ST 3108 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3108 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3108 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we are enjoying a week or so of early-Summer temperatures with highs in 20s and low 30s.  However, I am starting to sympathise with the farmers and we need some rain, preferably at least two or three days of ‘gentle soaking.’  At the moment  – on a five point scale from ‘Abnormally Dry’ to ‘Exceptional Drought’ – we are in ‘Extreme Drought’ conditions which is one level below the exceptional level.  Not good for this time of year!

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, and there is a good reason why that is underlined, today’s Dada is on a par with yesterday’s Cephas.  I counted six anagrams (two partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and one homophone – all in a symmetric 32 clues, with 18 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 28a, 2d, and 21d.

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 Do put on nut in part of engine (10)
A slang term for do (as in trick) placed after (put on) a term for a nut(ty person).

9a Cat flap within reach (5)
A three letter synonym of flap and a two letter term for within reach.

12a Playboy out for percentage in unlawful venture? (4-3)
A four letter, perhaps archaic, synonym of playboy and a three letter synonym of out.

17a Joke, cricket shot towards the on side? (3-4)
A double definition(?) – the second is the other term for the crickety on side and a term that, in other contexts, can be a synonym for tow.

19a Eventually march back in perhaps? (7)
An abbreviated term for a type of march reversed (back) contained by (in) a three letter synonym for perhaps.

21a Evil cardinal returning — snake! (7)
A synonym of evil and the colour that cardinal is a type of reversed (returning).

27a Epic ego is out to steal foreign money (9)
An anagram (out) of EGO IS containing (to steal) the denomination of some foreign money.

29a River pretty near houses (4)
The lurker (houses) in two words in the clue.

30a Pray, as Goth murdered philosopher (10)
An anagram (murdered) of PRAY, AS GOTH.


1d Mention location on the phone? (4)
The homophone (on the phone) of a synonym of location.

2d Flower beds carried first of tulips in botanical garden (9)
The first word of the illustrated flower containing (beds) a synonym of carried and the initial letter (first of) Tulips.

4d Brother unable to speak regarding weapon (7)
In a group of five brothers, who performed together, the one who acted mute and a two letter synonym for regarding.

8d White straps go after catches (3,7)
A three letter term for go after (as in track) and a slang term for catches (as in arrests) – I understand the wordplay and I know my answer is correct, but the definition gets a Hmm.

14d Steps taken to defend strike resulting in shiner (10)
(A set of) steps taken (when changing floors) containing (to defend) a synonym of strike.

18d Bloomers perhaps inferior to flower (9)
A synonym of inferior and a river (flower) in the NE.

20d Fairish call over leaders in organisation waiting years (7)
A four letter (loud) call placed before (over) the initial letters (leaders) of Organisation Waiting Years.

21d Play gong in American study (7)
The abbreviated form of the ‘middle’ award of a British Order of Chivalry inserted into (in) an American school subject (study) which one of the 3Rs is a component of.

26d Some mountainous place to climb? (4)
The reversed lurker (some . . . to climb) found in the definition.

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

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One of the best ‘duets’ ever:

72 comments on “ST 3108 (Hints)

  1. Well that was certainly my third consecutive workout of the week. The only difference this time was that I didn’t make it to the finish line without help. 9a took me ages to parse, but 6a and 8d eluded me. Other than those, I would have easily finished in *** time.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Senf.

  2. Slow start , fast finish with appreciation growing is my summary today . Lots of excellent clues providing smiles so no clear favourite .
    Thanks Dada and Senf .

  3. Found it a bit harder than the usual Sunday fare but still within my reach fortunately.
    A lot of lateral thinking was needed to unravel some of the clues.
    Nice to see that the two rivers are kind of related.
    Favourite 14d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. This was quite testing and tougher than the usual Dada Sunday puzzle (3.5*/4*). Like yesterday’s Cephas, I finished the puzzle but bunged in the two that I couldn’t parse. As Jean-Luc remarked, there was much lateral thinking involved and much satisfaction was derived from completing it. I liked 1a, 27a and 21d but joint clus of the day were 4d and 24a. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for his wily, deviously constructed clues.

      1. Thank you CS. I didn’t realise that I had. My fingers are mildly arthriic and I often press the wrong keys by accident, as in this case( probably while scrolling down. I’ll return it to the usual alias.

  5. This puzzle caps a terrific week of cryptic puzzles.
    As usual a slow start before tuning in to Dada’s wavelength but all fell into place eventually, clever and entertaining.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the hints, not needed this week.

  6. Delightful Dada today, though I did need a bit of help parsing a couple, so thanks to Senf for that. Finished in very good time for me with a Dada and thought that 4,2, & 21d / 14d (a draw) were my podium survivors today, and there were many contenders. Thanks to Dada and Senf. ** / ****

  7. For me, quite a bit harder than yesterday, requiring two sittings, but ultimately a satisfying solve.
    I thought the clues ranged from the very simple to the very obtuse with everything in between, and quite a lot of lateral thinking required.
    I didn’t manage to parse 9a or 2d and missed the relevance of the “unable to speak” part of 4d.
    My favourite is 21d.
    Thanks to the setter and Senf, to whom I’m most grateful that he chose to give hints on those I didn’t understand.

  8. Much easier than the last couple of weeks for me. A few parsing to check.
    I liked the use of the ‘silent brother’ in 4d.
    Dada sets superb crosswords, thanks! And to Senf too.

    1. Hoofs
      Really sorry to read of your problems yesterday. For some life can surely kick you in the teeth when you are down.
      Good luck mate, you seem as if you could do with some.

      1. Thanks mate. As the Mamas and the Papas said “the darkest hour is just before dawn”.

        1. One of my friends said it is OK being a glass half empty sort of person as long as it is the bottom half.

        2. My little brother’s wife left him with her three sons… but to quote Captain Tom, tomorrow will be a good day, and so I will for you hope.

  9. I’ll have to differ & say I thought this a sight trickier than Cephas yesterday though certainly not at the should have been in the Paul envelope end of his spectrum. It was a fairly sedate solve with 21a&d my last two in & as per only twigged when the pennies dropped for right context of snake & gong. Pick of the bunch for me was a toss up between 2&18d & other than 10a&20d, neither of which I cared for, excellently clued throughout. Liked 17a too, one of the shots I don’t think we’ve had before so another one to add to DG’s expanding repertoire. A little surprised 11d wasn’t hinted as,if I’m any yardstick, that was a head scratcher.
    Thanks to Dada for a very enjoyable puzzle & as ever to Senf.
    Ps lovely Everyman in the Graun.

    1. Agree Huntsman, I have not parsed 11d either, can’t see the last three letters. 5d the same. Saturday’s and Sunday’s, the ones I can’t parse are always unhinted, shows what one person thinks is obvious is not so for someone else.

        1. ‘briefly’ indicates that the last three letters are most of the name of an island
        1. Thanks, yes I guessed that, I’ve been let down by my poor geography. Have used Mr Google and found the said island. Not one that would occur to me, no idea where it is!

          1. Same here Hoofs – got the island but it would have been a pin job identifying it on a map. Good look with the move & sorry to hear of domestic woes.
            Everyman bit of head scratch in the SW.

        2. Thanks from me too, had the answer but couldn’t work out why I had the last 3 letters – no idea where it is.

      1. 5d: After going through the alphabet looking for the endless “some” between the decline, eventually found it not far from Z. Hope that helps!

    2. That was my first clue solved – everyone is different. The second island had been quite famous in the past.

  10. 3*/4*. I found this quite tricky in parts but very enjoyable throughout.

    I don’t think 17a quite works even with the question mark as the second word on it’s own means a cricket shot played towards the on side.

    Senf, as 8ds are white and they are straps (Collins: “a narrow piece of leather, cloth or other material”), the definition seems OK to me.

    My favourite was 4d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. It’s bound to be in a dictionary somewhere! The connection to the article in question still seems tenuous to me.

  11. At first pass I thought this was going to prove impossible but it came together slowly. ***/*** 14d took me an age to work out the right sort of strike. I needed the hints to understand 2d, thanks senf, and I’d never heard of the cricket shot in 17a before. I’m up to speed with most of them. Not at all sure where the “straps” part comes into 8d. Absorbing all the same. Favourite 4d. Thanks to all.

      1. I was a lot worse. I started off thinking black something, then the wrong sort of xxxxx -as you suggest – before the penny dropped. There’s always one!

    1. That was my favourite shot which got me more runs than probably any other esp against the Quicks (all spinners should have been strangled at birth!).

  12. Some head scratchers interspersed with enough good fairly straightforward clues to make the whole about right for a Sunday PP for me.
    Thought 29a simple & neat but 1a my COTD. It brought back memories of motoring problems of yore and stripping engines down on the kitchen table.. Who ever hears of one broken now?
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints. Be careful what you wish for with the rain. Gardeners here were exhorting rain a couple of weeks ago, cue what could turn out to be one of the wettest May on record.

    1. LrOK – After a very ‘dry’ winter (very low snowfall) and a third of ‘normal’ rainfall between April 1st and May 15th, several days of ‘gentle soaking’, giving a chance to ‘replenish’ the water table, would be more than welcome. We are starting to break records, but in the ‘wrong’ direction.

  13. Yesterday’s crossword was fine, nothing far fetched or made up. Today’s is the same as last week and has the same deficiencies that keep recurring on Sundays of a good crossword being ruined by a couple of “clues” that can politely be called “umms”. I’m starting to get very bored of it now and probably will switch my Sunday morning to somewhere else.

  14. Finished a Dada with help from Senf, so many thanks for that. The hard thinking required tired out my tiny brain but still felt sleepily satisfied. 9a and 17a deserve very honourable mentions among a generally fine puzzle.

    Thanks to Dada.

  15. A rather tricky Dada today and one that took me ages to finish. I needed help with a couple such as 14d, which I simply could not parse. As usual it was those awkward little four letter clues that beat me especially 6a and 29a. I can’t think why the latter held me up but there you go. Some great clues, such as 1a, 17a and 11d. I was reminded of Lola and Terence by 9a and wonder if the said contraption is installed and working. My COTD is 4d.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    Tomatoes are thriving, first earlies are sprouting, onion sets shooting, peas peeping through and the asparagus is in full swing. I bet we now get a late frost!

    1. Daffodils just finishing with us, spring starts on 1st of June I understand.

      1. 1st June start for Spring will be the same for us in The Marches, I suspect, LROK.

        1. My outdoor tomatoes have survived and are doing well in the veg. patch but the broad beans and leeks are reluctant to germinate. The strawberries have lots of flowers, the gooseberry has little fruits and the tayberry has flower buds. The rhubarb is growing apace too.

          1. Broad beans, yum, yum! We don’t get those here, well, sometimes, rarer than hen’s teeth. They go by the Middle Eastern name.

          2. I always start my leeks in a pot then transfer when they look sturdy. I use a dibber to make a hole about 1 inch wide and 4-5 inches deep. Drop a leek plant in and fill the hole with water. Never fails

      2. The only place I can get daffodils here is in the supermarket, and only briefly. The first week they were great. The second week they weren’t worth buying. No hope of growing them here. But I did have a short term success with nasturtium seeds. Sadly, sweet peas never sprouted.

  16. I agree with the general consensus that this was a tad more difficult than usual for a Sunday but for me it was all the more enjoyable as a result. Our blogger’s choices of favourite came close to supplying my COTD, but that honour goes to 4d with 21d a close runner-up. Great fun.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  17. Very tricky indeed. I needed Senf’s help with a couple and the parsing of one or two more is a mystery.

    *Hoofit – very sorry to hear about what is going on, I hope that life takes a kinder turn for you and your family.

    *Steve – the cat flap installation became complicated. The gap between the scullery door and the washing machine is not big enough for the flap to go through the wall without weakening the structure or integrity of the door. So the cat flap is going through the door itself – which is heavily embossed and thus needs the lower panel replacing. A job beyond my ability so a professional is coming in, but he cannot come until 28th of May so Lola must be patient until then. At the moment she pops out for an hour in the morning to sniff around and then tends to stay in for the rest of the day. Steroids are still making her a little sluggish.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Traffic – The Very Best Of…

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Sounds like me, Terence.

      “I’ll just paint over that stain on the wall”

      Two days later I’m ringing a professional decorator!

      Pleased to hear that Lola is still fine. As for being sluggish, the dear cat has earned it!

  18. Found this somewhat difficult but really enjoyed the slog. Thanks Dada and Senf for your help where it was needed — 1a and 8d for example!

  19. Had a couple of grumbles where 8&20d were concerned and 17a was something of a ‘guess and hope for the best’ but plenty of other clues made up for those. 9a made me smile thinking of Terence and Lola and my top three spots went to 12a plus 2&25d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the ‘duet’ – what a talented pair.

  20. Very enjoyable with one of those clues that I really like 28a, a real smiler. Such a relief after yesterdays absolute horror. Lots of clever clues today which were elegant and well constructed, just my sort of crossword.
    Thx to all

  21. Enjoyed that. Good mental workout this morning while platelets were being harvested, taking my mind off the needle! The clues read smoothly, and were nicely varied in type. Honourable Mentions Club for 12a, 9d and 18d; COTD to 4d – it made me laugh. LOI was 6a, at which point I couIdn’t see how I’d missed it earlier, and groaned.


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


  22. Excellent distraction from foul weather. Thanks Dada.
    Thanks to Senf for the parsing of 2d.
    The rest went in smoothly once it got started.
    Lots complain about four letter answers, but I often find that they are a way in.

    1. Chris
      I don’t complain merely comment that 4 letter answers with two word clues are my nemesis.
      Today there were two 4 letter lurkers that are a way in, if you see them of course.

  23. I came within 1 clue of completing this (although there were a couple I couldn’t parse fully) which would be a first for me. Sadly, I’ve stared at 6A all day and it still remains unsolved.

  24. Upon first look through this looked pretty impossible and I could not see my way in. However, this passed and it was one of those that solves in bursts. Nevertheless I left off while I popped out and then had some lunch. Upon my return all was done including some in the SW which I found troublesome. Favourites 27 and 28a and 14 16 18 and 21d. Some of the parsing eluded me although I got it all apart from 5d which still eludes me. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  25. **/****. I don’t always finish Sunday puzzles without help but not so in this instance. Enjoyable solve on another warm evening and a couple of G&Ts. Favourites were 5&21d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  26. That was a tricky Dada, but no surprise there. It just required the thinking head this morning. Laughed at 28a. About a third went in at the first pass, and then checkers helped with another third. Needed Senf’s hints to finish, thank you. I am quite proud that I at least recognised the picture hint for 1a, having wasted too much time thinking it was an anagram. Last in was 21a where I fell in the trap of trying to identify the snake, duh. A good mental work out, slightly tougher than the Cephas from yesterday. Thanks Dada.

  27. A very gentle and non quirky puzzle today from Dada. 1.5*/**** for me today. Favourite clues include 1a, 6a (last in), 29a, 8d & 21d. with 8d my winner today.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints

  28. I had very few in the first half hour but then it was slow and steady and very enjoyable. Have just put my runner beans out, hidden behind a bench to try and deter the muntjac. A squirrel obviously rummaged through my very small leek seedings so I shall have to start again! Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. Remember to sprinkle the earth with chilli powder. I used it to get rid of some pesky squirrels, who were digging up my tulips from their pots. Monty Don explained that they eat tulips and other bulbuous plants like garlic but can’t stand getting chilli on their paws.

  29. Very tricky, but I did manage to complete except for 29a, something I’m a bit ashamed of. Surely, if I’m going to let something get the best of me it should be something like 17a?
    I did enjoy it, albeit with copious electronic and Senf’s help. I think 14d is fave but 4d demands I pick the brother who can’t speak!
    Thanks to Dada fur the fun and Senf for his help, also the lovely musical choice.

  30. Quite a struggle today and somewhat lacking in lighter moments. East came out first. 14d was a bung-in. I hmmd at 4d and 8d. Fav was 18d. Thank you Dada and Senf. Wow what a soggy day here in West Sussex.

  31. DD2 came at midday and we were able to have a drink in the garden then the neighbours came in via the gate in the fence and the gin path so it became a bit of a party and then I went to sleep. Still rather dozy, I struggled a bit to begin with but it all fell into place eventually. I couldn’t really believe my bung in at 8d until I saw your picture Senf. Really? I still am slightly puzzled but I did like 21d and 2d. Is 19a all one word and is 17a really a cricket shot? So much to learn still. I rather like your new name Christrycross, very quirky. Many thanks to the setter and Senf. Chin up everyone.

  32. Well we set off a reasonable pace before descending into the morass. We had a few correct answers that we couldn’t parse so needed the hints to do so, 5d is still a complete mystery to me and some clues were just plain difficult. Favourite was 14d. Thanks to Dada and Senf. We didn’t have time to do yesterday’s due to being busy all day, then a certain important football match and celebrations of the result. Our commisserations to all Chelsea fans but the best goal won. 😁

  33. Whew…took 3 sessions of ‘head-scratching’ to complete this today and certainly needed Senf’s explanations on a couple of occasions to help with the parsing!
    Some excellent clues – shame that I just seemed to be on the wrong wavelength for too long today…possibly a beverage or 2 too many last night may not have helped 🤪
    Anyway, thanks to Dada for the entertainment and, of course, to Senf for the excellent blog ‘n hints👍
    Another pen on the way…😜

  34. Busy all day yesterday so didn’t get round to doing this till this morning. Struggled with some of it but a very enjoyable crossword which took me xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (redacted as Weekend Wanda says it is not Blog Etiquette to discuss solving times) to finish.
    I enjoyed 19a and 2d but favourite was 4d

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