ST 3037 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 3037 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3037 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we have enjoyed several days of unseasonably warm temperatures – highs of mid minus single digits instead of mid minus teens.  

Dada starts the 2020 Sunday puzzles in a benevolent frame of mind, however, there are some quirky synonyms – I counted five anagrams, two of them partials, no lurkers, and one homophone – in a symmetric 28 clues, with 16 hints you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 17a, 26a, and 7d.

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 Mutual connection in gracious story (11)
A synonym of gracious as an interjection expressing surprise followed by a synonym of story.

10a Advertisement featured by flier (6)
A (somewhat obscure, but it’s in the BRB) synonym of advertisement and a two letter synonym of featured by.

13a Man bottling wine very early in the morning (7)
A man, of which there are 16 in that board game, containing (bottling) a generic type of wine.

15a One pub joining another in welcoming a savage (9)
A synonym for pub after (joining) another one of the same, followed by IN from the clue containing (welcoming) A from the clue.

17a Area of expertise for bloke in East Midlands town (9)
When written as (3’1, 5), a synonym of bloke with a possessive S (for) followed by a single word for area of expertise.

24a One pulling a fast one, did you say? That’s very quick (7)
The homophone (did you say?) of a single word for one pulling a fast one.

26a First language I rejected: Swahili finally embraced (7)
A (ancient, some might say dead) language and I from the clue all reversed (rejected) containing (embraced) the last letter (finally) of SwahilI.

27a Engineer: worker needing time on platform (5-6)
A (human) worker followed by (needing) a (period of) time after (on) a type of platform.


2d Empire that’s been stuffed (7)
A double definition – the illustration is an example of the second.

3d Pure nonsense, board trustworthy (9)
An anagram (nonsense) of PURE and a synonym of board.

5d Chunky rolls with cheese that’s fine and crisp (7)
A synonym of chunky reversed (rolls) and a type of (Greek) cheese.

7d Change medium, it getting hard for metalworker (11)
A (obsolete?) term for (monetary) change, the single letter for medium, IT from the clue, and the single letter for hard.

11d Suntan I worked on, agony briefly (2,1,8)
An anagram (worked on) of SUNTAN I and a synonym of agony.

18d A lot, by inference? I don’t think so (3,1,3)
A negative phrase that infers equivalence to a lot.

19d Foil work, perhaps, putting up barriers (7)
A double definition – the first is a sport.

23d Best put paper under contract at first (5)
A quantity of paper placed after (put . . .under) the first letter of Contract.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

On December 11, 1968, Scaffold went to number one with Lily the Pink, then, on January 1, 1969, Marmalade replaced them with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, then, on January 8, 1969, Scaffold replaced them with Lily the Pink, then, on January 15, 1969, Marmalade replaced them with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and stayed at number until January 29, 1969.  If you managed to follow all that here is Marmalade with, probably, some of the worst ‘lip syncing’ ever:


58 comments on “ST 3037 (Hints)

  1. This one fell into place more quickly than anticipated, thoughthere were a few bung-ins that were difficult to parse. Thanks Senf for the hints. Favourites were 7d and 21a. Thanks to Dada too. I’m off to take the Christmas decorations down for Twelfth Night.

  2. 4*/3*. Although this was enjoyable, I can’t agree with Senf about Dada being benevolent today. I found this very tough, particularly in the SW corner. Although the BRB doesn’t agree with me, Collins online does that the advertisement in 10a is an American term.

    17a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. The indispensable Wikipedia tells me that the term was first used, with this meaning and in a legal sense, in the deliciously titled Carlill v The Carbolic Smoke Ball Company case in the English Court of Appeal in 1892.
      I too found this tricky and took a long time to get on Dada’s wavelength for tge first Sunday for quite a while. I thought it was just me!
      Nevertheless, thanks to him and to Senf.

  3. Slow start , speeded up then slow finish over 10A & 18D . Appreciated today’s offering with17A & 11D joint winners .

    Thanks Senf and Dada .

  4. Had to work hard to convince myself of some of our setter’s definitions this morning – a bit of a stretch in some instances.
    Plenty to enjoy nevertheless and I awarded podium places to 17&24a plus 4d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – I’d quite forgotten the members of Marmalade!

  5. I too found this quite tricky, I had the wrong synonym for change which fitted the checkers I had. As it was left side it mucked up a lot of other clues and it took quite a while to sort out.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.
    I much prefer my Marmalade on toast to an earworm but those were the days(my friend)

  6. Also a slow start as one eye on the cricket from SA, but managed to get through in reasonable time. Some nice clues 7D, 11D, 24A. A 2*\3.5*. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Now time to start building my air raid shelter.

  7. I also did not think this was Dada in a benevolent mood this morning and found I had to tease the answers out little by little, however I was surprised to see at the end that it had taken me my normal Sunday time. It didn’t feel like it at the time.

    It’s very strange how our minds work because, unlike RD, I had the SW corner in first.

    I did need Senf’s parsing on a couple (26a and I can’t find the other one now, so maybe it was just that one).

    Assuming my answer to 14a is correct, I don’t get the word “it” in the clue.

    I agree with comments above about some stretched synonyms, but on the whole enjoyed the tussle.

    Many thanks to all

    1. To you and Merusa, Margaret,
      14a – the definition is ‘approach’ – you need a synonym of ‘career’ or go very fast followed by another synonym, this time one for ‘with it’ or fashionable.

  8. Whilst the answer is clear, could one argue that 5d should have something more to indicate the subject matter or would that make it too easy?

  9. Whatever benevolence means in Winnipeg, it feels somewhat different here in Shropshire. I found this decidedly tricky with a few too many bung-ins for comfort. Having said all that, it was a decent challenge and rewarding to complete. 17a and 17d share my top spot this morning.

    Thanks to Senf and of course to Dada for the workout.

    1. In part, my use of benevolence on a Sunday relates to solving time, so, per blog etiquette, I cannot say more than that.

  10. Today, I’m in the ‘Easier than usual’ camp for a change. I had this done and dusted in a straight ** time.

    I didn’t really like 20a, not very cryptic, is it? I couldn’t parse 26a, I wanted the ‘I rejected’ to mean we had to remove an I, so thanks to Senf for the enlightenment.

    Happy New Armageddon to all!

    1. 26a – that was my first thought on ‘I rejected’ but, then, why do a removal when the last part of the clue is to do an insertion of the same letter? I did have to think for a little while about that one.

  11. I dislike Dada puzzles more and more and this one was no exception. Given it up as a bad job.

    1. Brian – you should probably research what is thought to be Einstein’s definition of insanity.

    2. We were with Brian & Young Salopian for our first sitting, but then some pennies dropped and that Winnipeg benevolence drifted in to save the day.

      And Happy New Year from Boston and Grateful Dead Fans.

      Mr & Mrs T

  12. A slow start after recklessly sharing a few bottles of wine in the company of unexpected guests last night, following a rather taxing run. I could not get a foothold initially but after leaving it for a hearty breakfast, it all fell in to place on my return. In the end I rather enjoyed it.

  13. I found this one a real challenge but got there in the end. West went in fairly swiftly but East caused a lot of head scratching. No real favourites but I liked 7d.

    Good to see Marmalade. I knew a guy who was in Marmalade before they became famous. He left them to become a dentist just as “Ob La Di Ob La Da” was released. He said he didn’t regret leaving the band but I wondered.

    Grateful thanks to DaDa and to Senf for the hints.

  14. I’m usually somewhere between RD’s and YS’s evaluations. Today is no exception to the aforesaid as I found this puzzle pretty tricky.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada 3.5*/4*

  15. I’m with Senf on this one & found it a very straightforward solve in ** time. I am, however, starting to think that my increasing tendency to guess the clue and find a synonym without necessarily worrying about parsing from the wordplay isn’t doing the setter justice.
    Thanks, as ever, for the hints.

  16. We also found it a bit tricky – having only got 4 across clues on first pass.
    But the downs came to the rescue and we finished in 3* time.
    Mind you – it’s possible we were just being a bit thick headed after a very nice evening out!

    That lip syncing on Ob La Di is awful – I reckon he kept forgetting his words – and the “air drumming” is a wonder to behold.

    It’s “Kings” here in Spain tomorrow – which is when the kids get their christmas presents.
    Big parades in most towns tonight – and in Santiago de la Ribera they come ashore in a boat! Might have to nip down there to have a look as we’ve never seen it. But guest due to arrive at 5pm!

  17. Whilst I admire all the clever people who can complete a puzzle by Dada I am not one of them. Dada puzzles completely ruin my enjoyment as I find the multi part and often obscure clues indecipherable. I for one am thinking of cancelling my subscription to the Telegraph. Brian

    1. Welcome to the blog

      We have another, long-standing, commenter called Brian (who shares your view on Dada puzzles). Please come back and comment again but with a different alias so that we can tell which one of you is which

      1. I find the Dada puzzles very dispiriting, I’m sure from the posts that there are plenty of clever people out there who can complete them but I’m not one of them. Sadly I find the multipart clues too obscure to get any purchase on them from where to make a start. Thanks for the hints but even they don’t help restore any enjoyment.

      2. Well the one with the Porsche avatar is grumpy forgetful Brian and the one with the cartoon avatar is new Brian.

    2. I just could not “Get” this puzzle, even with the hints, the wavelength was not on my radar.

      While I would not go as far as Brian in cancelling by subscription this is not what I look forward to from Telegraph Puzzles.

      Some difficult puzzles stretch me and I feel richer for the experience, this sort of puzzle just makes me feel “why bother”.

      Sorry, not for me but thanks for the effort and to Senf for the enlightenment.


      1. I totally agree. Monday morning and only just finished. Not at the cancel my subscription point yet but this puzzle had no enjoyment factor at all. Thanks to all who have posted similar comments I thought my brain had ceased functioning properly!

  18. Back in sunny French Riviera after two full weeks away. Had a fantastic time in London ending with breakfast on the colourful barge on Paddington Canal. Incidentally there were some massive roadworks in front of Bridge House. Hope they will be over before the birthday bash.
    Found Dada quite benevolent also for his first crossword of the year but always a joy to solve.
    Thanks to him and to Senf for the hints.

  19. I must admit I was taken aback by this one at first. For me there was no initial benevolence from Dada, just a fair bit of head scratching. Things did slowly fall into place as I got on wavelength…. not as quirky as of late, perhaps that caught me out!
    Thanks to Dada & Senf for review & direction.

  20. Totally agree Senf, that this is Dada being most benevolent. However, given many of the comments above, today’s puzzle really confirms my contrariness. I found this very doable, and even more enjoyable knowing that I had completed a Dada puzzle with just a couple of hints. I hate to say I found it straight forward and gentle, as I find those assessments put me off, on days when I am struggling, but this puzzle was right up my street. Thank you Dada for a great start to my Sunday, and to Senf for the hints.

  21. Tricky but enjoyable puzzle. Ridiculous as it may sound, cannot get the second word of 14a. Its only two letters and can only be one of two words, but neither seem to fit the clue! What am I missing?!

  22. This is one of the few times I disagree with BusyLizzie! I found it very tricky. I did finish but had to use far too much e-help, which does detract from any enjoyment I might otherwise have felt.
    That’s the negative, the positive is that there were many fun moments, fave 17a, 15a was a smiler, and 7d for construction.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for his hints and unravelling of not just a few!

  23. Agree it was a lot of bung ins and justifications rather than working them out. ****/** overall. Liked 7d and 11d last on in 14a.

  24. Very hard work at the start but got there in the end. But the fun comes from solving a challenge. Favorite 4d.

  25. A grind over two sittings which gave no satisfaction from the ultimate completion of this grim bender however it seems I am not alone in my verdict. Would quibble over several clues but particularly 10a, 2d and 5d. Hope for more fun with the GK. Thank you nevertheless Dada and of course Senf as always.

  26. I found this difficult in parts and parsing for some clues even more so. Too many stretched synonyms for my enjoyment and 10a was extremely obscure. I do not wish to be too ungracious just because I found this puzzle very frustrating but I reckon the setter was stuck for 10a and this was the only word that fitted! However, many thanks to Senf for his hints and for all comments. Today, reading these was better than trying to solve the clues.

  27. Finally completed and found it tough. 14a has to be what it is; but could someone explain why?4.5*/3.5*

  28. I cannot believe that I got all of the answers to this puzzle without recouse either to hints or electronic aids.
    This is a first for a Dada Sunday puzzle for me, so hurrah for me!

    Definitely needed the hints for a lot of the parsings, though.

    Thanks to the setter and many, many thanks to Senf.

  29. Hmm. I’m with “the doable ones were doable the hard ones were not and too many bung ins” camp. I agree with the comments on 14a I’ve gone for the “I” but who knows? How can you know for sure? Congratulations to all those who found it easy. If I had to pick a favourite it would be 17a even though it’s my least favourite place I’ve ever worked or even been to. Thanks to all involved.

    1. Hi Taylor,
      You can be sure about 14a as “with it” definitely means trendy or hip or even fashionable.
      Hope this helps.

  30. Not benevolent here either. I did eventually tease out all the answers without recourse to e-help or hints, but it was a long grind!

  31. Thank you for the pictorial clues, without which I would have given up. Too difficult for my taste. Have just completed the Radio Times Christmas cryptic with a greater degree of satisfaction than I am finding from the Telegraph of late. Maybe time to cancel my Telegraph subscription.

  32. Oh well, a bit late to comment now but I will anyway.
    I enjoyed it but didn’t find it “Dada in benevolent mood” at all.
    I think it’s likely that when someone gets used to doing the hints for a particular setter that ‘hinty person’ gets completely ‘tuned in’ to that setter’s way of thinking and so becomes almost immune to the difficulties seen by other solvers. Right – that’ll do on that subject.
    1a fooled me for ages – I always forget that kind of gracious. :roll:
    I thought that I was looking for an Asian boat (craft) in 6d for too long and started off with the wrong kind of ‘change’ in 7d.
    Lots of good clues and very enjoyable.
    I liked 15 and 17a and 3 and 21d. My favourite was 21d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  33. Afraid this did nothing for me in complete opposite to Saturday. No clues circled. Resorted to hints. Left with 9a and 12a which look unsolvable assuming I have 8d right. Think I had better change my name to Brian3.

  34. Lost in admiration for the way that Dada sets his clues, but zero enjoyment for me. The approach is find the definition, ignore the wordplay, solve the clue, match to the wordplay, shake head in frustration. 5d being a great example. No fun.
    Thanks all.

Comments are closed.