ST 3107 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3107 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3107 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, as some thought, Lockdown 3.0 was not a strict enough response to Covid 3.0 (a.k.a. Third Wave), so we now have Lockdown 3.1, which is probably what its predecessor should have been in the first place.  It has also been announced that, from May 21st, anyone 12 years old and up can get vaccinated although that assumes vaccines will be available which, given the ‘performance’ of Canada’s ‘vaccine procurement system,’ is questionable.  More gin please! 

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, and for the first Post of the second 10,000, all I can say is that Dada is better than last week.  I counted three anagrams (one partial), one lurker – reversed, and two homophones – 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 – 22a, 26a, 14d, and 18d.

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 Saw show, rhythm and blues initially? (7)
A synonym of show, as we used to do in Maths all those years ago, and the first letters (initially) of Rhythm and Blues.

10a Leave small stuff (5)
The single letter for small and a synonym of stuff (as in insert into).

11a Productions bringing passion into heart of actress (7)
A four letter synonym of passion inserted into (bringing . . . into) the three letters in the centre (heart) of acTREss.

16a See fit European in the audience? (5)
The first homophone (in the audience) of a European person (from the Southernmost Scandinavian country).

17a A pretence backfiring for old storyteller (5)
A from the clue and a synonym of pretence reversed (backfiring).

22a Something for locks on your bike, a member gaining access (7)
A from the clue and the two letters for member (of parliament) all inserted into (gaining access) a four letter synonym of on your bike (as in go away).

26a Put in again, checks unlikely (9)
A synonym of checks (when riding?) and a synonym of unlikely (when applied to a story?).

28a Dark except when sierra is to the west (7)
The letter represented by Sierra in the phonetic alphabet placed before (when . . . is to the west) a synonym of except.


1d Canine tip (7)
A double definition – the first is the illustrated canine.

2d Strange, off and on (5)
You might think this is a double definition, but it isn’t – a synonym of off and the two letters equivalent to on (as in about) – and for complete accuracy the last letter should be accented.

5d Tool for tidying up back (7)
A double definition – the second is one playing the round ball game, if that term is still used.

8d Fast time, nothing hurt running uphill (7)
A word, ‘borrowed’ from Spanish, for nothing and a three letter term we often ‘see’ as a synonym for hurt all reversed.

14d Secret police probing rookie officer, virtually dismissed (4,5)
The abbreviated form of a former East European secret police force inserted into (probing) a rookie officer with her or his last letter removed (virtually).

18d Old clown, I blunder into drugs? (7)
I from the clue and a three letter synonym of blunder all inserted into a type of drugs – perhaps drug would have been sufficient.

23d Crime in casinos ramped up (5)
The reversed lurker (in . . . up) found in two words of the clue.

24d Quiet man heard? (5)
The second homophone (heard?) of man, perhaps one of those illustrated below.

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.

From her 1998 album Eden this is singer, songwriter, actress, dancer (who remembers Hot Gossip and Pan’s People?), musician, and the second Mrs Lloyd Webber Sarah Brightman with a song that should require no introduction (apparently, when the video was made, ‘on the face’ microphone technology was at an early stage of development):

85 comments on “ST 3107 (Hints)

  1. A good deal easier Dada than last week though tricky enough in places. For a change I was quickly on wavelength which made for a brisk solve though there were a few instances of answer then parse. Noticed that 3d was a feature in his Graun prize yesterday where I reckon there were some poets maybe even Robert would have regarded as obscure. Anyway good crossword & agree with Senf’s pick of the clues.
    Thanks both.

  2. This puzzle had some odd quirks and both GK and lateral thinking were required, not to mention unsignalled knowledge of Spanish in 8d (3*/3.5*). I liked the geographical clue at 8d and the well misdirected clue a at 22a, but clue of the day for me was my last in, short and wily, 3d. There weren’t as many outstanding clues as in some Dada puzzles but thanks for an absorbing crossword. Thanks to Senf for the hints. Your vaccine situation seems to rumble on, Senf. Not many national governments have covered themselves in glory during the pandemic. We have been taken by surprise and hamstrung by our own ignorance of the characteristics of the disease in the same way as our ancestors were by the Black Death. Boris at least had the foresight to order lots of vaccine and Australia and New Zealand have had geographical isolation and low population density on their side. I hope we learn from this.

    1. Just one statistic then I will keep quiet. Based on a table of aggregated data provided by governments and published in the New York Times, as of yesterday, the UK has 25% of its population ‘fully vaccinated’, Canada has 3.2% ‘fully vaccinated’ (the decimal point is correct).

    2. Looking at the UK results from across this side of the pond, your numbers look pretty good. Particularly compared to Florida where yesterday’s cases were nearly 4,000 and the number of people getting vaccinated has dropped alarmingly. One of the places people could get their shot was our local supermarket and their voice mail yesterday starts with “if you want to cancel your COVID vaccination…”.

  3. 3*/4*. I found this mid-range for difficulty (i.e. much easier than last Sunday!) and very enjoyable with 2d my favourite. 14d was my last one in.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. Dada in a more benevolent mood this week and the puzzle flowed quite steadily as soon as 1a slotted into place.
    It could well be a chestnut, but 4d gets my vote today for making me laugh.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the reminder of Titanic – I’m so glad that microphone technology has moved on in more recent times!

  5. A much easier offering from dada this week. I wondered what we were in for when the quickie took me twice as long as usual. **/*** By his standards this was quite straightforward. Favourite 14d. Thanks to all.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, only assistance, checking the spelling of a certain bird.
    Brilliant clueing eg 27a
    So, ***/*****
    Many thanks Dada and Senf for the review.

  7. A little more straightforward than the usual DADA but still not easy. I thought 17d was weak and he could at least have capitalised the ladies in 3D! Last in was 27a which I thought a poor clue because it’s poor surface reading. On the plus side 22a was good but my fav was 19d.
    Thx to all

    1. As I was completing the entry submission which I have done fruitlessly for many years I wondered if anyone on the blog has ever won a prize or if it’s mythical?

      1. I very rarely enter but I won a notebook and pen quite a few years ago. I also won on the Observer when I was very young and was impressed by the number of people congratulated me. During the pandemic there are fewer winners. At one time the first prize was a Mont Blanc pen which I hankered after. It is rather like premium bonds or getting one’s letters in the paper – you may try for years with no result or with the former win every month and with the letter see every one you write published. I think I have mentioned on here before that I have an acquaintance in the SW who has won or been runner up (Saturday prize puzzle) a number of times. He got the Mont Blanc pen. He won so often that he sometimes entered in the name of his aged Uncle as he lives in a small Cornish town and thought people reading his name and address would recognise it and think it a fix. Do let us know when you win.

      2. I submitted for over 40 years but never won a prize. I don’t even bother to submit now.

          1. That is exactly what it is! They don’t say how many entries they get. It may be more now it can be done electronically. I have always wondered if the post bag varies due to complexity eg last Sunday v Today. As one of the quiz masters used to say, “You’ve got to be in it to win it”.

        1. Nor me even now that it can be done online but for years on Saturday and Sunday I wasted a postage stamp(s) every week – would now be 15 shillings (76p) or 13 shillings(65p) – can’t remember what rates were when I first started entering!

      3. The only reason I used enter Brian is because the digital edition used to confirm the following week that your entry was indeed correct. Sadly no longer the case & despite CL stating it would be rectified it hasn’t yet.

      4. I rarely enter these days, but was fortunate to win the notebook and pen some years ago. Sending in the completed hard-copy puzzle from the paper forced a disciplined approach to handwriting, keeping the grid ‘clean’, and not making any mistakes!

        Having changed my paper subscription from the DT to The Times some 5-10 years ago, I was delighted to be able to subscribe online to the Telegraph’s puzzles section and reacquaint myself with the DT crosswords.

    2. The use (or not) of capitals, and the placing/misplacing of commas, apostrophes etc, are all weapons in the compilers’ boxes of tricks, so each of them may send us down blind alleys, may deceive, stump and fox us.

      Without such delights from out tormentors I’m sure there would be less enjoyment, amusement and satisfaction from solving puzzles, far fewer echoing clangs as pennies the size of manhole covers drop!


  8. I was cruising through this, until I foundered on the reef in the NE. 5a, 5d & 7d were the culprits.

    Sorely tempted as I was to reach for electronic help, I persevered and with the help of a high tide, I got off the rocks in ***/**** time.

    13a was marked as an ‘Umm?’ as I didn’t know the character, but 22a gets my vote for COTD for the brilliant use of ‘locks’ and ‘bike’.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  9. First look I couldn’t anything so took Senf’s suggestion & started with last clue and things started to fall into place. Overall *** time & enjoyment.
    No real mental blocks and eventually could make sense of everything.
    14d gets my COTD.
    Thanks to Dada for the challenge & Senf for the hints.

  10. 14 and 18d were my co-favourites in this comfortable and rewarding puzzle. I thought there was a good clue mix, some tricky parsings and a smattering of GK to keep us all entertained. It was certainly a step or two down in difficulty after last Sunday’s grid.

    My thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf.

  11. A very interesting Dada. I am surprised more people have not commented yet. I breezed through all but a total of eight, four each way. The NW was straight in. After a short break I recommenced and was left with only the stinkers in the NE and 24d which I should have got straightaway. Like Malcolm R I was sorely tempted to go for help, whether electronic or a hint, but it seems such a shame to spoil a good puzzle by doing that. I did look up synonyms for freezing but did not find the answer there, so it was the tried and tested method of going through the alphabet. I was not helped as from time to time I misread Darn for Dam. 8d was a good one and made a nice change from the usual fast. It was quickly in but I had no idea until I read the hint post-solve and then looked up the Spanish. I think the use of a Spanish word should have been hinted in some way in the clue. Favourites 1 13 22 and 26a and 3 4 15 18 and 19d. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  12. I found this very challenging but enjoyable. With Dada one learns to expect the unexpected.

    My goodness, I was knocked for six by my reaction to the second jab I had on Friday. I spent Friday afternoon and all of yesterday a-moaning and a-groaning, Each limb, and my bonce, seemed to weigh a ton. I only had energy enough to sigh, and lament about the grimness of it all.
    Then, today, I awoke to the good news of the wracking pain replaced by an acceptable level of minor ouchi-ness and my head now feels it is weighing less than the two thousand and two hundred and forty pounds of yesterday. The great news is that this entitles me to another afternoon slouching on a sofa whilst watching football. It all balances out.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Wishbone Ash – Argus

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Two days after my second jab I woke up with an awful headache, which afflicted me on and off for the rest of the week. Unfortunately, my neighbours were having a new, enlarged patio installed, with all the noise that entails. Whrn they turned the ‘whacker’ plate machine on to compact the footings, my head felt like it was about to explode. Hope you feel well soon, Terence. The consolation prize is that you know the vaccine is working.

      1. Chris – I cannot think how I would have coped if there had been a whacker plate machine bashing away in the background. I wore dark glasses all afternoon and evening. H said I was trying to look liked a faded rock star.

    2. One of my favourite albums. Twin lead guitars great. Expect your mob’s successive victory over Abu Dhabi Academicals made you feel better if nothing else did. My mate, who’s a mad Manc, was desperate for Real to get through as he’s not got a good feeling about the CL final.

      1. I did manage to raise myself from my bed of woe to cheer on Azpi’s Aces to victory over Pep’s Poodles.

        1. Terence
          Recommend you watch today if you want to get some sleep Man U after a Thursday match are a sure-fire cure for insomnia. Especially as their passing accuracy approaches 90% problem is that’s to the opposition!

    3. The day after my second jab I could hardly keep my eyes open. Went back to bed, awoke for lunch, then back to bed where I slept until dinner time. But after that just great. If that is my reaction to the shot, I dread to think how bad I would have felt had I caught COVID itself.

      1. That’s how I felt too, BL. I cannot understand why so many people are deciding not to be vaccinated. I understand if you have a fear of needles but that isn’t the case with all of them.

        1. I’m always amazed (1) at the amount of people who are staring at the needle as it goes in – I always look away, and (2) the number of people who grimace in pain – come on, it’s barely a pinprick. And showing both these pictures again and again isn’t helping getting people to get themselves vaccinated.

        2. They are the ‘vaccine decliners’ (my term) who have the mindset that they will be OK because everyone else is being vaccinated – unbelievable!

          1. There are also those of us who face the serious risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis – I’ll take my chances with the virus, thanks

            Never taken antibiotics, visited a dentist or taken any other supposed ‘remedy’ and it hasn’t killed me, just made me more resilient to infections, bugs and food that’s a bit off
            I had to retrieve some oatmeal crackers from the bin this weekend that my good lady threw out ‘because they had blue mould on them’ – then I pointed out I was going to have them with Roquefort anyway :scratch:

    4. Very interested by your post and the responses. What a mixed bag we are! Firstly I am amazed and pleased by the success of the English vaccination programme. I do not think the Government has received all the credit it deserves for this. I am sorry for those less fortunate. Secondly I have had both doses of Astra Zeneca. I did not even feel the prick with the first and was still waiting for it! I was worried in case the young RAF lady administering had somehow missed. However, a little bump came up later. The next day site of the jab was a bit sore and I felt lethargic and ached a little. This could have been my imagination. I felt jab number 2, but had nothing to feel or show for it afterwards. This may have been down to the fact that I had a busy day and forgot all about it. I do understand the view of the non-vaccers. I did not have a flu jab for years on the basis that I have never had flu and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I am concerned about the over-sterilisation of everything which has been rife in recent years, and more so during this pandemic. I do understand Letterbox Roy. I do not follow use-by dates for food stuffs and I believe in children playing in muck. I read somewhere once that a mother picking up a child’s dummy from the floor, licking it clean, and giving it back to the child was the best think she could do.

  13. After the first pass I had entered precisely nothing so I thought this was going to be unfinished. However, as is the way with Dada, I gradually started to unravel it. Plenty to like such as 1a in which I had forgotten the alternative word that made up the first part of the answer. 13a and 18a were both enjoyable and satisfying solves but my COTD is 21a.

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

  14. Breezed through most of this, had a break and completed all but one. Any hints (within the rules) for 3d?

    1. It’s a Sunday Prize Puzzle, so all I will ‘give’ you is that you are looking for an author.

    2. Think xxxxxxxxxxxxx. If I end up on the naughty step, I hope you do the decent thing and bring cake! :grin:

      (Redacted – as indicated by LROK – ‘Think’ was your undoing.)

      1. I got kisses for using “Think….” but reading Brian’s comment in #7 might help.

    3. 3d It’s xxxxxxxxxx … but xxxxxxxxxxxx in a Down clue. (redacted – too much information for a Prize Puzzle)

      1. What are the rules?

        I gave no indication of the solution … I merely gave a hint to the wordplay.

        Yours, Disgusted (not from Tunbridge Wells)

        1. Have you BD’s instructions in RED at the bottom of the hints? I, perhaps liberally, considered that ‘alternative clues’ applied to your comment.

          In any event, GMY1965 said that 3d was the only clue that he or she had not solved. So with three checkers in a five letter word and my ‘you are looking for an author’ that should be more than enough for a Sunday Prize puzzle.

          1. Agree. The decision of Big Dave or whoever is monitoring is final.

            Having said that I thought my comment was ok but obviously not. I accept the redaction because “ Rules is Rules”.

  15. Dada in a very benevolent mood today. Perhaps benevolent is a gross understatement as I finished it. Not very often that happens with a Dada. Liked 5a and 5d today so no clear favourite.

    Thanks to Senf for confirming one or several of my hunches and to Dada for taking a day off from tormenting me.

  16. Wonderful! I loved it but then I usually do on a Sunday,(not last Sunday)
    Too many cracking clues to name a favourite.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  17. Got there in the end once I found the wavelength but it wasn’t my scene at all. A few stretched clues I thought but can’t recall exactly which ones. No particular Fav. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  18. I needed a couple of sessions to complete this one but got there in the end. Seemed quite a struggle initially but slowly it all started to come together. Great challenge by Dada again👍
    Thanks to Senf for the blog n’ hints which helped to explain a couple of the answers.
    Competition entered – can’t wait for my prize pen! 😜

    1. Based on some of the earlier ‘pen’ comments, don’t hold your breath while waiting!

  19. I got about half of this in bed this morning after I had placed my supermarket delivery order for 5 June at 4.40 a.m.! Not much later and all the slots will have gone. Came back to it after having a terrible time trying to put our new garden chairs together – God what a nightmare and we still have only done 4 out of 6, the first one took a full hour. David has gone for a lie down. Holes didn’t line up, screws were too short – OMG. So the chance to relax and finish off this puzzle – there were a couple of head scratchers but not too bad Maybe 4 chair is enough!

    1. Sorry, meant to say thanks to our setter and Senf – obviously attempting to put chairs together has made me forget my manners

  20. A quick question, if I may? How often does the DT puzzle newsletter come out? I subscribed to it about two weeks ago but have had nothing yet. The Matt newsletter arrives with no problem.

    Many thanks.

    1. The Puzzle Newsletter is published weekly on a Monday, except for Holidays such as last Monday. Based on the time I receive it, it is published mid/late afternoon UK time just in time to be enjoyed with an equally enjoyable cup of tea.

  21. Only about a third done so far. Certainly not a Mother’s Day gift from Dada (it’s today in the US). No more time, as I need to make myself look spiffy before our daughters arrive to celebrate the day. Might have a go at finishing later, but it appears to be well above my pay grade. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  22. Well, contrary to Senf’s comment I found this way trickier than last week’s puzzle. Had lots of issues today and several new words too as in 2d, 18d & 27a ****/*** for me today. Really struggled in the SW too as this was last area in. Favourites today include 1a, 13a, 18a, 4d & 7d with winner 13a.
    Clues 5a, 10a & 7d elicited a chuckle too.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the needed hints today

  23. Really enjoyed this puzzle – gentle, I thought, for a Dada, but enough of a challenge nonetheless.

    Really appreciated the relative lack of anagrams, which allows for a greater variety of other clue types. Lovely smooth surfaces, plenty of misdirection, and yet nothing to frighten the horses, no arcane vocab. required (yesterday’s Times puzzle, I mean you!). Quite a few ticks against the clues once completed, but laurels shared for me by 11a and 7d – neither overly taxing, but both so well constructed and amusing.


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


  24. Forgot to check the novel in 13a against the parsing but it must be right.
    Did check 6d though as I always think another city is the capital of this country.
    Favourite 9a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. jean-luc – your comment prompted me to Google ‘capital of xxxxxx’ and I was somewhat surprised at the result. It would appear that Dada is correct.

      1. I spent time in the country in question – the political capital is definitely not the answer to 6d. Google must be wrong.

        1. If Google is wrong then so is Encycyclopaedia Britannica. The 6d answer is the capital but not the seat of government and the country in question is not alone in having this ‘arrangement.’

  25. I enjoyed today’s Dada very much but have no idea what’s going on in 7d. To an American, it’s just damn cold! Seriously, can anyone explain 7d without being relegated along the Naughty Step to Oblivion? Is it just a cultural thing? Perhaps an idiomatic expression? Otherwise, wonderful puzzle. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

        1. I had more trouble thinking of a synonym for darn rather than one for freezing. It is, however, used in the UK in both these situations but probably not as much as the first dictionary definition. On a freezing day my mother would say “Im ******ed”.

  26. Nothing like as difficult as Dada can be – I can’t remember last Sunday’s so I just mean generally.
    Very enjoyable and not too tricky about sums it up for me.
    I’ve been looking at 5d for ever – answer had to be what it was but I needed the hint to confirm why – 7d ball games!
    19d was my last one.
    Too many good clues to mention all of them but my favourite was probably any one of 10 or 22a and 14d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  27. Enjoyed this immensely, although I remain baffled by 21A — I figured out the answer from the definition, but couldn’t see how the cryptic part of the clue worked to produce that answer. (My favourite was 18A).

    1. Welcome to the blog Andy.
      21a is a three part charade, with two parts contained by the third.

      1. Thanks for the welcome (I’m relatively new to crosswords, and finding this blog so helpful). And thanks for the help — that now makes perfect sense. As I say, I knew I had the right word — I just couldn’t figure out the wordplay. Many thanks!

        1. Andy

          We have a long-standing contributor who uses the name Andy – if possible could you differentiate your comments from his by changing or qualifying your name.

  28. Ploughed through this without too much trouble. Could not think of an author in 3d so had to look it up. I had the other bit of the clue and followed the almost hint but somehow still couldn’t see it. Got it eventually. Had trouble also with 8d as I clearly (so it turned out) could not spell it. This made 16a impossible. One of the reasons being I couldn’t spell the answer. Not a good day. So At least I now know how to spell both words.
    Thanks to Senf and the setter.

  29. Skimmed through the hints and comments and started this late found this quite hard work and completion better than the journey. If we had to pick a favourite either 13a or 14d, so I’ll pick 14d because I got that one
    . 😁 Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  30. Quite the most difficult puzzle I have encountered for ages – not my pay grade at all. Having completed about half, struggled with the hints (for which many thanks), electronically and the BRB. In my ignorance I still don’t have the answer to 3d – and I’ve got a long wait until I know it! Thanks to Dada for supplying good brain exercise.

  31. After a slow start, accelerated to the end. Favorite 3 down. But 6d is flawed because untidy made smart is not capital.

    1. It seems that 6d is written as Capital in the Constitution of that country even if the government is somewhere else.

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