ST 3105 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3105 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3105 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where the continuing parlous, but somewhat improved, state of the Canadian Covid vaccination programme is perfectly illustrated by the fact that North Dakota, our nearest Southern neighbour, is offering free vaccinations to Canadian long-haul truck (HGV) drivers, who can’t get vaccinated at home, as they are one of the few groups still allowed to cross the ‘closed’ border. 

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, this took a little while to ‘break into’ but once I got going it was reasonably gentle.  I counted four anagrams all partials, two lurkers (one reversed), and one homophone – all in a symmetric 32 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 – 1a, 19a, 3d, 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:


1a Bottle — what could be in it? (6)
What could be in a bottle is also a synonym of another usage of bottle.

10a Spring is ending obviously, and summer starts (5)
IS from the clue is placed after (ending) the first letters (starts) of Obviously And Summer.

13a Musician, untrustworthy type (7)
A double definition – the first is an informal term for a musician who plays a stringed instrument.

17a Cart infested with insects (5)
A double definition – the first is illustrated.

19a China behind shocking sport (9)
A brand of (bone) china placed after (behind) a three letter synonym of shocking.

21a Performer, a jazz fan downing mug (7)
A from the clue and a three letter term for a jazz fan containing (downing) a verbal synonym of mug.

25a Last character in tribunal misrepresented, is that hard to swallow? (6,3)
The last character (of the alphabet) inserted into (in) an anagram (misrepresented) of TRIBUNAL.

28a Listed, as are stilettos? (6)
A double definition(?) – the first refers to leaning (nautically?) and the second refers to a feature of footwear.


2d Sauce pots Epicurean’s holding up (5)
The reverse lurker (holding up) found in two words in the clue.

3d Expression of derision that’s fruity? (9)
The slang usage of the illustrated fruit.

5d Old player, fellow’s on pitch (9)
A synonym of fellow’s (including the apostrophised contraction for is) placed before (on) a synonym of pitch (as a playing area).

6d Healthy also underneath masks (5)
The forward lurker (masks) found in two words of the clue.

9d Adrift, like carrier (6)
A two letter synonym of like and a type of carrier (used for carrying food and/or drinks).

16d Woman making first appearance badly taunted about errand boy, initially (9)
An anagram (badly) of TAUNTED containing (about) the initial letters of Errand and Boy.

20d Taunt that may be on record? (6)
The immediate interface (that may be on) with a (vinyl) record.

24d Stop holiday, did you say? (5)
The homophone (did you say) of a synonym of holiday.

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American singer, actress, and filmmaker Barbra Streisand celebrated her 79th birthday yesterday.  She has achieved success in multiple fields of entertainment and is one of the few entertainers who have been awarded Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. This is her greatest international hit written for her by the Gibb brothers, Barry and Robin, as part of their work on her 1980 album Guilty:


78 comments on “ST 3105 (Hints)

  1. Just up my street! I took a look at the first few and thought it would be impossible. After that I went great guns. Pleased that the paper was not folded over the top line today. Favourites 5 and 27a and 7 8 and 17d. Only paused on the last one which was 18d and which I couldn’t parse. Thanks Dada and Senf. I’ll look at the hints now.

  2. Excellent puzzle, left side fell in place nicely, right hand side put up a bit more of a struggle, but succumbed over the second coffee. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  3. I don’t know how Dada can continue to maintain such high standards . Yet another quality offering from his never ending production line today . Long may it continue .
    Loved 18a & 18d so become my favourites ,
    In my haste , put the wrong form of the answer into 11a which held me up for a while otherwise a smooth enjoyable journey through the many fine clues .
    Thanks to Senf as well .

  4. A nicely balanced, gentle Dada this week with a fair number of straightforward clues. 11a was a good anagram, 19a made good use of GK, there was nice misdirection in 25a and 8a made me laugh . Thanks to Senf and to Dada.

  5. Like Senf, a couple of ‘gulps’ after the first pass when very few went in. Eventually it all came together for a very enjoyable solve.
    The actress took a bit of remembering then I remembered her two biggest assets and it came to me.
    As a committed birder, I was surprised to see 15d in Chambers, I assumed that it was a colloquial name for the *****.
    1a reminded me of The Life Of Brian…
    PILATE (Palin) : The little rascal has spiwit
    CENTURION (Cleese) : Has what, sir?
    PILATE : Spiwit, bawado, a touch of dewwing-do
    CENTURION : About half-past eleven, sir
    Thanks Senf and Dada.

    1. Re 15d I think it was the original name and it’s current one a familiar name, a bit like Jenny Wren.

  6. Like yesterday, fairly gentle and very enjoyable. What a lot of Bs though!
    Never heard of 25a being hard to swallow, so somewhat confused by that.
    My favourites are 17 & 18a for the golf theme.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

    1. In 25a, with the ‘?’ at the end of the clue, Dada is asking a question not making a statement so it may or may not be hard to swallow.

        1. I assumed, something hard that you swallow. So I don’t quite get the question mark. Anyway, my query is the secondary meaning in 17a, ‘infested with insects’ – what’s that about? I got the answer, but only from the primary meaning.

          1. It is an adjective and it means exactly what it says in the clue.The exact words are given as the definition in my edition of the BRB.

            1. To elaborate on WW’s comment, start with, as the BRB says, a name applied loosely to certain insects.

              1. Oh. Thank you. I realise from that, that my answer was wrong. I had a word that fitted letters 1,3 and 5, meaning a sort of railway cart. Rather more obscure than the correct answer. Darn it. But hence my perplexity about insects.

  7. 3*/4*. I enjoyed this a lot and was on course for a 2* finish until the NE corner held out to take me up to 3* for difficulty.

    I wonder if 5d & 11a were positioned together deliberately by the setter?

    1a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  8. Excellent top half but the bottom was very tricky. Not helped by never having heard of the China or the fish. Don’t understand the ‘leaves here’ in 18a or the ‘hard to swallow’ in 25a. I think whoever does the hints on a Sunday has some way of seeing my puzzle as there is seldom a hint to ones I need😀.
    Thx to all

    1. With regards to the ‘leaves here’, make another brew and think about it. As for the ‘hard to swallow’, could you?

      1. Ah the penny drops with a huge clang! As for the second i did wonder but a whole ***** *** isn’t that big if you shell it.😎
        Thx for the help,much appreciated.

        1. I think the “hard to swallow” is just good word-play. I thought of the phrase as meaning difficult to believe which is cleverly misleading. Even if taken literally any size of this thing can be choked upon.;

    2. See my response to GJR (Comment 6) on hard to swallow in 25a.

      I must be psychic beyond belief if I can predict what clues you will need hints on when I am solving the puzzle and authoring the blog between midnight and 3:00am UK time!

    3. That’s two of us then Brian. I try to only let myself look at the picture hints, and so often they are for the ones I have already solved.

  9. As Senf has said, slow to start but then rolled out nicely. Not a single clue marked for an “umm”. All over in *** time.

    Now, have I got time to paint a fence, and have lunch, before the football?

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

      1. An amazing experience for Ryan Mason – a couple of weeks ago a very junior member of the management team and today – in charge of a team in a Wembley Cup Final!
        I always look out for Ryan’s progress as that awful injury was sustained against ‘my’ Chelsea.

  10. Another excellent Sunday puzzle. I agree, how does the setter maintain such a high standard of consistently challenging & enjoyable crosswords? Left side went in first, then the right. Favourite clues were 8D & 23D and, overall 3*/5* for me. The Sunday challenge is always something to look forward to especially during lockdown. Many thanks to the setter. :)

  11. (Lovely to hear that Daisy and George are OK. Like many others I was becoming concerned)

    I am going against the grain of those above me – I found this one very hard. I scrambled about pulling a few answers together but found I needed to check out a couple of Senf’s excellent hints to get me going. However, it’s an excellent puzzle that certainly got my brain oiled this morning.

    Lola has an appointment with the vet next Thursday – a review of the level of steroids, and a new chip to be inserted (ouch!) ahead of me setting up a cat door for her (into this house). I held off from doing this for a long time as I didn’t want the lovely neighbours to think I was influencing Lola, but it is clear after all this time she has no intention of ‘going home’.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – Travelogue.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Agreed. And when Merusa is, hopefully, discharged in a couple of weeks, we can again enjoy her comments.

  12. Well, I didn’t find Dada today particularly gentle, but he was as clever and playful as ever, and even though it took me well into 3.5* time to finish, I enjoyed the tussle. My last ones in, in the NE corner, were 5d and 11a, and I’ll call them two of my winners, as well as 25a. I recently watched 5d in the old 50s movie ‘The Wayward Bus’, based on a little-known Steinbeck novel, and for some reason, the film now seems to have become a kind of cult classic. (Huntsman: I’m sure you must know this one.) Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for the fun. 3.5* / 4*

    1. “The Wayward Bus” was the first Steinbeck novel that I read, as a teenager. I must have enjoyed it because it inspired me to read the others. I’ve not seen the film but I think I’ll dig the papeback out of my over flowing book-case and re-read it.

    2. Never a great fan of hers if I’m honest (loved RD’s comment re 11a) & haven’t rewatched any of her movies in years. Had quite forgotten, if indeed I ever knew, The Wayward Bus was based on a Steinbeck novel. Did you have a look at yesterday’s NTSSP by Starhorse ? It featured a clever literary clue right up your street I should think.

  13. Like others, at first glance I thought this would be difficult / impossible but it came together slowly with the north east corner giving me the most trouble. ***/*** I was particularly held up by 11a, my last one in. I couldn’t get my head past West Ham for some reason. Favourite 27a. Thanks to all.

  14. I agree that this was a top quality offering from our Sunday setter. Like others, the first pass produced very few answers, then the SE corner went in and everything flowed from that point. To be different, I shall select 21a as my favourite clue. I also enjoyed 18 and 19a.

    My thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf.

  15. As you all made me feel so welcome last week, I’m back to offer my rookie’s perspective. I got to within a few clues of completing this one so I fared much better than last week. I can’t work out the use of corporation in 7D or suit in 17D but I’m sure my answers are correct. I’m the wrong generation for 5D so did some googling, purely for research purposes.

    1. The lesser known use of ‘corporation’ I think, I have only ever heard of its use in crosswords..

      1. Despite golf & a good daily walk my corporation continued to thrive worryingly over lockdown

      1. Yes not used so often now but eg law suit, divorce suit. Quite a few ordinary words that have a particular meaning in legal parlance crop up eg try, hear.

  16. Typical Dada for me. After the first pass I had only two so I thought it was going to be DNF. Then I remembered it was Dada and I always start slowly with his offerings. Gradually it all revealed itself but I thought it a tad more difficult than usual. Plenty of great clues such as 11a (although what “hammers” have to do with it I don’t know). I have not heard of the word for “mug” in 21a and I could not see what “corporation” had to do with 7d. My COTD is the clever 18a.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

      1. I think so too. Hoofit, although it was ny last one in and it took a while for the penny to drop..

        1. It is. Wonder if anyone else thought of a 6 letter synonym for it which fitted the letters but you were left with a spare E.

  17. Like others, I got off to a slow start and then picked up speed. There was a slight pause to sort out the correct ending for 11a and I did have to talk myself into 25&26a.
    17a made me smile and my favourite was 1a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and soundtrack.

  18. Loved this. As most of comments, slow burn to start, then bingo. I was mystified by 11a too Steve …… another d’oh moment as Homer Simpson would say.

  19. As Dada goes thought this one pretty gentle. Enjoyable as ever with a reasonably problem free solve although, having initially missed the clever anagram indicator, it took a head scratch to twig the correct parsing of 11a & like Steve couldn’t see what ‘mug’ had to do with things at 21a until it dawned on me it had nowt to do with what my coffee was in. No real favourite just quality throughout.
    Thanks to our trusty Sunday duo.

    1. The definition of “mug” has dawned on me since, Huntsman. Such is the joy of a Dada puzzle that you carry on solving it after it is done. :grin:

      1. I got the mug but for the life of me still can’t parse 18d so I have either missed something that everyone else finds simple or I am wrong!

        1. I didn’t think it was simple until I got it and then it made me laugh. The definition is “cross” – it’s a slightly slangy way of saying cross or a bit tetchy.

          1. I got that Kath. It’s the scuttling away I don’t get. To use your expression I am being dim.

        2. Think of a type of crustacean scuttling off.
          I found this difficult at first and finished the bottom half before solving any of the top.
          I persevered and finished without assistance, so very satisfying. Thanks to setter and Senf.

  20. ***/***. I plodded through this. It seemed to come together in a patchwork, hopping from one clue to another until pennies dropped, rather than my usual approach to do the puzzle in quadrants. Looking back quite enjoyable. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  21. So far as a Dada crossword can ever be called gentle I thought this could be – then I got to the top right corner.
    Everything ground to a complete halt for ages – didn’t see the 6d lurker, missed the 11a anagram indicator and the ‘creative influence’ in 5a.
    I fell for the 5d misdirection and thought it was something to do with football, or similar, so wasn’t even looking for an actress – oh dear about covers that whole corner but got there eventually.
    23d had to be what it was but I couldn’t see why for far too long.
    I liked 27a and 23d but my favourite is either 17a or 18d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Feeling a bit “can’t be bothered” today – might try the NTSPP but having skimmed through some of the comments I’m not holding out much hope.

    1. Kath I don’t remember seeing a comment from you but assume you must have done Ray T’s Toughie this week which was great. If not certainly worth a look & easier than a few you’ve had to review every other Thursday.

    2. I’m with you on 5d Kath, I immediately thought sport, I won’t know this. I think she would be mortified to have the adjective 11a describing her assets – surely that should be plentiful or bounteous!

    3. I didn’t even think of the actress, as I took ‘old player’ to be a footballer from the past. Sure enough John ********* who played from 1964-1969 for Colchester United came up. And it fit the last part of the clue, as the old player was a fellow on the pitch.

      1. Well, I didn’t think of anyone other than the other (type of) old player I illustrated. Now, I have to wonder who Dada was thinking of when he wrote the clue but I expect that we will never get to find out.

        1. I would think that Dada had in mind the old player you depicted, to judge by the answer to the clue. Having said that, I don’t know how well-endowed the Colchester United player was!

        2. The truth is that the description Player could refer to different people including sportsmen. I doubt the Colchester footballer was in Dada’s mind as he is hardly Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton or Bobby Moore. The answer was so obvious I did not think about who he or she was too much. I have just looked up the name and come across some cricketers. You are right – we shall never know. It doesn’t worry me unlike an old clue with the answer Atwell.

  22. Like others I was very slow getting off the mark but then got on the right wavelength with just the NE to go. After staring at it aimlessly for ages decided to do something else for an hour or two. Once I had got 5d, it all fell into place quite nicely. Another great Sunday puzzle. Still bitterly cold here with biting east wind. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. We too struggled to get a start but once we did progressed fairly smoothly albeit with a bit of head scratching. Most enjoyable though. Favourite was 21a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  24. I’m still stuck in the slow start mode, rather disappointing after two days of splendid puzzles. This one seems much tougher than usual for Dada, and 25a took ages as it is not something I would describe as hard to swallow. Unless I decide to give in and look at electronic help, don’t think I will be finishing this one ☹️.

  25. Certainly no walk in the park for me today. In fact I surprised myself by making it through to the end with hold-up in NW holding things up particularly with my misuse of ice in 8d. 18a amused. Not sure society 16ds would like to be referred to as woman (lady perhaps). Thank you Dada and Senf.

  26. Must agree with Senf that this Dada offering took a while to get going today. Not really quirky but definitely thought provokingly tricky that required grey matter use and head scratching. ***/**** for me. Clues for favourites include 1a, 12a, 13a, 20d & 25d with 25d winner followed by 12a. Got a chuckle out of 17a & 3d too.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hinting assistance I needed for the SE in parts.

  27. Difficult to get started but got there in the end thanks to checkers and electronic. I note there have been comments about a particular pendulous person of the past. This person was the feature in the first “rude” joke I heard in primary school that I understood. This petson had got lost going to a club near Manchester and stopped to ask a couple of blokes standing at a bus stop. ‘What’s the best way to Oldham?” the person enquired. “Why not try a wheelbarrow” came the answer.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  28. My week in lalaland meant I really made heavy weather of this so it is quite disconcerting to hear most people saying it was a walk in the park. I got there in the end without the hints but it was a struggle. I’ve had a jolly day. Went to actual reality church for only the second time in a year where it was perishing – fortunately I took a rug with me with the idea of sitting on it but it became a wrap. Very odd, no singing and we only get a wafer – no wine! And as we had to sanitise our hands before taking it, it had a distinctly odd flavour. Then DD2 came as usual and after a large whisky Mac to warm us up she and I decided to explore the Walking Market taking place in the village today. We had spent all our change on the tombola when she said Can we go and have a look round the cemetery? So we spent a happy hour greeting long lost friends and going down memory Lane, sadly one or two of her chums from primary school were there. She is as sentimental as I am, she’s her mother’s daughter. Now glory be it is almost time for the six o’clock ritual – where has the day gone? Thanks to Setter and Hinter – I salute you both.

  29. One of those enjoyable and testing offerings today which I managed to complete unaided with a suitable amount of determination and persistence.

    A real puzzle of four quarters for me. Despite looking for inspiration across the board, I neatly completed it in an anticlockwise fashion from NW round to NE with absolutely nothing entered in any of the other quarters until the previous one was complete. Other than a total read-and-write doddle, I’m not sure I’ve ever completed a puzzle so neatly!

  30. Late getting round to this. First pass gave me nothing. But my wife clicked into the mindset and we were off. Some v clever clues, especially 18a, 18d. Good fun even Brian enjoyed it.

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