ST 3078 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3078 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3078 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, on Friday morning, we woke up to a ‘dusting’ of the fluffy white type of precipitation; fortunately, nothing like the major storm we had this time last year.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

How’s your German?  You will need it for 4d.  Dada bordering on benevolent today although I had a few Hmms and, once or twice, I wondered what book of synonyms he was using.  I counted six anagrams (three partials), one reverse lurker, and no homophones – all in a 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.

Candidates for favourite – 11a, 22a, 5d, and 21d.

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 First of grids in metal moulded binder (8)
The initial letter (first) of Grids and an anagram (moulded) of IN METAL.

10a Celeb is damn contrary (4)
A synonym of damn, as an interjection, reversed (contrary).

11a Showing lack of sympathy, not good for soldiers? (4-6)
A double definition(?) – the second applies to a breakfast item.

12a Principal on board, sure clever (6)
The initial letter of (principal on) Board and synonym of sure.

17a Many still awaiting relation? (6)
A double definition(?) – the second applies to relation as in narration.

20a Bringing up the rear, despite expectations (5,3)
A double definition – the second applies to something turning out better than expected.

23a Liberal behind government department and king, say (3,7)
A synonym of liberal placed after (behind) all of the two letter abbreviation of a government department and the title used by a reigning king.

26a Birds in places all at sea (8)
An anagram (all at sea) of IN PLACES – using one of my own photos for the illustration.


1d Infectious bugs in river coming up under log (8)
A (Yorkshire) river reversed (coming up) and placed after (under) a (generic?) synonym of log.

4d Doctor not ever injecting bishop — not allowed (8)
An anagram (doctor) of NOT EVER containing (injecting) the single letter for bishop – this requires knowledge of the German language.

5d Pandemonium in tidy chamber (6,4)
A three letter synonym of pandemonium, IN from the clue, and a verbal synonym of tidy.

6d Classes are set up after fellow ultimately lost (6)
ARE from the clue reversed (set up) placed after a type of fellow with the last letter removed (ultimately lost).

13d So beer casually drunk by murderous, unwanted companion of lovers (10)
An anagram (casually) of SO BEER contained (drunk) by a four letter synonym of murderous.

16d Car heads off for game (8)
An anagram (off) of CAR HEADS – types of crossword clues as well as a game.

21d Chilled, back intuitive approach (6)
An obsolete (except in Scotland apparently) prepositional synonym of back and a type of intuitive approach (originating in Buddhism).

24d Grand Prix perhaps coming up in Monte Carlo (4)
The reverse lurker (coming up in) found in the rest of the clue.

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Written by composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David for the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, with, perhaps, a timely reminder at 0:40 to use social distancing to avoid transmission of germs and viruses, Bobbie Gentry enjoyed a week at Number One starting on this day in 1969:


61 comments on “ST 3078 (Hints)

    1. Assuming that you’re referring to 21d, I don’t think it is obsolete if you think of it as the last part of a three word phrase that refers to rocking.

  1. Mr H must be in a benevolent mood this week as even his Graun prize is not tough as usual. No real problems with this one once a couple went in & completed in bang on 2.5* time though failed to properly parse 21d. Stand out clue for me was, by a wide margin, 11a with 20&22a occupying podium spots.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf

  2. Another enjoyable Dada puzzle with a nice variety of clues (2*/4*). The best clue of the day was the amusing 11a but I also liked the misdirection of 17a and the 23a charade. There were a lot of wonderfully wily clues to choose from. Many thanks to Senf, to quote Game of Thrones, “Winter is Coming”. Thanksalso to Dada.

  3. I was getting the ‘Big Dave must be snoozing’ page for a few minutes but he’s obviously woken up again!
    Enjoyed this one although I did ‘hmm’ slightly over the synonyms used in 13&18d.
    Podium places went to 11&12a plus 5d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – pleased that you got the opportunity to use one of your own photo’s for 26a!

    1. I agree with you about 13d but, although the BRB doesn’t support the synonym, Collins online does. :unsure:

  4. A real curates egg with the tough parts being very tough indeed. Still cannot parse 19d and needed the excellent hints to unravel some. Enjoyable nonetheless. My favourite was 1d as it reminded me of trying to remember the differential characteristics of [redacted] and another [redacted] whose name I have now completely forgotten!! One of those much learned facts that one is taught yet never uses throughout ones career.
    Thx to all

      1. Why has this been redacted? The organism in question differs fundamentally from the answer which is never mentioned.
        The hint has already said the answer is an infectious organism. I feel very slighted!

        1. The answer to your question is in BD’s instructions in RED under the hints. In particular, you included the actual answer to the clue.
          You should not feel slighted, anyone and everyone not following these instructions will have their comments redacted!

            1. You did include the answer to the clue in your main comment which was also redacted.
              Once again I refer you to BD’s instructions in RED under the hints.

  5. Some very neat clues, 23a and 19d in particular. **/**** 4d brought to mind my old teacher of this subject – in her world just about everything was the answer! Favourite 11a. Thanks to all.

  6. My rating is 2.5*/4* for the usual Sunday fun.

    My podium comprises 11a, 5d & 21d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. I came here with just a couple to do to find them unhinted so I delved deep into my synonyms and got there in the end.
    I did like 1d when the river popped up. I will join those selecting 11a as COTD
    Thanks to Senf and Dada
    Nice pic for 26a British twitchers have been “flocking” to Norfolk for a glimpse of a Rufous Bush Chat rather a dull small brown bird nowhere near as pretty as yours

    1. Thanks for the comment on the 26a illustration. We get plenty of them ‘breeding and feeding’ during Spring and Summer on the Red River north of Winnipeg.

  8. As straightforward as Dada could ever be for me. **/*** difficulty **** enjoyment.
    11a brought a much needed smile & is my COTD.
    No “dusting” but temperatures now certainly saying it is autumn up here. Gap between sunrise & sunset narrowing alarmingly quickly.
    Thanks to Dada for a satisfying & amusing solve & Senf for the hints invaluable for confirming my interpretations.

  9. I normally join the “umm” chorus, but I thought the setter “played fair” today. 4d is in my English dictionary and whilst it took a bit longer than last week, I was generally happy with it all. 23a was my favourite.

  10. I’m in the curate’s egg department. Some clues held out for ages and I am still not sure my answers are correct because the parsing totally eludes me. Putting the wrong answer for 1d did not help in the NW corner. I loved 11a but my COTD is 23a because I had the answer but it took a while to work out why it was what it was.

    Many thanks to Dada for the brain workout. Thanks also, Senf for the hints.

    1. I also put the wrong answer in 1d and really couldn’t get my head round what I had done. I suddenly, after about 2 hours, thought to look at the photo then it all fell into place.

  11. I had the same sticking points as others to stretch out my solving time. 23a came close to being my favourite but my COTD was 11a. A lovely puzzle to cheer up a grey day and to temporarily take my mind off the seemingly intractable problems facing us all.

    Thanks very much to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  12. The whole grid filled in **** time, but completely unable to parse 21d. Other than that, normal Sunday fare in my view.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  13. I thought that 23a was about as ‘clever as clever gets’ (and is thus my first COTD, as well as my LOI), but then I remembered the particularly British use of ‘soldiers’ (we lack that usage over here, alas) and agreed that 11a also deserves that honour. Therefore, two CsOTD. We also don’t enjoy the special use of 13d (my next-to-LOI), but I remembered it from a puzzle not too many moons ago. Struggling to be more UKish than I really am pushed me into *** time last night but I loved this Dada, especially the other podium stars: 20, 17 & 25a. Thanks to Senf, whose hints I’ll read now, and to Dada. *** / *****

    Thanks for the Bobbie Gentry clip, Senf. I saw the great Lauren Bacall in the musical Applause, Applause back in the day when I lived in NY. (Terrific adaptation of the movie All About Eve.)

    1. Hi Robert,
      I finished reading The Pillars of the Earth last night and felt completely wrung out – what a towering novel. I’d very much recommend anyone to read it.
      Made a start on Holiday at lunchtime but I’m not in favour of it at the moment – too disjointed and heavily over-punctuated. I’ll persevere as it could be something to do with the stark comparison between the two books.

      1. I have very mixed feelings about Holiday, Jane. Mechanically speaking, what you say about the punctuation bothered me, as an English teacher, throughout the book. (Commas used indiscriminately just to provide a pause in speaking, for example.) Thematically, the novel does suffer from over-repetition of the husband-wife estrangement, and a general sense of irresolution even at the end (for me, anyway). But there is a chapter near the end, when Edwin leaves the resort and goes to Lincoln, expressly to see the great Cathedral, that almost redeems the worth of the whole book for me. (I kept thinking of D H Lawrence in The Rainbow, naturally.) I am glad that Corky called our attention to this work and also glad that I’ve read it, and his comments below about various Booker winners are interesting.

    2. Further to my recommendation of Stanley Middleton, an article by Brian Applegate in the other ST on 01/07/2018 entitled “The Man Booker Prize at 50: do the judges always get it right” is a great source for books worth reading that I certainly had missed. Looking at it today I was reminded of David Storey ho won it with Saville but also of his Pasmore which I thought, as Applegate did, was excellent.

      1. Hi Corky: See my comments to Jane above, please. I do want to thank you for the privilege of reading Holiday, even though I may have found some flaws here and there in the novel (there are very few perfect works of art). But it was quite a rewarding experience for me to be transported, in time and place (as well as in circumstances), to an almost pre-modern (pre-Internet, pre-Social Media, virtually non-political) world that travels a whole other corridor of external / internal conflict from any I had ever travelled before–and that’s what reading is all about. I was really, throughout, a stranger in a strange land, but I never got lost, nor was I sorry afterwards that I had gone there.

        1. Corrective text changed Brian Appleyard to Brian Applegate. You won’t find the article even if you go through the gate into the orchard. The other ST is the Sunday Times for writing which I may be sent to the naughty chair.

  14. One of my quicker Sunday solves for a fair old while. I have no great problem with 13d having had a pal in my ‘courting days’, who we often referred to as such. 4d was among my first ones in, so I have no problem with its use here, I’m struggling to find a runaway favourite clue today. Although I agree with Robert Clark as regards 23a, but I think I’ll plump for 1d & 7d as a couple that appeal. Thanks to both Dada and Senf. Now to proceed with the making of a Sri Lankan chicken curry – yum.

  15. I found this really hard, a real brain scrambler. I did need several of Senf’s hints and as a result I’ve completed the puzzle, albeit with one or two (mentioned by others above) remaining as mysteries regarding the parsing.

    Lovely Bobbie Gentry clip – and as Senf says, some of the lyrics are very appropriate for the times in which we live.

    Thanks to Dada for making my head spin, and to Senf.

  16. Really good crossword thank you Dada. Many good clues of which I have chosen 11a, 23a, 4d, and 5d. Not choosing a COTD as so many jostling for it and making my brain ache.

    Thank you Sent for your unravelling of some of the clues.

  17. :phew: I didn’t find this one even bordering on ‘benevolent’ and had to get almost to the end of the comments to find anyone who agreed with me – thank you, Terence!
    21d had to be what it was but I needed the hint to see why and couldn’t sort out the first word of 5d.
    I needed to check the 1d river and 23a took ages to untangle.
    6d seems to be ‘answer of the moment’ – I think we’ve had it several times very recently.
    I had the wrong ‘girl’ in 24a to begin with – the ‘lovely’ led me up the garden path to a Beatles song even though the ‘stood up’ was a mystery – oh dear!
    Along with several others of you my favourite was 11a. I also liked 17 and 23a. 25a made me laugh.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Now I’m glad that I managed to keep the NTSPP for today – off to try that one.

  18. I thought this was superb thank you Dada and Senf. So many neat and concise clues with 22a and 24a my favourites. A real treat for a dreary Sunday afternoon.

  19. I’m going to swim against the tide today and say that my COTD was 13d, not sure why some questioned it? Perhaps it is a generation thing, as “playing” it was something you avoided in my teens. I started out thinking this was not at all benevolent, but gradually got going, with only 23a really giving me a problem. We see lots of 26a over here, swooping down into the ocean, but of the brown feathered variety. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. I think the problem arose over the synonym used. There are various methods of dispatching someone that don’t involve blood and guts!

      1. My Chambers has the synonym. I do have a problem with 21d because it is obsolete and BRB has different definition when used adverbially as you mentioned above.

        1. In fairness, Mr Chambers does refer you to an alternative entry which gives the definition we needed today.

  20. Finished this in no time flat. */**** Great non-quirky, for the most part, offering from Dada for this rainy Sunday morning.
    Only needed hints for two of the clues today.
    Some great clues today including 11a, 25a, 1d, 4d & 5d with winner 5d
    As always have trouble recognizing the answer from clue for 6d, my last in and it had to be what it was.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun solve and Senf for the hints.

  21. I have to call this as Dada being benevolent. My norm with Dada is usually a blank, but lately I’ve been getting on his wavelength, albeit with copious amount of e-help. I did miss two in the NE where I needed hints.
    Fave is 11a, outstanding clue. I liked others too, 25a amused,, and 13d was clever.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for unravelling not just a few!

  22. A real mixed bag for me and certainly not close to benevolent. 11a was my favourite in a sparse field. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. Very tricky in places. Needed the hints for 13&21d. Favourite was 11a. Was 4* /4* for me.

  24. Found this quite a struggle but after waiting for several pennies to drop was impressed with the witty clues. SE lagged behind the rest. Favs were 23a and 16d. Can’t believe the 11a soldiers didn’t immediately occur to me and I in fact bunged in wrong second word for a while but ultimately it became a Fav too. I agree that there are some rather stretched synonyms. Altogether an entertaining cryptic exercise. Thank you Mysteron and Senf.

    Apparently I somehow posted my comment in duplicate but in fact it appears to have been erased altogether anyway I’m too tired after a stressful day so wont try to try again and so to bed.😴. I did however enjoy the puzzle and my thanks go to Dada and Senf.

  25. Late getting round to this one. Plane sailing until the SW, which took us ages. Favorite 11a.

  26. I got most of the answers to this one without the hints or other aids…which is a big thing for me with a Dada.

    21d….Obsolete except in Scotland ???? Only time I have ever heard it is in the usage described by Jane above….so no more used nor obsolete in Scotland than anywhere else, I’d say.

    Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada.

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