Times Quick Cryptic 2341 by Oink

More than enough to keep the grey matter ticking over with this enjoyable offering from Oink. Finished in a bit over 12 minutes, which wasn’t bad for me after some slower times recently.

We have our trademark porcine clue and at a stretch – quite a stretch admittedly – there are two more pig related references.  I’ve mentioned one of these – see if you can identify the third one, which is at least a part of the name. Who knows, there may even be more truffles to root out for someone with a good snout for such things.

Definitions underlined in bold

1 Talk — or the opposite? (8)
CONVERSE – Double definition
5 Seafood reduced by a shilling, now £1 (4)
QUIDSQUID (‘Seafood’) without letter S (‘reduced by a shilling’)
8 Doctor pretty as a picture? (8)
TAPESTRY – Anagram (‘Doctor’) of PRETTY AS

The question mark perhaps to indicate a TAPESTRY may show a picture but does not have to.

9 Food shop I managed in recession (4)
DELII LED (‘I managed) all reversed (‘in recession’)
11 Book ultimately ending too soon (5)
ATLASAT LAST (‘ultimately’) with last letter T deleted (‘ending too soon’)
12 Republican arrested in bar? That’s only part of the story (7)
EXCERPTR (‘Republican’) contained in (‘arrested in’) EXCEPT (‘bar?’)

Good misleading surface here. Took me a while to think of the prepositional sense of ‘bar’. Maybe we’ll read what the full story is in the Washington Post soon.

13 Wonderful person from Belgrade accommodating university professor at first (6)
SUPERBSERB (‘person from Belgrade’) containing (‘accommodating’) U (‘university’) and P (‘professor at first’=first letter of ‘professor’)
15 Longed to bamboozle the CID (6)
ITCHED – Anagram (‘to bamboozle’) of THE CID
18 Expertise of newspapers covering town centre (7)
PROWESSPRESS (‘newspapers’) containing (‘covering’) OW (‘town centre’=central two letters of ‘town’)
19 Praise previous dictator’s tax (5)
EXTOLEX (‘previous’) TOL (‘dictator’s tax’=homophone of TOLL)
21 Office frailties occasionally overlooked (4)
RITE – Every second letter (‘occasionally overlooked’) of fRaIlTiEs

‘Office’ as in a social or religious observance.

22 Horribly noisy gym showing antipathy to women (8)
MISOGYNY – Anagram (‘horribly’) of NOISY GYM
23 Story of young adult joining navy (4)
YARNY (‘young’) A (‘adult’) RN (‘navy’=abbreviation for Royal Navy)

I’m not sure I’ve come across Y for ‘young’ before but think of Y as in “YMCA”.

24 Literate, but very definitely a communist, we hear (4,4)
WELL READWELL (‘very definitely’) READ (‘a communist, we hear’=homophone of RED)
1 Ignore girl making a weapon (7)
CUTLASSCUT (‘Ignore’) LASS (‘girl’)
2 Friend from the north-east, or country far away? (5)
NEPAL – A ‘Friend from the north-east’ would be a NE PAL
3 Straightforward way to achieve financial security(4,6)
EASY STREETEASY (‘Straightforward’) STREET (‘way’)

I’ve opted for this parsing rather than considering the whole clue as the def.

4 Cry of one being grabbed by an ogre (6)
SHRIEKI (‘one’) contained in (‘being grabbed by’) SHREK (‘ogre’)

Yes, pretty tenuous, but an indirect porcine reference with the Three Little Pigs appearing in the films.

6 Find a hunter going astray (7)
UNEARTH – Anagram (‘going astray’) of A HUNTER
7 Some Swede is taunting a believer (5)
DEIST – Hidden in (‘Some’) SweDE IS Taunting
10 Mess about, as one might in Shakespeare play? (3,3,4)
ACT THE FOOL – Double definition, the second more cryptic
14 Harry perhaps inspiring Liberal conspirator (7)
PLOTTERPOTTER (‘Harry perhaps’) containing (‘inspiring’) L (‘Liberal’)
16 Late European throttled by deadly criminal (7)
DELAYEDE (‘European’) contained in (‘throttled by’) anagram of (‘criminal’) DEADLY
17 A high point of church giving you hope (6)
ASPIREA (‘A’) SPIRE (‘high point of church’)
18 Lie originating in Antwerp or Kyoto (5)
PORKY – Hidden in (‘originating in’) AntwerP OR KYoto

Today’s porcine reference. Cockney rhyming slang – porky pie.

20 Fragrant plant, a healer they say? (5)
THYME – Homophone (‘they say?’) of TIME

As in “Time heals all wounds”.

Not being a dab hand in the kitchen, I know THYME better from “Scarborough Fair” and more recently that gritty, hard-nosed TV gardening crime series “Rosemary & Thyme”.

56 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2341 by Oink”

  1. ACT THE FOOL took me a while. The C of EXCERPT (nice clue) settled things. Collins has YA as an abbreviation for ‘young adult’. 6:19.

  2. Well I had a nightmare with this one and gave up at 15 minutes with the intersecting pair 1ac and 4dn still unsolved. Putting it down and returning later didn’t help so I resorted to aids to come up with SHRIEK, and the extra checker this provided enabled me to think of CONVERSE as my LOI. Since I know nothing of SHREK, my only hope of solving 4dn would have been to biff SHRIEK, but without the first letter in place I was unable to bring it to mind as a synonym for ‘yell’. On reflection it should have been an obvious one.

  3. The bottom was done with huge gaps in the top with the NW completely empty. Then finally got CUTLASS and things moved pretty quickly and pleasurably from there. SHRIEK and NEPAL in particular and I couldn’t understand what had taken me so long with TAPESTRY and EASY STREET. A cracker. All green in 15.

  4. 11:51. 1151 death of Geoffrey V, first of the Plantagenets

    Solved East to West after struggling with 1a (CONVERSE) which ended up being left to the end along with LOI, and COD SHRIEK.

    Liked THYME as the healer, nice misdirection, one of the only herbs I can confidently identify in the garden and in food. Also was wracking my brain for a Shakespeare play that fitted the enumeration of 3,3,4.

    Not really sure about EASY STREET for financial security, I always thought it means something like the “home stretch”, which I tried to squeeze in. But OED says comfortable circumstances, affluence. Esp. preceded by ‘on’. colloquial (originally U.S.).

  5. A very nice puzzle, all done in 9 minutes though I needed BR’s blog to understand the parsing of Excerpt, my LOI and only got once all checkers in place.

    I don’t see the possible third porcine reference and if it is even more tenuous than the second (ie Shriek) I am never going to!

    Many thanks to BR for the blog

  6. 7’20” for one of my faster solves and very happy with it too.

    I really liked the ‘dictator’ part of the homophone for EXTOL. I’m not sure I’ve seen that before and my PDM was very late – post solve and post blog read, as I was looking for the identification of a little-known SE Asian dictator of old called Tol …

    I like the 80’s style yoof talk of WELL RE(A)D too, that brings back early teenage memories.

    A great mix of clues and all with terrific surfaces.

    Thanks OINK and BR

    Ps I’m with Cedric and if you’re stretching to Shrek and the pigs for porcine references then you may as well take the ‘cut’ of CUTLASS and the ‘ear’ of UNEARTH as others!

  7. Big fat DNF for me, blew out on CONVERSE. Stared at checkers for an age, did some trawling, got cross, gave up. 07:44 for the rest, classic breezeblock. Grrr.

    Lots of good clues – I liked SHRIEK and EXCERPT in particular. Many thanks Oink and Bletchers.


    1. Breezeblock is one of the great new additions to our communal vocabulary. Hat tip to whoever introduced it; I have needed it more than once!

  8. I found this heavy going, particularly in the NW. Couldn’t get dismiss out of my mind for 1d, even though it was clearly wrong, until I finally unravelled CONVERSE. Other delays included SHRIEK, EXCERPT and LOI ACT THE FOOL.
    Crossed the line in a sluggish 13.20 with COD to WELL READ.
    Thanks to BR and Oink for the workout

  9. Seeing that others struggled makes me feel not so bad about my DNF. All done quickly except NW corner, where four were missing. I thought of ATLAS, but both wordplay and definition seemed a bit tenuous. Given more time I might have got CONVERSE, a good clue, but with C and N I couldn’t get my mind away from CONTRARY. NHO SHREK except that it caught me out once before. Thanks OINK and BR, but I was not on form. Had I chosen toput in ATLAS, who knows!

  10. A harder-than-usual offering from Oink, I think. Nevertheless my jumps around the grid produced results and I finished a little under target but without an accurate time because of a knock on the door as I was entering my last answer.
    Now to go through BR’s blog to enjoy some of the clues I rushed.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  11. Scraped in under 35-mins. Got stuck in three separate areas.

    The NW which turned out to be full of chestnuts I have gathered from the past three years in CUTLASS, ATLAS, EASY-STREET, NEPAL but also held up with trying to anagram “a picture” for an old medicine man known as a tapicure.

    The SW with PLOTTER / RITE. Wasn’t sure about the latter as don’t think of office=rite and “overlooked” added confusion to an otherwise easy clue.

    Finally left with EXCERPT / ACT-THE-FOOL … the latter of which I could see the-fool (in the mirror?) but couldn’t think of ACT. Big takeaway from this and CONVERSE is there was enough in the clue to get me there. Couldn’t think what to do for a bar with EXCERPT. At one stage wonder whether 4D was actually spelled SHReiK to give me some variation involving INGOT.

    Felt like I was going to have give up but struggled through to follow up January’s 15-7 record with a similar 14-6 after starting Feb off with 3 consecutive DNFs. So currently batting about 70% overall. Times on the other hand have gone up

  12. 9:57 today, with 3d LOI because I’m too much of a snob to accept that a large, green movie ogre has a place in a Times crossword 😉 I also took longer than I should have over CONVERSE which I’m not happy about because it comes up a lot in cw’s, and EXCERPT was a bit toothy as well.

  13. I was ok with this one crossing the line in 8.45 with my LOI 23ac YARN. Nothing held me up to any great extent, although my initial thought was CHINA for 2dn wondering if the synonym for friend originated in the north east. There was also a slight hesitation at 14dn where the words ginger and whinger came to mind for some reason!

  14. Lingered over 1ac/d, but eventually saw them and so had a good foothold in the NW. Progress thereafter was far from steady, with lots of gaps down the RHS. The Thyme/Extol pairing took ages, but my last two, Shriek (really ?) and Excerpt, were even slower to come to mind, nudging me into the SCC. Quite tricky for Oink, so happy enough to finish. CoD to Thyme for the pdm. Invariant

  15. This felt harder than yesterday but I still managed to finish in the same time -8 minutes.
    LOI was ATLAS. Before that EXCERPT went in without full understanding.
    Some good clues. COD to QUID.

  16. 13.06. A slow start, with most of the across clues resisting on first pass.

    Last three in were CONVERSE, SHRIEK and EXCERPT. I needed to carefully parse the last one to be sure of the spelling .

    I also thought of CHINA for 2d, before thinking “no, that must be originally cockney rhyming slang “. I also tried to think whether marra/marrer/marrow (not sure of the spelling, but know it from songs like the Collier’s Rant) made a country, but no.

  17. Anyone else try BACKCHAT for 1A? I thought not. LOI QUID, forgetting “Where there’s a U, think Q”. A little trickier than the usual OINK, but the same good fun. I liked the horribly noisy gym, but COD to DELAYED for the surface. Thank-you Oink and BR. 5:19.

  18. Plodding along nicely until stumped by EXCERPT and CONVERSE. I could not for the life of me think of a word that would fit in either, even with all the checkers. Mrs Prof got EXCERPT straight away of course but even she failed on 1a leaving a double DNF today. Nice puzzle by Oink.

    Please could somebody explain why, in 14a, ‘inspiring’ can mean that a letter must be inserted?

    1. I think it’s inspire in the sense of breathing (syn taking) in?

      I had DNF today with 6 left mainly in the NW corner act my cut off.

  19. Looks like I was running hot today, ducking under Johinterred, which is rare.

    SHRIEK, EXCERPT and then ACT THE FOOL were my last three. EXCERPT my favourite today.


  20. A DNF for me after giving up with one clue unsolved. Not sure how to feel about this one. I have seen more friendly QCs from Oink. Wasn’t really a fan of this one.

    DNF (1 unanswered)


  21. Was doing fine until my poor spelling for misogyny made thyme harder to see, also struggled on shriek.
    LOI excerpt
    COD plotter

    15×15 is ok today, I finish about 25% and did today.

  22. Completed the bottom half quite quickly, finding the Oinkism. Took me far too long to get SQUID and ATLAS. Thought I might be looking for a Dr so TAPESTRY my LOI. I still haven’t remembered all of the anagram markers. WELLREAD FOI.


  23. 17 mins…

    Good fare from Oink I thought – and slightly on the easier side compared to some recent offerings. Liked 3dn “Easy Street”, 20dn “Thyme” and another Harry Potter reference for 14dn.

    FOI – 1dn “Cutlass”
    LOI – 11ac “Atlas”
    COD – 4dn “Shriek”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. An enjoyable puzzle from Oink, and nearly a rare SCC-escape by me. I finished in 21 minutes, but if ATLAS hadn’t held me up for 3-4 minutes towards the end …

    I DNK ‘office’ = RITE, but PORKY (a great clue!) and PLOTTER meant it just had to be. Elsewhere, I had forgotten the phraae EASY STREET and ITCHED seemed a surprisingly awkward anagram.

    Many thanks to Oink and BR.

  25. Undone by looking up slang word for ‘friend from north-east’ and being satisfied that ‘Marra’ are also a people from a country far away… this made CONVERSE, ATLAS and TAPESTRY impossible. A big DNF – that’ll teach me! Found this tricky today. Liked QUID. Many thanks for much-needed blog and to Oink for a challenge.

  26. No problems here, although I did need to correct “misoginy” before entering my LOI.

    TIME 4:12

  27. 12:37. Helped by having seen EXCERPT at least once before and this time it went in quickly. Also my old friend NEPAL- I brag that I have never had any trouble with that simple fellow. RITE and WELL READ caused me most time lost. I couldn’t really see the WELL but entered it anyway. Also TAPESTRY was not coming to mind as a picture. I give up- what is third piggy allusion?

  28. Hurrah! No pink square from a careless typo today, so all green in 19:01. I was held up for three minutes by the last two – THYME and ASPIRE. Of course, had I not misspelt MISOGYNY, both of those would have been write-ins. FOI CUTLASS closely followed by CONVERSE. Flowed fairly smoothly top to bottom after that and enjoyed some of the excellent surfaces, particularly DELAYED, my COD. Thanks, Oink and BR.

  29. I suffered in the NE along with a lot of others. Converse and easy street were the crossers that made me cross! Took a little time out and came back to finish in 15 mins. Liked porky and thyme.

  30. The third piggy allusion is both tenuous and a bit of a stretch, all in one. Still, any excuse will do.

    Have a look at the two answers in the fifth last row from the bottom, the one containing 18a and 19a, and note the end of the first answer and the beginning of the second answer.

    Then, have a look at this.

  31. 10:15, with a couple of them spent on my LOI, which I just couldn’t see. And yet it is such a regular visitor. Oh well.
    A really entertaining puzzle from Oink – as usual there are ticks and smiles everywhere. Highlights include QUID (my POI which also took its time), EXCERPT, SHRIEK and THYME. No problem with the green ogre – if we can have ET regularly, why not Shrek? He was a character in a series of books before the films after all, or can we only feature characters from Dickens and Shakespeare?
    The surface at 22a seemed particularly apposite bearing in mind a story in the main paper today 😟
    FOI Deli LOI Atlas COD Porky
    Thanks Oink and BR, especially for the link to the friendly pigs 😊 I must admit, when I followed your instructions, I missed the WES part initially. I did wonder what I was going to see 🤣

    1. Yes and no on Shrek. Heaven forbid that we just stick with Shakespeare and (especially) Dickens, but surely we need to have a threshold that entails a bit more than just popularity ?

      1. That’s an interesting point. I was being a bit facetious with the Shakespeare / Dickens comment, but actually I don’t mind if a clue relates to popular culture – I’d say it’s as valid as anything else! In fact, I reckon the Shrek films were very good quality entertainment, as well as being very popular 😊

  32. I was held up at the end by the crossing pair EXCERPT and SHRIEK, both of which I ought to have seen sooner! 11:57. Thanks Oink and BR.

  33. A dnf as just could not solve Excerpt despite having all the crossers.
    Apart from that an enjoyable puzzle with COD to Tapestry for making me spend ages working through Doctor abbreviations before realising it was the anagrind.

  34. Took me ages, but, in my defence, I attempted it whilst attending compulsory EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) training at work. Still, at least my time wasn’t wasted.

    Chapeau to Mr R for almost avoiding the SCC in what was a very tricky QC from our porcine pal.

    1. That’s very kind of you.
      Btw: I do wear a chapeau – Australian outback style (although no corks).

  35. 16.57, a third of it spent on SHRIEK and EXCERPT. On the first pass I had nothing in the NW, but the whole of the south went straight in. An enjoyable challenge.

  36. I might spend my days in the SCC but I enjoyed this, thanks Oink. And I now have a better understanding of (on) EASY STREET (my LOI only achieved with all the crossers). I’d always assumed it was something about have borrowed too much or similar.

  37. I’m surprised no one has suggested MISOGYNY as a porcine reference.
    If you’re guilty of misogyny aren’t you a Sexist Pig?

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