ST 3090 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3090 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3090 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where after 8 weeks of Covid Code Red/Circuit Breaker/Lockdown, or whatever the hell it’s called, we are faced with at least another 2 weeks of the same.  The reason is the number of Covid cases arising from the knuckleheads who met up for illicit get togethers over Christmas – quelle surprise!

Keep staying safe everyone. 

For me, I found Dada to be as benevolent as last Sunday although there were a couple of Hmms and there are a couple of ‘sports linked’ clues to annoy some solvers.  I counted five anagrams (three partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and two homophones (one partial)- all in a symmetric 32 clues, with 18 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 21a, 8d, and 19d.

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:

Across

1a Author composes clause, looking tired (5,7)
A type of clause that might be added to a contract and a word for looking tired.

10a Western character banking gold somewhere in Canada (7)
A fictional Western character, who was the ‘sidekick’ of another fictional Western character, containing (banking) heraldic gold – I didn’t really want to provide a hint for this clue but considered that I had to to ensure an equitable distribution of hints.

11a Meat in paella evidently rejected (4)
The reverse lurker (in . . . rejected) found in two words in the clue.

13a Famous person, prowler (4)
A double definition – the second is a large feline as illustrated below.

17a One gathering hard pebbles (7)
A crickety one containing (gathering) the letter used for hard.

21a Bad sign cutting into beef, don’t be upset (4,3)
A word for a bad sign inserted (cutting) into a synonym(?) of beef.

25a Stocked by bodegas, Tibetan wine (4)
The lurker (stocked by) found in two words of the clue.

28a Capital seen by pilot flying around Rhode Island (7)
An anagram (seen by . . . flying) of PILOT containing (around) the abbreviated form of Rhode Island.

30a I fear terror suspect stashing grenades primarily in kitchen appliance (12)
An anagram (suspect) of I FEEL TERROR containing (stashing) the first letter (primarily) of Grenades.

Down

1d Owner of whistle has come down for chorus (7)
The abbreviated form of an owner of (a) whistle and what has come down as a form of precipitation.

3d Ancillary priest captivated by loud speech (7)
Cruciverbalists’ favourite OT priest inserted into (captivated by) a term for loud speech – Hmm, if anyone can explain the relationship between the definition and the answer without being sent to the naughty step, please do.

6d Published piece in position (7)
A three letter synonym for published and a piece from RD’s favourite game.

7d Poisonous substance: it’s irrelevant, surprisingly (6,7)
An anagram (surprisingly of IT’S IRRELEVANT – having had this substance ‘used’ on me in a medical procedure I was somewhat surprised to find out that it is poisonous.

8d Reportedly hang on under bar for balance (13)
A homophone (reportedly) of hang on (when on the phone?) placed after (under) a type of bar (that items are served at) – the other homophone not hinted by me is 26d.

15d Easy shot: one millimetre to go in say, after rolling up (5)
Often found in golf – the letter used for one and the abbreviated form of millimetre all inserted into (to go in) the abbreviated form of the Latin equivalent of say reversed (rolling up).

19d Cross, father swallows key (7)
A synonym of father contains (swallows) one of the keys on a computer keyboard.

21d Mistake, something clashing? (7)
A double definition(?) – the second could be associated with a ringing sound.

27d Dry in physical, having wiped foot (4)
A six letter synonym of physical with the last two letters removed (having wiped foot) – I think.


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This week’s selection was prompted by Steve Cowling’s comment on Stevie Wonder last Sunday.  From the 1984 film ‘The Woman in Red’, it won Stevie Wonder an Oscar and a Golden Globe.  Also, it is Stevie Wonder’s only solo UK number one hit.  The video of scenes from the film includes the ‘copy’ of the Marilyn Monroe ‘White Dress’ scene in ‘The Seven Year Itch’:

149 comments on “ST 3090 (Hints)
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  1. Afraid to say I’m inclined to agree with Yvonne as this one really didn’t do it for me & that’s not just because it was a DNF. 27d held out & although what I think is the answer did occur to me I left it blank as I couldn’t justify it from the wordplay. I also hadn’t heard of 13a in the context of fame & celebrity before. Nothing stood out really though if pressed I’d second 2 of Senf’s picks at 8d & 21a. For any less than enamoured with this yesterday’s NTSPP was much more fun.
    Sorry Dada but thanks anyway & to Senf.
    Today’s H albums – Hunky Dory (Bowie) & Harvest (Neil Young).

      1. You’ve changed your alias (Frank the ref) to your full name

        I agree with you on this one. However, I won’t be rescuing your second comment from moderation as you are giving too much away – as BD always used to say, if you are saying ‘think of’ then you are definitely straying into alternative hint/clue territory

      2. Well, it just shows how educational crosswords can be as I had never considered the five letter synonym as an adjective. So much so, that I did not consider checking the BRB when I was doing the hints.

  2. Ancillary – helpful or giving support to something else

    If you had an ancillary you may be dependant on their help and therefore _______ upon them

    or am I overthinking this

    1. Hmm…

      You could equally well not be _______ on an ancillary worker.

      However, you can find ancillary as a synonym for ________ in a thesaurus, but that doesn’t make it right!

  3. That was rather mild. I’m sure we’ve had the answer to 15d fairly recently, and it caused some debate then. Thanks to the setter and to Senf. The pic in 3d brought back fond memories. My older brother had a bright orange one when he was a student.

  4. Sorry, but I made really heavy weather of this one and didn’t enjoy it much, as I felt it wasn’t up to Dada’s usual high standard (4*/2.5*). Despite the hints, I’m still not sure of the answer to 15a, it seems a bit bizarre. However, its reassuring to read Senf’s hints to the equally bizarre 3d and to 6d. Ia and 8d were the redeeming feature of the puzzle. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  5. 3*/3.5*. Apart from the dubious definition for 3d, I thought that for 7d was rather strange. It is a poisonous substance but it seems a very odd way to describe it. Perhaps the surface reading says it all. :unsure:

    If this was not a prize puzzle, I’d like to post a video of one of my favourite songs to illustrate 15d but I’m not as clever as Mr K in being able to make the title unreadable.

    21a was probably my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  6. I found this heavy going in places, which others have already mentioned. ****/** I didn’t feel overly confident about a couple of answers, 15 and 27d. I can’t offer a better explanation for 3d either. The best clue is 21a. It left me with a sense of disappointment rather than enjoyment but thanks to all.

  7. Super puzzle, lots of excellent clues esp my fav 12a which was brilliant. Everything that yesterdays was not, enjoyable, clever and well clued, at least in my opinion anyway. Having said that I have a few queries:
    13a what famous person?, 3d cannot find this definition either way round in the BRB although the wordplay works, 14d what author?, 4d why natural?, and 27a the synonym of the long word just doesn’t seem to work.
    Will await the full explanations in due time with interest.
    Thx to all
    ***/****

    1. Your queries make the old football comment come to mind. Hughes had a great game ; pity he was sent off after five minutes play.

      1. Very good! I know it sounded as if I was criticising but I was just saying that although the wordplay worked I was ignorant of the part of the clue that appears to be the definition. I am confident that it reflects a lack of knowledge on my part rather than a criticism of the setter.

  8. I really dislike clues like 27d: what has ‘wiping foot’ got to do with anything, anyway? And if, as Senf says, ‘foot’ consists of perhaps two letters, how is one to guess THAT? I actually got the answer right as I properly assessed the definition, and I think the omission is just one letter. Otherwise, a moderately enjoyable Dada offering, but no sugar or spice anywhere. I did like 21a, however. Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / ***

    A very tense America, with the twin terrors of Trump and Covid-19 threatening our very existence.

      1. I agree. I think Senf’s hint is quite right.. For me it is a down clue and “wipe foot” refers to removal of the last letter not the last two.

      2. It depends on the word being used. In one form, the last two would need to be removed and perhaps Senf was thinking of this word?

        1. SC
          Note really IHMO, the clue asks to wipe the foot ie last letter. As Robert says, what in the clue tells you to remove 2 letters?
          The 6 letter word may be a more acceptable synonym of physical but then you can’t get to the answer by doing exactly what it says on the tin.
          Probably means it is not one of Dada’s better clues.

          1. I agree about wiping the feet, LROK but I was referring to the words meaning “physical”. I don’t think they do.
            How is Biggles?

            1. Biggles fine Steve, hope Hudson the same.
              Re 5 / 6 letters – dust off the BRB. 5 letter indicates “physical” as a synonym 6 letter nary a mention. (Provided we have the same words).

                1. Hudson has just asked if he can meet up with Sadie! I told him there is lockdown so, no.

                  He gave a harrumph and went to sleep.

              1. Hudson is just being a Labrador and feels fine, LROK thanks.
                I have started given him a Kong stuffed full of goodies in the evening. He gets it at 5.30 but, from 5 o,clock, he sits and stares at me fixedly. It’s as if he thinks that if he concentrates hard enough I will give the treat sooner.

    1. Agree about tense America. A lot of us are holding are breath to see what happens later this month. Scary times.

      1. Just seen Arnold Schwarzenneger on CNN what a magnificent 5 or so minutes. Watch it if you haven’t seen it yet, find it.

  9. Not much of a test for the brain cells today. Completed in a straight */** time.

    No clues marked as either Ummms or favourites.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  10. Probably not Dada at his sparkling best but a reasonable way to combat another dismal grey day in lock-downed Wales.
    My choices from this one were 1a & 8d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the Stevie Wonder clip – such a mellow voice
    .
    PS Possibly this has already done the rounds on social media but a friend made me smile this morning with this little gem – ‘We should train Amazon delivery guys to give the vaccine. The whole country would be vaccinated by Saturday, Thursday if you have Prime’.

    1. Perhaps they could use Amazon for distribution of the Aztec Zeneca vaccine to local surgeries. That would definitely speed things up!

    2. Just think, “left with neighbour” would take on a whole new meaning.
      “Parcel undeliverable, returned to depot” another.
      Amazon are good but not as good as they say they are. Admittedly post codes up here cover a couple of square miles & the numbers don’t run in sequence so are a nightmare for deliverers

      1. They should be using What3Words app. Pinpoints a location to within 3 sq meters using a 3-word sequence. For example, 10 Downing St is ///loft.guards.those (the notation /// indicates a What3Words address).

        So if you somehow include your What3Words address with you postal address then the driver might be on the ball! I’m amazed Amazon are not using What3Words👀

          1. Yes, it is a brilliant app. But it can be incorporated into any other app. Somecompanies have taken it up but not the big ones (Amazon, GoogleMaps etc.). Amazon have an extra box in each address … the buyer could put the /// there, but in fact if Amazon incorpoated the What3Words API in their site they could automatically suggest using the 3 words (of coursethis depends on the user being at the location at the time but these details are resolvable with good programming/appdesign)

            I happen to have a massive Worldwide App on the drawing board, but unfortunately am not in a position to implement it, nor can I find an investor😤

            1. It’s essential, Senf otherwise Hudson would do his business in the house and that would upset us both. :grin:

              I think the issue with the ladies and the coffees is that they drove to the place.

        1. Thanks SW
          Up here is the sticks, no street lights, roads not named, properties not within 50 yards of the road, no sequence to numbers. Deliveries at night are horrendous. Add to that the Amazon drivers are from East Europe.
          Am very impressed with the app though. Found our /// words.

          1. You’re welcome.

            I use it when I go to the forest mushrooming. Save the location of the car and wander off. It’s very easy to get lost, but with the Navigate option you can switch to google maps and it will guide you back.

            Just make sure the battery is charged😎

    3. Love the humour Jane👍

      Well I liked this crossword and never thought for a minute that it wasn’t Dada. But we will find out. I have no problem with 3dn and a thesaurus I use gives a 5-letter synonym for physical in 27dn. It does not return “physical” for the 6-letter option.

      Thanks Dada and Senf.

  11. Got through all but three which fortunately Senf had hinted. As someone above remarked if this is Dada this is more than generous, it is largesse for the small of crossword brain.

    Thanks to Dada, if indeed it is he, and of course to Senf.

  12. Thanks to everyone who runs this site as would only rarely get to the end of a puzzle without your help. I thought today was hard work and some of the answers needed better general knowledge than I clearly have (never heard of the author for one across) but got there in the end.

  13. Like others found this a bit of a slog. Found West half went in fine. East had few 15d and was extremely slow taking me into **** time.
    LOI was 27d another pesky 4 letter word with both checkers. Can’t even say the synonym is overstretched either. Grrrr.
    Pretty humourless with no real “Doh” moments so no COTD for me.
    Thanks to Dada, tea is always welcome but todays not to my taste, sorry. Thanks to Senf for hints.

  14. I found this a bit dreary too. My answer for 27d has only removed 1 letter and not two as per the hints. Never heard of 13a as a famous person. I just hope Trump hasn’t lost the plot so much he does something really awful. He appears to be completely unstable.

  15. I’m afraid I was beaten by 27d otherwise, I would have finished unaided. A thoroughly enjoyable workout with some good clues although I didn’t particularly like 15d. It helped that I got three of the outer long ones with the last one, 8d succumbing after I had a few checkers. I”m sure it’s an old chestnut but my COTD is 19d.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge. I will persist with 27d because I would really like to finish a crossword of yours unaided. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and the Stevie Wonder. The first time in my life I have inspired someone to play music! :grin:

    1. Thanks – your last comment reminds of another Stevie Wonder song, but I am not sure that the lyrics are totally appropriate.

  16. Little bit of a trudge. I was mildly irritated by 3d and 27d. However, what’s done is done. The joy is in the doing.

    Lola is ‘ok’. She is eating a little (spoon fed!), but not drinking at all. She is still very much in recovery mode and sleeping for England. The poor little thing still seems completely zonked out by the whole experience of Friday’s procedure. She is due to go back to the vet tomorrow. I hope she may have her ‘cone’ removed from around her collar as she is very uncomfortable with it.

    Today’s soundtrack: Thomas Tallis – The Complete Works (Volume One)

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf and his steed.

        1. My Desert Island Disc pick would be Tallis’s Spem in Allium. Hope Lola improves. She must feel as if the cure is worse than the ailment.

    1. Terence
      If lampshade still needed we have found the inflatable doughnut collar (flash name “Elizabethan collar”) is just as effective & certainly Biggles found it much less of a discomfort. Available from Amazon (what isn’t?).

    2. She really needs to drink, Terence – have you tried her with rainwater? Thompson would only drink that, never water from the tap,

    3. Yes, do try to get her to drink something, even it is just the liquid from a can of tuna. At one time we were instructed and given the equipment to give our Rupert infusions of liquid. Had to hold him still to 20 minutes each time; luckily he was fairly compliant.

    4. I love Tallis! I must root out my CD and play it.
      She must drink. My Phoebe had a bout of kidney problems many years ago and has been on special food ever since.

  17. Some of the more dubious definitions stopped me enjoying this one as much as I normally do on a Sunday. That said, it was still a worthwhile exercise but without the usual sparkle I expect from this compiler. That’s what comes of setting the bar so high. 10a will do as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and the Cantering Canadian.

    1. Thanks indeed to Dada and the Cantering Canadian – well said YS.

      Mr & Mrs T

      And does anyone know why there is a D in the short form of 30a. It seems the letter was added on both sides of the pond and both long forms retain the soft consonant without it. Merriam Webster notes the abbreviation to be “chiefly British” – my old English Teacher used to tell us the French always softened language – I also recall he told that we should add an apostrophe to show it was the short form.

      And why is Merriam not in our spell checkers?

      1. I think the D was used because it suited the English language. However, that comes the recesses of my memory so I could be wrong.

      2. 30A was coined from latin. In its original shortened form there was no d or last letter. You can find this in BRB.
        When defining the modern spelling the extra letters were added presumably to make spelling easier for the masses. This was to copy the many one syllable words which use the “d”. All these words are not derived from latin, but old english/Anglo saxon.

      3. Is it a pronunciation addition, to align it with bridge, partridge, cartridge etc? “ige” ar the end of a word (oblige) is not the same. The linguists will put a name to what I mean I’m just too ignorant to know what it is.

  18. Found this a bit of a trudge devoid of saving graces. Glad it appears I wasn’t entirely alone in this. Last in was 27d whilst I wasted time trying to come up with a word from which to wipe ft. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  19. I finished at the second sitting having done 3/4. I forced my head to solve 1A which gave me 3d.

    I can only see 3d working if it is passive. It is not clued as passive.

    I found 13A also a stretch for the second definition. They sit down all day doing not a lot .

    Senf must be in heaven – 2 clues in recent days referring to home!

    Many thanks to Senf & Setter

    1. Ah – so that’s what’s meant when referring to someone as ‘a 13a of a man’. I’ve often wondered…………

  20. ***/***. Back in the saddle but DNF. The “easy” clues went in smoothly but then came some where I was on a different planet let alone wavelength. Thanks to the setter and Senf for the hints.

    1. Hope you are feeling better. Know what you mean about a few of the clues being as if you were on a different planet. When it comes to clues connected to golf, I might as well be from Outer Space.

      1. Thank you all especially Portcoquitlambc as you would have been a stones throw from where my operation took place. A very successful quad bypass has put me back on track thanks to RC Hospital.

    2. So glad to see you back, I had wondered how you were doing. I imagine it was a pretty painful experience, feel better soon.

  21. Hi all love the debate about 27d which I felt was a bit tenuous. Can anyone help me within the rules with 29a. I have an answer meaning embellishment but can’t work out why this is right.

  22. That’s odd. I found 27d no problem and in general reasonably easy with some very easy clues. I cannot however get 7d. No one has said its a problem for them apart from not being a poison. I have all the checkers but nothing comes to mind or makes sense.
    Thanks to all

      1. Yes. But I know its an anagram.
        Ha! the wife has just pointed out that I have been trying to solve it as 5/8 and not 6/7. Problem solved. However I still don’t think it should have been clued the way it was.

  23. Finished though lord knows how. I guess my brain cell fell into the little dip in the maze inside my head. I have no doubt that I will be daft as a brush (odd saying that) in no time.

    Having said that I love to come here and read the extra clues just to if I parsed things correctly. I giggled out loud at Senf’s comment about not wanting to help with 10a. But Senf! All the people who live there think the clue should be “Where is the centre of the universe?’ :-)

    1. But there are plenty of other ‘somewheres in Canada’ that are more deserving of appearing in a crossword – not that I am biased or anything!

      1. LOL I agree but you won’t convince them of that. Sometimes I suspect that they don’t really bellieve there is anything outside of their city limits. Our eldest lives there now and he has noticed that too.

        1. Strangely, I know the airport but nothing about the place. I had a 3 hour wait between arriving on a plane from Heathrow and departing on a rather smaller plane for Pittsburgh and only saw it from the air.

  24. My, my – what an enormous amount of discussion this crossword has generated! My stumbling block was 15d, not a nice word and I
    do not think I have ever heard it used but then I have led a sheltered life. It kept me amused for an hour on an extremely cold day the
    highlight of which was a walk round the cemetery suggested by George whilst we were taking our constitutional. I have not been in
    there for years – it is closed now and recent burials have taken place in the new cemetery on the outskirts of the village. As we have lived here
    since 1964 it was like revisiting old friends, all the familiar names and anecdotes we recalled about them. The ‘malaprop’ Parish Clerk was there –
    I noted that he held that office for 47 years! One day I’ll tell you the story of something he found under his bed and brought to show me. Anyway,
    such is the excitement of my life in lockdown. Thanks to the setter and Senf – my mother greatly admired the author at 1a and I used to love Mr. 14d.
    Glad Lola is recovering, hope LROK is ‘stable’, nice to hear from Carolyn and sympathy to all our American friends. Stay safe, everyone.

  25. Didn’t really enjoy this much. Some workable answers, but some an absolute mystery. I don’t understand how 13a works at all, and ditto to those mentioned above. Being my usual contrary self, I had already solved most of those for which Senf provided the hints, and most of those he hadn’t. Thanks to setter and Senf, but hoping for something better tomorrow.

  26. Found this Dada puzzle to be not benevolent but not that quirky either, though it does have it’s hmm’s.**/**** my rating today. Some clever if convoluted clues that include 12a, 18a, 21a, 3d, 15d & 21d with winner being 3d and runner up 12a.
    Not sure about the double definition for 13a and the first of the double definitions … can’t parse that but the answer is what fits for the second part of it though … one of my hmm’s today
    I did need a few of the hints today to jumpstart, with the SW last area in with 27d last completed.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  27. Confound those four letter double definitions! I don’t see the ‘famous person’ in 13a, must be me.
    6d, how many times will I forget those ‘pieces’?
    Tend to agree with others who say that Dada has lost his mojo a bit. This did not have any of those special Dada clues that puts him up there with Ray-T.
    Thanks Senf and Dada.

      1. Surely there are some famous players at your favourite club Hoofs. You of all people should see 13a as a double definition.

  28. Oh – well I enjoyed this but as sure as hell didn’t think that Dada was being benevolent.
    I’m now in orbit partly because if someone said 21a to me I’d probably whack them one and also because the crossword has taken me so long that I forgot I’d put bread to rise. Damn!
    Quite pleased that I wasn’t foxed by the ‘key’ in 19d possibly for the first time ever.
    7d is only poisonous if you’re dumb enough to ingest it but is, or was, used in procedures.
    13a was my last one.
    My favourite was probably 14d if only because of the author.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  29. Another good guzu solving 1a right away, it gives me such encouragement. I was missing 13a and 27d, but that’s not bad.
    I was discombobulated this morning, I was out of my tea and only had Earl Grey, awful stuff, like drinking eat de cologne, put me off completely, no wonder my brain was in neutral.
    I liked the authors, maybe 14d just nosed out 1a. I liked 21a, bit sniffy, nose in the air, but it amused.
    Thank you Dada for being benevolent today. I needed you to unravel a few, Senf, I was a bit thick. I don’t like sporty clues but they don’t annoy me, they’re just part of the variety in crosswords! Peace and love all.

  30. Forgot to say Senf, that I so agree with your knuckleheads comment. I was aghast at the almost 2 million people who flew over Thanksgiving and Christmas, exposing themselves and others to risk along the way. Two of our neighbours went to Kentucky and returned on 12/28 and tested positive days later.

    1. Thanks. Perhaps there is a case for re-introducing the Stocks and Pillory so there can be some public humiliation. But, I suppose that in these ‘enlightened’ times that would be considered ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’

        1. Big Dave’s Naughty Step. That would scare the daylights out of them. It has certainly scared me …..I think I have only been there once. I learned my lesson!

        1. Well, it’s climbing in the UK. There are people dying all over the world but still there are those who say it is not real. The vaccine is just a way for governments to inject microchips into us so we can be controlled.

          Oh, please!

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