. Works for me. Thanks! I’ll have to let my walking pals know.

      Edited at 2018-09-28 03:52 pm (UTC)

  16. The last 3 puzzles have been challenging but I like it! I don’t want to finish every puzzle in a record time, I want to exercise my brain. It’s so much more satisfying to complete a toughie than to race through an easy one. I look forward to the QC every day – only wish they appeared over the weekend too.
    1. It does not have to be easy to race through one. A right balance is needed. That is a judgement call for the setters.


  17. Started quickly enough, and even thought, at one stage, that it comes to something when an Izetti QC provides some light relief after a difficult week. That was before I tackled the SE corner, and in particular the 16d/24ac combination. Like others, I spent ages trying R + detective to get a famous novelist, and it was only when I finally got Mares Nest that Dexter came to mind. So, what should have been a challenging 30mins was more like 50. Roll on next week. Invariant
  18. A careless ‘E’ in 1a meant this was a DNF today – I need to stop trying to do anagrams in my head. Otherwise a puzzle of two halves with the top going in easily enough and the bottom being rather tough. DNK the date of Pentecost and like others DEXTER took some working out. Filled in the grid in 24.11
    Thanks for the blog
    1. QC No 1 was my very first cryptic crossword, now I have a pb of 7:50 and regularly trot in about 15 mins. Didn’t get Dexter or Mares nest but first DNF for a while .
      What gets me is the really out of date stuff that I am too young (63) to have ever heard of

      Edited at 2018-09-29 10:49 am (UTC)

  19. As many have said an Izetti QC will be tough and we’ve not completed one before….but we did it. Being Morse addicts was a great help. Clearly the plan was to make the last 2 QCs from Orpheus and Hurley so impossibly difficult that by contrast this one ‘appeared’ to be comfortable. As ever many thanks to setter and blogger. L&I
  20. I would just like to post a sincere thank you to the people who replied to my earlier (defeatist! ) comments. It is so very kind of you to take the time to encourage we newbies when we feel we’re just never going to get it. I truly appreciate it.
    1. A bit late but please let me add my sympathy and offer encouragement. I have completed every QC without exception since No. 1. Over the last few weeks, I have felt as though I was losing my faculties somewhat since I have been taking longer to complete the puzzles than ever before (sometimes by a factor of 2 or 3). Perhaps you have picked a tougher time to start solving than you deserve (and, of course, perhaps I really am gradually losing my marbles!).
      I know we should not be obsessed by our times but they are a measure of how well we are dealing with the challenge set by some excellent setters – a personal measure which should not lead us to feel low just because we cannot reach the truly impressive times recorded by the whiz kids. I have a friend who has consistently done the main Times Crossword in under 12 minutes (and has won the national competition more than once) but I have never let that put me off. My times for the main CC are embarrassing at times but I enjoy trying,
      I hope that the message from solvers is getting back to setters and editors. We don’t want ‘easy’ puzzles to massage our egos. We do want a more consistent level of difficulty overall (with the odd ‘stinker’ to keep us on our toes). We can always move to the Times Cryptic if we want a greater challenge.
      Stick with it (as I will). Your skills will develop over months and years and you will get great pleasure out of the daily challenge. I used to do the Torygraph crossword with colleagues at work and learned a great deal from interacting directly with others. It is more difficult to do it on your own. Take your time and look back in a few months to see how far you have come, especially if the QC standard becomes a bit more consistent overall. Good luck.

      Edited at 2018-09-28 07:30 pm (UTC)

      1. Responses such as this one reaffirm what a privilege it is to belong to this group. Thank you for your eloquence and your sympathetic encouragement
  21. Dredged our Traduce and (for the first time) sussed this might be a pangram and eventually guessed correctly at Dexter. It sounded right although I didn’t know it. So a few glasses of wine down and feeling happy. I never thought that I would get this one. Thanks all. It took ages interrupted by swimming and Ryder Cup.
    John George
  22. Turkey as part of Europe? Not very much of it despite Erdogan’s wishful thinking

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