ST 3049 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3049

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3049

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where in several jurisdictions, as in the UK, liquor stores (off licences) have been declared essential businesses, cheers everyone, hic! :wink:

Seriously, and once again, wherever you are in our cruciverbalist world, stay safe everyone – it’s going to get a lot worse before it even starts to get better. 

Well it has taken a worldwide pandemic and a 14% vote margin, but, on my 165th Sunday blog, this is the first time I have had to solve the complete puzzle so that I can write the hints :wink:

Dada very quirky again this week, with a few Hmms – I counted four anagrams (two partials), one lurker, and one homophone – all in an asymmetric 29 clues.

Candidates for favourite – 11a, 19a, 24a, and 15d.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the Click here! buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a First opportunity (7)
OPENING: A double definition to start – the first relates to a beginning.

10a Stress being male in the house? (3,4)
RAM HOME: A woolly four legged male usually found on a farm followed by a single word for in the house.

11a Symbol featuring on top of English coin (9)
SOVEREIGN: A synonym of symbol containing (featuring) a single word for on top of and the single letter for English.

12a Boss hasn’t finished — that’s a mistake (5))
GAFFE: A favourite term for a boss with the last letter removed (hasn’t finished)

13a Comforting word right within you (5)
THERE: The single letter for right inserted into (within) the archaic dative and accusative form of you.

14a Short passage not including covering letter, ultimately (7)
EXCERPT: A synonym of not (as in exclusion) containing (covering) the last letter (ultimately) of letteR.

17a Hitherto, elegant forms exposed (2,3,10)

19a Impressive, a city in Georgia (7)
AUGUSTA: A synonym of impressive followed by A from the clue.

21a Pocketed by OAP, age-related communications device (5)
PAGER: The lurker (pocketed by) found in the rest of the clue.

24a Organone breathing? (5)
LIVER: A double definition – the second generates a Hmm and the first is the source of bile.

26a Revolutionary penning article after proper lecture (9)
REPRIMAND: A three letter revolutionary (based on colour) containing (penning) all of one of the indefinite articles placed after a synonym of proper.

27a Head of silver, if not grey (7)
SUNLESS: The first letter (head) of Silver and a single word for if not gives a term that could be meteorological.

28a Book has the ability to offend for a start — might one blow one’s top? (7)
VOLCANO: An abbreviated form of a synonym of book, a three letter term for has the ability to, and the initial letter (for a start) of Offend.


1d Soak up solidified lemony dessert (6)
POSSET: A three letter synonym of soak reversed (up) and a three letter synonym of solidified.

2d Passion around contests, most substantial (8)
HEAVIEST: A synonym of passion containing (around) a verbal synonym of contests.

3d Intensity in shocking scenes with fire (10)
FIERCENESS: An anagram (shocking) of SCENES with FIRE.

4d Principals of colleges evident in photo, working for US university (9)
PRINCETON: The first letters (principals) of Colleges Evident inserted into a processed photo followed by the two letter synonym of working.

5d Superior sweets with a twist (4)
SMUG: Sweets that may be fruit or chewing reversed (with a twist)

6d Speakerone’s barking! (6)
WOOFER: A double definition – the first is a speaker in an audio system.

7d Rat steered off, heading for rathole (8)
DESERTER: An anagram (off) of STEERED followed by the first letter (heading) of Rathole.

9d Spirit bottles a beneficial thing (4)
GAIN: A type of (liquid) spirit sometimes referred to as mother’s ruin containing (bottles) A from the clue.

15d Mashed pear in cold cheese (10)
CAERPHILLY: An anagram (mashed) of PEAR inserted into (in) a synonym of cold.

16d Sporting rarity, huge winger? (9)
ALBATROSS: A double definition – the first is a particularly low score in a game sometimes described as a good walk spoiled.

17d How photograph in the dark is taken immediately? (2,1,5)
IN A FLASH: I thought that this might be a double definition, nut decided against it – the use of a camera accessory.

18d Porker, chap always finding time for excessive drinking? (8)
HOGMANAY: Another term for porker (as an animal), a synonym of chap, and a two letter (Scottish) synonym of always.

20d Flexible donation to charity (6)
GIVING: A(nother) double definition – the second is a single word for donation to charity.

22d Newspaper seller carrying edition with odd parts censored (3-3)
RED TOP: An abbreviated form of a seller who usually travels often containing (carrying) what remains when the odd letters (parts) are removed (censored) from eDiTiOn.

23d Black-marketeer sending big guns over (4)
SPIV: A four letter mnemonic for (human) big guns reversed (sending . . . over).

25d Reportedly true film (4)
REEL: We finish with the homophone (reportedly) of true – with a Hmm.

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Eric Idle is 77 today and this is his contribution to the 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony – the singing starts around 2m 45s – perhaps it is appropriate for what we are going through right now:


103 comments on “ST 3049

  1. Another Sunday crossword where, once your brain has switched on to Dada’s wavelength, it doesn’t take long to solve. Interestingly the one thing I questioned didn’t merit a hmmm from Senf. I wonder if anyone else will mention it,.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – I’m so glad you decided to illustrate 17a with a song rather than a picture

      1. That’s just a gerund – as in The Taming of the Shrew – no problem at all. Now the IN in 17d…

        1. Yes, not a good clue – the wordplay definitely suggests that the answer should start with ‘WITH’ while the actual answer is appropriate for the definition.

    1. I am not sure what it says about me but the Danny Kaye song came to mind immediately. It must be something about my ‘inner child’ and memories of Children’s Favourites on a Saturday Morning!

      1. And I thank you too, Senf, re the pic at 17a. I loved that movie, memories of happy songs.

      2. Senf, I do want to thank you for the Danny Kaye clip. He was just wonderful as H.C.Andersen. I must have been 13 or 14 when my parents allowed me to go downtown Into Charleston Proper, to see the movie by myself, and for weeks afterwards–having bought the film score–I sang along with ‘Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!’ all around the house, and then I bought the sheet music and learned to play many of the songs on the piano. Many thanks for the uplift today.

      3. Educating Archie!

        Family Favourites, The Billy Cotton Bandshow, The Navy Lark / Round the Horne / Beyond Our Ken at lunchtime, and The Goon Show in the evening. Happy days.

        1. As many expats did, we had a shortwave radio in Jamaica and listened to the BBC all the time, so enjoyed those shows, especially the Goons.

      4. I once had a request played by Uncle Mac on Children’s Favourites in the 1950s. Rather bizarrely my request was for the 23rd psalm “The Lord’s My Shepherd” to the tune “Crimond”. I think that must have been my mother’s idea on the basis that my name was more likely to be picked out than for the popular songs for children at the same such as the Danny Kaye one

    1. I’d say it was a typo which I’ll correct to avoid further confusion – Senf being in a different time zone to the rest of us

      1. Thanks to CS for correcting my typo. I have no idea what I was thinking at the time; it might have been something that was said in one of the continual repeats of ancient British sitcoms that PBS has on a Saturday evening that I was half watching. Presently, we have The Good Life, As Time Goes By, Yes Minister, and After You’ve Gone – still they beat most of the junk that the other TV stations have had to resort to in the present circumstances.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Senf’s typo was corrected before your comment arrived in the system

  2. A typical Sunday Dada puzzle held up slightly by 10a but otherwise all rather straightforward.

    I didn’t think the ‘content’ part of 2dn is a ‘verbal’ synonym if that’s meaning a homophone.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

      1. Yes, a ‘device’ along with ‘nounal’ that I use quite often to try to steer the solver in the right direction.

  3. Pleasantly straightforward this morning with very few delays in completion. Dada was feeling reasonably benign when he compiled this one, obviously aware that we are all down an hour on sleep. 15d was my COTD.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned for the challenge and to Senf.

  4. Got slightly held up by slotting in an incorrect speaker for 6d which made a mess of 10&12a until the latter became apparent – otherwise a reasonably straightforward solve.
    Top two here were the cleverly constructed 11a along with 15d – possibly my favourite cheese.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for going the extra mile – nowhere to hide when you’re reviewing the entire puzzle! Lovely to see the Danny Kaye clip again, it always makes me smile.

    1. I agree re the 15d cheese but we can’t get it here – well, I suppose you could if you found a speciality store! Yum yum.

    2. Take care with that cheese – Sounds to me like Welsh cheese should always be eaten carefully 😁🧀🧀

  5. 2*/4*. Good fun for a Sunday morning. 10a was the only clue I struggled with and was my last one in.

    My top three today were 17a, 15d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  6. 1d doesn’t sound very appealing according to chambers (definition 1, i assume) – do people really eat that?
    The barker took me way too long (I was looking for a dog breed) and hence that is my favourite.
    I wasn’t sure 20d would be right, second meaning seemed weak
    impressed with the long anagram, and it took me a while to see the 3d anagram too.

    great sunday puzzle, many thanks setter and senf

              1. JL, I’m not the world’s best speller! My phone dictionary is always hot from use.

    1. I’m with Dutch on this one. Mama Bee was a midwife and 1d in that field is synonymous with baby sick. I don’t think I could bring myself to eat this under any circumstances. The rest of the puzzle was reasonably straightforward with the West going in before the East. I too am fond of a nice 15d and in order to help my lovely cheese shop, I have ordered a big delivery before they shut. 14a was LOI and was wrong until the barker put me right.
      Thanks to Senf and Dada.
      Malt supplies a little low but I did manage to get a litre of Famous Grouse for £16 at last Tesco trip.

      1. Columnist Tim Dowling on being served 1d: “‘It doesn’t taste at all like I thought it would,’ I say. ‘How much baby sick did you put in?’”.

        Thank, all — lots of fun comments today.

  7. This didn’t take long but I enjoyed the ride, once I got onto the right wavelength.

    Many thanks to Senf and Dada.

  8. That was a gentle solve. I thought that 17a and 17d had something of a link. 11a and 15d were my favourites. I can see 18d reappearing one New Year. Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  9. Well that’s an oddity, a DADA that not only can I complete but also enjoy! I really liked 6d which was my fav.
    I wonder if the DT included this quite straightforward puzzle in response to the article on how to do cryptic crosswords as a means of encouraging tyros? Whatever I enjoyed it.
    Thx to all

    1. Knowing a bit about how far in advance crosswords are scheduled for publication, I’d say it was just a coincidence. Glad you enjoyed it either way

  10. A fine puzzle by Dada who seems to have got a handle on what’s required for our Sunday enjoyment – thanks to him and to Senf for the blog.
    My ticks went to 27a, 28a and 18d.
    I am confused by Senf’s use of ‘quirky’ to describe some clues – does quirky not just mean ‘cryptic’ which is surely what we want in a cryptic crossword?

    1. I wish I could get a handle on what’s required. I’ve had a break of several months from these crosswords, and the setters and style of clues seems to have changed a lot. These clues seemed very convoluted, e.g. 4d

      Having said that, I managed to complete, in about 3x my normal completion time, only cheating on 2, and confirming on1.

      Gratifying to know that some of you found it ‘gentle’.

      1. I agree that 4d is somewhat convoluted but it is a charade so the setter has to ‘help us’ identify the elements to be assembled and how they are to be assembled – in this case, perhaps made slightly complicated, because the assembly includes an insertion. So not too bad when he has managed that and the definition in 10 words (if you count US as a word).
        And, Dada has been in the Sunday setter’s chair for around 16 months and his style has been consistent throughout that time.

    2. My use of quirky, and benevolence, relating to Sunday puzzles refers to (my) solving time; as we do not discuss actual solving times I can say more.

      1. Thanks, Senf. So, ‘quirky’ means difficult or tricky? I had totally misunderstood it.

        1. quirky
          having or characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits or aspects.

          Merusa has given us a new word at comment 26 ‘maybe me getting flocculent headed‘ I love it

  11. I found the top half pretty straightforward but the bottom considerably trickier. Matters weren’t helped by bunging in stag for 23d & it took a while for me to spot the error. 24a took a while for the penny to drop & then the SW corner fell pretty quickly. 22d was my last in though I was unable to parse it without Senf’s guidance.
    All in all an enjoyable crossword completed in fractionally over *** time with the cheese my pick.
    Thanks to all.

  12. I found the NE corner held me up here, although the rest went in in short order (2.5*/3.5*). Quite enjoyable as a prelude to being blown around on my once a day walk. I liked the lurker, 21a, also 28a and 18d. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Keep Well everyone.

    1. No walking here today :( Stronger winds than ever, hail and sleet too. Add to that the clocks changing and the fact that I don’t need to draft the review of this crossword now that it isn’t ‘prize-worthy’ combine to mean that I’ve had a really strange Sunday morning.

      1. Strong and very cold winds here in Shropshire, as well. Unfortunately, Hudson, my Lab has to be taken out so, on with the wellies, thick coat and scarf! Hope he doesn’t take long!

  13. I was doing so well until I got ‘cheesed’ by 15d. Did anyone else keep trying to make an anagram of ‘pear in cold’? I’d never heard of the real thing so I had to seek electronic help, but I really should have done better on that. (I was like a dog with a bone, obsessed–with an anagram.) Excellent Dada. Choices today: well, I have to start with 15d, then 6d and 19a. Thanks to Senf and Dada. Love the Sunday puzzles.

    A very, eerily quiet Sunday morning here in the Carolina Lowcountry. Listening to an organ concert on Minnesota Public Radio, live-streaming. Music, secular and classical, to my ears only. It’s as if there’s not a care in the world. Yet the world’s on fire. Stay well everyone.

    1. I spotted the cheese straight away when I had a couple of checkers. So confident was I that it must be an anagram I inserted it without checking all the letters were there. I had doubts about my answer when I thought of a wrong answer for 14a. All was well although I did not get the parsing. Never thought of a synonym for cold.

  14. I found this an enjoyable challenge. Took me quite a long time to complete it and needed a couple of hints. I had completely forgotten the dessert at 1d (thanks Cryptic Sue for the recipe). Favourites were 11a and 6d.

    Grateful thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

    I once managed a 16d on a par 5. It was very nearly a hole in one because my drive placed the ball a foot from the pin. The putt was the most nervous one I have ever played. Please don’t get the idea that I am a great golfer. I was awful and this was a one off. The best thing I did for my golf was give it up. :grin:

    Stay safe, everyone.

    1. I’m impressed. That must have been an amazing drive to get it on the green on a par 5, or was there some form of assistance?

      1. It was a drive across a valley. The fairway dog legged to the right on the other side. My drive was hooking towards the left and heading for the rough. However, it was a frosty morning. When the ball landed it hit a frozen pice of turf and shot straight up the centre of the fairway. Because the ground was rock hard, it bowled along at some speed towards the green. The guy I was playing started yelling “It’s going in! It’s GOING IN!” I could only stand in dumb silence. It was about a 430 yard drive.

  15. A very nice puzzle indeed. At first reading I thought ‘Oh no, it’s a Sunday stinker’. It took me until I got down to the SE corner to get started and to get on the right wavelength, then all went in pretty smoothly after that. Lots of clues to like but I will single out 6d,27a and 18d with top spot to 10a. Nice one Dada and well done Senf.

  16. Another enjoyable crossword from Dada … the NE corner held me up until the “barker” penny dropped. Then swiftly followed by last one in 10ac.

    Thanks Dada and Senf

  17. Tried to make an anagram of Pear in Cold also in 15d. And wondered if the letters from the top and bottom row was a kind of message in Welsh.
    Probably not.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. That’s very funny, j-l c! PHF PSWD and HGLS YYP to you too. Thanks for the big laugh; I certainly needed that. Here’s to Hyeres and you, et Bon Nuit !

  18. An entertaining diversion once wavelength is adjusted to Dada mode! Really enjoyed it…
    Quite a good decent number of clues so no favs today.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf for review

  19. Yup fell for the Pear in Cold diversion with 15d but soon recognised the error of my ways and the correct answer brought a smile so earns my COTD award.

    Needed the hints for 27a and 25d but the rest all fell into place nicely.

    Very enjoyable Sunday Puzzle so thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. I’m not finding this at all gentle or straightforward, in fact, quite disappointing so far. Putting aside and perhaps my brain will wake up by lunch time.

  21. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I was very pleased to find it doable. Having said that, I needed the hints for 1d, never heard of it. 19a, wouldn’t have thought of it, and 4d, couldn’t work it out. Favourite was 24a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  22. I found it hard to get started, then did the north half, got totally lost with the rest and resorted to Senf’s hints to get going again. I find it hard to know what the answer should mean, and when I do get the answer, I find I get so confused trying to unravel. Example, I immediately solved 4d, but had no idea what the verbiage was trying to say! I just bunged it in.
    After Senf got me going again I did quite well but a bit slow, maybe me getting flocculent headed. My last one was 25d, I needed to peek at the answer, it’s a homophone with real? Really?
    Hard to choose a fave, so many good clues. I liked 11a, 15d, laughed at 6d, loved Danny Kaye at 17a.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and Senf for all the help.

    1. Hi, Merusa, down there in Miami (I think): Wonderful word, ‘flocculent’–can I use it when I feel woolly-headed, like early in the a.m.? And is there a verb, you think, ‘to flocculate’?

      When Danny Kaye had the right vehicle to star in, no one could touch him. “Thumbelina, Thumbelina, tiny little thing!”–remember?

      1. Of course I remember Thumbelina, how could one forget! Danny Kaye was a one off, his timing was spot on.
        You may, of course, use flocculent, I think you should ask Churchill’s permission. Don’t ask me about the fine points of English grammar, I’m clueless.
        Yes, I’m in Miami, haven’t been outside for at least two weeks, got all I want here. TV for news, which I could do with less, movies, books, etc.

  23. As is often the way for me, a first read through a Dada puzzle and it looks impossible. But the southeast corner gave me a way in and it all flowed from there. Jolly cold here in Lancashire, a walk in shorts on Friday, today, two fleeces and a duvet jacket!
    Thanks to Dada for the Sunday evening brain teaser (it’s 7.15 and it’s still light!) and Senf for the blog.

  24. I love Sunday Dada puzzles. Just right. Like Ray T he makes you think. I loved Male clueing a ram and Spirit being Gin. The perfect misdirection towards an anagram also delighted. Thank you Dada for the puzzle and thank you Senf. I am with Merusa reference your riposte at comment 4.

  25. Oh – so many comments – I’ve just finished this one and we’re just about to have supper so no time now to read them all and I’d rather do that before writing my comment.
    Just for the record and in case I don’t get round to commenting properly I thought it was jolly difficult.

  26. This didn’t seem so hard at second sitting, and was ripping through. However, NW corner continued to put up a fight and needed Senf’s hints to unravel. Never heard of the 1d dessert so that was a real hold up. You definitely don’t see 16d over here, but I never cared for it anyway. Quite enjoyed in the end. Thanks to Dada for some brain exercise.

    1. Can’t think where the time goes in these days in captivity but once again came to this late in the day. South was slightly less troublesome than the North. IMHO 10a clue is too imprecise. Thought of bunging in another location for 19a but couldn’t parse it and did have a different but parsable solution to 2d. 15d is certainly not one of my favourite products (much too mild) but nevertheless I choose it as my cruciverbal Fav today. Wot a lot of Comments – am en route for bye-byes so have merely skimmed through them.Thank you Dada and Senf.

      1. Sorry BusyLizzie this wasn’t meant to be a reply to you. It is a stand-alone Comment. By the way I have just placed an order online for your namesakes (New Guinea Impatiens)!

  27. Individually we would never have managed this but together we muddled through, although the SE corner held out for a long time. 5d and 7d for some reason took a great deal longer than they should have. We particularly liked the cheese, although we have never tasted this variety. Thanks to setter and the mustardy bloke. 🙂🙂

  28. 2*/4*…..
    liked 21A ” pocketed by OAP, age-related communications device (5) “

      1. used to have to wait my turn for the dead tree version to become available…
        due to current circumstances have been using the Telegraph puzzles website….
        not sure which I prefer.

  29. Not as quirky as I thought it might be given Dada’s penchant for throwing some real humdingers into the mix at times. Worked my way through the puzzle south to north for the most part. I too had trouble with 20d and with 25d did a ‘hmm’. 1d was new to me and last in.
    Favourite clue was 15d and hon. mentions to 11a, 27a & 17d
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints.

  30. Have just discovered that Chris Lancaster in his article today professes to have all the answers as to “How to be a Cryptic Crossword Champion” and promises more tips next week! 🙂

  31. Oh dear! Fell asleep again halfway through after being interrupted by numerous phone calls, texts, WhatsApps etc. otherwise I’d have finished this last night. Long may the interruptions last I might add. Any road up just thought I’d call in and say hello, not that anyone will be listening. Thanks to all.

  32. No time to do this yesterday so had a go this morning…..and I SO could not do this.
    Quite depressed at how badly I fared.

    Will have a go at Monday’s later on today in an attempt to cheer myself up.

    Stay safe, stay home, everyone.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada

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