QC 1305 by Oink

I believe this is the first time I have blogged an Oink puzzle. Pleased to meet you, Sir or Madam, and I enjoyed your puzzle very much. I think because the ‘handwriting’ was unfamiliar I read it through first time without filling in much, but all went in pretty quickly after that and provided a very gentle start to the week, with everything fitting in quite smoothly in just under 7 minutes.

FOI was 5A I think. Should have been 1A looking back, but it was so obvious that I couldn’t see it first time. I believe my LOI was BATHE, because once I got into my stride most of it happened quite sequentially. No particular clue stood out for difficulty so my COD goes to 8D for smoothness of surface and general tidiness.

I am very pleased to report that at some point towards the end of the week before last I managed to catch up with all my 15x15s. When I tell you that my two standout clues were “Line that stops tongue moving, twisted in knots? (8)” (27243) and “Online dealer; as announced (9): (27246), you will realise how long I had been letting them stack up. I am sure there must have been a load of better clues during the accumulated backlog of 20-30 puzzles but those are just the random two that really stand out for me as I look back. Maybe now I can get back to doing the QC daily as well.

And while I am on the subject of favourite clues I wonder if this might be an excuse to invite everybody to post their all time golden nuggets? I always find that sort of thing fascinating (but I realise I may be in a minority and all the rest of you might have been there before and find it a bit boring).

While I am at it though I do remember that when I first started doing this blog somebody posted one of their favourite clues. I thought about it briefly and moved on, intending to come back to it later but now I realise I completely forgot. If you can remember who you were would you mind posting it again? I think it had something to do with a square.

Finally I did remember to whip out my NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter) at the end and scanned the final grid, but I could detect no evidence of unusual activity.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

1 A country pile? (8)
HAYSTACK – cryptic definition.
5 Henry’s in great pain (4)
ACHE – H (Henry) ‘in’ ACE (great).
9 Timid chap getting married by river (5)
MOUSE – M (married) + OUSE (Yorkshire river).
10 One who weeps about resistance fighter (7)
BRAWLER – BAWLER (one who weeps) ‘about’ R (resistance).
11 Occasionally arrange fundraising event (3)
RAG – ‘occasional’ letters of aRrAnGe.
12 Partner is in trouble, that’s become apparent (9)
TRANSPIRE – straight anagram (‘in trouble’) of PARTNER IS.
13 Briefly follow popular Soviet leader (6)
STALIN – STAL (STALk (follow) ‘briefly’) + IN (popular).
15 Remarkable dramas in Indian city of old (6)
MADRAS – straight anagram (‘remarkable’) of DRAMAS.
17 England going mad? That’s the impression (9)
ENGRAVING – ENG (England) + RAVING (going mad).
19 Legal profession’s drinking den (3)
BAR – double definition.
20 Primate‘s a partisan, it’s said (7)
GORILLA – sounds like (‘it’s said’) GUERRILLA (partisan).
21 Sum to put back (3,2)
TOT UP – TO + TUP (PUT backwards).
22 Travel in part of Hebrides (4)
RIDE – hidden word: HebRIDEs.
23 Beyond compare, as House of Lords when empty? (8)
PEERLESS – an empty House of Lords would have no PEERS in it and so could be described as PEERLESS.
1 Reporter’s funny bone (7)
HUMERUS – sounds like (‘reporter’s’) HUMOROUS (funny). But I would say this is hardly a clue really at all because that is why the upper bone of your upper limb is popularly referred to as your ‘funny bone’ anyway.
2 Immature, year-old gnu heading north (5)
YOUNG – Y (year) + O (old) + UNG (GNU ‘heading north’ in this Down clue).
3 Tear city hall apart in dramatic fashion (12)
THEATRICALLY – straight anagram (‘apart’) of TEAR CITY HALL.
4 Emergency committee needs firm support (5)
COBRA – CO (‘company’, commonly used in Crossword Land to mean a ‘firm’ although in strict legal terms a firm is a partnership as distinct from a company) + BRA (support).
6 Coal miner runs after dog (7)
COLLIER – COLLIE (dog) + R (runs).
7 Strange place for an eagle, they say (5)
EERIE – sounds like EYRIE (‘they say’), an eagle’s nest.
8 Servant’s amusement causes serious offence (12)
MANSLAUGHTER – MAN’S (servant’s) + LAUGHTER (amusement).
14 Terribly enraged? (7)
ANGERED – anagram &lit. ENRAGED ‘terribly’ = ANGERED, of which the whole clue is also a possible definition.
16 Fights about European difficulties (7)
SCRAPES – SCRAPS (fights) ‘about’ E (European).
17 Keen to be a long time in Her Majesty’s embrace? (5)
EAGER – AGE (a long time) ‘in ER’s (‘Her Majesty’s’) embrace’.
18 Fatuous characters in Twain anecdote (5)
INANE – hidden word: TwaIN ANEcdote.
19 Bill turned up with ambassador to have a swim (5)
BATHE – BAT (TAB (bill) ‘turned up’ in this Down clue) + HE (His or Her Excellency, formal title of an ambassador).

33 comments on “QC 1305 by Oink”

  1. No horses scared here. I semi-biffed STALIN, never thinking of STALK. ENGRAVING my LOI. In case you’re not joking, Don, the funny bone is the elbow (really the nerve passing over the elbow). 5:31.
  2. I found this quite straightforward, just slotting in between Kevin and Vinyl on the leaderboard. HAYSTACK was my FOI. ENGRAVING needed all the crossers before I saw what was going on. PEERLESS brought up the rear. 6:35. Thanks Oink and Don. Will head on to the 15×15 after a night’s sleep.
  3. 9 minutes with time lost at 8dn, returning to it several times throughout the solve and needing every checker in place until the answer dawned on me, yet it’s a word I seldom see in print without thinking “man’s laughter”.
  4. My experience was very like Don’s, only twice as slow. Nothing until 15a with a growing sense of dread but the grid then slowly filling up until I was left with ENGRAVING. Ended up in 14m, which is fast for me for 2019.

    On favourite clues, I remember Number in theatre (11) from the Telegraph (possibly many other places before and since) when I first became interested in cryptic crosswords (2009?). The biggest penny dropping moment I’ve had and a glimpse of a bigger world when anaesthetic eventually came to mind.

    I also remember Colin Dexter’s book on crosswords (bought for a birthday by my wife which is where this really started – that and having travel to work by bus for a month while her car was off the road) where he listed his favourite clues including nothing squared, cubed (3) for OXO.

  5. Good gentle start to the week for me. Nothing controversial for a change. Lots to enjoy too. Haven’t seen manslaughter for a while but it always makes me chuckle when maybe I shouldn’t 🙂
  6. Needed a quick solve before the dog walk. After 14 minutes I just needed 8d. That took me another 7 so I finished in 21:04.
    A good puzzle I thought. I was slow to get going in the NW.
    Must dash. David
  7. Inside 12 minutes, so at the easier end for me. My last one in was BRAWLER after finally spotting the serious offence to give the last checker.

    It’s an old chestnut Don, but I still smile at the clue ‘HIJKLMNO (5)’ which I think i saw in the Telegraph many decades ago. I won’t insult your cruciverbalist credentials by providing the answer just in case anyone hasn’t heard it before.

  8. I enjoyed the puzzle and finished in 9 mins for the second QC in a row so by my reckoning tomorrow will be a stinker! COD Manslaughter.

    For any others out there who are relatively new to cryptics I’d recommend giving the Saturday Jumbo from the weekend a bash. It was the first time I’ve finished that puzzle and others may have similar joy?

    1. Indeed, there is however a bear-trap of an unchecked letter in an answer that can be spelt two ways.
      1. Thanks Jack. Having read your note I should edit my previous post to say that I almost finished Saturday’s Jumbo but made a mistake with 1 letter that took until this morning to correct!
        1. It’s possible the Editor will allow alterntives on that one if enough people query it. I had thought the alternative was exclusively American, but apparently that’s not so.
  9. Thanks to Oink for a happy start to the week with some good clues and a chuckle or two. I managed to stay on the right side of 12 mins. The NW went in quickly, apart from COBRA which should have clicked more quickly. I liked ENGRAVING, PEERLESS, and LOI TRANSPIRE. John M.
    BTW, following on from Uncle B above, I enjoyed both of the weekend Prize Cryptics and found them readily accessible.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 09:42 am (UTC)

  10. ….COBRA in this context , but it’s fairly parsed, and fairly apt since the majority of politicians speak with forked tongues.

    My first thought at 1A was dunghill, but I passed by.

    When I’m asked for my favourite clue of all time, it’s a Times clue from very many years ago : “This cylinder is jammed” (5,4). Don’t post any suggestions, and I’ll put the answer on here tomorrow.

    TIME 4:01

  11. 16.50, so a new PB for me. LOI was TRANSPIRE. COLLIER was a bit of a chestnut but a lovely surface.
    My favourite clue was from, I think, The Telegraph –
    x + (2 – w) + 2 = 1.50
    for which I needed all the checkers to get


  12. An enjoyable start to the week, where I fell over the line in 6:20. LOI was 21ac where the answer was plain, but I couldn’t parse it. Thanks to Oink and Don.


  13. For 15a, hought I should mention that Madras is the “old” name of the Indian city now called Chennai.



  14. I had my usual battle with Oink as I seem to struggle to get on his/her wavelength, the NW proving particularly stubborn. Having finished it I wonder why as there is nothing obscure and the parsing is all fair. Maybe I was just being a bit dense as it took me a couple of minutes to come up with yhe Russian leader with all the checkers in place!!
    Finished in 16.24 with LOI MOUSE
    Thanks for the blog astartedon and the tip re. Saturday’s jumbo uncle bulgaria
  15. I found this quite tough, couldn’t get going at all so started in the SW corner and worked up. Found myself misdirected a number of times and the anagrams were slow to come. Ah well, maybe another day.
    LOI and COD HAYSTACK – neat simple clue.
  16. An enjoyable puzzle; Oink crafts lots of fun clues. I particularly enjoyed PEERLESS and THEATRICALLY (brilliant surface). 2 Kevins, a Good Day. Would have been faster had I been able to remember “collier” as a coal miner; I only think of it as a ship carrying coal (too many shipping disputes as a young lawyer!).

    Thanks Oink and Don.


  17. I have a gift for messing up the simplest of clues, and today was no exception. A carelessly biffed Inn for 19ac played havoc with the SE corner until I realised that I**he was never going to give me anything to do with swimming. 26mins in the end, with 8d, Manslaughter my favourite right up to the point when the penny dropped for 21ac, Tot Up. A nice puzzle from Oink. Invariant
  18. Slowed down by a couple, particularly MANSLAUGHTER and LOI ENGRAVING for 12.38. Liked 1ac which I didn’t twig till late. An old favourite of mine: ‘Pain?’ (6,5). And thanks, rotter, for reminding me of yours which I was trying to recall.
  19. I was just inside 8 mins to complete the solve with LOI 4d COBRA. The NE corner slowed my down, in general, and I nearly bunged in the wrong EERIE at 7d. 1a HAYSTACK was my FOI and 8d MANSLAUGHTER my COD. Thanks Oink and astartedon.
  20. 17 mins, started slowly but finished quickly.

    Last few were Stalin (not tracin!), humerus and haystack.
    Cod manslaughter.

    Are these one word clues like Pain? allowed in the times, what about the wordplay.
    Maybe its the telegraph where my dad liked
    SG e.g. (4)


  21. Quick for us at 16m. Wrote in 13 without parsing the first element, also 1d without understanding the reporter part of it. Gentle start to the week.
  22. Quick for us at 16m. Wrote in 13 without parsing the first element, also 1d without understanding the reporter part of it. Gentle start to the week.
  23. Enjoyed this and managed to finish in 19 minutes. There is often one I can’t parse and today’s was BATHE so thanks for the blog.

    …. which may well become my favourite of all time when I have enough cryptics under my belt! In the meantime, I shall be looking out for the solutions to the favourite clues provided today. (I haven’t managed to solve them yet.) MM

  24. You probably won’t see this as I’m several days behind. But I remember this from science lessons at school a VERY long time ago:

    Little Johnny’s dead and gone
    His face we’ll see no more.
    For what he thought was H2O
    Was H2SO4

    An old chestnut I suspect


Comments are closed.