Times Quick Cryptic No 2258 by Oink

Smooth solve, perhaps a touch on the gentle side of average difficulty.

No real obscurities or definitional stretches, and pretty much all the clues were well pitched around the same level.

My only delay in a fairly straight solve was the good bit of misdirection at 15ac and parsing the first bit of 4d, and negotiating those meant I just missed out on the sub-6 minutes I managed yesterday.

Very pleasant solve – many thanks to 11ac!

7 Gloomy detective eating nothing (6)
MOROSE – [Inspector] MORSE (detective) eating O (nothing)
8 Rejection of agreement covering national insurance (6)
DENIAL – DEAL (agreement) covering NI (national Insurance)
9 Everyone in that place completely sane (3,5)
ALL THERE – ALL (everyone) THERE (in that place)
10 A bishop grabbing painter’s horse (4)
ARAB – A B(ishop) grabbing R.A. (artist)
11 Tragic character in place with few inhabitants (6)
HAMLET – double definition. Oink always drops a pork product somewhere in the puzzle. We had “small pig” as a whimsical clue for HAM-LET not so long ago.
13 Some pilot or soldier’s dismembered body (5)
TORSO – “some of” piloT OR SOldier
14 As a result, king lacking self-confidence (3)
EGO – ERGO (as a result), with R (Rex = king) lacking
15 Spent erratically, concealing record (5)
ENTER – is concealed in spENT ERratically. RECORD as a verb.
17 Piece of cake that you eat outside? (6)
PICNIC – double definition, the first as in something easy.
19 Work-shy superstar, they say (4)
IDLE – is said the same as IDOL (superstar)
20 Ask Edgar about period long ago (4,4)
DARK AGES – anagram (about) of ASK EDGAR
22 Set sail occasionally with popular Soviet leader (6)
STALINS e T s A i L “occasionally” with IN (popular)
23 Article on diocese making you fume (6)
SEETHE – THE (article) on SEE (diocese)
1 Nasty-sounding chicken? (4)
FOWL – sounds like FOUL (nasty)
2 Put son in Hilton perhaps — or somewhere cheaper? (6)
HOSTEL – put S(on) in HOTEL (Hilton, perhaps)
3 One going AWOL in Sahara perhaps, unnerved at heart (8)
DESERTER – DESERT (Sahara, perhaps) ER (unnERved, “at heart”)
4 Steal an advantage (4)
EDGE – double definition, the first as in to creep.
5 Travelling attraction kicking female out? That’s not right (6)
UNFAIRfUNFAIR (travelling attraction) kicking out F(emale)
6 Cairo man ordered an Italian dish (8)
MACARONI – anagram (ordered) of CAIRO MAN
12 Story one acted out (8)
ANECDOTE – anagram (out) of ONE ACTED
13 Senior officers stop bars becoming disorderly (3,5)
TOP BRASS – anagram (becoming disorderly) of STOP BARS
16 Large whisky maybe for young singer? (6)
TREBLE – double definition. Your choice whether “maybe” is included because other spirits are available, or because you don’t necessarily consider a treble a large drink.
18 Gossip about the French in holiday accommodation (6)
CHALET – CHAT (gossip) about LE (the, French)
20 Don Corleone finally finished (4)
DONE – DON and E (corleonE, “finally”)
21 Code word for E in city house (4)
ECHO – EC (postcode, and shorthand, for the City) HO(use)


87 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2258 by Oink”

  1. Biffed EGO. It took me a while to learn MORSE (I even know his first name), who I’ve never seen; I don’t want to have to learn about Beck. 5:30.

  2. I was racing through this one but ground to a halt after 6 minutes with the intersecting 4dn and 8ac outstanding. I needed half as long again, making a total of 9 minutes, to come up with DENIAL and the D-checker forced me into accepting EDGE as the answer missing at 4dn. I had previously considered it as fitting the definition ‘advantage’ but couldn’t see how it meant ‘steal’, so thanks to Roly for explaining it in his blog. I do know that meaning of course but was focussed on nicking things.

  3. A first sub-6! A first sub 6.30 too. Eleven on the first pass of acrosses followed by all but one of the downs. Mopped up ENTER and then went back for MOROSE and then FOWL. All green in 5.51.

  4. 5.12

    Thought I was going to struggle when the first couple of starters proved unyielding but after kicking off with EGO everything fell into place.

    Liked UNFAIR

    Thanks Rolytoly and Oink

  5. 12:53 … nice to have something straightforward for first time in what seems like an age.

    Missed a PB with last couple of minutes held up on TREBLE … NHO of young singer being described thus.

    Before that PICNIC gave me problems with its double def for a “piece of cake” which I’ve only ever heard described as the inverse ie “that’s no picnic”.

  6. Felt a bit sluggish on this one but at least there were no mistakes today. MOROSE, DENIAL, EDGE, TREBLE and ENTER all put up a fight.
    Started with ALL THERE and finished with TREBLE in 8.19
    Thanks to roly

  7. About 20 minutes on this one with no problems along the way just went at it at a relaxed pace and didn’t worry about the time.
    LOI: PICNIC. Also favourite.

  8. So nearly what to my mind is the perfect solve (all the acrosses in order followed by all the downs in order), but alas I couldn’t spot the hidden in 15a on first pass. Otherwise they just flew in, wowsers.

    Thanks for pointing out the HAM in HAMLET, roly, I missed it and thought that Oink had broken from tradition. COD EGO.

    All done in 04:47 which is a PB, so this is a Bollinger Day. Back to earth tomorrow no doubt (Penny’s Law).

    Many thanks roly and Oink.


    1. Congrats on the PB!

      The “perfect solve” still eludes me, mainly because if I don’t get it in a few seconds, I move on and come back to it when there are crossers.

    2. Yes blazing effort, great going! I think if one really has to have a perfect solve foiled, it’s nice for it to be something (excruciatingly well) hidden in plain sight.

  9. Finished so fast I missed the piggy clue if it was there; however lots of chuckles on the way. FOI HOSTEL. LOI and COD TREBLE, for which, like FOWL, I needed all crossers. Thanks Oink and Roly

  10. Good to have a speedy easier QC today. Only slight hesitations/LOsI – DENIAL, EDGE, TREBLE . Liked many inc ARAB, PICNIC, ANECDOTE, MOROSE.
    Failed to see that HAMLET is the piggy clue until I read the blog!
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  11. 7 minutes for me. FOI MACARONI. LOI ECHO. Wish I had done this on the site to get an exact time.
    COD to TREBLE.
    As above, couldn’t spot the pig.

  12. Steady solve at 14 mins fully parsed so methinks twill be a good day. If I had gone at it and not been so fastidious with the parsing I might have achieved a PB but I prefer to enjoy letting the setter’s skillnroll around my brain for a while.

    Much to enjoy here but the biggest chuckle came with rolytoly’s blog comment on a treble whiskey.
    Thanks roly and oink.

  13. Confidence plays a big part in this game and, after drawing a blank with both Morose and Denial, I convinced myself that this was going to be difficult and settled into a self-fullfilling, plodding solve. 20mins or so later, a protracted alphabet trawl for my loi, Morose (I certainly was by then) ensured that even a sub-20 was missed. Might need cheering up by watching a few Beck DVDs. . . Invariant

  14. A rare sub 5 for me today, starting with MOROSE and finishing on a TREBLE. 4:58. Thanks Oink and Roly.

  15. 11 minutes again! It seems to be my default time this week, but it should have been quicker, looking at the comments above from some of my cohort. I was held up mostly by my last two in – MOROSE and FOWL. I got dismal into my head for the gloomy detective, and couldn’t see past it, even when the checkers I had wouldn’t allow it, and I couldn’t fully parse it. I need to learn to move on. I then spent some time searching for the Oink reference before spotting it in HAMlet. Thanks both.

  16. I enjoyed this – thanks oink and Roly! I was looking for a robber and a general term for a police officer rather than Endeavour Morse and steal baffled me because I knew it had to be edge

  17. Very gentle today. No marks on my copy except the answers and my time. Thank-you Oink and Rolytoly. 3:27.

  18. Other setters take note. This is how a QC should be. One that is not excessively difficult with clues that would be more at home in the 15×15, yet one not so easy that the inhabitants of my ant farm could solve it. One that gets you thinking but has no really obscure clues/answers. Well done, Oink. This was a very nice puzzle.

    I didn’t find this one too difficult, though there were some clues that had me scratching my head for a while, such as 4d and 16d.

    Although I answered 21d, I did not understand the city house until I came here.

    Solved with no aids.

    1. EC for ‘city’ and HO for ‘house’ (as opposed to IN for ‘home’) will come up again and again, and yet again.

  19. 12 minutes for me, making it one of my faster solves. The only hold-ups came from wondering why EDGE parsed with ‘steal’ and looking for the piggy reference. An enjoyable crossword, so many thanks to Oink for that. Thanks also to Rolytoly for explaining 4dn and pinpointing the porcine reference.

    FOI – 9ac ALL THERE
    LOI – 4dn EDGE
    COD – 7ac MOROSE

  20. First fast one in a while.

    LOI was EDGE, where I waited for the checkers, thanks Roly for clearing up my MER. PICNIC or ANECDOTE were smooth. Missed the HAM, and was going to ask whether Oink had abandoned his trademark.


  21. Nice to be out of the SCC at last – 15 mins today! Missed the piggy reference completely though. LOI EDGE, following DENIAL, both of which held me up, otherwise fairly straightforward progress. Liked EGO and ECHO. Many thanks all.

  22. Wasted my time, the paper and the ink in my pen today. Eight clues correct, four wrong and 13 that stumped me completely. If Waitrose ever stop giving these newspapers away, that will be the end of my efforts. I yearn for that day.

        1. Interesting, I personally didn’t see ALL-THERE, HAMLET and SEETHE as gimmes – I doubt I would have got them six months ago. So that’s a positive.

          Were you on the right lines with DESERTER? I had to wait for checkers to be sure of what it was to do with deserts or desserts or whatever. I think that’s a huge part of these that experienced solvers don’t understand i.e. how useful checkers are to narrowing down the possibilities. Can be such a struggle when much of a grid is empty.

          Keep plugging away, I have experienced your throwing up of the hands on many occasions.

          Long live Waitrose !!! 😀

      1. I get The Times for free via the Waitrose app. It stores the Waitrose card and I get two shopping vouchers every week, which were worth £7 last week.

        1. The problem is you’ll get good at them, and start to really enjoy them: “buyer” beware!

  23. 6:45, so a Very Good Day. It was definitely on the easy side for me – hopefully, others who have been struggling a bit recently will have had a bit of an ego boost too 😊
    Although it was pretty straighforward, there were lots of Oink’s clear definitions and trademark humour – plenty of smiles today! Hard to choose a COD – so many candidates – but in the end I plumped for (the semi &lit?) 7a.
    FOI Hostel LOI Enter (unfortunately I’d popped a D at the end of DESERTER, which made solving 15a difficult!) COD Morose (maybe eating nothing but certainly drinking a lot of beer!)
    Thanks Oink and Roly

  24. A rare sub 10 for me at 9 mins.

    Main hold up was wondering whether I had 19ac “Idle” wrong, as I was thinking 16dn should be “Triple”. Eventually the penny dropped.

    No porky reference from Oink I see unless he’s moved onto other farmyard animals.

    FOI – 9ac “All There”
    LOI – 16dn “Treble”
    COD – 16dn “Treble” for creating doubts.

    Thanks as usual!

      1. You’re right – obviously didn’t read the puzzle properly or the blog.


  25. Definitely a case of overthinking clues. I tried to insert ALL in THERE, couldn’t quite believe that DON was in the answer DONE, SEETHE started out THESEE and I pondered about using the U instead of W in 1d. The only clue that I didn’t eventually parse was my LOI EDGE. Even so, I made target in 8:28 for a good day.

  26. Finished it! (But may have cheated)
    It all went along smoothly until 23a, my LOI. Eventually looked up Diocese in the dictionary and when it mentioned see I saw. Didn’t expect such an obvious hint and think that’s a cheat so won’t do it again.
    COD- 16d.
    Thanks to Oink, Roly and to other posters for their encouragement yesterday.

    1. Great effort, learning not cheating: diocese/see/Ely/etc. is one of those jargon things like “flower” for “river”, or “without” meaning “going outside”. Fairly impossible to crack at first sight.

  27. 15:04. Had most difficulty seeing EDGE was steal and DENIAL was rejection. For the latter I thought insurance was the definition and rejection of agreement was yes,nod or OK reversed around something clued by “national”. Because I didn’t trust EDGE I didn’t trust the “D” at the start. Oh well, it eventually turned out fine in the end-sigh of relief.

  28. A fun QC today, for which many thanks to Oink. Afraid I too missed the piggy clue but enjoyed it when I came here. Also wondered about Edge so thanks for the explanation. COD Denial. Very neat. Time: about 10 minutes.

  29. Agree with virtually everyone that this was perhaps the easiest for quite a while. A steady solve with no holdups to speak of, finishing in 6.44. The biggest handicap for me was the temperature as our central heating packed up yesterday. Chilled but not freezing, and very much looking forward to seeing the plumber on Saturday morning.

  30. Lots of fast times and I join in the fun with a 5½ minute completion. All parsed except Edge where I needed the blog to explain the reference.

    I confess I missed the piggy reference when doing the puzzle. But then as I didn’t know it was from Oink (no setter’s name on the phone version – grrrr) I wasn’t looking for it.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  31. My first escape from the SCC since 25th August. 15 minutes for me. I seemed to be writing so fast that the newspaper nearly caught fire.

    My only doubts were EDGE and FOWL or FOuL. I correctly entered FOWL, but I think FOuL also works (especially given the ? after chicken). Please could someone explain why FOuL is incorrect?

    Many thanks to Oink and rolytoly.

    1. I’ll do my best, but it isn’t easy.

      The clue is “Nasty-sounding chicken? (4)”. The definition will either be at the start or at the end of the clue 999 times out of a thousand, so the definition is either ‘nasty’ or ‘chicken’ or could be ‘nasty-sounding’. The sounding part is what tells us that the clue is a homophone, so it can’t (usually) also be part of the definition, so we can reject ‘nasty-sounding’ as the definition. That leaves us with either ‘nasty’ or ‘chicken’ as the definition. The homophone indicator (sounding) is directly connected (by the hyphen) to nasty, so it is a homophone of nasty that we are probably looking for. Chicken then becomes the definition, but the question mark hasn’t yet had a part to play. Actually, it is showing that ‘chicken’ is a definition by example. We are looking for a homophone of a word for nasty, which also describes a class of words of which ‘chicken’ is an example. FOWL (homophone of foul) fits the bill.

      Does this help? I’m trying to be specific in describing an art, and it isn’t always as precise as to allow that. Suffice to say that choosing the right homophone for these clues gets easier with experience, but I have found that with sufficient experience, the answer usually emerges fairly clearly.

      1. Thankyou very much indeed, Mr Rotter. Your explanation is both comprehensive and precise, and I understand it completely. I have realised that my uncertainty at the time was caused by overlooking the role of the hyphen. I don’t think I’d make a very good setter.

      2. P.S. I have just read out your excellent explanation to Mrs Random. Her reply was “Well it was obvious, wasn’t it?”. I am like a bear of little brain in comparison to her.

  32. The first QC I have ever managed to do without help – Hoorah ! A welcome ego booster.
    Total joy from a fairly new solver . 12 mins not bad.
    QCs have been so hard recently I had nearly thrown in the towel altogether

  33. A gentle one today with no real hold ups.
    bit of a mer about edge as stealing but apart from that all ok

  34. 5:45 which could well be a PB, certainly a long way under my target time of 10 mins. I wish the app didn’t jump over letters than you already have entered, as I’d find it much quicker just to type the whole word than having to remember what’s already there…

    1. I don’t have the app but recommend checking the Settings. These things usually have a toggle to choose between “skipping filled letters” or overtyping.

  35. Didn’t particularly time myself but probably just inside the SCC cut-off. For some reason wanted to put harlot for 11ac, until I saw it was a double definition. After seeing some astonishing times above, can’t feel too happy about my performance, but an enjoyable solve nevertheless. I do find with some of the more straightforward QCs that I am looking for something more complex or reading too much into the clue.

    COD – 17ac
    LOI – 11ac

    Many thanks for the blog.

  36. Do those of you who record these lightning fast times all solve the QC electronically?

    As someone who uses the paper version of Times 2 and a pen, I don’t think I could physically write in the answers in the times you record, regardless of how easy they may be!

    1. I’m absolutely sure that the faster solvers do it onlne. I usually use pen and paper, and suspect that writing rather than typing is slower. A touch screen is a bit clumsy for me – FaFS is an issue (even when just posting here) 😅

  37. About ten minutes for me, slowed down by entering STALIN as the answer for 23ac then wondering why ECHO wouldn’t fit. PICNIC was no picnic and took the last minute and a half until the penny dropped.

  38. Lots of PBs today and for me too: 7 mins 2 secs, fully parsed. Worked steadily from top left quadrant then clockwise to bottom left and, to my surprise, not having to return to clues. Very pleasing after some very difficult QCs recently. I’ve been doing these every day for two and a half years – not sure whether that qualifies me as an experienced solver or a relative novice!

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