ST 3091 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3091 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3091 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we continue to enjoy above seasonal average temperatures but that is not stopping some more of the fluffy white type of precipitation.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

For me, I thought Dada was quirky today generating some Groans rather than Hmms.  I counted five anagrams (three partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and two 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 – 17a, 27a, 15d, and 20d.

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 ‘The hell‘ seen in inferno, near this (2,5)
We start with the lurker (seen in) found in the rest of the clue.

10a Right country found in middle of book, Woolf novel (7)
The single letter for right and a synonym of country all inserted into (found in) the middle letters of bOOk – if all else fails Google the novels of the illustrated author and look for a title of one 7 letter word.

11a Apparently, stress now dissipated for longer period (9)
A synonym of stress preceded by a two letter prefix that could indicate that it was apparently . . . now dissipated.

17a Ground becoming deeper? That’s more intriguing (3,4,8)
A (unclued) definite article, a synonym of (a piece of) ground, and a term that could indicate becoming deeper?

24a Tweet costing little, by the sound of it? (5)
The first homophone (by the sound of it) of a single word for costing little.

26a War so appalling within country, lady having a row (9)
An anagram (appalling) of WAR SO inserted into (within) a (Middle Eastern) country.

28a Bandleader in Newport seamlessly going retro? (7)
The Acrosses finish with the reverse lurker (in . . . going retro) found in two words in the clue.


1d Crack, one inside cupboard that’s failed to open (4,2)
The single letter for one contained by (inside) a type of cupboard that has its first letter removed (that’s failed to open).

3d Accommodation for relative in good and managed state, even (6,4)
Lego at the ready – the single letter for good, a three letter synonym of managed, the two letter abbreviation of an Eastern US state, and a synonym of even – not bad for a 9 word clue, 3 of which are used for the definition.

4d Utter word, thing that’s cryptic (9)
An anagram (that’s cryptic) of WORD, THING.

7d Calm lesson disrupted, military officer on top of it (8)
An anagram (disrupted) of LESSON with the two letter abbreviation of (the appointment of) a military officer placed before (on top of) it.

15d Ultimately, cap super headgear for cricketer (4,6)
The last letter (ultimately) of caP, a three word synonym of super, and a type of headgear (which used to be worn by city gents) – the BRB indicates an enumeration of (4-6).

16d Best provision of meals right on ship (9)
A synonym of best and a single word for provision of meals (as in . . . and lodging) – which is represented by the light in the illustration.

20d Examine cap used by batter? (6))
A three letter synonym of examine and a type of cap.

22d Superior fool standing up for inferior (6)
A three letter synonym of superior and a three letter fool all reversed.

25d Twins perhaps cut, we hear? (4)
We finish with the second homophone (perhaps . . . we hear) of a synonym of cut.

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Today is the 94th anniversary of the birth of American singer, actress, dancer, voice actress, comedienne, activist, author, and songwriter Eartha Kitt. Here is a remarkably good quality B&W video of her singing one of her signature songs which has been described as a “novelty . . . to exploit Kitt’s promiscuous gold-digger image, as she wooed millionaires and their money.”:

116 comments on “ST 3091 (Hints)

  1. Initially harder than usual as the clues are not numbered in the version I get from Pressreader !

    1. I think I enjoyed this and I don’t think it took too long except for sorting out which answers went where.

      My podium consists of , , and .

      Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

      1. I tend to disagree RD I thought .. & … were too quirky. Perhaps it’s an innovation to increase the difficulty of the SunPP?. 🤔

        1. I don’t know if it is still going, but 60 years ago my father used to do the Sunday Express Skeleton crossword every week. If I remember correctly, it was a completely empty grid apart from just four black squares. The clues themselves were numbered and enumerated, and you were told that the completed grid was symmetrical. I’m not sure if it was cryptic or GK.

            1. I used to do it. Lack of clue numbers today no problem. Don’t know if it still exists, but I stopped doing it when the paper went to tabloid format

          1. My dad used to do the Skeleton crossword and it was that, plus my mum’s Daily Mail, that first got me into solving cryptic crosswords.

    2. I’ve only just picked up my newspaper and find there are no numbers. I shall persist although I find it difficult enough when numbers get covered up with my pen!

      1. That’s probably why I found the lack of numbers not too much of a problem because I do the same, Wanda.

  2. Yes, how thoughtful of the Sunday Telegraph to provide us with the extra challenge of filling in the missing clue numbers on the grid! It was indeed quite quirky too. However, it was a thoroughly enjoyable crossword with lots of sparkling clues so worth it all in the end (3 or4*ish/5*). I liked 3d and17a, which were good fun (I needed a laugh by the time I’d put the numbers in). 16d was also a good clue and I don’t usually like cricket or golf clues. Finally, I liked 15d which was quite well disguised. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  3. About mid range difficulty for Dada I’d reckon but as usual there’s always one or two that drive you bonkers. 1d was last in & turned a brisk solve in just over ** time into a ***time one. 6d was another. As usual a thoroughly enjoyable challenge with 17a my clear pick of a fine bunch. A nice bright sunny day so a good long walk before an afternoon of sport is required. Today’s albums : One-Trick Pony (Paul Simon) & Ophelia (Natalie Merchant)
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf

    1. I enjoyed a nice walk in the sunshine, after filling in the numbers, then finishing the crossword. I didn’t enjoy the cyclist, who shot across the pedestrian crossing on a red light, as I was stepping off the kerb, shouting, “Sorry”.

      1. Cyclists remove their dingy bells because they weigh all of an ounce and would add 0.000000001 of a second to their timed ride as monitored by their Fitbit or similar devices which weigh more than the bell.

      2. We have to pull out of our drive carefully because traffic speeds over the crest of a hill to the right. I had just got my nose out into the road when a cyclist flew past giving me the V sign.

      3. We had to give up one of our walks because of cyclists zooming up behind us without warning (in some cities here they are required to cycle on the pavement). I got quite tired of yelling at them as they rushed by “Get a bell!”. Not sure they would even stop if they knocked one of us over.

        1. Thing is, if you get a bell, pedestrians walking in cycle lanes have a go at you for making them jump when you ring said bell… ;-)

          1. Well they shouldn’t be walking in cycle lanes I agree. But I’m talking about us walking on the pedestrian paths. And the councils in a few cities, in their infinite wisdom, passed rules requiring the cyclists to not to use the roads, but the paths (called sidewalks).

  4. Thanks for the hints but this is so far above my abilities as to be stratospheric. Managed 6 answers as most of the clues are so complex it is very difficult to unpick them. One of the most pointless puzzles for me in a long time. No fun at all.

    1. Please make a point of looking at the answers on Friday then working out the clues . It should help your future enjoyment.

      1. The review of this crossword won’t be published until Thursday 28th by which time Brian (and everyone else) will have forgotten all about it

        1. No I always look at the reviews, its the only way I will learn but I’m not sure knowing the explanations to this one will help me in future when they are this tough.

          1. It is definitely a wavelength thing. I have found Dada puzzles from time to time unfathomable. This I found to be great fun. Lots to fill in straightaway giving useful checkers to the sort of clue you can’t solve at first glance.

          2. Brian
            I agree. I generally finish some puzzles each week but I found this really hard.

        2. Dear crypticsue – I very rarely comment but, like so many others, I learnt to do Cryptic crosswords with Big Dave and I really appreciate everything all of you solvers do to share your knowledge. I just wanted to say that I save up each Sunday crossword for two weeks and then attempt it – just so that I can then look at the hints first and then your excellent solving of each one. I am responding as your comment indicates you think you may do it and no one looks at it – I can assure you I absolutely do and appreciate it very much ! I will comment next time I do !

      2. I used to do that back in the sixties, when starting out with these puzzles. Each morning I would look at the previous days answers to see what they were, and try to figure out the workings.

  5. It certainly required a lot of “thinking outside the box” but I thought this was good entertainment. 6d was my last one in and does seem a bit obscure, assuming I have the right answer. ***/**** I thought 14a and 22d were clever clues but my favourite is 16d. Thanks to all.

    1. I think you have hit the nail on the head here Greta. It is the ability to think outside the box, which is something I had to do throughout my working life. It is a skill which is second nature to some but impossible for others. This is not a criticism but a fact. So far as 6d is concerned the answer refers to a particular type of supporter. I daren’t say any more on a Sunday and have not checked the BRB but I guess it is there if you look up the answer.

      1. I was a little surprised Senf decided not to hint 6d as I felt that was one of the trickier clues

        1. 5 and 6 down, and 12 across still not cracked. Open last bottle of Burgundy, and have another go in a bit!!

  6. I had clue numbers on the puzzles website version but still found this a bit tricky. If I had to work out where to put the answers once I had deduced them I may have had a bit of a strop too. 2 or 3 clues stretched my known synonyms a bit too far (1d 5d 6d). I bet I am not the only one who tried umpteen ways to fit a Devon city into 19a as well. I assumed the obvious cricketer clue was a red herring and I needed checkers to see that it indeed was crickety. Same with 20d I saw batter and looked for a crickety answer. Does anyone still see 17d anymore?
    17a and the well concealed reverse lurker were my picks today.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

    1. Hi John,
      I’m about halfway through reading Shuggie Bain – it’s compelling, raw and very well written. For once, I think the Booker panel got it right!

      1. I fully agree with your choice of adjectives, Jane, and thank the Booker people for their wisdom. As you know, I’ve already thanked John for being such a fine herald for us.

      2. Enjoy wouldn’t be the right word for that book but I agree with yourself and Robert – The booker committee picked the right one this year.

      3. Oh dear, I haven’t started it yet but wonder if it’s for me. I share six Kindles with six friends and someone is reading it now. I’ll wait and get their opinion.

    2. Re: 6d – see my answer to Greta above. I don’t think it is stretched when used in a particular situation. I’m with you with the Devon towns! I also had an issue with 10a. Looking for a particular country did not help me but without doubt it enabled me to solve 26a which otherwise would have been tricky.

      1. My first thought was of supporters other than the usual ladies wear! I declined to consider the red herring.

  7. I’d agree with Senf that this one was somewhat ‘quirky’ in places – fortunately 1d occurred almost immediately but 6d was a different story.
    I rather liked the Devon diner and the cricketer’s headgear but 17a took the gold today.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. Very good quality clip of Ms Kitt – she certainly had an ‘original’ voice!

  8. A very tricky Dada today but thoroughly enjoyable. 6d held me up the longest, pushing me into *** time, but 17a, 16d, and 20d stole my heart. 15d was new to me but easy to work out from the clue, and the appearance of a 3d in a recent mystery by Harrod-Eagles rescued me there. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for the pleasure. *** / ****

  9. Mr Lancaster, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.

    I didn’t find the clues themselves too difficult, just the numberless grid. I would like to apologise to any neighbours who heard some swearing this morning.

    I can’t quote a time for this one, a lot longer than usual will have to suffice. I spent far too long trying to justify a wrong answer for . . . that down one, top right.

    Of course I had to ask Mr G for help with the second across one, damned GK again.

    Many thanks to the setter and Senf.

    1. I doubt whether editorial duties stretch to printing the papers unless whatever the modern equivalent of typesetters are called are all off sick, shielding or isolating.

      1. You’re right Wanda, but I love MalcolmR’s alternate to “a pox on you” that I’m going to file it away for later use.

        1. Armpits are not too bad but I wouldn’t want the fleas of a thousand camels in other certain places. 🐫

        2. On a coach tour many years ago, we discussed the fleas/camels issue at length. One school of thought had it that it wished a person well, i.e., if you had a thousand camels, you were very wealthy!

  10. Having first completed the task of filling in numbers on the grid I then got off to an extremely slow start with the main opus but surprised myself and it gradually all came together providing entertaining food for parsing thought along the way. Brisbane beer new to me. East lagged behind West to the finish. Could nominate several but my lighthearted Fav was probably 20a. Thank you Dada and Senf.

        1. Not really, Manders but I cannot say more for fear of the wrath of Big Dave and banishment. The answer is, most definitely a supporter.

          1. You are quite right Steve, I have now googled it and realise I had heard of it in this connection. Clever clue actually.

        2. I came across this particular usage of the word, and managed to remember it, a long time before I started to destroy brain cells by trying to solve crossword puzzles.

          1. Me too. Needed the checkers but did not need to go far through the alphabet to find the answer. Possibly did not help as the penultimate letter is not one which is so common as the usual one. Also, one three letter word that makes up the answer is easier than the other to deduce, but with the checkers this leaves only two letters to find.

  11. Well, that was fun! I thought the fact there was a numberless grid would prove difficult but it didn’t really. I had to use Mr. G. for a couple but otherwise a most enjoyable puzzle if a bit on the tough side. I didn’t know the Woolf novel but it was gettable from the clue. I knew the Brisbane beer. Many good clues as ever but my favourite is 22d, which is the one on the right in the SE corner.

    Thanks to Dada for the puzzle. Thanks to Mr. Lancaster for providing a novel challenge but please don’t make a habit of it. Finally but by no means least thanks to Senf for the hints.

  12. Dada baring his teeth a bit for me. Even though my e version had a numbered grid I nearly sent the horse to the knackers yard on a few occasions but got there in the end. Like Brian sat looking at 6 or so from the first pass but things very slowly evolved.
    Appreciated rather than enjoyed this one. Nothing stood out as COTD, probably because most had to be teased out.
    LOI was 1d for which consequently I wanted to put in a much more appropriate (sadly un-parsable) answer.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf, take it the horse is stabled when the fluffy stuff is on the ground.

  13. thought this was difficult today, filling in the numbers was the easy bit! Still have three clues I cannot solve, why is it that Senf seems to give hints for those I usually find more straightforward and not the ones I have problems with? Our minds obviously work in different ways …

  14. A numbered grid on the iPad, no mentally deranged cyclists and a few tricky clues made me a happy bunny this morning. 15d was my top clue with 22d my final entry. Good fun all round.

    Thanks to Dada and the Cantering Canadian.

  15. I thought this was a lovely crossword – not too difficult and very satisfying despite the lack of numbers on the grid – I think favourite was 26 across.

    1. Always smile when I read your blog name, Janie. I shared my name with my ‘best friend’ at school so took to referring to her as Janie to distinguish between us. Trouble was that she did exactly the same thing which meant that we finished up being two Janies in the same class instead of two Janes!

  16. Crosswords are a funny business. Yesterday most commented on the simplicity of the puzzle and I struggled. Today, many said they found it difficult and I zoomed through it. Well I say ‘zoomed’ – that is relative to my usual leaden pace.

    With apologies to those who pass by here and think, “Oh no, is he on about that blessed cat again?”
    Meds must be kicking in as much improvement to be reported. Lola has eaten well this morning – and from a bowl by herself rather than being spoon fed by me. This intake of food is giving her a boost of energy which is being used entirely in attempts to wrench her cone off. She ingeniously managed to untie the bandage and then worked at the cone until she managed to remove it. All in vain as I tied it back on but I suspect there will be further attempts. We think the vet may sanction the cone’s removal tomorrow anyway.

    Today’s soundtrack: Test Cricket on Sky, as England made heavy weather of scoring 74 runs to win.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf, and his ‘orse.

    1. Fantastic news, Terance! This must be such a relief to you as it is bound to be to the other blog members who have been worried about the little lady. Well done, Lola! :good:

    2. Best news I’ve heard in a long while, Terence. Well done, Lola, although I doubt she’d have pulled through so well without your patience and TLC.
      If only you could discover what caused her problems so that you can keep her well away from it in the future!

    3. Great news Terence
      Was hoping the steroids (Predisalone?) would kick in – they have often worked with ours (both cats & dogs). Apparently animals metabolize steroids far better than we do.
      Of course the vet will now send the blood tests to a Russian lab. and get the all clear!

        1. Prednicortone, prednisone and prednisolone are all the same thing.
          Whatever, they have helped dear Lola.

      1. Our lab was on prednisone for hip problems. My orthopedist was not amused when I asked him why he couldn’t give me some for my hip. So relieved to hear Lola is bucking up.

      1. Steroids can work quickly with allergies. Glad Lola feels well enought oatttack the collar and hope the vet removes it soon.

    4. So pleased that Lola is a little better today, Terence. Of late the first thing I do on opening the blog is scroll down to see your posts for an update – I really have been feeling for you. I do hope she continues to make good progress and that the vet is pleased with her tomorrow (and let’s her have the wretched collar off – we’ve never managed to keep one on our cats for more than a few minutes – one of them even managed to shoot through the cat-flap wearing it). Fingers crossed for you. I haven’t looked at the crossword yet but thanks in advance to Dada and Senf, whose hints I’m sure I’ll need, given some of the comments so far.

      1. Clever (and crafty) things cats, we saw ours with lampshade exit the cat flap backwards. Trouble was coming back there was a bit of a step up easy forwards but impossible backwards – result much scratching and meoowing when she wanted to return.

    5. Thank you very much to you all for such lovely and encouraging comments. I am genuinely moved to tears. x

    6. That is the best news of Lola. I’m hoping all the vibes from the commentariat contributed to her improvement.

    7. Really late in today for various reasons, but delighted to know that Lola is responding at last. You will all sleep better tonight!

  17. A fine puzzle. Top notch. Favourites include 10 11 17 21 and 26a and 3 4 and 16d. I had to solve more systematically than normal as otherwise I had to keep counting the numbers (and getting them wrong). Getting 17a quickly was a bonus. I don’t think the unclued definite article was an omission. Only problems were in the bottom left. I got 20d but could not parse until the use of batter dawned on me. It was 19a and 17d that foxed me but once I had the elusive first two letters of the former the latter fell into place. Good misdirection on that one as I completely missed the anagram being where it was. Thank you Dada and Senf.

      1. Your comment went into moderation as you changed your name from the previously used abbreviated form – both should work from now on.
        However, this is a Sunday Prize Puzzle so you will have to wait for the review on the 28th or there may be sufficient general discussion in the comments to get you there.

      2. The last word of the clue is the definition so take one of the usual abbreviations for ‘answer’ and insert into it a verb meaning ‘stick’ – perhaps not the first one that would spring to mind!

  18. great puzzle. Favourite was 10a. Didn’t think 6d was too bad. Last one in was 19a. Like many others spent too much time going through Devon towns. Great news about Lola. Thanks to setter and hinter.

  19. Have to agree with Senf that this is much more quirky than the past few puzzles Dada has presented us with. ***/***** my rating. Some very clever, (if tricky), clueing though in many of them. I include in these 17a, 27a, 1d, 15d, 17d & 20d with my favourite two being 17a & 17d. Several hit me with away, like 27a, 4d, 16d & 23d so not all quirky. Enjoyable solve even though my answer for 12a was wrong and messed me up for a while. I thought it was a double definition and put in xxxxx, so that caused some issues and had to revisit to fix it up, then it all fit nicely.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. Now you’ve confused me with 12a. When I solved 7d from Senf’s hint, I can’t see what else it can be?

      1. Don’t worry, Merusa, I think PC has inadvertently included the correct answer in his comment.

      2. Oh good grief … I total messed up what I was trying to say … apologies to all for the mis-speak … arggghhhh!!

  20. Tricky today, after yesterday’s guardian prize and today’s puzzle, Dada/Paul is definitely the winner.
    Took me ages to see what ‘batter’ has to do with 20d.
    Thanks all.

    1. I sat & stared helplessly at Paul yesterday but it’s actually not too bad if you cotton on to what’s going on with all the capital malarkey. 17a was where I finally twigged it. He really is an infuriatingly clever sod. Still 2 short of a finish mind you & can’t finish the Everyman either.

  21. On first pass today I thought this was going to be a stretch. I ended up going with the down clues 2,3,20 &25d first getting me on the wavelength of Dada or so I thought. 20a and 6d holding out to the end.
    For me ***/*** today
    Thx to Dada and Senf.

  22. No problem with 6d as I worked in the West End long enough.
    Had to drag 22d from my memory though as we have seen that expression before.
    15d was a new word.for me.
    Favourite 19a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  23. Too hard for me today….not helped by the lack of numbers in the grid.
    Needed all of Senf’s hints as well as some electronic help to complete this shorter.

    I can see that some of the clues were very clever, but definitely not my cup of tea.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  24. Finished…but really hard work!!
    Like others 6D had me stumped for a long time – even having discovered the obscure synonym, but thanks to Jane (comment 20) for helping to parse it without giving too much away!
    Thanks to Dada for the Sunday ‘head scratch’ and to Senf for the hints…but it’s Jane (who came to the rescue like a 6D) who gets today’s ‘Cheers!’

  25. I always find Dada difficult, so I have to say he was friendlier for me today. I presume the first word is the answer for 19a, however, I have no idea what the rest of the clue means. I fell for the distraction of 20d HL&S, convinced it was a crickety clue, so that was another one unsolved. My last solve was the NE; I googled 10a, I had no problem with 6d, the supporters came to me right away.
    I liked 27a, 3d and 16d, but 17a takes the top pick.
    Thanks to Dada, but Senf gets the gold for unravelling some of this. Now, if someone can explain 19a …

  26. We were sitting in the conservatory having a bowl of homemade roasted butternut squash soup when junior daughter turned up with dogs, waltzing in the back door bearing a large bouquet of flowers for me and a bag of fresh mussels for George. What do you do? I told her she should not be here, but she says she is working from home, observes all the rules etc. Yes, but she has been to the supermarket, Help! Anyway, that’s what happened and the crossword was set aside. Picking it up again whilst dinner was cooking I found it challenging but not impossible. The lack of numbers threw me for a bit but getting the long 17a gave a handle to the numbering. I think 20d was my favourite, but I also liked 22d. Thanks to Dada ? and to Senf. Another week gone by, how time flies when you are having fun.

    1. Both our daughters visit, once a fortnight, separately. Both working from home so low risk. We all grocery shop, but carefully. We do sit far apart, and I confess afterwards I spray the couch, wipe down the door knobs, change the guest bathroom hand towel, and wash their coffee mugs on high temperature. It’s worked so far.

  27. Not sure if it qualifies as Murphy’s Law, but I should have known that when I did so well with Zandio’s puzzle this week, that I would take a tumble on today’s Dada. Loved 17a, best clue by far. But six totally failed to reveal themselves, including 4d, at least the first part of the answer, knowing nothing about cricket terms. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  28. Hooray – I’ve finished it at last! – thanks to a lot of electronic help. As usual the hints were for the ones I’d already solved, with the exception of a recommendation to consult Google, which I did, but I’d better not say any more about that, it’s too early in the day to be on the naughty step, unless elevenses is supplied. Anyway thanks to Senf and all those who commented for an interesting read, and to the setter for supplying a good brain exercise.

  29. Late getting round to this. After a slow start the puzzle yielded to sustained pressure. Great fun and v satisfying to get it out. Favorites 16d and 20d. Latter just brilliant misdirection after the cricket clues!

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