Quick Cryptic 2306 by Oink – Some Pig

Oink is our setter today with a well-balanced puzzle, about medium level of difficulty as I see it.

Today’s puzzle has three homophones which seems a bit on the high side. They usually seem to generate discussion about rhotic vs non-rhotic vowels. Mercifully our three today are (I think) the same in Southern English, Scottish and American.

I found the NE corner a bit trickier due to an error at 4d. Knowing when to back-up and revisit some “solved” clues is all part of the art. As I see it, not all clues can be parsed fully and some of the time this will trip me up. Today was one of those days.


Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Scary nun going round Northern Ireland (8)

Misdirection right at the start, with the tempting seven letters of “Scary nun” starting a wild goose chase for that one Northern Irish County I can never remember.

5 Time spent in a stupor, might one say? (4)
DAYS – Homophone for DAZE
9 Lover of capital overjoyed at first (5)
ROMEO – ROME + O{verjoyed}.

Bit of a gimme, my FOI.

10 Mother foolishly embracing European proposition (7)

I got in a mess here as I was trying to make mother=dam work.

11 Death occurring within seven days (3)
END – “within” seven days
12 Rough recipes I’m developing (9)
IMPRECISE – (RECIPES IM)* indicated by “developing”
13 Nothing by daughter in gallery so far (2,4)
TO DATE – O (nothing) + D{aughter} inside TATE.

The Tate is the only gallery ever seen in crosswords. Would be good to see the Guggenheim now and again.

15 Comedian’s cry of pain? (6)

A comedian can be called a bit of a scream: dated usage now, I think.

17 Dish one might be served in press bar I suspect (5,4)
SPARE RIBS – (PRESS BAR I)* “suspect”.

As the setter is Oink, a piggy reference is to be expected, but I took a bit of time to see this well-disguised anagram.

19 Teacher is taken aback, meeting resistance (3)
SIR – SI (IS reversed) + R{esistance}
20 Went to bed, exhausted by Bible lessons perhaps (7)
RETIRED – DD, where the second is a whimsical usage of someone who is tired of RE (Religious Education), therefore exhausted by Bible lessons.
21 Current arrangement is perfect (5)
IDEAL – I (Current) + DEAL (arrangement)

With R for Resistance and now I for Current we have 2/3 of Ohms law today.

22 Settlement is crowded, I hear (4)
PACT – Homophone (“I hear”) for PACKED (crowded)
23 Unfortunately Maya isn’t one to depend on (8)
MAINSTAY – (MAYA ISNT)*  anagram indicated by “unfortunately”

Mainstay was originally a stay (rope) from the top of the main mast.

1 Tempting creature mischievously present (7)
SERPENT – (PRESENT)* anagram indicated by “mischievously”

The definition relates to Genesis where the serpent tempts Eve in the Garden of Eden. Good clue.

2 I refuse to meet deranged traveller (5)
NOMAD – NO (I refuse) + MAD (deranged)
3 Wounded? This will give you a boost (4,2,3,3)

Shot in the Arm being a metaphor cliché for an improvement. According to OED, originally US from 1920s.

4 Finish off attack, sacrificing bishop (3,2)
EAT UP – [B]EAT-UP (attack).

I had END UP for some time, leading to trouble at 10a.

6 Approach taken by Sky or easyJet? (7)
AIRLINE – AIR (sky) + LINE (approach)

My LOI along with DAYS. The EasyJet part is a “definition by example”, which is indicated by a “?”. The reversal of the words is allowed in a whimsical way, so the question mark is doing double duty.

7 1000 trapped in a remarkable battle (5)
SOMME – M(1000 in Roman Numbers) in SOME (remarkable)

“Some” as in “Wow, that was some game”. Famously features in Charlotte’s Web, where Charlotte writes “Some Pig” in her Web. Maybe Oink had a self-reference here.

8 Consequence of Royal Engineers striking? (12)
REPERCUSSION – RE (Royal Engineers) + PERCUSSION (striking)
14 Radical doctor caught drinking wine (7)
DRASTIC – DR + ASTI (wine) + C{aught}

C for caught is from a cricket scorecard, where you’ll also find R{un}, M{aiden} and O{ver} which setters often like.

16 Medical officer needing to recover in the proper way (7)
MORALLY – MO (Medical Officer) + RALLY (recover)

Oink is generous here, with Medical Officer helpfully clued. Look out for MO clued as just Medic or Doctor. Also MO as in “just a mo[ment]” so an alternative clue might have been

Properly recover after a short time (7)

17 Bit of a fight? (5)
18 Country needing popular support after revolution (5)
INDIA – IN(popular) + DIA (AID reversed (“after revolution”))
19 Perfume dispatched, they say (5)
SCENT – Homophone for SENT (dispatched)

In the U/Non-U world “Scent” is the preferred U word for “perfume”. You have been told.

62 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2306 by Oink – Some Pig”

  1. I biffed SOMME, never dealt with the 1000. I didn’t think of DAM, but did try MA with THEOREM. 6:41.

  2. I tried the ‘dam’ route to accommodate ‘end up’ too before going back to my first thought and unravelling the anagram. Only managed to enter theorRm, and so coming unstuck with my second to last keystroke. Started well with nine on the first pass of acrosses but then had to work hard to get to teh end. Not all green in 13.

    1. The symbol for current is I, which originates from the French phrase intensité du courant, (current intensity). The I symbol was used by André-Marie Ampère, after whom the unit of electric current is named (1820).

    2. I is the symbol for electric current, as in Ohm’s Law (I=V/R). Current=I shows up a lot, so it’s worth remembering.

  3. 11:29. Saw SINISTER early on but then became bogged down and stuck on a few like THEOREM and PERCUSSION, my LOI. Yes, it was definitely SCENT when I was growing up along with table napkin, pudding, sofa and all the rest. “Hock” seems to have been the crossword vin de table lately, so no complaints about ASTI, this time anyway.

    Thanks to Oink and Merlin

  4. Got into an awful mess in the NE due to a biffed END UP and then spent time going down the ‘dam’ route (nice to see I’m in good company). Doubly frustrating that I didn’t revisit it sooner as it seemed even less likely an answer after END went in at 11a. LOI SOMME went in unparsed as I couldn’t make some and remarkable match up. Finished in 8.49.
    Thanks to Merlin

  5. DNF what was actually a relatively straightforward puzzle, beaten by foolishly going for DAZE not DAYS and so SOMME always out of reach.

    Enjoyable puzzle but, even though I got it, SCREAM as a direct synonym for comedian is a fair stretch for me.

    Liked SHOT IN THE ARM and PACT

    Thanks Oink and Merlin.

    1. I had the same thoughts about ‘comedian / SCREAM’ and was going to say so but checked Chambers Crossword Dictionary and found it there (at least the other way round) so decided to let it pass without comment. But now you have raised it, I’m prompted to say that I’m still not entirely happy with it.

      1. I looked it up in the OED and felt that it was probably OK, and decided that “dated usage” would just about cover it.

        1. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain and justify – it is hugely appreciated. I am fully returned to a state of gruntlement.

        2. I always associate it with my mother-in-law (born 1901) who used it frequently. So, yes, dated.

    2. Not sure you’d hear it now but when I was growing up I can remember the adults saying “Oh that, Mike Yarwood / Ken Dodd / Lenny Henry / Les Dawson* – he’s a scream” for whoever they found hilarious. Comedian=scream seems okay to me.

      * Select / delete as you feel appropriate

      1. Yep, I’ve heard it used in exactly the way you describe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard it today (although I haven’t in a while). I’m not saying it’s entirely inappropriate, but I think it’s a stretch as a direct synonym in a quickie. The word could be applied to a night out, a funny incident, a comedy film or just someone you know who is good fun…the possibilities are so broad that ‘a comedian’ simply doesn’t cut it for me as a strong enough clue (although maybe I should shut up because I did get it right in solving!!). If as Jackkt points out it’s in Chambers Crossword Dictionary, then I really should not be disgruntled by it. But I still am. A little bit.

    3. I agree SCREAM for comedian seems a stretch but if you think of comedian not just formally as an entertainer on stage but rather anyone in general who does something funny. When a child makes you laugh you might say “That Johnny is such a comedian”.

      1. Agree with that entirely Curryowen – although that doesn’t particularly help unstretch it for me! However I am going to graciously bow to Merlin who took the time to respond above to make clear that he did his full research before parsing the clue for the blog and, so whether a little stretched or otherwise, I no longer have an issue with it!

  6. How curious. It seems that plenty others did as I did and carelessly biffed END UP for 4D to start with, even though it doesn’t fit the wordplay. Fortunately I saw the error of my ways when I looked at the checkers for 9A and couldn’t make a word… and that D wasn’t part of the anagrist. But it didn’t hold me up much. I didn’t see SOME = remarkable for 7D but just passed on. COD to 20A for the thought of exhausting Bible lessons. Thanks you Oink and Merlin. 4:07.

  7. A much tougher QC than Oink’s earlier offerings in my book. I started well but was delayed my many of the points made by Merlin and by bloggers before me. I found the anagrams straightforward but wasted time with ‘dam’ in 10a and hesitated for too long parsing SCREAM, EAT UP, and SOMME. DAYS took a while and REPERCUSSIONS was my COD and I thought it was my LOI until I realised I had missed out DRASTIC and PACT in the SW corner. Sadly I ended up on the cusp of the SCC.
    Thanks to OINK for a good, if slightly uneven, workout and to Merlin for a very good blog. John M.

  8. A bit stodgy for me, having to write out a couple of the anagrams – MAINSTAY and IMPRECISE, and still not seeing them quickly.

    DAYS was my LOI, and also took some time. I quite liked SHOT IN THE ARM and SOMME.


  9. Cleared all bar DAZE in a squeak under 10 minutes. However my LOI proved invisible for a couple of frustrating minutes.

  10. 31.31 for what looking back now seems mostly obvious. Clever definitions and surfaces from Oink prevented much biffing I suspect. Slow to spot the obvious SINISTER, END, ROMEO, NOMAD in the NW. But then it was a crossword where I needed checkers from other clues to get from one to the next. Struggled with the anagrams for MAINSTAY, SERPENT and particularly SPARE-RIBS without them.

    Was bothered by not understanding the Bible lessons part of RETIRED and anyone heard of REDIN the country?!? The some part of SOMME couldn’t understand either.

    Reached 27mins with my last two of REPERCUSSION / SCREAM but the checkers without the intersection “C” gave nothing away. Decided I wasn’t going to spend more than 20mins on it as neither seemed particularly alphabet trawlable.

    Ultimately quite enjoyed it, even if I feel a little slow now!

  11. Enjoyed this so thanks Oink and Merlin. I think Some for remarkable is a bit of a stretch but it had to be Somme

  12. Just could not get REPERCUSSION despite having all the checkers so DNF. I was convinced it began with RES for Royal EngineerS. Biffed SOMME, PDM THEOREM. Uncertain about it but, yes, funny people used to be a SCREAM.
    Missed that SPARE RIBS was pork ref!
    Thanks vm, Merlin.

  13. 10 minutes for me with no real problems except wasting some time looking for the obligatory pig and assuming I might have made an error.
    Happily I saw quickly that END UP would not work. My LOI was SCREAM -no problem with the definition.

  14. I do like Oink’s puzzles, they are very well judged and have lots of good surfaces.

    Held myself up by putting PAST at 5a (“time spent”/”passed out” … well it seemed like a good idea at the time) and only realising that it was wrong when I got SOMME. That left me looking at -A-S, which is a discouraging place for a trawl. Some while later, DAYS emerged.

    COD SPARE RIBS, time 07:36 for 1.2K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Oink and Merlin.


  15. Well clearly everyone found it a lot easier than me today, as I struggled over the line in 16.10. I seemed to have problems all over the grid, not helped by initially putting in DAZE for 5ac, and spending far too long trying to think of a place in Northern Island to fit what I thought was an anagram.
    I seem to be going through a bad patch in the QC lately, though curiously I’m doing better than average in the 15×15.

  16. Took me forever to find DAYS too, my LOI. Started well on the top half (SINISTER FOI) and then came to a dead stop. Saw SOMME but struggled to parse it. Nothing I shouldn’t have managed but one of those days! Over 30 mins. Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  17. I hope Oink hasn’t decided to forego his reputation as a gentle setter – this one seemed much more challenging than usual. Having joined the SCC queue with half a dozen to go, I pulled stumps with the intersecting Repercussion/Scream extant. Either one would have prompted the other, but neither came to mind. A pity, because there had been a lot to enjoy on the way to a DNF. Invariant

    1. I’m not convinced he is gentle anymore. I think we’ve been saying for a while his puzzles feel like they’ve become harder.

  18. 13:27

    Another taking the long way round via END UP.

    Think that SOME is more akin to ‘a remarkable’ than just ‘remarkable’ as in ‘that was some/a remarkable victory’.

    Thanks Oink and Merlin

  19. Either not on the wavelength or brain just not functioning today. DNF with 3 left in the SW and 2 in the NE. Couldn’t see the homophones at 5ac and 22ac and didn’t understand how to construct 6dn. Never saw the anagram at 17ac and had no idea about 14dn. Tried to fit both ‘hock’ and ‘port’ into the latter but never thought of ‘asti’. Gave up at 30 mins.

    FOI – 10ac THEOREM
    LOI – DNF

  20. I found this one difficult.

    Comedian = scream? Sorry, I thought that was poor. Not sure I liked SOME = remarkable, though I can see how it does work.

    Completed, but certainly not my favourite puzzle of recent times.


    1. I think you’re right. Sky and EasyJet are interested in airtime. Not sure that Sky ties in so well with airline.

  21. 6.17

    I really like Oink’s puzzles and this was no exception.

    Thought DAYS and SOMME would hold me up longer than they did but managed to avoid a long tank.

    Excellent blog as well.

    Thanks all

  22. 44.56, worst in a good while, though I did take a break. DAYS and REPERCUSSION just wouldn’t come. Until they did. The puzzle doesn’t look that hard in hindsight.

  23. 24 mins…

    I really liked this and thought there was some clever misdirection going on.

    Felt like there were quite a few cryptic/homophone clues which needed a few checkers to resolve – in particular, my main hold up was the SW corner and the “Scrap”/“Pact” axis.

    FOI – 2dn “Nomad”
    LOI – 22ac “Pact”
    COD – 7dn “Somme”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Completed most fairly readily, but had to resort to biffing a few to finish: DAYS, SOMME (SOME = REMARKABLE?), IDEAL (no idea about the “I”), SCREAM – just a guess with 3 letters already in. Good see Oink’s usual porcine reference in SPARE RIBS.

  25. I found this on the tougher side and had to skip a lot of clues in the top half, returning when I had more crossers. Got there eventually with REPERCUSSION LOI in 10:48. Thanks Oink and Merlin.

  26. A slow 25 mins today but thoroughly enjoyed. No problems with LOI comedian = scream (very commonly used when I was growing up in the 60s/70s), although needed all the checkers. I too had END UP initially which posed problems for THEOREM. Liked REPERCUSSION and RETIRED, and enjoyed the piggy reference in SPARE RIBS. Many thanks Merlin and Oink.

  27. A very odd solve, with ¾ done in rapid time but the NE corner proving extremely problematic and taking well over 10 minutes on its own. Total time 19 minutes for my slowest Oink for a long while.

    Commenting later means many of my issues have already been covered, such as remarkable = some and Scream for Comedian. I agree with those who found both of these loose and stretching things. I was also misled into End up (though I knew it didn’t parse), and struggled with Sky = air (why the capital S, I wonder?). And, and … enough, suffice it to say this was not my finest hour. But I did eventually get there.

    Many thanks to Merlin for the blog

  28. Just inside my target, solving on iPhone in M&S car park, which now looks like a reasonable result given the comments above. I didn’t know it was Oink, which also makes a difference. Thanks both.

  29. Nearly back in the SCC at 18:10. Uusally I find Oink one of the friendlier compilers, but today was a bit of a struggle. Apart from 5a, where I mistakenly biffed DAZE which made SOMME impossible, I can’t really say why – I was just very slow on the uptake. But, as always, his (I assume Oink is a he) clues were very entertaining as well as succinct! Lots of potential CODs, but I particularly liked SINISTER, RETIRED and SHOT IN THE ARM.
    FOI Sinister LOI Somme COD Repercussion
    Thanks Oink and Merlin

  30. The LHS went in quite easily, but the RHS proved a much tougher challenge – especially the NE corner. My last four (THEOREM, AIRLINE, SOMME and DAYS) took more than a quarter of an hour to crack.
    In the end, I crossed the line in 37 minutes with all but SOMME (where I never equated SOME with remarkable) fully parsed.

    I think Mrs Random will make her attempt later this evening, as we’re each visiting our parents (who have an impressive combined age of 365!) in different counties today. All four have their medical and physical problems, but all are also stoic and seem to be made of sterner stuff than (namby-pamby) me.

    Many thanks to Oink and Merlin.

    1. My and my wife’s folks add up to 358 years, but with only one still chugging along I don’t think our foursome will surpass your total. Good health and many more years to all parents and in-laws!

  31. Thought this was going to be my first completion of 2023 but a dnf due to AIRSIDE instead of AIRLINE.
    Biffed IDEAL as forgot I for current despite passing higher science. Another one to note for the future.
    But overall a very enjoyable puzzle and I felt I was on the same wavelength as Oink most of the way. Thanks Merlin for the explanations.

  32. The good news is I finished this QC. The bad news is my time, somewhere just under an hour.

    I struggled throughout and was not on the wavelength.

    I’m going for a lie down!

    Thanks for the much-needed blog.

  33. Lovely QC; finished in just under half an hour after being led astray by daze for DAYS. I still find homophone clues very difficult and this one reads to me that it leads to the answer to ‘time spent’ said as… because it is the subject of the first clause. The remaining clues are utterly fair. COD serpent for a glorious surface. Thanks oink and Merlin.

  34. I enjoyed this one, finished in 10:35, which is fast for me. Particularly liked REPERCUSSION: my COD.
    Thanks to Oink and Merlin.

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