Quick Cryptic 2723 by Oink


A reasonably gentle offering from Oink this week.

I had my usual problems with a few in the NW corner and some of the parsing was difficult to categorise as described below; if anyone has any better ideas or can explain things more clearly, please don’t be shy. Overall, apart perhaps from the sense in 13a, there was nothing I found too unfair or obscure. Finished in 8:12.

Thanks to Oink.

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions / removals indicated by strikethrough.

1 Left on beach, exhausted (6-2)
WASHED-UP – Double definition
6 Inventor giving you a ring? (4)
BELL – Extended definition referring to the Scottish-Canadian inventor Alexander Graham BELL who is credited with the invention of the first practical telephone. This could also be parsed as a double definition with BELL for (something) ‘giving you a ring?’.
8 Job queen performed dutifully at first (6)
ERRANDER (‘queen’) RAN (‘performed’) Dutifully (‘dutifully at first)

This was my LOI for some reason, though in retrospect it doesn’t seem hard.

9 A route not designed for heavy traffic overseas (6)
ABROADA (‘A’) B ROAD (‘route not designed for heavy traffic’)
10 The weary walk of a policeman? (4)
PLOD – Double definition cum cryptic definition

Referring to the colloquialism of PC PLOD for ‘policeman’

11 Large creature Pat and Helen shot (8)
ELEPHANT – Anagram (‘shot’) of PAT and HELEN
12 Maoist ruthlessly gathers support (5)
STRUT – Hidden (‘gathers’) in ‘MaoiST RUThlessly’
13 Confront poet getting hold of an E (5)
BEARDBARD (‘poet’) containing (‘getting hold of an’) E (‘E’)

Not in common usage, but BEARD as a verb is to ‘oppose boldly or impertinently’ (Collins)

15 Enraged about English traitor (8)
RENEGADE – Anagram (‘about’) of ENRAGED then E (‘English’)
17 Society girl bankrupt finally — because of this? (4)
DEBTDEB (‘Society girl’) bankrupT (‘bankrupt finally’)

Whole clue as the definition, with ‘because of this’ not part of the wordplay, so seems like a semi-&lit to me.

19 Organise escape of special group (6)
SPRINGSP (‘special’) RING (‘group’)

As into SPRING someone from prison, with echoes of “The Sweeney” et al. Take your pick for ‘special’ in crosswords; it can be either S or SP.

20 Take part in play, oddly unable to be real (6)
ACTUALACT (‘Take part in play’) UnAbLe (‘oddly unable’)
21 Lake that’s spooky by all accounts (4)
ERIE – Aural wordplay (‘by all accounts’) on EERIE (‘spooky’)
22 Pressure on detective inspector creating anxiety (8)
DISTRESSSTRESS (‘Pressure’) following in an across clue (‘on’) DI (‘detective inspector’)
2 Pair in trouble this month (5)
APRILPR (‘Pair’) contained in (‘in’) AIL (‘trouble’)
3 Catching duck is not so easy for a squirrel! (7)
HOARDERHARDER (‘not so easy’) containing (‘Catching’) O (‘duck’)

The Yoda-speak word order is off-putting here, I presume intentionally. To see the parsing more obviously, the clue could have been written as ‘Not so easy is catching duck’ but the surface wouldn’t have made much sense.

‘Squirrel’ as a colloquialism for someone who collects and stores away objects.

4 Old man running up and down (3)
DAD – The word DAD is a palindrome (‘running up and down’)
5 Pacific, a place bee buzzes about (9)
PEACEABLE – Anagram (‘buzzes about’) of A PLACE BEE
6 Origin of bunk discussed (5)
BIRTH – Aural wordplay (‘discussed’) on BERTH (‘bunk’)
7 Inclined to accept Republican is well-informed (7)
LEARNEDLEANED (‘Inclined’) containing (‘to accept’) R (‘Republican’)
11 Alienated editor drinking rum (9)
ESTRANGEDED (‘editor’) containing (‘drinking’) STRANGE (‘rum’)

Nice surface. Maybe in the days of Fleet Street but would never happen now.

12 Spy who’s still in bed? (7)
SLEEPER – Double definition, the second slightly cryptic
14 One checking car on hill (7)
AUDITORAUDI (‘car’) above in a down clue (‘on’) TOR (‘hill’)

AUDI for ‘car’ comes up frequently in crosswords, I think even more so than another four-letter alternative, MINI.

16 Old flame joining French island émigré (5)
EXILEEX (‘Old flame’) ÎLE (‘French island’)
18 Forest dwellers love visiting pubs (5)
BOARSO (‘love’) contained in (‘visiting’) BARS (‘pubs’)

Our porcine clue at last.

20 Idiot singer knocking bishop out (3)
ASSbASS (‘singer knocking bishop out’)

58 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2723 by Oink”

  1. 9:15

    I nho that meaning of BEARD. I did try BARED at one point but luckily the checkers didn’t work out.

    Do they still do Deb balls? I was a flower girl for one when I was 6. I was in a beautiful white dress and mum gave me shiny patent red heels for some reason. Really stood out.

  2. Blew it, dammit. 6.40-odd but WOE, inexplicably for DISTRESS I unthinkingly put DISTRUST which makes no sense. Maybe I was thinking of the hidden STRUT at 12ac which at first I thought was truth (which also makes no sense). Never mind, otherwise plain sailing. BR helped out with APRIL (I thought it was an anagram of ‘pair’ and wondered where the L came from) and ACTUAL which I just biffed. I wondered about BEARD for a while then remembered ‘beard the lion in his den.’

  3. 11 minutes with time lost by having POP at 4dn until problems solving 1ac and 8ac forced me to reconsider.

    1. I started with POP, too; odd, since I never used that word, always called my father Dad.

  4. Hastily put in ‘beat’ which almost works for PLOD and then ‘pop’ where DAD ended up, so put a couple of obstacles in my own path but mostly smooth progress where it was only “overseas” that stopped me putting ‘airway’ for ABROAD – not that aeroplanes aren’t heavy. I think APRIL clued exactly like this was in the Telegraph at the weekend but that didn’t stop me trying to do the same as Lindsay and anagram ‘pair’. All green in 12.02.

  5. Hurrah, right on the piggy wavelength finishing in 15.20, one of our top 5 times I should think. And all parsed apart from April, thanks BR.

    Plod brought a smile.

    Maybe bell is a triple def as there is also the Arthur Daley phrase “giving you a bell” meaning calling/ringing, that was how we read it.

    Thanks Oink

  6. Sped through this one with my only minor delays being in the NE where BELL and LOI BIRTH proved strangely obdurate.
    Finished in 5.30 with my favourites being BEARD and SLEEPER.
    Thanks to BR

  7. 16:20

    SE corner was my undoing. NHO BEARD as a verb, and BARED for “confront” looked just as likely. Tough word for a QC. For me ACTUAL contained multiple misdirections, I matched “play oddly” as PA, or (PLAY) anagrammed, “take part in” as BE, IN, DO etc. hence LOI.

    Did not see the Aural Wordplay for BIRTH/BERTH, needed the blog for that.

    Thanks to BletchleyR for covering my usual Tuesday slot while I’m on holiday.

  8. I found that hard for some reason – almost half the acrosses missing after first pass 🫣. Definitely not on wavelength, but it didn’t matter anyway because I DNF’d, stupidly putting BERTH even though I could see which the homophone was! So a Thicko Day for me, extra coffee required. COD to ELEPHANT, lovely surface.

    Many thanks Oink and Bletchers.

  9. 7:21
    I nearly fell in the BEARS trap, but spotted the O in time, and the need for a porcine answer in a Oink crossword.

    Thanks BR and Oink

  10. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I struggled for 15 minutes on a puzzle others found nothing like so demanding, today a 5½ minute solve (not far short of a PB), with no hold-ups, no queries and no end of smiles. Who knows why?

    COD to Plod – that’s been me these last few days, but not today.

    Many thanks BR for the blog

  11. 6:08

    Not much to say really. Another that couldn’t see the parsing of APRIL at first. POP also temporarily in at 4d but thought it less likely that the first word of 1a would end in P. Also looked at 15a for several seconds trying to solve the anagram in my head.

    Thanks Bletch and Oink

  12. You wait an age for a sub 4, then 3 come along at once (I did Saturday’s after Monday’s yesterday in a similar time).

    Today’s seemed pretty straightforward to me, RENEGADE was LOI. APRIL parsed only after submission.


  13. Fairly gentle for an Oink puzzle, with BOARS the usual porcine referrence. My LOI was’like our blogger, ERRAND. NHO BEARD = Confront.

  14. Pretty straightforward as far as I was concerned. The only clue that I hesitated on was 13ac, where BEARD seemingly had to be the answer, but not being a Shakespearean buff the definition was unknown to me. I didn’t start too quickly but was speedy to completion, finally crossing the line with ABROAD (good clue) in 7.10.

  15. 8:33

    Pleasingly challenging for me. Slower on the top half than the bottom, although LOI was COD SPRING.

    FOI PLOD, not a problem for an Essex boy.

    Thanks BR and Oink

  16. I started slowly, but once I had a few letters things went quickly; finished in just under 10 minutes.
    LOI DISTRESS which confirmed ASS which I had failed to parse.
    I too was confused by the parsing of APRIL so thanks for clearing that up.
    Enjoyed this very much. Some great surfaces. COD to ABROAD.

  17. All very gentle this morning. LOI RENEGADE, which foxed me for a while until I bfd the answer and realised it was an anagram. Got APRIL and HOARDER before I realised 1A was WASHED UP, after looking for a word for ‘beach’ and L rather than a DD.

  18. Two days in a row of comfortable solving – there must be a real brute hovering just over the horizon…. Not much to be said on this and what there is, others have already spoken, so thanks to Oink and I’m off to look at the rain again. At least I don’t have to water any plant pots.

  19. DNF

    Left ERRAND to the end and forgot to go back to it. I saw the 97% complete just as my finger pressed “submit”. D’oh. 5.24 till then

    Neat and tidy fare from Oink as always. Avoided POP as already had the D

  20. Enjoyable, a steady-ish solve but hesitated about a few. LOI the hidden STRUT. Other later solves included SLEEPER, BIRTH, HOARDER.
    Liked BELL, PLOD, ERRAND, ABROAD, and, of course, BOARS.
    Thanks vm, BR.

  21. 17 mins…

    Fairly gentle QC I thought. Only real hold up was the NW corner (I also started with “Pop” for 4dn – thinking more of an elderly man rather than “old man” in the slang sense), and 13ac “Beard”, where I initially had “Bared”.

    FOI – 6ac “Bell”
    LOI – 4dn “Dad”
    COD – 3dn “Hoarder”

    Thanks as usual!

  22. From WASHED UP to DISTRESSin 5:43. Paused to parse APRIL. DAD went straight in as I had the D from 1a. Thanks Oink and BR.

  23. Struggled in the top half, especially WASHED-UP where I was looking for beach plus L, and PEACEABLE (oh, that sort of pacific). Vaguely remembered BEARD meaning confront. Everything else went in fairly smoothly. COD to HOARDER which made me smile. Thanks BR and oink.

  24. 9:36 with a big hold up in the SW. SLEEPER then ESTRANGED cleared the blockage. I was another who had to change course from POP to DAD. Thanks all.

  25. 7:18
    I too opted for BARED until checkers appeared, but in hindsight the tense difference should have clued me in that it was wrong. Has it long been the case that clues can have multiple apparently correct answers? It was my understanding that Ximenes once stipulated this should not be the case, but POP seems to work equally well at 4d, as per other commenters’ suggestions.

  26. A fairly gentle offering from Oink, but with a good scattering of trickier clues to keep things interesting. I include the only vho Beard and the odd looking loi Peaceable as examples of Oink’s teasers for today. All put to bed (ah, yes, Sleeper also needed a second visit) around the 16min mark, with CoD to 3d, Hoarder, for the smile. Invariant

  27. Failed STRUT (NHO “gathers” as hidden indicator) and SPRING (NHO this to mean “organise escape”). Oh well, we keep learning. Thanks as ever for instructive blog.

  28. Finished correctly in 55 minutes. Hooray !
    Took a long time, maybe because I am not very good at this.
    I don’t care – I am just glad I finished.

    11 Across. Elephant.
    For some reason I thought this was the Democrat party symbol. But I was wrong – the elephant is Republican, the donkey is the Democrat party symbol. Sadly, this could turn out to be very apt this year.

    6 Across: Bell. For some reason, having got the first letter as “B” , I was convinced that this was Biro –
    as in Lazlo Biro who invented the biro. This held me back for quite a while.

    13 Across : Beard. This was a hard one. Eventually I remembered my history lessons of
    60 years ago about “Singeing the King of Spain’s Beard” – which for some reason led me to the correct answer. Not a totally logical link but it worked for me.

    1. Well done, Mr K.
      Completion times are all relative and, in my opinion, come a distant second to whether or not you successfully solved the puzzle. Did you parse every clue?

      1. Most were parsed fully to give the answer. Others I guessed and checked the parsing afterwards. But I understood the parsing for all the answers when I finished.

    2. I would echo what Mr Random said but would add that times come a distant second to enjoyment!

      1. As well as the puzzles, I also enjoy the comments from yourself , Mr. Random and others.


  29. Almost an SCC escape. Unfortunately, I spent 3 minutes at the end trying to parse my LOI, SPRING. ‘Spying’, ‘opting’ and ‘apeing’ didn’t work, but I couldn’t equate SPRING with organise escape (or RING with group if the truth be told). So, I crossed the line in 21 minutes, which is still very good for me.

    I had NHO BEARD in that sense and PEACABLE for Pacific was a stretch for me. My favourite clue today was Oink’s piggy clue, BOARS – for its surface reading.

    Many thanks to Oink and BR.

  30. 12.02 A bit slow throughout and SLEEPER, STRUT, BIRTH and BELL took a good while at the end. Thanks BR and Oink.

  31. 19 mins on a very bouncy train. LOI actual. Enjoyable thanks Oink and BR especially for parsing April.

  32. Nice steady solve in 23:17.
    I thought APRIL was an anagram of PAIR but could not work out where the L came from. Thanks for the explanation. Will add PR to the abbreviations list.

  33. Many dads wouldn’t consider themselves old men…so POP stayed with me for a bit, as did BARED.

    I needed to return to this and then got WASHED UP straightaway. It is amazing what a break can do for the mind. Does the same for those Deadly Killer Sudokus.

    Some great clues, especially about that weary policeman and those forest dwellers visiting pubs – I think the boars would love to join them.

    Thanks Oink and BR.

  34. I somehow contrived to have BOB for 4d for a while – Old man as Old Boy OB both ways…
    Never thought of Pop… anyway Errand put me straight.
    Peaceable LOI – not easy for me.
    Enjoyed it thanks.
    24 minutes

  35. Enjoyable steady solve. Biffed BEARD pleased to see it was right.
    Thanks Oink and BR.

  36. I really shouldn’t do these when I’m knackered – DNF, failing to see ABROAD.

    Thank you for the blog!

  37. Very late to finish today, started early, dealt with many interruptions, and returned to finish in 22:04. A decently average time for me but it felt as if it should have gone faster.

    Honestly, how hard is it to see 1A WASHED-UP? OTOH I give myself grace for not being able to see 10A PLOD, since PC Plod is totally unknown to me. And I was so sure the answer was “beat”! Isn’t that a great answer, well, as long as you ignore the first word of the clue haha. That made APRIL and HOARDER impossible, which didn’t help with WASHED-UP. I sorted it out upon returning. FOI BELL, LOI WASHED-UP, COD HOARDER. Why did so many of us start with “pop” for DAD? I did too.

    Thanks Oink and Bletch!


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