ST 3097 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3097 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3097 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, in Canada, a third vaccine (AstraZeneca) was at last approved this week.  We hope its availability will do something to improve on the glacial rate of getting the stuff into peoples arms.  Although, centralised procurement and distribution is under the control of an Army General and based on his performance so far he would have trouble ordering a round of drinks!

Keep staying safe everyone. 

For me, this was a slow start until I recognised some oldies but goodies and then with the four long perimeter clues solved it was off to the races.  I counted four anagrams (two partials), two lurkers, and two homophones – 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 – 1a, 28a, 30a, and 6d.

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 Science prize thus bagged by idiot (12)
A type of prize, often awarded to the winner or winners of a sports competition, and the Latin based three letter synonym of thus all inserted into (bagged by) a three letter synonym of idiot.

10a Outskirts of Russia invaded by Arab country (7)
The first and last letters (outskirts) of RussiA containing (invaded by) a particular Arab person.

12a Upper limit, this person is saying (5)
A three letter abbreviated form of a term for upper limit and a (1’1) term for this person. represented by the perpendicular pronoun, is.

16a Hit many years ago, exact revenge (3,4)
A double definition – the first is a musical hit which was a number one in 1969 – many years ago by Dada’s reckoning.

18a Dull: outside windy (7)
An anagram (windy) of OUTSIDE.

21a Tennis player’s skill pinches prize on the backhand (7)
A four letter synonym of pinches and an informal synonym of the type of prize a tennis player might win all reversed (on the backhand) – Oops, there goes the repetition radar.

23a Spirit in angel angelic! (4)
The first lurker (in) found in two words of the clue.

28a Allowance: gratuity put in post (7)
A synonym of gratuity inserted into (put in) a synonym of post (as in mail).

30a Item on breakfast menu encourages saint (4,8)
A four letter synonym of encourages, usually associated with on, and a well known saint who lived in the fifth and sixth centuries – My favourite breakfast when I am away from home. I would never be able to make the sauce.


1d Reportedly, a condiment that might be common (7)
The first homophone (reportedly) of A from the clue and a four letter condiment.

3d Somewhere remote, travelling then home again? (7)
A three letter term for travelling followed by (then) a four letter term for home again – where one would have to go to see the illustrated feature.

5d A little mathematical challenge, it’s said (4)
The second homophone (it’s said) of a three letter mathematical challenge.

7d Fit man sighted, unfortunately, snacking in secret (8,5)
An anagram (unfortunately) of FIT MAN SIGHTED.

8d Fly’s relative, giant in the family? (5-4-4)
A parental relative and a (4-4) term that could indicate being a giant – I think.

15d Reach safety primarily, and survive (5)
The first letter (primarily) of Safety and a synonym of survive.

20d Wrap item on horse around wife (7)
An item on a horse (that acts as a seat) containing (around) the single letter for wife – a question for all the grandmothers, is this still allowed/recommended? Yes or No answers only please.

21d Snack more delicious, almost inspiring love (7)
A single word for more delicious with the last letter removed (almost) containing (inspiring) the single letter for a score of love (in a racquet game).

24d African country, enclave of Somalia? (4)
We finish with the second lurker (enclave of) found in the last word of the clue – I think this must be Dada’s favourite African country when it comes to his crosswords.

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Steve Harley, English singer and songwriter, best known as frontman of the rock group Cockney Rebel, an English ‘glam rock’ band from the early 1970s, celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday.  This was the group’s only number one single and was written by Steve Harley himself, next best was number five and several singles didn’t make the charts at all:

70 comments on “ST 3097 (Hints)

  1. It’s my first time here although I’ve been lurking for many years. I found this crossword quite straightforward and, rare for me, managed to complete it without any outside assistance. There was a time when the Sunday puzzle was much harder than Saturday but no longer it seems. Maybe the tips here in the past have improved my cruciverbalistic abilities. Thanks to the setter and Senf for the tips.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Earleybird. Now that you’ve de-lurked, please keep on commenting in future.

  2. Had my AstraZeneca jab yesterday & thus far no I’ll effects other than feeling a tad more achy than usual. Found today’s puzzle pleasingly straightforward (if only the same were true of his Graun prize) with a solve in bang on **time & thought it enjoyable enough without perhaps being up there with his best. My pick of the clues were all the starters in the NW – 1&3d plus 16a as well as the long uns top & bottom. Today’s albums: Innervisions (Stevie Wonder)& It’s Only Rock’N’Roll (Stones)
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf

    1. I love Innervisions. I rarely listen to music while solving, but today I’m listening to Gerald Garcia (Latin guitar). It doesn’t get in the way.

      1. I haven’t fared much better Hoofs – shame as was on for 8 in a row.
        Everyman nice & gentle though

        1. Funny isn’t it. I finished the Tramp and Picaroon in the week and usually finish the Everyman, but could do virtually nothing of this week’s Everyman.

  3. 1.5*/5*. I found this the easiest Dada Sunday puzzle I can remember and it was a joy from start to finish. I suspected a pangram early on, but this didn’t materialise.

    My overcrowded podium comprises 1a, 11a, 12a, 24a, 30a & 1d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. It was unusually straightforward for Dada but quite enjoyable, and, as others havee said, the long clues were the key (2*/4*). I liked 1a and 30a, the latter being my COTD for the amusement factor. Thanks to Senf, I hopse you get your vaccine soon. I had the AstraZeneca 4 weeks ago and felt a bit tired and fluey, with an achey arm for about 48 hours, nothing terrible. Thabks to Dada for another entertaining puzzle.

      1. Thank you. But you are not Big Brother in this instance you are just the kind host of this marvellous site.

  5. Excellent puzzle today, puts yesterdays horror firmly in the shade. So many good clues its hard to pick favourites but I did really like 1a and 8d although if I must then 30a would be the best for me.
    Thanks to Dada for a very enjoyable Sunday crossword.
    Thx for the excellent hints which I needed to explain two answers.

  6. I liked 1a a lot and it was a good start. Long outside answers are great if you can get them in early, otherwise it’s no fun. Nearly gave up on 18 and 21a, then they just appeared.

    Re 20d, it’s a Yes from me, but a No from my daughter. Times change.
    Thanks to Senf and setter.

  7. No obscurities today which is a little unusual for Sunday’s compiler. **/*** 24a made me smile. Favourite today 1a. A well constructed clue. Thanks to all.

  8. I will have to agree with earlier commenters views on this: very accessible and hugely enjoyable. Although 1a took me a while to unravel to enable me to solve the many down clues it started, it became my favourite, along with 30a. A thoroughly worthwhile and fun exercise.

    My thanks to Dada and Senf.

  9. Pretty straightforward for the most part. Just a few stragglers took me just to *** time in the end.
    18a my COTD, took a while to spot the (for me) well disguised anagram indicator. 1a was a very close second
    A good solid Sunday solve for me.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and Senf for pointing out the Beatles connection in 16a.
    At least Wales proved they can play against 15 men yesterday. Pity for them England showed they can’t work out how to play against 16.

    1. For as long as Owen Farrell is England captain, which hopefully is not too much longer, Eddie Jones needs to serve him with a ‘gag order’ so that, while permitted, his long ‘conversations’ with the referees do not take place. I remember a couple of years ago another French referee showed his annoyance at the long ‘conversations’ by telling Farrell that he wasn’t the team coach. Not quite a ‘Nigel Owens.’ but quite close.

  10. After shoveling a mountain of compost from a trailer to my allotment yesterday, I’m convinced my arms are 3 inches longer.
    A benign DADA today, I thought, after getting nowhere with his alter ego in the Guardian prize yesterday, I feel a bit better, though perhaps lacking a bit of Dada’s usual sparkle.
    I watched the rugby yesterday, terrible bit of refereeing, I thought, though not as bad as the disallowed goal in the WBA v Brighton game.
    Thanks both.

    1. Hoofs
      Refs make mistakes (even you, or has Covid induced retirement?). Biggar’s quick thinking then a kick that was millimetre perfect contributed to the score more than a little.
      According to reports Eddie Jones’ dog didn’t enjoy his dinner last night Biggles certainly enjoyed his.

      1. The referee was far and away the worst I have ever seen, and that is top of a long list of poor referees – I stopped watching after the second non-try was awarded.

        1. BD
          Agree the 1st was a referee error, the second I as understand it was a 50:50 call.
          We’ve all had pretty poor refereeing decisions go against (and for) us but the scoreline rather suggests there was more to it than that.
          All forwards have to play right on the margins, what England seem unable to grasp is that it is the referee’s margins that matter not theirs.
          As Senf suggests the England captain needs to understand about when and how to talk to referees. It can win or lose a game. One of the main reasons Warren Gatland appointed Sam Warburton as Captain of both Wales & the Lions was the way he handled referees

      2. No, football starts again at the end of march, I’ll be there.
        The only abuse I get now is from the Mrs. At least the footballers I can send off! Having said that…
        The ref I the WBA game committed the cardinal sin of allowing a quick free kick near the penalty box.
        In the rugby presumably the England team assumed the Welsh lad wad going to kick at goal.

        1. Not at all, HoofIt. The referee had told the England captain to talk to his team about their repeated infringements and while all bar one of the team were gathered together in the middle of the pitch listening to what their captain had to say, the referee blew his whistle to allow play to continue. To add to the confusion a number of water carriers were still on the pitch amidst the players. Even the Welsh commentators were astounded.

          At the end of the match when former Welsh international Jonathan Davies was asked to nominate The Man Of The Match, he asked if he was allowed to pick the referee!

        2. That ref should not even be allowed into a Rugby stadium ever again. Apart from his two horrendous decisions he obviously hates the game of rugby and did his level best to make sure that no player from either side was allowed to play the game. At the very least he should be fined his match fee together with spineless video ref who didn’t want to upset his mate.

  11. Great puzzle today which I started very early as I remembered at about 5 a.m. to book a Tesco slot for Easter. I was quite flummoxed to start with (nice word that!) – and only put in about 2 in the first 15 minutes or so but then it all fell into place quite nicely. Getting the four long ones helped. 1d was clever and 18a too. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

    1. I’m always flummoxed (!) when I hear that you chaps have to book grocery deliveries. I could go to my computer now, make a grocery list, press the “order” button, and it’ll be here in less than two hours or less. The only delays I’ve had have been in bad weather.

  12. Sleepless night for some reason so actually set about solving this at 3.30am. Thought perhaps that was ‘my time’ when I fairly flew through it but it seems from other comments that it was a soft pedal exercise from our setter.
    Plenty of smiles along the way and I handed out medals to 1,12&30a (yummy breakfast) plus 8d – loved the book.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the Sunday hints.

        1. Thanks for trying Jane,.
          Hope he is just taking a “sabattical” wish him & mama well from me too.

      1. I’ve now sent another email to John and also included my phone no. in case he’s having problems sending messages from his laptop. I’ll post a message on the blog as soon as I (hopefully) hear back from him.

        1. Thank you, Jane. I do hope John and his good lady are well. If you do make contact send them my good wishes.

  13. I agree with all that has been said already but, as is usual with me and Dada, it took me ages to get started. Putting the wrong answer to 3d held me up until I saw the error of my ways. I also suspected a pangram but it did not materialise. Why do I see them when they are not there but never spot them when they are? The clues I liked were 1a, 10a and 16a (thank you for The Beatles, Senf) but my COTD is 22d, which I thought was quite neat.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  14. Another great puzzle – thanks to Dada for the excellent challenge which I managed to meet in fairly good time! My COTD was 8D – first in and got things off to a cracking start. Thanks also to Senf for the blog ‘n hints.

  15. I must finally be getting my mojo back because this, and the GK, were finished before 9 am EST. 30 across is also my pick. Thanks Dada and Senf.

    1. Welcome back, Chris. My friend in Maryland has been having appalling weather, I’ve been keeping you in mind. Please keep warm and dry.

  16. I agree with the comments above. I did find the bottom half slower than the top but got SW swiftly after solving 20 and SE followed. Got all the long ones on first pass save for 30a. The strangest thing happened this morning. During the omnibus edition of The Archers on Radio 4, as I was wondering about my solution for 12a, a character said the word which is the answer. I don’t think I’ll go on the naughty step as it is unlikely that anyone will listen to an hour of The Archers just to spot the word. Favourites 1 12 and 30a and 8d. Thanks to Dada and to Senf although hints not needed. For once I agree with Brian as I did not enjoy yesterday’s from Mr Lancaster but thought Friday’s Xandio was brilliant.

    1. Guilty as charged! Enjoy the Dundee orange and Vermont cheddar scones with glazed honey frosting.

      And send me the spare jerky if no one wants it.

      Mrs T

  17. Another terrific Dada Day. I’m with Jane on my toppers: 1a, 30a, and 12a. A lovely puzzle. Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / ****

  18. Good old Dada does it again with a great set of neat clues – 30a as my favourite yum yum! Thanks to Senf and hope the vaccine roll out goes smoothly and quickly

  19. Enjoyable from start to finish – thank you Dada! Hard to choose just one COTD. 24a, 30a and 8d all raised smiles. Thanks Senf for the hints, especially the 16a video. I hadn’t heard of the hit. Before my time, so definitely many, MANY years ago!

      1. Kath
        It was 50+ years ago Kath add 6 years for “graduating” from Playschool to pop
        Surely there are a number of sub 56 year-old contributors-.

        1. Mr K’s survey confirmed that there are some sub-fifties solvers and contributors, but we (yes, including me) are in a tiny minority, <5%

  20. Thanks so much for the Steve Harley clip – I used to have that song as a ring tone, but lost it. Saw him live, accompanied only by a sole violinist at Bolton many years ago – an excellent concert.
    Enjoyed this offering, very fair and a medium stretch.

  21. Lovely puzzle. I like Sundays. I can always get going straight away. Other days I get about 3 or 4 on first pass and have to go away and come back. I’m just on Dada’s wavelength I think.
    Liked 8d
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  22. A great puzzle after yesterday’s stinker. 16a clip raised a big smile in our house. Married in 1966 and eldest daughter born in 1969 the Beatles are a big part of our history. Again, I have to say we were born at exactly the right time. After both World Wars and before things started to get rather crazy. Had to dig deep to remember 8d, we don’t get them here. And the picture at 30a has inspired me to look for a recipe and give it a try. Had them lots of times, but never made myself. Thanks to Dada for an enjoyable solve, and to Senf for the hints.

  23. Found this Dada puzzle hard to get going at first. Not quirky, but not just plain sailing either. 2.5*/**** for this week. Some clues that were hard to parse. SE was last area in today with 22d last in.
    Favourite clues include1a, 11a, 16a, 24a & 20d with winner 1a. Took a while to get that one as I had the wrong answer in 4d for a while.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  24. Pleasant time filler on a lazy Sunday afternoon. No real favourites, 2* completion time. I do think Dada has become more benevolent in recent weeks. Thanks to all

  25. I agree with everything said, even about yesterday’s referee – not that I know anything about it, or even watched it, but George said
    is was bad refereeing and of course, I defer to my lord and master in every way. I agree that the four long outsiders were a great help and regarding 20d
    I was not to lay a baby in a vast cot to flail about freely when for nine months every movement had met comforting restrictions. . Made sense to me and I had the two most contented babies ever. I know you said yes or no answer Senf, but I am a rebel! I was amused yesterday to see my name as one of the answers to one of the big General Knowledge Crossword answers – what is more it is the second time in six months. How often does that happen unless your name is Rosemary or Basil? Thanks to Senf and to the setter. We have had a perfect day here, cloudless sky, warm sun and drinks in the garden at lunchtime, little vintage plane from Duxford puttering about in the sky above us. Almost normal.

  26. Fairly flew through this until 1a and 4 5 and 6d. I finally thought of a potential bung-in for 1a, which unlocked the missing down clues. Duly bunged in 1a, but the time taken doubled. No excuses from watching rugby today!
    Never liked watching J Caplan referee England, but yesterday’s trounced anything I thought before.
    Thanks Senf and Dada

  27. I really enjoyed this Dada. I usually do battle with his offerings but this was huge fun. I cannot solve 12a, even with Senf’s help, I’m not going to spend any more time on it.
    My fave is 8d, I loved the book, even read it again a year or so ago, reminder of a happy childhood reading nonstop! I thought 30a was pretty tasty too.
    Thank you Dada for the fun, and to Senf for your unravelling a couple for me, not your fault I can’t get 12a, just me being thick.

    1. Ive had my road to Damascus moment, just came in a flash! Oh, how dim can a girl be without being committed!

  28. I didn’t think I was ever going to get started with this and then, suddenly, there it was finished – how odd!
    Definitely benign today – for me anyway – must be the sunshine and the useful day in the garden.
    Missed the anagram in 16a which really was pretty dim but other than that no real problems – just lots of good clues.
    My favourite was either 24a or 8d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  29. Thank you to the setter, Big Dave and especially to Senf, I could not have come close to completing this one without help. Not that makes it any less enjoyable, it’s just that some days I feel thick as a plank.

    I agree with Senf about the slow roll out of the vaccine here, and we live about 30 miles from a Johnson and Johnson plant. Not that they make the vaccine as far as I know. But we do seem to be lagging behind in vaccinations. I am very grateful that I can stay home and Alan is really careful when he goes grocery shopping.

    Having said all that I do want to relay my sister-in-law’s experience of the vaccine. Just to hopefully reassure people. She is a front line worker (nursing home) and got her first shot 3 weeks ago, had no reaction beyond a slightly sore arm. The second dose however hit her like a truck. Her arm felt more sore this time and then at about 4.00 a.m. she was quite unwell, cold yet hot, sweating, aching ,especially her joints. But after taking paracetamol and sitting up in a chair she started to feel better about 12 hours later. She is allergic to penicillin, perhaps there is something in the non-drug part of the vaccine that makes some people more likely to react. Anyway either way she wants me to pass on to people I know that when the reaction hits it can be quite scary but knowing that it won’t last long might take away some of the worry.
    Big Dave this is so very off topic I will not be at all offended if you chose to edit or remove.

    1. As per reports from other people, it seems that the Moderna second shot is the one that causes those symptoms. I’ve known four people now who had those exact same reactions, of course I’m no doctor. I had the Pfizer and only had extreme fatigue, as have other Pfizer recipients. It’d be interesting to find out.

      1. Here we have a gap of 12 weeks between the two vaccinations. I wonder if that makes a difference to the reaction after the second. I had the Astra Zeneca and my husband had the Pfizer. We both had mi I mal reactions. I felt nothing and had no mark on my arm. The next day I felt rather tired and achy but nothing serious and nothing visible or painful.

  30. 3*/4*….needed the hints for a few…
    thought 21A “Tennis player’s skill pinches prize on the backhand (7)” a clever clue.

  31. Laid low with labyrinthitis yesterday so could not manage crosswords or even reading until this afternoon. So a great delight to find a Dada that I could do alone and unaided with the exception of 15d where I had entirely the wrong middle vowel. So thanks to Senf.
    Favourite definitely 30a…raised a big smile here.

    Thanks to Senf and to Dada.

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