ST 3086 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3086 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3086 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where on Tuesday we had a record breaking high temperature for the day of plus 7 degrees, some 14 or 15 degrees higher than the normal for the second week of December.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

I can only say that Dada is quirky today.  I counted three anagrams (one partial), three lurkers, and no homophones – all in an asymmetric 29 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 – 10a, 19a, 3d, and 7d.

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:


8a Devoted, a group getting behind party (7)
A from the clue, and a type of group placed after (getting behind) the two letter synonym of party.

10a Vessel returning in long boat (7)
A three letter type of vessel (often containing vegetables or fruit) reversed (returning) and inserted into (in) a synonym of long (for).

12a Junk in window, a steal (5)
The first lurker (in) found in three words in the clue.

13a Roof worker fired up again after being laid back (5)
A single word for fired up again reversed (after being laid back).

17a Novel man put together for team (9,6)
A synonym of novel, a chess piece (man) that looks like this descriptive term (but is actually called something else, just ask RD), and a past participle that could mean put together.

19a Award bagged by American subject for play (7)
The abbreviation for an award which is one of the classes of a British order of chivalry contained (bagged) by an American (school) subject (which is pluralised in the UK).

26a Ceremony in country during days of biblical fasting (9)
A four letter (African) country contained (during) by the number of days of (annual) biblical fasting.

28a Deceitful conduct in the last broadcast (7)
An anagram (broadcast) of THE LAST.


1d Bed for mum? That’s lucky (6)
Written as (2’1,3) a two letter synonym of mum with a possessive S and a type of bed.

2d Born: a new rule for old PM (5,3)
An anagram (new) of BORN A and a synonym of rule.

5d Drifter ending in rags at this time (4)
The last letter (ending in) of ragS and a three letter term equivalent to at this time.

7d Minister split trousers always (8)
A verbal synonym of split contains (trousers) a synonym of always.

16d Travel bug, result of flea-bites on walkers? (5,4)
The result of the sensation that flea-bites may cause on the illustrated walkers.

20d Cold peak in Cumbria, mountainous (6)
The first letter (peak in) of Cumbria and a synonym of mountainous.

22d Horror film taken in by tipsy choirboys (6)
The third lurker (taken in by) found in two words of the clue – the second lurker not hinted by me is 14a.

22d Get rid of blazer? (4)
A double definition – the first relates to termination of employment.

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.

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I don’t think I have ‘used’ Elvis before.  This is from the film ‘Girls! Girls! Girls’ and was number one for 3 weeks starting on this day in 1962:

Here’s some Elvis trivia – the only time he set foot on UK soil was on March 3, 1960 when he transited through Prestwick Airport travelling from a US military base in Germany en route to the USA at the end of his two years of compulsory military service (equivalent to National Service) and there is a bar in the Prestwick Airport terminal named after him. 

99 comments on “ST 3086 (Hints)

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this sparkling puzzle from Dada with just the right level of challenge (2.5*/5*). The were so many wily clues that it’s difficult to choose between them. I would put 7d, 15d, 19a and 26a on the podium with the hilarious 16d as COTD. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for a lively puzzle to brighten up a dull, wet day

  2. Senf has correctly identified my feelings about 17a. Leaving this one aside, this was an excellent and very enjoyable puzzle which, based on 28 clues, I would rate as 2.5*/5*.

    A particular frustration for me about 17a is that it could have provided a golden opportunity to use the term correctly as a verb simply by substituting “move” for “man”, which would also in my opinion have improved the surface. Sigh!

    On the plus side, I had a lot of ticks with several clues jostling for podium positions. My final selection being 19a, 26a, 7d & 15d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. 17a, yes, its like calling the other piece a horse.
      Have you watched Queens Gambit on netflix?

      1. Yes. I thought it was excellent and it was good to see proper positions and games depicted, although with Kasparov as a consultant you wouldn’t expect anything else.

        1. The end bit was very reminiscent of when Spassky applauded Fischer (and got in big trouble) in their famous match.

        2. I watched expecting a storyline based on the Polgar sisters which I knew the outline of from Matthew Sayed’s book “Bounce”.
          I was pleased when it wasn’t & I thoroughly enjoyed it.

          1. There is quite a good biopic of Fischer with Toby Maguire of all people in the lead, it focuses on his match with Spassky in Iceland.
            Interesting, as it shows what an utter fruitcake he was

  3. A lovely, fun puzzle to cheer up a dismal Shropshire morning. I, too, liked 16d the best, because anything that can make me smile in this weather has to be special. An honourable mention too, to 19a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. Tough but a million times easier for me than yesterdays absolute horror. Some really clever clues in 1d and 17a but my favourite was 3d, a real smiler. I’m sure my answer to the last in ,14a, is correct but the wordplay eludes me.
    Many thx to Dada for restoring my confidence and for the hints (although the ones I would have liked hinting were missing!!)

      1. I can see the last word of the clue is the definition but the rest still eludes me. Can’t really say more without incurring the wrath of BD.

        1. Please put me out of my misery Brian. Did you cotton on after the additional hints and if so did you groan, scream or kick yourself? I had another synonym for monster in mind which did not work when I got the first checker. Then got answer but did not parse until I remembered the advice given many times. This is truly strange as i had no trouble in spotting another example of this type of clue.

      1. Living in Northumberland its either the toons or the Black Cats. It means I only see my beloved Spurs when they play xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. (Sorry Brian. It’s probably not very often that you get to include at least part of an answer in a comment but you did today.)

        1. Brian
          I remembered that you followed the lilywhites but also the magpies since emigrating to the NE.
          Your favourite club (shared if I remember correctly with BD) is not crossword-friendly having more than 15 letters

    1. In reply to your comment ‘although the ones I would have liked hinting were missing,’ and similar ones such as ‘the hints were mostly for those I already solved,’ I can only say that, in the two and a bit years that I have been Sunday blogging Dada, I appear to have got completely on his wavelength. So, I mostly find that, in any given puzzle, that the clues are all to the same standard of difficulty, or lack of same, so what I try to do, as I say in my preamble, is to sprinkle the hints throughout the grid so that you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues. If you have mostly solved the ones I have hinted then you must be at the same point, more or less.

    2. I too filled in 14a before I realized it was a lurker. I spent too much time trying to [Redacted]. Am I allowed to say that?

      1. I too missed the lurker and had initially bunged in another synonym for monster until it messed up the crossers.

  5. I found the crossword un-querky today, though I did need Mrs.Hoofit’s help trying to shoe-horn the other fruit fitted the three crossers. She pointed out the ‘jam’ I was in!
    The PM in 2d was known to me, when I saw the (5,3), I wrote it straight in. 10a was new to me, but gettable from the wordplay.
    Thanks Dada, after making me feel a fool a propos the prize in the Graun yesterday, I admire your versatility that you can set such a different pair of crosswords.
    Thanks to Senf too…

    1. How are you doing with his (non) prize in the Graun – I’m stalled with about a third to go. Nice Everyman though.

      1. Paul’s puzzles are a bridge too far for me, to be honest, I have no idea what his clues are on about. The 9/11 combination is brilliant.
        I will look at the Everyman later.

      2. Finished the Everyman, but far too many bung-ins to be enjoyable. There is about 10 I cant parse.

  6. A very enjoyable crossword. Thanks to the setter and to Senf for the hints. Including supplements I counted 156 pages in today’s paper. Would it not be possible to increase the size of the cryptic so that the enjoyment of filling it in matches that of the pleasure derived from its content?

    1. Hear, hear. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to reposition the grid so that it wasn’t bisected by a fold either. The revamped layout is not a great success for those of us, who do the dead tree version of either the Cryptic or the General Knowledge puzzles.

  7. Quite a rewarding workout for me this morning but very entertaining, amusing, and enjoyable. I was pushed into *** time by the NW because I had the wrong first syllable for those severe measures in 11a until the penny dropped in that witty cardiograph. Although I couldn’t remember 2d (a few moons before my advent), the clue solved itself. Favourites: 3d, 16d, 19a, 6d, 17d–with 3d my COTD. Dada at his peak, I think, so thanks to him and to Senf for the hints, which I’ll read now. *** / *****

  8. An enjoyable work out this morning. Totally agree with RD about 17a. His version of the clue makes far more sense. I needed Senf’s hints to understand 26a. I was looking at a completely different European country at the end which clearly didn’t work! ***/**** 14d was well disguised. Took me into *** time before I realised the error in my thinking. Favourite 16d. Thanks to all.

  9. Well, I got there in the end but needed a fair few hints to do so.
    I did like 17a as they are (one of) my teams although the hint gives a little bit too much re the first syllable. 24a seemed a bit of a poor surface and the boat (10a) was new to me too.
    thanks to Senf and Dada
    according to Songs of Praise, today is Gaudete Sunday so here is an appropriate piece

  10. I thought this one of Dada’s Sunday best. Full of great clues & with nothing obscure although 10a was new to me & needed confirmation. Unfortunately I made a mess of a couple at 11&26a which delayed completion somewhat. Clocked the first one when getting 3d but the incorrect 2nd,3rd & 4th letters in 26a took longer to figure out. 16d was my clear pick of bunch.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf

  11. I thought our setter was being very gentle with us today although I did wait for some checkers before committing myself to the first part of 11a.
    1,16&20d raised a smile but my favourite has to be 3d – excellent clue.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the glimpse of Elvis before his excesses got the better of him.

  12. What a difference a day makes. Dada on top form, amusing solid cluing with few obscurities or over-stretched synonyms.
    3d brought a smile but 26a COTD for me.
    Ridiculously I took an age to see 17d which took me into 3* time.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints.

  13. I had the grid completed in **** time, but the PM at 2d was unknown to me. Wiki tells me he was only in office for 6 months, so that is hardly surprising.

    As an ex-medical engineer, I have to give COTY to 3d.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  14. A nice Sunday challenge to brighten up the very gloomy weather, enjoyed it even with a few confusing moments. Favourites were 19a and 16d
    Still scratching my head about 3d…

    1. The kind of welcome that 17a might get if they ever won the league or FA cup again or the piece of paper coming out of a cardiograph at RVI of anyone witnessing such an unlikely triumph.
      (Don’t hold your breath – it is about as likely as a shark in the River Tyne)

  15. I was enjoying this a lot but with only 2 left to do, accidentally erased all the answers! Haven’t the heart to start over.

    1. Gray has done this twice in the last two days but fortuntely Rose keeps a separate copy of our progress! 🙂

  16. Got stuck on 3d despite having the parades on Broadway in the forefront of my mind. Then it finally came to me, not helped by my slightly incorrect 11a. All done and dusted in an enjoyable *** time.

  17. This was fun. Some were straightforward; some I couldn’t get, until I did! 10a was new to me but I was able to figure it out.
    Rather distressed to learn that Brian is a Spurs supporter, but I suppose he must bear that burden if it has been thrust upon him.

    Thanks to Dada, & Senf and his equine assistants.

    1. Be careful what you say as Brian isn’t the only Spurs supporter you wouldn’t want to upset round here (and I’ll just say that I’m not a football fan at all, so it isn’t me)

  18. Got there in the end and with the help of Senf’s hints understood the clues that I had solved with checkers as the only possible solutions.

    There seems to be a lack of understanding where Brian is concerned. When someone is good at solving, always inferred from comments such as :

    another top drawer puzzle from whoever,
    an absolute gem today from whoever,
    delightful clues in today’s puzzle,
    etc., etc., …..,

    they need to realise that the very fact of their expertise in nearly all cases disqualifies them from commenting on the struggles others are having.

    Those who were unfortunate to have firsts from Oxbridge teaching them Maths or Sciences at school will probably know what I mean. Good as they were at their subject the majority could not understand the difficulties many children had, and in almost all cases were totally useless at keeping order. I feel the same applies to the many derisory comments about Brian.

    1. Agreed. As a retired teacher I can say with confidence that nothing is less helpful to someone who is trying to understand, child or adult, than derision.

    2. I was after my finals at university selected to have a viva with three eminent visiting professors. It proved to be one of the most unnerving experiences of my life but it taught me the valuable lesson that there is often a tremendous gap between what teachers think their should students know and what they actually do know. I tried to remember this lesson throughout my teaching career and was hopefully the better for it.
      Suffice it to say that at the end of the viva I tried to exit the oak panelled room via a stationery cupboard door. It did make the professors laugh….😂
      A lovely crossword today. Thank you to all involved.

      1. I’m glad you made them laugh – maybe they were human beings after all!
        About twenty years ago our Younger Lamb had an interview to read History at Cambridge – she came out of that interview completely demolished – she was seventeen years old and I’ve never been so angry in my life as I was when I saw how she looked. People in high up positions could do well to remember the effect they can have on others, specially very young people.
        After all that she was offered a place – I’m glad that she chose to go to Kings College, London.

    3. Whilst I agree with your sentiments, Corky, I think it is also important for solvers to be able to express their admiration for particular clues and puzzles where they feel it is warranted without any fear of causing offence. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that setters are thanked and praised for their efforts whilst still offering help to those who may be struggling with some of the intricacies of their puzzles – a fine line to tread.
      My only objection is when some commenters resort to rudeness in order to make their point – that seems very unfair on the setters who are hardly in a position to say how those remarks may make them feel.

      1. My point Jane, is not about solvers’ admiration for the puzzles or individual clues within the puzzles but the unthinking comments made by some when Brian is obviously frustrated about his inability to solve some of the clues when he can solve many others. I often feel the same. Some crosswords I find almost unreadable, unparsable, and belonging to some esoteric use of language. If this is anything like Brian’s experience I would feel he is not alone with just me as someone with the same difficulty.

        I would think many feel like that but just won’t say it either to keep their head down or out of a misplaced sense of politeness. Misplaced because setters should be thanked but also should have feedback about the difficulty of some of their puzzles.

    4. A good point made here.
      I don’t think, though, that gently saying that Brian can seem a bit of a curmudgeon at times is insulting or rude. I think it is said with humour. As I am a bit of a curmudgeon myself, I recognise similar traits with Brian.
      I genuinely look forward to his direct commentary each day.

      On the greater point, bullying or picking on people is to be abhorred at all times, in any situation.

      1. There are few of us that aren’t Terence, as I said other day our “curmudgeonliness” probably increases with age.
        I will play on yours now and ask you to pass the toffees.

  19. Loved it as usual for a Sunday. Got stuck on 3a until Bob led me to the answer.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  20. I don’t ‘do’ sport so it doesn’t matter which teams you are talking about, it is all shouting and men rushing round hurting each other and making lots of muddy uniforms for their womenfolk to wash. A lovely puzzle Dada and it certainly brightened a wet miserable lunchtime. I liked 19a and 3d of course – I am not sure where the trousers came into 7d – oh, I suppose trousers means encompassing. OK. Many thanks to Senf and so we say good bye to another week of this beastly year.

    1. “it is all shouting and men rushing round hurting each other and making lots of muddy uniforms for their womenfolk to wash” a bit of a sexist view for the 21st century, isn’t it? Read the sports pages of the DT, there are plenty of women playing now, and, like me, there are many men who do their own laundry.

      1. Unrepentant. It was said tongue in cheek – surely you could tell! If women want to race round muddy fields and play rough sports and even box – that is fine by me. I just think to myself, as dear old Mammy would have said in Gone With the Wind – T’aint fittin’ – it just aint fittin’.
        Regarding footballer’s ladyfriends washing their kit for them, if the papers are to be believed I doubt if many of them would deign to do it.
        Now I shall sit back and wait for the floodgates to open. I am feeling in a rebellious mood.
        Has covid swallowed our sense of humour?

          1. I don’t really like using those little yellow things.
            George’s sports are fencing and rowing neither of which are mentioned much, except for the inevitable ‘epee’ or ‘oar’.
            Sport has just never interested me, apart from tennis and yoga, which probably is not a sport.
            I thought that over the years it had become well known that I knew very little about sport – I’ve always made a joke of it
            but now it seems to be an offence so I apologise if I have upset anyone . 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢

        1. DG, if I was mistaken, I apologise. It was the way you referred sport in general, as if women had no place in it at all. Your comment seemed all-encompassing, including for example, croquet and equestrianism, when you actually meant Premier League Football. Watching yesterday’s Manchester derby would put most people off that; no passion, no fight, and not even muddy kits afterwards.

          1. Malcolm
            The criticism of yesterday’s Manchester Derby is uncalled for. What do you expect when you only pay the players a few million pounds a year, when social distancing means they have to pass the ball accurately more than 2 metres, when they had to play twice in 7 days, when their agent is down his last £10 million so you need to move on to get another fee? Be reasonable and understanding please.
            I re-read Duncan Edwards’ biography recently. One season when he was doing National Service he played over 90 games. Of course he was paid £10 a week.

            1. Duncan Edwards was my boyhood hero. What a wonderful footballer he was. I cried buckets when he died following the Munich air crash.

    2. Drat – I should have used the photo of the 17a women’s team that Google found for me to illustrate that clue.
      And, if you will pardon the expression, plenty of women playing with both shapes of balls.

      1. Niece runs a very successful internet fitness / workout business based in Toronto. She attributes the motivation to develop her career on joining the Women’s Rugby Union team at UBC. Whilst a member of the team she also developed a career as a fashion model for sportswear (that her boyfriend didn’t have to wash!). Neither would probably appeal to the feminist lobby, & probably not possible 20 years ago, attitudes have changed.
        I can’t see her ever joining the Canadian equivalent of the WI though.

        1. Quick history lesson – there is no Canadian ‘equivalent’ of the WI, the first WI anywhere was in 1897 in Stoney Creek, Ontario. The first UK equivalent WI meeting was in 1915 in Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch!

          1. Thank you Senf
            Knew of the LlanfairPG bit – it was on some TV programme from Ile de Jane.

            1. Yes, it’s about 2 miles away from me, usually heaving with tourists but not this year of course.

  21. Yet another great weekend with Paul in the Graun and Dada in the DT.
    Spent all day outside in glorious sunshine solving this gentle offering at the restaurant with the roof opened.
    Sometimes it is good to have the whole place to yourself.
    Got the anagram wrong first in 2d as I thought the first word would be a title like our late Maggie. Didn’t know the chap.
    20d got me thinking that I needed to look at a map to find a peak in Cumbria. Nice misdirection as usual from our Sunday setter.
    Thanks to him and to Senf for the hints.

  22. Hello all. I have 27a left to do. I have an answer which makes sense but cannot parse it. Can anyone provide a clue please?

    1. Hi GMY1965

      Hope I don’t go to naughty corner … The answer is found in an anagram “bananas” of most of the clue that goes before it.

      … I see Senf got there before me!

      1. Thanks. Seems like a stretch but evidently I had the right answer. I liked the rest of the puzzle but didn’t know the word for 10a. Cheers

    2. Thanks so much for asking GMY — it has been bugging me. Gratitude, Stone Waller and to Senf for your explanation for 19a. Found this quite tough but enjoyed the battle.

  23. I enjoyed this one and didn’t find it as difficult as some Sundays.
    Like others I dithered for quite a long time before getting the first bit of 11a and I’ve never heard of the 2d old PM.
    I’m with Daisy – don’t ‘do’ sport very well, if at all, but managed 17a.
    Clues that stood out for me today included 19a and 5 and 15d. My favourite was 16d because it made me laugh.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Now I’m glad that I didn’t get round to doing the NTSPP yesterday so still have it to do – or try to.

  24. Ouch! This was agony in parts although mainly contained in the NE. The key was getting 7d although the checkers were not that helpful. It did lead however to 14a. Never had I realised how many wayfarers there are until I tried to solve 6d. Soon remedied when I had the last letter. 4d followed and only help necessary was a list of boats which did not take longer with the first letter. Initially my only guess had been one which is quite exotic and a partial anagram. I had not heard of this boat before. I had hesitated over 20d as thought a bit too obvious and I had taken the first letter from the wrong place. Favourites 17 19 and 26a and 3 15 and 16d.

    1. Sorry forgot to thank Dada and Senf although glad I persevered without the hints even if it delayed pre- Christmas chores.

  25. Definitely a quirky Dada puzzle for this week. Took a while to get going then thing flowed well until the last of the NE area. 6d was last in as I had two fruits that fit the surrounding letters and eventually had the PDM and figured the correct answer. ***/***** my rating for this puzzle.
    COTD favourites hard to keep track of as so many but liked, 3d, 4d, 7d, 17d & 23d with winner 4d
    New word for me in 10a that was second to last in.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints

  26. I thought I did quite well, considering it was a Dada, until I got to the NE. I was stuck on three there and was about to give in when, thanks to Senf, 4d suddenly gave in, then 10a, I think that made an appearance in Nevil Shute’s Requiem for a Wren! Needless to say, e-help was used from time to time.
    Fave was 3d but 16d also amused.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints, I needed those today!

  27. I’m with Brian on this one, a big relief after struggling with the last two days of cryptics. I didn’t know the boat in 10a, and can’t parse 27a. Took ages before the penny dropped on 6d. Loved 15d, definitely COTD. I know nothing about football, despite being shushed every Saturday night while Dad filled in the results for his football pools. That was before the lottery, when families pinned their hopes on “winning the pools”. My favourite team name was Hamilton Academicals 😊. But I don’t remember 17a. That came together with the checkers. Thanks to Dada for an enjoyable puzzle that was a pleasure to solve, and to Senf for the hints.

  28. The Cumbrian mountains were definitely looking a bit 20d earlier this week with a covering of snow. All gone now though. Another enjoyable Sunday solve, thanks to Dada and Senf.

  29. Nice challenge but I thought 19a rather, or perhaps most, obscure in part.
    Who would know that?
    Thanks to Dada, on form as ever, and to Senf for the nicely illustrated review.

  30. I made heavy weather of this as is often the case for me with Dada’s offerings and at the end of the day I weakened and sought help in the NE. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  31. What a lovely gentle Sunday puzzle, which I polished off in something of a personal record time as far as Sunday Dada puzzles are concerned. It was a late start for me, having spent much of the day with my grandchildren, enjoying a steam train ride to see Santa and with the rain lashing down for much of the day. No serious head scratching and answers coming very quickly for me to record a personal weekend best. My favourites included 3d,15d, but 16d gave me my laugh out loud moment. 17a gave me no pleasure in writing the words, as they rank among my pet dislikes along with a couple more ‘teams’ who I won’t mention for fear of upsetting both BD and Brian ;-) Thanks to both Dada and Senf.

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