Find the K

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Interesting puzzle with a few words you don’t often see in crosswords, although I was a little disappointed that, having made the effort to get X, Q and Z into the puzzle, the setter didn’t go the whole hog and make it pangrammatic (as far as I can see K and V are missing).

A challenge for you – I can see how to get a V in without too much difficulty – (VEND at 22dn), but the K??

Time taken – approx 8 minutes

All of the clues are worthy of a mention here, so forgive me if I miss out ones you thought should have been annotated.


1 PARAGUAYAN – PARA+(Guyana)* – one of two anagrams in this puzzle where the letters aren’t jumbled enough to make the anagram challenging

6 ZOLA – (<=AL(l) OZ) – Emile Zola, whose most famous works are the Rougon-Macquart series, including “Nana” and “Germinal”

10 SA(i)D-DO



14 HAL-I-FAX – “northern” town, although not to me, as it’s down south, as far as I am concerned. Indeed if you look at a map if Britain, Halifax is definitely in the South.



23 BALD-AQUIN(AS) – a decorative canopy

24 CAD(R)E



2 RED MULLET – a mullet being a bad hairdo, especially when describing the locks of a 70s footballer

3 GO OUT OF ONES WAY – doesn’t necessarily mean one is lost?

4 ANT-H-RAX – RAX is a homophone of RACKS


7 (r)OSIER

8 A(d)U(l)T(g)O(e)S-(<=DART)A – an autostrada is a motorway in Italy, where, through personal experience I can guarantee that the speed limit signs indicate MIMIMUM speed rather than maximum – great fun if you like to drive fast.

9 WATERING PLACES – (can triple wages)*



26 comments on “Find the K”

  1. The same duo brought me to a halt; BALDAQUIN marginally less obscure than BEIGNET but made harder by their intersecting. Ground to a halt after 22 minutes.
  2. and solved without too much difficulty apart from 23A and 19D neither of which I knew. I resorted to the dictionary to find something that fitted B-L-A-U– and having found BALDAQUIN the N helped me to work out BEIGNET which I then looked up to check.

    One moment of panic though: Collins, which I looked at first, only lists the alternative word for the altar canopy – BALDACHINO – but the mystery was quickly resolved by Chambers.

  3. You could get the K in with PORK/RODEO at 1D/10, and I’m sure most Times setters would find this opportunity far quicker than I did, so the non-pangram aspect is a bit of a puzzle. Maybe someone despaired of finding new clues for RODEO and VEND.

    I’m pretty sure I saw BEIGNET on a menu a couple of weeks ago, while enjoying good meals out. This year’s ‘dining opportunities near Cheltenham’ plug goes to The Bell at Sapperton where we dined on the eve of the Championship. My trusty 1991 3rd ed. of Collins has baldaquin as well as baldachin(o). Rewards for eating out and having holidays with more visits to local places of worship than beaches. My solving time: 7:00.

    And now, from the preview screen, I must tell you two suggestions: Cheltenham = Charlatanism, and even better right now, Sapperton = Suppertime.

  4. BALDAQUIN was new to me but having worked out the -AQUIN bit, I guessed the best (or only) solution for B-L- was BALD. Don’t know who ELLIS is, but may now be interested in his/her sexy books 🙂 Took far too long over 1ac because I’d convinced myself it was an obscure word for Guyana beginning with PERU GI (South American soldier)
    All in all, a bit of struggle, but happy to have completed it without assistance in 19 mins
      1. Thanks for that. Perhaps I won’t be that interested in them after all 🙂

        I had to smile at today’s blogger’s comments on Halifax. Often, when I am in Scotland, I get asked if I am from “down south”. My initial instinct is to say, “No, I’m from up north”, but thankfully the penny drops in time to stop me making a fool of myself.

  5. I assume 21d is Ellis but can’t think of who it could be. Unless I’m misreading the clue?
    13d was cleverly misleading me into looking at ‘where food is served’ as the definition
    19 minutes , JohnPMarshall
    1. I’m afraid I thought the clue to CHARITABLE was grossly unfair: even if one forgives the OF linking definition and wordplay – which I don’t normally care for but accept is reasonable in certain circumstances – the “made available” is afaic a real cheat. These pieces of padding for the sake of surface really jar with the cryptic sense and lead, in my view, to a wholly unfair piece of misdirection.
      1. Isn’t putting food on a table making it available then? That’s the way I read it anyway.
        1. Er, yes it is, but it’s not the surface I’m concerned about, rather the insertion of “made available” into the middle of the wordplay. A piece of padding like that would normally be fine, but it really jars here, especially as “of” has been used as a joining word, which to me calls for a much simpler construction.
          1. I can’t see it as a problem, I’m afraid. Something that is available can be said to be “on the table” and that’s where CHAR+1 is in this solution.
            1. For the record, here’s the whole clue: Kind of fish one made available where food is served (10). If “made available” means “on the table”, why do we need “where food is served”? If the setter meant what you say they mean, Kind of fish one made available would be a complete clue. As it also makes sense as a phrase, there would be no reason to add anything to it. Therefore, the setter must mean something else.

              Although the Times puzzle uses some indirect indicators like “retired” for “inside BED”, I think “made available” = “on [the] TABLE” would be counted as too difficult. One reason is that it could also mean other things that could be read as wordpla, such as “on hand”, “at hand”, “on tap”, “within reach”. You could argue that “retired” could also mean ‘inside COT’, or ‘under DUVET’, but ‘inside bed’ seems the most obvious meaning in a way that doesn’t applu to “made available” and “on table” in preference to these other possibilities.

              1. If the clue had been:
                “Kind of fish one made available on menu” that would have been a bit better, or better still “Kind of fish – one on menu”.
                Sorry to labour the point, but “made available” as it stands really jars with “where food is served” if you take it in its cryptic reading.
  6. Havelock Ellis, I think.

    I’m not sure 10A SADDO quite works as an &lit. – I can’t quite see how ‘assumed’ works in the definition.

    Baldaquin and beignet undid me as well, I’m afraid.

  7. Since civilization ends at Watford, then Halifax must be in the North(!).
    But what about Halifax, Nova Scotia? That’s famous and quite far North.
    1. Where is the North? According to the road signs I think I remember, you can head towards it from central London, but I’m pretty sure it’s still signposted as you leave Inverness – perhaps as a joke. Are there any signs to The South? I’m sure I looked, but can’t remember whether I saw any.

      I guess most people from Halifax, Yorks. would count themselves as Northerners rather than Southerners, and I’m happy to agree. In Stuart Maconie’s “Pies and Prejudice” I think he proposed Crewe as a starting point – I guess somewhere like Chesterfield would be the rough equivalent on the other side of the Pennines.

      1. Plenty of signs to The South as you leave the Tyne Tunnel to go, well, South.
        And they continue well into Yorkshire and beyond.

        And as long as we stay the Yorkshire side of the Pennines, they I’m happy!!!

  8. Eldesdichado echoes some of my sentiments, I used to live in Halifax, NS, but it’s really more east (for Canada) than north. Nothing too difficult, but some fun wordplay for the more obscure words (relieved when I got on here that baldaquin, charitable and saddo were correct).

    Havelock Ellis always reminds me of the Peter Sellers radio sketch where he was the school principal and parent trying to get his boy in (probably paraphrased)

    Principal: The rubbish they are teaching these days. Have you read Havelock Ellis?
    Parent: No.
    Principal: I’ll loan it to you in a brown paper bag.

    (this is the same sketch with the line “he’s one of our most accomplished eight-year-olds, he’s thirty-seven”).

  9. I struggled a bit with this one and took about 45 minutes. Too many guesses like Baldaquin, Beignet, Mullet, Ellis, and Charitable which I agree doesn’t quite seem to fit the clue. Jimbo.
  10. Since “adult goes regularly” gives AUTOS, “at speed over” must give DART rev. I can’t understand how “at speed” is “dart”.
    1. I think the consensus is that some of the clues in this puzzle are flawed.

      I tried defending 13D but my arguments seem to have been squashed by bears of bigger brain.

      Perhaps we just have to accept that if the clue leads one to the right answer then it has served its purpose and never mind the detail.

      1. Clue: Adult goes regularly at speed over a motorway abroad.

        adult goes regularly = AUTOS as stated already,
        at = “next to”
        speed = dart (vb. in each case)
        over = reversal indicator to make TRAD from dart
        a = A
        ‘motorway abroad’ = def.

        This use of “at” is a bit fiendish but I’m pretty sure it can be justified if you read about “at” carefully enough in COD or Collins. Otherwise, it’s all fairly routine – a=A seems to come up about at least once a week in the Times. “Never mind the detail” is usually something you don’t need to say about the Times puzzle.

  11. No problems with beignet. One of my favourite memories of pre-Katrina New Orleans is breakfast of chickory coffee and beignets in Jackson Square.

  12. I enjoyed this puzzle despite making heavy weather of it (13:29). I thought of CHARITABLE early on, but was slow to realise that it was actually the right answer.
  13. The simplest way to convert this to a pangram would be to use the V at 22d for VEND as suggested and then to substitute the second D in SADDO at 10a for the K to get SADKO – an eponymous character in the Rimsky-Korsakov opera. This would have 3 main benefits of getting rid of the 2 pretty poor clues at 10a and 22d and adding in a not-so-well-known opera for our edification. FYI I input S?D?O into Onelook and then looked up SADKO in Wikipedia.

    There are 8 “easies” not in the blog:

    15a Dispute between duke and monarch makes one unsettled (7)

    17a In outskirts of Redbridge, turning to join train (7)

    25a Language used by PetER SEllers (4)
    ERSE. Well goodness, gracious me.

    1d Advance, making way through mountain )4)

    18d On the way to Paris? (2,5)

    19d (Being)* bad, no heart to eat fried snack (7)
    BEIGN E(a)T. Something you might pick up at a roadside cafe en route to Paris?

    21d Measures taken to confine one who wrote sexy books? (5)
    ELL 1 S. Calling Havelock Ellis’s serious works on the subject of sexuality “sexy books” reaches the pinnacle of Mount Misdirection.

    22d Player felt two central points had been lost (4)
    SE (em) ED. At least that is what I think it is. Not a very good clue IMHO. Vend and Sadko would have been much better.

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