Times Quick Cryptic 2330 by Oink


Solving time: 7 minutes. Today our porcine setter references himself directly! I hesitate to say that this is easy, but most solvers will be familiar with most of the answers and the wordplay seems fair, even generous on  occasion. One problem may be the portcullis grid, but I hope you overcame this and all did well.


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.

7 Posted a little money to LA resident, did you say? (4)
Sounds like [did you say?] “cent” (a little money to LA resident)
8 Crackpot relation from the east (8)
Anagram [crackpot] of RELATION
9 Pulse fast, extremely ill (6)
LENT (fast – the period leading up to Easter), I{i}L [extremely]
10 Australian natives given OK to return, unfortunately (6)
OK reversed [to return],  ALAS (unfortunately)
11 Produced cheese from the east (4)
EDAM (cheese) reversed [from the east]. A chestnut based on the old cracker riddle “What cheese is made backwards?”
12 Mistake by colonel resulting in breakdown (8)
COL (colonel), LAPSE (mistake)
15 Painter unexpectedly catching river turtle (8)
Anagram [unexpectedly] of PAINTER containing [catching] R
17 Jill’s partner? He’s a sailor (4)
A cryptic hint referring to the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill precedes the main definition
18 Sibling has run out? Damn! (6)
B{r}OTHER (sibling) [has run out]
21 Emaciated family in South American city (6)
KIN (family) contained by [in] S (south) + NY (American city – New York)
22 Painting of Manila so contrived! (4,4)
Anagram [contrived] of MANILA SO
23 Cardinal scratching head still (4)
{s}EVEN (cardinal number) [scratching head]
1 Foolishly angered English traitor (8)
Anagram [foolishly] of ANGERED, E (English)
2 Woman acquiring rubbish work of art (6)
SUE (woman) containing [acquiring] TAT (rubbish)
3 Paper that identifies a jester? (8)
I thought we needed to add an apostrophe and a space to read the cryptic hint in the second part of the clue, but then I found this in SOED: foolscap – a fool’s or jester’s cap, usually hung with bells. Also, a dunce’s cap. I was going to quote the paper-size but it’s not standard in all countries.
4 Grunt, having nothing to write with? (4)
0 INK (nothing to write with).  If our setter had been feeling less generous, he might have followed The Guardian style when self-referencing and clued this as “I have nothing to write with”.
5 Some outflank Arabs in city (6)
Hidden in [some] {outfl}ANK ARA{bs}
6 Looking up a little information (4)
A + TAD (a little) reversed [looking up]
13 One calling out from back of court? (8)
One of several officials who preside at tennis courts
14 Supporter of Elizabeth II? (8)
SECOND ER (Elizabeth II)
16 Try again to practise with last two missing (6)
REHEAR{se} (practise) [with last two missing]
17 Judge was taken ill in prison (6)
J (judge), AILED (was taken ill)
19 Instrument set up in video booth (4)
Hidden and reversed [set up in] {vid}EO BO{oth}
20 Raced around island in wet weather (4)
RAN (raced) containing [around] I (island)

56 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2330 by Oink”

  1. 13:10. Really enjoyed OINK and SECONDER. I had the most trouble with ORIENTAL because I thought crackpot was the definition and wondered after seeing O-I-N if somehow “onion— ” could fashion a synonym for crackpot.

  2. 7:49. Yes, the wordplay was “generous” at times, something which I was grateful for in the spelling of SECONDER. The wordplay for the same word in a 15×15 about ten days ago was more misleading as to whether the correct ending was -ER or -OR.

    I remember we wrote on FOOLSCAP when I was at school and not this new-fangled A4. I liked the idea of the sick Judge in prison at 17d and the OINK Easter Egg.

    Thanks to Oink and Jack

  3. Fast out the blocks with nine on the first pass but slowed a bit on the way to a still fast 9m solve. Held up at the end by JAILED where I had to pause to stop myself entering ‘jailer’ thinking ‘Judge’ was the definition, luckily that wouldn’t parse even though I could see both ‘ail’ and ‘jail’ in the clue. Also (like curryowen) was delayed thing ‘crackpot’ was the definition for ORIENTAL. Enjoyed seeing OINK come up, only ever heard a LINESMAN referred to as a ‘line judge’, had a teacher who insisted on referring to FOOLSCAP (thanks Mr Carnegie) and loved SECONDER. Nice to start the week all green.

  4. 5.43

    Always like an Oink and this was no exception.

    Don’t see the setter as solve on my phone so having discarded OPEN there was certainly a little smile when the answer hove into view.

    Thought LENTIL was a very good clue.

    Thanks Jackkt and Oink

  5. Gentle going today with just FOOLSCAP and LOI LINESMAN putting up any resistance.
    Particularly enjoyed SECONDER and crossed the line in 6.07
    Thanks to Jack and Oink

  6. That was bizarrely quick. Having woken at 5:30am on Sunday, gone to the pub quiz in the evening with four pints, watched the Super Bowl and finally got to bed at 3:50am, I was wide awake at 7:30am this morning. Cognitive brain seemed to be turned off – just chuck things in but struggle to parse them.

    First look at today’s portcullis grid offered not a lot as while I immediately thought SENT but couldn’t parse it. I flicked across the downs, thought of Open (for OINK) until KOALAS appeared but again couldn’t parse the -ALAS bit as I was trying to look at it backwards. Finally got one with ANKARA then worked my way round the grid.

    Was tentative about LINESMAN, as I’m sure they’re line judges these days. Feared what I’d do with Elizabeth II. All four anagrams (ORIENTAL, TERRAPIN, MONALISA, RENEGADE) resolved straight away. Knew EVEN’s reference to “cardinal” wanted a number from a clue last week (three) but thought it was strange we’d lost two letters of 11 🤦‍♂️

    Finished off with a 30-45 second careful think for REHEAR, to be all done in 13.46 – 3rd fastest of the year, 5th of all-time. Pleased with that 😊

  7. 15 held up by bunging in EDAM then scratching head at statue having typo in renegade…doh! Surprised by self reference as never know who setter is (I’m sure this has been answered before but…why can’t times online puzzle section state setter?)

    Thanks Jack and Oink

  8. Neat puzzle, on the easier side, or a “proper” QC.

    LOI DATA – looking at ?A?A is not fun for me, but luckily the right word popped to mind. Exact same experience with ORIENTAL as curryowen above.

    Very much liked LENTIL and SECONDER.


  9. Lots of rapid times today – a regulation 08:22 for me. I do struggle with these portcullis grids! Main delay over my last two, the BOTHER/REHEAR intersection. I kept trying to work RO for “run out” into “sis” or “bro” … real forehead slap when it came!

    COD to OINK (natch); a whisker under 2K means this has to go down as a Not Great Day. Many thanks Oink and Jack.


  10. 19 mins…

    Frustrating, as I had everything apart from 6dn and 14dn in 10 mins, and then just couldn’t see the final two.

    Couldn’t get bra out of my head for the latter and then had to resort to an alphabet trawl for 6dn.

    Other than that, a really nice QC with some clever, straightforward clues. Loved the arrogance of 4dn.

    FOI – 1dn “Renegade”
    LOI – 6dn “Data”
    COD – 4dn “Oink”

    Thanks as usual!

  11. Well, let me be the first to own up to not finding this so easy. It took every second of my 15 minute target to see the congratulatory message, although I’m not sure exactly why I was so slow. I took a few seconds to ponder which of CENT or SENT I needed for my FOI, and was just a little slow and dim-witted throughout. I thought JACK was far too easy, and ORIENTAL was LOI. No complaints though, and a smile when I saw the self-reference. Thanks both.

    On edit – I went off to do the 15 x 15 and completed it in only 7 minutes more than this one – it’s worth a look.

  12. I thought this was pretty tough. I needed 14 minutes of full concentration.
    LOI was OINK ,where I was wondering how HACK could work. It needed POI ORIENTAL to put me right. I too thought the definition was Crackpot at first.
    Lots of good clever clues: awards to OINK, SECONDER and SKINNY.

  13. You never know at what level Oink has set his puzzle until you get it into it, and I think that’s a bonus. This one was very much at the gentle end of his offerings, but had much to enjoy. Rather like a chocolate eclair – delicious but short in duration.

    TIME 3:16

  14. I was on for a pretty quick time for me of about 6 minutes until I got to the 8ac and 6dn crossers. For some reason I failed to pick up that crackpot was an anagram indicator, and spent too long trying to think of an eight letter nutter! Over a minute and a half later I finally twigged it and crossed the line in 7.31

  15. A steady start to the week. FOI SENT, LOI EVEN. 17:03. Despite expecting a porcine reference it took ages to get OINK! COD LENTIL for the surface. Thanks Oink and Jack.

  16. Thought this was quite straightforward but made a hash of 16d: own fault as my answer didn’t parse and meant to check it again before pressings submit.
    So a dnf but a very good puzzle pitched nicely at the QC level.
    COD: lentil
    Thanks Oink and Jack.

  17. Unusually tough for an Oink. Plenty to like but I found it very chewy – by far the toughest Oink to date IMO.
    Lots of distractions and interruptions (nice ones – granddaughter is with us) so perhaps it is just me but I went into the SCC and felt a bit thick having read all the posts above.
    Thanks to both. John M,

  18. Enjoyable puzzle. Thanks all, esp Jack. Liked SECONDER, LENTIL, FOOLSCAP. Failed to parse SKINNY properly. Had to start at the bottom and work up. COD OINK😀

  19. Despite the unfriendly grid I made quck work of this. I smiled at OINK and noted there were lovely surfaces aplenty, so much so, that I can’t pick a favourite. FOI SENT and LOI REHEAR. 6:25 for an excellent start to the week.

  20. Didn’t like the first thing I saw (the grid!), but thereafter it was an enjoyable puzzle, on the easy side. FOI SENT, COD LENTIL, LOI SECONDER, having been temporarily deceived by the North American city, but might have missed it altogether but for it’s recent featuring in a Sarurday puzzle. Many thanks Oink and Jack.

  21. Rattled out the across answers until Skinny (lift and separate), and was fairly quick with the downs, but the SE corner was poorly populated. Linesman went in with some misgivings (what happened to line judge ?), and that gave me CoD Skinny, with Seconder and Even following without too much delay for a 17mins finish. It seemed quicker, but no complaints. Invariant

    1. Couldn’t parse skinny so thank you for ‘lift and separate.’
      I’ll remember that for future puzzles.

        1. I remember that “Lift and Separate” was one of the very first tools of the trade that I was introduced to when I started doing the QC and reading this blog. Seldom has there been such a lovely example of it though – so much for all those cities in South America that I was limbering up to run through!

  22. I never really look at the grid, just launch myself in and hope for the best! So the fact that it was a portcullis didn’t affect me at all. However, the breezeblock (yes, one of those again) at 13d prevented me from getting one of my fastest times ever. I was on for a five minute solve when the LINESMAN would not show himself – I realised it was tennis rather than a lawcourt, but went blank – so ended up finishing in 8 minutes.
    Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this – Oink at his most amusing. Hard to choose a COD – OINK and DATA both got ticks, but in the end one stood out.
    FOI Lentil LOI Linesman COD Seconder
    Many thanks Oink for a fun start to the week, and to Jack for the usual clear blog

    Interesting comment about not submitting when you’re not 100% sure of the answer. I can see that the occasional wrong answer would affect your placing in the club table but I would have thought that only posting your correct solutions does not reflect your real every day experience of solving – or am I missing something?

  23. 12:08. Pope Innocent III places England under an interdict:marriages, burials, or baptisms cannot be performed.

    Held up by the ORIENTAL/FOOLSCAP pair. Foolscap was clever, COD, LOI and PDM. In the US, they call this paper “legal”, as opposed to “letter”, and refuse to go on the system everyone else uses. A4 (and its derivatives) use the square root of two in their definition, which is highly pleasing.

    The South American City suckered me into LIMA and RIO, before I remember to “Lift and Separate”.

    Surely the only time both blogger (Jack) and setter (Oink) have both appeared in the same puzzle.

    1. 12.08 – Indeed, and the only other time (other than the recent lockdown, that is) that all the churches in the country were formally closed by order of the authorities

  24. Unaccountably slow today, finishing in 19 minutes. However this is still a better time than I have managed for the last couple of Oink puzzles, where I have really struggled. My solve was spread over more than 90 minutes due to several interruptions and, although I stopped the clock I was invariably slow to pick up the thread again. My time was not helped by filling in the answer to 6dn in 4dn by mistake – luckily I saw this reasonably quickly. Didn’t manage to parse EVEN as I always manage to forget the numerical meaning of cardinal. All in all though a good puzzle with some lovely surfaces.

    FOI – 11ac MADE
    LOI – 5dn ANKARA (very slow in seeing the hidden)
    COD – 14dn SECONDER, closely followed by 3dn FOOLSCAP

    Thanks to Oink and Jack

  25. Many linesmen are actually women but even they are now being replaced by ‘Hawkeye’ technology in the larger tournaments.

  26. A very enjoyable puzzle which took me just over 7 minutes. Most of my would-be comments have already been said, though I wonder if Seconder has been seen before; it is a very clever clue and could have featured in any puzzle in the last 70 years! Were it not for Oink it might have got my CoD.

    I agree that Linesman is now a slightly outdated term, but these crosswords have had many older ones, ranging from archaic to obsolete, so no complaints from me.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog.

  27. 8.23, quickest for a while. I spent ages yesterday solving SECONDER in the 15×15 from last Saturday week, so that was a huge help. Nice puzzle.

  28. LOI was LINESMAN- I have to confess I don’t really get the clue. While obviously you can interpret it as meaning a court of law, it doesn’t really seem cryptic to me.

    1. You make a very good point. It’s barely cryptic, if at all. As blogger I should have called that one out!

      1. I took it as a reference to the person calling out a foot-fault, to fit the ‘back of court’ reference, but in any case as you say barely cryptic.

        1. Is there a rule saying EVERY clue must be cryptic? If I were a setter, I’d like the chance to bowl the occasional googly to catch out the sleepers. But as a mere mortal I shall probably be caught napping next time!

  29. No real problems with this one: all green in 10:53, well inside my target 15:00. LOI and COD SECONDER, which I don’t remember seeing before.
    Thanks to Jack and Oink.

  30. 22 minutes, which is definitely fast for me – especially as I’m visiting my parents and having to sort out all sorts of medical, financial and general chaos.

    I started slowly and feared the worst, but things started to fall into place as the time wore on. In the end only EVEN went unparsed. This is particularly embarrassing, as we had a reference to a cardinal number only last week and I have a maths degree.

    Many thanks to Oink (great self-reference) and Jack.

  31. Gentle puzzle. Held up briefly by parsing Skinny, otherwise straightforward. Loved Oink – definitely top of the clue charts. Good start to the week.

  32. 9:23

    A very rare sub-10 (my target is 20 minutes) so this goes down as very easy. Only hesitation was LOI REHEAR.

  33. I seem to have found this one harder than most people today, and was stuck for a long time staring at 14d before finally spotting it to finish in 26:06

  34. My usual Monday brain fog descended when I looked at 7 and 8ac, but saw 9ac straight away (for once remembering what fast usually means in QC land!). Didn’t find it too taxing thereafter and finished well inside the SCC cut off.


    Great blog as always, thanks Jackkt

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