ST 3111 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3111 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3111 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we hit the start of meteorological summer at full speed with 36 degrees on Friday and 35 degrees yesterday. 

What  a delight it was to see Kath commenting on Wednesday.  Continued best wishes to her for a speedy and successful recovery and congratulations to your younger lamb and all on the news of another ‘grand-lamb’ joining the family.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, about the same as last week.  I counted five anagrams (three partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and no homophones – all in an economically symmetric 26 clues, with 14 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.  And, our Don Quixote may feel the need to mount his noble steed and find a windmill to tilt at.

Candidates for favourite – 15a, 3d, 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:


7a Accomplishment pocketing gross pay (5,2)
A type of accomplishment, especially if one is in the habit of overthrowing governments, containing (pocketing) a three letter interjection which is a synonym of gross (as in being odious).

8a God leads boy to embrace origin of Holy Ghost (7)
A (Greek) god placed before (leads) a short version of a boy’s (or a man’s) name and containing (to embrace) the first letter (origin) of Holy.

11a Single: piece of vinyl, nostalgic looking back (4)
The reversed lurker (piece of . . . looking back) found ‘sandwiched’ between the words of the lurker indicator.

15a Near feeling of excitement consuming a winger (11)
A (poetic?) synonym of near and a single word for a feeling of excitement containing (consuming) A from the clue.

20a Draw ring circled by the pony, lamely (8)
The letter that looks like a ring contained (circled) by an anagram (lamely of THE PONY.

23a Solid block stuffed with stewed dates, crisp food (10)
A type of solid block (used in construction?) containing (stuffed with) an anagram (stewed) of DATES.

26a Forward, picket (7)
A double definition – the second is someone performing a particular function in association with a work stoppage.


1d Need some grip over tyrant (7)
The forward lurker (some) found in the rest of the clue.

3d Dog riding sheep (6)
A slang, originally US, term for a (probably a mongrel) dog and a two letter synonym of riding.

5d In casual manner, friend currently playing well? (10)
A bit back to front – start with a (2,4) term for currently playing well and add a type of friend.

9d On top shelf perhaps, thinner pen (11)
A four letter term for on top shelf perhaps (often followed by a two letter term) and a synonym of thinner.

13d Unfortunately I step on it, a plant with brightly coloured leaves (10)
An anagram (unfortunately) of I STEP ON IT, A.

18d Nicked, pop getting cut, hurt (7)
POP from the clue with the last letter removed (getting cut) and a verbal (past tense?) synonym of hurt.

24d Realise it’s a bit of wood (4)
A double definition to finish – the second is multiply illustrated below.

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A pop classic, which was number one in June 1967, played in a classical manner (OK we had the original four years ago, but it never gets old).  Hungarian born, Canadian organist Xaver Varnus got to a point in his life where he wanted his own concert hall so he purchased an old church, but without an organ, in rural Brooklyn, Nova Scotia.  He very quickly found an organ that was available about 100 kms away and the rest is history:

This is a news article that gives his full story with, probably, the longest URL I have ever seen –

50 comments on “ST 3111 (Hints)

  1. Had to have 2 stabs at this having filled in most of the west without any problem, the east seemed quite daunting. But the second stab soon revealed all. Agree with Senf’s favourites and would add 24dn.

    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  2. I found this rather difficult to get into and yet, when the penny dropped for each clue, I wondered what was so difficult (3.5*/3.5*). The only exception was 18d, my last one in, where I pencilled in the wrong synonym of nicked without being able to parse it. I liked 5d, 20a and 26a. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for the usual challenging puzzle.

  3. A mix of straightforward and tricky clues. 8a was my last one in and a bit of a guess from the checkers. It took a few moments to work out why as it did with several others. I think my first thought for 18d was the same as CC’s but it didn’t work so I had to have a rethink there. ***/*** Favourite 15a though 3D made me smile. Thanks to all.

  4. 2.5*/4*. This was good fun in spite of a slightly raised eyebrow for 8a. Does 12a quite work? I’m not sure. :unsure: Perhaps “how” rather than “where” might make more sense?

    It took me a while to 24d 24d. My favourite was 3d, with 20d running it close.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I had exactly the same thought about 12a. For me, “how” would have made more sense.

  5. Senf’s top three choices are also among mine in this very enjoyable Dada. I rather hopped around the grid last night, having been initially stymied by the opening clues. But “Tender is the night’ when Keats’s iconic bird makes his appearance, “pouring forth [its] soul abroad / In such an ecstasy!” I also liked 9d and 10a, and I chuckled at 6d doing to TSE what needs to be done occasionally to TSE. “Shantih shantih shantih” indeed. Many thanks to Senf and to Dada. ** / ****

  6. 9d was my last one in; even with all the checkers in place it took a while for the penny to drop.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. Usual tricky Sunday perhaps a little more difficult than usual. Lots of nice anagrams to get you started but really struggled with the bottom right esp 18d which did not impress me as a clue. I did like 8a though.
    This was one where the hints were much needed so thx Senf for your help.

  8. I found Dada more lenient than usual today and indeed enjoyed his challenge. 19a unlikely new one on me. 3d riding mentioned frequently yesterday afternoon so came readily to mind. Thank you Dada and Senf. Lovely sunshine in West Sussex but there is apparently a threat of rain later – evening would save the watering chore!

  9. For me, the best crossword of the week. I thought I was beaten with about 8 clues still to go, then the penny dropped on 5d and a second wind saw me over the line. A very satisfying solve with plenty to like. My favourites were 15a and 16d, with both luring me to the wrong definition word at first.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  10. An excellent and pleasantly tricky puzzle for a Sunday morning. I don’t usually have any problems with Dada but this one was a bit of a slow burner for me, and I took a while to gain a foothold. There were many fine clues, but 8a, my final entry, and 15a, a favourite poem, take the top spot.

    Grateful thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  11. I am always happy to cross the finish line unaided, but today I took **** time. There were a couple of bung-ins on the way, but I managed to parse them at the second attempt.

    Many thanks to the setter and Senf.

  12. I found this a bit trickier than usual and needed the hints for a few. Nevertheless, it was most enjoyable and I loved the surface of 6d. Others I placed ticks against were 12a, 23a and 17d with 23a being my COTD.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for the hints, which were most useful.

  13. Thought our setter was in more Toughie mode this morning and I agree with others that ‘how’ would have been a more acceptable word at the beginning of 12a.
    Favourite was 15a with mentions for 3,16&17d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and music – can’t be many people who have their own church and organ!

  14. Very difficult although I almost got there. Senf’s hints helped with a couple and parsed another couple but 18d remains with just checkers and blanks.

    Favourite is 16d with honourable mention for 15a. My thanks to Senf and to Dada.

    Regarding 6d I first came across this use of The Pope of Poetry a long time ago as part of an interval question on Round Britain Quiz and was pleased to be able to beat the team to the answer.

  15. I thought this was splendid with some fun clues. Quicker for me than a usual Dada. 9d was my last one in. I was helped by having the checkers particularly the fourth and eighth. Apart from that teaser it was the SE which took me the longest. I had no query with 8a. My only query is 5d. I assume I have it correct but if I say someone is playing well I have a different first letter of the first word. I have ringed so many favourites I can’t put them all. 15a stood out and came to me quickly. A slow burner was 20a which I admired but strange formation of letters when trying to fill the gaps. 10a was great too. Then I’ll go for 6 and 16d.

    1. For 5d, what would you say if someone is playing badly, would you use off or out? For me, it’s the latter, so the clue is fine in my opinion.

  16. Completely agree with Chriscross above #2. 18d also my last one in. I also found it difficult to get into and then wondered why as they eventually fell into place OK. Maybe because I am watching the tennis at the same time. Thannks to all for the entertainment.

  17. No great problems for us this afternoon, although one or two answers were plucked out of the ether. One of them was 8a, our favourite, once I had stopped tying to fit a Norse God in the first four spaces. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. I wonder if the relatively few comments are because people have found this tricky. I certainly did although it was 3 clues that caused all the problems – 20a plus 9&18d. Unfortunately it was the same old problem. I bunged in an incorrect definition synonym at 18d with scant regard for the wordplay thereby rendering 20a problematic. It was only when I eventually twigged 9d that the reasonably obvious wordplay instruction for it dawned on me. Like Corky that left 18d but I did get the right synonym & reverse engineer the wordplay. An excellent one from Dada this week which I thoroughly enjoyed despite making unnecessarily hard work of it. No real favourites just quality throughout.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf.
    Ps re A Whiter Shade Of Pale. King Curtis’s superb version (Live at the Fillmore West) is worth a listen – it plays over the opening of Withnail & I as the camera slowly pans over the squalor of their accommodation.

  19. This took me into **** time, although I was having to cope with my lovely wife chatting at the same time, bless her. No problems with the clueing, and TS Eliot’s creation brought out a laugh, so that is my favourite. Thanks to all.

  20. I knew there would be a price to pay for the user friendly version we were treated to yesterday. Taking a break now at the half way mark as I need to get outside and try to dig up another vicious agave at the end of its life. It’s thorns are to be avoided as they leave very painful wounds. Not a plant I would ever have chosen to plant. Hope to finish this puzzle later, but suspect I will need the hints. Thanks fo Dada for the mental exercise, and to Senf. Hope LROK is doing ok today.

    1. I’ve been thinking of LROK too. So many of us will have had the experience of saying goodbye to a much-loved pet and it’s never easy.

    2. I’ve given up about halfway too.
      Thinking of LrOK, such a difficult time for him.

      1. Thanks all.
        It is a bit of a long goodbye. Our daughter wanted to see Bella one last time so she has come over today.
        Never a perfect time for these things. Just like all animal lovers do we have done our best to give her the life she deserves.

    3. We are starting to get rid of all the Agave and Barbary fig trees in Hyeres as they are very invasive and not Mediterranean species.

  21. Does anybody know why I cannot download the digital telegraph for the last 3 days? The pictures of these are covered by a grey slab and will not relinquish there secrets

    1. Regretfully that is something that you will have to take up with the DT directly. There are plenty of us who have had ‘subscription problems’ in the past and there doesn’t seem to be a common thread of how they were resolved.

    2. Geoffrey,
      Have you tried deleting the App switching off the device, re-starting it then re-installing the App?

  22. Started off well in the top half of this puzzle but as I got to the SW, got really tricky/quirky for Dada. Due to the lack of progress in the SW overall was 3*/4* (top half was easily 1.5*/4*). Definitely needed Senf’s hints for the SW today. Last in was 25a with a bloody great THUD for the PDM … took forever and I don’t know why.
    So many good clues though
    Favourites today include 7a, 10a, 12a, 15a, 6d & 24d with winner 15a and 12a runner up for the grin it gave me.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  23. A tale of two sittings which eventually paid off. My favourites were 12a and 3&17d. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  24. The usual top quality puzzle from Dada with the lurker at 1d and the cat at 19a proving elusive enough to take this into *** territory. Thank you Senf as always.

  25. I foundnthis very tricky and needed a lot of help from Senf to complete it….though I will agree that sometimes when I got the solution I could not see why I had had to have the hint. Slow I guess.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    Glorious day up here. Hope LROK and Bella are getting the same sunshine and missing the haar

    1. Ora
      Thank you yes we had early sunshine too, so took her down the beach for high tide. She seemed to enjoy her little forays.

      1. You are making memories, LROK that will stay with you. Stroke Bella for me.

  26. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I couldn’t do this to save my life. Wasn’t on the right wavelength, couldn’t see what most of the definitions were. Spent ages, absolute nightmare. Nothing wrong with the the puzzle, just me. Needed the hints or electronic help for 7,15,22a and 1,3,5,9,18d. No real favourites, was 5* /3* for me.

  27. Found this trickier than yesterday but managed to finish unaided…although Senf’s hint for 18D made me realise I had an incorrect vowel in there…’ouch’!! 🤦🏼‍♂️
    Otherwise, an enjoyable solve once I got going although I was certainly a tad 10A at times!
    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for another excellent blog ‘n hints 👍

  28. DNF again, I really have a problem with Dada. Instead I did the bonus from Monday and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    As always, I had to use e-help, but when I find myself using it to solve most of the puzzle, I lose interest. Most of my solved were in the NW. of those solved, I liked 15a, the artist at 25a, and the 3d dog riding sheep.
    Thanks to Dada, and, of course, huge thanks to Senf for unravelling that lot.

  29. About middle of the Dada difficulty range for me.
    For convenience will nominate 6d as my COTD.
    Thanks to Dada for the work-out and Senf for the hints.
    To all who kindly gave understanding thoughts over Bella thank you.

  30. Thanks to Dada again for a very pleasant crossword.
    7a went in quickly as I just finished Wednesday’s Jay.
    Favourite is the charade in 15a and can’t wait to try one to see what it tastes like… before the next clue does.
    Thanks also to Senf for the Sunday blog.

  31. Completed on Monday morning — but I’m claiming that’s an artefact of crosswording being antisocial on a family holiday, rather than my abilities. Thank you to Dada for the fun, and Senf for the hint that got me unstuck with a few to go in the top-right corner.

    My favourite was either 5d’s casual friend or 17d’s second book — or maybe 3d’s riding dog.

  32. Got the wrong 18d to begin with. It had all the right checkers and meant “nicked”. However, it didn’t parse so I needed the hints to put me right

  33. This was difficult but enjoyable and I was determined to finish it. There has been a big delay today caused by a long awaited visit by my great grandchildren, now aged 2.1/2 years and 9 months amnd only seen for a very brief moment during the last year. However now they have gone and I have come down to earth and got stuck in I was finally able to finish with the aid of a handful of hints, for which much thanks to Senf. Thanks to Dada for some very clever clues, particularly 8 and 10a.

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