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ST 3050

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3050

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

Until the Telegraph resumes the award of prizes for the Weekend puzzles, this post, and all other Weekend posts, will be just like the Monday to Friday posts, with hints for every clue and revealable answers. BD

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, in her own way, Mother Nature showed us that, even though it is Spring, she can be as quirky as Dada.  Rain on Wednesday evening turned into snow on Thursday and by the time it stopped around lunchtime on Friday she had given us 20cm.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

Dada quirky again this week – I counted seven anagrams (two partials), no lurkers, and three homophones – all in an asymmetric 27 clues.

Candidates for favourite – 4a, 16a, 1d, and 5d.

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

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Rough passage, it’s said? (6)
COARSE: One of the homophones to start (it’s said) of synonym of passage.

4a Not this cold, hot layer of straw, say? (6)
THATCH: A single word for not this, the single letter for cold, and the single letter for hot.

8a Daydreaming, put first of Cornish pasties in a stew (8)
ESCAPIST: An anagram (put . . . in a stew) of the initial letter (first) of Cornish and PASTIES.

10a Smooth and tough Arctic explorer saving lives, originally (6)
PEARLY: A renowned US Arctic explorer, who claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909, containing (saving) the first letter (originally) of Lives.

11a Wading bird that may be on reef? (4)
KNOT: A word when placed after (on) reef results in a particular form of ‘interlacement of parts of a rope.’

12a Decorative accessory turning into a scarf (10)
FASCINATOR: An anagram (turning) of INTO A SCARF.

13a Devouring rubbish including last scrap of meal, journalist ate too much (12)
OVERINDULGED: An anagram (rubbish) of DEVOURING containing (including) the final letter (last scrap) of meaL followed by the usual two letter journalist.

16a Upset as given the sack, it’s implied? (12)
DISAPPOINTED: A single word that could indicate (it’s implied) that someone has been given the sack – I think we have seen this before.

20a Opener: cricketer who’s gloved bouncer, say? (10)
DOORKEEPER: An object that opens to allow passage and the abbreviated term for the cricketer who wears gloves when in his or her fielding position.

21a Mend part of shoe, did you say? (4)
HEAL: A homophone (did you say) of part of a shoe.

22a Two family members together soon enough (6)
MAÑANA: Familiar terms for mother and grandmother – a Spanish word so there should really be a ~ (tilde) over the first N.

23a Around New England state, communist stayed (8)
REMAINED: The informal term for communist placed around one of the (coastal) new England states.

24a Preferably pretty (6)
RATHER: A double definition – the first is an adverbial synonym of preferably.

25a Where log may be doing very well (2,4)
ON FIRE: A reasonably straightforward double definition to finish the Acrosses.


1d Great lover with sex appeal certainly not into wine (8)
CASANOVA: The two letter abbreviation for sex appeal (which is in the BRB) and the single word for certainly not all inserted into a type of (sparkling Spanish) wine.

2d Expect there’s a load to listen to? (5)
AWAIT: The third homophone (to listen to) of load placed after A from the clue.

3d Set tailors up on wet land (7)
STIFFEN: A verbal synonym of tailors reversed (up) and a term for an East Anglian wet land.

5d So mad having trodden on nail, perhaps? (7)
HOPPING: One’s stance, perhaps, after treading on a nail.

6d A great new haunt where refreshments served outdoors (3,6)
TEA GARDEN: An anagram (new) of A GREAT and term for a (male) haunt.

7d Unhappy after short vacation in cave (6)
HOLLOW: A synonym of unhappy placed after an abbreviated (short) form of a synonym of vacation.

9d Ailing puss, I repeat, delicate thing (6,5)
TISSUE PAPER: An anagram (ailing) of PUSS, I REPEAT.

14d Bird breeds with rat, remarkably (9)
REDBREAST: An anagram (remarkably) of BREEDS with RAT.

15d Big blows in general — lawyers’ terms? (8)
LEGALESE: Big blows (as in strong winds) inserted into (in) the surname of a General of the Confederate States Army.

17d Observe servant providing quantity of dripping? (7)
SEEPAGE: A synonym of observe and a (often young) servant.

18d Boaters in Sanremo at sea (7)
OARSMEN: An anagram (at sea) of SANREMO.

19d Musical about Genesis etc lifting agent? (3,3)
HOT AIR: A 1960s American Tribal Love-Rock Musical containing (about) the two letters that describe Genesis etc – the video below is part of the introduction to the film version of the musical.

21d One in Panama, say, heading for idyllic island nation (5)
HAITI: The single l;etter for one placed in the headwear that panama is a type of (say) followed by the first letter of (heading for) Idyllic.

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Agnetha Faltskog, the blonde female singer of ABBA, is celebrating her 70th birthday today. Here she is with the rest of the group performing their most successful worldwide number one from 1976:


86 comments on “ST 3050

  1. Dada was quirky but challenging and entertaining as usual (***/****). I found it difficult to get into this one, particularly the SW corner. I liked 10a and 3d but there were lots of wily clues to choose from. Thank you for the hints and help parsing 13a, Senf. We seem to be moving straight from frosty mornings to summer temperatures here. Stay well everyone.

  2. 3*/4*. I agree this was quite challenging and a lot of fun.

    I am unconvinced that the definitions for 8d and for 10d are synonymous with the answers.

    Not surprisingly 20a was my runaway favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

      1. Presume you mean across – they’re the 2 I’m stuck on & on the point of losing patience & looking at the hints

        1. Yes, my deliberate mistake to see who was awake. :wink:
          (If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.)

    1. I agree on 10a as the surface of a real pearl is not smooth at all. One of the reputed tests to determine if a pearl is real is to rub it on your teeth – if it feels ‘gritty’ it is real.

  3. Thanks to all. Reckon 8a should be daydreamer then it makes more sense. As to the US explorer I am at a loss!

      1. Me too, however, being the appalling speller that I am, I was trying to spell it Perry – oh dear.

    1. Yes, the Arctic explorer is a bit of GK that, fortunately, I knew. I hope that with the information I included in the hint an electronic inquiry will yield the right person.

    2. I agree AP. Either definition for 10a should be daydreamer, or the answer should end in “ing”. In which case the partial anagram doesn’t quite work.

  4. I didn’t find this quirky, or difficult, or annoying hmm worthy – just a straightforward Dada Sunday crossword – mind you, I suppose it helps if you know the explorer

    I’m just wondering whether Dada lives in a country cottage and the solutions to 1a, 4a, 24a, and 25a are a cry for help!

    Thanks to him and Senf

  5. I had a bit of trouble with 8 and 10a too should he be a daydreamer? (snap Andrew) and had doubts that 10a is a synonym of smooth too. Not helped by not checking the enumeration for 9d and bunging it in the wrong way round. The SW was the last quadrant to fall too 20a needed all its checkers before I saw it and the Musical was Top Hat and once seen couldn’t get it out of mind. It was a bit stiffer than yesterday but none the worse for that considering we have so much time on our hands.
    I am out of self-isolation tomorrow and will be back at the coalface of contact lens delivery so crosswords will have to wait until I get home which is rather dependent on how long it takes to trawl through Tescos.
    “Thank you for the music” Senf and Dada too

    1. Glad someone else thought it was Top Hat! Saw the musical in question in the 60s, didn’t get it then and probably would not understand it now but it did have one memorable line:
      “White man come and kill our women and rape our buffalo.
      Don’t you mean the other way round.
      You do it your way and I’ll do it mine”

  6. Beaten by the very tenuous synonym in 10a. Finally conceded defeat & went to the hints which were of no help as I’m not up on my US polar explorers so was forced to reveal the answer. I found this Dada offering a mixed bag in terms of difficulty. I raced through most of it but struggled with a few – 8a, 22a & 19d amongst the culprits with the latter my COTD once the penny eventually dropped.
    Thanks to both Dada & to Senf.

  7. Certainly a *** for me for difficulty which for a DADA is a result! Never heard of the explorer and like most people I thought 22a meant tomorrow which i suppose is some time soon so fair enough. Best clue for me was 22a, always up for a cricketing clue (sorry Kath).
    As I could check my answers which is vital in any quirky DADA puzzle I enjoyed this one.
    Thx to all

  8. The top half of this took me probably double the time of the bottom half.

    10a was my last one in and when I’d taken a stab at the answer I looked up the explorer – I’d never heard of him, but it didn’t matter as the clue was ok, although I kind of understand the reservations of others.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    By the way, Senf, I think your hint for 4a needs a very slight tweak.

    1. Yes, 4a does/did need a very slight tweak. Thanks for pointing it out. Can you be available as a ‘proof reader’ at 3:00am (UK time) next Sunday? :wink:
      (If you are, and assuming that it is still not a prize puzzle, it does mean that you will see all the answers.)

      1. Considering my sleepless nights of late (last night included) that wouldn’t be quite the stretch you expected!

  9. Put me on the list of those not happy with 8&10a – even though the BRB certainly endorses the latter. I’m also none too keen on the entry at 14d – that isn’t the bird’s correct name for goodness sake…….
    Ho hum – still plenty that I did like with wading bird at 11a and the display of pain at 5d taking top spots.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – I guess it’s rather comforting to know that even the beautiful blonde dancing queen is aging along with the rest of us!

    1. I thought 14d might ‘grab your attention,’ although the BRB seems to think it’s OK.

      1. I agree with you about 14d. If the setter is going to use a colloquial term for a bird, rather than the proper name, there should be some indication.

        1. ‘re 14d. The birds real name is the answer. It’s common name is a familiar, like Jenny Wren, which seems to have stuck. It’s not red of course it’s orange but we had no word for orange until the orange was introduced into this country by the Romans I believe.

          1. I might be out by a millennia and a half on when we first had oranges, I’ve just checked it up. But I’m still right on the first part. The red kite isn’t red and nor is Mars, the “red planet”. Hey ho, we live and learn.

          2. I think you’ll find that the bird’s real name is Erithacus rubecula. When we started to give birds more ‘human’ names it became known as the Robin Redbreast, the second word having been mostly dropped from use over the years. Always believed to be a member of the thrush family, current thinking is that it is actually an old world flycatcher.

  10. A pleasant solve. Just right for a Sunday morning. Far easier than the same setters puzzle in yesterday’s Guardian which I am still struggling with. The Cornish Pasties and the American explorer were the last two to fall. Thanks to Paul for the puzzle and to Senf for the rest. I’ll pass on the music if you don’t mind

      1. Nobody admitted to liking ABBA and I never knew why. How did they become a global phenomenon if nobody would admit to liking them?

        I think they are great.

  11. A bit of a struggle for me. I find Dada can be quite varied. One week I manage with no problems and other times, like today, it is a hard slog. It took me a long time to get started and I needed electronic help with a couple. Once I had the checkers for 10a it could only be one of a couple of answers so I looked the explorer up. Never heard of him so there is something learned. I couldn’t get Top Gun out of my head for 19d but I knew it was wrong, of course. To my knowledge a musical of that film has not been made. Favourites are 4a, 25a 3d.

    Grateful thanks to Dada and also Senf for the hints.

    During our isolation, Mrs. C. and I are spring cleaning the whole house. What a time for Henry to die on us! :negative:

    1. Is Henry the butler who has succumbed to Covid19 or just the hoover?🚑🎩👨‍🦯

        1. There’s almost nothing in a Henry that can’t be easily fixed with a screwdriver – as for the butler, the vodka variety will probably work better

          1. I tried opening Henry but the screws – about 8 of them – refused to budge. A new Henry arrives on Tuesday but I will keep the old one. If I can mend it, it will become the upstairs Henry. The new one will be the downstairs Henry.

            Couldn’t rely on my repairing skills. We have a black Lab and are drowning in dog hair! Only option was a new Henry.

            Now the butler has gone who will get my scotch and soda?

            Times are harsh indeed! 🤣

  12. Not too difficult for a Dada – 3*/3* for us.
    Didn’t like 8a – but thanks to those who suggested daydreamer makes more sense.
    Not keen on 22a either as in Spanish the ñ is a totally separate letter in the alphabet and is not interchangeable with the standard n. And is pronounced very differently. So it was the last one in for us and had to resort to looking up the answer! Grrrrrrr
    Thanks though to Dada and Senf.
    PS day 21 of lockdown for us – now extended for another 21 days. Really need a new hobby to keep my brain alive 🤣😂😅

    1. Thanks for the info on the Spanish alphabet; my knowledge of Spanish is limited to ordering beer! 22a certainly looks odd without the ‘ñ’ in the third ‘spot which has now been ‘amended’ into the hidden answer.

      1. At the beginning of this awful crisis, Belgian shops were offering 1 Mort Subite (sudden death) if you were to buy 2 Corona beers.

  13. Thanks for the hints. NW the last to fall. I’m OK with 8a perhaps not being a pedant helps in some cases. Had to reveal the answer to 10a. I was looking up Artic explorers but the right name did not jump out at me. In addition I thought that the word Tough was superfluous and what’s more the answer suggests some sort of luminous sheen and not to my mind smooth. So a black mark in an otherwise reasonably enjoyable crossword

    1. I can recommend a book by Fergus Fleming titled “Ninety Degrees North” Having read it you will understand why the word “Tough ” is included.

      1. It’s probably very interesting but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite to read biographys of artic explorers in order to do cryptic crosswords.

  14. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the review and hints. I found this a struggle from start to finish. Needed 6 hints to finish. Had never heard of the explorer in 10a, couldn’t see the definition of 19d, was convinced that it was “musical”. Curse of the double definition struck with 24a. Knew the last bit of 20a was keeper, but couldn’t get the door. Didn’t realise a cave was a hollow in 7d. Favourite was 4a. Was 5* 2* for me.

  15. Error message 796 : Brain not functioning. Check neurons.

    Checked neurons with several cups of coffee and finally finished. Agree with many of the queries above. Liked 16a and 6d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. I think daydreaming is ok (as adjective) and equally escapist (as in escapist literature) is an adjective

    1. gsolphotog, whilst I agree that both daydreaming and escapist can be used as adjectives, I still can’t make them synonymous by creating a sentence where you could replace one with the other, e.g. as per your example, “daydreaming literature” doesn’t make sense (to me at least).

  17. I don’t ordinarily look at the Sunday puzzle so it’s a new one for me. As everyone else has said, pearly doesn’t indicate smooth to me. Agree with daydreaming / daydreamer. Daydreaming works better with escapism rather than the person doing the daydreaming.

    1. He/she (can’t have any sexism these days) was indulging in his/her escapist/daydreaming activities.

  18. The weather is glorious here in Cambridge and I have just spent a happy time sitting in the garden doing the crossword and now I can have a snooze. Agree about 8a, didn’t stand a chance with the crickety one or the arctic explorer. Not quite the same buzz when it isn’t a prize puzzle. A certain recklessness creeping in. 12a things are an invention of the devil and almost always worn inappropriately by the wrong people. Thanks to all, stay safe.

  19. I realise that most of you probably don’t bother with it, but I usually do the Quick Crossword to be sure I’m not losing my English vocabulary, and today’s online version (no. 619) is a repeat – and a recent one at that. Is the paper version different? And how can I access it?

    1. You are right Ailsap. It is a repeat and of a recent Quickie. And yes there is always a new one on Sundays. Not sure what happened. Did someone post the wrong puzzle today? Perhaps Chris Lancaster will comment if he sees this.

      1. Just for interest go back to 618 and see if you completed it previously. I know last week that I printed off and completed puzzle 619 as I have the dated copy which was ‘repeated’ today but when I looked back 618, from last week, was not started so at least I had a Quickie to try !

    2. I always solve the codeword (easy peasy) first. Then the Quick Crossword which sets me up for the Cryptic. I would advise solving quickies regularly as they help with solving cryptic clues from definitions

      1. I don’t think I have ever been able to actually finish a quick puzzle, without any wordplay, I am lost

  20. Quite challenging particularly in the NE where I had to seek a little help. Bunged in 22a wrongly as I never think of that term for grandmother. Not sure that 11a is ON reef. Liked 19d and 12a. Wonder if all the men knew what the decorative accessory in 12a is?! Thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. I, for one, had never heard of the 12a accessory. Having looked it up I’ve now learnt two new words in a single day since apparently there’s a similar, but slightly different, accessory called a hatinator. Who knew?

  21. I have had to give up on this one as the Cryptic Puzzle locked up for the second day running. As it was four hours ago I doubt it will allow me in anytime soon. I will have to cancel the app and reload it. So frustrating. I do remember thinking 20a was a great clue, not that we will be enjoying much cricket this season.

    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  22. Finished this delightful teaser in the wee hours of a Carolina morning–on a lovely Palm(etto) Sunday–after 5d, 10a, and 25a kept me from breezing through it. I’m finally getting onto Dada’s wave-length, I think, and thought this one of his most versatile achievements. I couldn’t for the life of me remember the Admiral’s name and it was the ‘hopping mad’ that finally gave me the Open Sesame. At the bottom, I first thought that ‘on line’ or ‘in line’ (not meaning ‘on queue’) would make that a happy log until the penny dropped (strange, mixed metaphor!). Favourites: 4a, 22a, and 5d. 10a, my LOI, deserves a special medal, like an honorary Oscar. Thanks Dada and Senf. 2.5** / **** Stay well and safe, everyone.


  23. ***/***. Not happy about 8a although it was an obvious anagram. 10a required reverse engineering from the only two possible answers from the checkers. Mr Google confirmed the US explorer – never heard of him – and smooth is a very big stretch. On the plus side I really liked 16&20a. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  24. Well that made me think! Immensely enjoyable Sunday mind bender from the master of Quirk…
    As for 10ac you either knew it or you didn’t, bit of a stumper if you didn’t.
    I found most of this fairly doable, but the last quarter took me most of the time.
    Many thanks to Dada & Senf for review & guidance
    Wishing all well.

  25. Dada put up a bit of a struggle for me today, sometimes I can do, and other times I need a lot of hints, thank you Senf. Didn’t know the bird at 11a, so not confident enough to pen it in at first. I would never refer to a 14d with just the second part of his name. My very favourite bird of all, sadly not seen here in South Florida. Hope you don’t all get banned from taking outside exercise. We are abiding by our guidelines of staying home, unless going to the pharmacy or grocery store. But we are allowed to walk around our neighborhood, with social distancing of course. We are fortunate our house overlooks a small lake with varying wild life, egrets, herons and assorted occasional ducks which lift our spirits with their antics. The largest lake in our development also has yellow bellied turtles, just a few minutes walk from our house. We do have 3 residents who have caught and survived COVID19 thankfully. We don’t yet have lines outside supermarkets, but we seem to lag behind the UK by about 3 weeks so fingers crossed. Stay safe everyone.

  26. I did this one this morning before heading out to do more seed planting – I hardly dare say it after the last few months but the garden is quite dry.
    It seemed fairly average difficulty for Dada.
    I had a spot of bother in the bottom left corner – 20 and 22a and 19d were the culprits.
    Always forget the 1d sex appeal – every time it foxes me I swear it never will again but . . .
    I’ve never heard of the arctic explorer.
    I liked 11 and 16a and 14d – I know it’s not quite right but the thought of a bird breeding with a rat made me laugh.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  27. As is normal for me when trying to solve a Dada puzzle, I was totally lost most of the time. He was much more friendly today, though, and I finished it with minimal help.
    I had no idea about the crickety clue, just bunged in what fit, still don’t understand, even with the hints.
    I recalled the 11a bird from a previous puzzle and it was my first in, I feel I deserve huge congratulations for that – maybe the memory isn’t fading as fast as I thought.
    Thanks Dada and Senf for helping to pass another locked down day. Forecast for heavy rain, hallelujah, so off to the pool before it starts.

  28. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t keen on this Dada crossword.
    For the same reasons as mentioned in the blog.
    Too many did you say, implied, say and ? for my liking.
    Didn’t get the wading bird nor the arctic explorer.
    Thanks to Dada nonetheless and to Senf.

  29. Not as quirky as I was expecting from the intro comments so I was pleasantly surprised that most answers came fairly readily.
    No real struggles today as I solved this one counter clockwise starting from SW corner. Favourite clues for me were 11a, 20a, 25a & 9d
    Nice Sunday puzzle.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for hints

    Everyone stay safe and 2m apart and lets ‘flatten the curve’ … it’s the key

  30. A very enjoyable Dada puzzle, thanks! There’s a wonderful 6d on the Isle of Kerrera, just off Oban. One of my favourite places, the only way to reach it is by boat and then on foot, a very lovely walk with fabulous views of Mull (on a nice day of course!). I hope they open agin later in the year. Thanks to Senf for the blog

  31. I’m sure most people will have packed up and gone but hey ho! I’ve already commented on 14d, which I believe to be correct, at 9. I struggled with this all the way through right up until the point I didn’t. Once I had enough checkers on it came fairly easily. I had to Google the explorer obviously but at least I put his name in. Favourite 16a. Many thanks to Dada and Senf. Keep in keeping safe.

  32. Two heads not merely better than one, but essential to solve this crossword. First half (east) almost done before lunch, second half only completed much later when Gray was available. We cheated and looked up Arctic explorers. Still, some really fun clues and the added pleasure of reading the blog afterwards, thank you to all who contribute. 😀😀

  33. Late to the party. Don’t wish to be a pedant, but the calendar at the top of the page is a day wrong. Today is Sunday the 5th, not Saurday the 5th.

  34. Finished this morning ok.
    I’m afraid the gloss has gone off the Dada puzzles a little bit, perhaps just having a bad day…I wouldn’t mind a few Paul-like
    I knew the Arctic explorer, but like everyone, was not sure on the definition, same with 8a.
    Thanks all.

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