Times Quick Cryptic 2480 by Oink


Solving time: 9 minutes.

I found this quite straightforward but I’ve learned my lesson trying to predict what others will make of it. Oink has some dedicated followers here, of course, so that may help.

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.

1 I reportedly secure an offshore property (6)
Sounds [reportedly] like “I land” (I secure)
5 Property of eastern nation (6)
E (eastern), STATE (nation)
8 Soldier has nothing on head (8)
COMMAND (head), O (nothing)
9 Punishment of some of momma’s boys (4)
Hidden in [some of}  {momm}A’S BO{ys}. Anti-social Behaviour Order.
10 Jack Sprat’s wife didn’t like this film director (4)
David Lean is the director. The hint refers to the nursery rhyme:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.

11 Doctor eating trout’s head, or another fish? (8)
SURGEON (doctor) containing [eating] T{rout’s} [head]
12 Journey out of Odessa far inland (6)
Hidden in [out of] {Odes}SA FAR I{nland}
14 Selected for team, as old lag might be? (6)
IN SIDE (selected for team). An old lag is a habitual convict. ‘Inside’ is slang for being in prison.
16 Resign, depressed by return of bad moods (4,4)
PETS ((bad moods) reversed [return of],  DOWN  (depressed)
18 Novelist making friends in Paris (4)
AMIS (‘friends’ in Paris). Traditionally Kingsley, but Martin is now eligible under Times rules.
20 Elusive beast one’s stalking still (4)
YET (still), I (one). The abominable snowman.
21 Postmen I trained getting preferential treatment (8)
Anagram [trained] of POSTMEN I
23 Seem to be a very quiet listener (6)
A, PP (very quiet – music), EAR (listener)
24 Chap, one that boils over on the radio? (6)
Sounds like [on the radio] “geyser” [one that boils over]
2 Ripped off   shawl (5)
Two meanings
3 A marine out of place in landlocked country (7)
Anagram [out of place] of A MARINE
4 Wife leaving unhappy Spanish gentleman (3)
DO{w}N (unhappy) [wife leaving]
5 Days away from transfer of power, a natural progression (9)
{d}EVOLUTION transfer of power) [days away]
6 Chinese dynasty adopting western accent (5)
TANG (Chinese dynasty) containing [adopting] W (western). Twang!! was also a disastrous West End musical by Lionel Bart based on the story of Robin Hood and intended to be a worthy successor to his hit show Oliver! It closed after 43 performances having played to almost empty houses, and bankrupted the composer in the process.
7 A bit old, unfortunately, as Times now is? (7)
Anagram [unfortunately] of A BIT OLD. The Times became a tabloid newspaper on 1st November 2004 having been a broadsheet for the previous 218 years.,
11 How sniper shot someone like Onassis? (9)
Anagram [shot] of HOW SNIPER
13 An imbecile in Belgian port (7)
AN, TWERP (imbecile)
15 Resolve to go round a US city (7)
SETTLE (resolve) containing [to go round] A
17 One disturbing model’s composure (5)
I (one) contained by [disturbing] POSE (model)
19 I begin proceedings about son’s problem (5)
I + SUE  (begin proceedings) containing [about] S (son)
22 Napoleon was such  a greedy chap (3)
Two meanings, the first with reference to the leading pig in Orwell’s Animal Farm. And at last we have our setter’s signature clue!

68 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2480 by Oink”

  1. 9:01. This was very fast for me; I didn’t know ASBO or the meaning of TWERP as imbecile but in they went. ISSUE and INSIDE were favourites.

  2. I must complain that after the many challenges of last week, this pleasant puzzle provides nothing to get irate about. I didn’t make it anywhere near to the SCC and if I hadn’t been sleepless, Seattle might not have held out as LOI as my mind went somewhat blank on US cities.

  3. Agree with above. This was a quick, fun one for me. Finished whilst watching the first qtr of tonight’s NFL game. (I’m in the US.)

    And re 8a: “Commando” nowadays also means to go about without underwear, hence “nothing on” was a vy clear clue for me.

  4. The dear, departed Martin’s book Lionel Asbo was all that I knew about that clue, and I salute Oink for bringing both AMIS and ASBO together in tribute. Like Jack I found this quite straightforward and agree with Plymouthian that this will surely please those who complain that the QC is becoming too difficult. 7.42 for me.

  5. I didn’t realize, or (more likely) had forgotten, that Martin AMIS was dead; not that it mattered.

  6. What a very pleasant puzzle. Longest hold ups were COMMANDO and GEEZER. Enjoyed APPEAR for its simplicity. All green a fraction under 11.

  7. ‘Always check your spellings boy!’, my fourth-year junior school teacher, Mr Scotney, would bark at me on an almost daily basis. So today I submitted ANTAERP for 13d and ended up with one pinkie. Doh! That’ll learn me! (Although it clearly hasn’t in the intervening 55 years.)
    Nonetheless a very nice puzzle which leapfrogged me spectacularly from the DNF club of last week, past my SCC chums and right up to the FABS, (Feeling a Bit Smug) club today – but for that damned typo.
    Favourite clues? COMMANDO and PIG (being a bit of an Orwell fan).
    Thanks to Oink and Jackkt.

  8. Nothing too testing today but my longest hold ups, like Mendesest, were COMMANDO and LOI GEEZER – even though the latter’s a bit of a chestnut.
    Finished in 6.49.
    Thanks to Jack

  9. Very approachable and all done in just over 8 minutes, for an enjoyable start to the week. L2I and only real hold-up was the Commando/Evolution pair: I could if I was in a less charitable mood query why “dayS away” for losing just one D, but I concede that the surface runs better as it is.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  10. 1420 Construction of the dome of Florence Cathedral is started

    Was held up by EVOLUTION/COMMANDO/STURGEON, although the latter is a chestnut, though can be clued in many ways. I also was finally reminded of “go commando”, and the clue would have worked as “soldier with nothing on below”.

    Biffed ANDORRA for a seven letter land locked country starting and ending with A. How many can there be? More than one, evidently.

    PETS=bad moods? What’s that about?

    The Times has definitely become a TABLOID since the arrival of the new Editor.

    1. I believe the phrase is ‘go commando’, not ‘commando’. It was hot so I went commando/*was (a) commando. So ‘soldier with nothing on below’, aside from suggesting he’s not wearing trousers either, wouldn’t work.

  11. An enjoyable start to the week from Oink, and two passes through the clues left only my LOI.

    TIME 3:45

  12. A very gentle start to the week, making it into my top 20 fastest QCs. COD to STEP DOWN for the surface. Nice one Oink, Thank-you and thanks to jackkt for the blog too. 3:16.

    1. Win-win, Monday-Oink. Penny dropped near LOI GEEZER. No time but must be sub 20. Busy getting ready for Exhibiting this week but will definitely not be going COMMANDO although many attendees may well be.
      Thanks Oink and Jackkt

  13. Even coffee-less, that was much less stressful than watching England beat Argentina or Wales cling on against Fiji. Had to revisit a few in the top half and scratch my head over LOI COMMANDO, but plain enough sailing for 07:12, 1.1K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Oink and Jack.


  14. A gentle and enjoyable start to the week. Could it be that Oink has started the move back to genuine QCs? I do hope so.
    I went through this quickly, certainly well within target. I think I was thrown by the slightly different format for the newly updated ‘Classic’ Times app (slightly ‘tabloid’, I think) and by the fact that the QC was so approachable. I got trigger happy with a typo (ARMENNA) and entered GEYSER for 24a which clashed with Seattle until I re-booted my brain. So, a formal dnf.
    Thanks to Oink and jackkt. John M.

  15. NHO the film director and have long since forgotten Animal Farm, neither of which mattered as they were fairly clued.


    COD 8D for the solider who has nothing on his head or anywhere else and 7D for The Times which is unfortunately getting a bit old now, especially at times in Crosswordland.

    Thanks OINK for an excellent QC and Jack for an informative blog.

    1. David Lean directed numerous famous classic films inc Brief Encounter, Lawrence of Arabia and Dr Zhivago, but I dare say younger people would no know him.

  16. 5:20

    Pretty plain sailing Monday morning fare though missed a few nuggets such as remembering that Napoleon was a PIG in Animal Farm, and biffing ARMENIA assuming A RM was a marine then wondering where the ENIA came from! Reflected glory in that Kingsley AMIS lived much of his early life less than a mile from where I grew up in Norbury, London SW16 (the only other ‘famous’ people to reside in Norbury AFAIK were Will Hay and Deryck Guyler).

    Thanks Oink and Jack

    1. As a child in the 70’s and early 80’s, there always seemed to be a Will Hay film on BBC2 around tea time (along Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy etc).

      Funny how those little moments stay with you.

    2. I often bike down to Norbury to have lunch with the doyen of Liszt pianists, Leslie Howard. He is the only pianist ever to have recorded all Liszt’s piano music, on something like 98 CDs.

  17. I started with PIG and GEEZER and ended with SEATTLE which took several looks- I was trying to fit LA into the answer.
    10 minutes in total.
    COD to YETI.

  18. I was going too fast so put geyser in 24a which meant I got stuck on my LOI, SEATTLE, at 13 mins. Silly mistake on what was otherwise a lovely QC.
    I did not know ‘shipowner’ could be written as one word. Is there a difference between a ship owner and a shipowner I wonder?

    1. I haven’t found ‘ship owner’ in any of the usual sources, nor with a hyphen, only as one word.

      1. Could you, for example, say “Is he the captain of the ship? No, he is the ship owner, the captain is over there.”?
        It is common for associations with ‘keeper’ to be one word; beekeeper bookkeeper, goalkeeper. I can’t think of any other examples with ‘owner’. You wouldn’t say dogowner, houseowner, carowner. Why shipowner I wonder?

        1. I agree it seems curious. One of the dictionary resources I sometimes refer to is called ‘Onelook’ which scours all available online dictionaries for particular words. I just checked ‘ship owner’ and all it came up with was a Wikipedia page ‘ship-owner’ (redirected from ‘ship owner’), and one under Wordnik which when clicked reports ‘Sorry, no definitions found’. Beneath that Onelook lists the results of a Google search on ‘ship owner’ citing a number of examples of its use in literature and elsewhere, so it does exist but evidently not sufficiently to make it to a dictionary.

  19. 7:07 (Arab conquest of Balearic Islands)

    A very gentle start to the week. LOI was GEEZER.

    Thanks Jack and Oink

  20. Back from holiday to one of my favourite setters and finished rapidly, almost certainly out of the SCC. I am a bit annoyed at this blog being in dark mode; at first I thought it was my iPad, but everything else is in light mode.. My only problem was 3d; starting with A RM it had to be ARMENIA, but I couldn’t parse ENIA, until eventually I saww the anagram. Also biffed ISLAND, which, instead of taking the whole clue as a homophone, I interpreted as I+LAMD (= secure), and couldn’t see what the S was doing. FOI STOLE, LOI TABLOID, COD INSIDE. Thanks, Oink and Jackkt. I shall probbaly soon say goodbye, as I also believe The Times content has recently become more tabloidish, and does not merit the forthcoming price rise, though I shall miss many of its better features, particularlythe QC.

    1. Nothing I do in the blog affects the mode of display, light or dark , and it displays light on all my devices. There is a a Light/Dark control switch at the foot of the right hand panel, or on a phone screen it may be at the very foot of the page. You can use this to change the mode if you wish.

      1. Thanks, Jack,
        I’ve now found the switch near bottom left of the screen. I think I must have touched it by mistake. I have never cared for dark mode, and did not realise that dark mode could be selected for individual apps. I now also see I worded my comment clumsily, for which I apologise. My annoyance was with the website, which I assumed had changed as everything else on my iPad was light.

  21. After an hour, must get on with this day though annoyingly still cannot see S-A-T-E or P-R-E. No wonder; R was wrong – it wasn’t deer-stalking, but then “stalking” in the clue seems ignored in the answer. NHO “bad moods” = PETS (anything to do with petulant?), otherwise no excuses – thank you, Jack, for your blog.

  22. Had problems with the STOLE-COMMANDO crossers which took me over 10 minutes. Couldn’t see stole for some time and then, for some reason, I had in my head that 8ac was (4,4). Sleepy Monday morning, I suppose.

  23. 17 mins…

    A nice start to the week. Main hold ups were oddly enough 1ac “Island” and 4dn “Don” – which probably should have been more straightforward.

    Not sure I parsed 8ac “Commando” properly, as I also thought it had something to do with “going Commando” and not having any underwear on.

    FOI – 3dn “Armenia”
    LOI – 24ac “Geezer”
    COD – 10ac “Lean”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. No problems with this easy offering from Oink finishing in a respectable 6.58. Spent the final 30 seconds on GEEZER which was my LOI. It makes a change to start the week with a fast time, after the last few weeks where I have started with a slow time.

  25. Held up by last 2 in, COMMANDO and STOLE, otherwise a gentle stroll. FOI was LEAN. 8:35. Thanks Oink and Jack.

  26. Add me to the chorus of those pleased with this level of difficulty (or ease) — it feels like ages since I’ve been able to complete an entire QC but I managed it today! NHO “old lag” (my brain kept trying to parse it like video game lag although I was pretty sure that wasn’t what it meant here) or “pets” for bad moods but I figured them out with enough of the crossing letters.

    In my Midwestern American accent I definitely do NOT pronounce “geezer” like “geyser” but I’ll trust that y’all do, haha

    (for me geezer rhymes with wheezer/teaser, geyser rhymes with wiser/visor)

  27. DNF.
    Far too hard for me.
    Jackkt, thanks for your comment about how easy it was (for you and probably all of the ‘experts’).
    I have finally decided to take the hint and give up trying to solve these QCs.
    They are just too much.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one! 7/26 today. I just couldn’t make any progress, even though I knew there would be a piggy reference, I just couldn’t see it.

      Someone recently mentioned QC Book 1 as being much easier than current QCs. I agree (but haven’t completed any of the first 10 puzzles there, obvs!). You may care to try Book 1?

    2. I clearly remember wondering whether I’d ever be able to complete a QC when I started tentatively a few years ago, but I became hooked very quickly. Fast forward another few years of daily practice and now I can mostly finish the QC. It’s meant to be fun, but it does take practice (in my case, lots of it). If you enjoy the challenge, keep going, but maybe don’t compare yourself to others, especially those that have been solving a long time. I’d just learn from the blog and enjoy the practice!

  28. Very quick and enjoyable. How encouraging to have such an amenable QC.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  29. Completed with no cat help.

    I answered 16a correctly. I saw that DOWN = DEPRESSED, but I had no idea how PETS = BAD MOODS. However, STEP DOWN appeared to be the logical answer and so in it went.

    11d had me stuck for some time. I kept thinking of how a sniper might shoot. Eventually it dawned on me that “shot” indicated an anagram.

    Perhaps I should not try to complete the QC whilst watching a documentary about Terry Thomas. 😲

    An enjoyable QC.

    1. I didn’t know that the rotter could be seen on TV.
      Perhaps that explains why he hasn’t posted yet. 🙄🤭

  30. PB of 12 minutes was very pleasing. Am very happy with the QC being of variable difficulty.

  31. Quite straightforward, but I still managed to make a pig’s ear (couldn’t resist) of several clues and ended up squeaking a sub-20 with Stole/Commando my last pair. CoD to 5d, Evolution, another one that needed several passes before the eventual pdm. Invariant

    On edit: Today’s 15×15 is also pretty straightforward

  32. Nearly 12 minutes so I didn’t find this as easy as others clearly did. Like JamesEd46 I hit a road block with ISLAND at the very start and had to do an alphabet trawl for STOLE as my last in. Along the way, COMMANDO was my favourite; not the part of the body I was expecting.

    Thanks to Jack and Oink

  33. 15.16 Mostly straightforward but SEATTLE took a while and the last five minutes were spent on GEEZER. Thanks to jackkt and Oink.

  34. 4.48

    Had just watched Simon’s Cracking the Cryptic for last Friday so was obviously feeling inspired as this is a very good time for me

    As always Oink delivers. STEP DOWN was very nice amongst others

    Thanks all

  35. Lots of interruptions so no time, but definitely a Monday morning after heavy weekend solve.
    Struggled with last few Armenia, stole, evolution, and commando.
    COD Commando.

  36. All done in 21 minutes today, which is quick for me. Also, no time to read through everyone’s comments, but I will do so later.
    All fully parsed (I think), except that I had NHO the film director (LEAN) and I don’t know why bad moods = PETS.
    Many thanks to Oink and Jack.

  37. A nice start to the week. Interested to see the comments on this being too hard for some.

  38. All done in 12:11, agree with most of the comments above. My hold-up was not seeing EVOLUTION, but once that went it, the remaining crossers followed.

    Thanks to Oink and Jackkt.

  39. LOI SEATTLE after initially putting GEYSER instead of GEEZER… Major PDMs with ISLAND and INSIDE. Liked ANTWERP and COMMANDO. Biffed TWANG (NHO Tang Dynasty). Thanks Jack and Oink.

  40. I ended up 4 short yet again after many years of trying. Now I know the answers I feel I should have got them. But so what. Never give up. It is just fun. It isn’t a competition or a job. I don’t care that much if I don’t get them all. I just like trying until I get bored. My wife beats me on success and timing every day. I think the puzzles and the blogs are brilliant. Thanks all.

  41. Very near to breaking 10 mins, but held up for 2 mins by GEEZER. NHO PET in this context. Very much a term of affection in my part of the world.

    Should be happy with 11 mins, but a chance to break 10 doesn’t happen too often, so slightly disappointed.

    Thanks for the very informative blog.

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