Times Quick Cryptic 2465 by Oink – This little piggy got an ASBO

Hi everyone.  Today brings us another fun puzzle from Oink with some great surfaces.

I didn’t find it too much of a piglet, but more important is how you found it.

There seems to be rather a lot of funny business going on in the clues.  We see a celebrity’s joint in 8a, and the 4d writer’s on heroin (yet the 15d drug dealer is penniless!).  Although the stolen goods in 1a were perhaps returned, what with spies, a mafia boss and a traitor present (16a, 19a & 23a) and wickedness overwhelming LA (17d), it’s no wonder the 5d undercover street cop is ill at ease.  The litter-dropping in the final clue is very mild by comparison.

There is room too for something saucy (11a) and an affair (6d) – and if you need a drop of the (legal) hard stuff after all that, the Dutch settler has some in his shady garden spot in 18d.

Whew!  Thanks Oink!


Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, specified [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.

As an experiment I’ve used the format I’ve just settled on for some of my other blogs.  Let me know what you think, and I will keep, tweak or ditch it accordingly.



1a    Maybe saw stolen goods being returned (4)
LOOT (stolen goods) reversed (being returned)

4a    Stuff that’s important (8)
Two definitions

8a    Celebrity’s joint? It’ll get him high! (8)
STARS (celebrity’s) HIP (joint)

9a    I’m a leader of Muslims (4)
IM A + the first letter of (leader of) Muslims; &lit

10a   Daddy having two personal assistants (4)
PA (personal assistant), and then another PA to make two of them

11a   Putting on underwear, perhapssomething saucy? (8)
A double definition

12a   French article inspiring crew in race (2,4)
LES (French article – a grammatical article) taking in (inspiring) MAN (crew)

14a   No room in Parisian street, they say — sorry! (6)
Sounds like (… they say) RUE FULL (no room in Parisian street)

16a   Spies act recklessly, ignoring real world (8)
An anagram of (… recklessly) SPIES ACT

18a   Henry in cricket club, ready for holiday in Thailand? (4)
H (henry – SI unit of inductance) in BAT (cricket club).  Ready = money

19a   Mafia boss regularly knocking out champion (4)
Regular letters are removed from (regularly knocking out) ChAmPiOn

20a   Trade was moving in direction of China? (8)
TRADE WAS anagrammed (moving)

22a   Some blunder towards a dangerous current (8)
Some blUNDER TOWards

23a   Pole interrupting traitor in angry speech (4)
N (pole) going inside (interrupting) RAT (traitor)



2d    Fury of Republican caught in power failure (7)
R (Republican) caught in OUTAGE (power failure)

3d    Immature creature right in middle of molten rock (5)
R (right) in middle of LAVA (molten rock)

4d    Who cares if writer’s on heroin? (3)
ME (writer)’s on H (heroin)

5d    Undercover street cop ill at ease (3,6)
STREET COP anagrammed (ill at ease)

6d    Further publication about affair (7)
RE (about, concerning) + ISSUE (affair)

7d    Turkish official elected once more (5)
AGA (Turkish official) + IN (elected)

11d   Rebellious daughter insisted on travelling (9)
D (daughter) + INSISTED once anagrammed (on travelling)

13d   Seafood sailor has all by himself (7)
AB (sailor) is next to (has) ALONE (all by himself)

15d   Introduce penniless drug dealer one November (5,2)
[p]USHER (drug dealer) without P (penniless …) + I (one) + N (November)

17d   Killed in wickedness overwhelming Los Angeles (5)
SIN (wickedness) surrounding (overwhelming) LA (Los Angeles)

18d   Dutch settler drinking whiskey in shady garden spot (5)
BOER (Dutch settler) taking in (drinking) W (whiskey)

21d   Sailor turning on wife who drops litter? (3)
The reversal of (… turning) OS (sailor) on W (wife).
We’ve had to wait for it, but here is the customary porcine reference


68 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2465 by Oink – This little piggy got an ASBO”

  1. 9:40. TOP SECRET was the hardest with
    its undercover definition and ill at ease indicating an anagram. AGAIN took more time too as I was looking for a five-letter Turkish official not a three-letter one.

  2. Nice blog, Kitty. No problems here after I stopped scratching my head as to how Tour could be a crew.

  3. Wonderful set of clues, really enjoyed this one. Great blog too helped me with the ones I had a hard time parsing.
    Thanks Kitty and Oink!

  4. 8 minutes but realised afterwards I forgot to go back to fully understand the definition of BAHT.

  5. After a very fast start I ended up getting bogged down for far too long with the junction of MATERIAL and TOP SECRET. (So obvious once you see them!) Overall then a fairly pedestrian 23 minutes to get all green. COD for me was DISSIDENT.
    STARSHIP and SOW raised a smile.
    Thank you to OINK for a good puzzle to start the week, and to Kitty for deciphering it.

  6. 8.17. Enjoyable with no particular problems, held up momentarily by the DISSIDENT/ESCAPIST intersection but mostly it all went straight in and when I finished I was expecting a quicker time. Never mind, thank you Oink and thank you Kitty for the expansive blog but I would like to observe, with the greatest respect, that I found there was just a little too much colour and it interfered somewhat with the smooth reading of the text. I suspect others will feel differently.

  7. Just under 8 1/2 minutes. Like curryowen, I had trouble in identifying the def for TOP SECRET, even though it seems obvious now. Looks like The Times has now given its stamp of approval to MEH, not one of my favourite modern words.

    I did like seeing LE MANS making an appearance and the amusing surface and def for STARSHIP. As a bonus, I now know what an ASBO is.

    Thanks to Oink and to Kitty – your new format is fine by me

  8. 1a went straight in and the rest followed it with barely a pause, finishing with ESCAPIST and DISSIDENT in 4.54.
    A top puzzle where the quality of the clues came to the fore on the post solve read through.
    Thanks to Kitty, I think the format’s great.

  9. Started fast but ended up crawling over the line with 4 errors from 4 pink squares. Two of those because I though it was an AlAbONE rather than an ABALONE, which the parsing should have pointed me to, but ExCAPIST was just a typo and took SLAIN to xLAIN and I managed to type IMAn too. Before all that was revealed I’d tried to stretch ‘asceptic’ where ESCAPIST ended up and struggled with DRESSING, MATERAL and TOP SECRET. A fun 19m though.

  10. 8’18” for a satisfactory solve of a really enjoyable puzzle, helped by (at last!) having ABALONE to hand in my head when solving a clue involving seafood. It’s only taken a decade or so.

    LE MANS one of the last in as ‘les’ as the plural article didn’t jump out and like cockney Paul above I was wrestling with ‘tour’ as crew.

    Great blog Kitty, good spot re the nefarious nature of many clues. It was very colourful but that didn’t detract.

    Thanks Oink for a solid challenge.

    1. My American friend Paul started commenting here when he was working in London, which he still often visits. Not every Londoner is a Cockney, either, y’know.

  11. About 17 mins where the top half went in rather faster than the bottom. 5D and 11D took a while so that impeded, or at least didn’t help, the clues to either side of the central spine. PDM with BAHT after an initial blank stare, and generally a pleasant Monday session.

  12. An enjoyable start to the week from Oink. I took it steadily (no undue haste leading to typos or mental blocks) and almost managed a straight-through solve, just returning to DISSIDENT and ESCAPIST at the end. I finished in 11 mins, all parsed and am perfectly happy with that. I hope that I can maintain my calm approach through the rest of the week.
    Many thanks to Oink who knows how to construct a fun, clever puzzle that is truly a QC. Thanks, too to Kitty and her dazzling blog (although, if pressed, I would side with LindsayO in finding the multi-coloured presentation to be more distracting than helpful). John M.

  13. Off to a flyer, but slowed by TOP SECRET where miscounted the anagrist, so did not get to work on the anagram. But big disaster at RUEFUL, just could not see how to make it work, so had to post a DNF.


    I have to agree with Lindsay and Blighter, the blog is just a bit much, though very clever and helpfully consistent. Did you modify the JavaScript?

    1. Mr K wrote a template (in VBA in Word) some time ago which I use to create all my blogs except EVs. This is a modified use of the code intended for Fifteensquared blogs.

  14. NHO CAPO in that sense, so DNF. Otherwise finished quickly and enjoyed as usual with Oink. FOI TOOL, LOI STARSHIP, COD SOW. Thanks Oink and Kitty.

          1. I’m familiar with that use and another musical one, the guitar clamp. But I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting a Mafia boss.

            However, I accept the clue was fine and my DNF down to a gap in my GK

            1. The Sicilian mafia or Cosa Nostra (‘our thing’ in Italian) is divided into a number of families, each of which controls a specific geographical territory. The head of the family is the capo (or boss). He is assisted by a deputy (or underboss ) and a consigliere (or adviser).

              The ruling body for Cosa Nostra is the Commission or Cupola. As there are too many families for each to have a seat on the Commission, families are grouped into threes. Each grouping of three is called a mandamento and is entitled to a seat on the Commission. The occupant of the seat is called the capo mandamento.

  15. Much to enjoy – thanks Oink and Kitty! Is the word ‘underwear’ relevant or necessary in 11a? Don’t like Meh – never heard it used or seen it written apart from in a cryptic – it was the only word which would fit though.

  16. Very nice puzzle to start the week. Took me 8 minutes but an unusual amount of that was on my LOI Rueful. With the starting R I was convinced I was looking for a three letter word to fit in R—UE, and it was not until I abandoned that fruitless search that the answer came.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog and I approve in general of the greater use of colours our bloggers are experimenting with. Could there perhaps be a little too many different shades here though …

  17. 7:26 (abdication of King Ine of Wessex)

    No problems. LOI was DISSIDENT.

    Thanks Kitty and Oink

  18. Very fast until I was very slow with my LOI RUEFUL. I got the RUE relatively quickly but the FUL required an alphabel trawl. Does anyone actually use the word rueful? My only other hiccup was the spelling of BAHT which was corrected with USHER IN. 8:45

  19. Thank you, Oink, for a nice friendly one to start the week; all done in 40 minutes (better than my usual hour). Liked your litter-dropping SOW, too. FOI TOOL, LOI STARSHIP. NHO ABALONE but it had to be and Mrs M assures me it’s on every Chinese menu.

  20. Very enjoyable puzzle. Great surfaces, lots to make me smile today and penny drop moments.

    I enjoyed seeing MEH, makes a change from all those references to the ancients. We need to broaden our appeal to relate to a wider audience by using new words.

    COD 21D SOW.

    Thanks Kitty for the entertaining blog and Oink for an enjoyable crossword.

    1. I agree. The setters too often rely on obscure outdated words in their answers. They really do need to get “with it”. 🤣

  21. A bit under par for me it seems.

    I couldn’t unpick the anagrist for my LOI ESCAPIST, so I had to write it out.


  22. 14 minutes, so inside target, but not by much. BOWER and BAHT were LTI and took a little time to decipher despite both being familiar to me. Otherwise, a good puzzle from Oink, and blog from Kitty.

    Since you asked for feedback, I’ll add my vote to the ‘slightly too much colour for seamless reading’ side of the argument. I think that this falls into the ‘three colours is enough’ argument that we used to say was a rule for preparing visual aids. Thanks both.

    1. I think I would say two rather than three colours, but bloggers also have other tools such as capitalisation, punctuation and fonts to use. What matters more is that it would be good if all bloggers used the same conventions. Could not the bloggers get together online and decide what is easiest for them?

      1. As an alternate Sunday blogger, I have my own style, and think it’s perfectly fine for anyone to establish theirs. I like Kitty’s alteration of the vertical spacing, something I do too. I also like to keep ones and tens places consistent in the clue numbering. These are things I used to do for the puzzles in The Nation magazine. À chacun(e) son goût !

    2. I agree with three, assuming one of them is black, and as Ozned has pointed out bloggers can also call on bold, italic and underline.

      The standard Java script gives us blue clues with everything else in black plus answers in Bold/Black. I amended mine to put the answers in Bold/ Red because I’d seen it elsewhere and rather liked it.

  23. Aargh, had to look up Mafia to get LOI/NHO CAPO. Was trying to fit in KO for knock out. How dim. Should have been more patient. Otherwise very quick and enjoyable.
    For me, there may have been a little too much colour, but thanks vm, Kitty.

  24. Took a while (just over 10 minutes) to hop around the grid. Finished with the wonderful RUEFUL. Great stuff – crossword and blog. Thanks.

  25. Relatively straightforward today although I made heavy weather of it finishing outside target at 10.15. Held up at the end by MEH and my LOI which was CAPO. I feel this was an opportunity missed for recording a fast time, and that I simply had an off day.

  26. 10 minutes for me; no big problems. LOI was DISSIDENT. COD to BAHT.
    An enjoyable puzzle; well crafted.
    Enjoyed the blog; I think three colours are enough.

  27. A bit slow to get started but speed improved as I progressed.

    However, a DNF, as I missed a clue (19a) when I came here thinking I had completed. As I was working on it earlier I kept wanting to use “Don” in the answer.

    Wasn’t too happy with UNDERCOVER meaning TOP SECRET. Though I can see how the two go together.

    PS: I like the blogger’s colour scheme. Makes it look neat and tidy.

  28. 8.46….

    ….on phone but pink-square for typo AGAON. Think that’s ten for the month including 15×15 grids – grrr. Long hard slog now to get it back down to zero in thirty days time.

    Thanks Oink and Kitty

  29. Started off as a good time, then slowed to a reasonable one and was finally kicked well into the SCC long grass (27:31) by CAPO, which I thought of but wasn’t sure enough of to biff as there were so many other potential words that could mean mafia boss or possibly champion. For some reason I just never thought of regularly sampling the champion bit, I suppose because the every other letter clues usually involve shorter words. Hopefully I’ll be more with it later when I attempt the 15×15. Thanks Oink and Kitty.

  30. Lovely puzzle from Oink which I completed in 16 minutes, all parsed. It seemed faster, though I was held up by MATERIAL and RUEFUL (both perfectly obvious in hindsight). I don’t like MEH as a word but have no problem with compilers adding somewhat more modern expressions in place of the completely outdated language that sometimes features.

    FOI – 1ac TOOL
    LOI – 14ac RUEFUL
    COD – some very fine surfaces in evidence from Oink. I particularly liked 8ac STARSHIP, 14ac RUEFUL and 15dn USHER IN.

    Thanks to Oink and to Kitty (no problem with your colourful blog Kitty)

  31. 7.41 with a typo. Another quick one for me, spoiled this time by REISSSE. This was a lovely puzzle though.

    Thanks to Oink and Kitty. The colour was rather distracting.

  32. 17:45 for me which is up there with my better scores. A slow start but IMAM and PAPA eased me into the puzzle nicely. Misspelt BHAR as BHAT which slowed me down again, but got there in the end.

    Many thanks to Oink for a fun puzzle and to Kitty for the blog.

  33. A bit sluggish this morning, possibly something to do with a dinner party last night and the doom-laden ‘may as well finish off the bottle moment . . .’ Overall, I thought Oink provided a good mix of clues, with loi (and CoD, after the pdm) Rueful nudging me into the SCC. Same problem as Cedric, with a very tempting but wrongly positioned Rue causing chaos. Invariant

  34. An enjoyable puzzle to start the week. LARVA was FOI. A steady plod from top to bottom with USHER IN LOI, also correcting my verion of BAHT. I like the colour scheme, helps identify the elements of the clue and wordplay at a glance. Great debrief of the puzzle too. Thanks Oink and Kitty. 7:42.

  35. I usually like Oink QCs, but I’m afraid this one didn’t pull the right strings for me. I finished all correct in 32 minutes, but was held up at the end by SOW and CAPO. I had forgotten OS for sailor and the word order of the clue for CAPO seemed very cumbersome to me. I’m all for the setters using modern words, but MEH just isn’t a word IMHO. My son says it’s one of those ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ expressions that no one ever uses any more. Also, I think 14a (RUEFUL) would work better with a ? after ‘they say’.

    Mrs Random crossed the line in 29 minutes to secure the family point, but her verdict was succinct and to the point. “Underwhelming!”, she said before going off to do something “more useful with my time”.

    Many thanks to Oink and Kitty.

  36. Loved it – Oink at his best! Such a lot of laugh out loud clues. No time to read everyone’s comments now but will return later 😊
    8:05. FOI Tool LOI Top secret COD Joint (!) winners Starship and Eastward
    Thanks Oink for the fun and Kitty for the top blog

  37. 15 mins…

    Spent a good few minutes on my LOI 19ac “Capo”. I didn’t know the term, but could see it was probably an alternate letter from Champion, however I struggled at first to see the significance of the “knocking out” element until I read the blog.

    Some really good clues from Oink today though, including 18ac “Baht” and the expected piggy reference of 21dn “Sow”.

    FOI – 3dn “Larva”
    LOI – 19ac “Capo”
    COD – 11ac “Dressing”

    Thanks as usual!

  38. Nice start to the week, had to change bath to baht for 18a, no other problems and completed I about 25m.

  39. Fun QC today. 15d LOI on account of misspelling Baht. Though my online dictionary has both spellings.
    Never heard of meh. What does it rhyme with? Is it archaic Gen Z or Yiddish? J

    1. There are reasonable grounds to say it comes from Yiddish. As for rhymes, “feh” is another Yiddish interjection.

  40. 9:13, very pleased with that. 1a went in after just a moment’s thought, and after that it was fairly steady process until my LOI, CAPO. COD to BAHT for the “oh, THAT sort of ready” penny-drop moment.

    I read the blog on my phone in dark mode, so the colours in the blog text passed me by entirely.

    Thanks to Kitty and Oink.

  41. Highly enjoyable to a cryptic newbie. Thank you Oink. Managed it all today although needed Kitty to help me understand AGAIN. I had elected as GAIN rather than IN. And I learnt a Boer was a Dutch Settler. Starship and Sow were brilliant!

  42. DNF

    All going well but defeated by LE MANS (wanted to put LE TOUR) but it didn’t fit and BAHT. gave up at 23 minutes.

  43. Very colorful blog, Kitty! I appreciate the way the clue/answer/explanation sets are kept together with vertical spacing.

  44. Thanks for all your comments – glad everyone is in agreement about the blog format!

    It interferes with the smooth reading of the text, is rather distracting, makes it look neat and tidy and is very helpful to old tired eyes …

    … and Blighter’s “dazzling” made me laugh because that could be interpreted both ways!

    Aesthetically I would agree that black plus one or two colours is nicest. I was going for blue wordplay + red definition combining to give a (blue + red = ) purple answer. This appeals to me as a concept, but of course falls down for cryptic definitions, multiple definitions and &lits anyway.

    I wouldn’t convey any key information solely by colour because some people are colour-blind, plus I’m aware that colours don’t show up in dark mode. This was meant to add a little something extra … but if that something is confusion then that’s not the desired effect.

    Ah well, back to the drawing colouring board.

    1. The biggest issue was lack of idents and too many lines per clue made it really hard work to read. I was too overwhelmed to read through.

      I just compared it to Excurarist’s blog of Friday’s Felix which I really like. The answer/parse on one line indented below the clue. Some of use of colour. Don’t think you’d go far wrong emulating that.

      Always good to experiment though, thanks for your excellent blogging 👍

  45. Very enjoyable thanks and all done in about an hour.
    Initially persuaded myself that a DADA was a personal assistant but fortunately PAPA made more sense.
    Thank you both for a nice start to the week.
    Kitty, I’m neutral about the coloured blog.

    1. 21 mins – MEH!

      Great blog Kitty but I felt there were too many colours.

      If you want to know a bit more about mafia capos, read my reply to Ozned. The Sicilian mafia is one of my interests.

  46. Quite straightforward except Meh. That went in eventually from the parsing but where does it come from?

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