ST 3046 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3046 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3046 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, some time overnight, we ‘sprang forward’ and I presume/hope that WordPress has coped with this event and published the blog at the ‘normal’ UK time.  I really wish the practice was abandoned completely; my solution would be to split the difference and set the clocks to 30 minutes ahead of what is called Standard Time in North America and leave them there.

After two weeks of benevolence, guess what – Dada very quirky this week, and quirky means there are some Hmms – I counted three anagrams, one lurker (not hinted – but it’s 9a), and one homophone – all in a symmetric 28 clues, with 15 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 12a, 15a, and27a.

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 Trace long line (4)
A double definition to start – the first one refers to a trace of something – like the amount of T I like in my G&T!

11a Lovely trapping first of pheasants — game (3,3)
A nounal synonym of lovely containing (trapping) the initial letter (first) of Pheasants.

12a Fine stuff, player collecting crosses in the middle (8)
A synonym of player (frequently one who participates on-line) containing (collecting) the middle letters of crOSSes.

15a Drink or biscuit in French house? (7)
A triple definition – if the illustration doesn’t help, the house is regal.

20a Don bags lead in partnership (4,3,8)
A synonym of don (as in clothing) and an article of clothing (with a definite article) for which bags is an informal term.

25a Book is perfect, I see! (6)
IS from the clue, the letter and number combination for perfect, and a two letter interjection that can be equivalent to I see!.

27a Resort where Benidorm is, less popular (3)
Where Benidorm is (in terms of a country) with the two letter term for popular removed (less).

28a Females in the field manipulate sounds (4)
The homophone (sounds) of manipulate.


1d Astronomically huge ball placed on vase (6)
A synonym of placed precedes (on) a type of vase.

3d Warmer steam iron here, failing, I am pressing down on it (9,6)
An anagram (failing) of STEAM IRON HERE preceded by (pressing down on it) the abbreviated form of I am.

5d Leader in city, urban ecologist unfortunately just failing (5,3,2,5)
An anagram (unfortunately) of the first letter (leader in) of City and URBAN ECOLOGIST – Hmm – this expression originated in the USA in the 19th Century, I am not sure how widely known or used it is in the UK.

7d Simple body of water (4)
A double definition – the second is usually a relatively small body of water.

18d Where bid may be beyond doubt (2,6)
This is derived from cruciverbalists’ favourite card game and relates to a bid in the suit that is last in the sequence.

21d Fighting sport (6)
A double definition – the first relates to verbal fighting and the second is not fisticuffs.

24d Instrument needing tuning, though not originally (4)
OK – I am not a musician – a reason for tuning, say, a piano because it is ***** with the first letter removed (though not originally) gives another instrument.

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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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An unlikely number one enjoyed by Lee Marvin for three weeks beginning March 7, 1970, from Paint Your Wagon:


55 comments on “ST 3046 (Hints)

  1. Well , I finished it before the hints but had to resolve to some electronics assistance on the way eg 25A last in .
    Not my favourite Dada but respect the challenge . Hard to pick a favourite so will sit on the fence .
    Thanks to everyone .

  2. 2*/4*. All good fun with 20a my favourite.

    In answer to Senf’s question, 5d definitely originated as an American phrase but one which I think has become quite well known over here.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  3. I thought after last weeks success I would have a go at this weeks Dada. I should have known better. Completely and unutterably incomprehensible at least for me. Can’t rate it as I don’t understand it having failed to answer a single clue!!

    1. Ah well back to finding the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, a lot more interesting than this puzzle and certainly easier.

          1. Short answer yes. Long answer I have managed to create a 42 clue 15 x 15 grid but can’t print it here. It does have a block of 9 lights in the middle but I can fill it either with or without a pangram but not sure I could clue it.

          2. It is. See my intro to (which coincidentally was my 42nd set of hints and tips).

            That blog discussed the most recent 42-clue back-pager, DT 100007 from Christmas Day in 2015. The other 42-clue puzzles that I’m aware of are DT 24426 (22 July 2004) and DT 25031 (29 June 2006).

            1. Mr K, just to change the subject, have you any idea what glitch causes random lines of comment text to appear with double spaces between words as two have in yours? It has been happening fairly often in my own comments for quite some time. I’m not complaining, just intrigued.

              1. Hi, Jose. It’s probably because text in comments is formatted justified. On a narrow screen, when a line breaks before a long string of characters (like the URL in my comment), the browser introduces significant extra space to stretch the text to the right margin. On a wide screen, any extra space is much less obvious.

    2. Well Brian, there’s the rub – you just had to know that Dada, having been benevolent for the last two Sundays, would not be benevolent for a third time. It’s just not in his nature.

    3. Dont give up. When I first started doing the cryptic crossword on a Saturday I would never attempt a Sunday as they were too difficult. I persevered and today managed at least 3/4 of the Sunday before looking to big dave for help. It’s all about perseverance. Good luck

  4. A very wily and tricky puzzle (***/***). Like Senf, I gave a few
    ‘ hmms’ at some of the quirkier clues but there were some very good clues (25a and 28a were my favourites). Just been down to Waitrose for some milk and perused the empty loo paper, hand soap shelves. Apparently lots of other shelves have been emptied by Friday and then Saturday evening. They obviously still had stock to put out early this morning. What a madhouse!

  5. If I didn’t know today was Sunday, I might have thought this was by someone other than Dada. Loads of Hmm! and What?! which I never get from him even at his quirkiest. On reflection It was probably 2*/2* for me. 3d could be favourite. Ta to all.

  6. 24d beat me today I am also not a musician but came up with 2 different instruments, beheading one gave another that requires tuning, which made a mess of the SW corner. I did like a lot of the rest, particularly the long non-anagrams and a fondness for 25a as a friend’s poorly constructed teddy bear 🥴 was given that moniker.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  7. Lots of hmmms for me, and with the help of just a couple of electrons at 20a, I had this knocked off in *** time.

    I too was in my local supermarket this morning, they had a few loo rolls left but absolutely nothing on the soaps shelves. I’m buying bulk washing up liquid and kitchen towels. They’ll be worth a fortune on eBay in a month or so.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. Baked beans appear to be the ‘hot’ item over here! And, apparently, without any consideration for additional loo rolls to be prepared for the possible after effects!

  8. Phew 😅, Dada often foxes me and I did I struggle to get going but solving 3d got me underway and then it was just a question of gritting my teeth and pressing on regardless and I surprised myself by eventually winning through. West was marginally more straightforward than the Orient. 5d was last but one to go in (25a came last) but have to admit I don’t think I have heard of the expression. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole challenge. After all that my Fav was the little 27a for its surface. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  9. Now, that was a challenge! Took me ages to get going and I nearly gave up a couple of times. However, the hints and some electronic aid got me through it. The last one in was 22d and I’m not sure I have it correct. My favourite clue was 4d.

    Grateful thanks to Dada and Senf.

  10. Some answers here an American probably doesn’t know (such as 3d and 11a) but the clues were clear enough for me to work out the solutions. This is a brilliant Dada puzzle, I think, but I struggled, for a change, with the long answers. I finished it without any help and my top three were 13a, 20a, and 18d (my last one in). Thanks to Dada and Senf. ** / ****.5

  11. It appears that I still can’t spell 25a correctly but at least I remembered the 5d phrase from a previous crossword. Several penny-drop moments required to complete this one – I’m blaming it on the birthday party I attended last night!
    No particular favourite although I rather liked 8&23a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – that clip of Lee Marvin ‘singing’ always makes me smile.

  12. Phew what a contrast to yesterday’s walk in the park. 18d, 25a & 28a refused to yield so had to resort to a sneak at Senf’s hint for 18d for the penny to then drop for the other two & must admit cards hadn’t crossed my mind. Also not sure I understand 8a always assuming my answer is correct.
    Lots of great clues with clever wordplay – my pick would be 2 & 4d. Also thought the 4 long ones were pretty challenging & 15a raised a smile as I’m partial both to the biscuit with a nice cuppa & a glass of Woodford Reserve.
    Thanks to all.

  13. A slow start and then a fairly quick finish. That’s what happens when you try and watch the rugby at the same time. Dada has produced a very pleasant and rewarding puzzle for us today, with 20a my clear favourite. All nicely and fairly clued. Great stuff.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  14. Was doing surprisingly well for me on a Sunday with this one until I ran into the buffers and needed both electronic and hint help for the last 4.
    So, not a bad day for me today.

    Thanks to the setter (are we sure it is Dada?….I did too well really for it to be him) and to Senf.

  15. Wow I finished this with a lot of help from Senf. I though Dada was impossible for me but look forward to the challenge nowadays. Thanks to both.

  16. I’m going to start today with a rant – I’m with you, Senf, all the way. This daylight savings malarkey is for the birds, they don’t have clocks. I think your idea of splitting the difference and going on permanent time is a winner. I say Senf for EMPEROR!
    Down to business: Dada again at his most mysterious today. I got about halfway then used the hints and e-help to finish. I have vaguely heard of 3d, aren’t they the things we had in bedsits in England in the 1960s?
    Fave was 5d, one of my first in and it helped a lot. I thought 27a was pretty slick, another like there.
    Thanks to Dada, and much gratefulness to Senf for unravelling the rest for me.

    1. I googled, now I know what they are. I was thinking of those gas thigummys that go whoosh and light up when you turn on the water, you used to have to put a shilling in the slot.

      1. They were attached to the wall and were often called Ascots I think. Maybe that was a brand name.

        1. Yes indeed at one stage my family home had “Geysers” in the bathrooms and “Ascots” in the kitchens both of which went whoosh, as you say Merusa, but we didn’t have to put shillings in the slots – the gas was metered. Those were the days!

      2. They were also the main water heater in the houses, often upstairs near the bathroom, housed in a built in cupboard. The tank was never clad or wrapped, rather it was used to heat the inside of the cupboard, the “airing cupboard”. Lovely for keeping the towels and linens warm. Probably thoroughly environmentally clad and insulated these days and out of fashion, we had a large walk-in one in our bedroom and it was lovely to walk in there before bed, on a chilly night.

        1. Did you ever hear the one about the gas man? He called round to take the old geyser out. The young girl who answered the door said “I’m sorry, but she’s just gone out to get some shopping.”🙂

  17. I was out of my comfort zone with this one. I started quite well but came to a complete standstill and needed the help from Senf. I put in 5d but could not believe it was true until I saw the picture, is it fair to give us archaic Americanisms in a British paper? And if people are really buying up stuff to sell on eBay when there are shortages – shame on them. A very grumpy Daisy.

    1. I remember many blue moons ago when there was a sugar shortage….my Gran had a stash of sugar in the house…which was quite amusing as both my grandparents were diabetic!! No be fair to by dear Gran, she did give it to friends and family.

  18. Slow struggle until the SW corner, which went in fast leaving us only 15a. This took ages until the penny dropped. Favorite 25a.

  19. Big thank you to Dada, I did better today than the past 3 days. Did need some of Senf’s hints to finish, but still a very high satisfaction level. 26a was last in. I got the 4 long ones, 13a, 20a, 3d and 5d so that really helped. Wasn’t sure if 5d was now used in the UK, but apparently it is.

    Oh Senf, I do so agree about this nonsense of the clocks changing twice a year. We woke too late this morning, and appetite is not working with the clock. The state of Arizona does not change their clocks, and they survive. I would love for us to “fall back” this autumn and stay that way. But your 30 mins idea would work too. Perhaps you can persuade Canada to do it, and then we can urge the US to do the same.

    1. Yes they are. But your question is a little puzzling as 9a is not hinted and no-one else has commented on it.
      Part of my plan for abandoning springing forward and falling back relies on a neighbouring country stubbornly staying with the present process. We already scramble visitors’ brains with degrees Celsius, litres for gasoline, and kilometres for distances just add an ‘offset’ time difference.

      1. Instead of the slogan “make America great again” and hell bent on going backwards, we should spring forward and catch up with the rest of the world. Or am I now in trouble?

    2. I think that’s right – when Senf says ‘unhinted’ he means that he hasn’t given a hint for it rather than it didn’t have an indication that it was a lurker.

  20. I just finished. It took 18 hours as I have started just after midnight. I obviously slept, made lunch, did other things as well. I used hints and all possible aids. Last in were 10A and 6D.
    My favourite was 3D as it was a long clue that I actually got by myself without hints. We have one but only need to use it in an emergency.

  21. Had a look at this over breakfast and declared it to be impossible! But after dinner, once I got going, it all fell into place. Not easy but an enjoyable tussle. My clue of the day 5d, I just love it when 15 letter anagrams leap off the page. Thanks to Dada and Senf

  22. I found this tricky while I was doing it and it took me ages but now I can’t really see why – one of those!!
    Bottom half was more difficult than the top.
    Some of the simpler answers took me the longest – such as 28a.
    Need supper and a not too late bed after a 70th birthday party yesterday evening – might just have had something to do with why I had trouble today . . . .
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  23. Gah. Even with the hints I’ve still got 10 blanks. Maybe Sundays aren’t for me…

  24. Skilfully constructed puzzle. Liked the long answers. With the ones I did not get first time round I just had at the clue from a different perspective. Favourites 12 15 20 and 27a. Knew what I was looking for in my last one in 18d – but was not aware of the card game term. There were several words that would fit and I was not convinced that the answer means beyond doubt. Thanks Senf for explaining that one and to Dada for the mental work out.

  25. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable, but very tricky puzzle. Needed the hints or electronic help for 8,15,23,25a and 2&24d. Favourite was 4d. Would never have thought of any of the answers of the ones that defeated me. Was 5*/3* for me.

  26. Very late as things are a bit tricky at the moment.
    Oddly, I found this one of Dada’s easier puzzles, must have been on wavelength.
    I found this much easier than Saturday’s, which I failed miserably at.
    Thanks Senf and Dada.

  27. My octogenarian brain has failed to get 22d. any help would be appreciated

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Looking up cardinal in the dictionary will give you a three-letter meaning for cardinal, into which should be inserted an organ of othe body, the result being a synonym for brought up

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