ST 3074 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3074 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3074 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where we had two sub-zero mornings this week – the first, but not the last, of this Autumnal season.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

Dada is still quirky this week, with at least a couple of Hmms – I counted four anagrams (one of which was a partial), one lurker (reversed), and no homophones – all in a slightly asymmetric 27 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 – 8a, 20a, 3d, and 6d.

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:


1a Better message initially lacking in US author (6)
A three letter synonym of better (as in do better than) and a (brief) message with the first letter removed (initially lacking).

10a Change around religious text for monk, say? (6)
A four letter synonym of change containing (around) an abbreviated form of the title of a religious text.

12a Revolver used (6-4)
A double definition – the first is one of three ‘revolvers’ found on a clock face.

13a Lively piece a favourite at children’s parties (6,6)
A synonym of lively and, oh dear RD won’t like this, a misnomer for one of two pieces on a chess board.

16a Wandering emigrant, alas, political target? (8,4)
An anagram (wandering) of EMIGRANT, ALAS.

21a Design tie (4)
A double definition – the second may refer to the result of a sporting event.

23a Navigator in water behind swimmer (2-6)
Written as (3,5) a type of (flowing) water placed after (behind) a type of swimmer (enjoyed with chips).

25a Wine in Bristol remembered, looking back (6)
The reverse lurker (in . . . looking back) found in the rest of the clue.


1d Excellent bowl for fruitcake (8)
A synonym of excellent and a type of bowl.

3d Red has run before blue (7)
A four letter synonym of run placed before a type of blue (as a colour).

7d Season well (6)
Another double definition – the first is described musically below.

9d Hectic: man is busy describing physical science (11)
An anagram (is busy) of HECTIC: MAN IS.

15d Bird bit around tropical fruit (8)
A synonym of bit containing (around) the illustrated tropical fruit.

17d Bird list includes duck (7)
A type of list (usually listing names) contains (includes) the letter used for a (crickety) duck.

21d Rigorously teach primate (5)
A double definition to finish – the second is an animal primate related to a baboon.

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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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Creedence Clearwater Revival, number one for three weeks starting this day in 1969.  Some claim that the last line of the chorus, ‘there’s a bad moon on the rise‘ is actually, or misheard as, ‘there’s a bathroom on the right‘:


83 comments on “ST 3074 (Hints)

  1. What a stinker! Struggled to even start it. Not one for me in any way shape or form.
    One for the Toughie brigade.

  2. Gentle and reasonably enjoyable but lacked some sparkle. 1d and 5d on the podium. 12a would have been better the other way round, IMHO. Maybe too many old chestnuts. Thanks Dada and Senf. The third of the “easier” EV’s is interesting!

  3. I love Dada’s puzzles. Seemingly impenetrable at the start but gradually coming to light after some thought. I enjoyed this and found a great deal of satisfaction to be had within the many good clues. I especially liked 23a and 6d but have no real COTD. I am not overly sure about a couple of answers in the NE corner so will await the review.

    Many thanks to Dada and also to Senf for the hints, which I will now read.

  4. Not sure that ‘quirky’ quite covers the fact that there were three entries I needed to check on – I do hope Dada isn’t taking a leaf out of Giovanni’s book!
    Nothing really stood out as a favourite although I am quite partial to a drop of 25a……..

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the words and music – particularly the Vivaldi. How nice to see a bridge scene that didn’t include Monet’s interminable water lilies!

      1. I hadn’t – but looked it up online after reading your comment. Really made me laugh but sadly I don’t have enough of the requisite to place a bid. Banksy must have visited the same Monet exhibition in London as I did some years ago.

    1. Jane, on his video chat this week, Dada said that in his crosswords he tries not to use words that very few people will know. He said setters can justify anything in Chambers, but he doesn’t like using really obscure words. So I don’t think it’s about to become a habit.

      I’ve logged into a couple of his chats now. He’s very friendly and generous, and it’s been fun and interesting. He talks through that day’s Paul puzzle (what he was thinking when he wrote it), and takes questions on it and crosswording generally — but plenty of people stay muted throughout; there’s no compulsion to join in. The next one isn’t scheduled yet (it depends on when The Guardian next print a Paul puzzle), but you can sign up to receive the link on Dada’s website (and start thinking of a clue for HELICOPTER, if that’s your thing).

      1. I’ve signed up to Dada’s chats but, unfortunately, I haven’t managed one yet. They are on a Saturday evening and that is usually a busy time for me. I’m determined to join one when I can.

        1. The most recent one was on Friday afternoon.

          The day varies to match when a Paul crossword is published.

      2. After last week’s surprising success with his Graun prize (a rare achievement for me) I found his Friday cryptic this week impenetrable so may be an idea to have a listen in to see if it helps.

  5. 2.5*/4*. A mostly very enjoyable puzzle with one new word for me – the fruit in 15d. I have joint favourites in 20a & 7d and one anti-favourite which Senf has saved me from having to mention.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I hang my head in shame! I didn’t solve two clues, one of which was 15d. The fruit in question is our national fruit and I have one in my back yard, though I’m in the process of cutting it down. I’m putting it down to old age and joins other symptoms, such as finding myself in the kitchen and having no idea why I’m there. I need your sympathies.

      1. You have my sympathies, Merusa. Some days I am not sure who I am, and most days I am not sure what day it is.

      2. You had told me about your tree and it’s scheduled demise, but having never seen the fruit the picture hint didn’t help me. Don’t worry about the kitchen thing, I think our brains get full up, and when we get old they start to get rid of all sorts of stuff. At least that is my excuse. And my husband never remembers anything I tell him, but is that because he isn’t really listening?

        1. Ah, Daisygirl. Selective hearing! Both Mrs C. and I practice it. Saves a lot of hassle!
          As for trees, we have a black mulberry that could be for the chop soon. Or we may just move house!

  6. This was a very enjoyable puzzle and, like Steve Cowling, I found it impenetrable at first, then full of wonderful penny-drop moments (**/*****). I liked 13a and 3d best but 12a, 23a and 15d are also worth a mention. Thanks to Senf, I needed help parsing my only bung-in, 1a. Thanks to Dada for another fascinating and wily set of clues.

  7. Dada in his element, with me along with him, in this tricky but most enjoyable Sunday gem. Like Steve C and Chriscross, I found this quite resistant at first as I hopped all over the grid, but then, voila! Pennies dropped everywhere. (The African fruit was new to me but it had to be that, and I remembered 13a from just a few weeks ago.) Podium stuffers: 3d, 6d, 23a, & 20a (my LOI). Thanks to Senf and Dada. 2.5* / 4.5*

    Rest in Peace, the Honourable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    1. Great Philistine prize puzzle in the Graun yesterday Robert where I suspect 25a will raise a smile. Worth checking out if you haven’t already done so. Glad your weather has abated.

      1. Not only a smile but a guffaw, Huntsman. (It takes the DoDo in DC 90 minutes in the be-tweeted morning, so I’ve read from at least two sources, to have 1) his girdle fitted; 2) his ridiculous wig nailed on; and 3) his face spray-tanned orange, that human orangutan! But somehow, his dresser forgets to implant a heart.) Yes, a really good Philistine yesterday. 20d was my LOI, very witty that.

        1. I am beyond outrage now, the devious machinations of this man are unacceptable. I find it so hard to believe that these misdeeds cannot be stopped by the Dems, despite all the evidence recorded about the Garland nomination.

          1. As far as I am aware this is not a site for discussing politics (or religion)! And I for one would like to keep it that way.

            1. BL if you were replying to my comment I don’t think you got my point. If you were not I have made a point.

              1. Surely the Dodo is fair game? It’s not like we are talking party politics. Heaven forbid we ever do!

              2. I think it is the asides on all sorts of topics that keep this site such a joy and very human. I love hearing the observations from Robert, Merusa and BusyLizzie from across the pond. As I’m always limping in about 24 hours after everyone else I don’t comment regularly but I always read and enjoy the blog and everyone’s take on the day to day as well as the crossword. So with that I have to say I’ve needed the hints for both puzzles this weekend and found them both tricky. Might be my addled brain but thanks BD and Senf and our setters.

  8. Took me ages ***/**** time (about as long as it takes de Chambeau to line up his putts) but thoroughly engaging & satisfying. NW corner held out until visit 3 with a couple of “doh what stopped me seeing that?” moments. 10a new word but not difficult to work out from the wordplay.
    Thanks Dada just what my morning needed & Senf for the hints.
    What a fantastic day in the TdeF yesterday. Up there with the best.
    I know there are those who don’t like sport, especially cycling because of the drugs, but the human drama that unfolded would be difficult to replicate in fiction & be credible. Real “Roy of the Rovers” on a bike stuff

    1. Yes indeed. Time Trials don’t usually have that high energy of high drama, do they? Slovenia Rules!

      1. The Time Trial is known as the “Race of Truth” in cycling (just you & the bike against the ticking clock). It certainly lived up to that yesterday.

    2. I do hope DeChambeau doesn’t win – if I was Patrick Reed yesterday I’d have told him to give the running commentary a rest & it’s painful waiting for him to putt. He’s clearly never been invited to play at Seminole where the message in the pro shop is Play well. Play fast. Play poorly play faster…….

      1. I would have told him in sharper language than ‘give it a rest’. DeChambeau is a pain in the arse.

      2. Sorry Huntsman, I replied to your golf comment but mistakenly thought it was a Robert Clark comment.⛳️

  9. I really enjoyed this puzzle and the only thing I needed to check was the tropical fruit in 15d. ***/**** I’m quite partial to a glass of 25a too, Jane! It took me a while to spot it though. For a dada, this must have been one of his kinder days because I usually struggle with his thought processes. Lots of good clues but 20d gets my vote for favourite. Thanks to all.

  10. I found this quite a struggle, the top left took the longest. I shall definitely have a glass of 25a this evening. Thankfully the tidal surge this morning was less severe than expected so we all have dry feet.

  11. I started at a reasonable pace, but was then thwarted by the three anagrams in the middle. My anagram head must have taken the weekend off, so I used a little electronic assistance. That resulted in me flying through the rest, with the exception of 1a, who is unheard of in this household.

    I know I probably go on too much about the use of GK in cryptic puzzles, but American authors? Please!

          1. Yes, and it was ‘wider than a mile’–and then there was the sublime Audrey Hepburn who had a cat named Cat. Looking for that ‘rainbow’s end’ I am still. (Signed: Your Huckleberry Friend)

    1. I thought that 1a was fairly clued as a two part charade with a clear indication of the nationality of the author. So, yes it might have needed some form of verification. However, I had heard of him. 10a caused me more trouble. Having come up with something that fit the charade I did have to resort to the BRB for verification. But that’s what crosswords are all about – nearly all of us have no chance of emulating Mark Goodlffe (who has been Times Crossword Champion 12 times, including 10 times in a row).

      1. Not sure about “nearly all of us having no chance of emulating Mark Goodliffe” – I’m not sure that any of us would want to – crosswords are, surely, meant to be fun – I think that most of us on the blog have lives as well as crosswords.

    2. Not to mention Bennett Miller’s film for which Philip Seymour Hoffman (pictured in Senf’s hints) won A Best Actor Academy Award.

    3. An enormous Sunday Lunch, greatly enjoyed with Niece and MamaBee, prevents consumption of Norty Corner Cake but turns out my first guess at 1a was either an English author or a Norwegian play but I knew they were wrong and moved on to the much easier south and came back to the north after a post prandial kip.

  12. Top left a struggle, with 1a contrived and obscure, in my opinion. Ok if you know American authors, which are not my speciality. Otherwise pretty fair game And generally fun. ***/****

  13. Difficult to get started but once in it was not too difficult. Favourites were 13a and 3d. Thanks to Dada for an enjoyable solve and to Senf for confirming my reading of a few clues.

    Now back to the garden and the drizzle. What larks.

  14. I thought this was a real belter with the north far trickier than the south. Took ages to twig 13a & I think I must have run through just about every party game ever invented. Thought 1a perfectly acceptable as he’s hardly obscure & 3d was a super clue in my book. Mr G required to confirm the 15d fruit, the 1d bowl & also double check 10a which was a word I knew but wouldn’t have bet good money on defining if asked. Laboured to a finish in bang on ***** time so it was a real tussle but very satisfying to stagger over the line.
    Thanks Dada & to Senf – enjoyed the CCR clip

    1. It’s amazing how many party games you can think of isn’t it. I ran through Postman’s Knock, Musical Chairs, Pass the Parcel etc, none of which fit, before the penny finally dropped.

  15. I found this very much at the straightforward and accessible end of Dada’s setting spectrum, with
    3d my favourite clue closely followed by 15d. I dragged out the fruit from deep in my memory bank. A very enjoyable trip through Sunday Crosswordland.

    Thanks very much to Dada for the fun and to Senf. As someone who collects GK through reading and remembering, I don’t have a problem with compilers using it. Hard to blame the setter for a solver’s inability to remember or dredge up facts.

  16. We found this v hard starting, first in the SE corner, then accelerated up through the midlands and NE but then got stuck for ages in the NW. Good job I’m a Yorkshireman.

  17. From the sublime (yesterday) to the ridiculous (today). Sorry but much too tough for me today, only got 7d at first pass. A cup of coffee, and then 7 more filled in, but only after looking at Senf’s hints, thank you. One to delight the smarter folks I am sure, but definitely a downer for me after doing so well yesterday.

    1. Came back at lunch and did much better. Didn’t know the 15d fruit, and 9d and 10a were new words for me. I actually quite enjoyed it after all, with a good chuckle at 1d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. NE corner last to fall with 10a and 5d the last ones in. I’m now ready to join everyone in a drop of 25a.

  19. A very pleasant Dada offering for a dull cloudy Sunday morning here on the west coast of BC. **/**** with so many great potential for favourites including 8a, 12a, 20a, 23a, 2d & 3d with winner being a tie with 12a & 23a
    Lots of great wordplay in this puzzle and a pleasing solve. Minimal use of hints today, but always great to look over them after the fact.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints.

  20. Like others and as usual with Dada I was slow to get started but then speeded up…..I greatly enjoy his puzzles and this was no exception – lots of clever clues and (for me) nothing obscure….

  21. We found this a real struggle – after a promising start ground to a halt. But going back to it and mulling it over whilst doing other things we got there. 13a made me think of the parties when the girls were at primary school and we’d have to invite the whole class rather than leave anyone out. Dead Donkey was always our favourite as it made them all lie down for a few minutes and you could catch your breath. What happy memories. Many thanks to Dada and Senf. VERY warm here in Cambridge – phew!

  22. Lovely crossword, doable, just!
    Everything parsed and a delight from start to finish.
    Thanks all.

  23. A puzzle of two halves done in two halves. The bottom was quite rapidly filled in then a break for a V pleasant lunch out with Mama Bee and Granddaughter ( my Niece and her partner). on our return I managed to stumble over the line. 1a 10a and 5 down needed a hint. Thanks to Dada and Senf

  24. A very enjoyable but very lengthy struggle for me today – it took me so long that I’d probably get away with being precise as it couldn’t discourage anyone – I don’t ever time myself but definitely more of a calendar effort than a stop watch.
    Having read through all the clues once I had five answers and things didn’t speed up at all, but it’s not a race.
    Like others I’d never heard of the tropical fruit.
    I didn’t know what 3d looked like – think I rather wish I still didn’t – what a grumpy face.
    I think my favourite was 13a but several others are worthy of mention including 22 and 23a.
    I suppose you’ve all finished off the 25a by now . . .
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. Don’t think I would look too chuffed if I knew I was certain to get what he was going to get Kath.

  25. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. Managed the bottom half ok, but found the top half really tricky. Great misdirection in 13a, I could only think of a musical piece, needed the hints for this and 10a which I’d never heard of. Also needed the hints for 3d. Favourite was 23a,which made me laugh. Was 4*/3* for me.

  26. As I said above, I never did solve 15d, to my everlasting shame.
    This was very tricky, a bit like pulling teeth, and I had to use a lot of word searching.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf, really needed your help today to solve so many!

    1. I remember the teenage lads I taught in the 1970’s, who had come to chilly East London from various Carbbean islands, used to miss that particular fruit. It was only available in cans in a few speciality shops.

      1. We can get it here in tins but it’s not the same. I like them fried and you can’t do that with the tinned ones. The tree is very big and brittle, a bad combination during a hurricane, sadly, I decided to chop it down after 30 years, just too big.

  27. actual time ?? recorded ?? mins…. so lost out on points..the website is always doing this !!
    3*/4*…liked 5D “down-and-out’s shelter oft unoccupied (4-3)”

  28. Struggled with initial shot at today’s challenge but successfully returned to it after spending several hours watching some exciting tennis from Rome – tomorrow’s finals should be fun too. NW was the stickiest patch. 15d tropical fruit foxed me but Mr. Google sorted that and informed me that it is poisonous if unripe. Not one of my most enjoyable puzzling exercises and can’t pick a Fav. Thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. You do need to know what you’re doing with the fruit in 15d. They have to open before you can eat them. They cause vomiting sickness, otherwise known as the Jamaican sickness, if eaten unripe. They’re so good, though, our National dish is saltfish (bacalao in Spanish) and xxxxxxx, which is the most common spelling.

  29. This one took a bit of work, but it was very satisfying to complete, with a number of penny-drop moments. I really liked 3D and 12A (after some cogitation). I enjoyed the way 5D and 23A worked. I have never yet seen, let alone eaten the fruit in 15D, although I have heard of it, probably from crossword clues. It was interesting to learn a bit about it from Merusa and then Google. Thank you to the setter and Senf.

  30. Dada in fiendish mood (imho). I plodded on, completing on Monday, with a guess for
    10A. ****/***
    Thanks to all, and lovely to see and hear Bad Moon Rising.

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