ST 3115 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3115 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3115 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where after several days in the middle/high 30s we are supposed to cool down (relatively speaking) to the middle/high 20s.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, even with two or three oldies but goodies, Dada is staying quirky this week, and is retaining the same grid as last Sunday, with, perhaps, an unindicated Americanism and a clue that might get our Don Quixote out looking for a windmill.  I counted six anagrams (two partials), two lurkers (none reversed), and two homophones – all in a symmetric 30 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 – 10a, 17d, and18d (because of the trouble it caused me).

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 Intricate mosaic, but very tiny (9)
An anagram (intricate) of MOSAIC BUT.

10a Wacky winger (6)
A double definition – the second is a (feathered) winger that is too lazy(?) when it comes to building a nest.

11a Butcher hit rope holding lamb’s head, where chopper comes down (8)
An anagram (butcher) of HIT ROPE containing (holding) the first letter (head) of Lamb.

12a South Asian region where boy meets girl (6)
A three letter diminutive of a boy’s (or man’s) name and a three letter synonym of girl.

18a Plant animals rejected (4)
An animal or animals where the plural is the same as the singular (not needing a pluralising S) reversed (rejected).

21a Tackle composer on the radio? (6)
The first homophone (on the radio) of a German composer (who is buried in Westminster Abbey).

24a American friend attending a trial in capital city (8)
A three letter diminutive of an American friend placed before (attending) A from the clue and a synonym of trial gives a city (which used to be two cities on opposite banks of a river).

28a Brilliant throw covering pitch (9)
A synonym of throw containing (covering) a verbal(?) synonym of pitch.


1d Line in letter read out? (5)
The second homophone (read out) of the sound of a letter (of the alphabet) – I wonder if they are waiting for a Covid vaccination.

3d Performance extremely numbing, I’m heading for the exit! (2,4)
A type of performance (performed by one individual) and the first and last letters (extremely) of NumbinG.

5d Smart, salesman dressing up (6)
Our favourite three letter salesman and a type of dressing all reversed (up).

9d Protein gel with nut spread (6)
An anagram (spread) of GEL and (with) NUT

17d Author and pool player? (6)
A double definition – the first is the surname of an author who lived in a house named Hill Top.

18d Round sweet (4-4)
The bête noire of the puzzle for me – a double definition (I think) – the first is probably no longer PC and the sweet is a pudding and I refer you to the illustration below.

20d Clever article in the main (6)
One of the indefinite articles inserted into (in) an informal synonym of the main (as in ocean).

25d In effect, a permanent record (4)
One of the lurkers (in) found in three words in the clue – the other lurker, not hinted by me is 13d.

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One of the leading Italian composers of the early 20th century, Ottorino Respighi is well known for a five movement suite for a small orchestra entitled Gli Uccelli (The Birds). This is the Prelude which some of your may recognise as the theme music for the BBC antiques quiz show Going for a Song broadcast from 1965 to 1977:

54 comments on “ST 3115 (Hints)

  1. 3*/4*. A slightly tougher Sunday puzzle for me today but very good fun as usual. I found the SE corner the most challenging, partly due to my own stupidity having initially written in the composer’s name for 21a.

    I wonder if “generating” coming after the fodder in 15d really works as an anagram indicator? :unsure:

    12a is a rare but brilliant example where a nebulous name is fine (just like “two girls, one on each knee”), so no raised eyebrows from me for this one, which makes it onto my podium alongside 19a (of course) and 10a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. Also guilty with 21a. Great minds/fools…who knows?
      I’m not a great fan of this grid but I guess that’s all part of the challenge. Having just acquired a 12a kitten who is currently demanding my attention in a very noisy way this has to be my COD.
      Thank you to Senf and Dada for the entertainment. 18d may no longer be PC but the picture did start my (diabetic) taste buds watering 😩

  2. Very enjoyable but took me a little longer than normal. On reading the hints I seem to have the wrong answer for 12a as my first three letters are not a diminutive of a male name but the other three letters often used. I’d never heard of the answer I came up with but Googled it and was happy with what I found so left it. I’ll have to go back now and think what it could be.

    As I haven’t looked in for a while, I’ll say get well soon to Kath, you’re missed.

    Very many thanks to the setter and Senf.

    Addition: of course! Once I came up with my answer I didn’t give it another thought. Now I see what it obviously is. 😆

  3. I often agree with RD’s assessment of a puzzle but it’s coming to something when I even make the same silly mistakes – 21a in this instance!
    Two that held out on me for quite a while were the round sweet and the silly person – my brain refused to see beyond the white confection with the hole in the middle for the former.
    My top three were the two birdy ones and the American at the trial.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and music – wonder what Gazza thinks of being called a magpie!

  4. I thought this was quite challenging with the SE last to succumb where it took me a while to see the anagram indicator in 26a. On the plus side I didn’t write in the name of the composer!!
    As usual with this setter a plethora of smile inducing and clever clues, I’ve chosen to highlight 1,34,20&22d with top spot going to…drum roll…15d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the Sunday fun and congratulations to England on last night’s performance.

  5. Another great Dada puzzle with a few quirky clues to make you scratch your head. Unlike others this took me less time than the usual Sunday puzzle, enabling me to go for a brisk walk before coming home to look at the hints (2* /4*). I liked 28a, which held me up for a bit because I was thinking of an alternative answer. 20d and 1d also made me think a bit but 24a was my COTD . Thanks to Sengf for the hints and to Dada for another enjoyable puzzle.

  6. At long last my cat’s whisker has tuned into Dada’s frequency.
    Most of grid filled with little difficulty, with only a couple causing problems, so for the first time completed in one sitting without recourse to hints (not even for parsing).
    Thanks to Senf for hints, and to Dada for an entertaining puzzle.

  7. A puzzle of two parts for me. The top was fine and well clued but the bottom was a real challenge, still don’t understand my answers to 22d and 23d. I don’t know how the hinter (in this case Senf) does it but any clue that I needed help with today was not hinted!
    Amazing!😀. I mostly enjoyed this one.
    Thx to all

    1. Just an aside but doing the Pub Quiz today showed how totally ignorant of American culture I find myself, 2 answers only!

      1. It would appear to be the same with Prince Harry, Brian. He admitted that he knew nothing of The Constitution of his adopted country.

    2. I don’t understand 22d either, it was a bung in for me. 23d is an old fashioned term if that helps without sitting on the soggy naughty step.

          1. I must have the wrong answer, I cannot see a 3/4 of a country with those three letters reversed.

  8. I found this very tough going even allowing for dada’s clues from left field. 12a, my last one in, took me ages. ****/** I think my brain is still processing the match from last night but the author in 17d escaped me until I saw Senf’s hints. Favourite 11a for the misdirection. Thanks to all.

  9. Very enjoyable and a tad more awkward than our usual Sunday offerings. I didn’t fall into the trap set at 21a so that quadrant sorted itself out fairly easily. I thought 12a was very elegantly clued and was my personal favourite.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf.

  10. I found this the toughest Dada in some time for me and needed a bit of electronic help to finish (two letters) because the British expression in 19a continues to throw me at times, but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge throughout. Podium stars today: 18d, 15d, and 24a (outside of London and Paris, my favourite European city). Thanks to Senf and Dada. **** / ****

    Congratulations to England for an overwhelming win over Ukraine!

  11. A tougher Dada than is usual but entertaining, nevertheless. Like others, 22d was a bung in for me and it wasn’t until I read Stephen L’s comment at #7 that I understood it. 14a is an old chestnut but it catches me out every time. Favourite and COTD for me is 24a.

    Many thanks, Dada for the challenge. Thanks also to Senf for the hints.

  12. Goodness knows why I’m awake at this hour. The puzzle was one of the better ones by Dada (IMHO) which took quite a lot of teasing out.3&18d were the ones that held me up most. Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints. Back to sleep if I can ignore the dawn chorus as the minutes tick by and the mournful sound of a coal train’s horn about 3kms away as it heads North from the US.

  13. I rarely do the Quickie on a Sunday but I looked at it today. There is a first line pun and I always thought there wasn’t one on a Sunday. When did they start putting them in?

    1. You’re right, Steve. A very nice pun. Wonder if it is accidental? I always do Sunday Quickies because they always seem the toughest of the week.

      1. Not accidental – the first two clues are printed in italics.
        This puzzle was quite difficult, but finished with rather a lot of e-help. Like others I spelt 21a wrongly which caused problems in the SE. Thanks to Dada for an enjoyable brain teaser and Senf for the hints (as usual not the ones I needed!!)

  14. A nice challenging bit of fun — with some lovely clues (I loved 11A). Only clue that didn’t really satisfy was 23D —> I still think the wordplay is dodgy here (I can see how “clip” and “silly person” are a nice double definition, even if the latter is a bit archaic; but what is that “in” doing there. That threw me for ages until I chose to ignore it, and the whole clue then fell into place). That one issue aside, this was a great puzzle.

  15. Great puzzle. 75% of it was completed in short order but the head scratching started when I slammed into the brick wall that was the NW. Matters weren’t helped by truncating the wrong faculty at 4d which threw me off with the 7a anagram & also initially having the wrong first two letters in 12a (same mistake as Margaret I suspect) which I knew was iffy. All sorted eventually I think though can’t say I’m entirely confident about 2d. No real favourites but wonderfully clued throughout & a real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks as ever to D&S

  16. Above average Sunday difficulty for me. Typical Dada puzzle which I now find fun and within my ability. Strange pattern, NE went in first, then SW, SE then finally NW. Took well into *** time.
    18d my COTD, it was my birthday treat sweet when I was a kid & remains so now.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for brightening up what is a dreich day up here with rain and a pretty dense haar.

  17. I found this to be a challenging but ultimately satisfying solve, which I needed to come back to a few times for the pennies to drop.
    LOI was 23d which required me to work through the alphabet for the first letter before I could see it.
    I liked the two succinct bird clues, the surface read of 7a, and 15d made me smile.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  18. Thanks to Dada and to Senf. I’m really confused, I can’t do this to save my life. Is the hint correct for 24a? Because I get a capital, but the fifth letter does not fit the hint.

    1. You are on the right lines. Think of a wider interpretation of a ‘trial’. I cannot say more for fear of THE STEP…

      1. You should have accompanied THE STEP with suitable discordant horror film music, Terance! :lol:

      2. Thanks everyone. Didn’t think of trial in that way at first. But now I understand.

    2. I am quite confident that my hint for 24a is correct and, in particular, there are not many capital cities that fit my parenthetical comment of ‘which used to be two cities on opposite banks of a river’ and what Terence said.

  19. Extremely challenging for me. I needed Senf’s tips for a few to get me going again. Even though I’ve just had my toast I am now aching for some 18d…

    From my window I see a magpie continually returning to a specific place in the roof guttering. He or she fiddles about at something inside the guttering for about thirty seconds and then flies off. It has been undertaking this same routine for weeks, returning every few hours. Curiously, it did exactly the same last year at this time. I don’t think it is a nest as there is no sound from that area at all.

    Thanks to Dada, Senf, and Gareth Southgate.

    1. I have the same thing with a pair of magpies. I’ve come to the conclusion they are having a sip or two of a bit of residual rainwater before flying off.

  20. I found this very difficult today. The last half dozen or so took me far longer then the rest of the puzzle. Never heard that word used for a silly person and had the wrong sort of minister for ages. Finally finished and seem to have wasted a lot of my day which was forecast to be very wet and we haven’t had a drop. Thanks to all.

  21. Not much fun in this. Unsure of 22d. Can’t find the country.
    Bunged something in Doesn’t really matter, I don’t submit it.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  22. This was definitely Dada on the quirky side today. Very tricky in parts especially the SW 3.5*/**** . Some good clues today include 8a, 10a, 27a, 1d, 17d & 18d with my winner being 18d and 10a runner-up. Completed most of it without hints, just the SW held me up for the time I finished the rest of the puzzle in.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  23. Just going off-topic for a moment – I wonder how DG went on with her Open Garden. We’ve had real extremes here today – one moment blazing sunshine and then a sudden deluge of rain. I do hope she got the best of the day for her visitors – so much work for nothing otherwise. Hopefully George is now treating her to a large glass of whatever!

    1. Yes, I was wondering how DG got on. I hope the weather was kind – a lot of hard work went into getting the garden ready.

      1. I am devastated as I really wanted to go to her Open Garden but had it down for next weekend! I hope she has experienced the same weather as us – lovely warm sunshine and no rain at all.

        1. I do hope that DG has experienced similar weather today, Manders. I’m almost sure that if you leave her a message, she’d be happy for you to visit next weekend – I’ve done that in the past with ‘Open Gardens’ when I couldn’t attend on the actual day and the owners are usually more than willing for someone to visit ‘after the main event’.
          Apologies if I’ve spoken out of turn, Daisygirl!

  24. Contrary hat on here today, as I didn’t find this as tough as a lot of recent ones from Dada. However 19a and 23d did hold me up and were last to go in. Thanks to Dada and Senf.
    Off to elder daughter’s this afternoon for a July 4th to christen her sparkling new pool. And to give thanks that Tropical Storm Elsa is currently leaving us out of her cone of uncertainty. Even more relieved as granddaughter is currently in Bimini having boated over there with her boyfriend’s family last week. But it’s been good practice to make sure we have everything ready for when the Hurricane season really gets going.

  25. Finished, but as usual on a Sunday with Dada, it took a fair bit of head-scratching and trial & error in a few spots…but got there eventually. Just read through Senf’s hints and pleased to find out I was on the right wavelength for a couple of answers (never quite sure with some of Dada’s more challenging clues…)
    So, many thanks as always to Dada for the entertaining but challenging puzzle, and to Senf for the explanations and blog.👍

  26. I see I am not alone in having found the SE the toughest corner. Got somewhat confused trying to use a different pitch in 28a and a holey sweet in 18d. Not sure about 3d. Fav 1d (chestnut?). Thank you Dada and Senf.

  27. The toughest Dada puzzle for ages. I only managed to solve 16 clues unaided. Still can’t get 2&4d, & 16a. Was 6*/3* for me.

  28. I found this extremely difficult. I did finish the east side, but I only had a smattering in the west. I initially put the composer’s name in 21a, in good company I might add, but got 18d on first read so was able to change it. I was heavily reliant on Senf to finish this. Fave has got to be 18d.
    Thank you Dada and Senf for our Sunday fun. After weeks of rain, brilliant sunshine here, as is usual when a hurricane is around. I imagine we’ll have lashings of rain tomorrow, as long as we don’t have gales I’m fine with that.

  29. Above my pay grade today. Sadly I had solved all but one of Senf’s excellent hints….Good to get confirmation, though.
    So, a lot of help from the electronic gizmo required for me to finish this…..always less than satisfying.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

    Deep haar early on today which burnt off allowing a good go at the garden this afternoon but now the haar has descended again. Hope LROK was as lucky as us and also had a lovely afternoon of sunshine.

    1. We weren’t so lucky Ora our haar has hung around all day.
      Son in Edinburgh said they had beautiful sunshine followed by thunderstorms & torrential rain with flooding in Stockbridge High Street

  30. Very slow to get going with this but made steady progress with the NW corner the last to give way….Dada is my favourite setter as his puzzles call for so much lateral thinking…

  31. Some double definitions gave me a bit of a hard time but really enjoyed the challenge as always.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  32. A game of two halves, as they say. The eastern half went down at a lick. Took a while to get the SW and finally NW but go there in the end.

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