Times Quick Cryptic No 398 by Izetti

Hello everyone

Apologies for being AWOL for a couple of weeks, a scheduled holiday turned into other things and of course, I forgot to tell Headmaster so I have duly completed my lines and removed the Sunday Times from my trousers after the beating and am back on duty.

And I have the Don to welcome me back. A fairly gentle outing to get me back into the swing of things. A couple of his regular religious references. One slightly contentious and misleading clue at 20 across. It is of course a capital, but of a province rather than a country. What think you?


7 OTTER – Hidden Answer inside hot terrain.
8 CONFIRM – Wordsum clue – CON (against) + FIRM (company) = sanction.
10 TRAINEE – Container clue – A + IN (home) inside TREE (elder, maybe) = learner.
11 OMENS – Container clue – MEN (workers) with OS (very large) around = signs.
12 MADE SENSE – An anagram of DAMES SEEN. Definition is ‘were intelligible’.
14 PIN – Three quarters of a full glass = PIN(T), i.e. 75% of a four-letter word. Fix is definition.
15 LAM – Slightly obscure – Double definition. Hit and the abbreviation for the book associated with Jeremiah. Quick anecdote. There was a famous Times clue which I think may have been in a Championship final of some sort. ‘They hang from trees in the Book of Jeremiah (6)’. Solvers went tearing through their bibles to find what it was. The answer? See below.
16 PENITENCE – Remorse is definition. E (English) + NIT (fool) inside PENCE (money).
18 TAPIR – Container clue. PI (regular crossword word meaning very good, as in pious) inside TAR (sailor). Animal is the definition.
20 ANTWERP Wordsum. AN (article) + TWERP (idiot) = The capital of Antwerp province in Belgium.
22 RHUBARB Homophone of RUE (regret) BARB = twaddle, rubbish.
23 MAINE State is the definition. I inside MANE (long hair).


1 CONTEMPLATOR – I think is the definition LA (The [in] French) inside CONTEMPT (scorn) + OR (alternative).
2 AT RANDOM – Anagram of DRAMA NOT = not organised.
3 IRON – Double definition, with part cryptic. Something for evening (clothes) and a type of golf club.
4 SCREEN – Church feature is the definition. SCREE (loose stones) + N (abbreviation for any given number).
5 INSOLENT – A subtraction wordsum, don’t see too many of these. INSOLVENT (bankrupt) – V (very) = rude.
6 LIVE – Reversal of EVIL – as it’s a Down clue – upsurge is allowable here.
9 MISINTERPRET – Probably my favourite clue. An anagram of TIMES PRINTER gives you a word meaning to mistake.
13 SUPERMAN – Hotly followed by this gem. P (power) inside an anagram of SURNAME = HERO.
17 NEARBY – Anagram of BARNEY gives a word meaning ‘in the vicinity’.
19 POUT – Probably the hardest clue today. A simple double definition, but did you know a pout is a fish having a large bulbous head?
21 TAME – Flat is the definition. TA (Standard crosswordese for ‘volunteers’, the Territorial Army) + ME (the setter).

And that’s yer lot for today!

The answer to the clue: They hang from trees in the book of Jeremiah (6) – AMENTA indirectly hidden in LAMENTATIONS. Caused a right old storm then. Probably would now too!

See you next week.

16 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 398 by Izetti”

  1. Something of a struggle for me in 18 minutes. DNK 15ac – but it was a ‘has to be’ with the checkers. I was stuck in the NE until I realised that 4dn did not contain an anagram (loose) of stones and then the last ones in tapir/pout took some brain racking for ‘pi’ then a leap of faith for pout. 1dn/5dn CODs.
  2. What a little gem! Delightful QC I thought – very elegant, not too hard but a good work out. Congrats to Izetti for absolutely hitting the spot where I believe the QC should be.

    Many potential CODs, but for me 23ac was the standout, with 9dn and 18ac (what a great surface) not far behind.

    Re. Antwerp, yes also a bit of eyebrow action here, but then again I thought there may have been a time when Antwerp was capital of something, given that Belgium is a relatively recent creation and Antwerp has been a major trading centre for an awfully long time. Some might call that loose, I call it pragmatic. Anyway, the clue worked very well in that the answer was attainable and the wordplay very clear.

  3. A good challenge for a quickie – lots of clues made me think. I too raised an eyebrow at ANTWERP as a capital, not knowing my Belgian regions. 9d my favourite too, but 10a, 22a and 13d made me smile too. 8:24.
  4. Yes, this was quite a chewy offering and it delayed me 15 minutes.

    The parsing at 22ac doesn’t look right to me as BARB = unkind remark. “Nonsense” is the overall definition, but I think that’s what was intended anyway.

    POUT as a fish might be better known if its salient feature hadn’t been usurped by another fish in the expression “trout pout”.

    Edited at 2015-09-17 10:55 am (UTC)

  5. 20.Bussels is the capital of. Belgium but I think most Flemish speakers would regard Antwberp as their true capital.Brussels is nominally bi lingual but actually predominantly French speaking.Antwerp is by far far the most beautiful city and the most cultural!!!
    19 I just thought it meant sulky expression of a fish ie trout pout !!!
  6. Didn’t know pi as very good – do now.
    I took 23ac as Rhu + Barb (unkind remark) = rhubarb = twaddle
    Only managed Antwerp because I lived in Holland for 4 years and know something of the history of the Low Countries (bit below the belt I thought)
    1. 14 Sort of disease — medical is set up in fluster of fear (8)
      Pandemic – panic around med upwards/backwards. Collins has med as an abbreviation of medical.
  7. Several clues left with rather unsatisfactory feelings, didn’t know pi but got only possible animal and knew tar. Antwerp is only an unofficial capital of Flanders I think so a bit naughty there. While a screen is found in some churches certainly not all and that felt rather tenuous and so you go on. I remember a bit if a run in with Izetti in the past so not offence if you are reading this. Your wavelength is occasionally hard to find….but still enjoyable
  8. The hardest of the week so far for me. Didn’t get 8a – I wasn’t familiar with that definition of sanction, it looks obvious from word play… now.
    Didn’t know rhubarb was another word for nonsense but it couldn’t be anything else. Lam was a guess and I still don’t really understand how 1d works, it sounds like it’s in the wrong case/tense (sorry my grammar is atrocious) or something.
    Despite how the above may sound I thought it was a very enjoyable puzzle overall.
    1. “The French held in scorn otherwise I think”

      “I think”, therefore I am a CONTEMPLATOR. Hope this helps.

  9. Not on form today -I couldn’t get 1d,3d 10a and 15a. I played golf today but still couldn’t get 3d.
    Early on I did have what I thought was an elegant answer for 10a – STARTER. A learner and also a first home sometimes bought by a richer elder. I later thought of Trainee but couldn’t parse it. So,as I say, not on form today. David
  10. I agree – it’s not a capital I recognise. And TWERP to me is someone who’s rude, a smart-alec or a guttersnipe – but not an idiot.
    I found this crossword incredibly difficult for a newbie like me, and only managed SCREEN. And you’ve forgotten 14 down – please clarify!
    Ian Donaldson

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