Times Quick Cryptic 2285 by Oink

Hello from London, where I am taking refuge with Mr Kitty for a break before the seasonal madness begins.  This is my last blog before all that, so I will take the opportunity to wish all of you the kind of time you would like.

An enjoyable Monday offering from Oink, I thought, with the usual piggy appearance early on and a visit from one or two of his farmyard friends too.  1d and 9d are my pick of the clues today, from a strong field.  Thanks Oink!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, explicit [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Comparatively charming character hoping to find water? (7)
DIVINER DIVINER as in more divine (comparatively charming), or a water DIVINER
5a Forest dweller, dull chap by all accounts (4)
BOAR — BORE (dull chap), homophone (by all accounts).  Oink’s signature porcine clue
7a Top policeman having change of heart (3)
CAP COP (policeman) with a different middle letter (having change of heart), in this case A
8a Old romance set somewhere in Africa (8)
CAMEROON O (old) and ROMANCE anagrammed (set)
10a Country home getting financial assistance in recession (5)
INDIA IN (home) + AID (financial assistance) reversed (in recession)
11a Raise a glass to Queen Elizabeth’s kitchen assistant (7)
TOASTER TOAST (Raise a glass to) + ER (Queen Elizabeth)
13a Name one idiot or another (6)
NITWIT N (name) + I (one) + TWIT (idiot).  Definition: another [idiot]
15a A garment to take to the cleaners? (6)
FLEECE — Two definitions, the second slang
17a Suffer again without European help (7)
RELIEVE RELIVE (suffer again) outside (without, opposite of within) E (European)
18a Bill loves forbidden subject (5)
TABOO TAB (bill) + O O (loves, each love being 0, a love score in tennis)
20a Stupidly I bait red in bitter attack (8)
DIATRIBE — An anagram of (stupidly) I BAIT RED
22a Australian runner getting married in Brussels (3)
EMU M (married) in EU (Brussels, metonym)
23a Horrible-looking fruit, I hear (4)
UGLY — This sounds like (… I hear) UGLI (fruit)
24a Authorise payment: it legally binds (7)
ENTITLE — PaymENT: IT LEgally holds (binds) the answer
1d Book revealing the meaning of life? (10)
DICTIONARY — Cryptic definition: the meaning of the word life.  Chambers has 31 definitions of life as a noun, of which number 25, “Eternal happiness” caused a MER.  As in “this is the life” I suppose.  Turning instead to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Marvin’s take is: “Life. Loathe it or endure it, you can’t like it.”
2d Victor paid off, being feeble (5)
VAPID V (victor, NATO alphabet codeword) + an anagram of (… off) PAID
3d Fruit — dish out entire can? (9)
NECTARINE — Make an anagram of (dish out) ENTIRE CAN
4d TV controller accommodated in Derbyshire motel (6)
REMOTE — The answer is accommodated in DerbyshiRE MOTEl
5d Poet scratching his bottom in pub (3)
BAR BARd (poet) with his last letter removed (scratching his bottom)
6d One of 12 given a job by the French (7)
APOSTLE A + POST (job) + LE (the, French)
9d Indecisive Tories rule shambolically (10)
IRRESOLUTE TORIES RULE anagrammed (shambolically)
12d Plot to develop rocket, for example (9)
ALLOTMENT — A cryptic definition, rocket being the leafy kind
14d Impressive counting of the votes (7)
TELLING — A double definition.  Telling with its meaning of counting is one to remember as it is used from time to time
16d Want to chuck teacher in river? (6)
DESIRE — Here we need to insert (chuck) SIR (teacher) in DEE (river)
19d Complain, as sheep might do (5)
BLEAT — Two definitions.  Bah! Or Baa!
21d Right-winger losing nothing in tax (3)
TRY T[o]RY (right-winger) losing O (nothing)

39 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2285 by Oink”

  1. 16:45. Stuck at the end with only FLEECE to fill in but it took a long time to come; somehow “sleeve” had jammed up the neural circuits. I thought the DICTIONARY cryptic def was very good and was impressed Kitty took the trouble to do some homework. The surface for ALLOTMENT had me looking in other directions as intended and I needed all the checkers before I saw what was going on.

    Favourite was the surface for IRRESOLUTE, particularly ‘shambolically’ as the anagram indicator. I wonder who that brings to mind?

    Thanks to Oink and Kitty – I liked your Bah! or Baa!

  2. 9 minutes including 1 minute (possibly 2) looking for non-existent wordplay in ALLOTMENT and wondering whether to relive something necessarily involves suffering (it doesn’t).

  3. Happy to finish in 12 today. Had to pass over the first few on the way to five on the first pass of acrosses. Downs helped a bit but still left lots to do. Enjoyed LOI DICTIONARY and plenty of others too. Spoilt it in the end by entering bleet not BLEAT – can only blame it being a down clue for not spotting that it wasn’t right.

  4. Pleasant Monday morning work through from FOI: CAP to LOI: FLEECE with no real holdups.
    Favourite: RELIEVE for remembering the device ‘without’ and ALLOTMENT as a good CD.
    Time taken to finish is unknown as I had shared tasks this morning.

  5. Great puzzle but DNF beaten by the relatively simple DESIRE. Sometimes the word just won’t come! I really enjoyed this but found it chewy throughout with very few on the first couple of passes.

    Blind to the parsing of ENTITLE until the blog so thought I had successfully biffed it – missing hidden words happens too often for me, although I saw REMOTE soon enough.

    Enjoyed FLEECE and NITWIT

    Thanks Oink and Kitty.

    1. 22m due to a touch of snow brain.
      Tried to jam NILE as river into 16D until I got SIR.
      Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Must thaw out a bit.
      Thanks Oink and Kitty

  6. Over target again. I’m starting to think I’m losing my touch.

    Lovely puzzle though, DICTIONARY was my LOI, and a proper PDM for the first time in ages. ENTITLE was biffed, thank to Kitty for making me realise I’d missed a hidden. ALLOTMENT was my COD, just nicking it from DICTIONARY.


  7. I found this quite tricky and was completely stumped at the end by ALLOTMENT and LOI FLEECE, which I stared at vacantly for a couple of minutes before an alphabet trawl came to the rescue. I’m tempted to blame being distracted by the denouement of the cricket, but in reality Oink outplayed me today.
    Crossed the line in 12.56 with COD to DICTIONARY.
    Thanks to Kitty and Oink

  8. I found this a strange experience. I looked at over half a dozen clues starting from the top and nothing clicked. Then, I got one and they rolled out quickly until I hit the buffers (ALLOTMENT was a bar until the penny dropped – a clever clue).
    I moved to the bottom, worked upwards, and had the same experience – no progress, then a switch came on.
    DICTIONARY (brilliant!), TELLING, RELIEVE, NITWIT slowed me at the end but I finished within target by a minute.
    Problems were entirely down to me – not Oink – it was an excellent puzzle. Thanks to Oink and to Kitty for an equally impressive and enjoyable blog – well worth a second, slower read! John M.

  9. Started off with DIVINER, but needed all the crossers before DICTIONARY jumped out and made me smile. FLEECE took a minute before LOI, ALLOTMENT dropped in. 7:54. Thanks Oink and Kitty.

  10. Another LOI FLEECE, which gets my COD vote, and delayed me for some time. A lot of this was tricky and it took me 15 minutes in all.
    Lots of clever clues, DICTIONARY another COD nominee.
    Presumably snow in London Kitty?
    It was weird seeing a TV reporter in Downing Street last night in heavy snow.

    1. Yes, there’s a bit of the white stuff about. Glad it waited until after we had arrived before falling.

  11. I am usually on Oink’s wavelength but not today: I struggled to get going and took 15 minutes to come home, my slowest Oink for a very long time.

    Some of the synonyms were rather loose I thought: Suffer again = Relive being one (what if you enjoyed it first time around?), and Brussels = EU another (just imagine the furore from the Red Wall if a foreigner equated London with the UK!). I was also slow to see Impressive = Telling, which I can understand but would argue that not all telling contributions are impressive, or impressive ones telling, by a long way, and biffed Entitle as I did not see “binds” as an inclusion indicator. One for my (growing) list!

    OTOH I thought Allotment a very clever clue and Dictionary even better. Both produced splendid PDMs.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog and best wishes for the festive season to you too.

  12. Struggled with this and needed some help to get there in the end. Biffed ENTITLE (didn’t spot the hidden word) and RELIEVE (thanks for explanation) and took a while to get BAR/BOAR (doh!) and to work out IRRESOLUTE. I blame the cold weather.

  13. One minute over target at 16 for this very entertaining puzzle from Oink. LTI ALLOTMENT and FLEECE, both very clever, as was DICTIONARY. We seem to have seen a lot of NECTARINEs lately, although it is tangerine season in our house. Speaking of which, merry Christmas to you too Kitty, and thanks for your blog.

  14. 11.10. LOI and COD DICTIONARY. I have tried unsuccessfully to grow rocket on my allotment. It always ends up being eaten by flea beetles.

  15. Very slow today taking 14.21 to cross the line. My brain must have gone into freeze mode to match the outside temperature. I failed to note until the last minute that it was an Oink crossword, and until then couldn’t get BEAR out of my mind for 5ac.
    I did think of ENTITLE early on but failed to see the hidden and therefore couldn’t parse it. For this reason it was my LOI, and preceded by ALLOTMENT which took me some time to get. FLEECE also took a while, but in fairness it was all perfectly reasonably clued.

  16. Irresolute aside, this was a steady solve until I reached my last pair – Fleece and Allotment – which of course overlapped. Fleece took me into the SCC, but Allotment left me scrambling for a seat. Totally sidetracked by Oink, and even with the answer in place couldn’t see the parsing for the life of me. Life was a lot simpler when the choice was between Cos and Iceberg. . . CoD to 1d, Dictionary, for the pdm. Invariant

  17. DNF or rather needed CCD for IRRESOLUTE. Not usually beaten by an anagram, oh dear, but must get on with Life . Admit I also looked up garment. Pity as I did manage ALLOTMENT (COD)and biffed ENTITLE without seeing hidden. An easy start with DIVINER and REMOTE but then it all became stickier. Liked DESIRE, DIATRIBE, TOASTER, TABOO, EMU.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  18. Struggled today and looked at the blog for RELIEVE and ALLOTMENT – thanks Kitty. Didn’t parse ENTITLE (hidden stayed hidden). I think we’ve had NITWIT recently but it still took me a few minutes to sort it out. Not my best today but still enjoyable. Liked DICTIONARY even though needed all the checkers. Thanks all.

  19. I was mostly on Oink’s wavelength and enjoyed solving rapidly until my penultimate clue, ENTITLE took ages, put in unparsed reluctantly, then immediately thepenny dropped.
    Then I realised something was missing and altered my FOI to LOI, BEAR to BOAR! From many COD candidates I threrfore think NITWIT is most appropriate. Thanks Oink and Kitty

  20. Dreadful! It took me a full 5 minutes to get off the mark (with TABOO) and I ground to a halt 20 minutes later, never to get restarted. My policy is to give up if 20 minutes passes without solving any clues and, even though I still had four to work on, I threw in the towel at the 45-minute mark.

    Those four – ALLOTMENT, FLEECE, ENTITLE and DESIRE – were, as usual, all interconnected. When reading Kitty’s blog, I paused at FLEECE and managed (quite quickly) to solve the other three before moving on. But a DNF it was. Not a good start to the week.

    Thanks to Oink and Kitty.

  21. Dnf…

    Not sure what was going on this morning but I really struggled with this. Just couldn’t see 13ac “Nitwit”, 15ac “Fleece” and a number of other clues at the bottom of the grid.

    I actually did get 9dn “Irresolute”, but only after much random swapping of letters.

    FOI – 5ac “Boar”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 6dn “Apostle”

    Thanks as usual!

  22. A steady but rather slow solve this morning, finally finishing in 20 minutes. Some top class clueing from Oink today which led me down a number of cul-de-sacs.

    FOI – 1ac DIVINER
    LOI – 24ac ENTITLE (completely missed the hidden until after I had biffed it)
    COD – so many to choose from! 1dn DICTIONARY and 12dn ALLOTMENT are the stand-out ones but I also liked 5dn BAR for the mental image it conjured up!

  23. I enjoyed this offering from our porcine pal, and just managed to creep inside my target. Thanks for the usual excellent blog Kitty – may your Christmas be all that you would wish for.

    My next Weekend QC is currently on its road test, and should be the last one before Christmas when it becomes available on Friday.

    COD DICTIONARY – top drawer !
    TIME 4:43

  24. 13:30. Once I could get my brain around the many definitions that didn’t spring readily to mind everything fell into place . Impressive=TELLING, tax=TRY, help=RELIEVE, authorize=ENTITLE all were slow to come.

  25. A DNF for me. I found this one to be very difficult in places.

    I answered clues such as RELIEVE, ALLOTMENT and IRRESOLUTE. But I struggled with TRY.

    I answered allotment though had no idea how rocket fit into the answer, until I came here. Lettuce!

    From my experience of comments on this forum, I was on the lookout for an “Oink related clue”. Found it in BOAR.

  26. I never managed to get on the right wavelength with this puzzle, and needed aids to finish in 23:07. Missed the hidden ENTITLE, and didn’t pick up on the ‘lettuce’ meaning of ‘rocket’, as it’s called ‘arugula’ here in the US. But an enjoyable tussle for all that.
    Thanks to Oink and Kitty.

  27. A quick solve for me today helped by FOI DIVINER (I confess to seeing a diviner in action on my Mallorca property when my husband and I paid for a new bore hole to supply water. Ultimately the bore hole was over 200m deep so I am somewhat sceptical as to whether divining actually works!). I biffed ENTITLE and my LOI was the tricky anagram IRRESOLUTE in 7:36

  28. 1hr01 for the solve! Putting that in the “too hard for QC” bucket.

    First attempt got it about half done but with a busy morning ahead I set it aside at 18-mins as nothing new was going in. I simply couldn’t unravel the anagrams for IRRESOLUTE, NECTARINE, CAMEROON that might have opened it up. All were slightly easier when I had checkers.

    Late evening attempt added another 40-mins to get down to the last 2-3.

    A short break to make a cuppa and put the heating on. Decided to go with the biffed RELIEVE as couldn’t think of alternatives. Also biffed ALLOTMENT – have never heard of rocket lettuce so basically impossible without biffing and checkers. FLEECE I’d been provisionally put in an A from “A garment” – so that felt unfair to find it wasn’t.

    Really quite liked INDIA, TRY, DESIRE and TOASTER all that aside.

    1. I did just the same with A garment, thinking the A had to be there for a reason.

      Only just read your post about dimness from Friday. Thanks for the clarification. It now makes sense!

  29. This was definitely at the hard end of the scale – too hard for me, as it happens. Usually I find the clues get progressively easier the higher their number but this was the opposite – plenty went in the top half on initial run through but the bottom half was very sparse. Gave up after twenty minutes and found something else to do (this comment). Oink is frequently a little piggy trickster, I find.

  30. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the 8:50 it took to finish this.
    So much wit and some brilliant surfaces – the old romance, the rocket plot, and – of course – the shambolic Tories (I wonder how many weeks ago this was set?) I wanted to put DOWSER at 1a initially and briefly got my Is and Ys muddled at 23a but UGLY it was. The clue for BAR made me LOL.
    Like MangoMan, I saw REMOTE quickly enough but like many others, I didn’t see ENTITLE till the last moment – a true PDM 😅 Hiddens really are the bane of my crosswording life!
    FOI Boar LOI Fleece COD Dictionary
    Many thanks Oink and thanks and merry Christmas to Kitty

  31. Some taxing moments but got there in the end. I always give an inward shudder when the answer is an African State – the names I learned at school have changed such a lot and I’ve not kept up! But I did manage Cameroon today, so that was a confidence booster. Missed the hidden 24a Entitle but it seemed the only fit I could find and then looked plausible.
    FOI 5a Boar
    LOI 17a Relieve – not all memories are bad!
    CODs – have to be 1d Dictionary and 12d Allotment.
    Happy Christmas to Kitty! and thanks to Oink for today.

    1. Relieve – not all memories are bad!

      Weirdly, suffering (experiencing) does not have to involve suffering (pain). For “suffer” Collins has “2. (transitive) to undergo or experience (anything)”
      So “suffer again” from the clue can just mean experience again =
      re-live. Oink is off the hook, but I do think he was pushing it

  32. No danger of me making it out of the SCC today. A taxing puzzle for a Monday. Having spent 8 hours assessing potential solicitors on their interviewing skills, my brain was rather addled by the time I got round to this.

    A host of fine but difficult clues. The laurels go to 12dn, although 24ac came close. Like others, took a while to get going and then struggled with the same clues as the rest of you.

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

  33. I was sort of on the right lines- tried to fit lettuce into 12D and disciple in 6D- I suppose it’s progress of some sort! Enjoyed nitwit but feel we’ve had it recently which made it more accessible for me. Thanks Oink for great puzzle and Kitty for illuminating blog.

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