ST 3079 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3079 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3079 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, after the ‘dusting’ of the fluffy white type of precipitation last week, we went 5 cms better(?) Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning but still nothing like the major storm we had this time last year.

Keep staying safe everyone.  I hope those in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, remembered to ‘fall back’ at 2:00 am this morning. 

Dada so benevolent today I thought it was Monday.  I counted seven anagrams (five partials), one lurker, and one homophone – all in a symmetric 26 clues, with 14 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 12a, 14a, and 4d.

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 Criticise long dash (7)
A three letter synonym of criticise and a synonym of long (for).

10a Large measure of wine like that in meal he cooked (10)
A single word equivalent to like that inserted into (in) an anagram (cooked) of MEAL HE.

12a Stop working: finished: start playing! (6,2)
A single word for stop working (in support of, say, increased wages) and a two letter synonym of finished.

14a Large number rarely cut back beyond zero (6)
A synonym of rarely with the last letter removed (cut) and reversed (back) placed after (beyond) the single letter used for zero.

19a Throaty animal, reportedly? (6)
The homophone (reportedly) of the illustrated animal.

22a Originally resembling hairy emu, another flightless bird (4)
The initial letters (originally) of four words in the clue.

26a Happy matter (7)
A double definition – the second relates to amount.


1d Royal power James abused, treachery in the extreme (7)
An anagram (abused) of JAMES and the first and last letters (in the extreme) of TreacherY.

3d Pure Hispanic has terrific features (6)
The lurker (features) found in the rest of the clue.

5d Go under: so could swimming dinosaur (10)
A three letter synonym of go under and an anagram (swimming) of SO COULD.

9d Toss hat in air and lose it? (4,4,3)
A double definition(?) – the second relates to becoming angry.

16d First of tales penned, author taking a drink (5,3)
The initial letter (first of) of Tales contained by the illustrated author and A from the clue.

17d Remarkably hot fluid filling pastry up (3,4)
An anagram (fluid) of HOT inserted into (filling) a type of pastry which has been reversed (up).

24d One instrument having topped another (4)
A (wind) instrument with its first letter removed (having topped) becomes a string instrument.

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.

Today is the 182nd anniversary of French composer Georges Bizet’s birth, best known in his short life of 37 years for his opera Carmen; this is the first of two suites of music from said opera, compiled posthumously by his friend Ernest Guiraud – more information on the two suites can be found here – :


67 comments on “ST 3079 (Hints)

  1. Strangely, unlike Senf, I found this more difficult than the usual Dada Sunday Prize Crossword. It was slow going to get a start, then solving speeded up as I found a lot of anagrams, whilst I took a long time to get the last 4 clues (3*/4*). I did enjoy the puzzle, however. The COTD for me was 23a, which made me laugh out loud , although I really liked 10a (better than I could spell it!). We have a lovely bright Autumn day here in Oxfordshire and it was nice to get out for a good brisk walk among the colorful fallen leaves. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and to Sada for yet another absorbing puzzle.

  2. I got an early start at this. Trying not to waste the extra hour I created by rising early and changing clocks. 17d wasted a few minutes as I couldn’t get an alternative answer out of my mind. 11a looked like a simple double def but took even longer.
    I will pick 14a as fave today.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada who has gone easier on us this week maybe because he is hosting Chris Lancaster on his zoom chat later this week

  3. My experience was more like that of Chriscross than that of our esteemed blogger – lack of knowledge where dinosaurs and US presidential policies are concerned being my biggest failings.
    Thought 22a was clever, the words involved creating a fairly accurate description, and my other ticks went to 23&26a plus 9d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I’m not a fan of opera but some of the music is most enjoyable and how refreshing to watch it being performed by such a talented bunch of young musicians.

  4. I made heavy weather of the NE corner, even though 4d & 8a were my first two answers in, but 5d & 14a kept resisting me. Elsewhere, I rather breezed along, thoroughly enjoying Dada’s craftiness throughout, with my favourites 17d. 7a,10a, & 14a. I didn’t find this a particularly benevolent offering but certainly a witty and inventive one. Thanks to Senf and Dada. **** / ***

    1. Not that easy for me this morning. 15a was a new one on me but it couldn’t be anything else. I’m not sure that I have 17d right. It’s an odd clue to me. ***/*** possibly I will have a doh! moment and understanding will dawn. 20a is straightforward but clever. Favourite is 23a. Thanks to all.

  5. Usual tricky Sunday but with sufficient anagrams to get one going. Once into the puzzle it came together nicely. Definitely easier to start with the lower clues at least for me.
    My favourite was 23a.
    Needed the hints for 12a and 14a.
    Thx to all

  6. It was good to wake up to sunshine this morning. Last nights rainstorm was horrendous. It took us ages to get back from a restaurant as all the roads were heavily flooded. Today’s offering from Dada was such good fun. 9d was my favourite. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. All over in a steady **/*** time for me, but I’m not sure that I’ve got 11a correct. I didn’t know the word at 15a, and my COTD is 23a.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. For 11a, the answer, nothing to do with the clue, also features in a nursery rhyme involving a husband and wife eating meat – I hope that helps, a little cryptic but it is a prize puzzle.

  8. About average Dada for me. Had 7a wrong – thanks to Senf’s hint could correct.
    15a my COTD with 13d running it close.
    Same as others top half proved the more difficult.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf. Sister-in-law in Calgary had your snow too

  9. I certainly did not find this benevolent….very hard for me and requiring electronic help as well as some of the hints.

    Thanks to Senf and to Dada.

  10. I too struggled initially before I tuned into Dada’s wavelength and on reflection it’s difficult for me to see why I took so long to do so. Perhaps my system couldn’t cope with the extra hour – too much daylight, too soon?
    I rather liked 14a and 21a. 15a took too long to tease out.
    Many thanks to all involved as usual.

  11. Like Faraday, I struggled with this to begin with but that is Dada for you. I always find his offerings difficult to break into. I have never heard of 15a so needed electronic help with that one. Also in 17d I have never looked upon the delicacy involved as a pastry. No COTD today for me but I did like 23a.

    Many thanks to Dada for another mental workout and to Senf for the hints.

  12. I enjoyed this puzzle very much at midnight last night (I am discovering it may be my optimum time for crossword solving!). I left it with only 17d to complete,as it was turning my brain inside out. Returned this morning and looked it afresh, and I figured it out after another bout of head scratching.

    I am informed we are to undertake a ‘lovely, refreshing walk’ this afternoon, but I think I can manage it as there is the promise of a (vegan) roast dinner to follow. Life could be worse.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. At least it should banish memories of yesterday’s match. The adverts came as blessed relief!

      Another exciting Time Trial in the Giro promises to make up for it for me.

      Thanks for good wishes

      1. That was a terrible game. I kept looking at the clock and thinking “Still that long to go?”

      2. The TT was indeed an exciting finish – Geraint crashed and chipped a bone early doors and what looked like a bit of a disaster for Ineos turned out to be one of their most successful Grand tours. So pleased for Tao I saw him race in the TDY about 3 years ago

  13. 3.5*/4*. I didn’t find this as benevolent as our blogger, in fact some if it was quite challenging, but it was certainly very enjoyable.

    My podium comprises 22a, 23a, 9d & 17d, with, of these, 23a just nosing in front as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and also to Senf, particularly for the parsing of 14a which I just couldn’t see at all.

  14. I’m in the not particularly benevolent camp. 4 clues proved problematic. 2 of them, 13&17d, eventually fell which left me with 5d & 11a and really struggled with both. Once I’d finally got the dinosaur I’m afraid I still couldn’t see 11a until I read Senf’s response to Malcolm. Another vote for 23a as pick of a good bunch.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf.

  15. Another on the tricky side but finished in the end. I had the wrong type of pastry in 17d so that was my last one in Some great clues though. Beautiful day here in Norfolk, looks as if it will be the last fine day for some time. Thanks to all.

  16. Definitely not benevolent for me either. The NE corner was my major hold-up, with 6d and 11a being my final entries. 23a was my pick of the bunch too. This felt more like a Toughie than a back-pager, albeit a Prize puzzle.

    Many thanks to Dada for the considerable challenge and to Senf.

  17. Hey, all. I haven’t tried this crossword yet (we’re currently on the train back from 10th (tin) wedding anniversary weekend), but I thought some here may be interested that Dada’s Zoom chat this week will also feature Chris Lancaster, the Telegraph Puzzles editor, answering questions.

    The video chats so far have been linked to Paul’s puzzles in The Guardian; this is the first one with a Telegraph connection. It’s on Thursday at 19:30 UK time. (Those elsewhere please note that our clocks changed last night, so that’s now an hour later than 19:30 was last week. Or perhaps earlier; I always get muddled with this.)

    Anybody interested can sign up on John Halpern/Dada/Paul’s website, and you get sent the Zoom code.

    Thank you in advance to Senf for the hints, which I’ll probably need later.

    1. I’m not going to be around on Thursday. The only thing I can think of is to record it using Screenflow.

    2. Ah, I now see Tilsit covered this yesterday. Apologies, all — I should’ve caught up on the backlog before posting.

    3. An hour later, but, in any event, I will be relying on the 30 minute e-mail reminder from Mr H/Zoom.

  18. Not as kind as I first thought & nowhere near as easy as our blogger/reviewer found it. Got going steadily enough but ground to a solvers halt!
    But very enjoyable as always
    Many thanks to Senf & Dada for the workout.

  19. I certainly didn’t find this easy. But I did like 23a.
    Stuck on 6d. This assumes I’ve got 11a right. I guess the slight refers to size as apposed to snub. Ha! I’ve just twigged, an exercise I never managed to master.
    Happy now. Thanks all

  20. I always enjoy Dada’s puzzles…..his clues are generally clever rather than contrived and often require lateral thought…..this one was about average for me in terms of difficulty and a v satisfying solve

  21. The friendliest puzzle from Dada I’ve tried. Slow start but the anagrams got me going. My favourites were 12&14a. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Very cool morning following a windy night which my better half told me about – I slept through it as I did with the hurricane that hit the UK in 1987.

  22. As Senf says, this was a very benign and non-quirky Dada puzzle for a sunny Sunday morning on the West Coast, after a windy night … even if a little cool at -3C.
    6d was my last in today **/**** my rating for today.
    Clues I liked include 14a, 20a, 1d, 4d & 21d with winner 14a with 4d close second.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints

  23. Sadly my mind was more on our oven, which today of all days decided to play up and necessitated me to operate it somewhat manually once I’d spotted that the temperature hadn’t altered many degrees an hour after switching it on. (no mean feat) As for the puzzle, 17d caused me most headscratching, along with 14a. Otherwise pretty smooth going considering it’s a Sunday. I have to make 17d my favourite today as it provided me with my greatest battle (apart from the bl???y oven!) Thanks to Dada and Senf. Hopefully my comment editing is an improvement on yesterday’s ;-) ;-)

  24. An enjoyable very quiet Sunday afternoon in lockdown wales thanks to Dada and Senf – 23a as my COTD

    1. Friend of mine suggested that we should use this lockdown productively and get all our Christmas cards written. Made a start on the first packet today and look forward to being able to polish my halo by the end of next week – assuming that I’ve managed to stick with the idea!

      1. Yes, my plan for next week, along with wrapping gifts already bought, and make final selections for those still to get. I did all that one year when we were venturing off for a few days in St John, and Christmas was so enjoyable without the stress of trying to get everything done at the last minute.

      2. We’ve booked a delivery from Waitrose for 19th December. So far, all we have on it is booze, sweets and crisps!🎅🏻🎅🏻

    2. That sounds as if your ‘very quiet afternoon in lockdown Wales’ had been imposed by Dada and Senf.

  25. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky in places. Needed the blog to get 11a, I can never do all the double definitions. 15a was interesting, don’t remember that at all, but got it from the fodder. 5d was a good clue, I had a model 5d as a small child. I liked 14a, but my favourite was 17d. Was 3* / 4* for me.

  26. Short and concise clues made this a joy to solve.
    15a was new to me but quite evident from the fodder.
    It’s also my favourite today.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  27. Senf’s ‘benevolent’ is a totally different animal to mine – I’m with those who found this tough – I always do with Dada.
    The 10a anagram caused grief – I know the word and it had to be what it was but however hard I tried I couldn’t get the right number of letters with the ones that I was playing with – I forgot the 4 letter word for ‘like that’. Oh dear! 0/10 so a bung in.
    Never heard of 15a but with alternate letters in there wasn’t much choice once I remembered the old president.
    17d was my last answer.
    A very good crossword but wave-length trouble.
    Lots of good clues including 7 and 23a and 5 and 13d. My favourite, once I’d stopped trying to make it an anagram, was 9d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  28. Definitely in the difficult camp today, oh dear, really struggled and had to use too much e-help. In the end I only had two left and threw in the towel, 11a and 6d. I wanted to put the right answer in 14a but just could not parse it, shudda just bunged it in. I know I’ve got 26a and 17d wrong but can’t think of anything else.
    Fave was 9d, that tickled me, I also liked 22a for the same reason Jane did.
    Thanks Dada and to Senf for his help.

  29. Phew, if that was benevolent I’m would want to tackle a difficult one. Not helped by the fact that I didn’t know the 10a term in relation to wine, not familiar with the 5d, and spent far to long looking for a 6 letter breed of that animal. On the plus side, I had the benefit of living through 15a, so that helped me. Enough clues went in to keep me going, but needed too much help to finish. Thanks to Dada and Senf.
    Florida sun finally putting in an appearance. We got 6” inches of rain last night, and the night before with some local street flooding. Nothing serious and not on our street thank goodness.

    1. Hi Hoofit – so sad that you don’t leave in-depth comments any more, they were invariably so enjoyable. I don’t believe that you’ve suddenly become ‘a bit simple’ – maybe the pandemic has just temporarily disabled your mojo?

      1. Hi Jane. I tend to do the Guardian back page now, as frankly, with the exception of Ray-T and Dada, I find the DT back-pager a bit ‘samey’ and lacking sparkle.
        I do look at the back-pager, but by the time I finish its very late and I am normally knackered. Still had our first redwings at my local patch RSPB Northwood Hills today so not all bad.

        1. That’s a shame for us, Hoofit, but I obviously respect your choice.
          Well done for spotting the Redwings, isn’t it nice to know that this wretched virus has spared our wildlife – makes you think, doesn’t it?
          Maybe you’ll pop in with some more nature reports if nothing else – always nice to hear from you.

          1. Its probably only temporary, Jane, I shall probably be fed up with the Guardian by next Saturday!

            1. Please don’t desert us permanently, Hoofs. Like Jane, I looked forward to your comments. 👍

            2. Hoofs
              The “superiority” of the Guardian crossword is a matter of taste but that the (Backpager + this site) is unbeatable is a matter of fact
              Your posts contributed to that for me.
              Hope the golf is going well.

              1. Thanks LROK.
                I’m going through a bit of a bad time too. I suffer from insomnia, and it’s particularly bad at the moment. Makes the crossword even harder.

                1. Best wishes Hoofs I have some episodes too. Makes crosswords impossible for me unless I tackle them at silly-o-clock.
                  No doubt you have tried everything but:
                  I find that recording films then watching them over & over I do at least doze. Mrs LROK uses talking books.

                  1. Yes, those who are blessed with 8 hours sleep have no idea how lucky they are.
                    Tried most things, in the end you just have to accept what it is.

                    1. I’m one of the lucky ones, Hoofit, I rarely, very rarely have a toss-and-turn night, I know, indeed, how lucky I am. I do feel for you but can’t offer any suggestions, I think it’s DNA.

  30. Oh dear. I limped through this one. At first pass two clues only solved and then slowly, very slowly it started to come together. Unfortunately I ran out of time (meal to prepare) and patience. Thanks for the hints but sadly too little too late.

  31. Nothing to do with crosswords but it is to do with the blog.
    I have a ton of postgraduate essays to mark over the next ten days and I have a deadline to meet. So, if I don’t post that is the reason. Everyone was very kind when I vanished last time so I just want everyone to know that this time it is deliberate.

    I will still do the crossword and read the blog, however.

    Stay safe all.

      1. I am ruthless, Jane. I take no prisoners. One grammatical error too many and they fail! 😤😤😤
        Not really. I do make allowances. Some of these guys haven’t written an essay for years let alone for a post grad qualification.
        However, the university expects a certain standard and so do I.
        Oh, the power! 🤣🤣🤣

          1. With that spelling, LROK most definitely!
            Actually, many of the students are from abroad and they struggle with written English. I had one who gave a subheading wrongly. The subheading was supposed to read “Root Canal Treatment”.
            Unfortunately, he missed out the letter C.
            I’ve retired from clinical but I am still very involved in postgraduate work with a company called simplyendo. They run a Masters programme in conjunction with the University of Chester.
            It is, in the words of Authur Daley “A nice little earner”.

            1. I hope he was given a PhD – it is often tackling problems from the other end that leads to innovation!
              Guess with your spelling of Arthur you fail too!

  32. 3*/2*….
    liked 22A ” originally resembling hairy emu, another flightless bird (4) ”
    could not completely parse 23A.

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