Times Quick Cryptic No 2243 by Oink

A fine puzzle by Oink which stretched me to 11 minutes after a bit of a delay in the south, where 16d, 22d and 21a held me up slightly.  I expect to see some fast times from the regular solvers, but with a modicum of GK required, there may be some who struggle a little.  Having said all that, I was much quicker today than yesterday, so I am feeling better.

Thanks to Oink, and please let me know how you all got on.


Brontë’s governess married him somewhere in Kent (9)

ROCHESTER – Two definitions, the first referring to Edward Fairfax Rochester, who Jane Eyre married in Charlotte Emily Brontë’s eponymous novel, and the second referring to the town in the Medway Unitary Authority in Kent.  I wonder if this gave Kevin a panic – he doesn’t usually like clues that define English towns by their county location.

6  Strange drink for a pirate?(3)

RUM – Straight into another double definition.  Of course, it isn’t just pirates that drink rum – hence the question mark.  Yohoho and a bottle of rum!

Idiot going round Brazil? (7)

NUTCASE – …and another DD (possibly).  A NUTCASE might be wrapped around a Brazil (nut), as well as being an idiot.

9  Half of police are finishing early, freezing cold (5)

POLAR – Half of POL{ice} and AR{e} finishing early (drop the last letter).

10  Skilled worker sends a porter mad (12)


12  Nonsense poet’s lecherous look, they say (4)

LEAR – Homophone clue (they say) sounding like LEER (lecherous look).  The poet was Edward LEAR who was an artist, illustrator, musician and poet – famous for writing The Owl and the Pussycat among other notable achievements.

13  Almost never coming back unruffled (4)

EVEN – NEVE{r} (almost never) reversed (coming back).

17  Captain Nemo somehow inspiring India’s liberation (12)

EMANCIPATION – Anagram (somehow) of [CAPTAIN NEMO] and I{ndia} (inspiring here meaning taking in).

20  Dish made by English on holiday (5)

TRIPE – TRIP (holiday) and E{nglish}.  TRIPE might be a dish to our setter, but it is an abomination to me.

21  Report of rough sleeper crossing island (7)

DOSSIER – DOSSER (rough sleeper) containing (crossing) I{sland}.

23  Prawns occasionally cooked in this (3)

PAN – Alternate letters (occasionally) in PrAwNs to give the wordplay in this Semi &Lit clue where the whole clue forms the definition, and contains the wordplay.

24  Carry on being strict on representative from the east (9)

PERSEVERE – REP{resentative} reversed (from the east) and SEVERE (strict).



1  Teacher unthinkingly grabbing smallest of the lot (4)

RUNT – Hidden inside (grabbed by) [teache}R UNT{hinkingly}.  We start the down clues with Oink’s trademark piggy reference!

Group needing somewhere to sleep beside Great Lake (7)

COTERIE – COT (somewhere to sleep) and ERIE (Great Lake).  A COTERIE is an exclusive circle or group.

Greek character cutting top off cheese (3)

ETA – {f}ETA (cheese with first letter removed).  ETA is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet – I must get around to learning it one of these days.  I already know most of the characters from maths.

One believing article is true at first (6)

THEIST – THE (definite article) and IS (is) and T{rue} (at first).

Speak for Royal Engineers in attendance (9)

REPRESENT – RE (Royal Engineers) and PRESENT (in attendance).

6  Goes for a spin in expensive car? (5)

ROLLS – Double definition, the second referring to a ROLLS Royce.  The question mark is to indicate that other expensive cars are available – it is a definition by example.

7  Soldier reluctant initially to visit US state (6)

MARINE – R{eluctant} (at first) inside (visiting) MAINE (US state).  Really, a Soldier and a Sailor Too. Soldier An’ Sailor Too by Rudyard Kipling (poetry.com)

11  Ridiculously priced hat – very unexpensive (4,5)

DIRT CHEAP – Anagram (ridiculously) of [PRICED HAT].

14  Controversial European given reason to act (7)

EMOTIVE – E{uropean} and MOTIVE (reason to act).

15  Keep quiet, as those in car should (4,2)

BELT UP – Cryptic hint referring to wearing a seat belt.

16  Reporter’s spotted a flycatcher (6)

SPIDER – Homophone clue (reporter’s) SPIDER sounds like ‘spyed a’ (spotted a).

18  Stranger has an entertaining story (5)

ALIEN – AN (an) ‘entertaining’ (hosting or containing) LIE (story).

19  Native American’s beliefs died out (4)

CREE – CREE{d} – remove D[ied} from CREE{d} (beliefs).

22  Woman in diocese undergoing change of heart (3)

SUE – Today’s random girl’s name is SUE, from changing the middle letter (change of heart) of SEE (diocese) to a random other letter (U replaces the middle E).  I guess SHE is also a perfectly good answer.

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2243 by Oink”

  1. 14:40. I was going to put DNF because I had SHE instead of SUE but I’ll take blogger’s acceptance of SHE as “a perfectly good answer” to heart. Didn’t think of EMOTIVE as controversial but I assume it must be. CREE and ERIE- two Canadian references! Now that makes a good puzzle. I wonder if Oink likes Canadian bacon?( Emily should be Charlotte for Jane Eyre author).

    1. I also had SHE and was moping around about my technical DNF. Very pleased to have my answer accepted by blogger fiat!

    2. Too embarassed to put my time here! I also had SHE.
      As a Canadian I’ll say I much prefer the regular bacon.

      1. True, you can’t beat the taste and texture of regular streaky fatty bacon ,but all sources seem to agree the Canadian(back or peameal) version is “healthier”!

  2. SHE at 22d didn’t occur to me, luckily. Others were not so fortunate, including Verlaine, and there are some complaints in the club forum. I think I might have been able to guess Kent if asked where Rochester is, but “Brontë’s governess” was enough. 5:12.

    1. Ah, I wondered why so many of the big guns had an error today. At the time of submission I was at the top of the leaderboard, which was enough to make me think that something had gone seriously awry.

      Grateful that SHE didn’t occur to me.

  3. I went with SHE at 22D and was really surprised to see a pink square. My first thought was that I’d got the transformation wrong and it must be SEE, but re-reading the clue as generously as I could, that seemed impossible. So an error in the cluing? Then I realized it was SUE, but I really don’t think that is a better solution, just the one intended.

  4. 10 minutes but another SHE here. If resorting to an alphabet trawl for the middle letter, SHE is the first answer that fits the bill so there’s no need to continue further. Also the setter’s signature reference is not exclusively porcine – SOED mentions ‘ox’ and ‘cow’ twice each before citing ‘pig’ as another possible example of RUNT.

  5. 1247 The Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam) is founded

    12:47, with LOI EMOTOIVE. Avoided the SUE/SHE trap, and on thinking about it, I think SHE is a better answer.


        1. Acton, Currer,and Ellis Bell were ‘masculine” names Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Bronte wrote under at times to avoid the prejudices against female writers- mainly that they weren’t to be taken seriously. “Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell” (1845) was the sisters’ first published work.

  6. Another quick start in the top half with a deceleration in the lower half (despite help from a few write-ins). The long anagrams fell quickly and I managed to get SUE correct. I wondered why I was held up by my last few when I actually finished (LOI PERSEVERED). An entertaining QC despite the fact that my time was a minute slower than yesterday. Sadly, I couldn’t match rotter’s time today.
    Thanks to OINK and to rotter for a very good blog. John M.

  7. 22 minutes.
    With the SE taking up most of the time. Thankfully SUE came to mind first but I agree SHE works too.

  8. Not quite up to Oink’s usual elevated standards IMO, though I liked ALIEN and thought the surface for DIRT CHEAP quite superb – my COD, bravo.

    08:41 but with SHE (which I confidently expect to be declared an acceptable answer by the editor in due course), for 1.7K and a Reasonable Day.

    Many thanks Oink and Rotter (who should really blog Oink puzzles as Trotter).


    1. The editor can declare what he will, but the leaderboard won’t change; two correct answers are never possible, even when they’re both correct.

    1. I’m sure that’s a coincidence, as taking this as the way the clue works requires making “undergoing” do double duty. Can’t have that, now, can we?

  9. I thought of both SHE and SUE. I nearly went with SHE because of the reference to heart (Can a hearts playing card be represented by a H?) In the end I came to the blog to find out which was the ‘correct’ answer before submitting. Otherwise the solve was very quick. My favourite clues were DIRT CHEAP and ALIEN. 7:02 for a very good day which could have been excellent.

  10. Another fast start followed by a crawl to the line, with Dossier and Cree as my last pair. This time I managed to squeeze in just before the SCC, but with She for 22d – never got as far as Sue when looking for the middle letter. I’m with you Rotter, regarding Tripe, though I suppose it still counts as a dish. CoD to 21ac, Dossier, for the pdm. Invariant

  11. Most of this I wrote in straightaway.
    I was held up a bit in the NE. Last two were MARINE and POLAR. 9 minutes.
    I was another SHE.

  12. NHO “controversial” for EMOTIVE but it appears to be the first definition in the dictionary so there you go!

    I was relieved at the eventual answer of SPIDER because the word “flycatcher” made me worry it was going to be something to do with cricket 😀 (does cricket even have fly balls or is that just baseball? See, I’m useless!)

    My favorite clue was for THEIST — not especially witty or anything but a pleasing one to solve 🙂

    1. There’s a ‘fly slip’ but it’s a relatively new position, and thinking about it probably borrowed the Fly from baseball!

    2. The misdirection here is most likely avian – a pied flycatcher, for example – rather than cricket! Those of us who like birds might have gone down that route first – well , I did anyway. You’re definitely not useless – cricket continues to baffle me, but then so do most sports 😅

  13. A pink square for me but a different one from most. I didn’t read the whole clue at 12a so ended up with LEER 😢, so a proper DNF with no excuses.
    My main issue with 22d was that I got fixated on the diocese being Ely, which slowed down the SE corner.
    Thanks to Rotter

  14. SHE never even crossed my simple mind, as I was looking for a proper name. I was expecting a more overtly piggy reference than RUNT.

    All fully parsed while solving, which to be honest is rare for me, as I normally go back to the biffs and semi biffs afterwards. I liked EMANCIPATION the best, LOI was EMOTIVE.


  15. 8 mins for me. ‘She’ never occurred to me, but I think it’s a better answer. I’m not keen on forenames being attributed to ‘woman’ or ‘girl’ because I know a lot of women who don’t like being referred to as girls. Good puzzle – thanks all!

  16. I had SHE. A few answers I couldn’t parse, so thanks to Rotter for explanations. Unsure of EMOTIVE = Controversial, but if the dictionary says so … Liked RUNT for the piggy reference!

  17. I managed a fast time (by my standards) of 10 mins for this, albeit with SHE at 22dn. That’s probably the first time I have ever been quicker than the blogger. Everything seemed to fall into place with only a few seconds thought. Managed to parse everything except SPIDER at 16dn, which was entered with fingers crossed.

    LOI – 14dn EMOTIVE
    COD – 8ac NUTCASE with 7dn MARINE and 19dn CREE close behind.

    Thanks to Oink and to Rotter for the blog

  18. 11 mins. Good puzzle, liked nutcase, alien, and runt (didn’t spot the hidden).
    COD dirt cheap.

  19. I’m still getting used to some of the terminology here. Can someone please expain &Lit and Semi &Lit for me?

    1. Hi Canzim – the very helpful glossary has a link under the “useful links” section. Semi &lit definition is as below.

      Semi &Lit – see also &Lit. With an &lit, the whole of the clue forms the definition, and also the whole of the clue is wordplay. With a semi &lit, the whole of the clue still forms the definition, but only part of the clue is wordplay.

      1. Very much appreciated, thanks for the explanation. I sort of understood them but you cleared up any confusion.
        Time to revisit the glossary!

      2. The Glossary is also on a link from the dropdown Help menu at the top of the page. I think this was added to the site more recently.

  20. I gave up with three to go (and that was after quite a bit of help too). I probably could have persevered but I have Man Flu and feeling really rough. We all know that the only cure for Man Flu is chocolate.

    I always groan inwardly when I see the so called “classics” referenced in a crossword. I really cannot understand the fuss over authors such as Brontë and Jane Austen. I have tried to read some of the novels and found them to be complete drivel.

    But I didn’t do too badly all things considered.

    Oh, and from my experience Royal Marines do not like to be referred to as sailors. They hate the fact that they have Royal Navy identity cards, rather than their own. 🤣

    1. Jane Austen and the Brontes may write complete drivel but it’s good complete drivel.

      1. Yes. 🤣 I bet many people who have such books on their shelves have never read them. They’re there to make them look “learned”.

        Or perhaps I’m just uncultured 🤣

  21. Dnf…so far my law seems to be holding true.

    After 20 mins I couldn’t get 21ac”Dossier” nor 19dn “Cree” and then found I had 22dn wrong. I wonder if anyone else put “She”? 😀

    FOI – 3dn “Eta”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 16dn “Spider”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. I only got “Cree” because of the song “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden. 🤣

  22. Nine in 30 mins. Thought of NUTCASE, but didn’t write it in because unsure. Then when I got that far in the blog, I wrote in ROCHESTER and NUTCASE, and then managed to solve another six clues in 10 minutes!

  23. Came here for the controversy… up until now my least favourite type of clue was one where a letter has to be changed to a random, unindicated letter. Now, my least favourite type of clue is one where as letter has to be changed to a random, unindicated letter, but there are two equally valid options (arguably in this case the ‘incorrect’ option was the better one).

    In case it wasn’t clear, I put SHE. Adding insult to injury, I did it a second slower than Verlaine.

  24. Another she for me.

    Johnny Cash had a hit with a “Boy Named Sue” so I am happy with my answer.

    Otherwise a good puzzle.

  25. Having tried Gravesend and Sevenoaks, I recognised Rochester when I had Coterie. You’ll have guessed I am not a Bronte fan (nor Dickens)… but Trollope is good and keep thinking The Way We Live Now is about a certain Robert Maxwell… Anyway:
    FOI 2d Coterie
    LOI 20a Tripe
    COD 11d Dirt Cheap simply because of the clever anagram.
    This has me caught up after missing any chance to tackle yesterday’s QC until this afternoon.

  26. Add me to the list having SHE for 22d. Clearly a better answer than a random female name and possibly more popular amongst the bloggers too.

  27. 25 mins today – stuck in the SE… I had SUE because I thought it was a hidden with a change of the middle letter (I think someone else above also saw it as a hidden). LOI TRIPE – stumped by ‘on holiday’ meaning ‘empty preceding word’ so didn’t think of TRIP. Spent ages looking for piggy reference before spotting RUNT. Tough one again today. Many thanks to Rotter and oink.

  28. Enjoyed the puzzle, we had sue for 22d, did not consider she. Took time to remember Rochester for 1a. Thanks Oink.

  29. 9 minutes for a good day, albeit with She like so many others. A good job I do the puzzle for fun not as a competition or I might be slightly more aggrieved that Oink and I had different valid answers!

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

  30. My joint 24th fastest ever time at 14:04. It would have been faster too had I not been held up in the SE corner, but at least I never thought of SHE. Lots to enjoy so thanks to Oink and Rotter.

  31. I did this before going out in Chipping Campden this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t even think of SHE as a possible answer to 22d, so it didn’t spoil the solve, but am totally sympathetic to everyone who did. It’s 7 o’clock and still no word from setter or editor!
    8:04. FOI Rochester (we were there only a couple of weeks ago – lots of Dickens stuff there) LOI Spider CsOD Rolls and Spider
    Thanks Oink and (T)Rotter
    Fingers crossed for a less EMOTIVE or controversial crossword tomorrow 🤞

  32. I completed this but in an utterly embarrassing time (over the hour mark). Was going reasonably well, but then held up by 20ac/18dn and 24ac/19dn. Took ages to bring trip to mind and completely missed the wordplay for alien.

    This delay was as nothing compared to the last two clues. I worked out the wordplay for 19dn, but just couldn’t think of creed for what seemed like an eternity. A similar story with persevere.

    I’m finding the QC a struggle at the moment and, if anything, going backwards. Most of my recent times are reminiscent of the bad old days when I started. I will 24ac.

    Thanks for the blog Rotter, entertaining as always.

    1. Those of us who remember using a diary when we started playing this game, find nothing embarrassing (utterly or otherwise) about taking an hour over a crossword – and neither should you. Invariant

  33. Found this very straightforward and like others wrote a question mark by SUE. I read it as a hidden with a swap of the letters E and U. I didn’t think of SHE. Whatever the original intention of the setter it needs a small improvement to disallow the other reading of the clue.

    PS Haven’t posted here for some time due to house moving and renovations- found that my account was purged but have reclaimed it. Not sure if it will link with my old posts/pages.


  34. Still an amateur, occasionally breaking 30 mins but at Toronto airport and had to comment on Canadian bacon. As a grad student in the ‘80’s we were taken in by a kindly B&B couple who asked us subsequently to act as hosts when they were on holidays. I served up good Irish/British cooked bacon and was promptly told to put it back on until it was burnt/crisp! Lesson learnt.

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