Times Quick Cryptic No 2289 by Izetti

Once again (for the 5th time in my last 10 Friday blogs) we have a Quick Cryptic from our old friend Izetti for our Friday amusement. Some great clues, including a super &lit, a neat cryptic definition and other delights. I thought it not too difficult, taking an average time for me of 5:28, but mileage for others may differ as there are a few tricky clues. COD to 3D for the obvious personal reason but I liked 1A, 4D and 8D too, among others. Thank-you Izetti! How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Phil’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 66 here.

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

1 Musicians allegedly “up above” in crazy starship (8)
HARPISTS – (starship)* [crazy]. Entertaining definition. “In the context of Christianity, heaven is sometimes symbolically depicted as populated by angels playing harps, giving the instrument associations of the sacred and heavenly.
5 Plans to send back this unwanted message (4)
SPAM – MAPS (plans) [send back] -> SPAM.
9 Power of aircraft gaining height with time (5)
MIGHTMIG (Russian fighter aircraft) H (height) T (time).
10 Model wearing a medical dressing (7)
PLASTERLAST (model used by a shoemaker) surrounded by [wearing] PER (a; as in, e.g., 1 mince pie a/per person)
11 Rather terrible finish — it is distressing (12)
HEARTRENDING – (Rather)* [terrible] ENDING (finish).
13 Cockney star twitching, arousing certain feelings (6)
EROTIC – {h}ERO (star) without the H [cockney] TIC (twitching). A rather coy definition.
15 Intellectual chaps chatter endlessly (6)
MENTALMEN (chaps) TAL{k} (chatter) [endlessly].
17 Communist is concealed? Must be unearthed again (12)
REDISCOVEREDRED (communist) IS,  COVERED (concealed).
20 King in charge in ripped hat (7)
TRICORNR (Rex; King) I.C. (in charge) [in] TORN (ripped). With a reminder of a splendid piece of music I’ve not heard for years – Manuel de Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat. And so it became my listening while completing the rest of this blog.
21 Royal family toured abroad, exuding energy (5)
TUDOR – (tour{e}d)* [abroad] losing [exuding] the E  (energy).
22 Sailor that may be sitting on meal table (4)
SALT – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint.
23 Whingers upset composer (8)
GERSHWIN – (Whingers)* [upset].
1 House with yours truly? (4)
HOMEHO (house) ME (yours truly). An &lit (aka all-in-one) clue where the the whole clue is both the definition and wordplay.
2 Travelling groupie not very good — a baddy (5)
ROGUE – (grou{pi}e)* [travelling], without the PI (very good).
3 Time for a break in Bury campaign (12)
INTERMISSIONINTER (bury) MISSION (campaign). And if you haven’t twigged it yet there is a clue here to the terrible pun that is my blogging name, although you’ll find me in Suffolk rather than Greater Manchester.
4 Wicked things gradually coming to an end? (6)
TAPERS – Cryptic definition. TAPERS have a wick and something that tapers “gradually comes to an end”. Nice one.
6 Irishman maybe leading disturbance: one proud of his country? (7)
PATRIOTPAT (Irishman maybe) RIOT (disturbance).
7 Plant circle around which mad girl frolics (8)
MARIGOLDO (circle) inside [around which] (mad girl)* [frolics].
8 Terribly unsettled era in places with rapid revolutions! (12)
LAUNDERETTES – (unsettled era)* [terribly]. Cheeky definition. I liked this too.
12 Rubbish I trusted foolishly (8)
DETRITUS – (I trusted)* [foolishly].
14 Ancient fellow in the police force (3,4)
OLD BILLOLD (ancient) BILL (man’s name; fellow).
16 Pretty German city, that is (6)
BONNIEBONN (German city) I.E. (that is).
18 Fund to conclude with expression of pain (5)
ENDOWEND (conclude) OW (expression of pain). My imagination is inadequate to impart a meaning to the surface of this clue.
19 Club choir, one lacking some parts (4)
IRON – Hidden in [lacking some parts] choIR ONe.

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2289 by Izetti”

  1. I had trouble with this one. It took me forever to realize what ‘wicked’ meant so I could finally put in TAPERS. And it took me more forever to see how LOI PLASTER worked; in fact I had to come here to find out. I would never have come up with LAST as ‘model’. Have we had ‘a’=PER in a QC before? 9:39.
    [on edit:] Did anyone, anyone at all, understand PLASTER?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Yes I understood plaster but only after entering it based on def and checkers. I looked for a word meaning model inside it (obviously not SIT or POSE), saw LAST and then made the connection between PER and A (a 15×15 staple but like you I’m not sure it has been in a QC before).

  2. 18 minutes. Spent the longest on LAUNDERETTES and enjoyed TRICORN the most. Couldn’t parse PLASTER until I read the blog and remembered LAST (Cobbler, stick to your_ ) as model.

  3. This seemed the hardest QC for a while. I’d just had a run of 8 consecutive targets achieved so I was quite surprised to find the clock on 10 minutes as I finished it, bringing my total to 9 in a row.

    My timings always include parsing unless I mention otherwise, so I have to admit that I needed the blog to explain how PLASTER worked, and I’m not sure I would have managed it even if I had been on blogging duty when one has to make a special effort if something doesn’t come easily. Just as well the answer was easy as I think model/LAST was a bit advanced for a QC.

  4. Another day, another typo – EtDOW for ENDOW, not idea how I did that but I did manage three T’s when LAUNDERETTE went in so perhaps that’s when I spoiled it. N and T too far apart on the keyboard to be a misstroke. Annoying anyway. I found this tough throughout, only four on the first pass of acrosses and always knew what ended up being EROTIC was going to cause problems – ‘evokes’ and ’emotes’ were early contenders but wouldn’t parse. PLASTERS wouldn’t parse either but in it went. ‘Last’ for ‘model’ seems fair now it’s been explained – hard though. Also struggled with IRON – even though we’ve seen similar many times and it was literally staring me in the face. 20m with that pink square.

  5. I went through this fast and then took a ridiculous amount of time to get LAUNDERETTES despite having all the checkers and all the letters. But I didn’t have a pen to jot the letters down. Doh! Also, for a time, the only four-letter german city I could think of was KOLN (Cologne) but KOLNIE didn’t seem right, because it wasn’t. I originally put in MAPS for SPAM but rapidly changed my mind when I looked at 6D and realized it had to be PATRIOT.

  6. Completed in about 12m. Held up in the NE having entered Maps instead of Spam (is there a rule for reversals?). As with others, biffed Tapers and Plaster. Perhaps a bit complex for a QC, but then this is good prep for main puzzles. COD 1a got things going with a chuckle. Thanks blogger and setter.

  7. A pink square in ‘emotic’ instead of EROTIC but at one stage it was going to be ‘emojis’! I like John’s description of a ‘coy definition’. I needed John to parse PLASTER too and I needed external assistance to solve the anagram LAUNDERETTE, a great clue.

    I stared at TAPERS for ages and ages and eventually threw it in expecting errors galore…thank to John for the brilliant blog that revealed the brilliant clueing of ‘wict’ not ‘wikid’…that’s now one of my favourite clues ever.

    Also couldn’t see IRON until an A to Z revealed.

    So all in all a brilliant puzzle, even though it beat me, that is matched by the blog. Thank you Izetti and John

  8. 26 minutes left to right hand solve.
    Seeing the WP for ROGUE took time and also cryptic def. TAPERS. Which on reflection I’m sure I’ve seen before.
    LOI: PLASTER BIFD needing the blog for parsing.
    Favourite LAUNDERETTES.

  9. This felt tough so I was pleasantly surprised to come in under target. Started with an uncertain MAPS but was immediately put right but PATRIOT and made steady clockwise progress around the grid from there. Huge PDM with TAPERS, having dredged the ‘wicked thing’ from the depths, but never did parse PLASTER.
    Finished with BONNIE, where my ignorance of German cities hindered me – I always get confused about which countries Bonn and Berne are in – in 9.14.
    Thanks to John for the blog and Izetti for the quality QC.

  10. Ah well, I stand back and applaud those who managed a quick time on this one. Too clever by half for a QC in my opinion. Izetti at his mischievous, twisted best.
    I didn’t help myself by, like AlanH, by entering MAPS instead of SPAM (that will teach me to try to rush an Izetti) which completely knackered my attempts in the NE corner until the end. LAUNDERETTES needed all the crossers and was my LOI, hot on the heels of IRON.
    I can now reflect on some of the very fine clues but it wasn’t exactly fun while it lasted.
    Still, it reminds us what Izetti can do when he wants to show his skills.
    COD: TAPERS – just brilliant. Dudoftheday: PLASTER. Thanks for the good blog and the parsing of both, John, (although I bristled at your throw-away description – ‘not too difficult’ – really?!?) John M.

    1. “not too difficult”. Fair dos. I’ve updated the blog to indicate others may find it otherwise.

  11. A tough one to end the week which took me 13 minutes. Launderettes needed pencil and paper to unravel, and I needed John’s blog to explain Plaster (2LOI), put in from definition and checkers. That finally opened up LOI Tapers, which I was making no progress with until the P appeared, and which I think is Clue of the month not just of the day.

    Many thanks to John for the blog, and looking forward to Phil’s Saturday Special. Did anything come of the plans to have an official Saturday QC?

  12. Another DNF although I didn’t really push myself at the end to see how TAPERS and PLASTER could be parsed. PLASTER was pretty tough clueing for the QC. How can “a” have a synonym? Managed to miss IRON as well, my alphabet trawls often mistakenly skip vowels when I am fixated on consonants.


  13. Just over target at 16 minutes, but what a great puzzle this is. I only half parsed TAPERS and PLASTER eventually justified itself, but it took ages to feel confident enough to type it in. I too was tempted by emotic for EROTIC, but couldn’t explain {h}EMO, and was confused over which end of 23a held the anagrist until checkers made it obvious. Great puzzle and great blog – thanks both.

  14. 13 minutes for me taking time at the end to unravel LAUNDERETTES;I had to write out all the letters to get it after several passes while solving -COD to that. And I would have misspelt it without the grid to help.
    Otherwise I paused to parse EROTIC as I was toying with EMOTIF or something similar; it only took a few seconds to parse; worth it to avoid an error.
    A good puzzle which I did not think was too difficult at this level.

  15. I thought this was a tough one as my time of 13.45 reflects. Got off to a bad start with my FOI as MAPS not SPAM. That was after re-reading the clue and realising it could be interpreted two ways. I never did parse PLASTER, and having read the explanation, don’t think I would have even after another 30 minutes! I think we were due another hard one, and it is Friday, so fair enough!

  16. 9:53. Challenging enough for me. I couldn’t work out the what the def for HARPISTS was all about so this went in from the anagram. I really liked the concise HOME &lit, the ‘Wicked things’ for TAPERS and the LAUNDERETTES def. Same comment as Jack re LAST for ‘Model’ at 10a.

    Thanks to Izetti and Johninterred

    1. BletchleyReject is a brilliant name, bravo.

      (If you haven’t read it already, I commend “Between Silk and Cyanide” by Leo Marks, who was indeed rejected by Bletchley but went on to become head of cryptography at SOE.)

      1. Thanks. I’ll take up your suggestion about the book which sounds v. interesting. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

        1. It’s worth reading more widely about Leo Marks as he had fascinating careers in several fields, including writing films and TV scripts. His page on Wiki is a good place to start.

  17. I managed to do this in about 6 minutes but couldn’t justify one or two clues even though I was confident they were right. Thanks for the explanations. I don’t like ‘pi’ for very good because it only ever crops up in crosswords these days and I think ‘last’ for model is a bit obscure for a quickie. Some very clever stuff though – like the play on wicked! thanks all!

  18. 28min12 – pleased with that as it completes my first ever week of successful solves. Wasn’t too phased by it being an Izetti although towards the end, I was beginning to think this might be a day where I had to come back to it later to get something that wasn’t slotting in.

    Had a fair selection on first pass helped by getting INTERMISSION, REDISCOVERED. Thought there were some lesser-known/used things in there like BONNIE, TRICORN, DETRITUS, HARPISTS that could make it difficult.

    Reached my last three of HEART-RENDING, PLASTER and TAPERS at 17-mins and was left alphabet trawling. Have seen HEART-RENDING recently clued as something to do with social media (hear-trending). PLASTER I should have biffed earlier and was looking for something poser-related. TAPERS I needed the blog to parse the wicked end.

    Liked LAUNDERETTES and on reading the clue immediately thought of washing machines for “rapid revolutions” so was pleasantly surprised when I unspun the anagrist.

    Have a good weekend all 😀

  19. I am in no way putting down the great Izetti but wicked referring to candles etc is an old chestnut!

  20. Like a skier hesitating at the top of a black run I saw Izetti’s name and wondered whether to postpone this, given the rigours of our Chambers Christmas party last night. But as with skiing once you’re there you’ve got to go, so off I went.

    It was a pretty tough workout but a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I really tried hard to understand PLASTER but just couldn’t, so I had to submit with one unparsed. Blimey! Not just “model” for LAST but the seemingly innocent “a” indicating PER! Wouldn’t have got that in a month of Sundays, so thank you John.

    Thanks too to Izetti for an excellent Friday stiffener. All done in 09:33 to squeak in sub-K for a Red Letter Alka-Seltzer Day.


  21. This is really odd. I’m suffering from a terrible dose of man-flu, but had no trouble with any of the answers (not quite true, as I was another who had Maps to start with until 6d came along, and I gave up trying to parse Plaster). Nevertheless, 14mins is about as fast as I go these days, and it was an Izetti to boot, so a good end to the week. My only quibble would be over the large number of anagrams, but some well-constructed surfaces around the grid made up for that. Pick of the bunch for me was 20ac, Tricorn. Invariant

    1. Good time that. Not a fan of clues like 5ac – you invariably have to solve 6dn or 7dn to know which way it is going.

      1. I was struck by the number of early posters who had the same problem with Spam. ‘Plans sent back for this unwanted message’ would have been clearer, but the surface is rubbish, so I can see why it ended up the way it did.

        1. I tentatively put in MAPS recognising it might need to be the other; and then immediately changed it when I could see there was no S in the MARIGOLD anagrist

      2. I’d agree if the clue had read PLANS TO SEND BACK UNWANTED MESSAGE but the setter has intentionally added the THIS to make it clear which is the definition. One to look out for in the future as I’ve seen it used before to get around the “double-helix” problem.

  22. No excuses from me. This was a very difficult one. I do lean toward those who said this was perhaps a little too tricky for a QC in places.

    Not a good week for me on the QC front with this DNF. But as I said I’m not going to use any excuses. Simply tough for me.

  23. Did this sneakily at work as I am at a Christmas do tonight. Not a good idea as it needed maximum powers of concentration rather than furtive glances when no-one was looking.

    Deep into SCC land as a result of coming to a lengthy pause with 5 or 6 remaining.
    Eventually got going again but held up by 8dn as my LOI.

    Decidedly chewy.

    Thanks for the blog John. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

  24. Like everybody else I didn’t parse PLASTER which held me up with TAPERS until the penny dropped that the pronunciation should be ‘wict’ and not ‘wikkid’. A great clue IMO.

    I smiled at 1A which was my FOI.

    I agree that there were rather a lot of anagrams but Izetti does them so well so he can be forgiven.

    A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle to end the week.

    PS. We had an almost identical clue for ENDOW in yesterday’s 15×15. I assume that puzzle was also set by Izetti – if I had known that at the outset I would never have attempted it but I am pleased that I got as far as I did with it!

    1. ENDOW came up in the Telegraph’s Plusword in the past day or two so that was an solve with the E from REDISCOVER

  25. DNF.
    These so called QCs are now just too hard for me. I go straight to the answers in despair.
    I do not even understand some of the the answers now – as in 10 Across. I am sure that a cobbler’s last is not a model – just a working tool. But maybe reality is different in Crosswordland.

    1. Keep trying. They get easier with practice. As for LAST, the dictionary has “a shoemaker’s model for shaping or repairing a shoe or boot.”, so I think our setter is OK here.

    2. If you have seen it, you may remember that the 1980s film The Return of Martin Guerre is about a man returning to a mediaeval village in France after the 100 Years War, claiming to be Martin. But people have their doubts about his identity, including the cobbler who has shelves of lasts/models of all the villagers’ feet, and sees that the new Martin’s feet are different. Hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler.🙂

  26. Fairly difficult, especially the top half. Like many others, I failed to parse TAPERS or PLASTER and also ROGUE: why does PI = very good?

    1. pi
      in British English
      British slang short for pious (sense 2), pious (sense 3)
      Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

  27. 18:59 for me which I wasn’t too displeased about, given there were some tricky clues. It’s always a relief to see that people who are good at the QC express the same difficulties I have – like the parsing of PLASTER and TAPERS. Pleased to discover the weekend QC, as well. Thanks, Izetti and johninterred.

  28. A cracker from Izetti, and my delight at making my target was boosted when the message said “8 of 109”. On checking I suspect five of those above me to be neutrinos. How Verlaine did his stellar 1:57 I really don’t know. My LOI was due to nearly missing it in the corner before submitting.

    TIME 4:51

  29. 23 mins…but at least it wasn’t a dnf.

    I thought this was on the tougher side and, whilst there were some definite sneaky clues, I’ve done enough of these now to recognise them (“wicked” and “pi” for example).

    Saying that, I still think 10ac “Plaster” was borderline QC territory, and I only got it because I couldn’t see what else it could be.

    Looking back at my paper, it’s covered in anagram scrawlings, Izetti happily deploying misdirection as to what the definition should be to a number of clues.

    FOI – 1ac “Harpists”
    LOI – 13ac “Erotic”
    COD – 8dn “Launderettes”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Following up yesterday’s 5-mins ahead of me with today’s 5-mins ahead of me!! Your much-feared string of DNFs failing to materialise. I’m sure we’re in for a run of easier solves given how tough most of the past two weeks has been.

  30. Awkward in places, but I succeeded in working my way through the clues to finish unscathed in exactly 30 minutes. I will count it as a good day.

    Like some others above, I was unsure about maps/SPAM until I saw PATRIOT. TAPERS (my LOI) had to go in on the definition alone, and PLASTER was only partially parsed. MIGHT also caused a bit of a delay. Good to see TRICORN making an appearance.

    Many thanks to Izetti and our blogger buried somewhere in Suffolk.

      1. Thankyou, Mr A.
        An update: Mrs R has just completed her attempt and also crossed the line in 30 minutes. So, a rare tie here in the Random household.
        Enjoy your weekend!

  31. I found this a tad on the tricky side. HOME and then ROGUE set me up for HARPISTS and I was up and running, but I was slow to get MISSSION after INTER and LAUNDRETTES held out until the end. The SW also held me up. 11:03. Thanks Izetti and John.

  32. Phone jabbing after a day mooching round Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

    I found it pretty tricky, as well as being hampered by the medium. LAUNDERETTES LOI. No pen, and I was thinking of gyroscopic or planetary rotation.


  33. Had to look up LAUNDERETTES, so DNF, alas. Biffed but could not parse PLASTER or TAPERS, and missed the hidden in IRON, a PDM after solving.
    Until I met with the above, I’d thought it was fairly OK for an Izetti.
    FOsI HOME, HARPISTS. SPAM sprang to mind straight away, as I had PATRIOT.
    Thanks for much needed blog, John.

  34. I don’t know how long this took, as I had to stop halfway through to go and post some cards. Neither too hard or especially easy today. I biffed PLASTER- thanks for the explanation of how it is parsed.
    I’ve come across wicked in crosswords before, so was able to start thinking about candles and tapers. Pi as a short version of pious may be in the dictionary, but I have never heard it used this way outside crosswordland.
    LOI was IRON. I failed to spot the hidden.

  35. Dreadful, just 7/24 solved today. Pleased that some of the experts here found it tough, so don’t feel as disappointed as I usually do. I’ll try the weekend QC now. Thank you.

  36. I thought this was a really tough one and a dnf for me.
    Solved some clues and biffed some but others were beyond my current abilities.
    Been a good week though.
    Most enjoyable blog.

  37. 13:12 this afternoon, on return from Mr B’s graduation ceremony – he’s a very mature student! I did it at my laptop to see if touch typing helps – it doesn’t 😅 I also thought it was quite tricky in places, but have seen wicked in that form before and recently did an old puzzle that had TAPERS as the answer, so that fell into place. PLASTER – on the other hand – didn’t. Lots to like but can’t remember the detail several hours later!
    Thanks Izetti and John

  38. From the novel The Pathway by Henry Williamson (Mrs Ogilvie has a heart-to-heart with her son) -“Good night, my darling: don’t forget your prayers: there is One above who loves you, and He will always tell you what is right, if only you listen. But there, Mother mustn’t get “pi”, must she?”

  39. I have just tried this one from Friday’s paper. I found it very hard and couldn’t find all the answers and had to look some up to get going again. Hate long anagrams! The ones I could do were satisfying though.
    I still don’t get the Pi thing. I have never heard that – is it some ancient slang? Sounds like something Nancy Mitford might use!!!

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