Times Quick Cryptic No 2508 by Izetti

I was a touch quicker than yesterday’s, so I think relatively doable for an Izetti.

8ac was the only one I failed to get with a first pass of the acrosses, so I was either bang on the wavelength or this wasn’t Izetti’s trickiest. Or perhaps both.

Unravelling 4d was my only hold up and meant I missed out on a sub-5 minutes by a few seconds, which would surely have been a PB for this setter. But I’ll certainly take it – many thanks to Izetti!

Anagram indicators indicated in italics.

1 I attempt to catch a Shakespearean villain (4)
IAGO – I, GO (attempt) to catch A
3 Artist is beginning to smile when hugged by chum (7)
MATISSE – IS, S (“beginning” to Smile) hugged by MATE (chum)
8 Prime ministers as skilled craftspeople? (7-6)
CABINET-MAKERS – cryptic hint
9 Superior Navy vessel (3)
URN – U (superior) RN (Royal Navy). U, for upper-class, as opposed to NON-U, for inferior (i.e., used by those plebby middle classes with their aspirations and whatnot.)
10 Fasten components the wrong way (5)
STRAP – PARTS (components) backwards/the wrong way
12 Fool that is not heartless may be seen as wise (7)
SAPIENT – SAP (fool) IE (id est = that is) NT (NoT “heartless”)
14 Band had sacked skilful worker (3,4)
16 Artist and academic gas (5)
RADON -R.A. (artist) and DON (academic)
17 You heard sheep (3)
EWE – well, YOU is indeed “heard” the same as EWE
20 Understand instruction from editor to photographer? (3,3,7)
GET THE PICTURE – cryptic hint
21 Blemish on paper — it is dark against bright background (7)
SUNSPOT – SPOT (blemish) on SUN (newspaper)
22 Insects — hear them in B&B (4)
BEES – heard the same as two or more B’S
1 Scene with din could make one very angry (8)
INCENSED – SCENE with DIN could make one
2 Snide comment of American soldier beginning to blame English (4)
GIBE – GI (american soldier) B (“beginning” to Blame) E(nglish)
3 Mother isn’t fussed about church service (6)
MATINS – MA (mother) ISN’T fussed about
4 Nasty prancer resolved to slide maybe (12)
5 One protecting those that may get fleeced? (8)
SHEPHERD – cryptic definition, with a pun on FLEECED: being conned in the surface reading, and being shorn of wool in the cryptic.
6 Headless brute from the Orient (4)
EAST – “Headless” bEAST (brute)
7 Awfully inhumane pop’s gaining advantage unfairly? (3-9)
ONE-UPMANSHIPAwfully INHUMANE POPS. I see this word was coined in the title of a 1952 comic self-help book by Stephen Potter, and what a good word it is too.
11 Teacher (100!) to talk incessantly (6,2)
RABBIT ON – RABBI (teacher) TON (100)
13 Len set us up? That’s unpleasant to hear! (8)
TUNELESS – LEN SET US up. “UP” in the sense of being excited, etc.
15 Head of sales in store is horribly powerful type (6)
DESPOT – S (“head” of Sales) in DEPOT (store). I suppose there were sufficiently few enlightened despots that the definition underlined above is now the primary sense of the word.
18 Times thunders, putting out leader (4)
AGES – rAGES (thunders) removing leader
19 Quiet river free from pollution (4)
PURE – P (Piano = quiet) URE (river)


90 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2508 by Izetti”

  1. I never notice who the setter is, but I gather from the complaints about Izetti that this one is easier than usual. It was easier for me than most, Izetti or no. ONE-UPMANSHIP was the inspiration for the movie “School for Scoundrels”, with Terry-Thomas and Ian Carmichael, as I recall. The “Times” was known as the Thunderer in the 19th century. I didn’t care for ‘superior’ as the definition of U in 9ac. Roly, at 13d the def is just ‘unpleasant to hear’, so ‘that’s’ shouldn’t be underlined. 4:21.

  2. 7:53. I tried both SHEEPDOG and TONELESS first before calming down and looking at things more sensibly. I didn’t know the unfair connotation of ONE-UPMANSHIP; I just thought it referred to competitiveness in general. Apparently DESPOT was the highest rank in Byzantine court hierarchy; thus one successor state of the Byzantine Empire got named the Despotate of Epirus.

  3. Same same, 7.07. TRANSPARENCY (good clue) and TUNELESS LOsI, thanks to rolytoly for explaining those that I sailed right over, like MATISSE, SAPIENT and MATINS. I always thought of ONE-UPMANSHIP as something akin to big-noting, nevertheless one of several good anagrams today.

  4. My timings this week have been 11, 11, 10 and 7 minutes, making this the easiest so far for me. Nothing more to be said other than I enjoyed being reminded of School For Scoundrels in Kevin’s comment, with T-T playing the archetypal Rotter at his most caddish!

    1. I had actually read Oneupsmanship and the others in the series some time before the movie came out; I imagine my father recommended them to me.

  5. Had to pass over six clues before DABHAND went in but from then it was rapid progress right up until I had a lenghty pause over SUNSPOT – much of which was spent trying to stop myself whacking in ‘sandpit’ which fitted but had no other merits. All green in 10.

  6. 5.57

    Ditto about the unfairness aspect of ONE-UPMANSHIP.

    The relevant meaning of slide took a while to come even with a few checkers, and I seemed to be jumping around a lot but very happy with a sub-nitch Izetti

    Thanks to him and rolytoly

  7. Izetti was in a generous mood today.
    Nice PDM for TRANSPARENCY – I wonder if overhead projectors are still a thing in schools etc? Probably not. Slight hold up at the end for LOI TUNELESS where I wondered if I needed to look for a homophone.
    Finished in a sprightly 5.43.
    Thanks to Roly

    1. Back in the “Jumbo for Students” crossword last month, one of the answers was interactive whiteboard. I think they do the job of OHPs these days. Teacher able to write directly onto them like a black/whiteboard of my day or pull up a picture/presentation from laptop files for the equivalent of OHP prepared material. I may be wrong, it’s better part of a decade since I was in a school classroom (as a governor!)

  8. An Isetti? Really? In under 14 minutes – I must be dreaming.
    My best ever time and already wondering how to fill the day

  9. 11 minutes for a nice puzzle, perhaps hats off to Izetti and editor for reading these comments? Could have been even faster but One-upmanship (understandably as NHO) and then LOI Sunspot (less explicably – and yes I considered Sandpit too) held me up. Given the enthusiasm shown for the One-upmanship book by others, I must now go and try to find it!

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

    1. Yes, Cedric, I’m quite sure that the many comments about obscure words, in the QC, have caused the Puzzles Editor to issue guidelines about the level of difficulty required, for the QC. Hurray, say I, an Izetti completed in 16 minutes!

  10. Sir – On Tuesday I objected to my effective exclusion from the SCC by the easing of QC difficulty, and petitioned for one of Mr Izetti’s compilations to redress this.
    Imagine my delight when I saw his name at the top of today’s grid! Envisage my chagrin when I finished in my fastest time this week, the SCC a speck in the distance. Oh woe!
    Yours dejectedly, …
    P.S. Fortunately the SCC now does deliveries.
    P.P.S. I’ll be back, SCC, soon.

  11. Yep, easier than most, but somehow I ended up with EWA and TRANSPARANCY, due to a fat finger, maybe caused by using an unfamiliar keyboard. Again, one of those which wouldn’t happen with a pen, so I’ll let it slide.

    I liked GET THE PICTURE.


  12. 16:49 – fastest ever Izetti and only my 3rd solve of one his QCs since March! I’ve commented on his recent grids that he seems to have eased up – today clearly supporting that assertion.

    My biggest complaint over the bad times was the inclusion of 4-5NHOs and he’s got away from that. I thought the religious service was going to be one as I put assIENT in first, but once transparency came clear(!), I rethought and have certainly heard of MATINS even as a non church goer. Not sure I’ve heard of SAPIENT but I know a sapiophile is someone attracted by intelligence so same etymology I guess.

    There were some nice clues in EWE and BEES but while I “got the picture” quickly the other three long ones were pretty much last in. Both TRANSPARENCY and ONE-UPMANSHIP needing the pen&paper. Never realised the latter was about unfair advantage. Every day’s a school day with Izetti. I don’t mind learning something like that. Dare I say, it was verging on enjoyable 😃

    1. I agree with the idea we should always be open to learning, L-P, but “Every day’s a school day” which has appeared in TfTT comments a few times lately rather disconcerts me. I need Saturdays and Sundays off to wallow in my ignorance!

      1. It’s a good point, well made. You can have Saturdays and Sundays off as long as you go use the time to go run hills. So maybe it’s a PE lesson instead!

        Great time by you CO – one of your best?

        1. Yes, could well be a PB, but didn’t want to offend the gods by drawing too much attention to myself!

          1. Congratulations 🔥. You did a great job of not drawing attention to yourself, I skipped straight past it on my first read of the blog in my eagerness to spew my own excitement. As reward for a fantastic time you can have this Sunday off from the hills!

            1. Great, I will promise to make a decent bash at some local hillocks Saturday in return for being allowed to put my feet up Sunday!

    2. I also toyed with assIENT for a while.
      Well done, L-P!
      P.S. Greetings from Christchurch, again.

      1. Well done on your 50th Mr Random 👍 I see calling someone a sap as indicating them to be a weakling, so was comfortable seeing that as a variant of being a fool.

  13. Pleased to have completed an Izetti! FOI IAGO, unsure about the parsing but it was corroborated by 2OI GIBE; COD GET THE PICTURE; LOI PURE (NHO River URE but it had to be). Thank you, Don – and Roly for a parsing or two (NHO SAP = fool).
    I don’t think anyone has yet really defended the meaning of ONE-UPMANSHIP = “gaining advantage unfairly”; that’s not how I’ve always understood the word. Comments?

    1. I guess one could argue that by definition an advantage is unfair so ONE-UPMANSHIP works for me. Particularly since is has the sense of guile and cunning in it.

    2. “I don’t think anyone has yet really defended the meaning of ONE-UPMANSHIP”

      ^^^^ Just in the post above you … hidden away towards the end of the meanderings. (Edit: on rereading your words, I wasn’t defending it, complaining about it)

      I’ve always taken it to be a form of boastfulness … “we’ve bought a more expensive car than the neighbours to show we’re better”. In that example, I wouldn’t inherently see it as unfair – just choosing how to spend your money

    3. Potter defined it as the art of getting one up on another person by putting him one down. Gamesmanship, for instance, a form of oneupsmanship, was the art of beating someone when you’re not as good a player as he is.

      1. Thank you, Kevin – I’m sure you must be right, and the way I had become used to using it had probably moved away from its original meaning, so is doubtless wrong.

  14. Two straight passes, and a more-than-usually accessible offering from Izetti.

    TIME 3:26

  15. I think Izetti was being kind to us but I really messed up what should have been a quick solve having mislaid my anagram hat. As a consequence TUNELESS, TRANSPARENCY and ONE-UPMANSHIP required multiple visits. 8:47

  16. 6:42 (642 Arabs begin construction of the Mosque of Amr at Cairo)

    Frustrating as I can’t call this a PB since I mistyped my LOI SHEPHERD. But it felt pretty straightforward, only hold up was the second word of CABINET. Also was careful with GET vs GOT THE PICTURE.


  17. Very enjoyable puzzle and a personal record for me of 28.52 😀

    Thanks Izetti and rolytoly.

  18. I’ve never seen “up” as an anagram indicator and so LOI TUNELESS added a couple of minutes to what would have been a fast time. I just couldn’t make sense of it. Wudda shudda cudda. Hey ho, I’ll settle for 07:01, which today is 1.7K and a Reasonable Day.

    COD to SHEPHERD. Many thanks Izetti and roly.


  19. 14:33 (England re-issue penal laws against the Welsh)

    A fast start, then held up by the long anagrams, 4d, 7d and 13d, all of which required pen and paper to sort.

    Thanks Don and Roly

  20. 11:20 for me, and lots to enjoy. TUNELESS LOI, no real hold-ups, nice to see TT my avatar referenced above. I have to give my COD to CABINET MAKERS. Thanks both.

  21. Very odd. I was down to 9ac before before being happy enough to answer a clue (Gibe/Jibe seemed doubtful), and so thought this was going to be tricky. At which point they all started falling into place, with just Cabinet Makers and loi Transparency causing delays along the way. A comfortable sub-20, with CoD to 3d, Matins, for the smooth surface. Invariant

  22. OMFG!
    24/24 in 19:31…on an Izetti.
    It’s the first Izetti I’ve ever actually enjoyed, and completed outside SCC. More like this, please.
    He must have listened, or maybe he’s having a brief attack of reasonableness.

    1. I’m always wary on days like today. Tomorrow has a habit of catching me off guard.

  23. Gosh, yes, an easy one. FOI IAGO, LOI TRANSPARENCY.
    Liked GET THE PICTURE, SAPIENT, MATISSE, among others.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  24. Izetti Lite alright, not just the easiest Izetti ever, but the easiest QC for some time I thought; certainly as the times submitted so far would suggest. I crossed the line in 5.48, my best time for some months. I particularly liked 8ac CABINET MAKERS, and it is nice occasionally to have clues like this that are purely cryptic, where it is not necessary to build the answer up from component parts.

  25. Just over 9 minutes. I didn’t notice who the setter was until the end and this probably helped in not being spooked by what turned out to be a not too difficult but enjoyable puzzle. COD’s to TRANSPARENCY for reminders of photography in days gone by and SAPIENT.

    Thanks to Izetti and rolytoly

  26. 6:10

    Yep, that’s my third-fastest recorded Izetti (out of their last 23 grids). Not too many hold-ups, though had to write out the anagrist of 4d as did not immediately make the connection with that meaning of ‘slide’. LOI TUNELESS. Didn’t think too hard about the meaning of ONE-UPMANSHIP as I entered it – it fit! I would have said it was more a feeling of superiority having got the better of someone else, but happy to be corrected.

    Thanks Izetti and Roly

  27. 13 mins…

    Definitely an easier Izetti – with some nice clues as well. Particularly liked 8ac “Cabinet-Makers”, 5dn “Shepherd” and 20ac “Get the Picture”. Even 22ac “Bees” drew a smile.

    FOI – 1ac “Iago”
    LOI – 12ac “Sapient”
    COD – 4dn “Transparency”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. Quicker than yesterday which, having seen the setter, was a pleasant surprise. All done and parsed in 17 minutes. Not too many on the first pass although the downs seemed more straightforward than the acrosses, but the grid filled up smoothly after that with not too many long pauses.

    FOI – 1ac IAGO
    LOI – 21ac SUNSPOT
    COD – 8ac CABINET MAKERS, amongst a host of strong candidates

    Thanks to Izetti and Rolytoly

  29. What a joy, all finished in 31 minutes. Easier than usual for an Izetti but with high quality clues as always.
    I think the setters have taken pity on us, although I tremble at going into tomorrow with 4 finishes so far this week. At least it won’t be an Izetti.
    I looked up Dab Hand out of interest and the origin appears to be obscure.
    Thanks as usual.

    1. You’re ‘wording well at the moment #5. I have that tension about tomorrow’s as this has been my fastest ever thus far. I suspect we may be getting a Felix with an associated NINA/theme. My recent experiences with him have been rather slow but he was also responsible for a PB in August.

  30. I managed an Izetti! Well I would if I’d parsed PURE rather than biff MUTE!
    Anyhow, I really enjoyed this and thought COD CABINET MAKERS excellent. some cracking anagrams too. Thanks Izetti and Roly.

  31. Yes – it was easier than usual. I see from the comments that Izetti is normally one of the more difficult setters. However, today I finished my very first unaided QC. And all in one sitting in 16 minutes. Flushed with success!

  32. It must have been easy …. a PB in 18mins. Chuffed.

    COD CABINETMAKERS, LOI TUNELESS, which tried to be TONELESS and so took an extra couple of minutes.

    Thanks to all.

  33. 12:59
    Thought I was going to have a repeat of yesterday and miss my 20min target coming to a stop with 3 clues remaining. Then I realised 7dn was (3,9) and not (2,9) d’oh! That gave me SUNSPOT and BEES (groan) to finish.
    FOI: 9ac URN
    LOI: 22ac BEES
    Thanks Roly and Izetti.

    1. You’ve been doing well recently and while everybody else is saying how well they did, Izetti is still probably the toughest setter to get along with. If you aren’t getting some answers and therefore some checkers in the grid, it can be tough going 🤷‍♂️

  34. What a day! Two inspired guesses, leading to two uplifting outcomes.

    My first, much earlier this morning, resulted (after 594 attempts) in my first ever Wordle-in-1. And what a great word to get it with!

    My second was SAP for fool (which I DNK), which got me across the line in just 19 minutes – my 50th SCC escape since starting these QCs in June 2020. And to do so with Izetti is astonishing, indeed.

    Mrs Random is usually a DAB HAND at lucky guessing, but a touch of her usual ONE UPMANSHIP may just have rubbed off on me today. I think you GET THE PICTURE, so I won’t RABBIT ON any more, other than to thank Izetti and Roly (and the Wordle editor).

    1. You better get that Euromillions ticket for tomorrow – it is certainly an inspired guess on your Wordle today.

      Personally, I use the same starter words each day.

      That said I got a 1 last year on CATCH however that was after seeing a number of friends fail and deducing that with 7 possible words ending -ATCH, it was probably repeating the C or H.

  35. 13:56, my second best time for an Izetti (my best Izetti is 11:20 compared to my QC record of 9:01) Enjoyed this puzzle. FOI STRAP, LOI SAPIENT, COD CABINET MAKER. I guess being a Yorkshireman helped with being familiar with the River Ure. Thanks Izetti and Roly. Incidentally, am I the only one who finds Teazel, Joker, and Breadman just as tricky as Izetti?

    1. My records show that I also find Teazel to be the most challenging setter. Izetti comes next, but with Orpheus, Joker and Wurm snapping at his heels.
      Actually, I assume they’re all capable of making me look foolish if they’re so minded.

      1. Me too. Also well done on your wordle in 1. I thought I’d done OK getting it in 3 after 5 grey letters on word one but I can’t compete with that.

      1. I hadn’t come across the “Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion”(RPE) scale until you mentioned it on Monday. Always good to learn something new, but I think it’s better if I don’t tell my long suffering bridge partners about it as it shares my initials!

  36. As with others, we had a very quick solve for us, no real holdups. Probaby within 20m. Wonder if grumbles may start that they are becoming too easy!

  37. An enjoyable QC from Izetti! Miracles do happen. 🤣🤣🤣

    I’ll keep my time under wraps today as I fear putting a jinx on tomorrow.

    Seems like Izetti has taken note of the many comments about his previous QCs.

    A very interesting blog, many thanks.

    1. Yes, Izetti may have taken note, as you suggest. I think he is a very talented setter and can tailor his clues/puzzles very precisely. Easy/middling/difficult – it’s never an accident.
      Well done today, Mr A.

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