Yes, ”Q” triggered Sophie’s (the main character’s) ”thoughts”. In some instances these were general comments about things we already knew about, which is fine, and has its place in almost all adventure games. Sometimes they were downright hints, telling the player what to do next. This is also totally fine of course, but it should have been explained in the game’s introductory tutorial that it actually is a hint system (well, sometimes it is). But regardless of that, those hints shouldn’t pop up spontaneously in any way whatsoever, which they, as I mention above, they did. Compare with how many games emphasize that you should only use their help systems if you’re REALLY stuck.
To answer your question, Oldbroad, I'm not exactly sure what triggered the spontaneous hints. I don’t think it was a timer, but rather doing specific things (that weren't the right thing), or going in the wrong direction.
Having said this, I certainly don’t want to bash the game, and the spontaneous hints didn't appear so many times when I played the game. It is, in many aspects, a unique game, and well worth buying. I think that your decision to wait for a price drop is a wise one though.