Times Quick Cryptic No 2179 by Izetti

Today I get my second Izetti Quick Crossword in a row to blog. Yet again it’s on the tricky side, I think – it took me nearly 9 minutes which is over 50% more than my average. There was a word I thought meant something else, a definition I struggled with and what I thought was a cryptic definition that had me fooled. We even have a clue where the definition isn’t at the front or end of the clue. But once again, everything is perfectly fair and entertaining as ever. 1A is my favourite. Thank-you Izetti. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find his crossword here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 55 here.

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

1 Two dears getting sozzled imbibing a drink (4,5)
SODA WATER – (two dears)* [sozzled] outside, [imbibing] A. They must have put brandy in it to get sozzled. Nice one to start.
6 Noise of dog cut short in saloon ? (3)
BARBAR{k} (noise of dog) [cut short], with a “?” to show it is a definition by example.
8 Northern girl and boy from a state in America (7)
NEVADANN (Northern) EVA (girl) DAN (boy).
9 Father, gentleman going round capital city (5)
PARISPA (father) SIR (gentleman) [going round] -> RIS.
10 Extremely desultory men falling apart (12)
TREMENDOUSLY – (desultory men)* [falling apart].
12 Fast river receding — see crossing (6)
SPEEDY – DEE (river) [receding] -> EED, inside SPY (see) [crossing].
13 The French fever in a group of clubs (6)
LEAGUELE (the, in French) AGUE (fever). No nothing to with golf or a suit of cards… or a chain of discos, for that matter. Another nice one.
16 Two figures working together in IT (6,6)
BINARY SYSTEMBINARY (two figures) SYSTEM (working together) . “A system in which information can be expressed by combinations of the digits 0 and 1.” I thought it was just a cryptic definition at first, but the dictionary supports the wordplay. Neat surface.
19 Crew with heaviness, not weak (5)
EIGHT – {w}EIGHT (heaviness) without the [not] W (weak).
20 Criticise innocent person, a saint (7)
LAMBASTLAMB (innocent person) A ST (saint).
22 Feature of Dartmoor — rubbish thrown around (3)
TOR – ROT (rubbish) [thrown around] -> TOR.
23 Quick move by directors — this target will be hit (9)
DARTBOARDDART (quick move) BOARD (directors). “Dartmoor” in the previous clue might give a subliminal suggestion.
1 Some marvellous entertainment making one ecstatic (4)
SENT – Hidden in, [some], marvellouS ENTertainment.
2 Various folk plunging into the depths with energy (7)
DIVERSEDIVERS (folk plunging into the depths), E (energy).
3 Short day for getting married (3)
WEDWED{nesday} (day) [short]
4 Number given to worker who lives in another’s house ? (6)
TENANTTEN (number) ANT (worker).
5 People finding fault with agent — a football team? (9)
REPROVERSREP (agent) ROVERS (football team). Is our setter a fan of Blackburn, Bristol, Doncaster, Tranmere or Raith I wonder? (Or even Melchester?).
6 Drills black minerals (5)
BORESB (black) ORES (minerals).
7 Model again needing break, see, when upset (7)
RESTYLEREST (break), ELY (crosswordland’s favourite diocese; see) [upset] -> YLE.
11 Modified statistical figure assessed (9)
MODERATEDMODE (statistical figure, the value that occurs most frequently in a given set of data) RATED (assessed). I live in a houseful of mathematicians so know my statistical terms.
12 Part of sentence pupils learn about in English at school? (7)
SUBJECT – This one had me a bit flummoxed. I wondered if it was a double definition, but there appeared to be words in the middle unaccounted for, so I thought it was just a cryptic definition. Update: Thanks Kevin for explaining the parsing of the double definition.
14 Terrible danger descending on a country (7)
GRENADA – [terrible] (danger)* above [descending on] A.
15 Stone and tree over den, one hidden (6)
ASHLARASH (tree) [over] LA{i}R (den) without the I [one hidden]. I recognised the word but I didn’t think it meant that.
17 Restraint lifted — good for entering that country (5)
NIGER – REIN [lifted] -> NIER, outside G (good) [entering].
18 Boss of half the college’s learners? (4)
STUD – [Half] of STUD{ents}, (college’s learners).
21 Bishop given honour has this crowd turning up (3)
MOB – B (bishop) OM (Order of Merit; honour) [turning up] -> MOB.


70 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2179 by Izetti”

  1. Definitely a tough one. ASHLAR, of all things, was my LOI: I had -LAR early on, but simply couldn’t come up with ASH; OAK, ELM, FIR, but no ASH. I didn’t know, or forgot, the TORs of Dartmoor, so that waited for the checkers. I hesitated over MOB, because the wording of the clue very strongly suggests BOM (this crowd turning up). For what it’s worth, I took 12d to be a DD: ‘part of sentence pupils learn about’ , ‘English at school’. 10:51.

  2. My vocabulary is not good enough for Izetti

    I’ll edit this comment later when my brain is less scrambled.


    ok i return

    Things I need to remember:

    sometimes words can be anagrammed and another letter added. Eg SODAWATER or GRENADA. Sometimes that letter is the letter ‘a’ WHICH IS VERY TRICKY TO SPOT

    DEE is yet another river.
    ELY is a name of a see

    Words I didn’t know meant what Izetti says they mean:

    Ague, lamb, tor, sent, rovers, moderated, ashlar, stud

    Mechanisms I need practice with:

    Words that get chopped up, eg STUDents, BARk

    Clues I read in an opposite way:

    12. Fast river receeding – see crossing
    Isn’t SPY crossing EED, making it ESPYED? I know that’s not a word, but why isn’t it written Fast river receeding – crossing see

    21. Bishop given honour has this crowd turning up
    I was always told that the definition is at the front or the end of the clue. ‘this crowd’ is not. Also, it’s the honour that’s turning up, not the crowd. Why isn’t it written ‘Honor turned up on bishop for crowd’ (or something smoother)??

    Clues that just aren’t it:

    16. Two figures working together in IT.

    I really don’t know about this one. ‘working together’ is not a noun, but ‘system’ is? I’m not even sure ‘two figures’ means binary, like i don’t think you can do the subsitution rule there. I don’t think it works as a cryptic definition either.

    12d, Part of sentence pupils learn about in English at school?
    Is the ‘about in English’ part completely extraneous and misleading to anyone else?

    As you can see, i had a bit of trouble with this puzzle haha, I managed only the top half.

    1. 12: SPY crossing EED, so SPY is outside EED; which gives SPEEDY (or SEEDPY, but that’s nonsense). A bridge that crosses a river has its ends on either bank of the river.
      21: The definition is generally at one end of the clue, but it needn’t be; there’s no rule telling the setter where to place the definition, it’s just very hard to put it in the middle.
      16: Pace John, I take this to be a cryptic definition: the binary system is two figures working together in IT (although not only in IT).
      12d: see my posting at the top of this thread.

      1. Oh the crossing bridge is an arch! I don’t know why I envisioned it like zebra/pedestrian crossing. Thank you!

        With the binary system clue, do you think perhaps it would have worked better with a question mark on the end? (I don’t know how question marks work yet really). Like to say that the two figures are a working system sometimes in IT but not always IT.

    2. Interesting comments Tina. Not got much time to do them justice in a reply… doing this on a tablet in Portsmouth before my daughter’s PhD graduation. Think if “crossing” here as in a bridge… It starts one side of the river and finishes on the other, so the river is in the middle. As for ‘A’, when you see that in a clue it is usually part of the wordplay if the surface meaning is unimpaired when it is removed – purists insist that with the exception of link words between definition and wordplay everything else must be part of one or the other. And for Subject see Kevin’s explanation. Update: Sorry. My comment crossed with Kevin’s.

      1. Oh congratulations to your daughter! What an achievement. You must be very proud 🙂

        I will treat all extraneous ‘a’s as very suspicious from now on.

    3. Tina – you sound about as happy as I felt yesterday !! 😀

      Are you clear on the SEE of ELY referring to the eclesistical jurisdiction of a bishop?

      Ely itself is a cathedral city near Cambridge. The surrounding area is very flat with lots of marshland known as The Fens. ELY /SEE/FEN(S) all seem to make regular appearances in QCs.

      Have yourself a good weekend.

  3. Couldn’t figure out ASHLAR or BINARY SYSTEM( kept thinking something sister for latter) so stopped after half hour. COD to RESTYLE. I thought I saw two definitions
    in clue for SUBJECT but after reading blog realize that doesn’t work.

  4. Over 10 minutes. Ouch

    Mostly good but I have some notes for the setter:
    – BINARY SYSTEM really needs a question mark for the “IT” part
    – SUBJECT is just terrible. I’d forgive the clue if the surface had an ounce of elegance. Editor intervention maybe?

    1. Editor intervention struck me too as regards SUBJECT. It just doesn’t read like one of Don’s usual immaculate clues.

  5. I needed 28 minutes for this one! There was nothing I didn’t know here but it just took me ages to unravel it, particularly some of the clues in the lower half. Much unnecessary delay was caused by not writing in MODERATED at 11dn when I first thought of it because I didn’t believe it could possibly be the answer with ‘modified’ as the definition.

  6. That was tough for a QC but some good clues. I liked SODA WATER and REPROVERS.

    I assure everyone that my Weekend Cryptic is not as difficult.

    1. Having road tested the Weekend QC, I can assure those of a nervous disposition that it’s far more readily accessible than this puzzle was !

        1. In johninterred’s blog above you will find a link to a Weekend QC (we produce one every two weeks).
          This week it is my turn.
          Let me know what you think of it.

    2. I completed this but not your weekend cryptic, for what it’s worth in the difficulty stakes!

      Admittedly I was a couple of answers wrong on it while only taking around 35-mins compared to 1hr30 here.

      1. Thank you for letting me know. Judging the difficulty while setting is far from easy, I find.

  7. Yes 50% over for me too at 24 min after a fast start. Held up by rovers system restyle dart subject. Glad to discover Don did it for me! I’ll settle for an approximate 2K. Thanks both

  8. All done in 20m but it was a stiff work out. BINARY SYSTEM held out until very nearly the end. I could have done with those checkers earlier. NHO ASHLAR but as Kevin noted there aren’t that many three letter trees, so I have to go for trial and error until the S made SYSTEM seem like it must come after BINARY and in ASHLAR went – so neither of those clues properly solved but they seemed right enough to submit without fear of a pink square. Also slow on SODA WATER – read as two deers on first run through which didn’t help (red, fallow, doe, stag, muntjac dead end used up a bit of time). I can forgive Izetti for anything today because REPROVERS is the clue of the month so far, my LOI and brilliant.

  9. 8.31

    Very rare sub-John but an annoying typo on the phone.

    Tough but kept moving around to find the gentler ones and the consequential checkers

    No problems with ASHLAR – knew it as stone – last ones in SUBJECT and SPEEDY where I was trying to shoehorn STEADY in

    The IT clue was a bit random I thought but once I had the checkers for the second word it couldn’t be anything else

    Liked SODA WATER

    Thanks John and Izetti

  10. Tough but finished in 32 minutes of determination and enjoyment.
    FOI: SENT as I spotted it was hidden.
    LOI: The NHO ASHLAR after spending what seemed like an age working out the wordplay and definition. With the crossing letters, I had ASH/tree so it was just a matter of finding the den once I had settled on stone as the definition.

  11. Some very elevated timings here, even from the experts, and the SCC will be welcoming some rare visitors. Regulars will have to move fast to secure their favourite seat …

    No surprise then and no embarrassment as despite getting off to a flyer (first 6 or 7 across clues almost write-ins), I also posted one of my slowest times for a completion at 20 minutes. All done, all parsed but not quite all enjoyed. I was also very confused by Mob – as has been mentioned the clue reads as if the answer should be Bom – and I thought the clue for Niger had a strange surface. Why “that country”? In fact a number of the surfaces were I thought less than silky smooth – the clue for Subject has already been fingered for this as well.

    But, a completed Izetti so the day cannot be all bad. And Sawbill’s Saturday Special to come.

    Many thanks John for the blog and a good weekend to all

    1. Read the clue more thoroughly at 21D Cedric. The wordplay does indeed initially lead to BOM, but then ‘turning up’ is the instruction to reverse it so that it becomes ‘this crowd’ and hence MOB. I will say that this particular construction is, in my opinion, asking a lot of QC solvers !

  12. DNF as I couldn’t solve ASHLAR (NHO) despite having parsed LAR which meant I also didn’t see BINARY SYSTEM. I deduced BINARY (but with number until one of the checkers didn’t work). The rest of the puzzle took about 10 minutes. I thought SUBJECT was a triple definition. Part of sentence, pupils learn about, English at school.

    1. I like the triple definition concept. My problem was whether to put “pupils learn about” with start of sentence’s definition or with end of sentence’s definition. Or is it shared by both? Or is it just linking them? So making those middle three words a separate definition gives me some closure and I can get on with my day!

  13. DNF for me – gave up on SPEEDY, SUBJECT and the BINARY part of BINARY SYSTEM. Ouch. About 8 mins for the rest.

    Is it wrong of me to be cheered up by seeing that even Kevin and Lou broke 10 mins?

    SUBJECT is a really rubbish clue and I’m giving it a punnet of Golden Raspberries.

    Thanks Izetti and John.


  14. Well into the SCC today. Found the bottom half decidedly tricky with a serious hold up at the end over the SYSTEM/ASHLAR intersection. Had a MER at MOB as others have mentioned and had brainfreeze as soon as I saw the word statistical in 11d, but loved the surface of 1a.
    Collapsed over the line in a heap in 21.24.
    Thanks to John

  15. I found this one too difficult. I managed to get perhaps two thirds of the answers, but the rest just wouldn’t come to me. Had to abandon it in the end.

  16. Very tough for me . 36 mins. Strangely, being a Freemason, ASHLAR was one of the easier ones!

  17. I think if guys like you are taking 9 minutes on this it suggests it is definitely tough. I enjoyed it but for me it was far too tricky for a quickie. Thanks though setter and blogger.

  18. DNF. Failed in SW apart from biffing SPEEDY which I wasn’t.
    Also missed REPROVERS (mer).
    Not an enjoyable ‘Q’C.
    But thanks , John. And congrats!

  19. I also found this very tricky. I tried to shoe horn POPLAR into 15d, but eventually changed it to ASHLAR which I suspected I knew as a word, without knowing its definition. My first thought was BINARY NUMBER at 16a but REPROVERS put paid to that, and ASHLAR provided SYSTEM. SENT and SODA WATER were first 2 in. 14:25. Thanks Izetti and John.

  20. Very difficult. I managed to complete it but needed help to get SUBJECT, ASHLAR, NEVADAN. Guessed SPEEDY – I hate all these “names of ” type clues.

  21. Well, it wasn’t just me that found this tough then! I got across the line with all correct in 13.20 thinking I might be on the slower side compared to most, but no, it was a good un to finish the week all right! Jack at 28 minutes unprecedented I should think!
    I was darting around the grid in all directions to finish, with 12dn being my LOI.
    15dn came to me quite quickly as I have specified ASHLAR, or ASHLAR DRESSING as it’s sometimes referred to, on many occasions in my working life.

  22. A case of ‘if only. . .’ If only I had accepted Sent/Ecstatic was valid I might have got off on the right foot, spotted the anagram at 1ac, and sorted out the offspring with all those first letters available. Instead I gave up on the NW corner and joined the Bar Bores in a slow and fitful solve. Even the Ashlar write-in (married to an Architect) didn’t improve my outlook. Still, I at least managed to get there in the end, after about 45 mins, by which time of course the coach was long gone. I expect I will soon be joined by a few old friends, so we should be able to club together for a taxi. CoD, for what it’s worth, to 5d Reprovers. Invariant

  23. “You better come home SPEEDY Gonzales….” (Pat Boone).

    Even I didn’t manage to ‘come home SPEEDY’ with this one from the Don, and by the time I’d read half of the across clues (and solved only half of those !) I knew the SCC crowd would be struggling.

    SUBJECT is an appalling clue, and, as I’ve said in my reply to Lou Weed earlier, I suspect editorial interference. And as I’ve said to Cedric Statherby above, MOB is the type of clue that doesn’t belong here. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it belongs in a 15×15.

    I also thought BINARY SYSTEM didn’t cut it. By the time you’re using that system to translate a number greater than 4 you’re using more than two digits. I biffed it and it was SLOI.

    I was quite pleased to finish a mere 10 seconds over target (an honourable tie with Verlaine !)

    TIME 5:10

  24. Not a lot of fun for me. Izetti is just a bit too clever for a QC sometimes. I needed a couple of crossers for ASHLAR and raised more than my eyebrows at SUBJECT (which came to mind early but didn’t stay long) and BINARY SYSTEM which failed to impress me. Reprovers took a while.
    Slow but no time – I am in the middle of the N. Atlantic with very flaky internet. John M.

      1. In the North Atlantic. Just reached Iceland from Norway. Glad to get some non-flaky wi-fi!

  25. Dnf…

    Had everything after 30 mins, apart from 16ac “Binary System” (I had Binary Number initially, which didn’t make sense in the singular) and 15dn “Ashlar” which I’d NHO. However, I then found I had 1dn wrong (I put “Sing”) and 12dn (where I put “Subtext” for some reason). So, overall not a great day.

    Managed to refrain myself from biffing Bucks Fizz for 1ac.

    FOI – 3dn “Wed”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 5dn “Reprovers” – for also making me think of Melchester Rovers

    Thanks as usual!

  26. Ruined my run of sub 5 min solves.

    Definitely tricky, SUBJECT was my LOI, and I had assumed it was a DD.

    LAMBAST my favourite.


  27. Very slow today at 18:21
    No obvious reason. LOI was Subject – my brain had run through clause, phrase etc, and had failed to consider subject. I biffed it when I had all the checkers, but could not make sense of the DD. Thanks for the explanation above.

  28. Thanks, Don and John, I enjoyed this, and finished (pen and paper) in 20 minutes, which is quickish for me. FOI SODA WATER, LOI NHO ASHLAR, COD SPEEDY, held up by the double misdirection, expecting SEE to be ELY, and not immediately thinking of the perfectly fair SPY when it was revealed by crossers. Usually, I find that pennies take longer to drop, and sometimes DNF, only to kick myself looking at the blog. Today was the opposite, eg SUBJECT went in without a thought, parsed as Kevin.

    1. In the early 1960s teenagers were ‘sent’ by, say, Elvis singing. It is a very archaic slang term. Amazed to see it in a crossword.

  29. Was determined to finish so did, lots of clues more fitting for the 15×15 and I didn’t like subject or mob.
    The Don needs to moderate his QCs otherwise he will be confined to the Mephisto.
    LOI ashlar, which sounded right.
    COD diverse.

  30. DNF. After 14 minutes the top half was more or less complete but the bottom half was worryingly blank. After a further 17 minutes I gave up with the SW corner still blank. On coming back to it just now I managed to fill in all of the remainder apart from 12dn and the first part of 16ac, so came here for enlightenment. In my defence I thought the 2 clues which I failed on were pretty poor and definitely not of the standard of the rest and this seems to be borne out by some of the other comments.

    FOI – 6ac BAR
    LOI – DNF
    COD – a toss up between 1ac SODA WATER and 5dn REPROVERS

    Thanks to John for the said enlightenment.

  31. About double my average at 1hr30ish. 50-mins this morning, 30-mins this afternoon, some more time lying in the hammock thinking about it. Pleased enough to get this one done and proving that I’m not always a grumpy bugger just because it’s difficulty!!

    Top half when in quite smoothly. Except I biffed “SELECT” for “LEAGUE” … LE in SE-T with a subconscious C from the club. I was very pleased with myself about that until 40-mins later, I realised why I hadn’t been able to sort out RESTYLE or unravel GRENADA.

    The second block of 30-mins added SPEEDY, REPROVER and for a short time MODulATED. I knew what was going on there but couldn’t quite pick the right word.

    After doing another Izetti in the QC6 book in 30-mins, the final hammock time brought SUBJECT, BINARY-SYSTEM, EIGHT and NIGER. That gave me some leads on his/her setting mentality.

    ASHLAR – NHO. Thought it might yewLAR or weyLAR for “tree over” until SYSTEM fitted in. My list of 3 letter trees wouldn’t go beyond oak, ash, yew, elm; but I notice someone else had fir. Mental note made.

    Thanks to JohnInterrd and Izetti. Have a good weekend everybody.

  32. Given the relative difficulty of Izetti’s offering today, I was pleased to arrive at my final two clues after little more than 35 minutes. However, despite plugging away for a further 25 minutes, those clues (BINARY SYSTEM and ASHLAR) defeated me and I gave up just after the hour had passed.

    BINARY SYSTEM: I guessed BINARY, but couldn’t see SYSTEM. My understanding of IT is that the term encompasses a far wider set of entities than just the zeros and ones of machine code, and not having the first S just added to the difficulty. Verdict: A poor clue.

    ASHLAR: I worked out the LAR bit and brainstormed seven 3-letter trees (ASH, BAY, BOX, ELM, FIR, OAK and YEW). However, none of these made any sense as a prefix to LAR and, without the S from SYSTEM, I was completely stumped. Verdict: My poor vocabulary.

    My latest run therefore comes to a shuddering halt after seven consecutive solves – about par for the course for me, nowadays. And, orders of magnitude better than when I started a little over two years ago.

    Many thanks to Izetti and John.

    1. IT simply stands for Information Technology which as you correctly say encompasses a massive range of things.

      I’d say the clue definition should actually be “in IT” as it’s not wrong to say the binary system is used in it. No pun intended this time.

  33. Gave up after 45 mins with SUBJECT and BINARY SYSTEM left unsolved. Some very tricky clueing indeed. Will give the weekend puzzle a go and hope it’s a bit easier. Don’t really feel I’m improving at the moment…

  34. First I thought I was going to rip through an Izetti as pretty well all the top half fell at first glance. But it was not to be. Only five or so were swiftly resolved in the bottom half and then it became very much more difficult. I print off the puzzle so I had the opportunity (and need) to try out some solutions on-line to help me along with greater certainty. So that makes today a DNF, but a couple of checks helped the remainder along. I agree with the many comments regarding 16a, and also struggled with 12d until I had all the crossers.

    FOI 1a Soda Water
    LOI 14d Grenada
    COD 20a Lambast – where I could at first only fit in the contrary Bombast.

    Thanks to the blog for some of the overlooked parsing! A good exercise from Izetti (subject the caveats expressed by others above). Now to resist looking at the Weekend Puzzle now printed off for tomorrow.

  35. Very useful blog and comments. Feeling better that some experts DNF – I am in good company!

    Thanks Izetti and John.

    1. One day Ian it will happen…and you will no longer be a permanent dnf…

  36. Very glad everyone else found this hard too! I struggled over the line in 23:50, but needed lots of online aids, especially for the bottom half and the long anagram, so I think that makes me a technical DNF today. Spent ages convinced that 23a was DASHBOARD, even though it made no sense, which made ASHLAR my LOI once the penny dropped. COD SODA WATER, liked that a lot.

  37. DNF

    ASHLAR? Oh dear. Got BINARY but nor SYSTEM, nor REPROVERS. A real struggle, gave up at 30 minutes.

  38. This was marginally easier than Izetti’s last outing, but that isn’t saying very much. Finished it eventually but derived little satisfaction. NHO ashlar and guessed binary system. Glad it’s the weekend and I can recharge the batteries for Monday.

    Boy did I need the blog today!

  39. Just in from Jackkt-land so a flying – and very late – visit to say that I was right! After yesterday’s rare result, the backlash was huge – I found this very difficult, and lost track of time 🙄 Mostly fair but some rare vocab for the quickie I felt. It was fun in a painful way!
    No time to read blog yet – will give you my full attention after supper.

  40. I liked the puzzle and had not much trouble except I couldn’t get Reprovers. Not a word I would have thought of even when seen in the blog.
    I liked the Subject clue, it worked for me!
    I was puzzled by Mob but I understand what people are saying and will have to look out for those kind of clues in future where the meaning is not at the beginning or the end.

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