Times Quick Cryptic No 1089 by Oink

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
It is my delightful privilege to get to write the blog for, I think, the first QC from a new compiler, Oink. I’d like to say it’s a pig of a crossword, but it isn’t. Beautifully crafted, it is a terrific puzzle full of immaculate surfaces and witty misdirections – not least the very first clue. It took me a couple of minutes over my average time and some of the clues may cause some head-scratching among less-experienced solvers, but you can always come here to find the answer and learn. Lots of candidates for clue of the day, but I’m going to choose HOUSE HUSBAND. Welcome to the elite team of QC setters, Oink! I hope you all enjoyed this too. How did you all get on?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Are you, texting, grabbed by good-looking date? (5)
FRUIT – What a great clue to start with! Put your text speak R (Are) and U (you) inside FIT (good-looking), to get the type of date you might get from a palm tree.
4 At a loss, needing inspiration in bed (7)
BEMUSED – MUSE (inspiration) inside BED. If you are puzzled, go sleep on it!
8 Socialist holding flag withdrew (7)
RETIRED – A neat misdrection. “Flag” here is the verb not the noun, TIRE, inside RED (Socialist).
9 Danger left one representative receding (5)
PERIL – L (left) + I (one) + REP, all go backwards [receding].
10 Man staying at home with us: he had bonus slashed (5-7)
HOUSE-HUSBAND – (us he had bonus)* [slashed]. But shouldn’t he be allowed paternity leave without loss of income? One for an industrial tribunal, perhaps. As someone who has just changed to work only two days a week, I wonder what will happen to my bonus?
12 Restrict speech with introduction missing (6)
RATION – {o}RATION (speech) losing the first letter. With GCSEs starting in a few days, I thought I’d have to ration my son’s gaming time so he can revise properly, but he is showing good self-motivation. 24 exams starting with 2 on Monday? Rather him than me!
13 Swell the coffers of Henri Charrière to some extent (6)
ENRICH – Hidden word in HENRI CHarrière, the french writer, convicted murderer and writer, whilst in jail, of Papillon. Did he earn a lot of money from it, I wonder?
16 Health organisation (12)
CONSTITUTION – Nice double definition, the second as in “how something is made up of different parts“.
18 Polished off school broadcast (5)
EATEN – homophone [broadcast] of the school most often found in crosswordland, Eton, and having a staggering list of famous alumni, including 19 British Prime Ministers. Nobody who went to my school has become prime minister (yet). Nor has it appeared in a Times Crossword!
20 Ambassador beginning to ignore common sense? Disgraceful (7)
HEINOUS – H.E. (His excellency) +  beginning of I{gnore] + NOUS. Like our french author’s crime?
21 Spike, neat boy when dressed up (7)
BAYONET – (neat boy)* [dressed up]. More commonly found on light bulb caps than rifles these days, I think.
22 Mean and ill-considered, taking note instead initially (5)
NASTY – If you haven’t considered things properly, you may have been HASTY. Replace the initial letter with N (note).

1 Help! Turf her out! (7)
FURTHER – (Turf her)* out. FURTHER as in to promote or help forward. Very neat.
2 Dishonest UN dignitary bears responsibility (13)
UNTRUSTWORTHY – UN + WORTHY (dignitary) including [bears] TRUST (responsibility), as in “a man in a position of trust“.
3 Scotches? These could sink a battleship! (9)
TORPEDOES – Scotch as in “put an end to“… not the drink. You would need Whisky Galore to sink a ship. That 2017 film is a remake of the 1949 original.
4 Teacher with listening device — unwelcome companion between the sheets (6)
BEDBUG – B. ED. (graduate teacher) + BUG (listening device)… and an entertainingly bizarre surface reading.
5 Cleaner starts to merit outstanding pay (3)
MOP – Initial letters [starts to] of Merit Outstanding Pay. A payrise for Mrs Mopp? Can I do yer now, Sir?
6 President’s IOU written off? That’s fortunate (13)
SERENDIPITOUS – (President’s IOU)* [written off]. Another nice surface – I should be so lucky! For some unaccountable reason I saw my S checker at the start as a P and spent ages trying to shuffle the letters on paper to fit with that. Doh!
7 Shop I managed on the way up (4)
DELI – I + LED (managed) going upwards.
11 Abused our benign Prime Minister once in Middle East (3-6)
BEN-GURION – (our benign)* [abused]. I had to trust to the wordplay and checkers for this, not knowing of the first Prime Minister of Israel.
14 Improve farm accommodation? It’s the best policy (7)
HONESTY – HONE (improve) + STY… where our new setter lives, perhaps? Sorry. I couldn’t resist that!
15 Trendy WAG attacked (4-2)
WITH-IT – Lovely indirection again. Not a “Wife and Girlfriend”, but a WIT + HIT (attacked).
17 Edge inside bunker, briefly (4)
KERB – Hidden in bunKER Briefly.
19 Sister having nothing to say (3)
NUN – Another lovely surface to finish. The sister of the cloth sounds like [to say] NONE

So now it’s wee-wee-wee-wee all the way home.

29 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1089 by Oink”

  1. Took me a while to get started; and come to think of it, it took me a while to finish. Welcome to Oink, who has started off nicely. Isn’t 1ac an example of the dreaded Definition by Example (DBE)? I suppose the ? takes care of that. It used to be said in Israel that the difference between ben-Gurion and the Messiah was that the Messiah would never come, and ben-Gurion would never go. 7:06.
  2. A very enjoyable first offering from Oink which delayed me for a minute over my target 10, though I’m not sure why.

    That we have two appearances of STY intersecting in the bottom RH corner suggests to me this may not have been a coincidence – more like a signature perhaps?

    The second part of 3dn is more than a cryptic hint so I’d say it counts as a second definition.

    Just a word of warning for those aspiring to step up to the main puzzle, don’t go anywhere near today’s if you are of a nervous disposition!

    Edited at 2018-05-11 05:22 am (UTC)

    1. Tell me about it: I signed off after 30′, with maybe a third left, and I haven’t had time to go back to it. Maybe at home, with an after-dinner drink or two …
      1. And you’re an old hand like me, so it’s definitely X-certificate territory for newbies!
    2. OINK is the acronym for One Income No Kids (like DINKY or LOMBARD). So I am having trouble equating this with a RETIRED HOUSEHUSBAND. As to NASTY, UNTRUSTWORTHY and HEINOUS? I’ll just assume he is HONEST, BEMUSED but WITH IT.
  3. (because I had forgotten my pen for the train) and so I couldn’t see the setter’s name. As I was doing it (and really enjoying it) I kept wondering who the setter was. It felt like a cross between Izetti and Joker, who are my two favourite setters!

    Anyway, delighted to welcome Oink and say thank you for a super puzzle, completed not only inside my target time of three Kevins but inside two Kevins today!!! (No I’m not going to change the target.)

    What is a Definition By Example, and why is it dreaded?

    Very enjoyable blog, thanks John. And good spot on STY, jack.


    1. A definition by example (DBE) is using a word that’s specific to define an answer that’s general, e.g. ‘date’ to clue ‘fruit’ as in 1ac. It goes against the ‘rules’ and conventions of cryptic clues in the eyes of some, though not all. It happens a lot and it’s generally considered okay as long as the setter indicates the fact by using a question mark or a word such as ‘perhaps’ or ‘say’ in mitigation. 1ac has a question mark at the end so it’s fine.

      Edited at 2018-05-11 09:16 am (UTC)

  4. Good start for Oink, though very easy. OTOH, perhaps anagramming Ben-Gurion was a bit much.
  5. I am apprehensive when I see a new setter. It took me a while to get started but in the end an enjoyable puzzle. As always thanks for the blog.
  6. Thanks Oink. Completed in 13:43 which is about average for me and included one of my favourite words at 6 dn SERENDIPITOUS.
  7. New setter, and 1ac didn’t jump out, so I thought I was in for a long haul, but then everything began to fall into place and I finished in 22mins. Loi was 15d, where I was looking for a six letter word rather than (4,2) – must remember to read all the clue. 14d, Honesty, was my favourite, but there were lots of good clues, so congratulations to Oink and do come back soon. Invariant
  8. It is a pity that ‘serendipitous’ is nowadays weakened to mean little more than ‘lucky’, as the point of the story cited by Walpole, was that it was the princes’ sagacity that enabled them to take advantage of fortuitous (which means ‘chance’, not ‘fortunate’) observations to make their discoveries.
  9. A most enjoyable first offering from Oink. Took me a while to get started too. The NW yielded nothing at first glance (apart from the RU bit), so I entered the fray with MOP and then cleaned up the NE corner. I then spent FURTHER time in the NW and reaped the FRUIT of my endeavours. Liked WITH IT and HONESTY. Had to assemble the PM. 13:26, so well over my target. Thanks Oink and John.
  10. About average for me. Took me a while to spot 1ac, very neat starter. In fact took me a while to get into the swing of things at all, but then fell nicely into place. Enjoyed HONESTY – very droll. Capitalising WAG was a bit naughty and caused some head-scratching.
    Good first effort Sir. I look forward to the next.
  11. Yes – welcome to Oink who set a very enjoyable puzzle. I came out dead on 20 mins which is my target and, like others, had been a bit apprehensive about what a new setter might come up with. I need not have worried!
  12. Agree this was an enjoyable puzzle and welcome to Oink.
    I was on his wavelength as I bareley paused in the eleven and a bit minutes it took me. LOI was 2d and Fruit was before that. I’ll give COD to 6d just.
    Could not parse Nasty so thanks for that. David
  13. Very nice Oink! enjoyed that a lot. Congratulations on your debut and thanks for sending me a copy.
  14. Good crossword. After the first run through of the clues my grid was mostly blank. After my second run not much better but then things fell into place. COD 1ac where, for a long time I had no idea what was going on.
  15. Generally a nice puzzle, but perhaps fewer anagrams in fire please Oink.
    1. Sorry, autocorrect has substituted fire for future, reversing my meaning! Throw a few anagrams on the fire by all means.
  16. Many thanks to all for the warm welcome. Thanks especially to johninterred for the (exceptionally kind) blog.

    This is my first published crossword, so it’s nice that people seem to have enjoyed it.

    As for the two STYs (well spotted, that man!), I wish I could claim it was deliberate. Alas, such cleverness is beyond me. In fact, I hadn’t thought of Oink as a pseudonym at the time of writing the puzzle.

    But perhaps it was serendipity at play?


    1. Your more than welcome. And thanks for dropping in – looking forward to many more from you. I just love the serendipity of the STYs.
  17. I thought this was a cracking debut by Oink. It took me a while to get going but then the solutions started to flow. Particularly enjoyed 15d. Completed in 15.09. loi 22
  18. 30 minutes, welcome oink.

    Held up by fruit, constitution, untrustworthy, Ben Gurion and LOI retired.

    Nearly called the setter a swine for clueing the unknown 11d as an anagram, was a toss up between Gurion and Rugion, however pleased to see all green squares on submission.

    COD honesty or the millennial text speak fruit innit!

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