Times Quick Cryptic No 1223 by Oink

I don’t remember blogging an Oink puzzle before, but found this a gentle offering, completed in just under 9 minutes.

Nothing to frighten the horses here.  The only bit of general knowledge required is the well-known MEA CULPA, and the only slight hold-ups that I had were TEE OFF, where it took a few seconds to recognise which end of the clue was the definition, and RABID where it took a similar few seconds to decide what kind of Sally I was looking for.

Thanks OINK for a nice accessible puzzle.


1  Pet duck found in Ministry of Defence (4)
MOOD – O (duck, score of zero in cricket) inside M{inistry} O{f} D{efence}.  Pet in this clue refers to its second definition in my on-line Chambers – ‘a slighted and offended feeling’, or ‘the sulks, huff’, as in ‘he had a right pet on!’.
3  Reportedly supervises abroad (8)
OVERSEAS – Sounds like (reportedly) oversees (supervises).  Remember that this is a Brit-centric crossword, and for us residents of the British Isles, being ‘abroad’ (i.e. in a foreign country) necessarily means that we are OVERSEAS.
Poisoner caught by snare I set in motion (7)
ARSENIC – Anagram (set in motion) of C{aught} and [SNARE I].  As a poisoning agent, ARSENIC is a poisoner, although this word is more often applied to the person administering the agent.
10 Celebrator of haggis goes up in flames (5)
BURNS – Double definition, the first referring to ‘Rabbie’ Robert Burns, the Scottish bard and author of ‘Address to a Haggis’ amongst other famous writings.
11  Complete Charlie chucked off boat (5)
UTTER – The boat is a {c}UTTER, with C{harlie} dropped (chucked off)
12 Lots of fluffy dogs without a lead (6)
OODLES – {p}OODLES are the fluffy dogs, dropping the first letter (without a lead).  OODLES means an abundance – there are OODLES of good surfaces in this puzzle!
14 Get priest ready for Liverpool or Derby? (5,8)
PRIME MINISTER – One might describe getting a priest ready for giving his sermon as ‘priming a minister’, and Liverpool and Derby (the Earls, not the cities) were examples of Prime Ministers.
17  Annoy posh chap quaffing last drops of champagne and wine (3,3)
TEE OFF – TOFF is the posh chap, who ‘imbibes’ or quaffs (absorbs) the last letters (drops) of [champagn}E and {win}E to give TEE OFF.  As well as describing the first shot at a hole of golf, TEE OFF can mean (informally) to annoy.
19  US prosecutor entertaining a “companion” in country house (5)
DACHA – D{istrict} A{ttorney} (US prosecutor) entertains (contains) A (a) and CH (C{ompanion}  of H{onour}) to give the Russian country house.
22  Picture of pilgrimage half obscured (5)
IMAGE – {pilgr}IMAGE (half obscured)
23  LA heavies spotted in the Lakes? (7)
LAGOONS – LA (LA) and GOONS (heavies or hired thugs in the USA)
24  Son hits a drunk? Wow! (8)
ASTONISH – Anagram (drunk) of [SON HITS A].  To wow someone is to ASTONISH them.
25 Hide, being almost completely broke (4)
SKIN – SKIN(t) is broke, ‘almost completely’ here means drop the last letter.

1 Al came up seething: my fault (3,5)
MEA CULPA – Anagram (seething) of [AL CAME UP]
Start working in Hollywood? (5)
ONSET – ON is working, and if one were ON SET in Hollywood, one might be working in the movie industry
4  Queen comes a cropper, sight the tourists flock to see (8,5)
VICTORIA FALLS – VICTORIA (queen) and FALLS (comes a cropper) to give the popular tourist site on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, otherwise known as ‘the smoke that thunders’.
5  Sally grabs bishop, foaming at the mouth (5)
RABID – RAID (sally, as in an outrush or sortie) which includes B{ishop}
6  Try, after husband leaves home, to be serious (7)
EARNEST – {h}EAR (try, after H{usband} leaves) and NEST (home).
7  Very, very big upset, or just middling? (2-2)
SO-SO – OS (outsize or very big) repeated and reversed.  Clues that are enumerated as 2-2 in Crosswordland often refer to SO-SO or HA-HA, although other possibilities exist.
8  Millicent re-emerges holding starter (6)
ENTREE – Hidden (holding) in {millic}ENT RE_E{merges}.  ENTRÉE is more often the main course in the USA, a starter in Australia, and a course between the fish and roast meat course in traditional and formal UK dining, but in these less formal times can also just be a starter.
13  Forces entry: banker is disturbed (6,2)
BREAKS IN – Anagram (disturbed) of [BANKER IS]
15 Inch perfect?  Just the opposite (7)
INEXACT – IN{ch} and EXACT (perfect) in an $Lit clue
16  Navy, one doing badly (6)
INDIGO – I (one) followed by an anagram (badly) of [DOING]
18  Old church overlooking an expanse of water (5)
OCEAN – O{ld} and CE (church (of England)) followed by (overlooking) AN (an)
20  DieIt’s what all frogs do (5)
CROAK – Double definition, the first a bit of informal slang.
21  Opera star keen to make a comeback (4)
DIVA – AVID (keen) reversed (making a comeback)

25 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1223 by Oink”

  1. Slowish going today, with I think LAGOONS taking the longest to get. ‘Sally’ seemed an odd term for a raid, but I suppose there’s no real problem. Didn’t know the Burns work, but then I didn’t really need to. In the 15x15s, DA wouldn’t be so clearly clued as ‘US prosecutor’; ‘attorney’ more likely. 7:05.
    On edit: Vinyl’s post appeared while I was typing mine, so for what it’s worth, 1) as I said, DNK; 2) I’m not sure if I knew Derby, but I saw PRIME MINISTER from a couple of checkers, saw that it fit the def, and remembered Liverpool; 3) didn’t realize that the thug meaning was specifically US (it’s applied, although not exclusively, to thugs used by employers against striking workers); ‘goons’ certainly might not spring to mind from ‘heavies’.

    Edited at 2018-11-15 02:18 am (UTC)

  2. At 5:31, a rare sub-Kevin for me. I saw 14a when I stopped thinking football. I grew up in leafy Surrey in the 60s understanding ENTREE to be a main course (usually steak if I was allowed it) – something which TEES OFF the foodies on TftT no end.
  3. Rather 24 Acrossingly I needed 14 minutes to complete this one with PRIME MINISTER as my LOI.

    I have never EVER come across TEE OFF with the meaning indicated here, and some of the usual sources advise that it is an Americanism, which might account for my ignorance. I trusted to wordplay and entered the right answer, but I had been on the verge of biffing ‘pee off’ until I wondered whether the Times would stoop to that.

    We had OODLES of poodles in yesterday’s main puzzle and many times before.

    Oink has set for us only twice before today, in May this year (blogged by Johninterred) and August (blogged by Jeremy). On his first outing we had STY hidden in two places in the grid IIRC, and my FOI today (at 1ac) started with MOO, so I was looking for more farmyard associations, but sadly there were none.

    Edited at 2018-11-15 06:02 am (UTC)

  4. Would have been a record for me but for my Latin. Ashamed to stay I had MIA CULPA and can’t claim it was a typo – just carelessness with the anagrist and poor spelling. I was desperate to write in Grand National at 14a, Liverpool and Derby and the fact it fitted being the encouragement. Pleasant start to the day.
  5. LOI was Inexact and finished in 10:57.
    A much more accessible puzzle than yesterday but a fair bit of GK needed which happily I knew. Some good stuff in here although I was troubled by a rabid dog theme. I have seen Tee Off in this sense somewhere.
    Early on,I erased Entree after biffing as I thought it meant main course but it could not be otherwise with the hidden.
    COD to Prime Minister. David
  6. Having been to a number of Burns’ night celebrations this is very familiar:
    “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
    Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
    Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,
    Painch, tripe, or thairm:
    Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
    As lang’s me arm.”
    There is more,much more. David
  7. Raced through in near pb. Quite a few strange clues only accessible because of the blindingly obvious wordplay
  8. There was a lot to enjoy, though as Vinyl1 observes a bit of not so general knowledge was required. Some of it was very clever but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people were at least teed off or even put into a bit of a pet by some unnecessarily obscure answers.
  9. 1.25 Kevins and sub-jackkt – a Very Good Day. I remember clicking with the previous Oink puzzles too.

    COD ONSET, where the penny dropped third time around with an enjoyable clunk.

    The Address to a Haggis is the second (after Auld Lang Syne) best known poem of Scotland’s national poet, so I’d have thought pretty mainstream, in the UK at least. I have only encountered TEED OFF as a “genteel” version of “peed off”, Hyacinth Bucket style.

    I have a minor eyebrow raise at poodles being described as “fluffy” – poodles have only a single coat of hair with no fluffy undercoat at all, which is what makes them so popular with hypoallergenic people (and which also makes them so good in water, since they don’t get soggy – “poodle” derives from the Low German “pudelhund” or “splashing dog”).

    Super puzzle, expertly blogged as usual. Thanks to Oink and the Rotter.


  10. ….OODLES of OODLES, which also appeared in yesterday’s 15 x 15.

    Sailed through this in 3:44, but enjoyed it very much. Only unknown was the usage of TEE OFF.

  11. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. I chuckled especially at 10 and 14 across (my CoD) and 2 and 20 down. I think I’ve seen the Victoria Falls clue before but I still very much liked it.
    I didn’t time myself but everything seemed to fall into place very smoothly and easily. I needed the blog, however, to remind me that, in 6 down, “try” can mean in a court of law. I have a vague feeling that there were more clues today than normal (4 of them ) which had instructions to drop letters. Not by any means a complaint – far from it. Just an observation. Thanks very much, Oink, and huge thanks, as always, to Rotter, for another super blog.
  12. A nice straightforward puzzle. Didn’t know the Prime Ministers, but the wordplay was clear. TEE OFF was familiar. 8:06. Thanks Oink and Rotter.
  13. Sub 5′ today. I remember my history teacher asking what ‘Liverpool’s government’ meant..

    Thanks rotter and oink.

  14. I enjoyed this puzzle but I did find I was writing in answers without fully understanding the parsing e.g PRIME MINISTER. My LOI was 8d ENTREE where I struggled to see the hidden and this pushed me over my 10 min target to 10:50.

    Thanks Oink and Rotter. I’m predicting a tough solve tomorrow as I seem to be on a rollercoaster for solving time this week. Tue:8min, Wed:28min, Thu:11min.

    Edited at 2018-11-15 12:33 pm (UTC)

  15. A very nice puzzle again from Oink.DNK Liverpool as Prime Minister, so I learnt something there. I liked SO-SO, and CROAK, but ASTONISH my COD. 5:35.
  16. All reasonably straightforward I thought, although I had never heard of ‘pet’ being used in that way. But could hardly be anything else. I have a quibble with ‘Navy’ as a definition of INDIGO. Navy is blue, indigo is purple. My art teacher would have thrown a fit. I also agree that some of the GK required seemed obscure, although I happened to know it.
    FOI 1ac (biffed it). LOI OODLES (originally looked at the wrong end of the clue). COD PRIME MINISTER. Clever wordplay so long as you know enough history.
  17. I’m in a bit of a pet (never heard of that definition before) after that due to making a complete hash of 17a and eventually sticking ‘set off’ in with a sinking feeling that it would be wrong. The whole solve felt like a bit of a struggle to be honest, although like others I thought 14a was very clever.
    Thanks for the blog
  18. Must have been my sort of puzzle. I came here expecting the value of today’s Kevin to be around the 3 minutes mark only to find I’ve squeezed my second ever sub Kevin at 7:03. Being familiar with tee off, goons, Burns and the prime ministers (even though 14ac was loi) obviously helped a lot. Cod 15dn – inexact for ‘just the opposite’.
  19. Thanks to Oink for a good QC and to Rotter for his usual helpful blog. Pretty straightforward with a few twists as mentioned above (e.g. Pet which I assumed but didn’t know). Marginally over 2 Kevins so not too bad for me. John M.

    Edited at 2018-11-15 05:13 pm (UTC)

  20. Many thanks to the rotter for the excellent blog, and to everyone for their comments.

    Really nice to get a feel for how solvers found the puzzle.

    I’m afraid the MOO in 1ac was completely accidental. I’m not clever enough to have thought of sprinkling a few farmyard references round the grid.

    Happy solving all.


  21. I managed to complete in 20 minutes and enjoyed the fact that I got all of the stragglers without too many upsets along the way. Loved Croak and Onset and learn about Sally Sortie etc. LOI Inexact after Prime Minister.
    Thanks all,
    John George
  22. Fairly rattled along with this one, save for the 1ac and 17ac obscure definitions, but then I made the mistake of noticing that I was on schedule for a rare sub-20 finish. Of course that inevitably meant that I came to a halt with just the 14ac/15d pairing left. I really should have got 14ac first, but in the end it was 15d that came to mind, at which point 14ac became obvious. It’s not often I’m annoyed with a 22min finish, but that was the case today. Invariant
  23. Not my cup of tea at all I’m afraid. Not on this setter’s wavelength. Excellent blog as usual

Comments are closed.