ST 3088 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3088 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3088 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg for the last Dada on Sunday (he is on Toughie duty on Tuesday) of the year, where, based on the Canadian criteria, we had a White Christmas by virtue of the 25cms or so of snow that we had on Sunday/Monday and Tuesday/Wednesday and the minus too much temperatures that insured that there was no melting away.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

Well, I thought that Dada was on Toughie duty on Tuesday, presumably this was a practice run.  I counted six anagrams (two partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and no homophones – all in a slightly asymmetric 30 clues, with 17 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 15a, 8d, 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 Let down sack? (10)
Written as (3-7) this could be a term for sack as in fire someone?

6a Brute sent over to collect large weight (4)
A three letter brute reversed (over) containing (to collect) the single letter for large.

12a Weakling, politician joining women’s group (4)
The two letters for a type of politician placed after (joining) the initials of the international women’s group that was founded in Stoney Creek, Ontario in 1897.

15a Dancing, skin becoming paler? (8)
A type of dancing which when written as (3,5) suggests one’s skin might be becoming paler.

18a Lay out fashionable underwear (6)
The two letter synonym of fashionable and an item of underwear.

23a Note Wagnerian work bubbling up (9)
One of the (musical) notes of the Solfège Scale and a (3,4) Wagnerian work.

26a For example, duck in cricket perhaps? (4)
A sort of double definition, what duck, the bird, could be considered to be a type of.

27a Restriction left impression (10)
The single letter for left and a synonym of impression.

29a When one sees the most tourists spring up, possibly? (4,6)
A synonym of up and a term for spring as part of a year – I think.


1d Challenge coming up in better adventure (4)
The reverse lurker (coming up) in two words of the clue – the lurker, not hinted by me, is 28a.

3d Kitchen device fixed to tap with purpose (3-2,7)
An anagram (fixed) of TO TAP and (with) PURPOSE.

4d This writer after clear message that’s implicit (8)
A three letter pronoun that indicates this writer placed after a synonym of clear.

8d In precarious position upon thin end of branch? (3,2,1,4)
Think of another term for branch (of a tree) then prefix it with a phrase that suggests being upon its thin end.

14d Remove flimsy tube attached to ceiling (10)
A synonym of remove and a synonym of flimsy – the illustration below should help.

17d Slow — as a bullet? (8)
An informal synonym of bullet with a three letter suffix that indicates similarity.

21d Rest put on top of food in waste collectors (7)
A three letter rest placed before (on top of) a type of food gives ‘processed food’ waste collectors (the UK version).

25d Article working for unknown author (4)
One of the indefinite articles and a synonym of working.

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Today is the 119th anniversary of Marlene Dietrich’s birth.  Here she is singing at the 1963 Royal Variety Performance, although, perhaps a little ungraciously, I can’t imagine who thought it would be a good idea to invite to sing at said show:

64 comments on “ST 3088 (Hints)

  1. Quite a struggle in places for me. As usual with Dada, it took a time to get into it but once I had a foothold things began to reveal themselves. My favourites were 13a, 23a and 22d but my COTD is 15a.

    Many thanks, Dada for a nice tussle and thanks to Senf for the hints.

  2. Dada seemed to be practising for his next Toughie, particularly in the SW corner burmt all the clues were gettable (4*/4*). I liked 22d, which might qualify as a triple meaning and laughed out loud at 15a. I’m not all that keen on 25a but it was clear what it was because of the Wagner part. Thanks to Senf and Dada and a Happy New Year.

  3. Dada at his testiest for me today, but I finished in reasonably good time once I managed to twig several of the answers in the SW corner, notably 15a and 23a–both topping the podium for me, with 17d taking the Bronze. Thanks to Senf up there in Manitoba, where it’s probably a few degrees chillier than it is here in Charleston (28F now), and thanks to Dada for the enjoyable challenge. 2.5* / ****

  4. Dada at his most trying. Eventually finished thanks to the hint for 27a. 15a was another groaner but not up to yesterdays standard. I would take exception with 6a as the BRB does not define this as a brute, a poor clue IMHO. The wordplay for 19d still eludes me.
    As usual with his puzzles I can respect and even on occasion admire his clues but seldom enjoy them and today was no exception.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Same with me re 19d Brian. Organic was my least favourite of the 3 chemistry disciplines – though perhaps I am being lead down the garden path (or have it wrong).

      1. I agree organic chemistry and I never really got on probably because the teacher didn’t really understand it himself i suspect.

      2. I too am no good at organic chemistry but the compound that Grandma Bee kept behind the toilet came to mind though I wouldn’t drink it for love nor money

      3. I’ve always been endlessly fascinated by organic chemistry…. I used to work for ICI (remember them?) in the days when it was ok to work for a chemical company!

        1. I recall the days when I could, as a schoolboy, go to the local chemist to buy ammonium hydroxide and pure iodine. All the chemist would say as he handed it over was “ You be careful with this, young man! “

          Mixed together they produced an explosive that was so unstable even the army would not touch it!

          1. Potassium permanganate, sulphur and sugar works quite well, as I remember from my schooldays! Oh the fun we had that youngsters of today wouldn’t be allowed!

    2. 19d wordplay …. a three letter word for energy, first initials of two of the words in the clue and then the word ‘in’ from the clue and then put them all together.

        1. Ah I see it now, I never associated that word with energy I thought it was something you used for cleaning the loo.

  5. 4*/4*. Yes, a very tough Dada to finish off the year, but as enjoyable as ever.

    14d held me up for a while because it is wrongly enumerated. It should be (5,5). Collins online and the BRB both agree.

    Four on the podium for me today: 15. 16a, 23a & 26a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  6. Like RD above, I was stumped by 14d until I realised that it should be (5,5), then the answer bit me on the arse. Finished off rapidly after that.
    I didn’t know the work by Wagner, but the answer was obvious enough.
    Trickier that recent weeks, I thought.
    Thanks Dada and Senf for the work on our behalf throughout the year.

  7. Tough but fair Dada with lots to enjoy on this sunny but chilly day up here. Much preferable to having storm Bella passing through though, commiserations to you down south.
    More humour than usual I thought with the LOL 15a ( or in Brian’s case GOL) my COTD.
    21d close second with the illustration causing me to wonder if anyone still uses the “real thing” big safety pins and all these days.
    Thanks to Dada for a year of Sunday pleasure and Senf for a year of Manitoban news reports with welcome hints appended.

    1. Its been torrential down here, LROK. The allotment is flooded, but the broad beans have germinated.
      Snow tomorrow apparently.

  8. 15a, 23a, and 17d all good clues by my standard. A ***/*** for me. The obtuseness of some of the clues lost it a point. Happy New Year to Senf and Jay for their efforts over the last year.

    Disappointed that my post yesterday seems to have been removed. Why?

  9. The north flew in with barely pause for thought but predictably there was bite in the south. It’s currently a DNF as am unable to figure out 22d (no hint) & after reading the review realise I had the incorrect 4th & 6th letters in 21d so it was a bit like a 400m runner who blew up after going too fast early doors. Agree with RD that 14d should surely have been 5,5 & also with Brian that 6a was a wee bit iffy. 15a was the clear pick for me but also liked 19d & 27a.
    Thanks to Dada for keeping us entertained each Sunday throughout the year & he who gallops for explaining it all.

    1. Actually, I didn’t think 6a was iffy. The BRB confirms that the three letter word does mean brute. Well, it actually says lout but is that not the same?

      I hope I don’t find myself eating stale Christmas cake now!

      1. Not so sure loutish behaviour is especially brutal Steve so a bit tenuous for me but, unlike Brian, certainly wouldn’t label it a poor clue.

  10. Had a bit of trouble with my waste collectors as the checkers I had in place suggested a different 4-letter ending. Sorted that one when 24a began to look somewhat unlikely and no further problems emerged elsewhere.
    Top three here were 23a along with 8&14d.

    Thanks to Dada who could definitely have filed that one with his Toughies and thanks to Senf for today’s hints and all his efforts on our behalf throughout 2020.

    1. Snap re the waste collectors Jane. They were always called something else in our house when I grew up. The name sounds posher but am led to believe the gentry would never call them that.

  11. Quite a gentle stroll, with just a little bit of uphill towards the end. All over in *** time, with 19d taking the last place, took me ages to parse that one!

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. 15a and 21d take my top spot today in this pleasantly tricky but ultimately rewarding puzzle. A terrific way to finish off the year’s Sunday crosswords.

    Many thanks to Dada for this and all his weekend offerings this year and to the Cantering Canadian. Happy New Year to you both.

  13. 15a was my favourite clue, although I do have lots of other ticks. 24a was a bung-in, but I still don’t understand the clue. Maybe my brain just hasn’t quite recovered from Christmas yet. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  14. Can anyone please help me unpack the Quickie Pun? I’ve got the right answer but can’t get it to scan.

    1. To which Quickie are you referring, Jonathan? The Sunday Quickie does not have a pun. If you mean the one accompanying DT 29556, it is an African country.

      1. I can’t even find a quickie crossword in the paper today. There is one, usually. Oh well, never mind.

        1. To be honest, Kath I didn’t find it either. I never do the Sunday quickie simply because it doesn’t have a pun. However, I usually see it but can’t say I did today.

          On the subject of the Quickie pun, when did everyone realise there WAS a pun? For years I could not understand why the first clues were in italics. One day, about ten years ago, I twigged. I was so thrilled that I told my friends all about this “secret”.

          They all looked at me as if I had lost my marbles. They all knew about the pun.

          Thanks for telling me, guys!

  15. A lovely day here and a lovely puzzle to go with it. Slow but steady solve with27a last in – obvious really! Enjoyed 21 and 23a. I also spent some time looking for completly different waste collectors. My dose of food poisoning has still prevented me from cooking our Christmas lunch so I guess my lovely rolled sirloin will have to be frozen probably in 3 separate pieces as it is much bigger than I expected and cost 72 pounds! Hey ho

    1. Oh poor you! Such a shame as a big piece of beef always roasts better than smaller ones. Sad for the rest of the household too – have they been on baked beans? Lively here in Cambridge too so went for a walk round the village this morning – poor little knees tired now!

  16. Dada never 1a s.
    Although I didn’t know that a desirable thing was what it was in 20a,,the answer was quite obvious.
    Same with the turner in 10a.
    Liked the kitchen device in 3d and the dancing in 15a.
    Thanks to Dada for a great year of Sunday puzzles and to Senf for all the hints.

  17. Ah, thank you Steve. That’s a relief! I hadn’t realised that Sunday doesn’t have a Quickie Pun. I don’t usually do it.

  18. I echo most of what has been said, including the thanks and good wishes of course. My nemesis is 11d because I want the four letter word to be one that is already in the clue, so it cannot be right? I have to say 21d made me laugh as I never thought of them like that, although of course that is essentially what they are. The last Sunday of 2020 thank goodness.

  19. Definitely a tougher (quirkier than normal?) puzzle from Dada for this last Sunday of 2020.
    Rate this as 2.5*/**** and SE was last area to complete with 11d last in. Not sure why that one was so hard for me to see as it had to be what it was.
    Some clever and smile worthy clues today include 1a, 15a, 2d, 21d & 22d with 21d the winner!

    Thanks to Dada and Senf
    Hoping 2021 is a much nicer year than this one has been

  20. I sailed through yesterdays puzzle this a.m. but struggled this afternoon with Dada. I needed quite a few hints and alternative endings caught me out a couple of times too (21d for example)
    28a was a local clue that helped open the SW but I agree with those who think this was approaching Dada’s toughie spectrum.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada I think I need a rest to let brain cells recover from overindulgence or I could fry them completely with a glance above the fold at the E.V.

  21. :phew: that was difficult.
    It’s taken me ages and I loved it – partly because it’s kept me occupied for so long but mainly because there was something to laugh at.
    My last two answers were 11 and 19d – just couldn’t see either of them.
    I liked 6, 16 and 23a and 21d. The ones that made me laugh were 15a and 17d so one of those is my favourite.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Really cold in Oxford and snow forecast tomorrow – have spent the day playing put and take with logs.

  22. I thought that this was going to be a R and W after writing in all the answers to the top half. The bottom half was a different kettle of fish and had to tease out he answers. Needed the hint for 21d and therefore its my worst clue and still cannot parse 24a across. I get the synonym and the last letter but what “the numbers drop away” mean I have no idea. Thanks to all

    1. Bob, you have no idea how close you are to the answer to 24a with your comment…get that tea-tray ready!!

        1. Still doing it, I have solved 25a, but the parsing has wooshed over my head…yesterday’s prize was brilliant.

        2. I’m still staring at 25a, as well as 12a, 21a, and 18d. (I think there’s some Princely notoriety involved in 25a…the Falklands and all that…am I right?)

              1. Well done on completing the (non) Prize – I’m still a few short. Agree that theme is very clever

  23. I’m with BobH, at first I doubted it was a Dada puzzle. North was solved rapidly, then SE was a struggle, 21d was wrong and a bung in but the letters were the same, no wonder it made no sense. Finally I came to a halt with 14d unsolved, 19d a bung in which turned out to be right, and 22d wrong with the incorrect third letter, of course, it made no sense.
    All in all quite pleased with myself that I solved so much of a Dada offering. I’m torn for fave, 1a, 23a or 8d.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for helping me to tie up the loose ends. I believe we should start to warm up tomorrow, thank goodness.

  24. I’m in the north was relatively straightforward but south was more of a struggle. Thanks to Dada for a year of testing but enjoyable puzzles and Senf for the hints.

  25. Threw in the towel last night but grey matter gradually getting back to normal so managed to finish this morning after seeking a little help in the SW. Favs were 15a and 23a once I had quit trying to parse another opening. Thank you Dada and Senf and Season’s Greetings to you both.

  26. Late getting round to this but rattled this off in good time. Must be getting into Dada’s mindset. Favorite 15a.

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