ST 3089 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3089 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3089 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where yesterday our temperature reached the giddy heights of zero degrees (that’s 32 degrees to my Southern neighbours).

Keep staying safe everyone. 

After last week’s ‘Sunday Toughie,’ this week I hope Dada is benevolently showing us how he intends to carry on at the start of this new decade with some oldies but goodies and one very recent repeat.  I counted six anagrams (three partials), one lurker (not hinted by me but it’s 25a), and one (partial) homophone – 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 – 14a, 18a, 3d, and 8d.

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 Jump on this passenger vehicle: European tours popular (10)
A type of (railed) passenger vehicle, and Cruciverbalists’ favourite European containing (tours) a two letter synonym of popular.

6a Order another sherry: brandy overpriced initially (4)
The first letters (initially) of four words in the clue give the abbreviated form of a civil order – introduced by Prime Minister Blair in 1998 but repealed, in England and Wales (at least), in 2014.

10a Joint that goes to a bishop’s head! (5)
A double definition – the first is used in woodworking.

14a Thrashing received, might this selection be preferred in volleyball team? (3,2,3,4)
Another double definition(?) – the second relates to the size of a volleyball team, or, probably, the number of players on the court at any one time.

18a A curry in pie, a Greek dish (12)
The first A from the clue and a type of curry all inserted into (in) a type of pie, followed by the second A from the clue.

23a Talk about an obsequious character! (7)
A synonym of talk (perhaps as used by a sales person) containing (about) AN from the clue – and, yes, it does sound like a dog.

24a Stew: tiny bit unfinished — that’s a problem (3,6)
A (3,3) type of stew, typically from North of the Watford Gap, and the scientific tiny bit with the last letter removed (unfinished).

27a Scenarist wary about getting into trouble (10)
An anagram (about) of WARY inserted (getting) into a synonym of trouble.


1d Weary about doctor’s tone (6)
A verbal synonym of weary containing (about) one of the two letter abbreviations for a doctor.

3d More tiny fragments in elixir — so fluid? (6,2,6)
An anagram (fragments) of MORE TINY contained by (in) a synonym of elixir.

5d Bay in European resort containing harbour, originally (5)
A European (Mediterranean) resort containing the first letter (originally) of Harbour.

8d Breakfast landlord neither starts nor finishes? (8)
A (4,6) term for a type of landlord(?) with the first and last letters removed (neither starts nor finishes).

9d Character stole awfully large car (7,7)
An anagram (awfully) of CHARACTER STOLE is a slang term for a large car.


17d Approved accessing Scottish peak in lift (8)
A synonym of approved inserted into (accessing) the three letter term that is part of the name for all Scottish peaks.

19d Family into great outdoor activity (6)
A three letter synonym of family inserted into a synonym of great.

22d Use a mask, did you say? (5)
A from the clue and a homophone (did you say) of a type of mask.

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.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

Today is the 112th anniversary of Victor Borge’s birth.  Here is one of his ‘nonsense’ performances, I have always thought that he had to be a very good pianist to be able to play the way he did:

110 comments on “ST 3089 (Hints)

  1. What a fantastic crossword . I was very pleased to finish in a reasonable time and had lots of satisfaction in the journey through so many fine clues . So many favourites.
    Well done Dada and , of course , to Senf .

  2. Dada in good form today with a most enjoyable puzzle. There were many good clues such as 18a and 9d but my COTD is 8d because the answer was a very slow drop of the proverbial penny.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for the hints, which I will now read.

  3. A really enjoyable and nicely challenging Dada puzzle with the usual feast of wily clues. I was slow to get into this, probably due to having slept more heavily than usual (3*/4.5*). My personal favourites were 23a, 24, 27a, 3d and 8d, spoilt for choice as usual on Sundays. Thanks to Senf for the review and to Dada for a great start to the Year.

  4. I suspect that this is Dada at his most brilliant (at least that I have seen of him), but 14a happens to be an expression completely foreign to American ears (at least this Charlestonian’s), and I had to seek electronic help to answer it. Otherwise, Senf’s favourite choices are mine too: 3d, 8d, & 18a. Really good stuff. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to the wizard Dada for this sparkling New Year’s treat. **** / *****

    1. I wish 14a had been foreign to my English backside – the cane was administered for minor infractions though rarely if I recall did you actually get six strokes.

      1. It was the huge embarrassment that was the worst. Being called out to bend down in front of the whole form while the master whacked your backside was more humiliating than painful. :oops:

        1. As a fairly new teacher in a boys only secondary school, which used cirporal punishment, I was not allowed to cane the boys ( not that I had any intention of doing so). However, i was asked on a few occasions to witness a caning and sign the ‘punishment book’. I vividly remember a boy being given the full punishment with 180 degree swing of the arm—– for sneezing more than once whilst lining up. Corporal punishment was abandoned not long afterwards.

          1. For sneezing? That’s a bit harsh. The worst ones were the teachers who chose to cane across the hand. If it caught the thumb it really hurt so you had to make sure it was tucked away.

            A good thing corporal punishment was abandoned.

            1. Amen to that. This sneezy lad got 6 really hard strokes on the bottom. The tears dripping off his nose made a pool on the floor as he was bent over. I did complain to my head of faculty.

            2. Ours was always across the hand with a 1/2in diameter hard wood rod. If the head though that your forearm was dropping as the blow struck it would be repeated with extra determination.
              At least with us you had to do something pretty bad. We were a mixed school and CP was only applied to the boys so there was some enlightenment even in the early 50’s. Of course the girls were too demure to get up to the things we did (tongue removed from cheek)

      2. I only knew it because my brother went to boarding school and came home with the CP tales.

        1. I had the gym shoe, can’t remember what I did to deserve it, but I probably did.

    2. Robert
      I am glad that Dada has restored the sparkle to the that the Buckeyes must have taken away.
      Interesting to see if they can do the same to the Crimson Tide.
      Thought the tactic of trying to take the QB out of the game a cheap shot unworthy of the Champion team the Tigers are. Yes I know they all do it.

      1. I’ve seldom seen Clemson look so ragged on defense–and that second ‘Targeting’ foul in two games is just downright shameful. Amidst the wreckage of a once-proud team, though, our quarterback Lawrence looked heroic and remained a gentleman in the interviews that followed. Some things really matter. I do hope that the Buckeyes can roll back that Crimson Tide. Hope you’re doing all right, LROK, and my best to Biggles.

    1. Always the best option at hotels where there’s a big buffet style breakfast & someone there to make you one up from scratch.

      1. My main gripe with hotel buffet style breakfasts is that the sausages are never cooked properly. It seems to be the trend that if it has a light brown stripe down one side, it is cooked.

      2. One of my endearing memories of a hotel breakfast buffet was while on a business trip to Chengdu in China. The self-service toaster was one of the ‘conveyor’ types and it was set up in such a way that the result was ‘warm bread.’ So I tweaked it and tried again. When the ever present staff member saw that I now had ‘real’ toast he was horrified and seemed to be asking me if that is what I wanted. Of course, as best I could I communicated that it was exactly what I wanted. Happy days!

        1. The chinese do not think burnt food is healthy. You were lucky to find bread – they put sugar instead of salt in their bread so it is more like cake :)

      3. Absolutely, they were the daily delight when we visited the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, I can see, and taste one now! Went there over 6 years & always the same guy, he got them spot on every time.

  5. A real belter from Dada today. Certainly not difficult (or too cryptic as someone said yesterday) but a real pleasure throughout. Contenders for a podium spot could easily number double figures. I liked 11a for the unusual anagram indicator that also served to aid the surface, 3d was a beauty but I’ll agree with Steve that 8d deserves the top spot & I’m minded to make one for brunch.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf.

  6. Amazing clues this morning. 8d steals the show. **/**** My brother was on the receiving end of 14a three times in his first term at secondary school. Girls were generally spared this indignity. My younger son has a variety of 23a and she is anything but obsequious so this one baffled me a bit although the answer had to be. Very entertaining. Thanks to all.

  7. Definitely a tricky one today but a nice challenge for a Sunday morning.
    Got stuck on quite a few and last in were 23a/20d.
    Favourite was definitely 8d.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf!
    Wishing you all a lovely Sunday!

  8. Dada is such a prolific and excellent setter. According to the Guardian blog, he should pass the 900 crosswords mark sometimes soon.
    Never disappointing, a bit like 3d.
    Learned a new meaning in 23a and had to check the Curragh in 26a.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints.

  9. So challenging, thoroughly enjoyable.
    Took me an age, though, to complete, say, **** time.
    Last in, to my shame, lingered so long, 3d.
    Many thanks, Dada, and Senf for the nicely illustrated review.

  10. Easier than yesterdays puzzle for me but still tricky. The top went in nicely but the bottom left was a struggle and 17d did not impress me with its stretched synonym. Seldom really enjoy DADA puzzles, they are just too tricksy for my liking but always satisfying to complete.
    Thx to all
    PS On the old subject on which clues to hint in the Prize puzzles, I get that they have to be very selective but it would be nice if the hints did not leave an entire section unhinted which is usually the case.

    1. I’m left with 17D still eluding me. I’ll have another try before I look to see if there’s a hint for it. Otherwise I thought it was a beautiful and brilliant puzzle. I’ve taken two sittings to do it so I didn’t find it easy but very satisfying with so many wonderful clues.

      1. I have to admit that the answer to 17d surprised me somewhat. It took me a while to see why the answer was what it was.

        1. Surprised is a good word. I only got it because of the Scottish peak and checking letters.

    2. Well Brian, it looks as though you have used up one of your ‘advance’ New Year apologies! Do you have an unlimited supply of them?
      Just for you, I tried to be very selective on which clues to hint today and I consider I was just about as fair as I could be. I hinted the two 14 letter and two 12 letter clues – 26 checkers in total. And, if you consider the overall distribution of checkers from hinted clues rather than the distribution of hints you will see that all four quadrants are well ‘catered’ for.
      Other than providing a hint for every clue, which I cannot do on a Sunday, I don’t know what would satisfy you!

      1. The problem Senf is that many of us can manage 75% to 85% of the clues from the wordplay and any checkers we have in place. But unfortunately each of us will have a different 75% we cannot solve without help of some sort.

        You have previously said something about the difficulty of some clues and how you balance what you hint. But you can solve the clues and we can’t and you can’t possibly know why so any attempt you make to be fair will please some and not others. As Brian has often remarked, and I have said a silent hear hear, you haven’t hinted one of the ones we couldn’t solve.

        I am afraid you just can’t win.

      2. You gotta laugh.
        The thing is I’ve a sneaking suspicion Brian rarely needs the hints other than to clarify the parsing maybe.

    3. I’m fine with anything Senf does as he is galloping along
      Perhaps a suggestion as he hints about half: hint every other clue, with clues 1, 3, 5 one week and 2,4, 6 the second. This would be both “random” yet have an even grid distribution.
      Of course if his memory is like mine he would do the odds on consecutive weeks.

  11. Very challenging for me, but persistence saw me through. I found that once I solved the ‘big’ clues, then, naturally, the rest tootled along. 14a brought back unwelcome memories of sadistic priests but I suppose I can’t blame Dada for that!

    H continues to make good progress. She still has bouts of ouchiness but they are fewer and it is becoming a challenge to try and stop her ‘helping’ (taking over) household tasks.
    The vet’s suggestion of a switch of diet has helped and Lola ate some tuna with much gusto. She is still very quiet and her poor nose looks very raw. We are continuing to pamper her (nothing new there) and, in the next couple of days, will decide whether a return to the vet is necessary.

    Today’s soundtrack: Motown Chartbusters Volume 3.
    (*Huntsman – all played via streaming {Spotify}. I have way too many vinyl albums, and CDs, but haven’t bought any for about ten years as I really prefer the simplicity and convenience of streaming)

    Thanks to Dada and the gaucho – Senf.

    1. I have a very elderly vinyl LP of that album. It was my favourite of all the Motoemwn Chartbusters.

      1. The only vinyl LP I have left is “Songs in the Key of Life” by Stevie Wonder. I bought it when our daughter was born because it has “Isn’t She Lovely” on it. It is in its original sleeve and has the booklet and bonus LP with it.

          1. It is. I played it a couple of times then put it away. Mrs. C and I now rely on the occasional playing of the song on the radio to remind us of that special day. I see the double LP together with the booklet in good condition can command a price of about £60 but we would never sell it. It has too many lovely memories.

    2. We did have quite a lot of vinyl, and made up tapes, but it has mostly been nicked by our offspring. Apparently it is still cheaper to come to our “shop” than to go to one of those cool market stalls…..
      Stevie Wonder seems to appeal to all generations, as does the Who, Prince and Santana, although the tiny genius is less popular with my OH, whose taste is sometimes lacking.

    3. I’m pretty much the same now Terence. Having treated myself to an expensive Linn streamer the ease & convenience means I rarely play anything else. Tidal is far superior quality but Spotify the more user friendly though I wish they’d get round to launching a premium quality lossless product. I’ve decided that my daily exercise (aka fairly sedate meander round Harpenden’s walks) will be to two albums selected alphabetically. Starting at A today’s were Jethro Tull’s Aqualung & Argus by Wishbone Ash & the walk just about lasted a listen to both twice.
      Pleased to hear the ladies are in your life are on the up – unlike your football team.

  12. 3*/4.5*. I found parts of this quite tricky but it was a most enjoyable challenge.

    I didn’t know the obsequious character in 23a, and it took quite a while both to parse 24a and to twig the cup of tea in 25a.

    Podium places today go to 24a, 25a, 26a and, my favourite, 8d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I still don’t get the cup of tea whatsit … forget it, just twigged. It’s what BusyLizzie says from time to time!

  13. Not an easy solve *** but very enjoyable especially when suddenly realising the meaning behind the words. 8 and 9d both very pleasing. Thank you to Senf for some helpful hints and to Dada for a good brain workout.

  14. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle completed before a very pleasant walk in the cold, Shropshire air. 8d steals the show for me, but there were so many great clues from which to choose. 23 and 25a were awkward for a while, and, bizarrely with all the checkers in place, 14a was my final entry. Dada at his best.

    Thanks to him and also to Senf.

  15. This wasn’t really my 25a. North milder than the South. 3d almost too clever by half. Wonder if 23a is a “character”. Fav was 8d. Thank you Dada and Senf.

      1. OK I will go along with that which you and the BRB say but I have yet to hear a non-aggressive human being referred to as being [redacted as it included the answer].

          1. OK Jane, I sort of stand corrected but, if you are thinking of instances like Helena to Demetrius in “A Midumer’s Night Dream” – “The more you beat me, I will fawn on you, use me but as your …….” then I don’t think that directly describes her character. I nearly rest my case!

  16. I got this finished in ***/**** time, after a slow start. 20d isn’t hinted, and I’m not sure my answer is correct.
    Other than that, I thought it a very fair Sunday offering.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

      1. Just noticed, Senf that you raised the old controversy about when a decade actually starts! :grin:

      2. I am also stuck on this one! I have an answer but I wouldn’t have said one of the meanings was neglect.

  17. Rather relieved to see that RD found bits of this one tricky, I certainly did – particularly in the lower reaches. Mr G informs me that Shakespeare had a penchant for using that interpretation of 23a, my own experience of the breed is rather more in line with what Greta describes.
    Impossible to pick a favourite from so many goodies but I thought it vey clever of our setter to arrive at a two word description of 3d.

    Thanks to Dada for the tussle and to Senf for the hints. Lovely clip of the inimitable Victor Borge, he must indeed have been an extremely talented musician.

  18. I thought that was a tricky little lighter, but I was not helped by bunging in a couple of mistakes. 1d and 19d were different for a while.
    I did like 26a when the pingin dropped and 9d was a nice anagram, though thankfully usually used for better reasons than ferrying children to posh schools, around these parts. Parents should be given 14a for blocking schools with their 9d’s.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada I needed quite a few hints today.

    1. I agree with you about 9d, John. My one is a utility vehicle that can cross muddy fields and go anywhere. I never clean it because there is no point as I would be travelling muddy tracks immediately after. It has never let me down. Even in deep, muddy ruts, it fights its way out. I never understood why those who live in such places as XXXXXXX would need one.

        1. Hold your horses.
          Have the naughty stair rules changed for 2021?
          Are the thought police on holiday?
          Have reviewers got immunity from prosecution?
          Puzzled of Dornoch

            1. I do not see that you have violated Big Dave’s second Commandment,
              There is someone however who appears as guilty as Biggles stood next to a pile of poo, to use a famous quote.

          1. I was thinking my inner numismatist use of the Irish penny might have been a hint too far but other Norty Boys went further!

  19. This was a pleasantly straightforward solve. Only needed the hints for 8d….d’uh…..and 17d, I knew what a Scottish peak was, but couldn’t be bothered to seek the synonym answer.
    Thanks to our blogger and benevolent (today) setter.
    Happy New Year to them and everyone at BD Incorporated.

  20. Brilliant start to the Dada year. Like others there was a North South divide with 2 in the South when the North was completed.
    Trundled through the South with much staring into space for inspiration.
    14a my COTD: reminded me of school when they were administered before first period on Friday and we miscreants had to queue outside the head’s study whilst the school filed past with much smirking and pointing knowing what was to come. It certainly “woke” you up to your responsibilities.
    Thanks Dada and Senf I look forward to a year’s entertainment from you both and know I won’t be disappointed.

  21. I nearly gave up on this as I could not get going. However after a while I started to get into the setters style and slowly it came together.

    Probably one of the most difficult Sunday Prize crosswords I have seen in a while, but I did finally manage without too much digital assistance.

    COTDs for me were 9d and 17d which eluded me until the end and took a lot of head scratching. I have never come across the alternative meaning in 23a but several dictionaries concur that the answer matches the clue so that’s something new learned!

    Thanks Dada for a good workout on a Tier 4 lockdown Sunday and to Senf for explaining the more difficult clues so concisely!

  22. Congratulations to all who found this straight forward. I certainly didn’t, disappointingly, as I thought I was getting a grip on Dada’s puzzles. At first pass I only got 6a. I did eventually finish, but only after succumbing to help. I still don’t understand 13a and 25a, although I did bung them in. I had 8d early on, but was reluctant to pen in as we don’t have that as a breakfast food in our house. 13a was last in. Thanks to Dada for the Grey cell work out and to Senf. Hoping for something I can actually due sans hints or help tomorrow.

  23. Great stuff dada and senf with 24a as my favourite (but 6a a little unfair for international readers?)

    1. But it is an English Crossword in an English newspaper. I love it that we have so many solvers in other countries, including those for whom English is not the first language and I admire their skill. However it is inevitable that there will be words and phrases not internationally known but which most of our overseas friends seem to decipher.

      1. I knew the term and we set sail across the pond in 1982, before it was invented. I’ve seen it numerous times in British news reports and police series. In fact it was my first answer.

  24. Just to say thanks Senf for the Victor Borge clip which I have seen so many times but it never ceases to amuse. He was so funny and so talented. RIP. 🎹 💐.

  25. Dads certainly benevolent today. There was not even that infuriating situation when solving time doubles when finding the answer to one or two recalcitrant clues. Like John Bee I nearly inserted two wrong words at 1 and 19d each with one wrong letter. Favourites 1 14 and 27a and 3 and 15d. Thanks Dada and Senf. Did not need the hints but always like to read. It must be as difficult to choose which ones to hint as it is to choose favourites. One man’s meat etc.

  26. A mid-level puzzle from Dada today with a touch of his quirkiness showing through today. **/**** Some clever clueing that required some head scratching to work out the train of thought. These include 13a, 14a, 23a, 3d & 22d with my favourite being 13a with 22d a close second for its simplicity.

    REALLY nice to see that as Senf noted in his comments, (as I have tried to explain to so many people), understands that 2021 is the start of a new decade and that 2020 was NOT the start of a new decade.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints

    1. Using scoring of centuries in cricket for illustration purposes. What number indicates that a batsman has scored his first century, and what number indicates that he has scored the first run of his second century? QED (or something like that).

  27. I’m afraid I didn’t find this one benevolent in any way. Needed a lot of electronic help plus some of Senf’s excellent hints.
    So, not much enjoyment for me today…just not on the wavelength I guess.

    Thanks to Senf and to Dada.

  28. All I can say is well done to anyone who found this anything other than really tricky.
    I started off well and got the first few across answers quickly then it went from bad to worse – not the crossword, which I really enjoyed but my ability to get anywhere with it.
    My first ‘go’ at 4d was wrong which didn’t help anything – I had a noun rather than the adjective which is the kind of thing that always happens when I don’t write all the letters down.
    I don’t think that I’ve ever met 23a with today’s meaning – or I’ve forgotten which is, of course, always possible!!
    I ended up being completely bogged down at the bottom.
    Oh well – never mind – it’s kept me occupied for a very long time, which is fine.
    I particularly appreciated 11a (for the unusual anagram indicator) and 27a and 3 and 8d (can’t imagine 8d for breakfast – has to be toast and marmalade). I think my favourite was probably 15d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  29. Sorry. Kath – I didn’t find it so bad! I always have to have pen and paper to hand and am one of those people who writes anagram words in a circle. Its just the way I am. Late on parade today, as they say, because DD2 called in with her two schnautzers. She shouldn’t have come, but she’d brought several freezer meals for us so it would have been rude to send her away. I really enjoyed this, sparkling clues – 13a was brilliant, and 18a and 8d – too many to mention. I did worry about 25a, I saw it was a lurker but did not get the connection with a cup of tea. Anyway, thanks to Senf and to Dada for working the old grey cells.

  30. I thought this was pretty tricky, harder than last Sunday’s ‘toughie’, certainly.
    The top half was fine, but the bottom took some serious brain power.
    16d held me up for too long, but once that fell, the rest all fitted together.
    Brilliantly clued, thanks Dada and Senf.

  31. Finished…eventually…must have lost too many brain cells last night from over-sampling my Christmas drams! Needed Senf’s tip to understand the answer 23A…had never heard of that term relating to obsequious. Well, we live and learn…every day’s a school day!
    Thanks to Dada for a tricky, but entirely solvable puzzle, and of course to Senf for the hints! Cheers.

  32. I’m in the very tricky camp, but I did get 1a right away which I considered good guzu. The NW was no problem, and I gradually worked my way down. We’ve had 9d before and I think with the same pic, so I managed to dig it up from the recesses of my brain with the help of the anagram letters.
    I have to google 26a, I don’t understand it at all. Fave is 11a, with 15d hot on its heels.
    Thanks to Dada for the workout, needing copious e-help, and to Senf for the unravelling of several answers.

  33. 3*/4*…..
    liked 10A “joint that goes to a bishop’s head! (5)”
    a tad miffed by 23A, but it is in the BRB.

  34. Thanks to the setter and explainer -but I have been trying to do these crosswords for well over 60 years, and I remember when you could take a clue and after 20 minutes work you could find the answer. Now, if you have a few letters you can see what the answer is and it takes 20 minutes to work out why. 24A is a good example. I prefer it the way it used to be. I have always had a theory that a fair clue is one that, even if you can’t get it immediately, you can see you should have got it. Now we ger experts arguing why the answer is what it is. End of grumpy old man rant.

    1. That is a generalisation. In part this could be due to you having more experience and being able to fill in an answer with a few checkers or just the first letter. Odd ones are difficult to parse if the setter is using a different tactic or leads you down a wrong path. I am writing this just having done Monday’s which may be more to your taste – very easy to get the answer and parse it but none the less clever for that.

  35. Late on parade with my comment today. I find that I am too tired to post in my time zone when BD comes out. As mentioned previously, I do get a good head start though. Excellent offering from Dada and thanks for the extras Senf. Off point but thanks Senf for pointing out that the new decade stated this year. It really annoys me when people and the media in particular think that the new decade, century and millennium started with a year ending in zero. I guess we can thank Prince for that. Don’t get me started but I think the editors who miss this mistake should be taken out and given [redacted as it included the answer] till they get it right! Oh, and thanks BD for the Billy Bunter picture. Excellent stuff!

  36. Finally, would you mind if I post this? I had family in Liverpool and used the Mersey ferry as a kid. This song always brings it back to me.

    RIP Gerry Marsden.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Steve. Though widely known for ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ was his song 🎶

  37. The challenge with general knowledge is that very little of it is truly general. We did Julius Caesar and Henry IV for O level and no small dogs in there as far as I remember. I have never heard that word used to refer to any person. I shoved it in when I had all the possible letters and crossed my fingers that it was correct.

    My dad often knew Dickens related clues but I have only read some of his books and remember few details. Similarly with films, music (all varieties), art, theatre, etc. If your ‘general’ knowledge matches the setter’s then great but please remember that there will be many who are in ignorance. Unless there is a master list of knowledge required for DT crosswords of which I am unaware?

    Meanwhile, I managed to finish this crossword this morning (PST) but it was not easy. Oh well, still learning!

  38. That was a struggle and I put it down for a few days before picking up today and finishing all but three (23a, 27a and 17d) for which I needed Senf’s help. I enjoyed everyone’s comments – thank you, all.

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