QC 2579 by Oink

After a poor week, plagued with pink squares (I’m talk about GAMEME  BOXING) this week so far it’s been all green sailing, and this offering from Oink was fair, with quite a few that proved biff-resistant, 13:51 for me.

I’m blogging this puzzle from Clubber gazed around, taking in Croatian capital (6), as featured in QC 1883.

Definitions underlined in bold , synonyms in (parentheses) (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, other wordplay in [square brackets] and deletions in {curly} brackets.

1 Living in desert, unfortunately (8)
5 Athlete peevishly clutching his weapon? (4)
EPEE – Hidden in Athlete peevishly
8 Let almost everyone go “Moo” (5)
ALLOW – AL{l} (everyone) + MOO(low)

Low as in “The Cattle are Lowing”. Look out for “lower”, which can clue cows in the same way that setter=dog, flower=river, number=drug. Classic crossword misdirection.

9 A small amount of gold, perhaps (7)
ELEMENT – Double Definition.

Gold is an element, the “perhaps” cues that it is a Definition By Example, and we have expressions such as “with an element of sarcasm”.

11 A little toad but no hole? (3)
TAD – T{o}AD (a little) [o = hole, deleted]
12 Hear about every queen’s disloyalty (9)
TREACHERY – TRY (Hear) contains EACH (every) + ER (Queen)

If “each” is equivalent to “every”, then why do we have the tiresome phrase “each and every”. Is that one of those lawyer tautologies such as “will and testament”, “any and all”, “above and beyond”, “sign, seal and deliver”

13 Foolhardy to take Cockney woman’s bit of bacon (6)
RASHER – RASH (foolhardy) + {h}ER [Cockney indicates remove the aspirate-H]

RASHER being the traditional porcine reference by this setter.

15 British PM once briefly in fight (6)
BATTLE – B{ritish} + ATTLE{e} (British PM once)

Clement Attlee led the Labour Party for 20 years and became the first Labour prime minister with a majority in 1945, even Churchill was not immune to the feeling of “its time to let the other lot have a go”. And Sunak, he ain’t no Churchill.

18 Jockey a proven US star (9)
SUPERNOVA – (A PROVEN US)* [jockey is the anagram indicator]

A supernova is a luminous explosion of a star, the last one visible to the naked eye was in 1604 and was brighter than any other star and was visible during the day for over three weeks. Records of its sighting exist in European, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic sources.

Anyone stopping the clock today on 16:04 has my permission to use this fact in their posting header.

19 Deceive husband? What an idiot I am! (3)
DOH – DO(deceive) + H{usband}

An example would be “Eight pounds for a pint, I’ve been done”, and in cricket “He did him with the googly”.

“Deceive” is the 20th definition for DO in the OED (“have sex with” is  at no. 18).

DOH™ is made famous by Homer Simpson, and is a trademark of 20th Century Fox , it first appears in the OED in 2001 (no apostrophe), and got its Wikipedia page in 2005 (where I got these facts from). Not to be confused with DUH.

20 Sack most of them at dance, including Charlie (3,4)
THE CHOP – THE{M} + HOP (a dance) contains C{harlie}

Thanks Paul.i.London for sorting out “most of them”

21 Chap seen in Casablanca, a silversmith, heading west (5)
ISAAC – Reversed [heading west] hidden in Casablanca, a silversmith
22 Regretted being impolite to the Speaker (4)
RUED – Homophone for “rude” (impolite)
23 Soldiers round a waterhole have good intentions (4,4)
MEAN WELL – MEN (soldiers) contains A + WELL (waterhole)
1 Clergyman welcoming a nuclear facility (7)
REACTOR – RECTOR (clergyman) contains A
2 Boy from South Africa leaves (5)
SALAD – SA (South Africa) + LAD (boy)
3 Sensible journey for returning astronaut to make? (4-2-5)
DOWN-TO-EARTH – Double def, the second a bit cryptic
4 Wanted to be manipulated according to speaker (6)
NEEDED – Homophone for “Kneaded”

We’ve had this before, wanting and needing are not the same, as explained to any seven year old who “needs a biscuit”. Also, knead=manipulate doesn’t seem obvious, but OED has it as one of the figurative definitions for knead (no recent quotations, though)

6 Supposed reason purser occasionally given message (7)
PRETEXT -P{u}R{s}E{r} + TEXT (message)

Nicely done, Oink.  Text=message is a new, but very common usage. (OED was updated in 2006 for this usage)

7 Guard ignoring southern doorway (5)
ENTRY – {s}ENTRY (Guard) with the S{outhern} stripped off
10 Sudden cry of ox maniac let loose (11)
14 Best  member of a Motown group (7)
SUPREME – Double Def

The Supremes were probably the canonical Motown group, Diana Ross was their most famous member.

16 Decent chalet I designed (7)
17 Body of Republican found in wood (6)
CORPSE – COPSE (wood) contains R{epublican}

De Santis certainly died in Iowa this week.

18 One inspired by celebrity’s instrument (5)
SITAR – STAR (celebrity) contains I(one)
19 Famous bowler getting a duck? (5)
DRAKE – Double def

Sir Francis Drake was said (40 years later) to have been playing bowls when the Spanish Armada was first sighted, hence a famous bowler. Probable chestnut, but still a good one and new to me.

74 comments on “QC 2579 by Oink”

  1. I think it might be ‘most of them’ = THE(m) + ‘dance’ = HOP, then including C(harley), merlin.
    thanks for the blog

  2. All done in 21:59, but not all parsed. I didn’t know of Sir Frances Drake bowling, but with those checkers I put in DRAKE anyway and wondered who “Dr. Ke” was. Still not sure what the “getting a” is doing – is the “a” part of the definition? Similarly, I couldn’t understand why the Cockney woman was the Queen! Thanks for explaining these and all the others. An enjoyable puzzle.

    1. I think Oink simply means insert an A, for “getting a”.

      A Cockney is supposed to drop any initial H, so they would pronounce “her” as “er”. Its great to imagine a scale for London accents like the Beaufort Scale, going from 0 (Dick van dyke in Mary Poppins), to 10 ( Queen Elizabeth in her early years).

  3. 12:01. I parsed THE CHOP like Paul.in.London. I tried RESIDING as I couldn’t see RESIDENT at first to mean living. TREACHERY was my favourite. Motown means The Four Tops to me!

  4. 7.39 for me, no real holdups and an enjoyable puzzle from Oink. I thought EXCLAMATION and ETHICAL were top-notch anagrams, giving nothing away. LOI BATTLE (Attlee is a very popular PM around here, isn’t he?), FOI EPEE. I’m with Merlin about ‘each and every’ etc, but let’s cut Stevie Wonder some slack for Signed Sealed Delivered. Motown fave for me was Martha and the Vandellas.

    1. I don’t see anything redundant, repetitious or pleonastic about “signed, sealed, delivered”; these are three successive stages of a process.

      1. That’s great, a green light for Stevie! I only mentioned it because our esteemed blogger did and tbh never thought about what it actually meant…still a great song

      1. Last One In and First One In.

        There’s a Glossary link under “useful links” that should explain some of the more unusual acronyms used here.

  5. 3:29. Good point re wants and needs Merlin, and by my reckoning you have the support of Kenny Rogers, Meat Loaf and Drake.

    An incident-free solve today, no real standout clues.

    1. But not Robbie Burns:

      “Some hae meat and canna eat,
      And some wad eat that want it,
      But we hae meat and we can eat,
      Sae let the Lord be Thankit!”

  6. 9 minutes. Apart from ‘bacon / RASHER’ at 13ac there’s another possibility of a Piggy reference in THE CHOP at 20ac.

    I don’t recall seeing O clued as ‘hole before (11ac). Another to add to the list along with egg, doughnut, bagel and several others.

    Whilst it’s true that ‘want’ and ‘need’ don’t mean the same in the example given, in other circumstances they can mean the same. SOED has one meaning of ‘want’ as: Be in need; be in a state of poverty or destitution. It also has ‘knead’ as: Blend or weld together; manipulate, mould, form. Used to this day in the process of bread-making.

    1. So we could say the baker wants dough…but yeah, I think the term ‘want for’, as in I want for nothing, suggests an equivalence.

    2. I agree – when used as verbs they are different (though I think maybe not different enough to be distinct in crosswordland), but when used as nouns, or when want is an adjective, not so much.

  7. 11:48, but with a careless typo (I actually typed “rypo” there, and was very tempted to leave it in…) on SEPREME, gaah.

    Liked this one a lot. FOI EPEE, another fencing reference for this father of a foilist.

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin.

  8. My bacon was not saved this morning, falling as I did at the final hurdle having lazily semi-parsed PRESENT, which clearly didn’t make sense looking back. Eventually seeing PRETEXT was a real DOH! moment, so hats off to Oink. Otherwise green in around 18.
    A nice puzzle though and continuing a good week for me with only one silly mistake so far. SUPERNOVA and TREACHERY were today’s faves for me.
    Many thanks to Oink and Merlin.

  9. Invented the REAxTOR so ruined an otherwise pleasing solve. Took a while to see what British was doing in British PM and had trouble unscrambling the chalet in my head. Might have been a minute quicker at the kitchen table but happy enough with 11m. That x still grates though.

  10. 9 minutes. Steady progress with TREACHERY being the most difficult one to parse properly. I liked DRAKE as the ‘famous bowler getting a duck?’ (no, not a tail-ender) and it was good to see possibly crossword’s most well-known ‘PM once’ making yet another appearance.

    Favourite was SUPERNOVA; no further comment.

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin

  11. Top to bottom solve today with the exception of my final pair – PRETEXT and EPEE.
    I don’t often give my COD to a three letter word but TAD gets it today for making me smile – it also reminded me that it’s been far too long since I had toad in the hole so a visit to M&S might be in order.
    Finished in 4.47.
    Thanks to Merlin and Oink

    1. Toad in the hole is always popular here, with a sizeable dab of made-up-from-powder English mustard, and if I can be bothered, a good rich onion gravy made with beef stock and dark ale.

    2. I’ve never had toad in the hole – how is it different from sausages *with* Yorkshire pud?

      My husband makes amazing Yorkshire puddings that he learned from his gran

      1. Well, you could make a couple of large Yorkies and put some grilled sausages on or by them, covered with onion gravy, and that would be very nice! But a toad-in-the-hole involves cooking the sausages in the oven and when they’re nicely done, pouring the batter mix over them to cook further, then cutting into portions. Perfect fare for this time of year in the UK, especially when the weather is so grim 😋

  12. Just scaped in under 20 mins and my new technique of starting at the bottom certainly did NOT help. I struggled at first (at the bottom) and then found the clues at the top were much easier. Still, all parsed even though I was thinking of the wrong bowler DRAKE (clergyman, bowler and then batsman for the Gentlemen, England).
    COD to EXCLAMATION which took me far too long to unravel.
    Thanks Oink and Merlin.
    By the way, where are you Merlin – I could not solve that one.

    1. Just realised that it is as simple as it seems, Croatian capital not indicating a ‘c’ but being the definition! Enjoy, I have spent many happy hours on
      Tkalciceva Street. Shame about the earthquake damage.

  13. Lovely puzzle, much enjoyed. Oink writes terrific surfaces. COD to DRAKE from me, since I went down both “cricket” and then “hat” blind alleys before the PDM.

    All done in 06:42 for 1.1K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Merlin and Oink.


  14. On the wavelength today, so much enjoyed. No idea about Motown but biffed SUPREME. LOI the easy EPEE. Liked the bacon RASHER, also ALLOW, MEAN WELL, DOWN TO EARTH, CORPSE. Yes, COD DRAKE.
    Thanks vm, Merlin.

  15. 3:49. Nice one. Lovely surface for RESIDENT and I enjoyed the rampaging ox and everyone gooing “moo” too. Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  16. Great puzzle for me today. As mentioned some lovely surfaces.

    Loved the reference to toad in the hole, think I’ll have some too.

    FOI 1A – (for a change).
    COD 8A – ALLOW
    LOI – 17D needed an alphabet trawl

    Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  17. Any setter including an ox maniac is ok by me. The addition of Plymouth’s most famous historical figure, albeit a slightly problematical one as history gets more closely reviewed, was a bonus. Door of the SCC time for me.

  18. 8:45 (Vikings led by Ragnar Hairy-Breeches besiege Paris)

    No major hold- ups. LOI was ELEMENT where I had missed the obvious in a search for words with AU or OR.

    A double ration of pork products today, with CHOP as well as RASHER.

    Thanks Oink and Merlin

  19. A good straightforward puzzle, which was lots of fun, with the marauding ox maniac and the hole-less toad, along with all the other excellent surfaces.

    LOI was DRAKE, mainly because it was in the bottom right corner.

    Time here and on the concise allows me 13 mins and 54 seconds to go for the sub-20 Times trifecta. Unfortunately, the SNITCH would suggest that it’s very unlikely.


  20. 15 mins…

    Nicely pitched I thought, with some lovely clues. Enjoyed 13ac “Rasher”, 1dn “Reactor” and 10dn “Excalamation” – all having witty and amusing surfaces.

    FOI – 1ac “Resident”
    LOI – 20ac “The Chop”
    COD – 11ac “Tad” – simple, but great.

    Thanks as usual!

  21. I note some fast times today from others. I was home in 7 minutes- fast for me. LOI THE CHOP.
    A nice puzzle and agree TAD was COD.

  22. I did this straight after midnight, and rather enjoyed it.

    Motown was the dance music of my misspent youth, but the Supremes came some way down my list of favourites. Most of the big hits are well known – my favourite probably “Road Runner” by Junior Walker – but if you’ve never heard “Every Little Bit Hurts” by Brenda Holloway, or “I Can’t Give Back The Love I Feel For You” by Rita Wright, you’ve missed out on two outstanding songs of love gone wrong

    TIME 4:08

  23. I raced through the NW corner but then my solves on first look became patchy. I had no idea what was going on with DRAKE other than it fitted the checkers and is a duck. TREACHERY was biffed from checkers and EXCLAMATION looked about right from the anagram fodder. My LOI was ELEMENT. 7:59 for an OK day.

  24. 5:16

    Felt a little off the pace at first so was surprised to come in at just over 5 mins. Couldn’t think of the correct DRAKE – was thinking famous cricket bowlers, assuming there might have been one I was less aware of or had forgotten about called DRAKE! That was my DOH moment…

    As well as RASHER, there is also THE CHOP (my LOI) as a signature for our porky pal. Thanks to Oink and Merlin

  25. 08:50
    Doh from Homer and salad reminds me of another simpsons episode with “you don’t win friends with salad” from the doomed bbq.
    COD down to earth.

  26. An untimed but quick solve by my standards.

    Never heard of epee (therefore it’s a setter’s made up word 🤣). However suspecting it was a hidden I looked up tepe and epee in the dictionary, and sure enough the latter was there.

    I knew there would be a pig reference, which is always a help attempting to solve an oink puzzle.

    No help needed from cat today, which is a good job as I buried his toy mouse in a bag of fresh cat nip overnight and now he’s on a catnip high. 🐈

    Funny to see Homer’s D’oh which, I believe, was inspired by James Finlayson.

  27. Thought this was going to be very straightforward but ended up spending time on LOIs EPEE/ELEMENT. Knew the former was a hidden but it still took an age for the penny to drop. Lots I had come across before (progress!) including CORPSE, ENTRY and SALAD. Favourite clue was EXCLAMATION, with TAD a close second. Thanks Merlin and Oink.

  28. I struggled to get going with this one with very few of the across clues solved on the first pass. I did pick up speed once the down clues came more easily, but not enough to finish within target, so a slowish 11.01 for me. I spent too long going through a list of potential British PMs before old Clement came to mind. A good crossword with some clever clues.

  29. Great QC – could biff almost nothing, then all gradually became clear. Loved RASHER, and will now always beware of stealing breakfast from any Bow lady. BATTLE and ALLOW, among others, great clues.

  30. I thought this was a really good QC from Oink – fairly straightforward but with a few ‘sticky penny’ moments where the brain cells needed a helpful nudge. All done (and dusted) in 18mins, with loi The Chop proving superior to the briefly considered pommes frites alternative. CoD, in a strong field, to 11ac, Tad, for the smile. Invariant

  31. A mostly enjoyable puzzle but stumbled at the last, and failed to see ISAAC and BATTLE (even though ATTLEE came up in my mental scroll through PMs). Doh! (exclaimed with express permission of C20 Fox).

    I’m sure Doh! was one of Oliver Hardy’s primary expressions of frustration, thus predating Homer Simpson. Though perhaps that’s a false memory.

  32. I had a lot of fun with this, and was part of the on-the-wavelength crowd, with a time of 15 1/2 minutes, fast for me.

    The bovine clues were my favorites!

  33. Happy today to make steady progress and finsh in 13.12

    I live in the UK and do the QC over lunch. I’m intrigued by the thought of Australians labouring over the crossword while I slumber. You must feel disadvantaged by your limited knowledge of British history and geography.

    I feel the same sometimes when I attempt Connections in the NYT, which often requires knowledge about US sports teams or TV shows.

    1. I do the connections in the NYT too but they’re far easier as they are often current references at least. Same with the NYT crossword.

  34. At just under 11 minutes a relatively quick day today though didn’t stop to fully parse POI TREACHERY. Hadn’t come across or at least thought about LOI ELEMENT meaning a small amount – Merlin’s example was helpful there. COD DRAKE. Thanks to Oink and Merlin.

  35. Very pleased with my time of 22 minutes. RESIDENT and EPEE were my first two in, giving me plenty of help getting started with the Down clues. After that I rather jumped around the grid and nearly avoided getting sucked into the SCC.

    Unfortunately, I had Tot (with a question mark) at 11a and therefore couldn’t complete S_L_t at 2d. This took me 3-4 minutes to unravel before TAD and SALAD hove into view.

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin.

  36. I proceeded steadily through this but got held up in the NE where I failed to see the hidden at 5ac for a long time which in turn made 6dn rather more difficult than it should have been. Finally finished in a very enjoyable 15 minutes, which counts as a reasonable time for me.

    FOI – 1ac RESIDENT
    LOI – 15ac BATTLE (biffed – parsed after the event)
    COD – 11ac TAD. Also liked 3dn DOWN TO EARTH

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin

  37. 8.05 Another mostly straightforward one. The NE was blank after the first pass but PRETEXT opened it up. Thanks Merlin and Oink.

  38. An enjoyable 8:20, with the best part of a minute spent on PRETEXT, as I went back and forth with that one! Text just wouldn’t make itself known, so like ITTT and Andyf, it was a real DOH moment when I twigged.
    I liked RESIDENT, TAD and ETHICAL, and although I’m sure DOWN-TO-EARTH is a chestnut, it made me smile.
    My Motown favourite is Smokey Robinson – what a voice!
    FOI Epee LOI Pretext COD Drake
    Thanks Oink and Merlin – I hope the weather is better in Zagreb than stormy old Britain 😊

  39. 9½ minutes for this fine puzzle, with Allow biffed (definitely a Do’h moment when I read the blog) and LOI Supernova needing the final A checker before I was confident of it.

    Many thanks Merlin for the blog

  40. We also had present 6d carelessly, and failed on 9d, element. Otherwise a fairly quick solve for the rest within our modest target. enjoyable puzzle.

  41. An enjoyable 8:27. Bunged in PURPORT and had to backtrack to PRETEXT. Other than that all very smooth going.

  42. 15:42

    Quickly got today’s pig reference with RASHER. Struggled a little at the end putting TEPE instead of EPEE for the hidden weapon before finally seeing PRETEXT.

  43. 13:08, which is good going for me, but then I usually enjoy Oink’s work. That said, I don’t understand the use of “inspired” as an insertion indicator.

    Thank you to Merlin and Oink!

  44. I thought this was tricky and was initially happy with 16 mins. Having read the comments and seen the Snitch score, now much less pleased with my time and very cross with myself for not getting EPEE and SITAR immediately. Did escape SCC for once which is some consolation, I suppose, but worried I keep finding straightforward ones to be hard. Doesn’t augur well for when we get a genuinely hard one.

    Excellent blog – thanks!

    Quintagram was as straightforward as I’ve ever see it today.

  45. DOH! Entered Tad for Tod so red square for me. Otherwise 3rd sub 60min finish on the trot. A very enjoyable hour 😁


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