Times Quick Cryptic No 1288 by Izetti

I’d put this towards the easier end of things, certainly for an Izetti puzzle. The grid was quite empty after a first read through of the acrosses, but the downs were more forgiving and it all clicked into place with a minute-or-so change from my target. It helped that I’m slowly starting to remember that pesky material at 6d, and I was glad to be reminded of the abbreviation at 20d with an easy enough clue. As far as I can see, 11ac is the only real Valentine’s Day reference – perhaps fittingly his lover is absent from the grid. So not a great deal of obscurity, but some tricksy cluing and lots of typically smooth surfaces made it all very good fun – many thanks to Izetti!

8 Big bag in room containing antique? (7)
HOLDALLHALL (room) containing OLD (antique)
9 Entertainment round piano with English artist (5)
OPERA – O (round) P(iano) with E(nglish) R.A. (Royal Academician / artist)
10 Irritable man admits drinking nothing alcoholic (5)
RATTY – RAY (man) admits TT (teetotal / drinking nothing alcoholic)
11 Famous lover in Lincoln getting fat (7)
ABELARDABE (as in Abe Lincoln) gets LARD (fat). Abelard and Heloise were lovers in France at the turn of the twelfth century, and their sensational love affair had it all: passion, scandal, a secret marriage, an evil uncle, a series of love letters after a forced separation, and of course a juicy bit of castration thrown in for good measure. In Our Time covered it a while ago if you’re particularly interested.
12 Women tend to have misrepresented talent (9)
ENDOWMENT – anagram (misrepresented) of WOMEN TEND. A talent /endowment is a natural gift for something.
14 Guy is vulgar and funny, not half (3)
RIBRIBALD (vulgar and funny, ditch the second half). To guy / tease / rib, etc.
16 Returning academic gets sign of approval (3)
NOD – DON (academic) return = reverse
18 Remain outside school control (9)
RESTRAINTREST (remain) outside TRAIN (school)
21 Entertainment event loud and dirty (7)
FUNFAIRF (forte / loud) and UNFAIR (dirty)
22 Hiding in bedroom, an invisible Arab (5)
OMANI“Hiding in” the letters of bedroOM AN Invisible
23 Angelic group you and I will appear in (5)
SWEET – SET (group) that WE (you and I) will appear in.
24 Squirm uneasily when entertaining a nobleman (7)
MARQUISanagram (uneasily) of SQUIRM entertains/admits A

1 The unknown number holding weird rite as number of ill omen? (8)
THIRTEEN – THE (the) N (unknown number) holds an anagram (weird) of RITE
2 Very happy to be connected, right away (6)
ELATED – RELATED (connected), with R(ight) taken away.
3 Infant born in space near window? (4)
BABY – B(orn) inside BAY (space near window)
4 Walk out after Conservative split (6)
CLEAVE – LEAVE (walk out) goes after C(onservative)
5 Supporting development of trees? That’s my job (8)
FORESTER – FOR (supporting) ; anagram (development) of TREES. As the definition refers back to the cryptic, but is not part of the wordplay, this is an example of a “semi-&lit” clue, an “&lit” clue being where the whole clue is both cryptic wordplay “and literally” the definition.
6 Fix material before broadcast (6)
REPAIRREP (material) before AIR (broadcast). A fabric with a ribbed surface, with “rep” here being etymologically related to “rib”.
7 Worker making clock component (4)
HAND – double definition
13 Justifies tirades following hostilities (8)
WARRANTS – RANTS (tirades) follows WAR (hostilities)
15 Cricketer, one in important match being most eccentric (8)
BATTIESTa cricketer = a bat, courtesy of synecdoche ; I (one) inside TEST (important match)
17 Risk in badly laid-out garden (6)
DANGERAnagram (badly laid-out) of GARDEN
19 Kentish spirits? Amber-coloured liquids (6)
SERUMS – SE (South East / Kentish) RUMS (spirits)
20 One vehicle unserviceable, making traveller doomed to death (6)
ICARUSI (ONE) CAR (vehicle) US (U/S = unserviceable, originally a WWII abbreviation)
21 Speedy firm? (4)
FASTdouble definition
22 Occupying zoo, great big monster (4)
OGRE – “Occupying” the letters of zoO GREat

52 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1288 by Izetti”

  1. My target 10 was missed again by 2 minutes as I wrestled with the 3-letter word at 14ac as my LOI. With both checkers in place I was still convinced I was looking for a guy’s name so ROB came to mind and I lost time trying to justify it.

    I imagine that like ASGARD yesterday them wot knows ABELARD will bung it in with nary a thought, but others may struggle; however, unlike yesteday I was on the right side of the fence today. Having said that, I think the wordplay for ABELARD was kinder, so those who didn’t know it may have found the answer easier to work out.

    Edited at 2019-02-14 06:06 am (UTC)

  2. Quite a challenge to comment without reading the answers. But i haven’t found this easy at all. 20 minutes on the clock and most of the top half is still empty. I’m not giving up but my coffee cup is long empty I do have get on with my day! Assuming I get to the end at lunch my time is going to be measured in hours!
  3. 16 minutes but put rob in 14a unparsed and forgot to go back and check.

    I second the shout for the 15×15, I completed in about 45 mins with only a few biffs.

    Cod forester

    1. . . .if you managed to parse 11ac and/or 26ac in the big version, I tip my hat to you. Invariant
  4. Slowed down some by a couple of words that I knew but aren’t in my dialect: HOLDALL, RATTY, FUNFAIR. Also slow to get SERUMS: for one thing, I’d say ‘sera’; and I didn’t know their color (the color of blood, by the way, is often cited in discussions of evolution; it has no adaptive reason whatever). More importantly, I forgot that Kent=SE. Do try the 15×15. 8:03. On edit: I was going to say that I was a bit surprised by ABELARD; in any case, it’s worth noting that ‘Lincoln’ invariably clues ABE.

    Edited at 2019-02-14 07:44 am (UTC)

  5. Yes, I biffed SERUMS as my LOI and found it very odd. A nice puzzle from Izetti – I thought I would walk through it (I rarely go from NW to the bottom without leaving gaps) but I slowed in the SE. 19mins exactly which is not too bad for me versus Izetti. I quite lijed ENDOWMENT, WARRANTS but my COD is FORESTER. Thanks to both. John M.
      1. Not sure what is going on. More haste….. I can’t delete and redo because the earlier errors are ‘anonymous’.. And I should have added RIB and RESTRAINT as good clues. John M.

        Edited at 2019-02-14 08:59 am (UTC)

  6. ABELARD unknown – once again, my parents failure to secure me a classical education slows me down! But it was gettable from the wordplay. It still took me several minutes longer than it should have, as Lincoln (where I usually see ABE immediately) for some reason had me searching for a lover from the Robin Hood tales. Good puzzle and good blog.
  7. I am not sure that too many would have found this easy! REP as a material, guy meaning to RIB would not readily suggest themselves. UNFAIR for dirty is sneaky but F?N?A?R what else could it be? Likewise Abelard wouldn’t be well known but we are getting use to Abe for Lincoln so at elast we had a start.
  8. Shepherd Neame’s excellent Bishop’s Tipple came to mind. Alas I’m working today so that suggestion will have to wait.

    On Izetti’s wavelength as usual (I see he’s reversed himself at 16A), although by no means as quick as I was on his last QC.

    TIME 3:17

  9. Relatively straightforward for Izetti with only ABELARD vaguely known. That said, this certainly wasn’t a write-in with some careful unpicking required. Liked FORESTER a lot.

    Many thanks to setter and blogger.

  10. I like Izetti’s puzzles generally and this was another good one. Lovely surfaces. All done and dusted in 8:55, so back on track for me. Thanks to setter and blogger.


  11. Tough but enjoyable, all done and dusted in 2 Kevins, a Decent Day. I didn’t know that “rep” is a material – must try to remember that (won’t) – or that serums are ambver-coloured. Well well. Like the Rotter the reference to Lincoln had me heading off to Sherwood Forest for a while; finally I remembered that Lincoln = Abe and it fell into place.

    I enjoyed FORESTER too but my COD goes to the invisible Arab, which made me laugh aloud – brilliant! Thanks to Izetti and roly.


  12. The dreaded pink square made an appearance today. I biffed ROB half way through the solve and made a mental note to go back and parse it later, which I then forgot to do. Bit annoyed by that as I’ve seen the GUY/RIB thing a few times now.
    Other than that I was held up at the end by the mysterious amber coloured liquid, the fat president and failing to parse the last 2 letters of ICARUS.
    Thanks for the blog.

    Edited at 2019-02-14 11:26 am (UTC)

  13. Held up for a good 5 minutes by SERUMS. Biffed without huge confidence in the end, missing SE and not knowing there was an associated colour. So 17.16 after whizzing through most. COD to ICARUS.
  14. I’m quite slow and ponderous when it comes to these QCs. I can usually grind may way to a completed grid in around 30 minutes. Today though I still had 6 to go at the half hour mark. A toughie!
  15. About average in time. Had completely forgotten the guy=rib meaning, so ended up with an alphabet trawl to finish it. Never come across REP = material, but had to be. Didn’t know SERUMS were amber coloured and shouldn’t it be SERA anyway? but the cluing was straightforward. Enjoyed FORESTER, but the ‘traveller doomed to death’ really made chuckle.
  16. I really dislike izetti puzzles. I find them unsolvable and frankly not fun. This was definitely not easy.


    1. Hang in there Tim – a couple of years ago I could hardly get a single clue on an Izetti, now he’s my favourite setter. The key for me was to do as much as I could and then religiously study the blog explanations for the clues I had been unable to do. The bloggers give excellent explanations and if one can only remember the tips, one rapidly builds up a better toolkit.

      Keep going!


  17. There seemed to be gremlins in The Times website today and I was cruelly cut off from the QC and could only access an article about Lorena Bobbitt. Perfect Valentine’s Day material.
    When I got the physical paper I was pleased to see Izetti’s name and off I went. FOI was 22a a hidden and 2OI was 22d,another one. After 15 minutes I had to stop to go to the local council tip but once back I needed another 3 minutes to finish with SERUMS.
    I had left an unparsed and unchecked ROB in the puzzle and forgot to go back to it. Tricky clue I think.
    You will always learn something from Izetti’s puzzles. David
    1. Re the problem with the Times website, Googling for something like:

      site:thetimes.co.uk quick cryptic 1288

      should find the appropriate page.

      1. Thanks. I have just checked and the website is up and running again. There were a lot of disgruntled comments under the articles in the T2-which was all one could read online at the time.
        At least this is not a common occurrence.
        1. I’m not sure that the words “cruelly cut off” and “Lorena Bobbitt” should ever appear in the same sentence!
  18. I tackled this after a convivial musical soiree at a friend’s house which involved a nice meal and copious quantities of beverages. On arriving home in the small hours I decided to have more wine and cheese and biscuits. After all if you can’t indulge on your birthday, when can you? However my solving powers weren’t on the ball and I went over my target again to 13:04. I really liked “traveller doomed to death” too. ABELARD was vaguely familiar but I couldn’t have told his story or named his paramour. I’m now dealing with the after effects of yesterday’s continuing root canal treatment, the development of the lurgi and a vague feeling that I may have overindulged last night! Nice to hear that the 15×15 shouldn’t be too taxing today. Thanks Izetti and Roly.
        1. Yes happy birthday – in your defence I would say that self-medicating the effects of root canal treatment should never be confused with overindulgence!
  19. I was all done in average time, remembering both REP and ABELARD, but then I looked again at 14A and took another minute or so to see it was RIBald not ROB. I enjoyed the most eccentric cricketer at 15D, but COD to FUNFAIR. I didn’t know serums are amber, but do now.
  20. I was out and about today so decided to solve the QC on my phone and that is when I got ratty. I toggled between pen and pencil, was unable to see the QWERTY keyboard and the QC grid at the same time and my normal size fingers didn’t seem to register letters on the grid. The positive side to all this was, with the enforced slowness, that I was pretty much able to solve all the clues on first reading. I did biff 6d REPAIR and guessed 11a ABELARD from the wordplay. Thanks Izetti and Roly.
    1. See comments from me earlier in the week. The Android phone is a wonderful beast, but not suited to crosswords at all. For me, the biggest problem is only being able to see part of the grid. I suspect that I have fatter fingers than you as well !
  21. I struggled today with the top half of the grid needing a second sitting this afternoon – and I forgot to re-check ‘Rob’ so that was wrong. At least 30mins to (not) finish – maybe more, but when I saw Izetti’s name after I’d finished I felt a bit better about the whole thing.

    Is Izetti the only setter of the QC with a style which makes it determinable who set the puzzle without knowing?

  22. Today was a perfect example that the QC is my level. It was a slow solve but all correct having guessed my LOI rib. Having seen that the main cryptic was gentle today I had a go but got just over half the answers before I resorted to aids.
  23. Just over our target at 32m. Took time to get 19d, and as others, had forgotten the guy meaning. We always enjoy Izetti now, taken time but the clues are always fair. Also enjoyed the Bobbit comments above, thanks to all for the entertainment.
    1. Scrumpy for serums does fit quite nicely, especially if you consider the boundaries of the grid to be unnecessarily restrictive!
  24. It was a relief to solve the SERUMS clue at the end and find other thoughts re amber liquids could be discounted.
  25. I thought that was a fair challenge from Izetti, with the exception of the ‘famous’ lover at 11ac. A good job it wasn’t somebody obscure… Funfair, Serums and Battiest were all a bit of a stretch, but I got there in the end, just north of 30 mins, with 5d Forester my favourite by a country mile. Thank you Roly for the very clear blog. Invariant
  26. 12 minutes with loi ‘rib’ going in with a puzzled ‘well, it has to be’ based on guy – as I couldn’t think of ribald. Thanks for working that one out for me! Cod Forester.
  27. We normally find Izetti OK but we really struggled with 4 clues today. First one we haven’t finished in an age. Still, there’s always tomorrow 😀
      1. Spirits ? Don’t you think you celebrated enough yesterday John ? Many happy returns sir !
  28. asgard and abelard posed no problems for me but 14 across RIB I thought was mephistoish difficult. Rib=Guy – definitely never heard of it!!!
  29. Never heard of guy meaning to rib somebody. Abelard? Who? Found this difficult and didn’t finish. Ho hum
  30. Very difficult for a QC – glad you found it easy!
    Took about 4 hours over three days!
    And still got Rib wrong- tried Rob..
    Rep material? Never heard of it.
    Abelard – got from the clue eventually but never heard of him.
    A cricketer is not a bat
    Amber coloured should have had the question mark as some rums are clear, as our some serums.

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