Times Quick Cryptic 2217 by Oink

Slightly harder than usual from Oink – I’m usually right on his/her wavelength, but not so much today. Nevertheless, all solved within target time, only 6dn holding out until the bitter end.

Definitions underlined.

7 Search me after messing up fine material (8)
CASHMERE – anagram of (after messing up) SEARCH ME.
8 Old vicar coming back no more (4)
OVER – O (old), then REV (vicar) reversed (back).
9 Policeman in helicopter losing height (6)
COPPER – ChOPPER (helicopter) missing (losing) the letter ‘h’ (height).
10 Dance for Oliver, perhaps (5)
TWIST – double definition.
11 Cry after striking husband’s hooter (3)
OWL – hOWL (cry) missing (striking) the letter ‘h’ (husband).
12 Spots Her Majesty making a bit of bacon (6)
RASHER – RASH (spots) and ER (Her Majesty).
14 Candidate in the end failing to pass (6)
ELAPSE – last letter of (in the end) candidatE then LAPSE (failing).
16 Charlie unfortunately keeping one in French port (6)
CALAIS – C (charlie) and ALAS (unfortunately) containing (keeping) I (one).
18 Tired Shakespearean king stuck in past (6)
BLEARY – LEAR (Shakespearean king) contained by (stuck in) BY (past).
19 Terrific, parrot having heart transplant? (3)
ACE – ApE (parrot) with its central letter changed (having heart transplant).
20 Faith on island weak for the most part (5)
ISLAM – IS (island) and all-but-the-last-letter from (for the most part) LAMe (weak).
21 Terrible mistake made by a monkey (6)
HOWLER – double definition.
23 Style of beer knocked back at noon (4)
ELAN – ALE (beer) reversed (knocked back) then N (noon).
24 Left deserving a little of what to Pope is dangerous (8)
LEARNING – L (left) and EARNING (deserving). “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” from Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism.
1 Extensive view of old queen in a hat (8)
PANORAMA – O (old) and R (queen) contained by (in) PANAMA (hat).
2 Man better after hospital admission (4)
CHAP – CAP (better) containing (after… admission) H (hospital).
3 Blunder by scientist ultimately creating panic (6)
TERROR – last letter of (ultimately) scientisT then ERROR (blunder).
4 One letting off steam in kitchen? (6)
KETTLE – cryptic definition.
5 Unusual cottage, I think (8)
COGITATE – anagram of (unusual) COTTAGE I.
6 Achievement of one’s supporters, you might say (4)
FEAT – sounds like (you might say) “feet” (one’s supporters).
13 Hotel in Donegal rebuilt hastily (8)
HEADLONG – H (hotel) contained by (in) an anagram of (rebuilt) DONEGAL.
15 Strange European initially somehow becoming an army officer (8)
SERGEANT – anagram of (somehow) STRANGE and the first letter from (initially) European.
17 Trial of MP involved in deal (6)
SAMPLE – MP contained by (involved in) SALE (deal).
18 Execute British boss in possession of ecstasy (6)
BEHEAD – B (British) and HEAD (boss) containing (in possession of) E (ecstasy).
20 Said superstar is out of work (4)
IDLE – sounds like (said) “idol” (superstar).
22 Drink Strongbow in extra-large bottles (4)
WINE – hidden in (… bottles) stongboW IN Extra-large.

53 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2217 by Oink”

  1. Did I miss a piggy reference? I finished this ok but couldn’t parse all of it. I found it easier than the ones recently but the clues weren’t as elegant

    I didn’t know the Alexander Pope reference and therefore found the LEARNING clue very clunky.
    I spent a little time on SAMPLE because I didn’t think MP would be in the answer because it was in the clue.
    I was also confused by what the word ‘bottles’ was doing for WINE but the blog cleared that up, thank you!

    Otherwise it was basically a top to bottom solve

    I liked the idea of having an extensive view of a queen in a hat 😀

    Thanks all

  2. 17:20. I thought Pope wrote a little “knowledge” is a dangerous thing but obviously I misremembered. Had trouble with ISLAM because at first I thought island was just i so I couldn’t make anything of the rest of the wordplay. When I read TWIST and COPPER I wondered if something Dickensian was going on. Wrong setter! ( I also saw TERROR, BEHEAD and CALAIS which put me in a Tale of Two CIties mindset).

      1. One of the many beneficial results of being a TfTT participant and working through these puzzles and reading the blogs and others’ comments, is that I’ve been able to clear a lot of misinformation(i.e. “false facts”) from my brain!

  3. 9 minutes, so that’s two days of achieved target after a long break.

    I think we have an error at 13dn. William has parsed it as the clue is written but it doesn’t give us HEADLONG as there’s no containment – H is at the beginning. ‘Hotel at Donegal rebuilt hastily’ would have worked.

    1. I didn’t see / think of this while writing up, so thanks for pointing it out.
      Is it possible to contain the H in DONEGAL before anagramming?

      1. That must have been the intent, but containment, not H before the anagram, is clearly indicated instead.

      2. Well it’s a thought but I don’t recall ever seeing it as a device before and it doesn’t seem very logical to me.

        1. I agree – it confused me and at first I assumed it was (yet another) setter’s custom I was unfamiliar with. But the more I looked at it the more I concluded, like Jack, that it was more likely to be an error. Fortunately the H was a checker and anchored in place, so at least it didn’t delay me.

  4. 8.26

    The “strange” anagram fodder for SERGEANT foxed me (thought the SE was the initials if the first two words but I then seemed to run out of w/p).

    Otherwise usual solid puzzle from this setter. Thought CHAP was rather neat.

    Thanks to Oink and William

  5. Beaten by FEAT but not the reason why overall I didn’t really enjoy this one. Some felt very easy: COPPER TERROR OVER and others felt a bit clunky APE ISLAM.

    Liked RASHER though and knew something porky was in here somewhere

  6. 16 minutes all parsed other than LEARNING which went in from WP and checkers.
    FOI: OVER.
    HEADLONG I just went with H+DONEGAL anagram and moved on without thinking of a possible error in the clue.

  7. I read the clue for HEADLONG as an anagram of H in DONEGAL, which I thought was OK, but it’s a bit odd that the H comes first in the answer. At the time I hesitated over 17D thinking SAMPLE for ‘trial’ is a bit of a stretch, but on reflection it’s OK. I was also held up briefly by failing to separate “Style of beer”. Nice one. Thank-you Oink and William. 5:04.

  8. A mainly gentle offering but I struggled a bit in the SW with ISLAM (assumed island would be abbreviated to ‘i’), SAMPLE and IDLE. Had heard of the quote but wasn’t sure who Pope was so relied on the wordplay for LEARNING.
    Finished in 9.31 with WOD to COGITATE.
    Thanks to William

  9. Just inside target again, but only just. LOI FEAT and I never remember whether it is LEAR or LEER, so that caused me to pause. Otherwise, no real problems. Thanks both.

  10. I really hate portcullis grids. Lack of first letters is kryptonite to me. Got in a grump and struggled all over the board.

    FOI PANORAMA, LOI FEAT, COD RASHER because at least it made me chuckle, time 15:39 for 2.8K and a Disastrous Day.

    Many thanks Oink and William.


  11. Brilliant puzzle. Testing, smart, quirky. I loved it even though it took me a minute over my target (a few seconds longer than Templar, in fact). I’ll need to revisit the blog to remind myself of favourite clues (apart from RASHER, natch) but my last in were ELAPSE and FEAT.
    I agree that the grid was unfriendly (and the clues were not uniformly smooth) but this was a fair and testing QC IMO.
    Thanks to both, John M.

  12. I found this slightly trickier than usual for an Oink, but still managed to get under my target. LEARNING held me up near the end as I had a typo at 22d, WWIN. Correcting this allowed me to recall the Pope reference. ELAPSE was my LOI as I was unable to parse it when I first looked at it and left it until I saw how it worked. 9:36. Thanks Oink and William.

  13. Did pretty well, though idle got me. Only put LEARNING in as that was the only word I could think of that fit the letters I had in place.

  14. No problem with FEAT but I did get stuck in the SW corner on IDLE, ISLAM and SAMPLE. I biffed LEARNING. I knew the quote but not the author. The parsing of ACE took a while too. My LOI was CASHMERE just because I’d skipped passed it at the start when the obvious anagram failed to reveal itself. 8:07 for a good day.

  15. Strayed over target after a very rapid start. A few of the shorter clues were the cause, specifically the crossing ISLAM, IDLE and ELAN, then finally my LOI and COD FEAT.

    Lots of smooth surfaces, which I always like.


  16. Another poor showing for me, no complaints on the ones I missed. Just ran out of steam in the SE corner.

    Good surfaces all over the board today, but COD BLEARY.

  17. Fairly tricky, but a steady solve. LOI FEAT. Agree about the position of H in HEADLONG, clue should be more accurate. Glad to see the usual Oink piggy reference!

  18. Last one in was FEAT for me also, and his took me over target at 10.35. Also struggled with 13dn perhaps as the anagram indicator was a bit confusing.

  19. 9 minutes for me, with only Sergeant holding me up briefly as I tend to think of them as part of the “other ranks” not “officers”. But of course they are technically officers, just non-commissioned ones. Doh!

    This was a very enjoyable puzzle from Oink and a welcome change after a few struggles in recent days, with no real controversies or unusually difficult/obscure words (I’m looking at you, Isatin and Eye rhyme …) to exercise us all in our comments.

    Many thanks to William for the blog

    1. … and SPOOR.
      N.B. I didn’t post yesterday, but EYE RHYME did for me and spoiled an otherwise enjoyable puzzle.

  20. A solid enough start in the NW, but I never managed to build up any real speed, and crossed the SCC threshold with Elapse and Learning extant. They fell in that order, but only after another three minutes had passed. A few tough clues today, so no complaints at missing out on a sub-20. CoD to Oink’s piggy reference at 12ac, Rasher. Invariant

  21. Tricky. Needed CCD for FEAT (made me smile) and SAMPLE and HOWLER. Generally found the SW difficult, until PDM with ISLAM and IDLE. Also eventually remembered ‘ a little learning is a dangerous thing’, but had no idea it was a quote from Pope.
    Quite a mixture of easy like COPPER and CALAIS and hard like those mentioned.
    Thanks, William.
    (By the way, do our kind bloggers ever have to consult the setter?)

    1. Some bloggers may know a setter or two from the gatherings at the pub in Southwark (I don’t) but I doubt anyone ever needs to consult with them about the puzzles. Occasionally we might put up a query here in the forum in the hope that the setter or editor may see it and reply.

      1. I wonder if there is a collective noun for crossword experts when they meets in the pub in Southwark – a bounty of brains? A sagaciousness of setters?

        1. A pubful of puzzlers. A barful of bloggers. A verant of anagrammers… (well that last one doesn’t work on any level). Nice idea though!

  22. 10 minutes for me. I had the same misgivings about the positioning of the H in HEADLONG but, as I had already solved RASHER it had to be that.

    No particular holdups and pleased to see the customary porcine solution in 12A

    1. “Donegal hotel rebuilt hastily” would have been a shorter, neater and less confusing surface …

  23. 22 mins…but at least I finished (which seems increasingly more difficult to do).

    Main hold up was 20ac “Islam” which was so obvious I have no idea why I couldn’t see it, even with some checkers. My initial thought of “Dole” for 20dn was thankfully dismissed quickly.

    FOI – 1dn “Panorama”
    LOI – 20dn “Idle”
    COD – 11ac “Owl” – big chuckle

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Nearly an upset in the Random household, but not quite – 30 minutes for me and 29 for Mrs R. Neither of us felt comfortable with some of our answers, but they all turned out correct in the end.

    I DNK the author (A Pope) or the particular meaning of ELAN (I thought it meant joy), and neither of us can work out why CAP = better. Also, I did not parse ACE and still don’t find KETTLE cryptic.
    My FOI was OVER, my LOI was FEAT (very good, once found) and my CoD is OWL.

    Many thanks to Oink and William.

  25. Pleased to finish in around 25 mins today. Held up by FEAT, ISLAM, SAMPLE and LEARNING. The Pope reference in the latter passed me by – I saw instead an unfavourable commentary on Catholicism (which made me smile!). Liked BEHEAD and BLEARY. Many thanks to William and OINK.

  26. Happy to finish in 13:57 with no major dramas. LOI ELAPSE, once I remembered to look at the other end of the clue for the definition.

  27. Another late solve, hope to get the old routine back soon. LEARNING held me up a lot. Otherwise pretty quick!

  28. Another DNF. Pleased to have got HEADLONG, but couldn’t get anything beyond 18A and 15D. I found it easier than yesterday. Many thanks for the blog and comments, which help me to learn.

  29. Dnf by a lot
    Imho calling a sergeant an officer is wrong
    They never went in the officer’s mess on pain of death

  30. BLEARY is right! I did finish this in about 12 minutes earlier this afternoon but had serious brain fog today after a very poor night’s sleep. On reflection, I realise there are some sharp, witty clues, but I didn’t really notice at the time. I liked HOWLER and KETTLE. HEADLONG made me smile too – I tackled it in the same way as Alfweard and JohnI. In retrospect, I agree that it’s a slightly dodgy clue, but I enjoyed the end result, so let it go with a shrug.
    FOI Over LOI Feat COD Wine
    Thanks Oink and William

  31. A really bad day. Got so befuddled by 21ac that I missed the hidden word in 22dn. NHO howler monkey. Over an hour of toil for a depressing DNF. Not good after yesterday’s failure.

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