QC 2627 by Oink

A little tougher than last week, but some very elegant surfaces. 12:22 for me.

Is it just me or is this puzzle missing a porcine clue?

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

1 I deceive a superstar (4)
ICON – I + CON (deceive)
4 Gets near foreign police officer (8)
SERGEANT – (GETS NEAR)* [“foreign” as the anagram indicator]

I initially thought I was looking for a “foreign police officer” and spent too long trying to make “gendarme” work.

8 Preparing  mayonnaise perhaps (8)
DRESSING – Double def
9 Windsor Castle hosting celebrated hunter (4)
ORCA – Hidden in Windsor Castle

I did not immediately think of ORCA, is it really that celebrated? I think clue is better without it.

10 Ingratiating — and regularly ignored socially (4)
OILY – {s}O{c}I{a}L{l}Y [“regularly ignored”]
11 Detective inspector’s instruction resulting in complaint (8)
DISORDER – DIS (Detective Inspector’s) + ORDER (instruction)

…as in an illness, such as a bowel disorder.

12 Ancient city almost unrivalled (6)
THEBES – THE BES{t} (unrivalled)

This was the third 5 letter ancient city I clocked, after trying Athens and Sparta. Surprisingly there are TWO ancient cities called Thebes, one in Egypt established 3200 BC, inhabited for 3500 years, and one in Greece established around 1200 BC and still inhabited.

14 Others eating old man’s food (6)
REPAST – REST (others) contains PA (old man)

REPAST, like THESPIAN last Saturday is a word that seems to be used only ironically now.

16 Nightclub performer beginning to smooch with tourist? (8)
STRIPPER – S{mooch} + TRIPPER {tourist}

Oink must be going to different nightclubs than I went to in my youth. Tripper without its prefix of “day” seems dated.

18 Deer has courage, they say (4)
HART – Sounds like HEART (courage)

A HART is a male deer (esp. a red deer) officially after more than five years old.

As the HART panteth after the water brook. (Psalm 42 v1)

Also, this HART/HEART homonym is alluded to in Twelfth Night, where Curio, one of Orsino’s attendants, enters and asks him whether he will he come hunt the “hart”, and Orsino replies that it is is “heart” that is hunted.

19 Kitty having enjoyable day (4)
FUND – FUN (enjoyable) + D{ay}
20 I name Rex mistakenly as analyst (8)
EXAMINER – (I NAME REX)* [“mistakenly”]
22 Socialist briefly involved in plans for cathedral city (8)
CHARTRES – CHARTS (plans) contains RE{d} (socialist)

Probably the most glorious cathedral in Christendom.

23 Gossip about new chap from Washington DC? (4)
YANK – YAK (Gossip) contains N{ew}

Not the big hairy animal.

2 100 rhinos travelling from south-west? (7)
CORNISH – C(100) + (RHINOS)*
3 A street in New York that’s not very nice (5)
NASTY – NY  contains A + ST{reet}
4 Runner is upset going round centre of Tokyo (3)
SKI – SI [IS reversed] contains K [middle letter of toKyo]
5 A hospital doctor  who might marry you? (9)
REGISTRAR – Double def

Originally a junior doctor but now usually a middle-ranking hospital doctor undergoing training as a specialist or consultant. In the US this is called a resident.

6 In Rome I take LSD, a narcissistic act (3,4)
EGO TRIP – EGO [In Rome=Latin, so Latin for “I”] + TRIP (take LSD)
7 Hotel situated in pleasant bay (5)
NICHE – NICE (pleasant) contains H{otel}
11 Get lost!” mutinous paper said (9)
13 Learner in jam with Queen giving great performance (7)
BLINDER – BIND (jam) contains L{earner} + ER (Queen)

Since “The Queen” is now Camilla, Elizabeth is just “a queen”, so she should bow be referred to in lower case?

15 Son concealing longing to be a theatre performer? (7)
SURGEON – SON contains URGE (longing)
17 Lay hands on lout at last? That’s a sore point! (5)
TOUCH – {lou}T + OUCH (that’s a sore point)
18 Dangerous, much like Highland cattle? (5)
HAIRY – Double def
21 Singer knocking bishop out, the idiot (3)
ASS – BASS (singer) – B{ishop}

I sing Bass in my choir, and maintain that all Tenors are narcissists.

71 comments on “QC 2627 by Oink”

  1. 5:18 for me, which may be a PB. I also wondered where the pig was hiding. And why ORCAs are celebrated.

    1. Maybe SERGEANT? Tenuous, and not a little disrespectful I know, but it’s the only faintly porcine reference I can see.

  2. DNK BLINDER, so I put it in with fingers crossed, which added to my time. No problem with upper-case Queen; using lower case when upper is required (as with names) is a no-no. Now I know that Highland cattle are hairy. 6:37.

    1. “He played a Blinder” is much the same as “The boy done good” in football pundits vocabulary.

  3. Well done Paul, 8.32 for me. The only porcine reference I found was the last 60% of NASTY, which doesn’t really cut it. BLINDER and FUND held me up, along with SURGEON, I keep ignoring THAT theatre in these clues and thinking instead of the performer in 16ac. Thanks to Oink and Merlin, btw THEBES et al have six letters…

  4. 12 minutes. Like LindsayO the only porcine reference I spotted was STY, which may well have been unintended by the setter.

    Kevin has already made the point I was going to mention about ‘Queen’ in 13dn but in any case I wouldn’t see the continuing entitlement of Her late Majesty to a capital Q as a problem whether in a crossword clue or anywhere else.

  5. I completed this fairly quickly in about 9 or 10 minutes except for the last one CHARTRES which I’m ashamed to NHO. So DNF.

    I googled it and I’m unsure how that whole glorious place just passed me by.

  6. A pretty rapid 12 but I still felt it should have been faster. Held up pondering DISORDER for too long at the end and thinking ‘gendarme’ was an anagram of ‘gets harm’ and bunging it in too hastily (only 5/8 letters in fact!). Briefly wondered if ‘hind’ could mean courage before finding HART and then had a typo for inventing the EfO TRIP. A pink square to end a good run of accurate typing – I miss solving on paper.

  7. Brimming with confidence following completion of yesterday’s 15×15 (apart from some fantastically obscure Greek temple) I started this one very well but had to give up after 30 minutes having been breezeblocked by CHARTRES. So a disappointing DNF and back on the Special Table for the second day running. But it was a nice puzzle overall so thank you Oink and Merlin for your efforts. COD goes to SURGEON, that theatre performer who never fails to catch me out!

    1. Fantastically obscure?! I know that if you don’t know something, it’s by definition obscure so fair enough, but that temple is one of the least obscure temples in the world, visited by >2.6m people per year, more than Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, St Paul’s cathedral & Westminster Abbey.

    2. Me too ITTT – my first near finish in the 15×15 ever yesterday. Temple now in the memory bank!
      Fortunately I have driven past Chartres Cathedral many times whilst driving between The UK and France over the years so had no trouble once had the R and S at the end.
      Have printed 15×15 off today but still plucking up the courage to look at it as I’m sure I’ll be deflated after yesterday’s relative success!!

    3. Just done yesterday’s 15×15 in 31:43 – which is only 1min22 slower than Teazel’s QC and would be a PB. Except it feels tainted by the discussion here about the temple which I knew. Albeit I needed the second word to remember its name.

  8. Nice steady solve in 22.10, nicely below target. Thought we were heading for sub 2o but SW put up a bit of a fight until Mrs RH went overseas for cathedrals, I was still thinking Chester and Wells

    Also looked for porcine clue to no avail.

    Thanks oink and Merlin. PS I sing tenor in my choir …..

  9. Not a smooth solve – I jumped all over the grid – but a relatively rapid one, as I took just under 11 minutes to finish this one. Some good clues, and like others I always forget the medical meaning of theatre, but very surprised to find on coming here that it was by Oink. Not only is there no piggy reference, but it didn’t seem to have his usual style and vim.

    I didn’t notice the anachronistic reference to “the Queen” being ER. Which raises the question, would a reference in a clue to Queen Camilla signify CR? Same as her husband if so …

    Many thanks Merlin for the blog

    1. I think Queen is capitalised for the surface reading Cedric, as in Queen the band. I can never remember how the rules for capitalisation in clues work, but Kevin explains it above.

  10. 5:45 but I thought it was going to take a lot longer, with not many going in on the first pass. NHO CHARTRES but the clueing was generous enough.

    Thought BLINDER was quite good. Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  11. Fairly gentle from Oink but disappointed by the lack of porcine reference.
    A top to bottom solve starting with SERGEANT and finishing with FUND in a brisk 6.11 with COD to OILY for the surface.
    Thanks to Merlin.

  12. 5.52

    Nice Twelfth Night reference, thanks Merlin.

    Otherwise no problems here. Liked DISAPPEAR.

  13. DNF after 30m today.

    I breezed through the majority, then came to a screeching halt with the THEBES/BLINDER/CHARTRES triad. I knew the words/names but just couldn’t see them.

    CHARTRES is not to be confused with Chartreuse, a vile green poison which a former colleague suckered me into imbibing to excess. Never again. Ever.

    The only porcine link I can think of is ORCA, but it’s so tenuous as to be coincidental rather than intentional. National Geographic says: “According to molecular evidence, the closest living relatives of whales are, quite surprisingly, the artiodactyls, a group of hoofed mammals that includes deer, cows, sheep, pigs, giraffes, camels and hippos.”

    1. When I was 13, I had a daring glass of crème de menthe on a school trip to France, and consequently have heroically avoided any form of alcohol involving the colour green for over 55 years. Fortunately, other colours are available. . .

      1. For me it was Pernod and Blackcurrant, probably similar issues with the purple that others had with the green 🤮

  14. 3:45. Held up at the end by DISORDER after wondering if DISBRIEF is a word and saved my bacon bydeciding not. Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  15. I thought I was on for a record today until I hit the sw where I had to use an aid for the cathedral (my other half) and a fat finger never helps so a dnf.

  16. 6:22 (death of Colmán mac Cobthaig, King of Connacht)

    I was completely on Oink’s wavelength today, and flew through. I think 6:22 may be a PB.

    COD has to be 18d, although the HAIRY beastie in my avatar is not especially dangerous.

    Thanks Oink and Merlin

  17. Just into the SCC, THEBES was a clever clue which looks like it must have been done before but was new, and a delay, to me. CHARTRES was only a little less testing as I was being very UK centric; tsk. Liked SURGEON, neat deceit.

    1. Quick search suggests THEBES has come up in the QC clued liked that a couple of times by Rongo in July 2014 (#98) and Izetti in June 2021 (#1891) plus Grumpy (194 – Dec 2014) went the other way adding a T to get “the best”. There’s also a couple of anagrammed versions of THEBES – “he bets”. I’m sure I’ve seen it before but those are all before my time, so it must have come up elsewhere.

  18. Finished inside target at 9.02, in spite of a delay sorting out the ne corner after putting in GENDARME without stopping to check that the anagram was correct. Held up a little at the end by DISORDER for some reason, even though it was relatively straightforward. No trouble with CHARTRES, remembering my lecturer in the school of architecture going into raptures about it. I visited it some 20 years later, and his feelings were spot on. It was magnificent.

  19. 6:10

    Very comfortable grid from Oink – maybe the porkular references will be less easy to spot from now on, hence naSTY? DRESSING, OILY, THEBES and CHARTRES failed to go in from the first pass of acrosses. Finished up in the SW with BLINDER and FUND.

    Thanks Oink and Merlin

  20. Pretty straightforward – all done in 7 mins.
    I wonder whether 2d is our porcine clue? Cornish Black is a pig breed.

  21. As I cruised this, I did wonder if Oink had run out of porcine clues – maybe he’s just got boared…… I’ll get my coat.

    TIME 3:47

  22. 27:45 … the joy I was experiencing as the answers flew in for the first 8-10mins, leaving only the five in the SW corner to do, was long gone by the time I finished.

    A foreign, religious clue is my stuff of nightmares and the only positive is that I didn’t just biff ChartrIs when it eventually came to me. FUND/TOUCH pairing also held me up for a while with the latter wanting to be THUMP.

    Meh. I just don’t seem to be able to complete these quickly this year, there’s always a breezeblock. Getting a bit tired of always being hamstrung by the endgame.

  23. I suspect that Oink has just tired of the gimmick. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. No drop in the quality of his setting though, another really entertaining solve. Many to choose from but my COD goes to FUND.

    I was fast through that until breezeblocking on SURGEON … I have fallen for the “number” trick so many times that I now tend to spot it, but when will I remember that there is more than one type of theatre? Arrggh. Eventually the penny dropped for 06:47, which is K + a whisker, but it has to go down as a Could Have Been Better Day.

    Many thanks Oink and Merlin.


  24. There was a sting in the tail for me today as I got stuck on several clues at the end. FUND was difficult and I needed that to get BLINDER. I was sure 18a had to be HIND and like others I was stuck in the wrong theatre.
    Anyway all sorted in 14 minutes. LOI SURGEON.

  25. Aargh, also breezeblocked on SURGEON. Very fast but then stuck on that, also slow on DISORDER (complaint? well, a medical complaint, I suppose).
    My mother had a not terribly funny joke about Pants-the-hart for cooling streams.
    Have visited CHARTRES luckily.
    Thanks vm, Merlin.
    Oh yes, hidden NaSTY.

  26. 12:47. BLINDER, STRIPPER, and EGO TRIP were most fun for me. I thought REGISTRAR was weak as it seemed to just be clued by two straight definitions. Unable to let the piglessness of an Oink puzzle go by, I decided to consider OILY as a reference to the juicy dripping fattiness of a succulent pork roast.

  27. Much easier for me than yesterday. Another to biff gendarme only to find that SKI didn’t work. Thought of CHARTRES straight away which helped me solve both TOUCH and BLINDER (reference to Queen the band was totally lost on me – I was thinking queen bees and jam 🤪). LOI was SURGEON (when will I remember other theatre performers are available). Enjoyable. Thanks Merlin. Never been to Chartres but will now google some pictures following your comments.

    On edit: Looks incredible

  28. A steady but not particularly quick solve for me. All finished and parsed in 19 minutes. I fell into all the traps that have already been mentioned (foreign police officer, wrong sort of theatre, etc) on my way to completion. On reviewing the completed puzzle I decided that the final part of 3dn was probably the familiar porcine reference.

    FOI – 1ac ICON
    LOI – 15dn SURGEON
    COD – 6dn EGO TRIP

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin

  29. A quick start with the first half dozen across answers going straight in. A little slower (Hart and Chartres) after that and somewhat surprised to see that Oink has stuck with his old fashioned Yank cousin, rather than the trendy Amer(😉). All those crossers made the downs seem fairly straightforward, but loi Surgeon (caught out, yet again 🙄) just nudged me into the SCC. CoD to 13d, Blinder, for the surface. Invariant

  30. DNF but close and a much more appropriate QC than yesterday’s. Not sure about the clue yank from Washington DC. Still all but 3 solved for me which is good. Thank you Oink.

  31. Very enjoyable. Plenty of PDM that raised a smile. Pigs are hairy beasts and create a lot of disorder but was sorry not to find anything more obvious. Thanks for grid and blog!

  32. I got horribly stuck in the SE corner. I had a bit of a doh moment when I got SURGEON but the N didn’t help me solve YANK as I had already gleaned that there was an N in the answer. YAK then gave me HAIRY and finally HART. Also failed to parse EGO TRIP but did remember the definition of NICHE from a previous discussion here. 7:41

  33. Actually finished it (in the train, so no aids), LOI SURGEON, forgot that theatre. But CNP BLINDER; please, how is “jam” = BIND?

    1. Collins

      in British English
      18. informal
      a difficult or annoying situation

      in British English
      11. informal
      a difficult situation; predicament
      to help a friend out of a jam

      1. And nice to receive your friendly comment – thank you. I’m still here in spirit – read you all every day – only ashamed to register regularly yet another failure for one uninteresting reason or another. Greetings!

  34. 11 mins…

    I thought this was at the easiest end of the spectrum if I’m being honest. Although, it doesn’t matter how many times I see the clue relating to 15dn, I always fail to immediately think whether it could relate to an operating theatre.

    FOI – 1ac “Icon”
    LOI – 15dn “Surgeon”
    COD – 12ac “Thebes”

    Thanks as usual!

  35. 13.34 This was going very well but OILY, DISORDER, SURGEON and HART doubled my time. Thanks Merlin and Oink.

  36. I was breezing through this until I got blocked in the SE corner. YANK, SURGEON, HAIRY and LOI HART took a while. 7:59. Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  37. Enjoyable puzzle, for one of us at least. LOI blinder. Finished in about 30 m, which is OK for us.

  38. Oh well, never mind! Again! 63 minutes yesterday, 47 minutes today. And thrashed by around 25 minutes by Mrs R on both days. A sudden loss of form.

    Once again the across clues were largely unyielding early on, but I did get seven of the downs on first pass and I reached the halfway point after about 15 minutes. Trouble was that I had very little written in in the bottom half of the grid, which gave me few checkers to work with. The toughest and last clues to fall included SURGEON, YANK, HART, HAIRY, CHARTRES, BLINDER, STRIPPER and TOUCH (my LOI), where I had ThUmP written in faintly for a while.

    1 hour 50 mins already, this week. Crumbs!

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin.

  39. SW corner caused problems
    I am sure that stripper has come up before.
    Thinking of drinks and colours makes me think of absinthe makes..

  40. I join the list of those who had SURGEON as LOI. YANK, FUND and TOUCH were the others to hold me up, may be as I was also trying to find a porcine reference.

  41. 30 mins. With Fund and Sturgeon being my last 2.

    If people think Orca are not celebrated hunters, they certainly haven’t watched many David Attenborough documentaries.

    Thanks all

  42. Another poor day.

    My first 16 answers were write-ins. My last 10 answers were not.

    Eventually finished in 17.5 mins for a disappointing day, considering what might have been.

    Just not happening for me ☹️

    Thanks for the blog.

  43. 18:40

    This seems to come up so often and every time I kick myself and say “oh, of course, that type of theatre”. OnCe the penny dropped for SURGEON I could change LOI from HIND to HART.

  44. 12:21, recording that for the Quitch, although done a day late due to early meetings. I thought the top half & the bottom half were set by different people: almost all of the top flew in & none of the bottom. The last five minutes were spent on the SW corner, but once I figured out BLINDER, the remaining ones came reasonably quickly.

    Thanks to Merlin and Oink.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *