As a detective solving the mystery of the crossword clue ‘Informants, informally,’ my thought process centered around thinking about slang or colloquial terms for informants. I first considered common words like “snitch” or “rat,” but unfortunately, neither fit the length of the crossword clue. Next, I started thinking about synonyms for these words and eventually landed on “fink.” Upon researching the word further, I found that “fink” is indeed a common slang term for an informant, especially in the context of criminal activity. Additionally, the word “fink” has a history of being associated with people who betray others, which confirms its appropriateness for the crossword clue. In conclusion, the insights that led me to the answer of “finks” were thinking about alternative words for “informants,” and then verifying its meaning in various dictionaries and sources.