ST 3106 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3106 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3106 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we are now well and truly into Covid 3.0 (a.k.a. Third Wave), with all the known variants, and probably a few unknown ones, and there are some who are saying that the associated Lockdown 3.0 is not strict enough, and it would be hard to disagree.  Meanwhile our Provincial Premier announced a goofy idea to send all the teachers to North Dakota to get vaccinated.  The mind boggles.  All too painful to think about, where’s the gin? 

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, this took me back to November 18, 2018 – the first Sunday Dada so the less said about it the better.  I counted seven anagrams (four partials), two lurkers, and no homophones – all in a symmetric 28 clues, with 16 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 8a, 16a, and 2d.

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 Care taken with railway initially in possible location of toy train? (12)
A possible location for any train preceded by a four letter term expressing small size becomes a possible location for a toy train and all that contains (with . . . in) the first letter (initially) of Railway.

11a Loose delivery, the ball always ending on wood for batter? (7)
The last letters (always ending) of the first four words of the clue followed by (on) a type of wood (or tree).

13a Subject embraced by author Sewell? (5)
The first lurker (embraced by) found in two words of the clue.

14a Toy daughter held in bed, teary when lost (5,4)
The single letter for daughter contained by (held in) an anagram (when lost) of BED, TEARY.

16a Impermanence convert ultimately found in virtue (9)
The last letter (ultimately) of convert inserted into (found in) a synonym of virtue (not one of the seven virtues).

24a Pen inspiring love with popular invention (7)
A type of, as illustrated, pen containing (inspiring) all of the letter for racquet game love and (with) the two letter synonym for popular – straight out of the BRB if you want to check the answer.

25a South African dead, leader gone, howl in grief (7)
A member of the Nguni branch of the Bantu family in South Africa followed by a synonym of dead with the first letter of the complete ‘string’ removed (leader gone).

26a Illogical dear? (12)
A double definition – the second might be a synonym for dear when discussing the price of something.


1d Rubber erasing underside of coin at bottom of pile (7)
Remember this is a Down clue – A four letter coin that could come into use North of the Border with its last letter removed (erasing underside) placed after (at bottom of) a synonym of pile.

2d Describe Scottish island looking up over peaks on tranquil estate (7)
The seventh largest Scottish island reversed (looking up) followed by (over) the first letters (peaks on) of Tranquil Estate.

6d Cricket side go off (2,5)
Start with one of the cricket sides (of the pitch) and add a synonym of go.

7d Observe notes and take one’s medicine? (4,3,5)
A sort of double definition(?) – the second relates to accepting responsibility for something you have done.

10d No matter: a web spun for insects (5,7)
An anagram (spun) of NO MATTER: A WEB.

18d Fire contained by fireman, I’m at ease (7)
The second lurker (contained by) found in four words in the clue.

19d Upset, try covering tracks up (7)
A synonym of try containing (covering) a synonym of tracks all reversed (up).

22d Gunman originally uses rocks for shot (5)
The first letter (originally) of Gunman and an anagram (rocks) of uses.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

Today’s music choice was prompted by a clue in the latest Rookie which called for a particular pop group with its last letter removed as part of the answer.  It turns out that the pop group is Steps, a group I had never heard of probably because they first appeared 5 years after I ‘fled’ to Canada and I don’t think they had any North American presence – perhaps I should be very thankful.  Anyway, this was the group’s first number one in 1998:


82 comments on “ST 3106 (Hints)

  1. 5*/3*. :phew: That was hard. I didn’t finish with three empty lights in 11a for which I had three possible alternative answers fitting with the checking letters. However, I failed to find the definition in order to pick the correct one. In my defence, the clue surface was deviously designed to suggest cricket and the use of “batter” as a cricketing term brings me out in a cold sweat which scrambled my brain.

    26a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf, particularly for putting me out of misery with 11a.

    1. As Jane says below, 11a has appeared in various guises before and I know I have hinted one or two of them so, most likely, Dada has been the setter.

      So, the big question, have you any room in your memory for future appearances of 11a, or similar, or will you have to ‘erase’ children’s or grandchildren’s names to make room? :wink:

  2. I have to register a fail, I’m afraid. 1a & 1d were the culprits. I knew I was going to struggle when my first pass revealed just two across answers and 6 downs.

    After ****/***** time, I gave up and had to use electrons for those last two. Even then it took me a while to parse them. In my view, this was in certain Toughie territory.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  3. I’ve always thought that a ‘prize’ puzzle should pose a proper challenge to the solver and this week Dada answers that requirement admirably. Thanks to him and to Senf.
    9a, 11a and 13a were some of many that I ticked.

    1. I’d be tempted to agree with you but for the fact that all the answers are always available on-line for those that want a prize. For those that want a challenge on a Sunday without resorting to electronic help this was probably a couple of clues too far.

      1. Yes and no.

        As an ‘out of country’ on-line puzzler I am not eligible for a weekend prize but when I ‘submit’ my weekend puzzles electronically, just like for a weekday back pager, I am told which, if any, of my answers are incorrect, usually as a result of my two fingered typing. However, there is an opportunity to make corrections and resubmit.

        Then, for the on-line weekly prize puzzle, which I am eligible for, on submission I get an indication of % correct but no indication of which answers are incorrect if my score is less than 100%. And, there is no opportunity to make corrections and resubmit.

        So, the answers are not always available on-line.

      2. I didn’t know the answers were available on line but that rather defeats the object of the whole thing. Either you can solve it yourself or you can’t – looking at the answers on line is, to be blunt, cheating!

        1. Please (re-)read my response to Rod.

          Mr Lancaster is probably very generous. However, that generosity does not extend to making answers available on-line except when complete solutions are provided to the same time-line as in the paper. For example, the DT Puzzles Web site ‘tells’ me that the solution for today’s puzzle will be published on May 16th.

          As I said in my response to Rod, what is provided on-line is, depending on the type of puzzle and country of residence, an indication of correctness. A solver still has to come up with an answer, correct or incorrect, on her or his own.

    2. Good for you Gazza, because you are clever.
      No good for me, because I am thick!

  4. That was so tricky, the clues so oblique, that it made my head ache. However, as is often the case, once a few clues went in and the SE corner began to fill up things speeded up. I’d call it a satisfying rather than an enjoyable challenge (***/****). 10d was a great anagram, 17d a wily lego clue but joint COTD’s werethe brilliant 25a and witty 7d. Most of the clues were fair and could be got from the wordplay but I found 11a and 13a difficult to parse. Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. Keep safe until (eventually) being vaccinated, Senf. The light at the end of the tunnel is distant but growing brighter.

    1. Thanks Chriscross and Greta (below). I have had one dose of Pfizer so I am more than half protected?

      Then, the tonic water that goes with the gin contains, the infamous, hydroxychloroquine that was being ‘lauded’ by the Orange One about this time last year :wink:

        1. If only to be able to welcome you back!

          I hope that you are feeling much better.

          1. No. Here comes the rant: I’m in a hell hole of babbling Spanish. Even the TLSO brace that’s supposed to heal is hellish painful. I’d better stop, I miss y’all!

      1. I could be wrong, (but the biochemist coming out in me here), but it is not hydroxychloroquine in tonic water but just quinine.
        Hydroxychloroquine is a synthetic drug while quinine is a naturally occurring compound found in cinchona bark.

        “Hydroxychloroquine is a completely different chemical substance to quinine,” Alan Armstrong, Professor of Organic Synthesis at Imperial College London, told Reuters.
        “There is a small resemblance in chemical structure in that both contain a ring system known as a quinoline.

        1. First of all, I ‘dropped’ Chemistry after O-Level and I have forgotten just about all of what I needed for the O-Level.

          Secondly, the ingredients label on my can of President’s Choice Diet Tonic Water says Quinine Hydrochloride – but synthetic or otherwise I have no idea.

          1. Quinine hydrochloride is the full name for what is added to tonic water C20H25CIN2O2
            The hydroxychloroquine is C18H26CIN30
            Same elements but combined differently so molecule is different.

            More info than I am sure you want or need … so just go pour yourself a double G & T and enjoy!
            Sunny here today so I will enjoy one!

  5. This was an absolute fight from start to finish. 11a was my last one in and a bit of a guess. I did like 1a but in general the clues were fiendishly obscure even for dada. I had a different tribe for 25a – minus its leader- but it comes to the same thing. *****/* It sounds pretty awful where you are, Senf, stock up on the gin and well done with the hints. Thanks to all.

  6. Thought this pretty tough but really enjoyed the challenge. A number of head scratchers took me into **** time before I resorted to e help for 26a.
    Think this may generate some pithy comments from certain quarters as I feel it at the harder end of the Dada spectrum
    11a for its misdirection is my COTD.
    Thanks to setter and Senf for the hints.

  7. I was tilting at windmills with this puzzle. Very grateful to Senf for help with a couple and that helped me break through. I think I’ll pass on that Steps track though!

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Isley Brothers – 3+3

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  8. Managed the top half but the bottom is way beyond me. Too very difficult prize crosswords this week, yesterdays being by far the worst even though I managed to complete that one and this has beaten me.
    Given that the Prize is always Toughie equivalent I wish the DT would include a ‘normal’ cryptic at the weekend so those of us that don’t have the time to sit in a darkened room with a cool cloth around ones head would have a puzzle that is accessible.
    Thx for the hints

  9. Pleased to finish successfully as my last attempt at a Paul in the Friday Graun was a miserable failure.
    Last one in was 21a.
    Favourite 11a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

          1. Dare not say more for fear of naughty corner although a slice of cake would be nice!

        1. Aha – got it. Just not being lateral enough, although my family say I am so lateral
          that I am barely ever vertical!

          1. During my time serving HM, a new boss giving his first impressions a few weeks after his arrival told me I was ‘so laid back I was horizontal’!

      1. You’re not alone DG. I’m happy with all of my other answers but can’t parse what thoughts I have for this one. Can’t say I’m 100% confident on what the definition is even. Still if it detained Jean-Luc to the last knockings we’re in good company.

      2. With what Angellov has said you should be able to identify the definition.

  10. Found this very difficult, and wouldn’t have completed it without hints (Thanks Senf).
    Still enjoyable though, thanks to Dada.

  11. Very clever but rather a test for the old grey matter on a Sunday morning. We’ve had 11a in various guises previously which helped enormously and 25a turned up quite recently which also rendered assistance.
    Top two here were 13&26a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – not an easy task today. I hope the young lady depicted at 14a has got a big bed!
    Now it’s back to wrestling with the answer for the MPP…………

  12. I am also registering a DNF. I found it most obscure and once I realised I needed to know a South African tribesman, I gave up.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. The South African is a lot more well-known than the hint implies/confuses

  13. It took all of my 5 electronic letters–the online gift, though not free of charge–for me to finish this very tough Dada, and it was a grind from start to finish. Never heard of the insects, but that was just the start of my woes. Still, I did finish, and that’s something. And there was more to like than dislike! Thanks to Senf and Dada. ***** / ****

    1. I downloaded the first of the Susan Hill “Simon Serailler” books last night. It’s a bit different but certainly holding my attention so thanks for the suggestion.

      1. You’ll be hooked before you know it. I will say that it is essential to read them in order

      2. I’ve just finished the first DCI Banks book which I enjoyed, so thanks for that tip Robert. Now to decide if I go for a second DCI Banks or try Susan Hill first.

  14. Once again, an excellent Sunday puzzle although it took me a little longer than normal to finish so 3*edging towards 4*/5* for me this week. Favourites included 8A, 13A, 25A but, best of all, 11A. Thanks again to the setter.

  15. Wow what a head scratcher. Unfortunately put the wrong answer in for 9a (which made complete sense at the time) so screwed up all the down answers. Took ages to rectify. As crypticsue above says the South African is quite common but I only got it as I knew the howling word. Thanks to Dada and Senf

  16. That was very tough, I’ve had to come back on and off throughout the day to complete my last 7 clues, 4d being the last to fall. So the perseverance paid off but I’m now behind on my chores.
    A new word for me at 25a, and I think we had 19a not so long ago so managed to dig that out of the memory banks.
    Favourite today by far is 11a, very clever misdirection.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  17. Managed to finish under my own steam though in a solid 4* time for me. I loved the challenge, so thanks to Dada and Senf. Never did quite parse 11a, so has to be favourite.

  18. We managed this unaided despite never having heard of 25a, anyway we have now. 11a was no problem as it was fairly clued. Too many potential favourites to list but we’re going for 1a as it took so long to understand the meaning of toy. All in all a good fun challenge. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Completed with a little help on parsing from the Memsahib. 13a was a guess until she explained who the author was. 1d was obvious but needed Senf to explain it. I never think of the first word as a pile, more of a weight or density and the the coin reference was unfathomable. Anyway I’m pleased with myself for finishing and it filled in a bit of time whilst watching Murphy and Selby indulge in tactical play. ***/****

  20. Wow that was hard. I’m usually Dada’s biggest fan but not today! When its so hard there’s not much enjoyment although you have to admire his brain power.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf, needed his help today.
    I agree with Senf that this was like his first one, which I recall took me 3 days.
    So at least I’ve improved.

  21. Well I can only agree with everyone else, this was a real struggle – and I am still puzzling over 21a. It must be the cold weather freezing my brain.
    I turned to the hints to see if it was covered or if anyone gave any tiny clues about it, but no luck. Anyway, many thanks to Dada (?) and to Senf for the hints. I just hope that as I am serving supper the light will suddenly dawn, otherwise it might be a sleepless night. Final instalment of Line of Duty tonight – did anyone see the cartoon, I think on Wednesday, of the team interrogating Boris about the wallpaper? It has to be the cartoon of the year.

    1. Hi Daisygirl. Hope I get away with this from the naughty step police… 21a – the bound is also a season, and the article is the shortest you can think of in the English language. The definition is the last word in the clue.

      1. Skating on the thin ice of indefinite detention with no tasty fare confirmed.

    2. Penny has now dropped for 21a once I cottoned on to the context of the first word. Looking forward to LoD finale & agree the cartoon was great. I see you can now buy Jesus, Mary, Joseph & the wee donkey mugs & t-shirts.

      1. Oh I love it! We just cannot wait for tonight. George went to Campbell College in Belfast and so
        all these expletives are well known to him. And I have to say, Cryptor you were playing with fire on
        that useful hint you gave me. If they put you on the naughty step I’ll come and join you!

    3. If anyone had ever interrogated my husband about the wallpaper, they would have drawn a complete blank! It was a family joke that he’d only notice a change in colour on the wall if he could smell the paint.

    4. Glad everybody came to the rescue for 21a.
      Wished I could see Line of Duty in France. Adrian Dunbar is one of my oldest friend and I am so pleased that more than 9 million viewers follow the series.

      1. I get it on DVD from my local library here in the US. Will have to wait for a while for them to get the current series though. We both love Adrian’s “mother of God” exclamations 😊.

  22. I’m afraid this did next to nothing for me and I threw in the towel and sought electronic help for 1a and a couple of others in the North. 26a Fav with 25a probably running up. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  23. Found this Dada puzzle today extremely challenging along with a couple of his quirky clues showing up today. ***/***** for me today. One new word and a word not in everyday use were 1a & 25a. Didin’t know 24a had the meaning it did either …
    11a I remembered from previous use. Candidates for favourites today include 16a, 2d, 5d, 7d & 15d with my winner being 2d with 7d runner up.
    A good, if tough, puzzle today

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the brain workout … Whew!

  24. I was a long way from the finish line with this one but with the hints and comments I managed to complete it eventually. Delighted to add two new words to my vocabulary with 19a and 25a! An evening of snooker now beckons.

  25. Seem to remember a tricky blighter a few weeks ago & here was another he’s surely misfiled & meant to bung in his Paul folder. I thought it was a real belter stocked full of excellent clues. 1,8,11,16,21,25&26a plus 1,2,4,17&19d could make 4 podiums in my book. Suppose COTD has to be 21a since I’ve pondered it on & off while watching the snooker this afternoon having solved the rest of it surprisingly briskly.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf (hoping things improve over there for you all soon)

    1. Yes Huntsman, I agree. I don’t look at Paul puzzles in the Graun as they are utterly incomprehensible.
      This was for the experts, of which I am not one.

  26. I came to this late today and found that the last half a dozen clues took as long as the rest of the grid. It was almost too hard to thoroughly enjoy it, but the tussle was a good one. 11a and 1d were my particular favourites. I was relieved to find that many of my co-commenters found it equally as challenging.

    My thanks to Dada for the fight and to Senf.

  27. I agree with Terence, too hard today to be enjoyable. Such a disappointment after yesterday’s lovely puzzle. My biggest peeve are partial anagrams, and there are four today. Northeast corner filled in, but rest is proving too much like hard work. Just came in from potting up some plants on the patio, it is 87F out there, and hoped an iced coffee would help. But no, I’m clearly too thick for this one. Good luck with the lockdown Senf. Another 5,419 cases in Florida yesterday. Too many people not getting vaccinated, presumably by choice now.

    1. I am still wearing a thermal jumper and a VEST, lalthough I have been bare legged for some
      weeks as tights and jeans seemed to aggravate my knee scar. Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow
      and they forecast rain. God is a man.

      1. Don’t say God is a man, Daisygirl! The “woke” will object because He went about “smiting” people and caused floods and they will ban all contact with Him (or Her). 😁

  28. Congratulations to BD for including the attachment box. Great new feature. Hope to see everyone’s face soon.

    1. What new attachment box? What have I missed whilst watching reruns of Downton Abbey? 🤔

      1. Hi Steve,
        It’s just under the save my name box. on both my phone and PC.
        The browser opens my desktop and can upload anything I choose. On the phone it opens my photo gallery and the cloud so I can even upload things from my PC from my phone. Technology never stops to amaze me.

      2. I added it today because I was unable to add a picture to a comment. I may review the range of attachments that can be added.

        1. That may be a good idea! I’ve no idea how to do it any away but I’m sure one of the grandchildren will and that won’t necessarily be a suitable attachment.

    2. What fun! I can see this going wrong. Here is one of me suffering for my addiction to alcohol sitting in a biting wind trying to enjoy a pint of Barn Owl Bitter in the wild Wolvey Wolds

  29. If I had the time to try and complete this on a Sunday, there would be some wrong with my life.
    Great for the experts, no good for a bonehead like me.
    As ever, appreciate Dada’s work, and Senf’s hints.

  30. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. This must be the hardest Sunday Dada puzzle I’ve ever seen. Struggled from start to finish. Needed most of the hints, and got 21a from the blog. Was 5*/2* for me. That’s me trying to look perplexed. Which I certainly was.

  31. *****/*. The other week I nearly waltzed through the puzzle. Today was a case of two left feet. Not very enjoyable I’m afraid. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Vaccination disasters took a new turn in BC with the use of a “pop-up” centre. The only problem being they had “x” doses but the line up was considerably longer than “x”. I’m glad I wasn’t one of the unlucky citizens that had been waiting up to 5 hours only to be told the bad news.

  32. Wow! I’ve actually finished it – with lots of help from Senf and electronically. Although this was incredibly difficult I was determined I wasn’t going to be beaten. The hints also helped with some of the parsing. COTD has to be 11a, although if I explained why I’d be on the naughty step. Think I’ll go back to bed for a rest now – it’s going to pour with rain anyway.

  33. After Saturday’s rather dull and unrewarding prize puzzle, Sunday’s was a splendid and satisfying challenge.

    Without doubt it would have merited a place among the weekday Toughies, even a Friday. But a prize puzzle /should/ be testing.

    Not an unfair clue among the lot. Concisely written, not one excess word among these clever, crafty conundrums. Completed – eventually – without recourse to hints (unlike Friday’s Toughie, the last few of which were utterly beyond me) and with a sense of achievement.


    Many thanks to Dada for this masterpiece, and to Senf for the review.


  34. V late getting round to this. It was slow, slow, quick, quick, slow with this one. Stuck in the NE corner for ages, until we got 10d. Last one in 1d but needed the hint to parse the answer. Thanks for that. Favorite 1a.

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