Times Quick Cryptic No 2038 by Izetti

A chewy enough puzzle from Izetti, taking me a bit over 12 minutes to get the Unlucky! sign: I failed on my LOI 7d, and even stared dutifully for another couple of minutes before clicking on the answer. Alas, I am very well acquainted with failing to get the last clue of a crossword, so it isn’t sour grapes when I say this clue lurks somewhere between unfair and wrong, with the dictionaries indicating the latter. (Ok, slightly sour grapes.) But the rest of the puzzle was a pleasure, as can be expected from this setter, so many thanks to Izetti! Oh, and happy new year!

1 African islander organised galas in spring month (8)
MALAGASY anagram (organised) of GALAS in MAY (spring month)
5 Mistake? Hope, perhaps, to conceal nothing (4)
BOOB – BOB (as in Bob Hope, say) to conceal O (nothing)
9 King comes to a place no longer able to function (5)
KAPUT K(ing) comes to A ; PUT (a ; place)
10 On a peninsula in a very cold place with no hint of sun (7)
IBERIAN sIBERIAN (in a very cold place) with no S (no hint of Sun)
11 Sleep in something soft and fluffy (3)
NAP double definition
12 Social with gin being poured out for philosophers (9)
LOGICIANS – anagram (poured out) of SOCIAL with GIN
13 Rescue operation with lake drained to get beast (6)
SAVAGE – SALVAGE (rescue operation) drained of the L for lake.
15 Charge made by artist swinging round in row (6)
TARIFF – R.A. (artist) swinging round in TIFF (row)
17 Daughter is cleaned and combed — and dumped! (9)
DISCARDED – D(aughter) IS ; CARDED (is ; cleaned and combed). As in to card wool. A chuckle-worthy surface (if not for the daughter).
19 Equipment essential for skittles (3)
KIT – is essential for sKITtles
20 Support one on the same side without breaking the law (7)
LEGALLY – LEG (support) ALLY (one on the same side)
21 Rush made by operator not getting on (5)
SURGE – made by SURGEon (operator) without the ON
22 Fuss made by Dorothy about nothing (2-2)
TO-DO – made by DOT (dorothy) about = reversed, and O (nothing)
23 Like an inscribed trophy buried in the churchyard? (8)
ENGRAVED – cryptic hint, although there is an obsolete verb “engrave”, to put in a grave.

1 Necessary qualities of arts graduate leading Cambridge college (7)
MAKINGS MA (arts graduate) leading KING’S (Cambridge college)
2 Really enjoy drink at Oxford? (3,2)
LAP UP LAP (drink) UP (at Oxford)
3 Get bagatelle, having shifted item of furniture (7,5)
GATELEG TABLE – anagram (having shifted) of GET BAGATELLE
4 Alcoholic drink for cast (5)
SLING double definition. Singapore seems rather to have cornered the sling market.
6 Old chum in Paris collects apparatus for artistic hobby (7)
ORIGAMI – O(ld) AMI (chum in Paris) collects RIG (apparatus)
7 A possible problem for some coming up? (5)
BENDSassuming I’ve parsed this correctly, this is a cryptic definition referring to decompression sickness from coming up too quickly when diving. Every dictionary I checked, however, specifies this as THE BENDS, and I tend to think the answer would have to be in this form to work. (As for my original answer, if the crossword had been intended for before Christmas, I suppose giving a Christmas BONUS could be a problem for the penurious.)
8 Seller is worker involved in various crimes with little hesitation (12)
MERCHANDISER – HAND (worker) involved in an anagram (various) of CRIMES, with ER (little hesitation)
14 Showing facial expression of wise person in short video (7)
VISAGEDSAGE (wise person) in VID (short video)
16 Overweight leader is an idiot (7)
FATHEAD – FAT (overweight) HEAD (leader)
17 Convict finally escaped, heading north in Netherlands town (5)
DELFT – T (convicT “finally”) FLED (escaped), heading north
18 Senior man, fellow to entertain you in old-fashioned way (5)
DOYEN DON (fellow) to entertain YE (you in old-fashioned way)
19 Russian city known in romantic old verse, originally (5)
KIROV Known In Romantic Old Verse, “originally

59 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2038 by Izetti”

  1. DNK KIROV the city (which was re-named Vyatka in 1992), but knew the ballet company. With the checkers in, I thought of BONUS, too, but saw no way to make it work. The ‘the’ problem didn’t occur to me at the time, but I can see Roly’s point. Still, do we require ‘the’ in cases like this? We don’t say, e.g. I read in Times, or Max had runs; need the solution be The Times/The runs? Perpend. 9:15.
    1. Ah yes, good point: “runs” would have to be fair game in a crossword without the “the” despite also being specified in dictionaries, and so I think “bends” would stand even if Jack hadn’t found it in the SOED. I was treating it as more like, for example, “altogether”, which would surely be wrong to clue as “nude”.
  2. 10 minutes for all but 7dn where I had thought of BONUS but wasn’t convinced. After 5 more minutes I hadn’t come up with anything better so I used aids to consider all matches for B?N?S — there are 27 of them but nothing leapt out at me so I revealed the answer, BENDS and had to admit it was quite a decent cryptic clue.

    I hadn’t considered Z’s point about the omission of ‘the’ and whilst he nearly convinced me, on reflection I don’t think it’s valid for the reasons already given by Kevin above – and I could cite more examples. The clincher anyway in this case is the SOED definition of ‘bends’ In the plural, usually with the. Pain (esp. in the joints) which is a symptom of decompression sickness. Also, the illness itself. colloq.

    Edited at 2021-12-30 06:34 am (UTC)

    1. Well spotted in the SOED (it wasn’t in Chambers, the OED, Lexico, Collins or Wikipedia!) – that is indeed a clincher, although as you say I would have been persuaded even if it wasn’t there.
  3. Izetti is well hard. 25 minutes with PDM for ‘…’ Bends after scanning the same 27 as Jack (medical training kicking in?) I expect many to find this challenging.
    A typical Izetti toughie giving us a fair sprinkle of the usual cryptic misdirection… tautology or doing what it says on the tin?
    Many thanks Roly- I hadn’t parsed Delft, BIFD with checkers and assuming D was finally from escaped.

  4. Couldn’t see GATELEG- never heard of it, and was struggling to make any progress after half an hour.
    This week started so well, but I’m now 2/4. Not good.

    PS it’s ‘The Bends’

  5. I was on the 12:45 flight from Madagascar to Kirov.

    FOI 9ac KAPUT originally dead?


    LOI was 5ac BOOB — because of the deceptive BENDS at 7dn


    WOD 3dn GATELEG TABLE – IKEA’s offer of the month with three matching chairs!

    4dn with happy memories of the Raffles, Singapore 2001-3

    Edited at 2021-12-30 08:14 am (UTC)

    1. I once completed an application form question “What do you consider your greatest achievement ?” with the reply “As a dyspraxic, correctly assembling an IKEA GATELEG table at the first attempt in under half an hour”.
  6. I couldn’t finish the NE corner with Boob and Bends. I couldn’t think of Hope, Bob is fair although i do wish we didn’t consistently have serving world war era stars appearing. I would never have got bends.

    I also didn’t know Malagasy but guessed from the clue and hadn’t heard of a gateleg table. I found a couple of the words slightly clumsy — visaged and merchandiser, I don’t think I have ever heard used in daily life.

    Very tough challenge from Izetti, thanks Roly for the blog.

    FOI Logicians
    LOI Iberian
    COD Discarded

      1. Ah apologies it is Stowic! I normally use the app but can’t see all the answers so had to look on line and forgot to log in properly

        1. Even the setters on the QC have a Monicker. Why not make a New Year Resolution, join The Club, get an avatar and really be somebody!?

          Edited at 2021-12-30 11:47 am (UTC)

  7. I was off to a good start with MALAGASSY but had to use the reserve neuron to make progress. I eventually was left with 7d and thought I was going to miss my target, but having discarded BONUS, spotted the required BENDS fairly quickly. 9:39. Thanks Izetti and Roly.
    1. That’s a wonderful word you’ve invented. It needs to be spaced out though :

      MAL A GASSY : a feeling of crapulence caused by drinking Carling Black Label lager.

  8. I note that someone was unaware of Merchandiser. Obviously he/she has steered clear of marketing departments and the wicked world of advertising. Therefore my WOD, with COD going to Gateleg Table! In their latest catalogue it is known as ‘Norden’ mmmm..

    Edited at 2021-12-30 10:09 am (UTC)

    1. Both my children are in marketing/advertising … I was not expecting them to emulate Mother Teresa, but I was suprised they have sunk so low..
  9. … with two entries biffed but not parsed, one only got with aids (8D Merchandiser — not a word I have heard of) and my LOI 7D Bends put in outright wrong (I was another Bonus, and no I couldn’t explain it either). I think that is the full gamut of ways to be defeated by a setter.

    So, not a good day.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog, needed today

  10. Apart from my LOI, 7d, which, like others I thought was unfair for a QC, as there is no hint that it is divers who are coming up, I found this well-clued and enjoyable, more like Don of old, whereas I have struggled more than I should with some of his recent QCs. FOI Malagasy, COD Tariff, and completed faster than usual but had to come here to check BENDS

  11. I am 4 for 4 with the SCC this week, 22 minutes again, held up by the usual subjects. I think the vocab in this Izetti puzzle is unusually obtuse, with about 8-10 answers being unusual or uncommon — I won’t list them all. My LTI were BOOB when BOB clicked, which then opened up BENDS. I got MERCHANDISER only after trying to fit in ant or bee for worker, and only then trying hand. Once again, a real challenge from Izetti. Thanks Roly.
  12. Wow, a 45min slog albeit clearly signposted by just Nap and To Do on the initial across run. Still surprised I managed to finish at all. Invariant
  13. I was quite pleased to finish this even in 48:10, but then I came on here and discovered my GETALEG TABLE was wrong. I thought it might be some kind of extendable table you could add an extra leg to, or maybe one of those ones which fold down so they take up less space. NHO card wool so didn’t understand the CARDED part of 17a, and I’ve only vaguely heard of DELFT and KIROV. I managed to get BENDS from just the S though, so I’m quite chuffed about that. I wrote it in lightly because of the “the” problem discussed above, but when it helped with BOOB and IBERIAN, I assumed it was right. Anyway, FOI MALAGASY, LOI MERCHANDISER, COD to SAVAGE. Thanks Izetti and Roly.
    1. I’ve sat at a few tables — especially in pubs and cafes — where an extra leg might have steadied the whole thing. The folded beer mat never quite does the trick!
  14. Slow going today, with the anagrams proving particularly tricky. I’d not heard of the table so required most the the checkers for that, philosophers are not a strong suit for me and I wanted the islander to end in an ‘r’ so tried using MAR as the spring month at 1a, which proved unfruitful.
    I had to dredge the European towns from the depths which just left LOI BENDS, which I rather enjoyed when the penny finally dropped.
    A challenging but fair puzzle from Izetti which I completed in 15.29 with my COD going to MALAGASY and with an honourable mention to TO DO.
    Thanks to Roly
  15. FOI MALAGASY , LOI BOOB which made me smile, as naturally had been trying to think of a synonym for hope as opposed to dear old Bob. Also liked KAPUT, TARIFF, SLING, SALVAGE. Was slow on witty IBERIAN.
    Biffed Disbanded which sort of made sense and Bonus which did not.
    Thanks all, esp Roly
    Kind of surprised by those claiming NHO a gateleg table – they may even have one in their house. Their parents probably did, anyway.

    Edited at 2021-12-30 11:55 am (UTC)

    1. I grew up with one. It was always a battle as to who got there first in order to have comfortable space for one’s feet.


  16. ….I was position 1 of 1 on the leaderboard. That served to reinforce my view that this was a toughie, since there are usually six or so solutions posted by then.

    Most regular readers of this blog will know how much I admire Izetti, and it’s seldom that I criticise one of his clues, but I really don’t like “seller” as a definition of MERCHANDISER. The role of that person is to present the product so that it appeals to potential purchasers. Therefore, the product can be said to have sold itself. The MERCHANDISER has obviously played a major part in the process, but hasn’t actually sold the product at first hand.

    I was just about to hit 5 minutes when I was left with 7D. It took over two minutes before I resisted the urge to biff something like “bonds” or “bonus”. Had “THE” been there, I would probably have been quicker, but no real complaint.

    TIME 7:10

  17. Definitely on the wavelength. The TABLE and philosopher anagrams went in with barely a glance at the grist whilst BENDS was a write in for anyone who read the pre-teen adventure books I devoured where the only thing I learned was not to ascend from the depths too quickly (Not been a lot of practical help it has to be said 🙂)

    The islanders last in — nho but had to be

    I know others find Izetti on the harder side — this definitely seemed a notch above in terms of difficulty

    Thanks all

  18. My first crossword for a week, and the rustiness shows. Off to a bad start with MALAGSAY which I think I must have misread my whole life, then OOPS for 5a. Downhill from there.


  19. I thought it was the 15×15. Just about managed the SW corner, but eventually gave up with the rest. Much too hard for a QC. Disheartening.
  20. Had the wrong spring month for MALAGASY!
    In a very cold place suggests Siberia to me.
    Also didnt know carded for wool so that increased the time.

    15×15 (also by izetti?) is fun today and probably no harder.

    Cod discarded.

  21. Big fat DNF. NHO MALAGASY and couldn’t get the last letter (shoved in an E, stupidly thinking of May as the summer not spring), missed Bob Hope, and without the B had even less chance on BENDS than I would have done had I managed BOOB.

    Hey ho.

    Thanks Izetti and roly.


  22. Twenty minutes in between mouthfuls of soup at lunch, a bad habit, note to self do not repeat. Thoroughly enjoyed this. FOI Malagasy, though I looked at it twice as I wondered if it had two s’s and decided it couldn’t have since nothing else fit here. LOI bends. B?N?S sat there for a bit, while I wondered how a bonus could be a problem to some coming up, and what a sunob was. Then the penny dropped. Amazing how many of us know what the bends are, I am another who admits the knowledge has not been of any practical value yet. Surprised to see origami here – it features so often in the codeword it’s a chestnut there. Liked all the clues. Possess a gateleg table – not the IKEA one, mine’s a hand-me-down in oak. A bit of a death trap if you don’t make sure the legs are at the stop on a regular basis – hot soup in your lap, sir? No? Didn’t think so. 20 on first pass, COD engraved. Thanks, Roly, and Izetti.
  23. Gave up after 22 mins with 5ac, 10ac and 7dn outstanding. The remainder went in relatively quickly, despite some rather obscure vocab (“visaged”??) but the NE corner defeated me. I had in fact thought of Iberian at 10ac but could not parse it, considered bonus for 7dn but clearly could not parse that either and was all at sea on 5ac. I also thought of downs for 7dn which sort of made sense but gave an unlikely w at the end of 10ac. Either these are getting harder or I am losing the grey matter – quite possibly both!

    FOI – 1ac MALAGASY
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 17ac DISCARDED

  24. That was a toughie but definitely a goody. We had a very slow start and an even slower finish. Like many others it took us ages to solve BOOB and finally BENDS, we eventually finished in 24 minutes. So, another visit to the SCC for us.

    FOI: KIT

    Thanks Rolytoly and Izetti.

  25. I was feeling very frustrated as I couldn’t get 7d but now feel it’s a bit of a bonus to be in such good company! I did mostly enjoy this although there was some quite esoteric vocab for a QC. FATHEAD made me chuckle — I do feel like one after my struggles with BENDS.
    No problem with GATELEG TABLE— as Countrywoman says, many of us must have seen one at some time. There is a very fine one in the arts and crafts cottage where I volunteer — I wish I could show you a picture of it. I believe that teasels were used to raise the NAP on woollen cloth in olden times.
    FOI Malagasy
    COD Engraved
    DNF after about 20 mins
    Thanks Izetti and Roly

    Edited at 2021-12-30 05:48 pm (UTC)

  26. A search back through our records reveals that, in the Random household at least, this was (jointly) our weakest effort since last February. The NW corner was my downfall, as I put OOPS for 5a, ICE RINK for 10a, and (of course) could not solve 7d (where I had S_K_S). Prior to that, almost the entire grid proved difficult, and I finally gave up (3 clues short) after 75 minutes.

    Despite her superior crosswording skills, Mrs Random fared no better. She gave up after 59 minutes (a time almost unheard of for her), having failed to get MERCHANDISER, SURGE, IBERIAN and BENDS. In summary, we both felt we were trying to play several levels above our grade.

    Many thanks to Izetti and rolytoly, and respect to all who succeeded in solving the puzzle unaided.

    1. You and I know that this was a stinker, but I pity anyone dipping their toe in the water for first time this week!
      1. Yes. A clear lack of talent has forced me to build some resilience. Bring on tomorrow!
  27. Fresh from my 8 min quickie yesterday and a wet, romp around Grasmere today, I failed spectacularly on this and had to give in after 45 mins with a number of clues in the NE corner unfinished and various other errors.

    NHO of 3dn and 17dn and forgot 12ac which didn’t help. However, I did think this was another toughie from Izetti.

    FOI — 9ac “Kaput”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 21ac “Surgeon”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. I came to this late today and found it very tough. LOsI were IBERIAN and BENDS (clever, that one!) but MERCHANDISER held me up for a while. I ended up in the SCC by a few mins, I liked GATELEG TABLE, ENGRAVED, DISCARDED, SURGE but I didn’t like LOGICIANS or MALAGASY (even though they had to be) nor the non-word MERCHANDISER. Thanks to Izetti for a real workout and to Roly for dealing with it so well. John M.
  29. A GETALEG TABLE? What on earth is that? Not that it made any difference as I was nowhere in the NE corner with BOOP, IBERIAN and BENDS unanswered. Worst effort for a long time.
  30. For a solver coming up to one year’s experienceI found this very hard. Took over an hour to get all but 2 clues. Gave up on 5ac and 7dn. Not sure that this one falls within the definition of a quick crossword.
  31. Got there in the end but agree with others that this was rather hard for a quick xword.
  32. I fail to understand why Izetti is getting so much flak recently. He’s the best setter by miles. The unknowns were fairly clued and I love his sense of humour – 15 minutes

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