ST 3101 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3101 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3101 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where the glacial progress of Covid vaccinations continues.  As a septuagenarian, 10 days ago, I was allowed to make an appointment for a first ‘shot’ of Pfizer to be administered on April 6th and there seems to a proud boast from our Federal Government that some time this week we shall have received a total of 3.2 million ‘doses’ (for a population of 38 million).

Meanwhile, an entertaining Pro 14 Final yesterday between Leinster and Munster, predictably won by Leinster, with, interestingly, no TMO calls and no cards.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada ‘leaning’ towards benevolence but not as benevolent as our esteemed editor was yesterday.  I counted six anagrams (three partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and two homophones – all in a slightly asymmetric 30 clues, with 17 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, 18a, 23a, and 27a.

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 Cleaner reprimands mourner (6-7)
Ignoring the hyphen in the enumeration temporarily, a seven letter synonym of reprimands and a six letter synonym of mourner.

11a Playwright featuring in one’s biography, retrospectively (5)
The reversed lurker (featuring in . . . retrospectively) found in two words in the clue – the ‘forward’ lurker, not hinted by me, is 13a.

12a By the sound of it, viral disease went quickly (4)
The first homophone (by the sound of it) of the abbreviated name of a viral disease that we used to worry about before Covid-19 came along.

17a Space available, or filling arena? (7)
OR from the clue inserted into (filling) a synonym of arena?

18a Hands down, palms dry evidently? (2,5)
An alternative phrase to hands down, when referring to the (lack of) difficulty of a task, which could indicate that one’s palms are dry.

21a Girl built for audition? (4)
The second homophone (for audition) of a synonym of built – for a generic girl RD.

23a Birdie — another one better? (5)
One better than a (golfing) birdie.

27a Negative reaction about small mark (9)
An eight letter negative reaction containing (about) the single letter for small.

28a Helper in white revised political order (5-4,4)
An anagram (revised) of HELPER IN WHITE.


1d Church official, less sensitive figure (8,6)
An RC official and a single word for less sensitive (as in sensation of touch perhaps).

4d Case of somebody bandaging cut, drunk (7)
The first and last letters (case) of SomebodY containing (bandaging) a type of (hair) cut.

5d Very many lacking purpose? (7)
A double definition(?) – the first might refer to the length of a queue of people waiting for a Covid vaccination.

8d Where contents of overturned trolley might roll, in every direction (3,4,3,4)
Another double definition, I think – the first is when you reach the checkout with your overloaded supermarket trolley and it overturns, where the apples, oranges, cans of beans, etc might roll.

14d After pass, don seems remarkably gracious (8,2)
An anagram (remarkably) of DON SEEMS placed after a two letter synonym of pass.

16d Dry, missing quaffing amount of beer? (9)
A six letter synonym of missing (from school) containing (quaffing) an amount of beer (in a container)?

24d Cut around base of iron grate (5)
A type of cut (on the body) containing (around) the last letter (base) of iroN.

25d Source of light lead (4)
A double definition to finish – the second is a dramatic lead.

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A random selection today.  Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian pianist and composer who has written a lot of music for films and TV.  This is piece that he composed for a Channel 4 drama mini-series This is England ’88 which from the synopsis on Wikipedia sounds a little macabre – the drama that is.  I am advised that it sounds really good when listened to with some decent headphones:

88 comments on “ST 3101 (Hints)

  1. I found this decidedly tricky but finshing it gave me great satisfaction and enjoyment (3.5*/5*). There were so many wily clues and great misdirection that it is hard to pick favourites. However, I really enjoyed the humour in 1a and liked 20d and 27a. My COTD is the witty 20a. It reminds me of happy evenings out at Covent Garden and ENO. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for another great SPP.

  2. I had a very slow start to this one, but speeded up as it went along and would have finished at a gallop, except I did a “Devon Loch”. No amount of head banging would bring an answer to 26a until I resorted to electrons.

    Other than that, I was unable to parse 8d and would have thought that the compiler should have added the word “Australian” in penultimate place in 16d.

    Many thanks to the compiler and to Senf.

    1. Exactly the same for me. A sluggish start, speedy middle & a refusal at the last – 26a.
      Thankfully it’s not hinted so no temptation.

      1. Got your slot booked for tomorrow H?
        Probably not too many 23a (gross or nett) on your first day back.

        1. More chance of getting a date with Michelle Pfeiffer but raring to go. I’ll settle for straight & airborne off the first tee. Just for a bit of fun yesterday I did a £2.50 acc on the 8 quarter final matches in WGC matchplay & had the first 7 correct & Matt Kuchar (who I can’t abide after his appalling parsimony with the caddy in Mexico) beating Jordan on the 18th spoilt the party. Am hopeful Perez can prevail for France/Scotland.

    2. 16d. I can’t see why any nationality is relevant? Though I do know what you refer to.

  3. Best puzzle for some time for me just on my level. Like others a slow start then smooth progress until SW corner took me into *** time.
    Some superb clues I thought, of which 1a and 26a stood out. 26a gets my COTD vote.
    Agree with Malcolm re 16d, common expression there, not used over here much I would say.
    Thank you Dada top entertainment and satisfaction, just what I need at the moment. Thanks also to Senf for the usual guide to Dada’s wavelength.
    Perhaps best not to be too efficient at vaccinations Senf or the EU will either rubbish the vaccine or try to stop you getting it.

    1. Oh dear, are you going through a bad patch? We are going to get some good weather next week – get some sun on you.

        1. Its judgement day re the treatment Tuesday, M and DG, thanks for the good wishes
          Then another “routine” exploration Wednesday so a week I approach with trepidation
          At least the Dada made my mind concentrate on the now which is just what I need.

  4. Usual very tricky Sunday whose clues are very clever but fiendish. Still cannot parse 26a although I am sure my answer is correct, cannot see where the dinosaur fits in. I’ll probably kick myself when I find out!
    Thx to the setter for a cerebral workout.

          1. Thank you so much! I could not see this, no matter how much I looked. Very clever clue.

      1. 26a was my last one and I still did not get the reference then suddenly the penny dropped! It became clue off the day, very smart.

    1. Regarding 26a, ditto! It always a last short one I find myself bunging in, just to fill the gap. 🤷🏻‍♂️

    2. Thx all, now I see it.I knew I would kick myself. Too clever for words.If Dada was any sharper he would cut himself!

  5. Wonderful Sunday entertainment once again; many thanks to the setter. Just as I was about to say that the one could not parse was 26A, the penny dropped and that, therefore has to be my favourite today!! Most enjoyable

  6. 3.5*/4.5*. I found this fiendish in parts with 26a the last to fall, and very enjoyable, although I knocked off half-a-star for the use of the unindicated Australian term in 16d.

    With plenty of competition for top spot, 1a wins by a nose from 26a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. I found this one quite a challenge at first, but sped up once some of the long answers went in and I had some checking letters to help. 26a was my last in, and my favourite clue once the penny had dropped, seconded by 1a. Thank you setter and Senf.

  8. Really great puzzle.
    Hard work, got there eventually unaided apart from laziness in checking some spellings.
    Last in 26a, a big Duh moment, so clever, deceptively simple in hindsight.
    So, ***/*****.
    Many thanks Dada, and Senf for the review.

  9. Thought I knew the various definitions of 6d but the sporting one apparently passed me by so I had to consult the BRB. Other than that, it was just 26a that caused grief but great appreciation when the penny finally dropped.
    Top of my pile are 1a & 1d plus the afore-mentioned 26a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for both the hints and my favourite piece of music from my all-time favourite composer/pianist. I remember being at one of his concerts and – with typical British arrogance – being surprised that he seemingly doesn’t speak any English!

  10. Well I can’t in all honesty claim an unaided finish as LBROK’s 70s band nudge to Brian immediately gave the game away. I too thought this one of the best Sunday puzzles in a while with some terrific clues. I remember getting very 4d over indulging on 7d (a lethal concoction if you’re daft enough to drink enough of it) on the Isle of Arran. 26a is probably my pick of clues since I didn’t twig it but also really liked 9,18,20&27a along with 8d (an accurate description of what I’m likely to be on the golf course the morrow)
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf.

    1. Had the same experience with 7d as a naive sales rep straight out of university on a training course up in Scotland. Led astray by some of my older colleagues…

  11. If 16d had antipodean association the word would be six letters long not three.
    The aussies love adding vowels to lots of words(rego for car registration number springs to mind)

  12. 26a was also my final entry from this tricky in places puzzle. There were enough awkward clues to elevate it from the straightforward to the pleasingly difficult, which is where a prize puzzle should be. 1a along with that pesky 26a were my favourites this morning.

    My thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  13. ***/*** Enjoyably challenging, with 1a headscratchingly last in, even with all the checkers. Lots of great surface readings and misdirections. Going to choose 1d as favourite as I’ve known a few less than sensitive church officials in my time …
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. We are having problems with one of our 1ds at the moment, he will not get the point despite loads of letters of complaint from parishioners!

  14. Couldn’t believe I had finished for all but one ; guess which one? I wonder given how many of us have benefited from LROK comment? To be realistic they would have to 58 or older or are guilty of cultural appropriation.

    Dada certainly in a benevolent mood this morning so many thanks to them. As usual thanks on Sunday to Senf.

    Favourite today is 20a.

  15. Hard but enjoyable. I still haven’t worked out 26 even though I have three checkers and LROK’s 70’s band hint. I would make a comment about 1d but I fear it may put me on the naughty step. My COTD has to be 1a, which gave a great PDM.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for the clues..

    1. If your comment on 1d concerned an individual ecclesiastic, I fear we stumbled into the same error … it held us up for ages. 😢😂

  16. Gosh, that was difficult. Not sure the word ‘benevolent’ can be used! That was a DNF for me, and certainly the hardest Dada puzzle I have encountered for a long time. Had I heard of the dish I would have got a lot further.
    Thanks for the hints Senf and Dada for the puzzle.

    1. I had heard of the dish. One of my sons loves the stuff. I hate it. You have not been missing anything. I think it should be avoided at all costs.

  17. My printer having difficulty to connecting with wifi, I’ve resorted to doing the puzzles on the iPad. Not ideal for me because I like to mark off the two or three word answers. If anybody has any tips on how to get an HP printer to reconnect, please tell me. It keeps spewing out pages of instructions which are about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Or the owner is thick! Anyway. Enjoyable puzzle from dada. ***/*** couldn’t understand 26a either but thanks to senf, I think I finally get it. Favourite 28a. Thanks to all.

    1. Take the connection out and put it in again. I have to do this almost daily with my HP!

    2. I have an HP Envy which is a nightmare – I find I have to turn it off then wait a bit and turn it on again. Also have to use their own ink which is mega expensive – I should get around 480 sheets to a cartridge, i get under 100. Am going to get a new printer as it will work out cheaper in the long run!

      1. Meanders I had so much trouble with them – we were in their system whereby they sent you cartridges when they thought we needed them. It was a nightmare to get out of the arrangement and fortunately we can buy HP cartridges in a well known supermarket as and when we want them.

    3. Stick with the iPad. It should get easier as you get used to it. Embrace the brave new world. I’d rather not solve a puzzle than resort to paper and pen

    4. No problems with my HP Envy, or any previous HP printer I have owned. The only problem is that a double pack of black and colour inks costs as much as I paid for the printer in the first place. But HP is not the first organisation to realise that the profit is in the aftermarket. Fortunately, I have always avoided signing up for the automatic ink replenishment which Daisygirl mentioned.

      The worst printer I ever owned was made by Kodak, at least it had a Kodak label on it, which had been endorsed by ex-President T***p when he was a ‘TV Star’ firing people on the US version of ‘The Apprentice’ which probably explains everything.

      1. I love my HP laser, I think it’s 115. It’s as old as Methuselah and I’ve not had to put in a toner cartridge since I retired!

  18. I was pleased with myself at nearly finishing. Needed the hints for 27a. I’ve no idea, why it’s called a mark. It’s not punctuation and I know it as a “glyph”. I similarly haven’t the faintest clue about 26a. What on earth its got to do about dynosaurs and 70s rock bands is beyond me. Frustrating.

    1. Keep working on 26a, Bob. It’s a great drop of the penny when you solve it. Actually, it’s a clever clue and there’s a great hint from LROK at #4.

      I agree with you about 27a – I have never looked upon it as punctuation.

      1. Thanks Steve. I resorted to googling list of 70s pop groups. There are hundreds of them. Anyway went to T and there it was. So all OK. Interestingly the clue word and answer are only synonyms one way. Look up Use and the answer is not there.

        1. In my experience there are a great number of ‘one way’ synonyms so it is almost essential to check both ways.

  19. Very enjoyable although for some reason I could not get 9a first word and like many others failed at 26a. Otherwise very pleasant, unlike the weather which is cold and windy and not conducive to a walk for a wimp. Might even be a light the fire afternoon. Trying to remember the name of the theatre with THE most vertiginous upper circle, I really felt as if I was going to lurch over into the abyss – I think I saw Elizabeth Taylor there in the play where she was in a wheelchair.
    Anyway, thanks to the setter for the workout and Senf for the hints.

    1. DG, could that have been Suddenly, Last Summer, where she is institutionalised and threatened with a lobotomy? Good old Tennessee W. (I’m thinking of the movie, though.)

    2. The English National Opera performances used to be staged at the London Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane, which had a huge drop. I sat on the bench seats right at the top for about 5 hours for a performance of The Mastersingerson one occasion. I actually do suffer from vertigo and I found it hard to look at the tiny, distant stage. Perhaps it was the same theatre, Daisy.

    3. Shaftesbury Theatre, London (Hair, 1969) – I just could not find the oxygen masks that I am sure should have been installed.

      1. Perhaps the lack of oxygen masks was the reason why I nodded off during the last act, despite the bench seats.

  20. 26a was my LOI and my COTD in this marvellous Dada, one of his best for me. I found this quite tough, and when the penny dropped at the end, I nearly shouted for joy, having been snookered by Dada last Sunday for the first time. So much here to like, especially 1a, 1d, 20a, 20d. 28a was a new concept for me, but the anagram quickly resolved itself. Thanks to Senf, whose view of near-benevolence is more kindly than mine, and to the ever-resourceful Dada. **** / *****

    Has anyone else read Donna Leon’s new ‘Brunetti’ and can tell me how Transient Desires ends?! It just stops!

  21. We’re in the “26a was the last one in” camp this afternoon and found this the most entertaining Dada puzzle for some time. Lots of contenders for cotd including all the long outside answers, but we’ll go with the majority pick of 26a. Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  22. A quality puzzle from Dada as usual.

    Like many of the commentariat my last one in was 26a.

    However, my favourite today was Crosswordland’s most popular Playwright at 11a. Wonder why he is so popular? Nothing else fits with those checkers.

      1. Easy for you maybe … but I have entered the DT clue-writing competition since it began, so far not a single “Honourable Mention”.

  23. Thanks Dada and Senf for providing such top quality entertainment on an otherwise dull Sunday afternoon- 1d and 15a as my favourites.

  24. Very enjoyable solve with no problems. The opposite of 27a is surely two words, or at least hyphenated….
    Thanks Dada and Senf.
    We’ve had both Pfizer jabs now which is fantastic. Hope yours aren’t too far apart

    1. Neither the single word for negative reaction or the answer are shown as hyphenated in the BRB.

  25. Definitely a trickier puzzle that the last few from Dada … dare I say quite quirky this week. Some clues very hard to parse I thought. This one took me to 3.5* time … unusual for me with most Dada puzzles. Nonetheless, managed to get through it with the help of Senf’s hints.
    Favourites today include 9a, 12a, 20a, 28a & 9d with winner being 9a

    Thanks to Dada and Senf
    Really enjoyed the Friday 6 Nations game between France and Scotland … and the great finish!!

  26. That was very definitely a challenge and one that I enjoyed a lot.
    The last one that I got was, like most others, 26a and I still can’t see why 15a is what I want to make it.
    This has taken me a very long time – oh well, who cares!
    I liked 12a and my favourite was either 20a or 4d because they both made me laugh.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf (and to anyone who will give me a shove in the direction for 15a, please).
    Very windy and I hate this clock change but I don’t care – off to see the Elder Lamb, her partner and our little grandson tomorrow – in their garden so hope it warms up a bit. Will see our Younger Lamb on Tuesday in our garden. :yahoo:

    1. Hi Kath, it’s a 4 letter particle in a three letter synonym for some. To hell with the naughty step…

    2. A regularly appearing four letter particle in a synonym, according to the Crossword dictionary, of some.

    3. Without wanting to say too much, split the clue 3 words / 1 word, and think back to your earlier career!

    4. Thanks so much all three of you – how didn’t I see that? Maybe all the excitement about my visit tomorrow has scrambled my brain!

  27. Late to the party today as have been on the university run. Like others I found this fiendish but highly enjoyable, with 26a also getting my COTD.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  28. I was a total failure here, solved a dozen and then decided to follow Senf’s hints.
    I could go through and try some word searches.
    I liked the long ones, which I managed to solve easily for some reason.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for his help.

  29. Wrangled this one out quite well and did not have any insuperable difficulties. 26A drops straight out when you take a famous dinosaur and reverse it. I always forget the jargon-word for ‘Reprimands’ (1A) but got there in the end. Enjoyed 20A. **/****

  30. Clever, amusing, challenging ones capacity for lateral thought – Dada to a tee….enjoyed it all but 26a was clearly CLTD for me as for others…..

  31. A bit late after having been out for a nice stroll after lunch on a warm Spring day here in VB with Mrs H, before settling down to watch the final of the WGC match play.
    I found this to be a very satisfying solve – once again I seem to be on the right ‘Dada wavelength’, although I was struggling with quite a few to go, when a couple of long ones (1D, 16D & 28A) all fell into place and the rest soon followed with the many checking letters provided.
    Senf’s usual excellent blog ‘n hints have confirmed a few of my ‘parsing theories’ – 26A was my last in but also COTD 👍

  32. Beaten by this clever puzzle where too many clues eluded me. I did like a number of those I got and in particular 1a. Thanks to Dada and Senf – totally agree with your comments re vaccinations. I should get mine sometime in July at best although I’m an optimist as always.

  33. Phew! I was very slow out of the starting blocks but slowly, slowly catchee monkey however I needed quite a lot of cerebration along the way so IMHO certainly not a case of a benevolent offering from Dada. As per others 26a was last to parse – d’oh. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  34. Delighted to have sorted 26a even if I spent most of the day looking at it. The resulting euphoria going only a little way to compensate for Ireland’s defeat to lowly Luxembourg.

  35. 26a LOI – no surprise. Got it and the parsing just before resorting to electronics. Great puzzle. Thank you.

  36. I’m just recovering from finishing this – very hard work work but I enjoyed it. I used every one of Senf’s hints plus a lot of e-help but got there in the end. Many thanks for all the help and also to Dada for a really great puzzle.

  37. 26a had me foxed for several ages until just now in fact and has my vote for favourite clue.

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