23,452 – Special K, hiding Sikh

Solving time: 12:37

Eight multi-word answers today, but frustratingly I managed just two of these on first look (12ac and 15dn) which made this feel slow. Only after finishing did I notice the large number of Ks in the grid (13 I think) – surely deliberate? Noticing this earlier would certainly have helped me with the troublesome 11ac!

Beginners’ tips of the day: ‘fair’ = OK, ‘good guy’ = ST (saint), ‘tea’ = CHA or CHAR

1 COOKBOOK – a cryptic definition, which has to be read something like: ‘“How to prepare course” work‘, i.e. a work (= book) which tells you ‘how to prepare course (= dish)’. I considered this a long time before I was confident enough to write it in.
6 I + C(I for H)EST
9 B + ART + OK (= fair) – Béla Bartók was a Hungarian composer.
10 S inside UNCLEA[n] + M (= Monsieur)
11 “SEEK” – this took me two minutes at the end. For some reason I ignored the obvious religious meaning of ‘Guru’s disciple’. Not very good.
14 CH(EN)ILLE[r] – my penultimate solve, and not a word I knew. Apparently Chenille is ‘a velvety cord or yarn of silk or worsted, for embroidery, fringes, etc‘ and is French for ‘caterpillar’.
16 O + VID[eo] – ‘FA’ here means nothing, as in ‘sweet FA’ (= sweet Fanny Adams), the gruesome origins of which can be read here.
18 rev. of (I + PIT) – an alternative spelling of teepee or tepee; there may be others. The Delaware are an American Indian tribe, who appear in The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.
22 alt. letters of ‘for my sake’ – straightforward wordplay to Omsk in Siberia
24 GLAD + I(OL[d])I
27 D + WIGHT – the clue refers to 7dn. In the printed version of The Times, whenever one clue refers to another (which happens much less often than in, say, The Independent or The Guardian), the clue number appears as a digit. However, for some reason the online version, which I printed off and used today, can’t display numbers in the clues, so this clue started ‘Seven…’. I really can’t understand why this should be, and it held me up here.
28 [c]HAR + A + KIR + I – the wordplay should help to avoid spelling errors, provided that you know the drink kir and the Timesism that ‘one’ can be I but not A (at least I think Peter B said this recently!). I don’t have Chambers to hand but I have a feeling harikari is also listed there, possibly as an erroneous variant.
2 OKAPI (hidden) – apparently to ‘browse’ can mean to wander around nibbling at tall plants, as an okapi might, in a similar sense to ‘graze’.
3 KITCHEN SINK – double definition; the second is fairly obvious but I didn’t know the phrase ‘kitchen sink drama’, which apparently is ‘a theatrical genre that included John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger (1956) and the plays by Arnold Wesker using working-class settings rather than the drawing-rooms of polite comedy‘.
4 anag. of [rev]OKE and PAPAL [corrected from APPLE] – I took the wrong half of ‘revoke’ on the first look but didn’t try the second half till much later.
5 KNUCKLE SANDWICH – I can’t decide whether I like this clue (“Lunch packed with punch?”) or not. It’s a clever rhyme, but when solving it I was looking for a type of sandwich, like doorstop or wedge, whereas in fact the question mark really refers to ‘lunch’ rather than ‘punch’ which is the actual definition. But I think I’m just being uncharitable because I was so slow to get the first word.
6 IN(CUR)S – the ‘ins’ are the party in government, or any people in charge as opposed to the ‘outs’. I don’t remember seeing this in a daily crossword before, though it’s used in the Listener from time to time.
7 [l]IKE – the nickname of President Eisenhower
13 A B(ONE TOPIC)K – more complex wordplay than it seemed on first look, and another that took me a while. BK is “book’s covers”.
17 K + AND (= with) + AHA + R – ‘crushes’ in the clue indicates ‘on top of’, so this would only work with a down clue.

9 comments on “23,452 – Special K, hiding Sikh”

  1. Lots of K’s, and various body parts – hands, knuckles, bones, faces … At 4D, it’s PAPAL that goes with OKE to provide the “anagram fodder”.

    COOKBOOK – I think you can interpret it as a charade – you prepare courses (= dishes) by cooking them, and a “work” can be a book.

    1. That’s sort of what I meant, but I’ve amended the main entry to make it clearer. I’m still not sure I quite get this clue.

      4d also amended, thanks.

      1. I don’t agree with PB – if that’s charade wordplay, there’s no definition except if it’s an &lit, and then it doesn’t work. I agree with talbinho’s (possibly amended) analysis.

        7m29s for me today, which felt a very good time for some reason. After about 8 answers, I was certain that all would have a K in, and am still sure the puzzle started out as an effort of that sort. Some more would be easy to fit in/restore, e.g. KIWI, SAKER/HOICKS but harder to clue.

        1. You’re perfectly right that it’s not an &lit, but the charade thing is there. Whether it’s meant to add something or is just serendipitous I don’t know.
  2. Online Times sometimes is able to use digits (e.g. 7) instead of words (e.g. seven) for cross-refs (perhaps I just noticed this in the ST??).

    I’m beginning to suspect that if the clue number is the first thing in clue they have to use a word (perhaps because otherwise the software gets confused and thinks it’s part of that clue’s number itself).

    be nice if they straightened this out…

  3. There certainly was a time a few years ago when they put numbers in but they would get appended to the clue (so instead of being something like “27 7 heading…” it would show up as “277 heading”. So instead of fixing the bug they appear to have decided to spell out the number. But that unfortunately removes the distinction between (say) 10=clue reference and ten=X.
    1. I have complained about it on the Times bulletin board. It would be helpful if some others could back me up on this. Then hopefully something will be done about it. Thanks.
  4. 11:32 for me today.
    Last clue solved was CHENILLE, not helped by the fact that my H from 15D looked like an N! I did like the clue (14A) though. Also liked 16A – seemed an inventive and deceptive way to clue OVID.
  5. I agree with PB – 1a How to prepare course work = COOKBOOK (simple!)
    12a (Keep a CD for)* playing that’s unreadable = POKER FACE ( a clue before Lady Gaga made the term more famous)
    19a (Weak and)* ultimately vil(e)* brew stirred = AWAKENED
    21a Some tennis shots are not straight = BACKHANDED
    26a Good guy in house is providing lifts = HO I ST S

    8d Drink that’s twist with nip added = SNAKE BITE
    15d One might succeed (with a real)* burst = HEIR-AT-LAW
    20d Skip (v)*erse that (actor)*’s mad about = CAVORT
    23d It takes pluck, one going into lead = S I TAR
    25d Understand criticism = DIG (DD – dig it? This is not a dig at the original blogger)

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