ST 3092 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 3092 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3092 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where yesterday we ‘relaxed’ from the Lockdown of 10 weeks of Covid Red to somewhere between Covid Red and Covid Yellow.  I am not sure if it is Covid Red Minus or Covid Yellow Plus; there is also a ‘hint’ that we are ‘on probation’ for at least three weeks and any backsliding will result in returning to Covid Red.  The logic used to determine what can re-open and what has to stay closed is somewhat of a mystery; but I do know that it means I can get a haircut tomorrow!

Keep staying safe everyone. 

For me, I thought Dada was very quirky today and I expect predictable responses from some quarters.  I counted four anagrams (one partial), one (reasonably obvious) lurker, and one homophone – all in an asymmetric 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 – 11a, 20a, 5d, 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:


7a Poem, while oddly cheery, funny (8)
An anagram (funny) of WHILE and the odd letters (oddly) of ChEeRy – a type of poem we have seen before.

9a Reportedly, you look for African country (6)
A single letter homophone (reportedly) of you and a homophone (also reportedly) of a synonym of look.

10a Plan drawn up as result in range (6)
A synonym of result inserted into (in) the illustrated range.

11a Figure in touch with lady losing heart, it’s plain to see (8)
A double digit figure inside a synonym of touch followed by the ‘outer’ letters of LadY (losing heart).

17a Possible takeaway in a hurry sent back, unknown quantity in it (5)
A from the clue and a synonym of hurry all reversed (sent back), with a letter used to indicate an unknown quantity inserted into (in) it.

20a Basic foods keep (5-3-6)
A double definition – the first is illustrated below.

23a Way Tory grasps a hand (8)
The abbreviated form of one type of (road)way and the ‘side’ that a Tory is on contains (grasps) A from the clue.

28a Making musical sounds, gaudy and expensive missiles, might you think? (8)
Consider (might you think?) a (3,5) expression that could describe gaudy and expensive missiles.


1d Stop commercial message (4)
A double definition – the first might involve a bath or a sink.

2d Class: old, old actor (6)
A synonym of class and the single letter for old.

5d Might one have you for dinner? (8)
I can only say – see the illustration below – and I think that I have used this cartoon before.

6d Doctor treated ulna without nitrogen compounds (10)
An anagram (compounds) of TREATED ULnA with the symbol for Nitrogen removed (without).

13d Exciting, unappetising habit? (4-6)
A double definition – the second refers to consuming digital keratin.

16d Number of stars paid, else furious! (8)
An anagram (furious) of PAID, ELSE.

18d Judge right to fill in a tooth? (7)
The single letter for right inserted into (to fill in) A from the clue and a synonymic term for tooth?

26d Large container placed over a fish (4)
A type of large container (of variable capacity depending on whether it contains wine or beer – we have had this discussion before) containing (placed over) A from the clue.

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.

American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond is 80 years young today.  This is a 2020 Global Singalong of one of his most well known songs written and first recorded in 1969:

87 comments on “ST 3092 (Hints)

  1. A pretty quirky selection of clues today. I could see how 11a was constructed but couldn’t fathom the synonym of figure and I didn’t see why the word ‘keep’ was included in 20a. However, I managed ro finish the puzzle in 2* time and enjoyed the tussle (4*). I liked 9a because it was geographical and made me laugh and 23a was a good piece of misdirection. The COTD for me is 28a, which made me laugh out loud, when the penny dropped. We have had a couple of inches of snow in Wantage (Oxfordshire) this morning and it’s pretty cold too. Thanks to Senf for the hints, I needed help parsing a few and thanks to Dada.

    1. Re 11a, the figure is the number, which is inside a synonym for touch, followed by the outer letters of LadY

  2. 3.5*/4*. Some tough bits to sort out today, but good fun as ever on a Sunday.

    Although in my book 8d is an American term (Collins agrees with me), it seems to be gaining ground over here. :sad:

    Am I missing something, or is there a mistake in the clue for 3d? Shouldn’t it read, “Change hands after lifting”?

    With plenty of excellent clues to choose from today, I’m going for the penny-drop moment with the parsing of 14d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. The BRB also considers 8d to be North American. It didn’t register with me last night that it might need checking, presumably because of the time I have been in North America. Although, I do have recollections of the term being used when I was still serving HM all those years ago.

      On 3d, the answer is shown in the listing for handle in the Small Red Book and I took it to be a verbal synonym.

      1. Yes, the verb didn’t occur to me. I do like the noun better for the surface as changing “hands” seems (to me at any rate) a much more likely thing to do after lifting than changing “handles”.

  3. Good mental workout, got there eventually unaided except experimenting with the letters of 16d as it was a new word for me.
    So, ****/*****.
    Always enjoy Dada, many thanks.
    And to Senf for the review.

    1. I’d read the word but have never heard it spoken. Having watched a number of YouTube clips purporting to pronounce it correctly I am none the wiser!

      1. It’s 3 syllables 4-1-3. the first is a diphthong. Some scientists have difficulty with Greek pronunciations. Uranus is a famous one :)

  4. An odd mixture of clues and all the better for it. A steady solve for me today with 28a my favourite. In answer to Rabbit Dave, I’d say it could well be hands or handles. Think about it! 8d is an expression used a lot by my youngest son although he does work with North American colleagues so it’s probably rubbed off on him. ***/***

  5. Dada in a benevolent mood today – (or at least I filled it in before coming here) I needed Senf and Jezza to fully parse a couple. I wondered about hands too RD, and will also concur on 14d as COTD today with a mention for 18d.
    I have rarely found a truly amusing 7a, at best an edge of whimsy but not usually a belly laugh moment. Can anyone provide a really funny one?

    Thanks to Senf for Mr Diamond and the hints, and Dada for the test today.

    1. Can Neil Diamond really be 80? I saw him live many years ago. A great entertainer, who has written some superb songs.

      1. I found this recent, rather derivative 7a quite funny Humpty Trumpty sat on a wall Humpty Trumpty had a great fall And all of his lawyers and billionaire friends Couldn’t put Trumpty together again.

  6. With just six clues completed after the first pass, I thought I was on to a loser today. But, after a full ***** time, I got there. Parsing 7a & 11a took some of that time.

    RD, I think 3d is correct, using ‘Handles’ as a verb.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  7. Excellent puzzle with one of the best clues I have come across for a while in 28a, I am still chuckling😀
    Have a vague recollection of coming across 7a before but not my favourite clue. If you are going to use an obscure word I personally think the clueing should be better. However, thx for the hint without which I would not have solved it.
    Thx to all

      1. Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs – the only predictable thing about Brian is his unpredictability!

    1. 28a also made me laugh.
      The answer to 7a has appeared very recently I think, although time seems to be playing by different rules during lockdown so I could well be wrong!

      1. I wouldn’t say very recently for 7a but definitely some time last year, but probably not on a Sunday, and memorable as one of our number wrote several of said poems on some of us.

        And, I would disagree with Brian, I thought it was very fairly clued and, with some reference confirmation, reasonably easy to arrive at the answer.

  8. Enjoyable puzzle today but needed hints for two and surprise, surprise, Senf had hinted both today. A first I think so thank you very much for that Senf.

    Three honourable mentions today : 9a, 13d, and 18d, but 28a my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada for the pleasure of the puzzle.

  9. Pleasantly awkward today, but the same Sunday fun. 7a and 14d make it to the top of my podium as co-favourites. Heavy snow here in Shropshire while I listen to the test match on the radio.

    Thanks Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  10. Agree Dada in somewhat quirky mood but excellent Sunday fare that had me scratching my head a few times. SW corner held me up (another of those pesky 4 letter words that seem to be becoming a Dada trademark)
    28a brought a huge smile & is COTD for me.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf. Some of the hints (eg 13d) are getting nearly as cryptic as the clues!
    Perhaps code Orange might describe your lockdown status.

  11. Wouldn’t disagree with Senf that this was quirky, a lot of lateral thinking required for me to sort out all of the parsing.
    Don’t think I realised that 8d is an Americanism, it must have been imported quite a while ago.
    Favourite was 14d once I’d realised where the necessary word split came into it!

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – happy haircut! Neil Diamond earworm safely installed, I don’t mind in the least.

    1. I seem to remember 8d being used frequently when working for a (very British, in Britain) defence company and spending a lot of time with the RN – often as an ‘honorary man’! That was a long time ago though.

  12. Nice to see 7a cropping up again — I hope this time no regulars are claiming never to have heard of it!

    Hope your haircut goes well, Senf. The 8yo and I were very lucky to be booked in for simultaneous haircuts on January 4th, which so far has been the only day our barber’s have been open this year: the first day after their Christmas break, with lockdown being announced later that day.

      1. Well, I’m a regular and I have never heard of it! I have to say it is an extremely forgettable word and unless it crops up within the next year I will have never heard of it again!

        1. It would have to crop up in the next 10 minutes for me to remember it. In all honesty, I have forgotten it already!

        2. About a year ago 7A appeared in a Jay puzzle, and several folk said they didn’t know it, so I wrote one as an example — then kept foisting one into the comments each day, until each blogger had one (and hopefully everybody had learnt the word through shear repetition of it!). PhiSheep wrote a fun one for Senf.

          I can’t link, for naughty-step reasons, but if you search this site for the answer to 7A, you should find them.

          1. Now you mention it, I do remember the odd little poems but certainly not the word describing them, in fact can’t remember it again!

    1. I have no recall on seeing 7a before. Perhaps it was in puzzles I never finished. Certainly not something I have ever come across. I agree with Brian’s comment that obtuse words call for friendlier clueing.

  13. It’s half-time at Chelsea v Luton so popping in to say I found this a good workout – I found the SW tricky until 23a came to me, and then that corner unfolded.

    Lola is ok; eating well and she seems very comfortable and serene. She continues to show no interest in anything other than wandering between food bowls and her cushion by the radiator with occasional visits to her litter tray. It’s as if she has forgotten there is a world out there. She was enjoying the football until Kepa, Chelsea’s goalkeeper, made one of his trademark mistakes to allow Luton back into the game.

    Today’s soundtrack: John Dowland – Lachrimae

    Thanks to Dada and Senf & his steed.

    1. Terence,
      Are you not in danger of hampering Lola’s recovery letting her watch Chelsea at the moment?
      Kepa, one of those homphones that just doesn’t work I might suggest.

      1. You’re right of course – however she fell asleep for the second half and thus was spared the full horror show. I’m glad as she has previously commented on the lack of form of Havertz, Werner, and Ziyech, and she would not have enjoyed the agony of watching it all.

    2. I think I might be turning into Lola – I wander between bowls of food and have forgotten there’s a world out there but I draw the line at the litter tray.

  14. Top half was much trickier than the bottom, but a good workout.
    I had forgotten 7a, and will forget it again, no doubt.
    I didn’t care for 16d, where obscurities are clued via an anagram. With all the crossers it’s just guesswork, so I cheated.
    Thanks Senf and Dada

    1. 7a Hoofs
      Down the Den way
      ‘Twas the Cup yesterday
      For supporters of Millwall
      Their Pride was in for a fall
      I know for you it does not satisfy the funny bit but it is the best I can do

      1. Thanks LROK, I really needed reminding…
        I wasted £10 watching that rubbish to boot!

        1. Coincidentally daughter felt she was going to write to the DT re its propensity for using “jab” instead of “vaccine”, considering “jab” an ugly word. I hadn’t thought of it before but conceded she had a point..

  15. I initially foundthis one about as tough as Dada gets on a Sunday or perhaps I just couldn’t just get on his wavelength today. Like MalcomR I was way off the pace after the first pass but then made no progress so left it for an afternoon revisit. As is often the case it was like looking at another crossword with one lightbulb after another & an eventual finish in **** time, though it felt double that. 14d was my clear favourite but also really liked 7&28a. Still snowing in Harpenden though no longer heavily. Think I’ll give the walk a wide berth & watch golf in the desert sunshine that I recorded & listen to today’s V albums: Veedon Fleece (Van) & Volunteers (Jefferson Airplane). Might even have another stab at Radler’s impenetrable NTSPP.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf
    Ps medium sized punt on a thumbs up from Brian today……

  16. Enjoyable solve whilst watching the cricket🏏 this morning. Plenty to like 7a, 11a, 28a, 14d and 16d with 14d my fav today. Looking forward to another Man Utd v Liverpool clash this afternoon ⚽️
    Thx Dada and Senf

  17. I don’t know which is more brilliantly wonderful or delightfully cockamamie–14d or 28a?–but both made me laugh and shake my head in awe. Dada at his whimsical peak. Indeed, the whole puzzle struck me as being the work of a confident and poised magician, one sleight of hand after another. 5d was my LOI, and it too was a tickler. Thanks to Senf, whose hints I didn’t need but am always glad they’re there, and many thanks to Dada for the sheer joy. ** / *****

    1. I’m with you on the indecision, but on balance 28a wins by a whisker.

      Or maybe it’s 14d.


  18. 7a inspired me to pen this:

    Boris de Pfeffel Johnson,
    Would oft pull out his Ronson.
    He’d say “I do not smoke,”
    “It’s just a Classic joke.”

  19. A nice gentle, non-quirky Dada puzzle for this Sunday morning on the West Coast of BC.
    1.5*/*****, but that is not to say that it is not tricky in spots.
    Definitely a couple of unusual words for me not in everyday conversation (7a & 18a)
    Lots of great clueing with favourites being 7a, 25a, 8d, 14d & 18d with no singled out winner … all are great! 28a, 13d & 22d caused me to chuckle too.
    Great while it lasted.
    Always pleased when I can finish a puzzle without the help of any hints as I did with this one.
    I find for most, (not all), of Dada’s puzzles I click into his wavelength and the solving just flows smoothly.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints that I shall look forward to reading on Sunday morning.

  20. Quite a tricky puzzle today but very enjoyable. Never heard of the poem but could work it out OK. Last one in 27a but not quite sure where the cake fits in. Jab arm still very painful but at least I’ve had the jab.

  21. Tricky enough, I think, to make it a nice challenge. We have had 7a lots of times and it is such a peculiar word I do not
    see how you could forget it. Having said that, I forget all sorts of words although my real speciality is walking purposefully from the kitchen into the hall and then thinking why have I come here? The only thing to do is walk back to the kitchen whereupon I immediately remember. Last one in is 27a and, Murphy’s Law (if that does not get the Woke Brigade defending Murphies) Senf did not cover this clue. I know what I want to put in, which would make sense with the cakes but why the ‘if not’? It is trying hard to snow but nothing has settled so no chance of going into the garden with my camera but it is very cold so we lit the fire before lunch and the smell of wood smoke is wonderful. Many thanks to Senf and the setter, I particularly liked 14d. Question: Why are the papers full of travel/holiday advertisements when it is quite plain that holidays are going to be like hens teeth this year?

    1. And why did I waste £250 renewing my annual travel insurance in at the start of the month…….

      1. Mine was up for renewal April last year & I didn’t bother won’t this year either , nor Mrs LROK.
        We are putting the money towards a Learjet. At 79 it’s the only way I think we will leave these shores again.

    2. Re holidays: I suspect they want us to book, pay a deposit to help their cash flow, then even if we have to cancel, some of us will rebook with the same company. It stops the competition from getting their hands on your money.

    3. Hi Daisy – I finished reading the Adam Kay book last night, thoroughly enjoyed it, once I’d accepted that the amount of vernacular he employs is doubtless fairly commonplace. I particularly liked the med school students shorthand for ‘obstetrics and gynaecology’!

      1. So pleased you enjoyed it – someone told me they are making a television version of the book – I somehow do not
        think that vaginal overload would be that popular. Now read Where The Crawdads sing by Delian Owens.

        1. I’ve actually already read that one, Daisy, CS recommended it a while ago. It’s been doing the rounds of my friends ever since!

    4. Well done remembering when you get back to the kitchen, I invariably never remember what it was. I now get half way through a sentence and struggle to think what I was going to say! Agree about the travel ads.

      1. I think I am thinking of the wrong word. The word I feel I ought to put in, thinking of the first two
        words, does not seem to me to have anything to do with cake. Whereas the word I want to put in
        Why don’t I just shut up and go back to sleep.

      1. By Jove I’ve got it! I think.
        Of course, I just knock a letter off – trouble is – I do not
        class those as cakes!
        Thank you Senf, you have saved my bacon. Sorted.

  22. My main bits of trouble were in the bottom left corner – and that for some reason I seem to be in trouble – have to keep filling in my name and email before I’m allowed to comment and haven’t had to do that for years. :sad:

    1. I suspect you have cleared cookies.
      Put a tick in the box that says
      Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
      and it should save you til the next post.

      1. It is only rookies who try to clear the cookies.
        But it takes the biscuit, that anyone is prepared to risk it.

  23. Now I’ll see if I can comment on the actual crossword and whether or not I have to fill it all in again.
    I really enjoyed today’s crossword – lots that made me laugh.
    Clues that stood out for me today were 9 and 28a and 5, 14 and 22d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Very cold in Oxford – we had a few hours of heavy snow earlier this morning but most of it’s gone now even though the temperature is still only 1C.

  24. Definitely not my cup of tea today. Found it rather laborious and didn’t feel like a Dada puzzle. Did like 28a and 8d. I was hesitant to put in several answers until checkers verified, e.g. 20a. Couldn’t figure out what “keep” had to do with the answer. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  25. Dada was more friendly to me this week particularly in the South. I’m with DG re cakes in 27a. Joint Favs 28a and 5d to which I have now added 14d when the penny dropped. Not sure about 21d. A mere dusting of snow in West Sussex. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  26. I found this quite friendly. I remembered 7a from before but needed e-help to spell it. I also needed help spelling 16d, even though it was an anagram, I never trust myself when there are so many vowels.
    First in was 9a and think that’s fave, 28a and 18d deserve honourable mention. I thought there were lots of clever clues.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for his unravelling a few for me.

  27. 3*/4*…..
    liked 5D “Might one have you for dinner? (8)”…….
    do not recall having seen Senf’s cartoon before !

Comments are closed.