Times Quick Cryptic No 2438 by Izetti

My first Izetti in a while, and tricky it was too.

DNF: off to a good start with the first four acrosses going in, but things went south fairly quickly from there. At the 10 minute mark I was left with 20ac and 1d, except a wrong answer at 18d required a bit of sorting out, by which time I had little energy for 1d. So I clicked on the answer around the 14 minute mark, and was glad I did, because I could have stared at it for another 10 minutes and not seen it.

Other than (sour grapes at) 1d, lots to 1ac – many thanks to Izetti!

Anagram indicators in italics.

1 Like a daughter, maiden with anger (6)
ADMIRE – A D(aughter) M(aiden) IRE (anger)
4 Bird at cove, flying (6)
8 Grass carrying info turned and went back (7)
RENEGED – REED (grass) carrying GEN (info) turned/reversed
10 Fish often changing in part (5)
TENCH – ofTEN CHanging “in part”
11 It’s legal, getting rid of leader — and nasty (5)
AWFUL – LAWFUL = legal, ditch the leader
12 Snake exhausted after cornering queen (7)
SERPENT -SPENT (exhausted) after cornering ER (queen)
13 Bitter racist as horrible Conservative (9)
SARCASTIC – RACIST AS horrible, C(onservative)
17 Firm by mountain — it is in place of mineral extraction (7)
COALPIT – CO. (firm) by ALP (mountain) IT
19 Crooner joining love game (5)
BINGO – BING Crosby is our crooner, joins O (love)
20 Rhubarb as food (5)
TRIPE – double definition, the second whimsical. Rhubarb = nonsense.
21 Going wrong, stealing a personal decoration (7)
EARRING – ERRING (going wrong) stealing/taking A
22 Husband with vexatious feeling finding something in wardrobe? (6)
HANGER – H(usband) with ANGER (vexatious feeling)
23 Good person, mature, with yen that’s exaggerated (6)
STAGEY – ST. (saint = good person) AGE (mature) with Y(en)
1 A sweet girl meets knight who takes flight? (6)
AIRMAN – A, IRMA (sweet girl) meets N (knight in chess). On checking Wikipedia for Irmas, famously sweet or otherwise, I see there is a 1963 film called Irma la Douce. Uh huh.
2 Disclosure of fellow if leading English outpost? (13)
MANIFESTATION – MAN (fellow), IF, E(nglish), STATION (outpost). I wouldn’t previously have equated manifestation with disclosure, but it’s there. Chambers, for example, defines it as: “an act of disclosing what is dark or secret”, or simply also as a “display.”
3 Like clockwork   soldier? (7)
REGULAR – double definition
5 One making mark after political campaign? (5)
VOTER – cryptic definition, the mark being an X on the ballot.
6 Disdainful escaper from prison going down (13)
CONDESCENDING – CON (escaper from prison) DESCENDING (going down). I think the idea is of the CON escaping by a rope or the like.
7 Cheers affected one island (6)
TAHITI – TA (cheers) HIT (affected) I (one)
9 Take apart idlest man wandering around (9)
DISMANTLE – IDLEST MAN wandering around
14 Material without embellishment — rubbish cast outside (7)
TABARET – BARE (without establishment) TAT (rubbish) cast outside
15 Put an end to Highlander maybe and companion (6)
SCOTCH – SCOT (Highlander maybe) and CH = Companion of Honour
16 Flabby guy who’d no wife unfortunately (6)
DOUGHY – GUY wHO’D (ditch the W for Wife) unfortunately
18 Bit from bird landing on church (5)
PIECE – PIE (bird) landing on CE (Church of England). I had PEN for the bird, vaguely dissatisfied with PENCE = BIT, which was then quite hard to unsee.


93 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2438 by Izetti”

  1. 15:12. TABARET and AVOCET were words I was vaguely aware of but never really knew their exact meanings . COALPIT and STAGEY held me up as I was strongly tempted by cockpit and stripe respectively before sorting things out. I suspected AIRMAN but couldn’t parse it until Shirley MacLaine as Irma La Douce popped providently into my brain. DOUGHY was a very difficult anagram and I’m glad I saw PIE as bird before pen or else I would have been happy with pence too. The definition for ADMIRE was hard to spot as I was looking at clue from wrong angle. All in all, very challenging, but that much more rewarding as I was able to make it across the finish line in one piece.

  2. 12:42. Harder than the last few days’ QC’s. TABARET didn’t immediately come to mind and 1d was difficult to parse. I’m just old enough to have remembered Irma La Douce, from the early 60’s (though never saw it as it wasn’t a film intended for young kids) and this did help to make sense of the ‘sweet girl’ bit of the wordplay. I asked my parents what it was about and never got a straight answer, unsurprisingly enough. Same MER at MANIFESTATION for which I didn’t know the ‘disclosure’ sense .

    Favourite was the CON DESCENDING.

    Thanks to Izetti and rolytoly

  3. Good crossword but yikes, 19.15 which is a PW. Like roly I had a ‘you’re kidding’ moment at Irma la Douce. DNK rhubarb = nonsense, also DNK tripe = food. Spent too long at DISMANTLED looking for a word meaning wandering around. Should have got AWFUL and COALPIT sooner but was convinced no word would start with c-o-a-l-p. I get where we’re going with CONDESCENDING but do we need both escaping and going down in the clue? Anyway a tough but rewarding QC.

  4. Also a DNF – very rare for me in a QC – but my downfall was 14dn where I’d have said I didn’t know the word and certainly couldn’t see the wordplay to construct it. But it turns out that TABARET appeared as recently as April this year in a Jumbo I solved, two previous Jumbos (2019 and 2018) on which I commented, and a 15×15 in January 2018 which I blogged myself when I wrote that I didn’t know it. I think on most if not all of those occasions TAT was clued with reference to lace-making which would have made things easier as I know very few words relating to that subject, TAT being the first that would come to mind. The list of words meaning ‘rubbish’ however is almost infinite.

    Elsewhere I’d had no problem coming up with AIRMAN but I realised on reading the blog that I hadn’t accounted for ‘sweet’ in my mental parsing. I must have missed it altogether or I would have written a question mark to remind myself to return for another look.

    Other than TABARET I completed the rest of the puzzle in 10 minutes.

  5. 13:06 (Robert the Bruce is crowned king of Scotland at Scone)

    NHO TABARET. Both STAGEY and DOUGHY felt a bit contrived and unsatisfactory, and bitter= SARCASTIC doesn’t seem right.


  6. Defeated by TABARET (nho), DOUGHY (really?) and AIRMAN (which I could not parse and have never understood why ‘knight’ = ‘n’.) No time given, therefore, but it was a long one – made even longer by having to attend to Stephen, my cat, who’d proudly brought me a decomposing mackerel fillet that he’d dragged through his cat flap about ten minutes in.
    It took me a very long time to get going but I would’ve been in the 25 minute range had I come in all green. I did especially like CONDESCENDING.
    Thanks Izetti and Roly

    1. I think knight = n is an abbreviation in chess, they can’t use k because it has been assigned to another significant piece.

      1. Ah yes. That makes very good sense now you point it out! Thanks very much for explaining 👍

      1. Q6 is from the old style notation, (unless you are playing on a very big board). And at least when I learnt it, Knight was actually Kt in that notation. The Times changed its chess column from descriptive (Kt-Q6) to algebraic (Ne6) in 1967, one of the last major newspapers to do so.

  7. Slow start with just three acrosses and all of those in the bottom half so desperation rose early today. Held up by SARCASTIC – not excuse for not seeing ‘horrible’ as anagram indicator much earlier and then TABARET where I almost got there by spotting ‘cabaret’ would fit but then then when I finally got the T from SARCASTIC took a while to see how the cryptic worked. A tough 17m but all green.

  8. Ooofff. Beaten by TABARET DOUGHY AND STAGEY (had gone with ‘staged’)and SARCASTIC too.

    Still, thanks Izetti and Roly for the blog

  9. Grid completed in 12 minutes and all green, but technical fail as I needed a word list to get Tabaret (NHO). Also failed to parse Airman, and I am not much wiser having looked up Irma la Douce. One always cries “obscure” with GK one doesn’t know but this one was a toughie.

    I was also puzzled by the “escaping” reference as Con is often (usually) just a criminal. And I tend to agree with others that Doughy and Stagey (does it really mean exaggerated?) were not great clues. Ah well, puzzle swiftly consigned to the “one of those days” file.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  10. This took me ages, although I can’t remember specifics. DNK TABARET (did anyone?). I had no idea what ‘sweet’ was doing in 1d. Like Merlin, I didn’t care for SARCASTIC=bitter, and like Lindsay, I don’t see why ‘escaper from prison’; ‘prisoner’ would have been fine. 9:35.

    1. SOED’s first definition of sarcasm is 1 A bitter or wounding expression or remark, a taunt, esp. one ironically worded. M16.

      There are other references to bitterness in Collins (American English) and Chambers.

  11. 8.16

    I solve on iPhone (other brands available) so never know the setter, but there was a wry smile when I came here, though I’m better at w/p than synonyms (slight drawback solving these things) so I tend to do okay with Izetti.

    A bunged in STAGED (helps if you don’t read only the first half of the clue) caused all sorts of problems with DOUGHY which was my LOI. NHO TABARET but the w/p was helpful.

    One big plus with the Don is that he is the only person who makes me feel young these days. In my mid fifties and at least a decade too young to get the reference in 1d (though it kinda had to be). Thanks Izetti! (Nice surface as well to be fair so my COD).

    Thanks Rolytoly as well of course

  12. Not Izetti’s finest IMHO, too many obscure definitions for a QC. NHO of TABARET but the wordplay was clear, STAGEY and SARCASTIC were a stretch and as for Irma the less said the better. On a positive note I did enjoy VOTER.
    Finished in 11.04 with LOI COALPIT.
    Thanks to Rolytoly

  13. I found this mostly quite easy for an Izetti… until it wasn’t. TABARET was vaguely remembered once I had the checkers, but NHO IRMA la Douce, so AIRMAN went in with a shrug. Thanks Izetti and Roly. 4:49.

  14. This one did little to ameliorate my attitude towards this setter’s QCs. I think the issue I have with them is that although the cluing is tricky but fair, the level of GK required is more obscure than I’m prepared to commit to learning. Examples would be STAGEY, IRMA, TABARET, PIE. Of course, I’m picking up the GK as I go along, but there’s more to life. 39.47

  15. DNF. If I had finished I would still have come here to understand the tricky clues. Thanks.

  16. Couldn’t do even half this. There’s a type of clue that one can only do if the crossers are in place – but if the crossers are also that same type of clue, one is helpless. That was my experience today. So thank you, Roly, for your good blog, but please: what is the context for “maiden” = M? (Thank you, simjt below – so, another cricketing term. Yawn.) NHO IRMA, TABARET, PIE (bird). Is a MER allowed at “mature” (adjective) = AGE (noun)? (Thank you, Snail below – yes of course they’re verbs – stupid me.) On the other hand I enjoyed AVOCET, DOUGHY and TRIPE – and CONDESCENDING was a relief, having failed to make CONTEMPTUOUS fit.

    1. In cricket, a maiden over (one in which no runs are scored) will be recorded on the score sheet with six dots, that will be joined up to make the letter M.

    2. I had the same doubts about MATURE=AGE, but then I realised they are verbs in this context, eg Cheese left to mature = Cheese left to age

      1. Yes, that works here, Snail, but just for the record re Martinu’s general point, in cryptic puzzles there is no requirement for a word appearing in wordplay as one part of speech to be the same part of speech in the answer.

    3. To help remember PIE as bird, think magpie. (Oh, I see Templar has already explained this further down. Must remember to read all comments before chiming in).

    4. Quite so, Martinu (sorry phone won’t do the little circle over the u). The cricket terms are boring and beyond me and appear very often. Maybe we could have some tennis terms?

  17. Happy with 3 nonSCC QCs in a row, not something I strive for particularly but my brain seems to be in a solving mood at present. Extra happy to do this in 18 mins, a favourite setter who usually has me at the limits of my (limited) ability and almost always deep into SCC territory.
    Never heard of the material but assembled painlessly, didn’t think Irma was unduly unknown but I have read Damon Runyon. Liked most of the clues, probably just because they clicked.

  18. 19:36 (1936 Start of Spanish Civil War, Italy annexes Ethiopia, Death of George V, etc., etc.)

    Started well, then held up for ages by TABERET (NHO), and my LOI AIRMAN.

    I made the same mistake as others with STAGED delaying DOUGHY. At least AVOCET was familiar, being the bird on the RSPB logo.

    Thanks Roly for the blog

  19. For those like me who were hoping to find something in the blog explaining why “pie” = “bird”, Collins says this: “an archaic or dialect name for magpie; C13: via Old French from Latin pīca magpie; related to Latin pīcus woodpecker”. (It could have been worse – another meaning of “pie” is “a book for finding the Church service for any particular day”.)

    Chapter 9 of “On Her Majesty’sSecret Service” is entitled “Irma La Not So Douce”, introducing Blofeld’s henchwoman Irma Bunt. So I knew that, having had to ask my parents what it meant.

    Fair clueing, tough GK, green and parsed in 09:56 for 1.1K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Don and roly.


    1. And of course the ‘printer’s pie’ mess of jumbled letterpress type after an accident in the print room…believe there was a pub called that in Newcastle.

  20. I’ve noticed the trend for linking one’s completion time to historical dates and events. I feel excluded from this unless I am within 23 seconds of exiting the SCC (ie 20.23 or less) as any such date reference I make would be in the future. As for my performance today (39:47), I can predict that I will have the GK required to complete an Izetti in under 20 mins by the year 3947…

    1. I started this trend, and my times have moved from Baroque to Byzantine. I aspire to pre-conquest times.

      Good news is that every year your target gets one second easier, just think next year the target is 20:24. That’s my “throw in the towel time”

  21. Can I ask if any of our checkers ask their colleagues to road test their puzzles? As always there was much to enjoy in this but quite a few clues which were just plain ridiculous for a quickie in my opinion . Thanks though!

  22. DNF. I completed this very quickly apart from four and am glad I gave up as I could have wasted half an hour and still not guessed them. NHO STAGEY or TABARET. Did not get AIRMAN, which is a good clue, although the “sweet” girl in the film practises a very old profession. I also liked SERPENT and the two long clues. However, too many clues were humourless and stretched or “contrived” as suggested above, including DOUGHY which defeated me, but solved, as Vimyl1 says, on the wordplay. Thanks, Izetti and Roly

  23. An interesting outing with Izetti – some very good clues and some typical idiosyncratic/weird ones (mentioned by others above). I finished the whole of the right half of the grid quickly (holding my breath re NHO TABARET) and then stumbled around the left half which took longer. I finished 2+ mins over target (but under 2K yet again – every day this week!).
    Thanks to both. John M.

  24. I found much of this quite straightforward but then there were a handful of clues which were anything but. In the end I reached my normal cut off time of 30 minutes with only 16dn outstanding. I had to resort to aids to get this and, even when I did, I couldn’t parse it, having completely failed to see the anagram. On the plus side I did (eventually) remember Irma la Douce, although I couldn’t have said whether it was a film, book or a real person. I also managed to avoid the ‘staged’ trap at 23ac. NHO TABARET but this was easy to get from the cryptic, and couldn’t parse PIECE as I’ve never heard of ‘pie’ for bird.

    FOI – 4ac AVOCET
    LOI – DNF

    Thanks to Izetti for the workout and to Rolytoly for explaining it all.

  25. Many of the same problems as others. I was over half way done before AIRMAN suddenly clicked and the top half was then complete. That left the SE with BINGO, STAGEY, DOUGHY and TABARET to find. Mr Crosby can often be relied on as the crooner, and once I abandoned STAGEd for STAGEY, DOUGHY eventually emerged (that was a tough anagram, I thought). Now at about 18 mins, I hoped I’d be in for a fourth escape from the SCC in a row but TABARET (NHO) refused to arrive in time to allow that. It came in the end but a technical DNF as I checked it before entering at 23:50. FOI ADMIRE, LOI TABARET, COD CONDESCENDING. Thanks Izetti and roly

  26. A tricky offering indeed. NHO TABARET, in fact I mombled ROBARET until SARCASTIC came along. AIRMAN took a while, and although I spotted IRMA as a girl, I didn’t get the sweet connection. COALPIT was LOI. 10:07. Thanks Izetti and Roly.

  27. Count me in the PENCE club until TRIPE forced a rethink. I also wondered at which IRMA was sweet, and why, until completion and coming here. Now the connection has been pointed out, I vaguely remember IRMA la douce. I was able to finish this in 17 minutes, and enjoyed the journey, but at times wondered if I would reach my destination. Thanks both.

  28. I found this as tricky as everyone else although I finished bang on target at 10.00. I’d initially taken about nine minutes to complete but went back to check the biffed AIRWAY at 1dn. It took me about a minute to come up with the required answer AIRMAN. After reading the comments above, I’m more than happy with my time.

  29. 15mins. Didn’t like the airman clue, especially in a quickie. Izetti seems to me to be the setter that lacks the most judgement in setting QCs at the appropriate level.

    Rather than relying on knowledge of a 1963 film, and even allowing for a dodgy anagram indicator, the clue could have been:

    Wonderful Maria meets knight who takes flight.

    Anyway, COD condescending!

  30. DNF, as I had to look up nho loi Tabaret, which I accept was derivable from the cryptic. The trouble was that, after a quick(ish) start, I had run into multiple brick walls with Tripe/Piece, Stagey/Doughy and Airman, all of which took ages to sort out, so I had practically lost the will to live by the time I got to Tabaret. Bit of a shame, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. CoD to 6d, Condescending, for the smile. Invariant

  31. 21 mins…but dnf as I put “woughy” for 16dn (which I appreciate isn’t probably a word) – looks like I wasn’t too far away, but picked the wrong letters for the anagram. However, I wasn’t that convinced by doughy = flabby.

    Other main hold up was 1dn “Airman” which I also thought wasn’t the best clue.

    FOI – 1ac “Admire”
    LOI – 16dn “Woughy” (incorrect)
    COD – 15dn “Scotch”

    Thanks as usual!

  32. 9:25

    Only easy if you know the answer. I’d never heard of TABARET (but guessable from the cryptic), and had fun and games in the SW. 18d went from TITCH -> PENCE (once I’d seen COALPIT) and finally PIECE (once I’d seen TRIPE).

    LOI was AIRMAN – bunged in as a ‘hit and hope’. I’d only vaguely heard of and have certainly never watched Irma La Douce – the only Irma I could come up with (post-completion) was Stan and Hilda Ogden’s daughter, who married Ken Barlow’s brother…

    Thanks Izetti and Roly

  33. 55.58 – oh frabjous day! First success on Izetti since April 6th – four of the last five have been over an hour.

    Only 1 answer on first pass of clues which took 4mins. Depressingly that was the last one STAGEY. I may have missed reading RENEGED as got that on 2nd read and along with DOUGHY that’s all I had at 10mins. I began to be more interested in picking the fly bite on my knee.

    Actually successful from 10-30mins with all but last two going in. Sadly, the bar on Izetti has become so low that my Success Measure before starting was set at “If I can get down to the last four within 30mins, I’ll consider it a success” and my 3rd LOI of HANGER went in at 29:40ish.

    Decided to set it aside at 42mins. Went for a 30-min run, did core workout out then came back and dug in. AIRMAN came at about 47mins with no idea why IRMA is sweet and then began alphabet trawling TABARET. Could never decide whether he wanted ROT, or CT (cast outside) ending then had an inspiration of BARE and had previously considered TAT.

    So there were go. A successful Izetti henceforth known as The Destroyer of Averages! Rare I go 35mins these days.

    (Also noting that there was only 1 NHO today in TABARET which is a low count for Izetti. I’ve heard of Irma La Douce but no idea why that makes her sweet. A quick read of wikipedia suggests it’s a Pretty Woman type story of prostitute meets and marries rich person)

      1. You’re just a sucker for the Hollywood ending CO 😉

        Should I mentioned I managed to keep today to just under 4COs … 🤣

        1. Hey, you know what they always say, L-P, 4 CO’s is lightyears better than 5 CO’s.

          1. I count my blessings. There are people somewhere in the world worse off than me who are suffering double-figured COs 🙏

    1. Well done #50. Keeping yourself mentally and physically sharp I see.
      I went through the same thought processes for TABARET; almost too many options.

  34. Ultimately defeated by DOUGHY and biffed AIRMAN (NHO Irma la douce!). TABARET was a new word for me, as was STAGEY, but both were gettable from the wordplay. Enjoyed the extra challenge this morning and always delighted to pick up a new word or two. COD CONDESCENDING. Nice one Izetti. Thanks for the blog roly – much-needed today.

  35. 5.50. So nearly a minute over my usual time. Didn’t know Tabaret, But generously clued, and I like to learn new words from this puzzle.
    AIRMAN was gettable, but I didn’t like it. To have been old enough to watch this film when it came out, you would now need to be 78. If we want youngsters to be as keen on Times crosswords as we are, then I am not sure this sort of clue will do the trick.

    I have no problem with references generally to old books, films, opera et cetera, but surely they need to be classics or at least better known than this.

  36. Very difficult. NHO TABARET, guessed from clue and struggled with STAGEY and DOUGHY like a good many others. Not surprised there are a few DNFs today.

  37. 23.32 TENCH and TRIPE took too long but it was AIRMAN, STAGEY and NHO TABARET which really held me up. I knew Irma la Douce from the soundtrack album owned by my parents many years ago. I didn’t understand PIE for bird but Templar explained it above. Very pleased to have finished. I shouldn’t have said “they seem to be easier this week” yesterday. Thanks to rolytoly and Izetti.

  38. The wheels are definitely coming off the bus, for me. I spent nearly 20 minutes on my LOI yesterday and 25 minutes on my last two in today. Those two, STAGEY and TABARET, were both NHOs and I really struggled to understand the wordplay of both clues. AGE for ‘mature’ and ST for ‘good person’ stayed hidden for about 10 minutes, but T_B_R_T held out for a further quarter of an hour. Total time = 47 minutes, due to my poor GK, limited vocabulary and general thick-headedness.

    Mrs Random, who took less than half my time yesterday, repeated the achievement today. In fact, at 23 minutes, she finished the whole crossword quicker than I spent on my last two clues. Those family points I had been getting so near to have disappeared out of sight again.

    Many thanks to Izetti and rolytoly.

  39. Busy morning so kept getting distracted. Finally finished but biffed Aerial for 1d in a hurry and did not check. I remember Irma la douce, now she has been mentioned, but would never have thought of her. Very, very obscure.
    FOI AVOCET then struggled down that side and back again to ADMIRE, one of my LOsI. Another was COALPIT.
    Biffed TABARET from the cluing but NHO.
    QuiteLiked TAHITI, EARRING, DISMANTLE but it was AWFULly difficult.
    Thanks, Roly.

  40. All finished in just over a hour with a typo in RENEGED for which I forgive myself since I had parsed it correctly.
    Surprised that AIRMAN was correct as despite playing chess I decided a knight was R and IMAN must be a sweet girl in Arabic. Self delusion but somehow got the right answer.
    Thanks Izetti, though this was tough for a QC and Roly for the blog.

    1. Well done #5 – honest typos allowed – this ain’t the World Championships!

  41. All was going rather well and I had to double check that the compiler really was Izetti. However, the SE corner reminded me that it definitely was. IMO this part of the puzzle has no place in a QC. Frustratingly, it would have been very easy to have changed some of the words to match the level of the remainder of the puzzle, but that opportunity was not taken.
    Oh well. Tomorrow is another day and, hopefully, another setter.

  42. 21:30, which I’m more than happy with after reading all the comments above. TABARET was NHO, and I didn’t make the jump from magpie to PIE as a bird. The 1963 movie was also an unknown. I will try to add all three to what I laughingly call my memory. But I enjoyed the challenge today: even without the GK I was able to assemble the answers with a fair degree of confidence from the wordplay.

    Thanks to Izetti and rolytoly.

    1. 2 cups of tea, lunch and supper and still DNF -TABARET stumped me. Never mind I like a challenge. You can’t win ‘em all.

      The sad thing is, there was nothing that brought a smile to my face here, nor any words to complain about apart from the NHOs, but I don’t mind them if I can get them from the clues.

      Night Night

  43. I think on reading all the above, that Tabaret wins Olympic Gold for the QC Word Not Known By The Most People. Ever. I’d be interested to know the division between those who treat this as a learning opportunity, and those who felt it was lazy compiling by our esteemed setter, who boxed himself into a corner with T-B-R-T and couldn’t find the energy to rework the other clues so as to allow a more getable word for 14D.


    1. As I often say, I don’t want the QC to teach me stuff. I think I once read an interview with Izetti where he said he sees it as one of his goals (i.e. to teach stuff). I spend half my life reading and watching documentaries. I see a crossword as testing what I’ve learned, not teaching me. And when I expend that much effort, I make zero effort to go find out about something I NHO. I probably wouldn’t even have looked up Irma La Douce other than film interests me.

      I don’t mind NHO words but there was so much going on in the clue that it was impossible to know what the definition was and how to unravel it.

      You don’t have to rework the grid just make the clue simpler. Even just removing the word “cast” would have helped. See similar comments above about “escaped prisoner” and “airmen” clue.

  44. Well, that was entertaining and passed the time. I’m recovering from a new knee so need things to keep me occupied. As such, I was quite happy to enter the SCC by 2 minutes by going slowly through this. Quite a challenge with my final two probably not the hardest – the TRIPE/PIECE crossers. Thanks for an informative blog – especially sweet Irma.

    1. My cousin had a half replacement knee in April, some continued discomfort during May but she followed the rehab plan and was out playing golf this past weekend. Good luck 👍

  45. DNF

    Gosh, that was chewy. No time as I left the clock running whilst I had dinner. Took ages to work out MANIFESTATION and LOI TRIPE. Then discovered I had DOUGHY wrong anyway.

  46. I have been finding Izetti’s crosswords easier lately – but this one was well and truly back to the old Izetti I am familiar with. I did finish, but really thought I was not going to. I did not understand Doughy, Voter and Airman until I read the blog. NHO Avocet and Tabaret and did not know that Pie was a bird. Struggled with Tabaret because I thought that “rubbish” might be “rot” at the end, until I saw that it could be “tat”. I’m afraid that none of the clues made me smile, but Admire came the nearest. Thanks Izetti and Rolytoly.

  47. 1hr 4O mins for DNF after not getting DOUGHY. Almost done after an hour but totally lost with TABARET, EARRING and STAGEY. Might have got DOUGHY had I not been so exhausted by these three. Just couldn’t see it.

    Every time I think I have hit rock bottom, a QC appears that takes me to a fresh hell. I didn’t even have the tiny consolation of a completion for my efforts.

    There is absolutely no enjoyment or learning to be had from this and Izetti has, once again, destroyed the small degree of self-confidence I had built up over the last 2 days. What’s the point? If I wanted to humiliate myself, I would attempt the big crossword. I don’t need it here.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. Understandably demoralising. Every time we reach an Izetti, I feel like things have been going well lately and up for the challenge. It all changes once I start reading the clues.

      Great perseverance to keep going at it for 1hr40, maybe too much. Think the more you put in, the longer it takes to unwind.

      At least as it’s summer his book won’t go straight on the fire when it arrives 😁

      1. You’re right. I should have stopped after an hour. The book arrived today but it may take a few days before I can bring myself to open it!

      2. Indeed demoralizing. I dont do films, never mind films when I was tiny, so IRMA was never going to happen. And TABARET, DOUGHY and STAGEY?? They sound like made up words. If Izetti’s aim is to put us SCC people in our place, he succeeds!

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