ST 3084 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3084 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3084 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where Mother Nature has been ringing the changes on the weather and we have had freezing rain and black ice.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

I don’t think I have used the Q-word for a while but I found that it definitely applies to today’s puzzle.  I counted six anagrams (four partials), one lurker (not hinted by me, but it’s 2d), and no homophones – all in a very brief and 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 – 4a, 16a, 9d, and 14d.

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 Bug youth observed in tree (6)
A three letter synonym of youth contained by (observed in) the illustrated tree hint – it’s the one mentioned in the old saying about casting a clout.

4a Warming drink may go cold if sent back (6)
A synonym of may (in terms of a possibility), GO from the clue, and the single letter for cold all reversed (if sent back).

10a Cook eating North African dish (6)
An anagram (cook) of EATING – apparently the dish is named after what it is cooked in (see illustration) or vice versa.

12a Economy way ahead of limit (10)
A four letter synonym of way (that does appear in a crossword from time to time) placed before (ahead of) a synonym of limit.

16a Unacceptable location of trouser pocket? (5,3,4)
An expression (related to pugilism?) that also indicates where a pocket in a pair of trousers might be located.

21a Each found at the back in cabinet: extra clip there for binder? (4)
Select the last letters (each found at the back) of four consecutive words in the clue.

22a Support band member missing intro (6)
A band member with her or his first letter removed (missing intro) – hint count the number of strings.

28a Net wife or husband cut back (6)
What I suppose is the PC or generic term for wife or husband, remove (cut) the last letter and then reverse what is left (back).


1d Branch in second position for monkey (8)
A three letter synonym for branch placed in the two letter synonym for a second (of time) and a synonym of position.

3d Puzzle book seen after cover lifted (7)
A book (novel) that we have grown to know and love through the world of cruciverbalism, some of us might even have read it, placed after a type of cover that has been reversed (lifted).

7d Hypocrisy concerned with political division (6)
A four letter synonym of hypocrisy and a two letter word equivalent to concerned with.

9d Game, drunk’s creepy advances? (11)
A synonym of (mildly) drunk and types of creepy advances, one of which might go with a nudge or two.

15d Go berserk over debacle — put your foot in it! (4-4)
A term that can be equivalent to go berserk placed before (over) a term that can refer to a debacle.

18d Weed unhappy in US party (7)
A verbal synonym of weed, using an implement of the same name, and a synonym of unhappy.

21d Row about black Italian river (5)
A synonym of row containing (about) the single letter for black.

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John Mayall, founder of John Mayall and he Bluesbreakers, which over time included such guitarists as Eric Clapton and Peter Green, is 87 years young today.  This is from a concert in Liverpool in 2003.  I am reasonably certain that Mr Mayall is the keyboardist:

84 comments on “ST 3084 (Hints)

  1. This was certainly quirky and a masterpiece of misdirection to boot (3*/3.5*). It took me a while to get into the puzzle as I seemed to fall for all the red herrings (dim…as Kath would say). There were a few of I couldn’t parse compleyely but bunged in anyway. 16a was the best of the clues for me and raised a smile on a chilly foggy morning. Thanks to senf for the hints and to Dada in impish form.

  2. Is this Dada? I found it much more straightforward than usual. Certainly some gimmes. Favourites 16 and 20a and 5 and 18d.The SW went in particularly quickly but SE was slower with 21a and 15d being the last to fall. 21a provided a doh moment when I got it! The clue seemed very complicated, then I found a possible lurker, all revealed itself. This led to my last one which was obvious when all checkers were in. Thanks Setter and Senf – I shall now look at the hints and look forward to reading all comments.

  3. 4a was my stand out favourite from this hugely enjoyable and fun puzzle. I like quirky so am always glad to see a Dada compilation on a Sunday morning. A very pleasant diversion to brighten up another dull Shropshire morning.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned and to Senf.

  4. I think Chriscross’s description of Dada being in impish form covers it nicely – I certainly grinned quite broadly over a few of today’s clues.
    Topping my charts were 4,16&23a plus 9d – the latter being my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for a most enjoyable review and musical accompaniment.
    PS Regardless of what the BRB may have to say on the subject, I still maintain that the method described in 18d is a less than ideal way to rid oneself of a weed!

    1. I absolutely agree Jane, and weeding by hand is so wonderfully mindless and relaxing ( unless you have ground elder!)

      1. Whatever you do, don’t 18d the oxalis with red clover-like leaves and yellow flowers. It spreads the tiny bulbils all over your plot!

          1. I found something that did work on my veg patch, which has little growing at the moment. White vinegar in a garden spray, with a teaspoonful of washing up liquid, sprayed on all the leaves, kills it. You need to repeat it a couple of times and it works best in spring sunshine. Tricky next to other plants though.

  5. Rain stopped work today so I had a chance to look at this very early on and still in bed. As I always find with Dada it was slow to start but gradually as I unpicked a few of the clues things sped up until 4ac and 7dn held me up. But I enjoyed those as well as 14dn and 18dn.

    I agree Jane, the only way is to pick weeds out and dispose of them before they flower. But they still keep coming. In saying that sometimes to the good – we built a retaining wall last spring and in doing so disturbed and moved a lot of ground. The result – a massivd patch of rucala (rocket).

    Thanks to Dada and Senf especially for the music.

  6. If the pubs were open I would take myself off for a strong drink after completing this one. Boy was it tough!
    Some really clever clues such as my fav 14d but on the whole it required real concentration.
    One of those puzzles that gives satisfaction to complete without saying one enjoyed the journey.
    Thx for the hints

  7. A thoroughly entertaining work out this morning. A classic case of “think outside the box”. 4a was my last in. No idea why it took so long for that penny to drop. I’ve knocked back a few in my time! ***/**** Favourite is 16a. Thanks to all.

  8. Every time I try to access the puzzles on line today I get a “Bad request” notification. I tried another browser and my password, which I changed last March and wrote down, is rejected. This happened a lot a couple of years ago but has been fine ever since until today. Now I have to change my password again. So frustrating.

  9. Typical Dada today which I’d place slightly below middling on his difficulty spectrum. I assume I have the correct answer to 11a though can’t say it’s with total confidence but other than that a brisk problem free solve. 4a would be my pick of the clues also & liked the surface of 10a. Now back to his prize in the Graun where I’m completely nonplused.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf.
    Ps best puzzle of the weekend for me is NTSPP by Starhorse & well worth a visit for any that haven’t done so.

    1. With the checkers from 1d and 2d, assuming that you have solved those correctly, there are not too many options for the unchecked letters in 11a.

      1. Those pesky 4 letter thing with two word double definitions – they should be banned! 🤔
        In fact, Senf, if my checkers are correct, there are 74 possible solutions.

  10. This I found tough & sorting out 4a, my LOI & joint COTD took me nearly 4* time. Absorbing & fun – perfect for a Sunday morning. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea though.
    9d, other COTD as it raised the biggest smile. Reminder of simple pleasures enjoyed as part of childhood. Can’t help thinking the advent of computer games has taken something out of family.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf, decided we didn’t need help with 5d?

      1. Don’t get me started on Chris Whitty. Mind you, he might well be a good candidate to be added to the cockney dictionary. :smile:

  11. I started this, found it tricky in places, watched some Formula 2, came back to it and it seemed so much simpler – i guess my brain had moved up a few gears.

    4a cotd for me. Honourable mention for 9d. 15d reminded me of a very corny joke.

  12. Yesterday’s rain having moved on to Stone Waller’s part of the world, it feels like a spring day in Hyeres.
    And it was a joy to be able to solve this wonderful crossword in the open air.
    Lots of great misdirections as usual and loud penny drop moments.
    Favourite 4a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

        1. Thanks! Didn’t help that I had misentered the middle letter on my Kindle. Once I rechecked the answers going across it all fell into place. Thanks to all on this miserable day.

    1. It took me forever but that was because I spelt 10a incorrectly, stupid considering it was an anagram! P

  13. 4*/4*. I found this pretty tough in parts but very enjoyable. I wasn’t helped by putting in a plausible (but non-cryptic) answer to to 23a, and I struggled to parse 25a (thanks, Senf, for the explanation).

    My podium comprises 4a, 16a & 9d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  14. I struggled with this and had to resort to the hints so not very enjoyable for me. However, there are some great clues and my COTD is 4a, which gave me a chuckle. At first, I couldn’t see the cold bit but then it leapt out at me. I also liked 9d but don’t agree with the “creepy advances”.

    Many thanks for the workout, Dada and thanks to Senf for the much needed hints.

  15. A breeze by Dada for me, though 21a held me up a bit. Favourites: 4a, 14d, 18d, 9d. Very enjoyable. Thanks to Senf and to Dada. ** / ***

  16. (I agree with Steve C about ‘creepy advances’)

    I printed this off at midnight and had a quick glance before retiring to my chamber and thought ‘uh-oh’, but, this morning, fired with the energy of two toasted teacakes and a glass of orange juice I found I enjoyed the tussle with this puzzle.

    H has arranged the delivery of some furniture this afternoon – wait for this – DURING the Chelsea v Tottenham game. I may have to rethink the future of our relationship.

    Thanks to Dada, Senf, and his steed.

    1. I don’t suppose that either Steve C or yourself are of the right sex to have been subjected to same. I should think there are several female contributors on the blog who nodded in agreement over 9d!

      1. I don’t recall ever using same in a creepy way and never to anyone I didn’t know well, Jane.

        1. I would imagine that jane does not think that you or Terence would be likely to have a ‘dirty raincoat’ in your wardrobes.

          1. Well I do have a dirty raincoat, Senf but only because I fell over in a muddy field this morning!

    2. I never fail to be impressed at the sybaritic lifestyle you lead Terence. Toasted tea cakes in the chamber and no doubt it is a curtained four poster on which you recline.

      1. Not only that, Daisy; I dictate my posts for this blog, as I recline on my daybed, and then order my staff to post them on my behalf.

  17. Very good, very enjoyable and jolly tricky for me today – frozen brain syndrome, I think.
    I took ages to even get started and didn’t speed up much – it’s taken ages.
    I haven’t sorted out 13a properly but I’m sure it’s right and can see that it’s a bit ‘anagrammy’ – maybe it doesn’t matter.
    12a caused problems – I had the first letter but was thinking of a specific ‘way’ – a two letter one.
    I thought the top right corner was the most difficult.
    I liked 22 and 23a and my favourite was either 9 or 15d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Now is the sort of time that I always regret not having saved up the NTSPP to do today.

  18. Thoroughly enjoyable so thank you Dada if indeed it was you and Senf for the hints although 11a was the one I wavered on. I liked 3d and of course 9d with happy childhood memories – what simple things delighted us in our Christmas stockings! My job this afternoon is to rescue a particularly stylish Father Christmas appliqué on a jumper of Sarah’s which her pesky Schautzer puppy chewed last year. I have carefully cut all around it and am reapplying it to a new jumper then have to attach beads and sequins. Our children still expect us to work miracles!

  19. Other than a couple of clues, I found this Dada offering not really quirky, but quite benevolent. 1.5*/***** Only needed two of the hints today. SE area was last to finish with 25a last in.
    Some clever clues and candidates for favourites include 4a, 16a, 23a, 9d & 14d with winner tied with 4a/9d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  20. For me not a lot of fun to be had today and no particular Favs but did manage to come through. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  21. Hi All. I found the last few clues (NE corner) tricky so had to use this page. Thank you! One question – is there any point entering the draw once the crossword is completed? Can anyone win or is it only DT Puzzle Club (or whatever it’s called) members who are eligible? Thanks.

  22. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon after a walk in the leafy woods; thank you Dada for a terrific puzzle and Senf for the hints – 14d as my favourite clue

  23. Did this crossword this morning, except for 4a and 7d. Went shopping, came home, had lunch, still couldn’ t do 4a, looked at the hints …. oh, the shame! Guess where we’ d been shopping …. prize of the year for dimness. Thanks to the setter, and to Senf for rescuing us.

  24. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle today. I had to break off several times for Mama-ly duties so no idea how long it took.
    4a and 23a need to be taken in 12a or one may end up a bit 9d
    Thanks to Senf and Dada
    That does look like JM, although more commonly seen with a guitar, but when you have had Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor on the guitar you might want to be the organ grinder rather than the guitarist!

    1. Never mind the crossword, John, the most important thing is – did you manage to get Mama Bee her Betty’s Christmas cake?

        1. Phew, that’s a relief – you could have been short on gifts from Father Christmas if you’d failed on that score!
          I love marzipan and icing but you’re welcome to eat the Stollen all by yourself………..

  25. Slightly easier than yesterday, only e-help for the last 2 today, whereas it was consulted with about 10 to go yesterday!! Enjoyed the challenge.

  26. Little enjoyment and the clues for the top half as mystifying as the clues themselves. Bottom half accessible with 14d and 16a as clues which would have been enjoyed if the top half of the puzzle had not been so inaccessible and unedifying.

  27. ***/****. Dada in more benevolent mood. Lots to like about this puzzle and clever misdirection in a few places. Bunged in 25a but didn’t parse it until I read the hints. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  28. I must be getting on Dada’s wavelength, not easy but very doable. I struggled with 7d through my own fault and misspelling 10a, and 11a is a bungin, but I can wait for the review for the answer.
    There was a lot to like, 16a was my first in and was smile worthy, 9d ‘cos I just like the sound, 14d ‘cos of all the “setters”, but a lot more could’ve qualified.
    Thanks to Dada, I expect next Sunday I’ll be totally at sea, and thanks to Senf for unravelling a couple, e.g., 12a!
    In a couple of days’ time we’re going to get cold, I’m already dreading it!

      1. In the 50sF, it’s going to be about 12C, and that’s COLD! I hate wearing heavy clothes, anything more than a cotton frock and sandals and I feel suffocating!

            1. It’s just horses for courses, Merusa. Put me in your heat and even my hair leaks! Plus, I get unbelievably bad-tempered and lie around complaining bitterly.

              1. My Mum and Dad came fresh out of England to live in Jamaica and I can’t remember them ever complaining about the heat. We were born to it and never knew any different. I never could adapt to the cold in England, but thousands of Jamaicans went to UK and never batted an eyelid.

      2. Cold over here is when we have to wear a long sleeve T shirt and actually put on socks, rather than short sleeve Tees with flip flops. Well alright, once in while we get a real cold snap and we have to go hunting for our jumpers, and it looks like next week we will be dusting them off. It’s a tough life 😊

  29. I’m in the “not overly difficult for a Dada” camp this evening, with the exception of 10a which I’d never heard of so used ehelp. Favourite was 9d, I can go with creepy. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  30. My goodness, I thought this was going to be a stinker as hardly anything jumped out at me on the first pass. Slowly it came together, but it was hard work teasing out some of the answers. Which, to be honest, I got in spite of, rather than because of the clues. 7d was last in, because I had the wrong ending to 12a. Thanks to Dada for the workout, and to Senf for the needed hints.

  31. I thought this was a tougher than normal Dada.
    Was held up by 25a due to filling in the second word of 15d ending in a ‘T’ by mistake.
    Thanks for the hints and the blog to Senf and to Dada for the challenge.

      1. Hi Huntsman, I didn’t have go this week, unfortunately this weekend was a bit of a write-off as far as crosswords were concerned. Too busy trying to sort out my house now the builders have left.
        Was it tricky??

        1. The Saturday Guardian puzzle’s difficulty appeared to be bimodal: Paul asked for a show of hands on the evening’s video call, and said the most were for 4/10 and 8/10.

          It has a theme, with multiple clues having the definition “number” or “number if multiplied by n”. If you happen to spot the theme early, that gives you a lot of help. If the theme remains a mystery to you, it makes the puzzle harder than average.

          Hope the house-sorting went well.

        2. Was for me Hoofs but Smylers reply has given me a nudge in the right direction so may revisit it. Hope that you’re soon sorted & enjoying the benefits of whatever the builders have done.

  32. Only two clues solved on my first read though of the across clues, but there again it was late evening when I picked my paper up and well, I’d had a couple of ‘snifters’ before-hand. Reading through the down clues the answers seemed to come reasonably steadily, until I had a few checking letters in place to add some answers to the across clues. Sadly I needed help in getting 4a, which in its own way had its irony as far as I am concerned! All in all a very satisfying solve with 14d my favourite for the day, closely followed by 20a,15d and 18d.Thanks to Dada and Senf.

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