ST 3039 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3039 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3039 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where it got warm enough on Friday afternoon for the start of a snow fall of 20cm which ended yesterday; however, this was less than the amount of snow Vancouver, BC (where it only ever rains!) got this week.  In other news, two major storm systems have passed over Eastern Canada heading North-East – I wonder where they are heading next!

Today, Dada is exhibiting plenty of quirkiness which generated several Hmms and groans  – I counted six anagrams (one tongue in cheek), two lurkers (one reversed), and two homophones (one not hinted) – 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 – 8a, 12a, and 9d.

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

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

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:


8a Plane to Nepal, for instance? (7)
The cruciverbalists’ term for converting Plane to Nepal, or vice versa.

12a French painter returning mid-morning? (5)
The reversal (returning) of an expression of a time (3,2) that could be considered as mid-morning.

13a Rubbish queen for King Edward, say (5)
A three letter synonym of rubbish followed by HM’s regnal cypher.

17a Hanger-on in class doomed, for failing to grasp minimum of workings (5,2,8)
An anagram (failing) of CLASS DOOMED, FOR containing (to grasp) the initial letter (minimum) of Workings – the answer features in a moral anecdote which originated in 4th Century BC Syracuse in Sicily.

21a Room to eat a Muslim burger, say? (5)
A type of room containing (to eat) A from the clue.

24a Curry scoffed by Mick or Mark (5)
The lurker (scoffed by) found in the rest of the clue.

28a Vision of ugliness viewed by me, reportedly? (7)
One of the homophones (reportedly) of a term that is equivalent to viewed by me (the unhinted homophone is 9d) .


1d Criminal gang has it (6)
A synonym of gang followed by (has) IT from the clue.

2d Voice ready to break bursting aloft (8)
A synonym of ready inserted into (to break) an anagram (bursting) of ALOFT.

3d Opener once in abstract game (10)
A verbal synonym of abstract and a (four handed) card game.

6d Old Germanic character in outer parts of Burundi, small country (6)
An old Germanic character inserted into (in) the first and last letters (outer parts) of BurundI.

15d Boot, one going on one foot: some earth on top (10)
Some (lumpen) earth preceding (on top of) a single word for (some)one going (moving) on one foot.

16d Kids on holiday before April or May, say? (9)
A three letter word for on holiday placed before the season of the year that April or May are part of (say).

18d Sweet loaf, one with lemonade? (8)
A synonym of loaf, not the edible variety, the single letter used to represent one, and (with) an informal synonym of lemonade.

23d Red spots in green cabbage coming up (4)
The reversed lurker (in . . .coming up) found in the rest of the clue.

25d Scrap the first thirteen letters (4)
Written as (1,2,1) a description of the first thirteen letters – a very stretched synonym in my opinion.

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

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Number 1 on January 14, 1965 for 2 weeks, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames:


55 comments on “ST 3039 (Hints)

  1. Quite straight forward and I also enjoyed this puzzle. I still do not understand the relevance of ‘green’ in 4d but assumed it must be a UK thing!

        1. Thanks Chris, so obvious ! Thanks also to Dada and Senf. Think I’m getting into Dada’s mind set at long last. It’s taken a while…………

        2. Duh, I couldn’t figure it out even after filling in the answer. Thanks for the extra hint. It’s not something I would ever say though,

  2. I found it hard to get started (unlike England cricketers 4 wickets 1 run!). But eventually mastered it a 3/4 for me. Liked 8A and 12A. Thanks to Senf and Setter.

  3. I think I have parsed 4d but as it is unhinted and I am unable to discuss it much for fear of the naughty step. Splitting your answer (6,3) may shed some light.

    (Hints that pass like ships in the night Chris!)

  4. I needed a bit of help to get over the line here. Thanks to Senf and Dada. 6d pleased me the most today but I did like 17a too as I included that answer in my first rookie and it was nice to compare a Pro cluing with my effort.

  5. I found this pleasantly straightforward until I got stuck in the NW corner, where the final three clues took almost as long as the rest of the puzzle. Two of these. 8a and 9d, became my co-favourites. Entertainingly quirky and good fun.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  6. Finished in a solid *** time for me.

    LOI was 2d which is utterly embarassing because I used to sing in a church choir.

    COTD however was 17a, quite brilliant.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  7. Quirky (perhaps even more than usual), some gimmes, some tricky; overall very clever. Just about **/**** . 17a (very quirky?) last one and for which finally I had to resort to pen and paper despite having all the checkers. Favourite was 15d just because it’s a lovely old word. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  8. Very quirky. I did finish it in *** time but there were a good few hmms and groans and some bung-ins. It was enjoyable sometimes (***) but annoying at others. Thanks to Senf for confirming the clues that I had difficty parsing( I agree with you about 25d). My favourite clue was 17a. Thanks to Dada.

  9. 3*/4*. Yes, I’ll go along with quirky. A handful of clues proved quite challenging along the way but it was all very enjoyable.

    My crowded podium comprises 12a, 17a, 28a, 3d & 9d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  10. I also found this quirky in places, but finished it eventually. Needed help with a couple of parsings, one of which is not hinted (17d) so if I get time later today I’ll stare at it some more until I understand.

    Agree that 17a is brilliant.

    Many thanks to Senf and Dada

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Divide the answer into two four letter words, the first being a term for a length of time and the second one of the pieces (men) on a board game

      1. Oh! I got that one wrong then – different 2nd and 4th letters but ended up with a synonym for the correct answer.

      2. Thanks MMM, I think Richard and I ended up with the same answer and it was why I couldn’t parse the first part. Not very keen on the synonym for the first part but I know others will disagree with me

  11. I think Sunday should be re-christened as ‘quirky day’ – always seems to be that way when Dada’s in charge!
    Not too many problems encountered although the ‘hanger-on’ was stubborn until a few checkers appeared, despite having realised that there would be an anagram involved.
    Top spots went to the neatly constructed 12a, 27a for the image conjured up and 15d because, like Wahoo, I think it’s a lovely old word – up there with the likes of codswallop!

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf. Had to smile at your description of it being warm enough to snow – any trace of it on the mountains here makes me immediately think it’s going to be a cold day. As for the storms you mentioned – we don’t want any more of those thank you! Georgie Fame has now given me an ear-worm………..

  12. Thanks to Senf for the hints without which I couldn’t have completed this. I cannot get into the mind of Dada and find his puzzles frustrating. Another unhappy start to a Sunday.

      1. Things are definitely getting bad when you’re exchanging comments with your own alter ego! Dada’s obviously not alone in being quirky.

        1. There is and can only be one Brian. The one he’s exchanging comments with may have the same Christian name in real life, but as there can only be one Brian on BD’s blog, FlyBri changed his name to avoid confusion

  13. As is usually the case with Dada it took time to find his wavelength but I eventually got going beginning with the West. 28a is clever but not sure it’s a synonym and not keen on 12a and definitely not 13a. Good to be able to use the now politically incorrect solution to 19a. What would setters do without the 10a revolutionary? Favs 7d and 25d. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  14. As everyone is well aware I absolutely detest DADA puzzles but Mrs B decided that she missed doing a Sunday crossword so attempted it on her own and with a certain amount of help from the hints, she completed it! So I felt that I should mark her triumph.
    I meantime am off to play golf, just as frustrating as a crossword but more healthy!
    Thx to all
    Mrs Bs rating: ****/****

    1. Golf? In winter?

      And well done Mrs B… maybe you could tune Mr B to Dada’s wavelength.

      Mr & Mrs T

  15. Took me quite some time to get through this. I always find myself out of kilter with Dada. A good mental workout though. Now for a physical one in the garden. Thanks to all.

  16. Clearly distracted by Tommy Fleetwood’s exploits in the final round of the Abu Dhabi GC as I found this a bit of a struggle but got there in the end. I spent an age trying to sort out 17a then realised an input error in 4d (when will they sort out the bug that besets the iPad) and all became apparent. Loads of excellent quirky clues in what I thought was a super crossword – 8, 12 & 17a picks of the day for me. Thanks to all.

  17. Took some time to get into this one but it gradually emerged from the depths. The south west corner went in fairly smoothly but the rest caused a lot of head scratching. As well as the wonderful 17a I liked 8a and 25d, which reminded me of another clue that uses the same reasoning.

    My thanks go to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for the hints.

  18. I live in the mountains in the czech republic where this time of year there is normally 3 foot of snow, but there’s nothing. So the snow guns are going full tilt.
    I loved this puzzle, some very clever clues.
    8a was my favourite.

  19. Not my favourite day for the crossword. Dadaism is closely related to the grotesque says my encyclopedia not the quirky. I think that is my feeling about the Sunday crossword. Thanks to Senf for her help in this weekly battle. And to Dada for his faithful following of the movement.

    1. I am and, even is these liberated times, always have been of the non-female gender persuasion as those who met me at BB8 will testify.

      1. Sorry Senf. Misused pronouns are the crime of the century and I apologize most profusely. I have deleted my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to avoid being trolled by the world and their husband/wife/partner/significant other.

  20. I did a bit better than I usually do on a Sunday, but Dada is still a good way above my paygrade.

    Many thanks to Senf for the hints.

  21. On the hard side for me. 8a was a bung in, didn’t see the correlation twixt Plane and Nepal; must look more closely! 17a also a bung in, had to be with the checking letters in place. Never heard of 21a. 22d last one in. Liked it though.****/****

  22. Didn’t finish this without a lot of electronic help and Senf’s hints. Liked 10&12a but thought 11&17a were very clunky. Thanks to Dada and Senf. You were right about our weather – most I’ve seen since arriving in Canada and people here are just as bad as Brits when it comes to driving through anything more than an inch of snow.

  23. Another fine puzzle for Sunday from Dada, which I found more straightforward & less quirky than usual.
    2.5*/4* favs 17ac &17d (a description of this puzzle?)
    Grateful thanks to Dada & Senf for his review.

  24. Crikey that was hard going!

    17a defeated me and I needed Senf’s hint to make sense of it, even then I had to look up the history books to remind myself of the original story as it seems to have become to mean something slightly different these days.

    8a stared me in the face to the bitter end and gave me a huge sense of completion once I “Got” it.

    COTD for me was 12a for its simplicity.

    Compiling a puzzle like this must take a lot of skill and effort, so thanks Dada, but more so thanks to Senf for making sense of it for me!

  25. I only managed about half of this and then resorted to e-help. I did finish, but not all my own work! I find Dada to be so convoluted that I get a bit bored and have to take my brain out and turn it around, most uncomfortable!
    Of the ones I solved myself, my fave was 12a, with 3d and 6d running close behind.
    Thanks to Dada, and huge appreciation to Senf for unravelling that lot.

  26. I completed this in fits and starts. I quite enjoyed it but a couple of my answers were bung-Ins. However as I’m not submitting it doesn’t really matter I suppose!
    One day the DT puzzle page will operate normally. One day….

  27. So satisfying when you can immediately do the first clue across and the rest fell into place beautifully. I must share Dada’s quirky mind! Still like reading the hints and comments so thanks to Senf and Dada.

  28. I thought this was very enjoyable and very difficult – seriously out of practice having done so few crosswords last week – it always horrifies me just how quickly that happens.
    I don’t miss anagram indicators very often but when I do it’s nearly always on Sundays – today’s missed one was 26a.
    Didn’t really understand 4d – footbally ‘innit’?!!
    My last couple of answers were 27a (suppose that’s another anagram that I missed) and 22d – oh dear – that kind of fine.
    My favourite was 15d – oh, and I really liked 8a even if it took me for ever to get it.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Still more mess and muddle in our house as of tomorrow morning. :sad: but off to Cardiff to spend a couple of days with my sister-in-law :smile: leaving husband in charge! :unsure:

  29. Well that was like pulling teeth. I did fill in several more after a swim but didn’t enjoy as much as yesterday’s. Thanks for the challenge Dada, and to Senf for helping me finish. 4d and 22d held out longest, with 28a as COTD.

  30. Too difficult for me and not much fun. The wordplay is too complex for me.
    Embarrassed to say I could have stared at 8a until doomsday and I would not have got it, that clue catches me out every time.
    Thanks all.

  31. I enjoyed this, although it took me all evening – hard but fair, I’d say. Last few in top left took longer than all the rest. Last one in and favourite 17a, closely followed by 3d (2nd last one in). Many thanks to Dada, whom I seem to be getting to grips with, sort of (famous last words) – and to Senf.

  32. Morning from my time zone. I agree Dada’s offering was hard going but an excellent challenge. I did have one eye on the Australia v India ODI cricket game though. Well played India. I agree with the COTDs. 8a, 17a, 27a. I’ll add 15d which helped open up the SE corner. I haven’t heard that word used for a while so it provided a chuckle. I have a question mark over 27a. I think Dada could have added a ‘hardly!’ Or one the contrary’, as you will see on Jan 25 (Chinese New Year) where that heavenly body will provide no light at all. Perhaps I’m missing something🤔. I think a picture of Barry Gibb will assist with 2d when BD goes final. Hopefully it will be a benevolent Monday puzzle. Thanks Dada and Senf🦇

  33. Phew! Something of a struggle today, but I did enjoy 17a! Thanks to Dada, and Senf for the wonderful hints, without which I would have several blanks!

  34. Managed this morning without hints or other aids. However always enjoy reading the hints and checking my parsing. Enjoy all the comments too. Interesting that some days (and setters) there is a consensus but others are wildly varied. My LOI was 17a and a not a favourite. It would have helped me to get such a long one sooner. Favourites 8, 12 and 28a ( I found nothing wrong with the 28a synonym) and 15d. It would have been easy to bung in 12a without parsing and have the wrong painter. I am always careful not to confuse the two since a guide in the Hermitage Museum when I visited years ago was rebuked by an official for “misinforming the tourists”. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  35. I enjoyed so many of those clues — some really fun ones in there. Thanks, Dada and Senf.

    I think my brain suits ‘quirky’ more than some of the crosswords that get described on here as straightforward (which I often struggle with!).

  36. V straightforward for Dada. Brian should involve his wife more often. Perhaps Dada requires feminine intuition?

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