Times Quick Cryptic 2050 by Oink

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

Solving time: 9 minutes. I hope this puzzle will suit all solvers.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.


1 Terminated some of proven dedication (5)
Hidden in [some of] {prov}EN DED{ication}
4 Shrug off Sid coming back with unmarried woman (7)
SID reversed [coming back], MISS (unmarried woman)
8 Band‘s origin (7)
Two meanings
9 Idiot whose whereabouts are a puzzle? (5)
A definition with a cryptic hint. I wasn’t sure about the cryptic whilst solving as I’ve never heard of the puzzle-book series Where’s Wally? but you can read about it here if you wish.
10 Official‘s real income misrepresented (10)
Anagram [misrepresented] of REAL INCOME
14 I start to complain and step back: it’s very cold (3,3)
I, C{omplain} [start], then PACE (step) reversed [back]
15 Secluded spot for a break (6)
Two meanings
17 The samurai somehow becoming clumsy (10)
Anagram [somehow] of THE SAMURAI
20 Article about Middle East setback? That’s the idea (5)
TH__E (article) containing [about] ME (Middle East) reversed [setback]
22 Think about Mafia boss keeping fit (5,2)
DON (Mafia boss) containing [keeping] WELL (fit)
23 Escort about to arrest couple from the east (7)
RE (about) containing [to arrest] UNITE (couple) reversed [from the east]
24 Instrument Scotsman found in river (5)
IAN (Scotsman) contained by [found in] PO (Italian river)
1 For this reason monster is upset (4)
OGRE (monster) reversed [upset]
2 Academic taking E is finished (4)
DON (academic), E
3 At end of his tether, as Dan famously was? (9)
I’ve indicated this as an all-in-one clue. It’s a reference to  the former Dandy comic character Desperate Dan
4 One making a great show, on the pull at Christmas? (6)
Two meanings, the second with reference to the name of one of Santa’s reindeer in the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore.
5 Beastly female guide chucking Henry out (3)
S{h}OW (guide) [chucking Henry – H – out]. This setter’s statutory porcine reference.
6 Bill blowing top on occasion with daughter? That’s inappropriate (3-5)
{b}ILL [blowing top], TIME (occasion), D (daughter)
7 What secret agent might use to see schooner? (8)
SPY (secret agent), GLASS (schooner). Schooners (e.g. of sherry) became very popular measures of drinks for ladies in pubs of 1960s.
11 Misbehaving peer loves to have a lie-in (9)
Anagram [misbehaving] of PEER LOVES. I’m not entirely convinced of the definition.
12 Drunken star dies in accident (8)
Anagram [drunken] STAR DIES
13 After ten years National Trust in state of decline (8)
DECADE (ten years), NT (National Trust). A somewhat topical surface, at least in recent years.
16 Card game making you cross? (6)
Two meanings
18 Circus performer to make a run for it, I hear (4)
Sounds like [I hear] “flee” (make a run for it)
19 Ruin a French party (4)
UN (a, French), DO (party)
21 Use heroin regularly for a long time (3)
{h}E{r}O{i}N [regularly]

75 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2050 by Oink”

  1. This took me rather longer than I expected; I was held up by DASHER (my LOI, I think; DNK ‘on the pull’ but thought it had some idiomatic meaning, which of course I didn’t need to know), RETINUE, and CEREMONIAL (where it took a while to arrange the anagrist in my head). I also had a MER at OVERSLEEP, and also at DWELL ON, which hardly means merely ‘think about’. I somehow thought it was ‘Waldo’ one was to look for. 6:50.
    1. Not relevant here but “on the pull'” means looking for a partner — hooking up with them, so to speak.

      No problem with DWELL ON which means think about constantly.

      1. I looked it up afterwards; definitely new to me. I suppose if I had know the phrase, I would only have wasted more time on the clue.
  2. I found this one to be quite tricky, taking my a little under 40 minutes to complete, with a little help from Chambers.

    I have seen “Ian” being used as a Scotsman before, but I am not sure why. Is there a famous Scotsman called Ian?

    1. Although it is now common enough in standard English for us to overlook its origins, Ian is in fact the Scots Gaelic version of John, and therefore used in crosswords as “a typical Scottish first name”. Though ironically in Scotland itself the spelling Iain is at least as common….


      1. See also RENE (Frenchman) and OTTO (German), and DAI (Welshman). Though why these names beats me.
      2. In Scotland, Ialn is indeed frequent and Ian rare. It infuriates me that setters always get this wrong. I suppose this must be added to the esoteric things like peter = safe which solvers must know but which never occur outside crosswords. I suspect some one has compiled a list somewhere…..?
  3. 25 minutes of fun from top to bottom.
    FOI: ERGO.
    LOI: EON.
    WOD: OVERSLEEP. I did…
  4. Normally, I use pen and paper, but printer is off limits today while the heating engineer is in fitting a new boiler.
    All correct. DASHER last one in. I spent 5 minutes on that.
    Otherwise pretty straightforward
  5. I got Dasher quite quickly, helped by being so soon after “The Night Before Christmas”. I was held up by the anagram at 17a and by 6d where I knew it was ill something but couldn’t think what. I finally realised it was rather like a Downing Street party

    FOI Ended
    LOI Amateurish
    COD Dasher

        1. I have the same problem with not being able to read the blog on the app today. Not normally an issue. The intro is there but then the blog appears to be a link which doesn’t work. Did you do something differently today? I’m sorry not to be able to read your excellent work!

          1. Nothing different, so the link should open for you if it usually does. I never use the app so I can’t help other than to suggest you try accessing TfTT via the browser on your device instead of the app.
  6. A lot of gentle clues but also some I really struggled with. The anagrams proved particulaly stubborn, especially for CEREMONIAL, DISASTER and AMATEURISH. I needed all the checkers for the reindeer as the only one I ever remember is the one with the red nose. Finished with ILL TIMED in 9.07 with COD to SPYGLASS.
    Thanks to Jack
  7. 11 minutes and no problems to speak of. DASHER took a moment for the penny to drop — known from a popular Christmas song rather than the poem, and a couple of others where the definition was a bit unusual cryptically, but all very fair and with a few smiles, so thanks Oink and Jackkt. Good start to the week.
  8. I got stuck on the same clues as Kevin but of course I got stuck for longer, plus AMATEURISH took ages to unpick. All very Monday morning. Fun puzzle, I do like Oink’s style.

    FOI ENDED, LOI RECESS, COD WALLY (excellent!), time 10:28 for 1.5k and a Sluggish Day.

    Many thanks Oink and Jack.


  9. A good start to the week …
    … and all done in 8 minutes with no hold-ups, though 23A Retinue only parsed after entry.

    Santa’s reindeer come up surprisingly often, so after largely not knowing about them for my first 60-something years I’ve made the effort to learn all their names. Once again it has proved time well spent!

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  10. I enjoyed this and just managed it within 10mins. I think this rather favours those who are 50/60 + but that’s common in these. Thanks though!
  11. I knew 4d must be a Christmas reindeer (e before i) but I don’t remember their names so had to consult CCD.
    But I was on the wavelength today. Had to biff EON, a bit dim there. My various offspring used to like Where’s Wally.
    Enjoyed the puzzle. A relief to have an easier one. FOI 1a, LOI 1d! Thanks vm, Jack.
  12. I raced through the NW corner, biffed RETINUE and like Kevin took a while to construct CEREMONIAL. I was pulled up short by my LOI DASHER. 8:36 for a good day.

    Edited at 2022-01-17 10:01 am (UTC)

  13. Slow but steady today, held up by most of the clues already mentioned. All fair and parsed, but the brain has yet to kick into gear. ERGO may well be a chestnut but a first time for me, and made me smile.
  14. Held up a bit by putting in SLEEPOVER rather than OVERSLEEP, but steady going thereafter, although the longer anagrams took some working out. Got DASHER through the ‘pull at Christmas’ sleigh reference: don’t get the ‘making a great show’ bit.
      1. Thanks. I meant to post that in my blog as I must admit I was a little surprised to find it actually listed. Agent nouns tend to be very much hit or miss in dictionaries.
  15. Most went in quickly but I found this quite difficult in parts. Like others, My LOI was DASHER which followed RETINUE. AMATEURISH and CEREMONIAL came to mind very quickly but I hesitated with the latter. Some very good clues. I only got WALLY when the inevitable SOW emerged. An enjoyable start to the week even though it took me a couple of minutes over target. Thanks to Oink and jackkt. John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-17 10:24 am (UTC)

  16. 18:50, and that needed a break for a brisk walk in the frost before tackling the tricky anagrams: DISASTER and AMATEURISH. Also, had a tough time parsing RETINUE, with the cunning RE=about.

    COD ERGO, which is probably a chestnut, but all chestnuts are good the first time you encounter them

  17. Just over 7 minutes on paper. LOI PIANO. Almost a top to bottom solve.
    COD to DISASTER. Good fun for a Monday morning.
  18. Very enjoyable solve today which took me 25 mins, unexpectedly over my 20 min target. After a very fast start with most of the top half going straight in, I was held up with the anagram at 17a (not expecting it to end with ‘-ish’ which is a learning for me) and RECESS, my LOI. I usually forget that word means ‘break’. I have previously complained about it being an Americanism but on reflection I think ‘court is in recess’ makes it fair and proper.

    I absolutely loved the clues for GENESIS and WALLY which were easy solves for me. It was anticipating a lot of ‘NHO’ comments on the latter and wondering whether anyone would admit to ‘NHO’ the former!

    COD to RETINUE which I thought very clever indeed.

    Thanks to Oink for an entertaining puzzle and to Jacckt of course even though for some reason I cannot read the blog on the app today. Prof

  19. Mostly enjoyed. FOI (ironically) ended LOI (unparsed) wally COD ceremonial, satisfying but hard to unpick like the other anagrams. Biffed Retinue (!) DNK all uses of wally and dasher.

  20. 26 mins today, held up by 17ac “Amateurish” and 23ac “Retinue” — some nice clues though including 9ac “Wally”, 13dn “Decadent” (love a bit of inadvertent/deliberate surface) and the good old “Flea”’circus of 18dn which I haven’t seen for a while.

    FOI — 2dn “Done”
    LOI — 23ac “Retinue”
    COD — 4dn “Dasher”

    Thanks as usual!

  21. DWELL ON and FLEA did for me and so this was a DNF. Should have been straightforward but sometimes even simple ones can beat you.

    As an Ian myself – of Scottish descent – I do know the traditionalists in the family would have preferred two ‘i’s so often wonder why this doesn’t get brought up more often.

    The comics amongst my many acquaintances south of the border like to say that it’s not all that rare to have a one i-ed Scotsman.

    Edited at 2022-01-17 11:51 am (UTC)

  22. A steady solve with ENDED in first and AMATEURISH LOI. 8:18. Thanks Oink and Jack.

    Edited at 2022-01-17 11:55 am (UTC)

  23. An ‘Oink’ without a porcine reference!! As Jack notes not so(w) – and ‘WALLY the Pig’ – he even has his own watering-can!? 9ac my WOD.

    FOI 19dn UNDO

    LOI 7dn SPYGLASS I originally had EYEGLASS! (Private Eye Xword?)

    COD 4dn DASHER – but enough of Christmas!

    I just managed to pip Kevin for once, but let’s not dwell on it!

    Edited at 2022-01-17 12:03 pm (UTC)

  24. A steady solve before hitting a brick wall with my last pair, 6d/15ac. I needed a second sitting to get Ill-timed, but even then *e*e*s proved elusive, and I gave up after a half-hearted alphabet trawl. CoD to 23ac, Retinue. Invariant
  25. This took me over ten minutes – a bad day all round.COD 10ac Ceremonial. WOD Wally- that’s me!
  26. Off to a flying start, but slowed right down from about half-way. Eventually finished in 37 minutes. This is more than twice Mrs Random’s time, and she is now in the kitchen making her third batch of marmalade and some leek and potato soup for later.

    I enjoyed seeing GENESIS make an appearance. They were my favourite band in the ’70s, and I still go to see Steve Hackett (and his band) when they come my way on his ‘Genesis Revisited’ tours. I also enjoyed WALLY from Where’s Wally fame (my two boys’ favourite, back in the day).

    Where I struggled:
    RETINUE – I just couldn’t parse the extra E
    ILL TIMED – Unconvincing, even after I had solved it
    RECESS – Just couldn’t think of the word
    DWELL ON – I couldn’t get past ‘Dream On’, which made 18d impossible
    FLEA (my LOI) – Only solved once I had found DWELL ON

    Many thanks to Oink and Jack

    1. That was me: somerandomchap (aka Mr Random)

      P.S. Why are my posts being anonymised so often, these days?

      1. Are you logged in to Livejournal? On the odd occasion when we post as “anonymous” it’s usually because we’ve been mysteriously booted out of Livejournal.
      2. If you have cleared cookies recently, you will need to log back in. You should be able to tell from your notifications count (the bell at the top right hand corner) if you are logged in.
  27. Profuse apologies to all, regarding the multiple anonymous posts above. For some reason, unknown to me, I have been struggling to post/reply properly recently.

    1. As suggested above, before you post you need to check whether you are logged in to Live Journal. If you are, your user name will appear top right of the screen.
    2. In the posting template there is also an option to post as someone else. If you have inadvertantly set it to “post anonymously” that would do it
      1. Actually no. I see it switches back automatically. Never mind. I’ll just go and make some onion soup

        Edited at 2022-01-17 06:58 pm (UTC)

  28. Took us longer than usual to solve the long, but clever, anagrams and a while to spot DASHER. Other than that, I’m not quite sure why we took 18 minutes to finish.


    Thanks Jackkt and Oink.

  29. Late today. Not much to say about this – it was easy, but I was slow, perhaps concentrating on preparing the French onion soup with the slice of cheese on toast in it. FOI ended, sixteen on first pass, LOI dwell on COD flea. All parsed for once, in just under twenty minutes. Thanks, Jack, and Oink.
    1. We had onion soup as well at lunch — one of the better suggestions in the Saturday Times magazine in recent weeks!
      1. Thank you for your reply. Soup was delicious. We went to the trouble of making a veg stock from scratch, and used 250 ml of Hock, as the recipe suggested. It took an age to cook, there was a load of washing up and it was well worth the effort. Best wishes.
  30. Like others I was held up by DASHER but I think I’m alone in having lost time on RECESS too. Only four on the first pass of acrosses but everything seemed within reach. Ended up all green in 18 but it was two slow alphabet trawls before I crossed the line.
  31. At least 5 of which on LOI Recess.
    Very enjoyable if tricky in places.
    My time would have been quicker had I not spent an age on both 10a and 17a longish anagrams..
    Also count me in for Sleepover before 10a letters led to rethink….
    Lots to appreciate.
    Almost had an end of Ashes Theme — Dismiss, Ended, Wally, Amateurish, Disaster, Done, ill-timed, Desperate, Recess…..
    Thanks all,
    John George
  32. I was. All good for me today, just 21 min, a GN4 probably my best, do I need to jump like a Flea? I was Desperate to have a cracker to pull at Christmas, but Dasher the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh seemed good enough to me. I remember Retinue from once before, and tried parsing ‘unit’ backwards plus ‘e’ [maybe a unit like item being two people] so a bit of a wobbly parse there. Oink Oink
  33. Found this to be a mixture of tricky and easier clues. Failed to get the reindeer at 4d, we bunged in Disney which we thought was relevant. Another Ian here, but no Scottish blood as far as we know. Finished in abt 35m over our target. Thanks oink.
  34. Did this in 11 minutes this morning before going out to a U3A lunch — what a treat to eat food someone else had cooked! I enjoyed the crossword too — there were some interesting definitions and very entertaining surfaces today – only to be expected from Oink. I liked GENESIS, OVERSLEEP and AMATEURISH in particular. I remember going to see Genesis in the 1832 club in Windsor in their very early days and paying about 40p to get in — normally entry was something like 20p so they were obviously already on their way up! Like Random, MrB is a big Steve Hackett fan.
    FOI Ended
    LOI Ceremonial
    COD Wally — I’m sure we’ve seen a similar clue in the past, maybe on the other side, but it still made me laugh
    Thanks Oink and Jack
    1. Please tell Mr B that I think Steve H is getting better as he grows older. May I also recommend some of The solo work by Nad Sylvan (Steve H’s singer)?

  35. Couple of problem clues but just over one course today.
    Quite clear where some people’s pop tastes lay!
  36. 1 second inside target! Started really easily but for some reason held up in NE with SOW, WALLY and LOI ILL TIMED.
  37. I managed to complete it, but found it an unsatisfying mix of very easy (“undo”) with slightly baffling (“piano”)…

    And now the buttons on this website are for some reason in German. Gah!

    Edited at 2022-01-17 11:09 pm (UTC)

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