ST 3034 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3034 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3034 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, as forecast, we had our first polar plunge of the season, or whatever the correct meteorological term is; thank goodness for car accessories such as remote starters and seat warmers.

Today, Dada about as benevolent as he will ever get – I counted five anagrams (including partials), no lurkers, and one homophone (with a Hmm) – all in an asymmetric 29 clues, with 16 hints you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 14a, 28a, and 22d.

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:


7a Piece of cake tethering stray dog (7)
A (large) piece of a (matrimonial) cake containing (tethering) a synonym of stray.

11a A gross I counted, sold (9)
A from the clue followed by an anagram (gross) of I COUNTED.

12a Hunter of rhino regularly ending in prison (5)
Letters selected regularly from OF RHINO followed by the last letter (ending in) of prisoN.

17a Political understanding required, as nation re-elected maverick? (7,8)
An anagram (maverick) of NATION RE-ELECTED.

19a Provider of food feeding endless tea to guardian (7)
TEa with its last letter removed (endlessly) inserted into (feeding) a synonym of guardian.

27a By the sound of it, roof closing (7)
The homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of (internal) roof – Hmm.

28a Idiot put fish with pork pie! (7)
A freshwater fish of the salmon family followed by (with) what Cockneys refer to as a pork pie.


1d Sound artist out (6)
An anagram (out) of ARTIST – think marine.

3d Takeaway food put in large vessel for horse (10)
A type of (originally Italian) takeaway food inserted into (put in) a type of large vessel – think marine again.

4d Marsupial, one breaking ring on bird (9)
The single letter used to indicate one inserted into (breaking) a type of ring and a type of (water) bird.

6d Quiet moment for routine (6)
A two letter interjection for (be) quiet and a term for (a) moment.

15d Business proceedings under Asian runner (10)
Another term for (court) proceedings placed after (under) an Asian river (runner).

17d Dreamer is set to travel around peak (8)
An anagram (to travel) of IS SET containing (around) a synonym of peak.

20d One in temple raised on an island off the Chinese mainland (6)
The single letter used to represent one (again) inserted into (in) a Thai Buddhist temple (so says the BRB) reversed (raised) followed by (on) AN from the clue.

22d Sun seemingly in old money? (6)
The slang term for what 2.5 pence used to be.

25d Slight guess, inconclusive (4)
A (verbal) synonym of guess with the last letter removed (inconclusive).

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Boney M with the Christmas number one from 1978, a cover version of Harry Belafonte’s 1956 hit:


65 comments on “ST 3034 (Hints)

  1. This was all pretty enjoyable and quite straightforward until I got to 7d for which I had to seek electronic help (not in the hints). Unfortunately Mr Chriscross, when asked for help, was not blessed with one of his cruciverbal flashes of inspiration. Thanks to Senf and good luck, all that polar weather sound far too chilly for me. Thanks to Dada also.

  2. After a slow start and mild panic, continued at a reasonable rate. A 2*\3.5* for me. Some nice clues 14A, 17A, 4D, but best of all 6D. I will borrow 6D for the occasional crossword I compile for my grandchildren, as there are lots of fun clues to describe this word. Thanks to Senf and setter.

  3. Please could someone who has solved this crossword in the newspaper let me know the closing date for entries into the competition – eleven days’ time being Boxing Day and so I’m not sure there’d be anyone in Telegraph Towers checking entries when they could be at home eating leftovers!

  4. Good manners preclude me from giving my opinion of this puzzle. Suffice to say I finished it (with help) out of sheer bloodymindedness. Absolute zero for enjoyment.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Agreed The Sunday Telegraph need to say TaTa to DaDa or they will be losing a subscription… A year of this is more than enough. There are places for crosswords like this, but not on a Sunday morning.

        1. No, you are not alone. Some of them have been not bad, but this one gives me the feeling he was in a bad mood when he put it together. After yesterday’s, I feel we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Quite spoilt my Sunday breakfast.

    2. I wouldn’t put it quite as strongly, but I thought I was getting on Dada’s wavelength and had been enjoying his offerings lately, however, it seems I was getting rather smug and have taken down a peg or four or five!

      1. The have just become very difficult and, in my case, unenjoyable. I tend to spend 10 minutes looking at Dada puzzles now, and then head to the Everyman puzzle in the Observer, which is much more my level.

    3. I would have thought the point of cryptic crosswords was being stretched and not having to solve the same type of puzzle over and over again. It is a question of finding the right mind set. At the beginning Dada was very difficult because no one knew the mind set. I thought today’s was one of the more straightforward ones. It takes all types I suppose.

      My favorite in view of the election was 17a.

      1. The last few have been harder than the first Dada crosswords. I usually finish the other 6 days, without hints, I could get 5 answers of this, I dont look at the hints to try and complete as the fun has gone by then.

  5. Some odd and frustrating clues today – too many bung-it-ins. However, due to a bug, I can’t submit my answers as the app crashes every time I try…

  6. After quite a bit of muttering to myself, I’ve just checked with Mr CS and neither of us can see a reason for any sort of hmm at the homophone in 27a

    1. Nothing wrong with the homophone itself. My Hmm was in relation to the synonym of roof; I don’t think I have ever considered it as being a roof before but I suppose it is.

      1. I second the hmm Senf. If someone was in my house and referred to that as the roof I would wonder if he was alright.

        1. Funnily enough all our room tops go up to a point ( we do not have a loft) so if someone referred to the roof in our house I wouldn’t turn a hair! (Room tops hoping I will not go on the naughty step)

  7. 2.5*/3.5*. I found this to be good fun (a bit over 3*) and not too hard (a bit over 2*).

    17a was an excellent anagram and 14a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  8. Just like Chris Rich above, this was a slow starter for me, but it gathered pace until I had it licked. I wasn’t too sure about 3d, but with a certain checker in place, I couldn’t see anything else. I’m not sure why the compiler used the word takeaway, it can just as easily be eaten in-house. I didn’t know the temple in 20d, but again, nothing else fitted.

    All done in a solid *** time.

    Last in was 22d, and so is my COTD.

    Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  9. Must be having what Kath refers to as a ‘dim’ day. No real problems with the top half of this one but the lower reaches were a very different story and required an extra cup of coffee.
    The jumpy little thing made me laugh so gets top honours here.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – keep well wrapped up for the next few months!

  10. Struggled to get over the line with this one. Quite a few synonyms stretched a bit too far for me and have 2 options that seem to work for 2d I will have to go to the puzzle site to see which it prefers. in conclusion, it was a bit 25d. Fave 22d but only because the illustration is for the year of my birth and I have a nice pair of same made into cufflinks.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

    1. If you look at the wordplay for 2d carefully enough, only one of your options can work! And that’s all I’m saying as it is Sunday – although I do have a large quantity of Stollen Blondies, shaped like Christmas trees and decorated accordingly, but they are for Christmas presents, not for inhabitants of the Naughty Corner

      1. Thanks, I think I have the right one now and I too like Stollen. My definition was a bit too tight and Senf helped too.

    2. And I will add, I do like stolen*, that it all depends on what you have identified as the definition.

      *Got ‘hooked’ on it when based in Germany while serving HM.

  11. Well if that’s as benevolent as Dada gets then I clearly belong in the remedial class. Finished (without help) bang on ** **** and for me one of the more challenging of recent Sunday offerings. Had never heard of 3D & 7D took an age for the penny to drop. I frequently read the comments of regular contributors to the site (though rarely comment myself) and am curious as to how long it “finished in solid *** time” etc is?

    1. Benevolence, or not, is very subjective and I consider that your solving time, before I edited out as we don’t publish actual times, was very reasonable for today’s puzzle. So, there should be no need to be in the remedial class.

    2. Hi Huntsman, the only way you can judge your personal solving time is to base it upon what you’ve achieved on previous occasions, but even that doesn’t allow for vagaries such as a particular setter whose wavelength you ‘get’, whether you’re having a ‘good’ day or even simply getting a lucky break with a particular clue. Does it actually matter as long as you enjoy the solving? Most of us are unlikely to put ourselves under the pressure of solving within time limits so our comments are more likely to translate as ‘wow, that seemed to take for ever’ or ‘found that really easy, maybe I’m improving’.

    3. Hello, Huntsman. I’ve done a couple of surveys on solving times and the use of aids. You can find them by selecting “Surveys” in the Categories drop-down box in the home page sidebar. Median solving times for back-page puzzles are typically around 45-60 minutes (which is presumably why the Puzzles Site awards bonus points for solves faster for 45 minutes to solvers who care about such things). I’d say that to qualify as “fast”, a back-page solving time should be under twelve minutes. The blog covering The Times cryptic puzzles does permit posting of solving times, and it’s not uncommon to see there elite solvers posting times under six minutes. Quite discouraging to us mortal solvers, which is one reason why BD does not allow times to be posted here.

      The star ratings given by commenters and bloggers are personal relative scores. For some commenters who watch the clock 1* represents a ten minute solve, for others it’s an hour. The waters are further muddied by the use of aids. Some solvers will use aids freely to get a fast time, while some will spend as long as it takes to solve the puzzle unaided. And then there are many solvers who don’t care about times and just assign a rating based on perceived difficulty.

      1. I take as long as it takes. I don’t look at the hints or use electronic help. What’s the point as you never get any better if you do that. What I do admit to , however, is search for synonyms. Sometimes they are not obvious and other times I just can’t think of the word. With regard to 6 minute solves – I would find that difficult even if someone gave me the answers. Also some of us do a difficult one in stages. I could sit looking at one clue for an hour and not get it but after a sleep it writes itself in!

        1. Completely agree. I do a first scan usually pop a third of grid in leave it for morning coffee. Then give it another look pop a few more in. Then take the Spaniel through the woods. Then finish it. Total time = whole day. Doesn’t matter to me so long as it’s done before next one arrives next morning…… Enjoyed today’s but did need Mr google for 3d.

  12. I sat looking at today’s puzzle for ages with not one clue making sense. I decided to look at the blog and the picture for 1a gave me the answer. After that, it all began to fall into place. I suppose the picture flicked a switch in my brain that put me on the right wavelength.
    I still had to resort to hints every so often but I did enjoy the solve. My Clue of the Day was 14a after spending ages struggling with a particular dance that has “ins and outs”. Once the penny dropped I had to smile.

    Grateful thanks to the setter, whom I believe to be Dada, and to Senf for the wonderful hints that got me started and kept me going.

  13. I found this extremely difficult, nevertheless, enjoyable, especially when discovering the fast food and large vessel . I’ve never come across that word previously. 5*/4*. Thank you all.

  14. Not one of Dada’s toughest creations but as enjoyable as ever IMHO. 17a was a gem of an anagram and was deservedly my COTD. Thanks to the aforementioned and Senf.

  15. Thanks for the hints Senf, which I sorely needed, especially to justify my bung in at 20d. But throwing in the towel as this is just too much hard work today, and no fun.

  16. I enjoyed this but found it difficult – it’s taken ages – definitely not benign and I’m glad that some others thought so too.
    Thank goodness for the long and fairly obvious anagram across the middle.
    20d was my last one – never heard of the temple, or have forgotten it.
    I have heard of the 3d horse but had to have a couple of goes at spelling it.
    Looking at the whole thing again there were some really good clues including 13 and 28a and 5 and 6d. I think my favourite was 14a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I think a lot more people have heard of the temple but mostly with two words. There’s a very famous one in SE Asia, Cambodia on the Mekong.

  17. Only managed this by using most of Senf’s winderful hints plus some electronic help. So not a good day for me.

    I am pretty sure I have the correct answer for 13a , but cannot parse it. Can someone help? Or will I have to wait for the review ?

    Many thanks to Senf.

    1. The definition is ‘stone’ ie a jewel. You need the ‘TO’ from the clue and then a reversal (lobbed over) of a synonym for kill – I think it’s probably a slang word.

  18. I found this too difficult to be fun. I had to refer to the hints to get going again, then I got stuck again and back to the hints, the third time I said pax.
    There was a lot to like, I think maybe 3d was fave, one of the highlights of my life was seeing them. A very kind friend gave us fancy tickets to see them in Vienna, I can still see them in my minds eye.
    Thanks to Dada, but you beat me today, that’ll teach me for being so cocky. Thanks Senf for your invaluable help.

      1. I too saw them in Vienna in, I think, 1968. Lucky to see them rehearsing so did not have to pay. I got it without the last letter of 13a and before I identified the fast food.

      2. Amazing horses, indeed, I’m still in awe. We also went to the stud at Lipica in Slovenia and saw the mums and foals. Oh, happy, happy times.

  19. Well I love any DT crosswords but cannot spend any more time on it now as going out to dinner but will look at it later. I got excited when I saw a Z and a K and thought I might be looking for a pangram! I don’t know which vowel to put in 2d I want it to be a cooking vessel ?

  20. From my fellow bloggers posts it seems our setter is somewhat like Marmite,,, I have to say I really like that black goo as I do Dadas puzzles. Yes you have to keep resetting the wavelength but don’t we with all our setters?
    Not as benign as the last few weeks but still very enjoyable.
    3*/4* fav 14ac
    Grateful thanks to Dada & Senf for a helpful review

  21. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I found this a real slog, I’ve spent a lot of time on this today, and was getting nowhere. Managed to finish by using the hints for 8a and 1,3,7,22d. Electronic help for 7d. I still don’t understand 23d, even though I have an answer. Favourite was 17a. Not my cup of tea at all today. Was 4*/1* for me.

  22. Overall not my favourite. That prize has to go to the amusing one we had during the week. Having said that it was do-able with some very good clues. I got 17a before I unscrambled then anagram. Oddly enough I tried to fit that answer (wrongly) into another crossword a few days ago. NW was last corner in for me. Then I got 3d which led me to 13a. I did not know the word at 6d but looked it up after I’d solved it from the word play. 2d and 14 and 28a are my favourites. Thanks Dada and Senf. Always enjoy reading the hints afterwards and the many and varied comments although some of them today were uncalled for. I began to think that Dada was running close second to J Corbyn in the unpopularity stakes.

  23. Managed to complete without resorting to the hints, but came in at ***** time for me. I enjoyed the tussle and don’t really understand why some complain as they do. Surely the whole idea of doing crosswords is to make you think. The satisfaction comes on completion. Admittedly, some setters manage humour or fab surface readings and others don’t as much, but variety is good, I feel, so thanks very much to Dada, and also to Senf and all bloggers.
    Sorry about the very long last sentence …

    1. Perhaps we shouldn’t say anything at all, point taken. Maybe we should give accolades all round for every puzzle, that way there’s no discrimination.

  24. I completed this quite late this evening with no particular problems after a 200 mile or more drive home from Lowestoft . The right hand side went in remarkably quickly and the remainder followed very smoothly from the south-west corner upwards, so I honestly have no complaints at all over this puzzle. I struggled a bit in getting 7d admittedly, but chuckled over 2,4 & 16d. 17d was my COTD, closely followed by 11a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

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