ST 3018 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3018 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3018 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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In today’s Independent on Sunday, Dill becomes the twenty-fifth graduate of the Rookie Corner / NTSPP series to have a puzzle published in the National press.  Well done, let’s hope it’s the first of many.  BD

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where it is beginning to cool down with a stormy forecast.

Benevolence appears to have returned – five anagrams (three partials), one lurker, and one homophone (not hinted, but it’s 26a), and Dada clearly knows his chess pieces (RD should be happy)!

I am not sure that I have seen a puzzle before where the first 8 down clues run in numerical sequence.

Candidates for favourite – 15a, 21a, 28a, and 3d.

Don’t forget to follow BD’s instructions in red at the bottom of the hints!

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


1a European landmark in Rome, dirt cheap to renovate (3,2,8)
An anagram, straightforward to me, to start (to renovate) of ROME, DIRT CHEAP.

10a Best to dock heading to dwarf planet (5)
A (fruity) synonym of best with the first letter of a synonym of dwarf removed (to dock) followed by TO from the clue.

12a Stuck in rut, a habitual state (4)
The lurker (stuck in) found in the rest of the clue.

15a Bureaucracy, having shifted communist to the right, came to a point (7)
A (3,4) synonymic pair for bureaucracy with the descriptive term for a communist moved to the end (having shifted . . . to the right).

17a First stage involves a racket (7)
A (sporty) synonym of stage containing (involves) A from the clue and a (noisy) synonym of racket.

21a Sound of swine in fine houses (4)
Not a homophone – the two letter term that can be used in place of fine containing (houses) IN from the clue.

23a Pair of Manx cats love tropical tree (5)
Consider the defining feature of a Manx cat and apply it to CAT twice (pair) and finish with the letter that represents love in most racquet games.

27a Clue I get with no working out, making progress slowly and carefully (9)
A synonym of clue followed by an anagram (working out) of I GET and (with) NO.

28a Brief success, cook’s brilliant moment? (5,2,3,3)
A double definition to finish the Acrosses.


1d Where rook may go, affecting everyone (6,3,5)
A description of how the illustrated chess piece can move.

3d Key: use leverage in business (10)
A key for submission on a computer keyboard and a single word for use leverage.

6d Father — one after Oscar? (4)
This is apparently becoming a popular type of clue and is based on the phonetic alphabet.

8d Thug also battered Welshman in old Welsh county (5,9)
An anagram (battered) of THUG ALSO followed by a popular Welsh family name – one played Rugby for his country in the 1950s and then became a broadcaster.

14d Menu set on end of bench covering item for dinner, perhaps (10)
A (possible) synonym of menu, a (medical) synonym of set, followed by (on) the last letter (end of) bencH.

16d Person with complaint, argument that’s nothing special? (9)
A single word that can be used for nothing special combined with a synonym of argument.

20d Construct one lacking English used (3-4)
A (3,2) term for construct followed by ONe from the clue with the single letter for English removed (lacking).

25d Old South American occupying most extreme parts of Colombia (4)
A two letter synonym for occupying followed by the first and last letters (most extreme parts) of ColombiA.

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Kenny Rogers was 81 on the 21st, this from 1983, with Dolly Parton:


47 comments on “ST 3018 (Hints)

  1. Light and enjoyable. Just pushed over * time by a couple in SE corner. I like Dada’s truncated clues but just could not parse 10a this morning, so thanks for the explanation Senf. “Quirky” again?

    Favourite is probably 27a just ahead of 3d.

    Thanks to all. Enjoy the English sun today and cross everything for the cricket.

  2. Many thanks to Senf for his explanations of 10a and 21a which I solved from the checkers and definitions but couldn’t really see why. Not sure 10a is entirely fair to the solver, but nevertheless I enjoyed the puzzle. There were lots to choose from, but I think my favourite was 28a. Thanks to all.

    1. Yes, Jezza, that makes more sense to me and on that basis I withdraw my comment that it is unfair

            1. I think dwarf planet is the answer and should be underlined. A synonym of best (which I did not get so thanks Senf) is docked followed by “to” from the clue leading to the two words which give the answer.

  3. A pleasantly challenging puzzle (**/***) with a slight hold up in the NE corner and very enjoyable (***/****). I liked 1a and 1d. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  4. 2 brews in and I was still stuck in SE. 3rd brew was under the cosy when inspiration struck and the rest followed. 27a last in here.
    I didn’t have a problem with 10a at the risk of banishment to the naughty step I didn’t “dock” a 4 letter synonym of best but just “docked” a 3 letter prefix of best next to the TO from the clue.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada. 3rd brew mashed and ready to drink.

    1. Ignore me, Senf’s parsing of 10a is much better than mine. I wish I paid more attention to my English Grammar lessons.

  5. Very pleasant if not too taxing, great way to start a warm Sunday morning. My only problem was trying to find the welsh family!
    Th to all

  6. 1*/4*. Light but great fun – a joy from start to finish. No particular favourite – I thought they were all good!

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf, and, yes Senf, I am a happy bunny this morning especially after England’s performance yesterday at Twickenham and some signs of a fight at last at Headingley.

      1. Wonderful! No-one can convince me that Test Cricket cannot be exciting and for Headingley to stage a second thrilling Ashes win against all the odds is quite remarkable. Move over Sir Ian, Stokesy is the new kid on the block …

        1. Agreed. I still don’t like the review system, which is supposed to eliminate howlers, yet with the players not the umpires in charge of them howlers do happen when they are used frivolously or erroneously. Surely the third umpire should be the one telling the on-field umpires they have made a mistake.

          1. As ponting said in the commentary, no aussie complaints, as they wasted the last review two overs earlier on a ridiculous LBW appeal.

  7. Pleasant surprise for me seeing 8D , must be my COTD . I lived there and worked for the answer so it opened up the crossword .

    A steady and enjoyable experience , for the crossword and 8D.

    Thanks to everyone .

  8. Surprisingly for a Dada exercise I enjoyed a walk in the park in the West starting with 1a but then had a few hurdles to overcome in the East. 10a and 6d were bung-ins but even now with Senf’s help I’m not keen on those two. Liked the surface of 22a. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  9. Dada certainly in benign mood today but an enjoyable puzzle nonetheless.
    I’m in the ‘dwarf planet’ is the definition camp – I don’t think our setter would expect us to remove the first letter of a word that doesn’t appear in the clue.

    Top two here were the swine in fine houses and the chap with a complaint.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – Kenny and Dolly sound good together.

  10. Nothing that taxing today. A pleasant start to what promises to be a gorgeous day here in Maryland. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  11. Went swimmingly until the last five – luckily they were all hints from Senf. Favorite was 27a, would never have got it without the hint. Took a while to parse 10a – I was fixated on dwarf planet. Thanks Senf and setter.

  12. Well thank goodness for benevolence – still 6 short of completion. Thanks for the hints.

    1. Welcome back, you have used a different alias to the one you used 4 years ago (Legin), both should work from now on.

  13. compass heading removal?

    And thanks to deaf sand for the acetylcholine booster.

    Mr & Mrs T

  14. Another light fun enjoyable workout from Dada.
    Clues were quirky, made you change wavelength & well put together.
    2*/4* too many fun well assembled clues to name favourites.
    Grateful thanks to Dada & Senf for his review

  15. Oh dear, I think the sun is making our setter go soft! Over way too soon but fun while it lasted. 23a was my top clue.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the hints.

  16. I’ve bunged 26a in as a synonym of rule, trusting that it’s right. I’ll have to wait for the full review to find out.
    I haven’t got a clue how it was parsed. Many thanks setter and Senf.

    1. “in conference” ie the answer which means rule sounds like a synonym for check.

  17. Jolly good puzzle. Thanks Dada. Always like long answers three of which were straight in. Other favourites were 9a 2d 15a and 24d. A few clues took a bit more head scratching than others but found after a pause the penny dropped. Thanks also to Senf. Hints not needed apart from clarifying the parsing. I confidently put the extreme parts of Columbia as first and last letters of 25d but when a two letter old South American seemed unlikely to fill the gap the penny dropped.

  18. I completed this pretty straightforward and fun puzzle before concentrating on the cricket so forgot to comment. No particular favourites but all very enjoyable.

    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  19. I’m really getting a handle on Dada, really enjoyed this, perfectly suitable for a tiny brain.
    My laugh out loud one was 23a, very giggle worthy.
    My 17a was a bung in, so thanks for the hint Senf.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for his hints and tips.

  20. Spelling 1A the English way with a U rather than the French way with an O made 5d rather difficult till I realised!, but otherwise went in pretty easily – as I usually struggle with Dada this must be on the easy side….

  21. 10a I’ve read all the comments about this clue … but I still don’t understand.

    Must tie a knot in my Kleenex as a reminder to look it up when the full review is published.

    1. Entièrement d’accord mon ami.
      I know exactly what Dada doesn’t mean.
      I don’t mean this, I don’t mean that.
      Well come out and say what you mean big boy.
      Never mind. I’ll wait for the review too.

    2. For 10a the definition is ‘dwarf planet’. Remove the final character (dock, as in docking an animal, i.e. removing its tail) from an adjective meaning best or choice. That precedes (heading) TO.

  22. Enjoyed this lovely Dada puzzle today, although I expected to hear more complaints from the brighter folk that it was too easy. We climbed the stairs to the top of 1a many years ago, not sure we would be able to do it now. Thought I was going to finish without any help, but 17a stumped me, and although I filled in 26a early on, I still can’t see why conference equals the answer. Thanks to Senf for hints.

    1. I think it is a “sounds like”. Spoken word sounds the same but written differently

  23. Weee, that was fun! I completed about ¾ of this electronically before breakfast, intending to purchase a paper copy to take to the cricket and finish there, with assistance from my companions. But the first corner shop I tried in Headingley has stopped selling newspapers at some point in the couple of decades since I lived there as a student, and t’other (sadly, in the former Lounge Cinema) was out of Sunday Telegraphs.

    Fortunately the cricket was sufficiently engaging not to need an additional pastime, and I was able to complete the crossword by myself in a second pass this evening.

    Thank you to Dada for such an enjoyable puzzle. My favourite was 23a, for the ‘lightbulb moment’ it provoked when I finally worked it out. And thanks to Senf for explaining 10a.

  24. I enjoyed this puzzle. Good fun on a very sunny Monday morning (I only attempt them the following day).
    Didn’t like 10A. Too obscure for a numbskull like me.
    A word sort of meaning best, but not fruity, with a cardinal point docked & that point is the heading to another word which can mean dwarf.
    I muchly hope this doesn’t consign me to the naughty step.
    Thanks to the setter and Senf for the hints.

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