Times Quick Cryptic 2525 by Oink

Hello all.  I don’t anticipate many complaints that this was too hard, but what do I know?  It went very smoothly for me, both to solve and to write up, that’s all I can say.  Except to add that I liked it – and that’s no porkie!  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.

1a Gamble about son becoming number one (4)
BEST BET (gamble) around (about) S (son)
3a Might he leave you to stew for a bit? (8)
CANNIBAL — Cryptic definition
9a Shoots aristocrat hiding enemy of the revolution (7)
TSARIST — ShooTS ARISTocrat is hiding the solution
10a Important principle whichever way you look at it (5)
TENET — The answer is a palindrome (whichever way you look at it)
11a An honourable man, someone in MI6 perhaps (5)
AGENT A GENT (an honourable man)
12a Chap with a rubbish job (6)
BINMAN — Another cryptic definition
14a Room for compromise? (13)
ACCOMMODATION — Two definitions
17a Put off hosting single German male (6)
DIETER DETER (put off) containing (hosting) I (single)
19a Half of area acquired by London School of Economics is let out (5)
LEASE Half of arEA inside (acquired by) LSE (London School of Economics)
22a Bird nursed by young Rebecca (5)
GREBE — The answer is held in (nursed by) younG REBEcca
23a Story that you might enjoy at lunch time? (4,3)
PORK PIE — Two definitions: a lie, or something edible – and Oink’s regular piggy reference
24a Grand girl I heard — but one lacking in perception? (5,3)
GLASS EYE G (grand) + LASS (girl) + EYE (I heard – homophone).  The perception that is lacking is the sense of sight
25a Much less than a dollar remitted, you say? (4)
CENT CENT sounds like (… you say) SENT (remitted)
1d Treachery of spoilt Yale brat (8)
BETRAYAL — An anagram of (spoilt) YALE BRAT
2d Rattle Arab ruler, might one say? (5)
SHAKE — SHEIKH (Arab ruler) might be pronounced as the answer (might one say?)
4d Book only you could have written? (13)
AUTOBIOGRAPHY — A cryptic definition.  Well, only you could write your own autobiography.  You couldn’t write somebody else’s (except as a ghostwriter), but we have a question mark to cover that kind of thing and I’m not quibbling, just rambling
5d Impossible idea one must forsake (3,2)
NOT ON NOT[i]ON (idea) which I (one) must leave or forsake
6d Belgian criminal, or one from Asia? (7)
BENGALI — An anagram of (… criminal) BELGIAN
7d Initially fine to abandon one instrument for another (4)
LUTE — The one instrument is a [f]LUTE.  The first letter of (initially) Fine is to abandon it to produce another [instrument]
8d Two boys in Casualty (6)
VICTIM — The two boys are VIC and TIM
13d Extraordinary site rent producing a profit (8)
INTEREST — An anagram of (extraordinary) SITE RENT
15d A rich me? Sadly just a dream (7)
CHIMERA A RICH ME anagrammed (sadly)
16d Everyone on river having a certain attraction (6)
ALLURE ALL (everyone) on URE (river)
18d Right to cut Hardy girl’s long hair (5)
TRESS R (right) going inside (to cut) TESS (Hardy girl – of the d’Urbervilles)
20d Liberal MP covered in beer (5)
AMPLE MP surrounded by (covered in) ALE (beer)
21d Eager to see article by George occasionally (4)
AGOG A (article) by GeOrGe occasionally

72 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2525 by Oink”

  1. 10:20. Was getting nowhere with TSARIST then remembered some wise commenter once suggested looking for a hidden in such a situation!

  2. Me too re TSARIST. The word ‘hiding’ in the clue should have been a bit of a giveaway, but no, and the result was a delay of several minutes taking me from 7-something to 10.35. OK that plus the mistyped NENET which wasn’t easy to spot. Otherwise all fairly straightforward, thanks Kitty and Oink.

  3. DNF I didn’t know BINMAN, though I suppose I should have got it anyway. I’m not sure if I noticed the hidden TSARIST or just biffed it.

  4. Wasn’t on Oink’s wave length today – been at Fort Worth (cattle) Stockyards which may explain that. Everything went in pretty well but the NW proved near impossible adding about 7 of the 17 minutes. Tsarist and victim were the final hurdles.

  5. 8:30. We’ve probably had it before but I took a while to see CHIMERA for ‘dream’ and I needed all the crossers for my LOI, the now obvious BINMAN; my only excuse is that “dustman” is more familiar, probably thanks to Lonnie Donegan.

    I liked the surface for BETRAYAL which made me wonder if there was an equivalent to the Burgess / McLean / Philby spy ring in any of the prestigious US universities.

    Thanks to Oink and Kitty

  6. 11 minutes, delayed a little by the hidden TSARIST and the intersecting VICTIM which needed all the checkers to come to mind.

    I always enjoy CANNIBAL clues.

  7. Finished although I put cannibal without being sure about it and only from the letters I had and from a probably wrong way of thinking. I was wondering in fact whether it was a straight cryptic definition (which I would find particularly poor) or if the initial “can” of the solution was related to the “might” of the definition, and the rest constructed like: can he boil? There wasn’t an indication of homophone I know, but I really didn’t like the clue otherwise.

  8. All went swimmingly until submitting revealed I had put SENT instead of cent. (I still find those homonym clues baffling at times, and upon re-reading feel that either answer could’ve been correct. So unless someone disabuses me of that I’m going to count this one as a win to start the week.)
    The DEITER or DIETER dilemma, plus taking a while to see TSARIST, slowed me down significantly and so I edged into the SCC and will likely be sent towards the back of the class again today. But I’m happy with that as I really enjoyed it.
    Thanks to Oink and to Kitty for their efforts.

    1. Curses! On looking back at the clue to check, I found I had put SENT too and hadn’t noticed until you raised the question. It has to be CENT because the homophone indicator ‘you say’ follows on directly from ‘remitted’ (sent).

    2. I’m afraid the clue for CENT is unambiguous, with “you say” firmly attached to “remitted,” not “Much less than a dollar.”

      1. Thank you for your explanations chaps. I stand corrected and will reset this week’s score to 0/1.

  9. 13 min or thereabouts. Oink is always my favourite.

    Today I learned that Sheikh is not pronounced ‘sheek’. I don’t know why I thought that.

    I’ve also never heard of a Grebe but when it doubt it’s always a hidden.

    1. I, and most Murcans, pronounce it ‘sheek’, and so do some Brits. This was an issue a couple of years ago when the late Dorset Jimbo (a ‘sheek’ Brit) protested about a clue requiring a ‘shake’ pronunciation. Until then I had thought it was a clear UK-shake/US-sheek divide.

      1. I feel validated

        Google told me that both Brits and Americans pronounced it Shayk.
        That’s twice it has failed me now.

        The other time was when it told me it was currently ‘less busy than usual’ at Costco on a public holiday and it was so packed I could barely get my trolley down the aisles. My family is scarred and never shopping with me again

    2. You’re supported by no less of an authority than Chad Morgan on this one Tina.

      It’s “The Sheikh of Scrubby Creek”, not Scrubby Crake!

      1. … I am embarrassed I did not know who Chad Morgan is.

        I just looked him up and he looks like an icon. I will refrain from googling any further because often that will reveal how problematic a person is

        1. Ha! The embarrassment is all mine, for remembering him. Even at the height(?) of his powers, a little bit of Chad went a long way. My Dad liked him though.

    3. Confess I am in the Shake camp here. As in that well known denizen of Arabia “Sheikh Rattle-n-roll”

    4. Yes, I remember you always loved Oink’s puzzles most. This confirms to me that you are indeed the same Tina that used to comment!

  10. The bottom went in pretty smoothly but I needed all the checkers for CANNIBAL before wrestling with BETRAYAL which although clearly an anagram was still really hard for me to crack. That gave all the checkers for LO TSARIST – a case of an excellent surface obscuring a clear instruction – bravo Oink. All green in 12.

  11. Great puzzle to start the week, took it gently and completed in 8½ minutes. No real holdups but I waited till the end before entering LOI Accommodation because I always misspell it.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  12. Nothing to scare the horses, as my grandmother used to say.
    Thought it was going to be a real flyer today as both the 1s went straight in, but there were a few teasers along the way that put up some resistance – TSARIST and CANNIBAL spring to mind.
    Finished in 6.04 with LOI CENT.
    Thanks to Kitty

  13. 4:10. Nice one. I enjoyed the cryptic definitions, especially CANNIBAL. I nearly fell for the SENT trap at 25A, but then read the clue properly. LOI INTEREST. Thanks Oink and Kitty.

  14. Reasonably gentle Monday, well constructed as ever by our piggy pal. He does write good clues.

    I had a long struggle with (and internal moan about) LOI VICTIM, which lacked a first letter (Kryptonite) and was made up of two random names (😡). V is a long way through the alphabet as well, which did not improve my mood (😡😡).

    All done in 07:54 for a Goodish Day.

    Many thanks Oink and Kitty.


  15. I enjoyed this and thought it was perfectly fair. Thanks Oink and Kitty! I’m trying to get to grips with more of the main puzzles but I’m a bit hit and miss still. On Friday’s they gave TRURO as a market town – was that a gaff or crossword licence? Can anyone tell me? Thanks anyway!

    1. Well I never paused on Truro. I extracted this from Wiki:
      …. The main attraction to the region is a wide variety of shopping facilities. Truro has various chain stores, speciality shops and markets that reflect its history as a market town. The indoor Pannier Market is open all year with many stalls and small businesses. …
      so I reckon it is a market town. It is also the only city in Cormwall. I suppose all cities are towns, but not all, indeed quite few towns are cities in UK.

      1. Thanks – that makes sense! I do think all in all, though, it’s a bit careless. I did comment on Friday that Truro is a quiz chestnut – the UK’s most southerly and England’s most westerly but I am used to the main crossword being more lax about some things 🙂

  16. 10 minutes for me and all answers entered as I looked at the clues, with none requiring a second visit. That doesn’t mean a classic clean sweep (I.e. completed top to bottom and then left to right in order) as I don’t solve that way. Rather I solve the top few clues and then look at some descendants before looking at the next few acrosses, and repeat. As a result, it took me a while to reach Oink’s trademark clue. My only very slight holdup was initially looking for vicTIM to end with TOM. Thanks Kitty and Oink.

  17. I cry foul! Being clever, I thought of an alternative for CANNIBAL before cannibal, and since it was a CD with no wordplay, I believe my answer is equally valid, and want my pink square rescinded. Who, after all, is the world’s most famous eater of human flesh? Give you some clues. Rhymes with cannibal. Is most definitely a he. Likes your liver with a nice chianti. Fff fff fff.

      1. That one didn’t eat people! The clue as given does not exclude my answer, and since (given the crossers) it was the first answer that came to mind, I had no reason to question it. Indeed, since it’s a specific person, I could insist that it’s a better “he” than the generic one. It’s not wrong, and a perfect illustration of the deficiencies of a CD.

  18. I struggled a bit with this one, but didn’t help myself by putting in SHEIK for 2dn. As a result it took me some time to figure out 9 and 11ac. I was so convinced 2dn was correct it took me longer than it should to amend it. Even then with all the checkers in place TSARIST was difficult to get as I failed for ages to see it was hidden in the clue. My LOI was BINMAN mainly because I couldn’t think of an alternative to DUSTMAN.
    Staggered over the line eventually in 11.37, which surprised me as it seemed longer.

  19. I thought this was enjoyable and relatively easy but put MISTER for male at 14a made up of IST for ‘single German’ hosting MER for ‘put off’. Trying to be too clever.
    Thanks Oink and Kitty.

  20. Interesting how many people missed the hidden TSARIST; so did I, needing several looks and a minute at the end of full concentration. That has to be COD.
    I was finished in 11 minutes.
    A very nice puzzle to start the week.

  21. All correct and fairly quick today. AUTOBIOGRAPHY was scarcely cryptic, so pencilled it in faintly at first.
    LOI the easy AMPLE – was trying to think of a Liberal. Also slow on hiddens TSARIST and GREBE.
    Liked PORK PIE though thought it was normally Porky.
    Also liked AGOG, ALLURE, among others.
    Thanks vm, Kitty, and thank you Oink for a doable QC.
    (surprised about the struggles with BINMAN!)

  22. 5.29

    More excellent porcine fare. Just added a PORK PIE to the shopping list.

    DIETER LOI. What I like about Oink’s puzzles is that they require you to think but not so much that you overly struggle. That’s quite a skill

    Thanks to him/her and Kitty

  23. Finished for once and under an hour. It will be a while before I trouble the speed merchants but I’m happy just to complete it. LOI was lute which came just after cannibal which I thought was very clever and witty.
    Come on Gary A, this one’s not to bad.

    1. Well done, AI Man! Onwards and upwards (or downwards if you’re thinking about your time)!

      1. Thanks for that. I’m just happy getting the answers. It’s not often that I get time to do it in one go, at least not until I can regularly do sub 20 mins and that’s a long way off.

  24. Defeated by TSARIST; I was happy it was the only word that fitted, but couldn’t see the hidden. Doh!

  25. Only 3 on the first pass of the acrosses, one of which was the incorrect ‘sent’ at 25ac. Luckily the downs were more forgiving and I managed to get most of them at the first attempt. Slow to see both hiddens at 9ac and 22ac – excellent clueing by Oink. Finished with one error in 18 minutes.

    FOI – 1ac BEST
    LOI – 9ac TSARIST
    COD – 24ac GLASS EYE. Also liked the surface for AMPLE

    Thanks to Oink and Kitty

  26. 5:53

    Not too many went in on the first pass of acrosses, but picked up on the downs. Last in was TSARIST which required its own thirty seconds of thought until the hidden jumped into view.

    Thanks Oink and Kitty

  27. 11:35 (death of Henry I)

    A breezeblock today. Everything except VICTIM went in in 8 minutes, followed by a very slow alphabet search through short names. I would have been faster starting at the end of the alphabet.

    Thanks Kitty and Oink

  28. 07:29.
    Only hold up was LOI victim.
    Cannibal has bitten me before so that went straight in!
    After 11 years in the ME I’m definitely in the shake camp.
    COD pork pie or victim.

  29. A gentle 17min start to the week, with loi Dieter the only real struggle – saved by the (lack of) parsing from a bifd Mister. That well-known duo, Cannibal and Lute, benefitted from recent appearances hereabouts, but Tsarist was keeping his head well down with all the goings-on.
    For one brief moment I thought Rotter was going to get a personal mention at 12ac, and was ready to spring to our esteemed Bloggers defence, so the eventual Binman was a bit of a let down.
    CoD to the two boys – both mercifully quick to mind today. Invariant

  30. All done in 23 minutes, which is fast for me. But for TSARIST and VICTIM (my last two in), I could have finish well inside the SCC cut-off. Unfortunately, I didn’t see that 9a was a hidden and alphabet-trawling ___TIM/___ToM took quite some time.

    I never parsed NOT ON (and didn’t like the clue) and DNK the meaning of CHIMERA, but enjoyed BINNAN and loved CANNIBAL. N.B. My bins were collected at 06:15 this morning.

    Mrs Random started the week as she means to go on – by nicking the family point from under my nose. She finished all correct in 21 minutes, so at least we can sit together in the SCC.

    Many thanks to Oink and Kitty.

  31. 14 mins…

    A nice start to the week. Luckily the long answers of 4dn “Autobiography” and 14ac “Accomodation” came quickly, and the rest followed.

    Enjoyed 17ac “Dieter”, 23ac “Pork Pie” and 3ac “Cannibal”.

    FOI – 1dn “Betrayal”
    LOI – 24ac “Glass Eye”
    COD – 8dn “Victim”

    Thanks as usual!

  32. Was fortunate to spot TSARIST very quickly. Also knew DIETER, as I used to chat to a tech support guy of that name, for a car rental company whose support department was in France. He sounded more French than German though! FOI was BEST. VICTIM was LOI. 4:51, one of my better efforts! Thanks Oink and Kitty.

  33. Two porkies in two Times puzzles today! Just under 9 minutes with a bit of time spent unparsing mister (assuming s=single) and finding DIETER. Enjoyed CANNIBAL and ACCOMMODATION. For once, as a Scotsman, the homphone (SHAKE) didn’t require me to abandon my rhotic pronunciation…

  34. 13:41 for me making it my fastes5 for a couple of weeks. Enjoyed this a lot.


    thanks to Oink and Kitty

  35. I join those who biffed TSARIST and was eager to read this blog to see where ‘shoots’ and ‘aristocrat’ came into it! A real red face. So foreign names are OK? DIETER – what next? Wolfgang or A- no not that one – Wolfgang or Helmut.

  36. The BINMEN were here at the crack of dawn today so that was no problem. No VICTIMs though but a CHIMERA of one suddenly appeared to me whilst shopping so I was able to get home bung it in and then get my LOI AGENT – why was that so hard?

    Not sure why I wanted to put in PURE PIE but corrected myself in time.

    Thanks Kitty and Oink.

  37. Embarrassed to post yet another DNF. I also made the mistake of the wrong homophone and put in SHEIK. This held up the NW, and I couldn’t see VICTIM before the clock ran out.

    David Cameron? Crikey, who’s next?

  38. I was also held up by Tsarist but managed in around 14 minutes so v pleased. Glad to see that it wasn’t just me staring at it.

  39. Very nearly gave up in a huff, but remembered to look for a hidden, which gave me TSARIST, and then VICTIM. Rest of the puzzle was dealt with in good time.

    I find myself GMT – 6 for a few days, so maybe I should be doing these in the evening here.


  40. 23.30 TSARIST was slow and BINMAN took seven minutes at the end. It’s always the hiddens and the cryptic definitions. A nice puzzle though. Thanks Kitty and Oink.

  41. Finished in 6:56 and I am currently 100 out of 234 on the leaderboard today which probably reflects the largely straight forward offering. Biffed TSARIST and missed the hidden. Solved the two long ones on first pass and hesitated over the unchecked C in CENT. LOI GLASS EYE which I rather liked.

  42. Enjoyed this one, steady solve, we are no speed merchants, only happy to finish. Held up by having to alter 2d, shake, which gave us the clues below.

  43. DNF

    All going fine. A slight struggle with VICTIM and NOT ON. But was defeated by DIETER. Looking for a male I put MISTER.

  44. I really enjoyed this one despite being defeated at the last by TSARIST – only myself to blame, didn’t think to look for the hidden. I think Oink might be my favourite crossword compiler, so thank you to Oink for another lovely puzzle and to Kitty for the blog!

  45. 22 mins.

    Very annoyed. Should easily have avoided SCC but initially put LET GO for 5dn. Corrected once I saw CANNIBAL, but this clue took ages to see and I had already wasted time trying to get 6dn and 12ac.

    Another dismal performance as I had everything else in 8 minutes. No excuse my failure to finish it off. Bad start to the week, when it might have been so much better. Not quite breeze blocked, but one that definitely got away.

    Thanks for the blog.

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