Times Quick Cryptic No 2664 by Izetti

Solving time: 8:11

I wonder whether any solvers might find their brow furrowed and virtual pen chewed a little here. There are a great many answers here suggesting that small nuggets of information might help to colour in the picture of how each word came to be derived – I particularly enjoyed the notion of melting ballerinas at 6d. The long word at 10a has only one checker for its first three letters, and its archaic use may fox one or two? Also, the Italian hotel manager/Mafia boss may not be well known to all, but is a classic follow-the-cryptic.

All in all, a mediumly meaty challenge from the Don. How did you all get on?

Definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [directions in square ones].

1 Boozy yob, exceptionally large, joining group outside university (5,4)
LAGER LOUT – Anagram [exceptionally] of LARGE, followed by LOT (group) outside U university
6 Last bit of resistance of retreating enemy (3)
FOE – Last bit i.e. last letter of {resistanc}E then OF all reversed [retreating]
8 Most audacious and better than the rest — mature within (7)
BOLDESTBEST (better than the rest), insert OLD (mature)
9 Interior of pub — about to be done over (5)
INNERINN (pub) RE (about) reversed [to be done over]
10 Maybe a time before Christmas by Yorkshire river (12)
PERADVENTUREPER (a) ADVENT (time before Christmas) by URE (Yorkshire river)

The build instructions are pretty clear for this word which comes from Old French “par auenture” meaning “by chance”.

Earworm alert!!

PER can substitute for A when it is a preposition. F’rinstance, in the song “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts”, the fairground showman calls “Roll or bowl a ball, a penny a pitch”, only the final ‘a’ is a preposition and could be substituted by PER.

12 Eastern money consumed for legislative body (6)
SENATESEN (Eastern money) ATE (consumed)

1 SEN = 1/100th of a Japanese yen or a Brunei dollar/ringgit

13 Bishop with lamp maybe revealing plant disease (6)
BLIGHTB (Bishop – chess notation) with LIGHT (lamp maybe)

Typically caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts and smuts.

16 Having much responsibility, like a driver with warm bottom? (2,3,3,4)
IN THE HOT SEAT – Amusing cryptic definition

The OED cites the term ‘HOT SEAT’ as a 1920s colloquialism for the electric chair.

Wikipedia suggests that the term was coined by Harpo Marx who was frequently invited to parties thrown by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, remarking that when Hearst disliked a guest, the guest would be seated at the far end of the long table nearest to the fireplace and never invited back.

However, there are much earlier examples of “hot seat” as a difficult or uncomfortable position, including a newspaper article from 1857 regarding U.S. President, James Buchanan, escaping the “hot seat of government” while on vacation at Niagara Falls.

19 False gods, surprisingly solid (5)
IDOLS – Anagram [suprisingly] of SOLID
20 Accommodation given to king and one Italian boss (7)
PADRONEPAD (Accommodation) given to R (king i.e. rex) and ONE

In Italy, a PADRONE is a hotel owner or manager.

In the United States, PADRONEs were labour brokers, often Italian immigrants or first-generation Americans, acting as middlemen to find work for immigrants. The term was also used to described a Mafia boss.

22 Some burning inside to get drink (3)
GIN – Hidden [Some] in burning inside
23 Very tired journalists finally meeting mad man (editor) (9)
SHATTERED – {journalist}S [finally i.e. final letter of] meeting HATTER (mad man) then ED (editor)
1 Innocent little creatures losing heart in workplaces (4)
LABSLAMBS (Innocent little creatures) losing heart i.e. strike out the middle letter
2 Ship that’s gone out to save everyone (7)
GALLEON – Anagram [out] of GONE to save i.e. insert ALL (everyone)
3 Regret the way of Napoleon (3)
RUE – ‘way’ or ‘street’ to the French-speaking Napoleon would be RUE
4 Eight days of celebration in month on avenue (6)
OCTAVEOCT (month i.e. OCTober) on AVE (avenue)

In the sense of the definition, there are two OCTAVEs still observed in the Christian calendar – Easter (Easter Sunday through to the following Sunday) and Christmas (Christmas Day through to New Years Day). In the case of the latter, there are several feast days observed.

5 Elgar isn’t bad — do they tinkle in his music? (9)
TRIANGLES – Semi-&lit? Anagram [bad] of ELGAR ISN’T – with the second part of the clue, a mildly cryptic definition containing ‘his’ referring back to Elgar in the first part of the clue.
6 Found different ballet movement (5)
FONDU – Anagram [different] of FOUND

As with cheese in a Swiss fondue, the French word FONDU in ballet means ‘melting’. It describes a controlled and gradual movement of a dancer bending their supporting leg. Where a plié is done on two legs, a fondu is done on a single leg.

7 Serious listener has comfortable home (7)
EARNESTEAR (listener) NEST (comfortable home)
11 Female performers, experts concealing long hair (9)
ACTRESSESACES (experts) containing [concealing] TRESS (long hair)
12 Old Bob ill, out on the briny? (7)
SAILINGS (Old Bob i.e. shilling) AILING (ill)

You may need to be of a certain age (pre-decimalisation) to remember when a shilling was almost always referred to colloquially as a bob. The most popular theory as to why this was, suggests a link to Sir Robert Walpole (‘Bob’ being a diminutive of ‘Robert’), Prime Minister from 1721-1742 and Chancellor of the Exchequer before that. Walpole reduced the Land tax from four shillings to three, then two and finally one shilling, which would have been quite popular at the time.

The ‘briny’ is the sea, brine being very salty water.

14 Attractiveness of heartless girl having secret affair (7)
GLAMOUR – Remove the inner letters [heartless] of G{ir}L, then AMOUR (secret affair)
15 Capone with bear turning up for fair game? (6)
HOOPLA – Definition by example of a game that you might play at a fair. AL (Capone) with POOH (bear) all reversed [turning up]
17 Thunderous god descending on knight, old character (5)
THORNTHOR (Thunderous god) on N (knight – chess notation)

THORN (Þ) was a letter in Old English, which sounded like the th sound (as in thick) in Modern English. With the arrival of movable type printing, which used the Latin alphabet, the substitution of y for Þ became ubiquitous, leading to the common “ye“, as in ‘Ye Olde Booke Shoppe’.

18 Fellows had briefly to be put right (4)
MENDMEN (Fellows) ‘D (had briefly i.e. contract ‘had’)
21 Point made by little Dorothy (3)
DOT – A diminutive [little] of Dorothy is DOT

99 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2664 by Izetti”

  1. Bottom half was much easier than top half because I nho of a LAGER LOUT or PERADVENTURE which made me lose out on a lot of useful checkers

  2. DNK OCTAVE, SHATTERED, FONDU. I knew PERADVENTURE, but was surprised to find it here. 6:19.

  3. 13:24. SAILING and PERADVENTURE were great. INNER from interior not so great. Didn’t know that meaning of FONDU but it had to be. Thanks for all the interesting nuggets, Mike, great blog. My London uncle, who came over to Canada in his thirties, always sang the line “Rolla bolla ball a penny a pitch”.

  4. 8.09, needing all of Mike’s help to get the sen in SENATE, the S in sailing and to know what OCTAVE and FONDU were about. I was also puzzled by PERADVENTURE until the old ‘per = a’ trick was explained, yet again. I struggle to think how the word might be used in a sentence. Thanks Izetti and Mike.

    1. The Japanese sen is nominal money, appearing in exchange rates for instance. One yen will buy you nothing; 1/100 of a yen a hell of a lot less.

      1. I’ve been to Japan a couple of times and never knew until today that the sen existed, so I guess it’s not exactly a significant part of the currency! In Oz they got rid of 1c and 2c pieces years ago but retailers still sell things for, say, $19.99 – which of course rounds up to $20.

        1. In the US, they’ve talked about eliminating the penny for years–it costs more than 1c to make–but any proposal to do so gets nowhere thanks to the senators from Colorado. Where the copper mines are.

          1. This features as a plot line in an early West Wing episode, that was 25 years ago, and they still haven’t done it.

            1. It occasionally comes up in the UK as well. The Mint would happily do away with our 1p and 2p coins, and honestly so would I. The ‘rounding up of 99p’ objection sort of stands up, but not if you buy five items at that price, and it would be easy (and largely neutral) for retailers to adopt a convention of rounding 1, 2, 6 and 7p downwards and 3, 4, 8 and 9p upwards for transactions which can’t be exactly settled with silver. With cash generally being used less and less as time goes by, the objections which always greet suggestions of progress in this regard (most recently just last year, I believe) really become less and less worthy of attention.

    2. PERADVENTURE, like perchance, is just an old synonym of perhaps. My trusty Shakespeare Concordance shows he used it on fifteen occasions.

      1. As a choirboy I recall it appearing in one of the Psalms. I just checked, its Psalm 139 (one of the better known ones):
        If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me : then shall my night be turned to day

        1. I suspect using it in a sentence today would lead not to your night being turned to day, but your lights being punched out. Good sir, peradventure Collingwood will prevail?

          Nah, not me…

        2. I too remember that psalm from when I sang in a church choir. I had no idea what “peradventure” meant, but I knew what “adventure” meant, and I thought that a peradventure was an enhanced kind of adventure, like a super-adventure!
          In this crossword, Peradventure was my second one in.

  5. 10 minutes. Quite a tricky puzzle containing a number of references I was unaware of or had forgotten about, FONDU as ballet movement for one, and OCTAVE as a religious celebration for another.

    I’m bad on Mafia jargon as I never saw the Godfather films but I knew PADRONE as a hotel keeper, so in it went.

    I’m sure we have noted here more than once that Lewis Carroll never wrote about ‘The Mad Hatter’ (the character was called simply ‘The Hatter’) but the expression ‘mad as a hatter’ existed long before his time and somehow the two things became linked. ‘Madness’ associated with hat manufacturing was caused by the mercury nitrate widely used in the industry. The above is no criticism of the clue to SHATTERRED as it doesn’t make the connection directly, but I bet most solvers will, as I did.

    Today we have an example of a very similar clue appearing in both QC and the main puzzle, which is a bit unfortunate.

    1. They really are very similar clues! The question is, has Izetti slipped a 15×15-standard clue into the QC, or has the biggie got one of “ours” as a “easy starter for ten”?

  6. Lots and lots of acrosses on the first pass but the downs, especially the downs at the bottom, held me up. After getting to PADRONE and FONDU by cryptic alone I had “snuttered” at one point – altough being ‘absolutely snuttered’ sounded like it have more to do with too much drink than long hours. Reluctantly gave it up when I reached HOOPLA which no one else seems to have struggled with nearly as much as me. All green in 16 after an intense workout.

  7. 12 minutes. Putting in OUSE, from the crossing U and E, as the ‘Yorkshire river’ had me staring at 10a without any idea what was going on before looking at the rest of the wordplay and seeing URE was required. Like a few others I didn’t know the relevant senses of FONDU (only the cheesy one) and OCTAVE (only the musical one).

    Apart from these Izetti-like words, this wasn’t too bad and the coincidence referred to by Jack helped open up one corner of the grid.

    Thanks to Mike and Izetti

      1. I’ve said this before, but the Ure eventually turns into the Ouse just south east of Boroughbridge. Always a good one to know.

          1. So you’ll know the old toll bridge near Little Ouseburn then. I think its just south of that where it mysteriously changes name. By the time you get to Newton-on-Ouse, the transformation is definitely complete (as the name implies)!

            1. I know it very well and use it often. I walk regularly from Newton-on-Ouse, usually around Beningbrough Hall.

  8. 5:31 with a nervous wait on submission to confirm that PERADVENTURE is a word. My next goal is to use it in conversation, if peradventure the opportunity arises.

    Thanks Izetti and great blog Mike.

  9. I escaped the SCC by the skin of my teeth this morning, coming in All Green in about 19 minutes. Not bad for an Izetti and giving me a 100% achievement rate so far this week. PERADVENTURE was a satisfying solve, as were EARNEST and PADRONE but I think my favourite clue was HOOPLA, although TRIANGLES was a close second.
    Many thanks to Izetti and Mike.

  10. For the second day in a row we came in just a handful of seconds under our 25 target, well chuffed for an Izetti.

    Thanks Mike for the excellent blog, we are old enough to remember decimalisation but the Don’s misdirection with the capital B stopped us thinking of shilling. Also we had the starting s so were convinced with reference to briny that it would start sea!

    I NHO peradventure but Mrs RH knew it, needed the blog to explain the per.

    Also NHO octave outside of musical notes but was well clued so went straight in. Also took a quick trip into Google to see if fondu or fundo was the NHO ballet movement.

    Thanks also to Izetti

  11. 13 minutes which suggests I found this harder than average. Certainly I did not have many in after the first run through. DNK FONDU, PADRONE or OCTAVE and worried that NES may be some money to the East that I did not know either.

  12. Oh dear … Izetti at his worst … 4NHOs … OCTAVE (as defined), FONDU, PADRONE and PERADVENTURE which DNFed me as I put sEcADVENTURE. All corrected in 15.19 but didn’t much enjoy it – more bewildered biffing than understanding.

    FWIW 53 this year and decimalisation before my time!

  13. Really enjoyed this one and found it educational to boot.
    I discovered a topic that makes me more nervous than flora and music from a crosswording point of view – ballet moves! On first reading of 6d my heart sank but with a couple of checkers and closer reading of the clue FONDU became obvious.
    Also struggled with the first and third letters of LOI PERADVENTURE – like LindsayO I hope one day to have per/a on automatic recall.
    My education finished with the fact that ‘bob’ is a slang term for shilling.
    Completed in 8.23 with COD to HOOPLA.
    Thanks to Mike

    1. Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember when a ten bob note was sufficient for a decent firework display. . . sigh

    2. My grandad used to refer to 5p as a “bob” and 10p as “two bob” – I think based on 20 shillings to an old pound. Don’t think it converted properly on decimalisation, but it was a term that stuck around for a while I think.

      1. 5p=bob, 10p=2 bob (or florin if feeling wordy) converted perfectly. But half a crown was 12.5p, not a coin.
        And 10 bob was enough to get pretty merry, even in a pub. Slaughtered at home.

      2. In the 1970s and 1980s a 5p very often was a “bob”. The original 5p and 10p coins were the same size and weight as the old shilling and florin, and these old coins remained in circulation until the 5p and 10p shrank in the 1990s.

  14. 8:23
    I knew PERADVENTURE luckily
    Those meanings of OCTAVE and FONDU were new to me too
    Yes one clue was the same as the main puzzle
    Thanks blogger and setter

  15. 12 minutes for this one, which for an Izetti puzzle is not bad for me. But there were more clues than usual where I followed the wordplay to a word I DK with Fondu, Padrone and Octave (in this meaning) all unknowns. But there you are, that’s a typical Izetti: words you don’t know which can be worked out from the usually extremely precise wordplay.

    I also took time to work out/remember that “exceptionally” is one of the 235,763,742 possible anagram indicators, and I either never knew or had forgotten that A can be a synonym for Per. So all in all a bit of a “hit and hope” solve. But I got there in the end.

    Many thanks Mike for the blog and the various bits of extra info, much appreciated. PS the sen is also the small unit of currency in Malaysia, where unlike in Japan 1 sen is not wholly worthless and (for example) there are 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen coins.


  16. First DNF for a long time. Stumped by the PER of PERADVENTURE and SAILING. I was pleased to recognise Old Bill as shilling but though “ill, out” meant remove ill from shilling. I couldn’t, stupidly, try to think of an alternative!

  17. No real problems for once. As an aged solver PERADVENTURE did not trouble me as I use it infrequently by chance. However, I could not parse the PER. Spent a while trying to see how Shilling resolved to SAILING before the penny dropped (apologies).
    Knew Malaysian SEN, but DNK Japanese had one too.
    Sun is shining. Thanks Izetti and Mike

  18. Back to a one cup of coffee puzzle today after the challenge yesterday. NHO FONDU as ballet move, nor OCTAVE as a period of eight days, but these had to be the only answers. COD SAILING, having tried to work out SHILLING (old bob) missing ILL. A nice quick QC, thanks Izetti.

  19. Quite a few write ins today and then there were the ‘is that a word?’ clues. I started with FOE and then I tried FuNDo at 6d until I figured out later that the river was URE. I solved clockwise. I didn’t know of a SEN or the celebratory OCTAVE but it was my LOI that caused the longest delay i.e. the P and R in PERADVENTURE. 8:24

  20. 11:10
    Under par for an Izetti.
    Last two were padrone and mend.
    Liked solid triangle sailing

  21. 12d was awkward. I kept trying taking ill out of shilling. NHO of peradventure and got stuck with the Ouse. Overall a good attempt at an Izetti which I normally hate

  22. Finished it, but CNP no fewer than five of the downs, hence nervous pre-submission – fortunately all correct.

  23. Also did not know the other meanings of OCTAVE and FONDU. Tried to make SEASICK fit until GIN ruled it out. Think today’s Izetti is possibly more accessible to the generation who used LSD before decimalisation. A good puzzle and great blog. Thanks Mike and Izetti.

  24. 27 mins…

    A tough one I thought. I had to trust the parsing on a number of occasions for answers I didn’t know, mainly: 6dn “Fondu”, 4dn “Octave” (only knew the musical sense) and 20ac “Padrone”.

    FOI – 3dn “Rue”
    LOI – 12dn “Sailing”
    COD – 12dn “Sailing”

    Thanks as usual!

  25. A little longer than of late, with all the same NHO’s as above.

    LOI was PERADVENTURE, where I had the ?E?ADVENTURE for a while.


  26. I found this a bit of a struggle, and ended up needing a second sitting to sort out the last few clustered round the gap where Peradventure eventualy fitted. While I’m grateful for the education, I don’t really see why Fondu shouldn’t have been defined as, say, ‘cheese dish’ in a QC. Padron was another dnk, but close enough to the French Patron(ne) to be a reasonable guess. CoD to 12d, Sailing, for the pdm, albeit via a Sh*ing rabbit hole. Invariant

  27. That was fast until suddenly it wasn’t … I got completely hung up on the last two, which were HOOPLA and PADRONE. I saw the LA immediately and confidently typed in TOMBOLA, only to discover that it was too long, and then I just couldn’t shake it out of my head! So I moved to 20a and became fixated on it involving “capo”. When that didn’t work I moved to being sure (*sure*, I tell you) that it contained “don”, so that it would be **DDONE. By trawling for the first two letters of that I eventually stumbled on PADRONE (thanks Mario Puzo) and then Pooh. What a saga.

    All that cost me a long time so I finished in reggo 08:26 for 1.3K and a Disappointing Day.

    Great puzzle, great blog. Many thanks Mike and (the real) Don.


  28. DNS.
    Could not even start this one.
    Very nasty.
    Finally decided to give up doing these nasty QCs.

    1. Izetti and I aren’t pals either.

      If you do these puzzles outside of the app where you can see the name of the setter, maybe you can do the ones done by the gentler setters like Oink or Alex to get your enjoyment back!

    2. Don’t give up Gordon.

      Not that long ago, I would have barely got half of the answers.

      There were many clues today that required knowledge of the ‘code’, which only comes from experience.

      Also, Izetti can be a tough setter as he uses a lot of words that many of us do not know.

      Keep going!

  29. 12:18, although my Crossword Club time says 5 hours as I took a break halfway through.

    Some very tough stuff here. NHO SEN, although I think the Egyptian Piastre is even more worthless (= 0.0002 USD).

    I’ve never seen The Godfather, so was trying to get CAPO into the PARDONE clue somehow. This was my LOI.


    1. The Indonesian rupiah doesn’t fare very well these days either. Currently 1 rupiah = $0.000062.
      Makes cashing $100 and getting 1.6 million rupiah back a problem if you want it all in coins!

  30. Had a MER at had briefly being ‘d’ rather than ‘ha’ as in QC it’s usually a drop the last letter. Might I suggest that ‘Fellows, had in the end, to be put right’ would have been a fairer clueing for a QC?
    Thanks M&D

  31. DNK (or had forgot) the SEN in 12a SENATE, but it had to be.
    16a for me the HOT SEAT is in someone else’s Volvo when about 10 mins into the journey you suddenly suss why you are so uncomfortable – it is the boiled bum syndrome. Now happens in other cars I note.
    10a PERADVENTURE I just wrote it in and moved on, never bothering to look for any justification for the “PER”. Careless, but got away with it.
    4d OCTAVE, NHO that meaning. But not difficult to guess.
    6d FONDU was unaware of that meaning or that spelling, but it wasn’t a difficult anag was it?
    Pencilled in 12d SHINGLE having removed the “ill” from shilling. Don’t know where I could find the LE. Soon corrected by IDOLS & GIN.

  32. Pleased to finish well inside target at 7.53, as it wasn’t the easiest puzzle today. My LOI which was PERADVENTURE was only solved because I knew the word, and I don’t think it was that easy to get the PER from the cryptic definition. FONDU had me hesitating at one time to see where the vowels were placed, but getting the Yorkshire river URE settled any doubt.

  33. All done in just 22 minutes, so a good day for me. My FOI was FOE and last two in were PERADVENTURE (an unusual word that I had actually heard of, for once) and FONDU (a NHO). I also DNK PADRONE, but Izetti is a past master at guiding ignoramus’s (ignorami?) like me towards NHOs like this and I’ve learnt to trust him.

    Many thanks to Izetti and Mike.

  34. 16 minutes, all parsed, which I was quite pleased with. Fingers crossed with FONDU and OCTAVE, neither of which I knew in that sense, but really they had to be. Spent some time trying to fit the river Aire into 10ac.

    FOI – 6ac FOE
    LOI – 6dn FONDU
    COD – 15dn HOOPLA

    Thanks to Izetti and to Mike for the informative blog

  35. 8:16

    Knew it had to be PER, but simply refused to write it in, so a mental sub 7’. Still hadn’t recalled the a/per device when I cracked and wrote it in unparsed at +8’.

    I do like an Izetti; thanks all.

  36. I found this one to be tricky but enjoyable.

    In my time in the Navy I have never heard of a military priest being called padrone. It was always “padre”.

    I had no idea why 17d was Thorn, though it was obvious enough from the letters already present that it was the answer.

    Pumpa helped me with 20a, 11d and 15d.

    It was National Tabby Cat Day yesterday. Therefore Pumpa was given two cat sticks instead of his usual one per day.


    My verdict: 👍
    Pumpa’s verdict: He’s too busy trying to convince me that every day is National Tabby Cat Day.

  37. To my surprise I found this very straight forward. I am sure it is my fastest Izetti ever. Maybe my fastest QC. I don’t time myself but it felt quick. 15-20 mins?

    The way Izetti formulates his clues is so cool. I think I learn more from his puzzles that any other setter. And I really am not very good as you will tell from my slow but best time.

  38. 5 DNKs for me but was pleased to work them all out and learn some new stuff. Would be a toughie for beginners.

    Some excellent clues including the ship that’s gone out to save everyone and the bishop with the lamp maybe revealing plant disease – could he come and peer over my garden please?

    Thanks Izetti and Mike.

    1. That def sounds like you’re getting the hang of these – and, it’s Izetti too!

  39. Another toughish puzzle which took me most of the way to my target time. RUE was FOI and I needed LABS before I was able to construct LAGER LOUT. Once again I had to abandon the accrosses first strategy and flit around the grid. FONDU was unknown but easy to assemble once the crossers were in. Knew the Bob/shilling. HOOPLA was LOI after SHATTERED. 9:43. Thanks Izetti and Mike.

  40. Was clearly on the good Don’s wavelength today – all in and correct in a respectable 26:54. There’s supposedly easier puzzles that have taken me twice as long.

    Didn’t know about the ballet version of FONDU but with the checkers it was the only plausible option. Thankfully saw PERADVENTURE pretty quickly and therefore had lots of letters for other words.

  41. Amazingly for me, I went straight through this from top to bottom (I usually jump around) and did it in 12 minutes, my quickest time for a long time. I’m of an age to know about lager louts, shillings and peradventure but NHO sen or fondu. Thinking of Old King Cole, I did wonder if Padcole was the name of a Mafia boss and nearly put in lamb. Clearly a lot of people found this much harder than I did but it was very good for my morale. Thank you Izetti and Mike

  42. A steady solve over lunch, most enjoyable. Fortunately I had the background information required for all the clues. Except for my LOI – LABS, where I couldn’t see who the innocent little creatures might be. But I’ve never worked in a leb, lib, lob or lud, so labs it was.

  43. 10.42 LABS and SAILING took several minutes to parse after I’d finished. I guessed FUNDO for the NHO FONDU but the checkers put me straight. Thanks Mike and Izetti.


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