ST 3063 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 3063 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3063 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where we have had another heatwave with temperatures in the thirties and heat indexes in the forties..

Keep staying safe everyone. 

For me, Dada benevolent with some Hmms, some oldies but goodies, and a repetition radar blip – I counted four anagrams, one lurker, and three homophones – all in an almost symmetric 28 clues, with 16 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.  Getting the two long (partial) anagrams in the middle of the Acrosses as early as possible should help a lot.

Candidates for favourite – 7a, 11a, 27a, 5d, and 13d.

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:


7a Feeble month in regard to colliery (8)
The short form of one of the months of the year, the two letter preposition that can equate to in regard to, and a synonym of colliery.

11a Traveller’s one-liner? (8)
A type of train.

12a Setter: artless fop, I suspect about average (7,2,5)
An anagram (suspect) of ARTLESS, FOP I containing (about) a three letter synonym of average.

17a Plot followed on the radio? (5)
The first homophone (on the radio) of a synonym of followed (perhaps surreptitiously).

19a Something with teeth going through the ear? Painful! (4)
The second homophone (going through the ear), the third is 2d unhinted, of a cutting device with teeth.

20a Dramatic work, a repeat newly presented in mews (8,6)
An anagram (newly presented) of A REPEAT contained by (in) a synonym of mews.

25a Bit of fun with popular poet (6)
A four letter word for bit of fun and (with) the two letter term for popular.

28a Something sticky: soft food eaten by bird? (8)
A three letter term for soft food inserted into (eaten by) an (informal) synonym for bird.


1d Gather rice, eggs and peas, primarily (4)
The initial letters (primarily) of four words in the clue.

4d Agreement in relationship where Greek character bedded by groom (6)
The 13th letter of the Greek alphabet inserted into (where . . . bedded by) an abbreviated synonym of groom.

5d Plans catching on in French cathedral town (8)
A synonym of plans containing (catching) a two letter synonym of on.

8d Sharp joke, man! (7)
A three letter type of joke and a four letter synonym of man.

13d Mercury, say: something slightly burning metal? (4,6)
A (heavy) metal and something (or someone) that could slightly burn it.

16d Awful trampoline finally put in without springs? (8)
The last letter (finally) of trampoline inserted into (put in) a term written as (3,4) that could mean without springs.

21d Podgy about right, ultimately? (6)
A synonym of podgy containing (about) the last letter (ultimately) of righT gives another synonym of podgy.

26d Couple a little bit emotional (4)
The lurker (a little) found in the rest of the clue.

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.

10cc halfway through two weeks at number one on this day in 1975:


90 comments on “ST 3063 (Hints)

  1. Great crossword today.
    They heard the noise across the river in Essex when the light dawned on 12a. Would have helped if I had twigged ‘average’, I always forget that. That’s my COD anyway.
    I certainly found this easier than the last two weeks, but still a reasonable, but fair, challenge.
    21d was a bit odd, I don’t understand all this &lit jargon, was it one of those?
    Thanks for the heads up on 28a, the only one I could not parse.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  2. Big struggle for me today but got there finally . Final entry 5d , favourite 13d .
    In my opinion , Dada was more artful than benevolent but must be congratulated for another worthy challenge.
    Thanks Senf for the hints but yet to inspect .

  3. Dada seemed to be quirkier than usual to me and I found it a rather tricky puzzle . Whilst moderately enjoyable, there were not as many golden moments as I managed to decipher a cunning clue and there were a few groans. However, I had a great ‘penny-drop’ moment with 12a, my outright favourite clue. My rating was 3.5*/3.5*. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada, whose puzzles are always absorbing.

  4. Took ages to get started, then slowly worked my way to completion, apart from definition checking, unaided.
    Great, substantial mental workout.
    ***** difficulty for me.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf for the nicely illustrated review.

  5. As KFB said, an ‘artful’ Dada today, most enjoyable. I solved and parsed them all in very good time and ‘Aha’d!’ several times–with 12a / 13d, 28a, and 16d–which are always good signs that the setter is cracking right along. I especially liked 20a, Rattigan’s masterpiece with five screen actors giving the performances of their lives (I do mean that, and I could go on forever about watching it over and over), But my winners are 13d, 27a, and 4d (my LOI). The best Dada in weeks, I thought. And thanks to Senf for his hints, which I’ll read now. 2* / 4.5*

    1. Yes, 20a brought back wonderful memories. My fave was made-for-TV with Alan Bates.

  6. I started off well until I got to 13d when I had the wrong “Mercury” in mind. I got the first word right but not the second. That completely threw me for the SW corner. I managed to retrace my steps, and laughed my socks off when I realised the answer. Nice one. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. Brilliant grid and thoroughly enjoyable. Started well in the NW NE and SE, then a grinding halt in the SW, rescued by The FlyingFox as always. Thanks H. My COTD were 13 D 12A 11A and 4D. Many thanks to the setter.

  8. What an absolute horror, for me the worst Sunday this year. Even the hints are too cryptic (what does the third down is 2d unhinted mean?). Even with the hints and lots of electronic help, I can only managed about 2/3 of this thing.
    Def one for the experts. Us mere mortals will have to keep our powder dry and hope for something more solvable tomorrow.
    Thx for the hints

    1. It means that, having told you that there are three homophones in the preamble, in the hint for the second homophone I am telling you that that the third one is 2d but there is no hint for it.
      Brian, I really think it is time that you followed through on your many threats to ‘retire’ from Sunday puzzles!

  9. Thought I’d pop in & see what the general consensus was. I’m with Brian at the moment as currently floundering after filling in no more than a dozen & not entirely convinced a couple of those are right. After very nearly managing an unaided finish in his Graun puzzle yesterday I suppose he was bound to exact revenge today. Think I’ll take myself off for a good walk in the Harpenden sunshine & return to it later – there’s only so many cups of coffee you can drink….

  10. 5*/3*. Once again I am staggered by Senf’s assessment of benevolence. I found this far harder than Dada’s Toughies, and it took me several stop-starts to work to my way through it.

    To use the word in the clue I thought that 16d was awful, and 21d was rather strange.

    Even though it was tougher than I normally like for my Sunday morning solve, I did eventually enjoy the rest of it with 15a, 27a & 13d making it onto my podium.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  11. I’m in the “this was tough” camp because I struggled with it all the way through. A great puzzle but way beyond my ability. Senf’s hints finally dragged me across the line but there was no sense of satisfaction. 15a and 16d were bung-ins and I cannot for the life of me see the parsing or word play.

    As I said, a good puzzle but not for me. Thank you, Dada for the tough challenge. Senf, your hints were much needed so many thanks.

      1. Thanks, Senf but I still can’t see it. I understand the “do” part but that’s as far as it goes. I will await the review.

          1. I assessed it as an ‘alternative clue’ – per the ‘instructions in red.’

              1. I left some shortbread in the naughty corner when I was last there. Hope it’s still good.

                1. Thanks for the shortbread … I may well need some sustenance while trying to unravel the Phibs MPP.

                  ps I always find the most difficult part of cryptics … the double definition.

                  As much as I admire our bloggers, I always hate it when they simply say “Double Definition” to a clue that is obviously a double definition.

                  1. Specially for you, I’ve gone back to the draft review of this puzzle I typed this morning and explained the double definitions in full. Now you’ll tell me you never look at the reviews when they are published after the closing date in ten days’ time

                  2. I don’t know what else the hinters can say when it is a double definition without giving you the answer. I acknowledge that sometimes, as was the case today, the answer may be elusive. Usually because we are not thinking of that meaning or context.

                    1. Oh dear dear. Unlike Brian I loved the puzzle and I thought there were some great clues but I am with Steve on 15a. I cannot for the life of me work it out. I can do a bung in but not happy with it. 12a was brilliant as was 20 and just so much of it to admire. I feel I am sadly lacking To be beaten by one little 4 letter answer! (I put it down to the force 8 gale ruffling my feathers- I don’t care for wind)

  12. Very obtuse Dada for me with a number of problems partly of my own making. But 19 a homophone? Not if1 you are a Lancastrian.
    First time for ages I needed a Senf’s hint to kick start me after solving half , but spent too long staring a blank squares for it to be enjoyable. On the plus side laying a carpet was light relief.
    12a classic misleading so my COTD.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf – wouldn’t have got there without help.

    1. If you have 17a right I think it is a homophone wherever you come from. I cannot think of another way to pronounce either word.

      1. If you come from Bristol the 3rd letter is prominent. The thing with teeth is what you have looked at and sounds completely different. Not like an Eagle at all. I can feel redaction coming on now.

      2. Sorry my battery nearly died as I was posting & couldn’t check, I meant 19a

  13. Have to admit that I struggled to see what our setter was ‘driving at’ with some of the clues and I was less than happy with a few of my eventual answers. There were a few bright spots and I put 11&25a on the podium.

    Thanks to Dada for the rather different challenge and to Senf for the well-illustrated hints. Enjoyed listening to the 10cc clip, eminently preferable to something by 13d!

  14. I haven’t done the crossword today because I can’t access the website. Apparently it has been updated. Has anyone else has a similar problem with their Apple iPad? If so, and you know how to cure it, please tell me!

    1. Try deleting and reloading the app Greta. That usually works for me

  15. Fully concur with RD’s assessment including his views on 16&21d. I feel a masochistic sense of achievement having somehow staggered, unaided, over the line (need wrapping in tin foil & plenty of fluids) in ******* time – by some margin the longest time (4 coffees included) I can remember spending on a DT back pager. Must say one of the reasons I think I struggle with Dada is because the homophones rarely come easily to me – 17a was my last in & a typical example. I do however think this was a real cracker chiefly because both 12&20a were both excellent clues, neither of which were gimmies, & for me at least key to eventually gaining a real foothold. Both would therefore make it onto my podium but top spot goes to the clever misdirection in 13d.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf for his review – be interested to see which clues are hinted.
    Ps Do agree with RC re 20a – haven’t seen it in many a year but it stars one of my favourite actresses, the marvellous Wendy Hiller.

    1. Hiller brilliant and Oscared. Niven ditto. Hayworth career high. Lancaster better than Elmer Gantry. Kerr (should have been her 1st Oscar) Golden Globed Best Actress…

      1. Powell & Pressburger gave the 2 Oscar winners their best roles in my view – Niven in A Matter of Life & Death and Hiller in I Know Where I’m Going but I’m biased as I rate them the best partnership in cinema history

        1. Ah, yes. Niven in Stairway to Heaven (as it was titled over here when released)–haven’t seen it in decades. Must watch it again now. The Hiller movie I saw when I lived in New York (60s and 70s) and have memories only of its being in the Hebrides, and now I–thanks to you–also want to see this one again. I was so YOUNG then (in my 20s probably) when I saw that young Hiller and didn’t really know her until xxxxxxxxx

        2. I know where I’m going…..just give me Roger Livesey. His voice was to die for!!

          1. Golly all these old names, I didn’t think anyone else would have seen these old films besides me. You are so right about Roger Livesay’s voice and I can still remember all the words of I know where I’m going!

  16. Found this a great struggle and am still left with 15a. A tiny little word but very elusive to me. Maybe I have the wrong last letter of the down clue but I don’t think so.

    1. Try working through the alphabet and see if you can find a four letter word that means both do and go. It shouldn’t take you long ;)

      1. Thanks, think I’ve got it now. I do think 16d is a pretty bad clue though, the rest was quite fun though.

  17. Not sure why people don’t like 16d and can’t think of a different pronunciation for either of the two words clued at 17a. Favourites 7 11 and 28a and 6 13 and 16d. 13 has to be top favourite. Intentionally or not 20a is topical at the moment. This was by no means a walk in the park and it probably took me 3* time with 4* enjoyment. It was the SE that held out on me but I finally got 28a which led me to 24d. I thought the latter was hard to solve with only the first letter. There is a good synonym for 24d in the dictionary but try as I might I could not make it into a pudding. The first letter of 28a sorted it. Thank you Dada and to Senf although hopefully managed without hints today

  18. I found this tricky but i got there in the end enjoyed 20 across but it took me a while to get 4 & 5 down, no real COTD, thank you to Dada & Senf.

  19. I staggered through this like a looter carrying a 60″ television out of ASDA. My poor elderly brain is reeling with it all.
    The BBC weather forecast for my area describes what to expect today as a ‘fresh breeze’. In fact what felt like a tornado, a typhoon, and a cyclone all mixed together led to a torrid time at the garden table. Two hefty paperweights and my elbow struggled to hold the paper down. My home made tin foil cover (to prevent bugs and leaves making an appearance) over my glass of orange squash flew off and disappeared to the horizon. It is probably somewhere over France now.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

      1. Lola is in her traditional afternoon snoozing spot – by the wall, under the ivy, amongst the wallflowers, where no turmoil reaches her. She made a brief scurry over to say ‘hello’ and then trotted back to her sanctuary.

        1. Phoebe just brought in the largest giant ameiva I’ve ever seen, at least 15 inches long, and has now deposited it under my bed. Thank you kindly Phoebe.

        2. OMG, what I wouldn’t give to be able to grow those here, the most divine scent on earth.

    1. I am disappointed in you Terence. Orange juice ? Unless it was breakfast time.

  20. I agree with those who describe this as artful – clever and slightly devious. I got 12a and 20a quite quickly and thought I was going really well, before having to resort to the hints where I discovered that those I was stuck on were those omitted! More head scratching and I eventually got there. But it was a good challenge so thanks to the setter for the workout. Thanks, too, to Senf. I can’t imagine having to attempt a crossword in those very high temperature so very well done.

  21. I am in the tricky camp today. A few stretched synonyms and definitions (double and otherwise) that were not my first thought. 13d I had the 2nd word right but a wrong 1st word.
    Thanks to Senf for the much-needed hints and the excellent 10cc and thanks to Dada for the exercise.
    Sunny but windy here. I can barely hear Ice Station Zebra over the roaring down the chimney.

      1. Even the polystyrene icebergs were hammier than a plate of ham sandwiches.
        As a child I used to be a big fan of Alastair Maclean in book and film but they are very dated now.

        1. HMS Ulysses was the first book of Alastair Maclean’s that I read and, for me, his best. The film, however…..?

          1. Books usually are better than the films they gave birth too, When Eight Bells Toll was a film I liked, but mainly because it was set and filmed on the Isle of Mull where the family Bee were from. I suppose Where Eagles Dare was more successful as a film than a book but all his films now are quite out of fashion and IMO after about Athabasca even his writing lost its edge.

  22. Benevolence was not at the forefront of my mind as I struggled through this puzzle with several stops and starts. It took me a fair time to get into it, and having completed it I was relieved that many of my respected co-commenters found it equally challenging. However, finish it I did, and it was with a joint sense of relief and satisfaction that it finally gave up its secrets. 12 and 20a were excellent clues and my favourites.

    Thanks Dada for the considerable challenge and to Senf. I think this is the second time in four weeks where I have not agreed with his interpretation of the difficulty.

  23. I, too, got hung up on the element in 13d. A clever misdirect. 24d was really old school. I see the online BRB has 4 meanings. One isn’t in polite usage.
    I was interested to do this puzzle as I don’t usually have a Sunday paper and just tackle Dada’s Toughies mid week. I enjoyed it especially as I finished it without any of Senf’s hints.

  24. *****/*. Very tricky and not very rewarding apart from 13d which I thought excellent. 16d was impenetrable to me. I know that 15a is correct but I don’t think the second definition works, at least for me. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  25. Too difficult for us: only completed with electronic help so not really completed at all. Answers when uncovered just made us feel foolish, or cross ( because of abstruce clueing), or both. Hmph. Maybe we are too thick for Sundays. 😢😢

  26. Wow that was tough – in fact as someone relatively new to the joys of cryptic wordplay that was too tough! Thought I was starting to crack the code but still a lot too learn so in a positive way it’s good to have a challenge – if it was too easy would not be satisfying in any shape or form. So for me 6*!

    So thanks to the setter for the task and to Senf for the hints. However tomorrow is another day and hope to finish the next one…

  27. Explain this if you can, with my tiny brain I can never solve Dada puzzles, but today I swanned through this – well, not exactly, what I mean is I managed to solve it. I got the two long ones right away and that helped to give starting points.
    I didn’t like 4d, if it’s now considered proper English that’s a shame, awful word.
    I got stuck in the SW, I’m not really up on pop bands and singers. I used e-help to get 16d and that helped to get going again.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf for his hints and pics. I might as well bask in the sunshine with this, I don’t think it’s going to happen again anytime soon!

  28. Benelolent is most certainly not a word that I would use to sescribe this puzzle; awkward, obtuse, difficult are three words that come quickly to mind. I did complete it . . . . . eventually, but with no great pleasure whatsoever. The ‘I will NOT be beaten’ attitude got me through this one. I think that my first pint in a while this evening will taste that much better knowing that I can go home afterwards and not have to finish that wee bugger later. BTW, I really did like 13 down – made me smile at least :-)

  29. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in recording a negative verdict on this horror – no fun at all. Several clues are too clever by half and some synonyms very stretched. My quibbles are too numerous to enumerate. Have never had to seek so much outside help and can’t believe I actually stuck with it. Thank you Dada for providing a real headsplitter and Senf for coming to my aid. 😱

  30. I thought I was in with a chance to finish this Dada puzzle without any help, but a couple outwitted me, 17a and 27a which I guessed but still can’t see how they work. Took ages for the penny to drop at 16d, even with the hint. 5d jumped off the page as several years ago we found our own way there during a trip to Paris. What a lovely little city. I really don’t like anagrams where you have to guess the synonym as part of the clue. 8a down took me ages, but ended up as my COTD. Thanks to Dada and Senf for a fun Sunday.

  31. :phew: defeated for the second time in three days! :sad:
    Benevolent – are you having a laugh, Senf?
    I still can’t do the 12a anagram and neither can I get 13d although I can guess the second bit.
    Just generally, oh dear, and would be off up the garden to count marbles if it wasn’t blowing a gale.
    Thanks, I think, to Dada – he is a brilliant setter but he’s well and truly beaten me today – and to Senf.

    1. The 12 across anagram Kath? And you a nurse. Too busy making beds I reckon.

      1. Who’s asking for trouble now? Don’t remind me of that crossword – I got into such trouble and never quite lived it down.

    2. In 12a look for the misdirection – if that doesn’t put me on the naughty step with the shortbread.

  32. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I certainly don’t think there was anything benevolent about this at all. Very enjoyable puzzle but very difficult. Could only solve 14 clues before turning to the hints. Never heard of 20a, and wouldn’t have thought of the synonym of mews. Never heard of 5d but managed to get seven of the eight letters correct. Needed electronic help for 16d, couldn’t get it from the hint. Really struggled, was thinking of the wrong plot in 17a. Liked 2d and 11a, but my favourite was 12a. Was 6*/4*for me.

  33. I’m with most commentators that this was not benevolent. Pretty hard work all the way through and a bit cheerless. If I had to pick a favourite it would be 27a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  34. I’m with the majority of people who found this tough going. It took me much longer to solve than the average Sunday puzzle and I’m normally on Dada’s wavelength….

    Thanks to Senf and Dada 5*/4*

  35. Late finishing the puzzle today as I got interrupted for a good part of day. However, not too quirky for Dada … ***/****
    Some nice clues. Favourites 7a, 2d, 4d, 13d & 18d … Winner by far 13d. It took a while and was a DUH! when I got it. Chasing planets for a while ….

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  36. Found this puzzle hard in parts and thus not so much to enjoy. I comment rarely because most times I am content. However I do feel that contributors should not be told to take themselves off, even in jest…

  37. Thanks, Senf — and Dada. Like so many others, I loved 12a and 13d.

    For anybody still here, I saw this on Monday morning (then took a while to recall where I’d encountered the song recently) and though I’d inflict it on you:
    “The patron saint of not being in love is St. Francis of 10cc.” — Paul Eggleston

  38. I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog with its gentle leg pulling, reminiscences and the insights into other enthusiasts’ lives. I hope the pedant who, the other day, objected to this has revised his opinion. Of course we are here to discuss the puzzles but our disparate backgrounds.ages and, yes, sexes, can only make the experience more rewarding. Thank you Big Dave!

  39. Took us two goes and a lot of brainwork but got there – a day late – in the end. Favorites 27a and 12a.

Comments are closed.