ST 3098 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3098 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3098 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, with the beginning of ‘Meteorological Spring,’ unseasonably warmer temperatures have started the thaw so the snow is disappearing and ‘open water’ is starting to appear on the rivers.

Keep staying safe everyone. 

For me, the anagram indicator in 27a is an appropriate description for today’s puzzle.  I counted nine anagrams (five partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and one homophone – all in a very 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.  But, I absolutely refuse to provide a hint for 9d!

Candidates for favourite – 12a, 24a, 18d, 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 Where curved scissors may be used immediately (2,3,4)
A double definition to start – the illustration relates to the first.

11a Mouse in short evil, badly nipping man (9,6)
An anagram (badly) of IN SHORT EVIL containing (nipping) a type of man used in a board game.

12a Sharp, male wordplayer? (7)
When written as a (3,4) term it might equate to a male wordplayer?

15a Collection of pictures fixed up with aplomb, Hogarth? (10,5)
An anagram (fixed) of UP and (with) APLOMB, HOGARTH.

24a What simmering mouse stew might do for dish? (6,3,6)
What any simmering stew might do and the sound that may be heard if there was a mouse in it.

27a Expression in dance, sure quirky (9)
A generic type of dance event, usually attended by younger people, and an anagram (quirky) of SURE.


1d Battle in progress, no messing up! (4)
The reverse lurker (in . . . up) found in three words in the clue – the ‘forward’ lurker, not hinted by me, is 10a.

3d Vessel is entering race (8)
IS from the clue inserted into (entering) a synonym, Hmm, of race.

5d I hope it regenerates a country (8)
An anagram (regenerates) of I HOPE IT followed by A from the clue.

6d Bed where darling tucks everyone in (6)
A three letter synonym of darling contains (tucks . . . in) a synonym of everyone.

7d Sensed left isn’t right (4)
An anagram (isn’t right) of LEFT.

14d All letters redirected, watch post (5)
How one might describe a (wrist or pocket) watch reversed (all letters redirected).

18d Torment and carry threat (7)
A three letter term for torment and a four letter term for carry.

21d Country golf club welcoming women, initially (6)
The HQ of golf in the UK, written as (1,3,1) containing (welcoming) the first letter (initially) of Women.

23d Drink taster mentioned? (6)
The homophone (mentioned) of a type of taster?

25d Hold gander upside down (4)
A synonym of gander (as in look) reversed (upside down).

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French composer, pianist and conductor Maurice Ravel was born on this day in 1875 – also a Sunday coincidentally. This is probably one of his most famous works; a complete version (without Torvill and Dean) from the 2014 Proms – hands up all those who knew that it actually lasts a lot longer than the 4 minute T&D version:

88 comments on “ST 3098 (Hints)

  1. I agree, Senf, about the anagram insmdicator in 27a describing this puzzle. Dada has a knack of throwing you a curve, just as you think you’ve found your rhythm, with a nice piece of misdirection, an unusual synonym or a great cryptic definition. I really enjoyed this one (2*/4*), particularly the three long across clues with 11a and 24a joint COTD. Thank you to Dada for another intriguing puzzle and to Senf for the hints.

  2. Thanks Senf, a comfortable solve today, just a couple of headscratchers to keep me honest. I used to love 24a, I did a labouring job after uni and every morning we went to a cafe in Peckham High Street and had bacon, egg and xxxxxx for breakfast. Delicious.
    Thanks to Dada too.

    1. For me 24a is one of the great side benefits of cooking a large roast dinner, with lots of left overs. I cook extra vegetables so that I can make it the next day.

  3. By dada’s standards I thought this was a pretty straightforward offering. A bit of a hmm over 3d. That’s really stretching a synonym. Likewise with 24d. Noun and verb a bit muddled there to my way of thinking. However, an entertaining puzzle. **/*** I particularly liked 18d but my runaway favourite is 24a. Thanks to all. I wish it would become a bit more Spring like here. We seemed to have returned to the Arctic.

  4. I have been lurking here for several years and thought it was about time I de-lurked to say thank you. I have gone from complete beginner to mild incompetent, needing a lot of help along the way. The crossword is now a joy and I look forward to it every morning. I have even improved in lockdown – a rare positive. Thanks to you all for taking the time to do this blog – it really does make a difference.

    1. Don’t lurk. If you need help, cryptic sue is our expert. Chambers dictionary is the bible. And everybody else just gives their own 10 pence worth for good measure! It’s a little bit of sanity (or insanity) in this strange world.

  5. I’m not sure that my thoughts are worth 10 pence, so here’s my shilling’s worth.

    I thought I was going to fail with just two blank squares, but a methodic run through the alphabet got me an answer to 24d. I’n not sure I like it though. I’m not sure I like 8a either.

    However, I did enjoy 7d and 24a, 27a took me ages as I was convinced it was a full anagram.

    Many thanks to the setter and Senf.

    1. Me too which is why I thought it a rather crafty clue. I even briefly wondered if 23d could be with an E as a result.

  6. Not the first time we’ve had 8a as a synonym of ‘immediately’ and I still don’t like it whatever the BRB may have to say.
    Other than that and trying to make 27a an anagram, I thought this was a pleasant romp from our Sunday setter.
    The thought of 24a as described in the clue was a bit stomach-churning but it was nevertheless my stand-out clue of the puzzle.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and music. Much as I admire Jane and Chris, it made a pleasant change to simply concentrate on Ravel’s music.

    1. I worked in Bristol many years ago near the Corn Exchange. There were small upright columns outside – each was called the last part of the answer to 8a. I was told that to buy corn you have to put your money down in the top of this thing before you could purchase Hence the expression “money xx xxx xxxx”.

      1. Welcome to the blog. I did come across what you have described in an on-line search but the researcher(s) suggested that the usage of the expression may refer to a different type of **** which predates what you have described. But I do like the idea.

        1. I believe the **** in question was in the centre of a corn market and was made of wood.

  7. 3*/4*. I think Dada must have composed this puzzle with Senf in mind.

    I did enjoy it but I’m not keen on 24d, and, in any event, isn’t the answer for the required meaning a noun although the wordplay leads to a verb? I wouldn’t have said 2d was a villain – Collins agrees with me but Chambers says it is OK.

    13a & 24a were my joint favourites.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. 24a. I reckon the clue is a verbal description, requesting/triggering a noun and the answer is also a noun. There might be some slight grammatical jiggery-pokery, but that is far from unknown in cryptic clue construction.

      1. I think that 24d is a double definition (both informal), the first (charge) a verb and the second a noun.

        1. I saw it as a double definition too and I suspect that I’m thinking of the same informal verb and noun as you. Better not say any more, lest I end up sitting on the naughty step, which according to Tilsit yesterday, has been treated with red Cardinal polish……nasty.

        2. Many thanks, Gazza. That works for me and I withdraw my lack of keenness about that clue! It’s actually very clever.

  8. Not the easiest Sunday but solvable with patience unlike yesterdays half horror. My favs are 22a and 24a but I cannot fully parse 7d, 14d, 24d and 17d whose wordplay is currently beyond me although I am sure my answers are correct.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian
      Hope you appreciated the on-line hug from Chalicea yesterday (#32 in case you missed it).

      1. Missed the online hug. So pleased she didn’t write that awful 1a clue, the crossword editor should be ashamed of himself messing about with the setters work.

        1. I just wonder
          (1) how many times CL does that &
          (2) what the original clue was.
          The easier clue would perhaps have given way in to the NW corner which most found a challenge.

    2. 14d. Senf tells you. Don’t you read the hints after completing to check and parse? 7d is a simple anagram. 17d I can’t say anything without saying too much but if you look at the words in the clue carefully and your answer you can’t miss it. 24d I’m with you.

      1. I read the hints but still didn’t understand the bit about all the letters. As for 7d I just recognise the poor anagram indicator although my answer was correct.

        1. Repeating more or less what I said in the hint for 14d. Come up with a descriptive term for a watch and reverse it – all (of its) letters redirected!

  9. Thank you Senf for explaining 14d (duh) but still struggling with 24d even though there’s very few options! Lovely puzzle I do enjoy Dada’s use of unusual words. Think we’ve seen 11a recently?

  10. Except for the SE corner very straightforward for a Dada I thought.
    ** time but like others spent far too long trying to fit a 9 letter anagram for 27a.
    24a my COTD, hope no animals were hurt in researching the clue!
    As a golfer 21d fine by me but think it specialised rather than general knowledge so not very fair for many..
    Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and Senf for the usual enlightenment.

    1. Apologies to Ms Torvill – habit of a lifetime! Love those Flashmob sequences, the expressions on the faces of the bystanders are often priceless. Thought for a minute that you were going to show us Dudley Moore in Ten!

  11. Great fun and just right for a sunny Shropshire Sunday. 24a was my absolute favourite, with visions of a Tom and Jerryesque cartoon as I solved it. 21d also worth an honourable mention. 2d was the only clue to raise an eyebrow but I guess it just about works.

    Thanks to Dada and the Cantering Canadian.

  12. I didn’t understand 24d and, like others, I spent ages trying to work out an anagram at 24a. I agree with Jane regarding 8a that it does not – to me – mean immediately. I don’t see what 12d has to do with being spring operated but, other than these, it was an enjoyable puzzle. My absolute favourite was 24a, which I love making and is the only dish I have with tomato ketchup.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  13. Luckily, I remembered 24a from my days at the U of Nottingham, when I first heard of it–and partook of it, and I also remembered the initials in 21d. But those two clues could sink someone from these parts who is not quite the anglophile like me, but fair enough: the clues were sufficient unto themselves, I think. I very much enjoyed this excellent Dada last night, which I finished after the NYT Sunday Jumbo. The NW was my last corner to fall, with 8a and 3d my last ones in. 24a should by all rights win the Gold but my top medals go to 27a and 18d, with 24a winning the Bronze. I find 24d rather mysterious, by the way, and I wonder if Senf might enlighten me? I did make a lucky guess there. Thanks to Dada and Senf. ** / ****

    1. Your mention of Nottingham University made me think about the catering. Not the 24a but some of the banquet catering. I once enjoyed probably one of the best buffets I have had at a function in one of the Halls of Residence. Did you frequent the Staff Club (now called the Hemsley club)? I’ve had some delicious lunches there.

      1. I was a ‘Moral Tutor’ (as it was called then) at Cripps Hall, 1971-72, during my Visiting Professorship at the University. And I took most of my meals in the Senior Common Room at Cripps, though on Sundays we dined in the large dining hall with the students. I don’t think I ever feasted at the Staff Club, though. The excellent meals at Cripps are among the great memories of my year there.

  14. Very enjoyable, like others 24a was a treat. 24d and 2d both bung ins, and as not hinted no doubt it will all have passed me by when the answers are revealed.

  15. I struggled from the outset with this one & eventually laboured to a finish in just shy of **** time without ever getting on any sort of a roll. I wasn’t keen on either 3d or 8a & also felt 24d, my last in, a bit tenuous. Still very enjoyable, as ever from Mr H. Despite the ghastly image it conjured up 24a was my clear pick of the bunch & I also particularly liked 11,12&27a along with 18&21d. An absolutely gorgeous afternoon here in Harpenden so a long walk beckons. Today’s albums: Promise Of The Real (Lukas Nelson & POTR) & Phone Booth (Robert Cray)
    With thanks to Dada & to Senf.

  16. Quirky, an excellent description and I would have solved 27a a lot quicker had I not spelt 23d with an E
    Enjoyable al the same and thanks to Dada and Senf

  17. Unusually for a Dada no hints needed except for 3d. Solutions to all the others can be justified by me, to myself, so may look at the full review to check them.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  18. 24D – be honest here. This clue does not work and spoils a great crossword!

  19. I loved the long clues and I don’t have a problem with 8a. Not surprisingly last two in were 2d and 24d. I was convinced by 2d once I realised it was a partial anagram. I liked 12a – short and to the point. There seems to be general agreement that this is a good Sunday offering from Dada, nothing wrong with quirky, but a shame about 24d. Thanks.

  20. All done but quite a struggle at times! Like several others I’m a tad unsure about 24D – couple of options but think I’ve chosen the right one🤞
    Had a groan with the eventual solve of 12A…was ‘back to front’ in my efforts – eventually a real ‘Doh!’ moment.
    Thanks to Dada for the challenge/head-scratching and, of course, to Senf for helping me confirm some of the other answers.

  21. Although I’m still relatively new to these Telegraph cryptic s, I thought some of the clues today were tenuous and unfathomable to say the least. 8a and 24 down are good examples. As for 19a I can see the queen part, but how does good start fit the answer? Baffled!

    1. The first two letters are an Informal abbreviation of a word meaning good seen from time to time in crosswords, and therefore worth filing in the memory bank for next time. I had forgotten it and went first of all to the obvious.

  22. I share the unrest about 24d and 8a, and also spent too long trying to anagram two words in 27a. I’ll choose that as my favourite because of the misdirection. Otherwise an easier-than-usual Dada offering. Just into 3* time and also for enjoyment. Thanks to all.

  23. Well this is like the Dada of the past … definitely quirky today. 2.5*/***** As per Dada, some great clues throughout the puzzle.SE was my last area finished today but 24d was the last in. COTD include 12a, 15a, 24a, 2d & 25d with 24a the winner and 15a runner up.
    Horrible wet and rainy day here for the early morning walk on the west coast of BC. The dog thought so to … he was kinda reluctant to venture out but we did.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints

  24. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with some tricky clues. I got held up in the SE corner. Had to laugh at 23d, which reminded me of a joke that I couldn’t possibly repeat here! My last in was 27a, which I was convinced was an anagram of “dance sure”, but eventually the penny dropped. Favourite was 7d. Was 3* /4* for me.

  25. At last got 12a, like Bruce H above also trying to get it from the wrong angle. Great puzzle all round though and thankfully got the long ones quite quickly. I had a very nasty accident on the Coastal Path at Morston this morning and ended up in A & E in Norwich for 3 hours – won’t be able to walk for ages. Thanks to all for the puzzle.

    1. Very sorry to hear that, Manders. Look after yourself, do more crosswords, and I hope you make as speedy a recovery as possible.

    2. Sorry to hear about your accident Manders😯
      Hope you heal quickly and are back on your feet again soon.
      Take care!

      1. Sorry to hear about your accident and you must feel really frustrated about not being able to walk. I felt the same, when I fractured my femur 18 months ago. Hopefully you’ll have a good physiotherapist to help you get on your feet soon.

    3. Oh no! Please get well soon. My friend in Inverness fell and broke a bone or two, I’ve learnt that the NHS gives excellent care, so hope for a speedy recovery!

      1. Thank you all so much for your good wishes, what a lovely community this is. I haven’t broken anything, There are a set of metal steps going over a dyke and I must have tripped and hit the sharp end of one of the steps with full force on my leg. It was absolute agony and I just had to hold it for minutes. When I eventually took my hand off I thought I had partially severed my leg! So off to A & E, trousers cut off and came out wearing hospitel pyjama bottoms! I think it will be rather a long haul but thanks again for the nice comments.

        1. Thank goodness nothing broken. And now you have a good excuse to sit around doing crosswords 😊.

  26. I thought this was quite a sneaky one but, for me anyway, the best Sunday crossword for ages – I loved it.
    Our Younger Lamb is always called Mouse (a long story) – she certainly isn’t an 11a and wouldn’t take kindly to being simmered!
    24d was my last one and I still don’t quite ‘get it’.
    So many good clues today that it’s quite difficult to pick any in particular but probably 12a and 14, 20 and 25d.
    My favourite by a long way was 24a which made me laugh – even made husband laugh although I had to explain it.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. Yes, 24d. It will be interesting to read the reviewer’s verdict next week. And even then, I suspect there will be a few who still don’t “get it”.

  27. Slow to get started with the three 15 letter answers so this went into **** territory for difficulty but also for enjoyment. Thank you Dada and Senf (what’s the Canadian difficulty with 9d???)

    1. Just a city that has grandiose ideas of its standing and importance that irritates the rest of us.

      1. I thought because of the “Suits” connection it was, far as Canada goes, the centre of the known Universe Senf.

  28. A good crossword: the top half flew in, but the bottom half left me me with some big mmms, and took a good deal longer to solve.
    Thanks Dada, and to Senf for confirming a few things

  29. Maybe I’m getting on Dada’s wavelength? A little bit of holdup in the SE, a hint for 18d sorted that. I bunged in 21d, I felt it had to be but didn’t know the golf club; in any case I was looking for a club, lower case.
    By far and away my fave was 24a, love the name and the taste – my Mum always said you can’t “love” food!
    Much gratitude to Dada for the fun, and to Senf for his hints that got me going again. Sun’s out, pool here I come!

  30. A good weekend for crosswords….both days have been tricky enough to entertain and stretch the grey matter and a few chuckles along the way too. Enjoyed the simmering mouse! I don’t recall having seen a grid like this? Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  31. All slowly yielded to steady pressure except for 24d. No idea how that is supposed to be parsed (or, more precisely, what the ‘informal’ meanings are). I’ll have to make a note in the diary to check out the full hints in due course. ***/***

  32. Got held up by a handful at the end. Bunged in 21d. Haven’t had 24a since I was a teenager, although I did use to really enjoy it. 15a fell right in as I have just compiled a “birth to high school graduation” one for our granddaughter’s birthday later this month. 9a was also a gift, as I went to live there in May 1947 with my parents. But Mum couldn’t deal with the climate, and we sailed back to England that October on the Queen Mary. Thanks to Dada for a good brain teaser, and to Senf for helping me fill I the gaps.

  33. 3*/4*….
    liked 24A “What simmering mouse stew might do for dish? (6,3,6)”…hope the RSPCA are not solving !

  34. Difficult, but I finished it in the end, with help from the hints but also some of the comments were very helpful. I enjoyed this brain exercise, with thanks to Dada and Senf.

  35. Hello to anybody else who’s tuned to Big Dave+1 and still reading this after everybody else has moved on to Monday. Personally I like quirky: it seems to suit my brain, whereas in more ‘straightforward’ crosswords I often come up against my limited vocabulary or synonym knowledge.

    And 24d didn’t seem at all controversial to me until I read the comments above — we’ll see a week on Wednesday. (At least this time I feel I’ve got a good chance of remembering the Sunday puzzle by the time its full solution is published.)

    I solved most of this last night, getting far more answers than is typical for me in the first couple of passes, feeling confident, wondering if I was going to be able to complete it without assistance … then grinding to a halt, only finishing this morning, with a few hints and electronic help. I did really like it though.

    21d is very clever; I would never have got it without Senf’s hint (thanks), being so sure that golf would be Nato alphabet and club the playing card, it completely fooled me by being an actual golf club! I couldn’t remember the letters, either, but worked them out from the country that matched t’other bit.

    May favourite was 20d, which I see Senf mentioned but hasn’t featured in anybody else’s comments. Thank you, Dada.

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