ST 3116 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3116 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3116 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, on Tuesday and almost 4 weeks early, we reached the August 1st vaccinations target, 75% one dose, 50% two doses, to ‘activate’ the second level of re-opening which will be announced in the next few days. 

Now for some trivia – two Sundays ago (ST 3114) there was a clue (25d) that required a river to be ‘guessed’.  In my hint I said that there were four rivers in GB with the required name and illustrated the hint with this picture:

As Cryptic Sue told us on Wednesday, the river is the DEE, but which one of the four Rivers Dee in GB is in the illustration?  The answer is after the hints.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, except for 18d, Dada is somewhat benevolent this week with a sprinkling of oldies but goodies one of which, as I recall, is a homophone that has caused considerable discussion in the past.  I counted four anagrams (two partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and three homophones – all in a symmetric 32 clues; you won’t find me as generous as Tilsit was yesterday as I have provided 16 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid from which you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 15a, 24a, 6d, and 20d.

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 Opening bit for spokesperson (10)
The singular facial opening and a synonym of bit.

11a New leaf let go in French bean (9)
An anagram (new) of LEAF LET GO.

12a Lecturer boarding cutter, forgiving type (8)
A university lecturer inserted into (boarding) a synonym of cutter (as in cutting vegetables?).

15a Two rugby union teams perhaps imbibing swiftly initially — as this? (7)
Some simple arithmetic – the total of two rugby union teams (perhaps and those on the pitch at any one time) containing (imbibing) the first letter (initially) of Swiftly.

19a Spectacle seeing insect on leaf (7)
A type of three letter insect placed after (on) on a type of leaf (found in a book).

24a For example, fine writer is into beer (8)
A type of writer (as in writing implement) followed by IS from the clue inserted into a type of beer.

28a Base failing, reportedly? (5)
That homophone (reportedly) of a nounal synonym of failing.

30a Some printed text allowed by Queen in the public notice (10)
A three letter synonym of allowed, HM’s regnal cipher inserted into (in) THE from the clue, and a two letter abbreviated form of a public notice.


1d Duck caught by male grouse (4)
The letter that represents a crickety duck inserted into (caught by) a three letter synonym of male.

3d Picked up by the ears, number of cows, it’s said (5)
A homophone (it’s said) of a term for a number of cows – the third homophone not hinted by me is 22a.

5d Burnt fish, like snapper say? (7)
A freshwater fish (of the salmon family) and a descriptive term often used with (like) snapper (as another type of fish).

9d Sew name originally on right shirt or trousers, say? (8)
An anagram (originally) of SEW NAME before (on) the single letter for right – I can’t recall seeing originally as an anagram indicator before.

14d Corking line about conversion of pope (10)
A type of line (used for tying items) containing (about) an anagram (conversion) of POPE.

18d French novelist’s sound rock (9)
The surname, including the possessive S, of a male pseudonym adopted by the illustrated 19th century female French novelist and a synonym of sound.

23d Half came, one in twelve descended from French colonists (5)
Half of CAme from the clue and the abbreviated form of one in twelve (in a year).

26d Some bar I drank dry! (4)
The lurker (some) found in three words in the clue – the reversed lurker not hinted by me is 29a.

Trivia answer – The picture is the manmade Horseshoe Falls, near Llantysilio Hall (Llangollen) in Denbighshire, on the River Dee that rises in Snowdonia and flows through Chester into the Irish Sea in an estuary between Wales and the Wirral Peninsula.

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Staying with the TV theme theme, part of the fifth movement, Allegro Giusto, of the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 by Franz Schubert, popularly known, in English, as The Trout Quintet, was used as the theme music for the BBC sitcom Waiting for God that ran on BBC1 from 1990 to 1994.  Here is the complete fifth movement:

67 comments on “ST 3116 (Hints)

  1. After a swift completion of three quarters of rhis puzzle, I got bogged down in the SE corner and had to find help for 20d, a very good clue, once the penny dropped. This took me into 3* time for difficulty. I liked 27a and 23d too, thalatter reminding me of some favourite recipes. Last one in was 24a, which was my COTD. Thanks to Dada for a very enjoyable puzzle (4*)and to Senf for the hints.

  2. After a swift completion of three quarters of this puzzle, unlike Chriscross, I got bogged down in the SW corner! (However as C mentions 20d, perhaps the SW was a typo?) My rating for what I found to be a very enjoyable puzzle was 2.5*/4*.

    I thought “originally” was a rather clever anagram indicator in 9d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I thought you might take issue with originally RD. I couldn’t decide whether it was fair or not.

      1. I was a little unsure about ‘originally’ as an anagram indicator but the Small Red Book does include ‘original’ in its list so I suppose it is not too great a leap to add the ‘ly’.

  3. Top-notch puzzle, with excellent clueing (some quite tricky), and very enjoyable. Took me a while to unravel a number of the clues, with my podium winners really sparkling: 18d, 27a, & 23d–with lots of runners-up. Thanks to Senf and Dada. *** / ****

    Go, England!

  4. A complete mixture for me, whereby my swift progress came to a halt in the SW corner. I’m not fond of 14d as a word. My OED doesn’t give it as either a noun or a verb or anything at all for that matter.
    The other ones to give me most trouble were 15ac and 23d.

    1. Clearly you need to purchase a BRB which does list 14d as a verb (minus the present participle suffix) and a noun which legitimises it for cruciverbalists.

      1. I wrote that poorly. I was referring to it not being recognised as neither a present participle or a gerund.

  5. A somewhat surreal solve for me. The top half flew in as fast as a gentle Monday Campbell but like an 800m who sets off too fast the legs started to go at the 400m mark & things slowed in the SE with 18d & 30a requiring some thought. Entering the home stretch of the SW they were reduced to jelly as I ground to a halt with 14&23d along with 27a. Eventually got going again when the right one in twelve dawned on me & the other two followed as I stumbled over the line.
    Agree it was mostly on the gentle side with a number of clues very Ray T ish in terms of their brevity. A few clunky surfaces aside a typically enjoyable puzzle with the usual quota of clever clues. 15,24,27&30a plus 2,9,20,23d were the ticks for me. I’ll take a punt that not many other than Robert probably have heard of the French geezer at 18d.
    Thanks to Dada & to Senf
    Ps The same setter’s Guardian prize puzzle is, as usual for me, largely impenetrable but I’ll persist while watching Wimbledon & what looks like a super final round in the Scottish Open. Wishing the boys all the best tonight & hoping home advantage may just prove the decisive factor against a very strong side.

      1. I stand corrected Bertie & I looked it up. Only goes to show in one ear & out of the other…..

    1. Is the French geezer a woman? Chopin’s mistress perhaps. I seem to remember that from the commentary on a coach trip on Majorca when I was about 14 years of age

      1. As i say in my hint for 18d, ‘he’ was a ‘she’ and, yes, she did have an affair with Chopin – it would appear that he was ninth in a list of nine such relationships.

    2. Well, yes, I did know that French geezeress but only because she was Chopin’s much-ballyhooed mistress. I confess to never having read her.

  6. Like most of us I found 3/4 excellent but the SE corner was a real b….r! Not helped by not knowing the obscure French novelist and needed the hints for 30a and 20d.
    On the whole enjoyable apart from 18d.
    Thx to all

  7. Cracking Dada puzzle completed either side of a bracing sea swim, the North being less challenging than the swim, the South more so.
    18d was my last in, and a bung in from the checkers and definition, so pleased it was hinted.
    Podium contenders for me are 5d, the excellent 20d with top spot going to the well disguised 24a.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the Sunday morning entertainment.
    Let’s hope it’s finally “coming home” 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  8. I too, like Huntsman, was progressing apace until I hit the SW. After **** time, I filled the grid with all clues parsed to my satisfaction. I didn’t know the writer in 18d.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 It’s Coming Home. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  9. I’m in line with most folk in that three quarters went in smoothly then I hit the buffers. I spent just as much time on the final quarter as I did on the other three. Funnily enough, I had no problem with 18d despite never having heard of the writer. I liked the rather neat and concise 22a and the equally smooth 21d. However, my COTD is 15a.

    Many thanks to Dada for the amusement. Grateful thanks to Senf for the hints and I hope Canada has cooled down.

    I am not a football fan at all but I do wish England well.

  10. A couple of clues that gave pause for thought, as did the anagram indicator in 9d – that’s going to put a whole new complexion on the use of ‘originally’ by our setters!
    Top three for me were 2,4&16d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the delightfully expressive piece of music. As for your River Dee question – having lived fairly close to the one that rises in Snowdonia for most of my life, I rarely consider that there are others which bear the same name. How dreadfully ‘provincial’ of me!

      1. In fairness, probably only because that illustration, or one very similar, is regularly used in literature pertaining to the Llangollen area!

      2. A blast from the past. Back in the seventies I used to compete in the white water kayak races from just below the falls down to Llangollen town centre.

  11. Only just got home and about to start lunch and the crossword but wanted you to see this. A parade of 100 VERY old tractors through our villages, this is a 1960 job driven by Dr Chris Smith the virologist who talks on BBC Breakfast and The Naked Scientist and also happens to be the husband of our Dr Smith at the surgery. It was such fun, some tractors had trailers with sofas on with mother and children along for the ride. Collecting for the NHS

    1. If it’s the same chap his phone in slot on the Colin Murray show on radio 5 Live is excellent & very informative.

  12. Like others, whizzed through this and then came to a grinding halt. Not helped by putting in the wrong spelling for a couple of words. Last in was 15a which is my COTD. Actually David got that one as he knew the number of people involved which led me to the answer. Thanks to the setter and Senf. Now to watch Wimbledon and hope the incredibly dishy Italian wins!

    1. Yes wouldn’t it be nice if Italy won Wimbledon and England won the football. Sort of nice compromise.

    2. I agree he is dishy without the cap. He looks a tad scruffy with the cap on. Glad Novak won though.

      1. Yes the Italian has years ahead of him. Novak had experience but sooner or later he’ll have to bow to the oncoming youth!

          1. What about his tennis prowess, Manders? Did you notice that while admiring his supra orbital hair? 🤣

  13. 9d was my final entry, not helped by stupidly misspelling 11a. That aside, this was a fairly friendly puzzle that was certainly enjoyable and rewarding to complete. 18d was my top clue. Having read earlier comments it is interesting that there is a good spread of favourites, always for me an indicator of a well-received grid.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf.

    Anything worth watching on tv tonight?

    1. 11a was one of my misspellings too – in fact I had to look it up in a cookery book as I was sure I was right.

  14. Oh I love dr Chris Smith. I watch him and Linda on a Saturday morning and I listen to his podcast, the naked scientist.
    A very benevolent offering from Dad. Not used to it being over by now. Can take about 5 visits and help.
    Not today!
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. Poor Chris had trouble with his tractor and came along a good five minutes after the end of the cavalcade. That is why the photo is a bit distant. He went by with a support vehicle just as we were move in gout of our good vantage point. We doubled through a back street to catch him joining the end of the show. Great atmosphere!

  15. We can only echo the previous comments. Favourite was 22a. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Now just the little matter of managing my unrealistic expectations for England.

  16. Like everyone else I sailed through until o came to a grinding halt on bottom LH corner. Sorted now thanks to Senf. How can people not have heard of the Chopin lover lady? I feel sure Huntsman must have been a runner reading his piece! Watching tennis now but I shall skip this evening’s offering as I value my eardrums. May the best men win. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

    1. As I am not a literary person (English Literature O-Level failed), I had never heard of the ‘Chopin lover lady’. So, for 18d with most of the checkers the answer had to be ********* and, with some deconstruction, the ‘French novelist’ had to be ****. Then, after an appropriately crafted electronic inquiry, voilà, as they say across the English Channel, everything I needed to know about the novelist which I shall now probably forget as fast as the electrons found it for me.

      1. One doesn’t need to be a literary person to know who Chopin’s mistress was; one needs only a smattering of knowledge about classical music.

          1. Her name was another of those ‘How or why do I know that?’ moments for me I think there is a statue or her in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris…… As for Chopin it has always seemed to me that all those classical musicians were bonking around all over the place, modern rock stars barely compare.

              1. That he did, Bertie which is probably why his music is so stirring. I love Beethoven.

      2. I suppose you could say how can anyone possibly not know the name of the captain of the last English team to win this thing tonight – I wouldn’t have a clue. I suppose somewhere along the line I must have heard it but because I’m not interested it didn’t sink in. This is where people with total recall if every bit of knowledge that passes through them is retained! I guess we just have to go with what we have!

    2. Absolutely not DG. Used to hide behind the bushes in the cross country, smoke a crafty cigarette, let the athletic types complete the loop & rejoin them on their return.

      1. Huntsman, David would competely echo your sentiments – he did cross country to have a sneaky fag as well. They still caned boys then and he was caned repeatedy for having tobacco in his pocket, not bythe teachers but by the prefects – what a horrid bunch of people. Mind you he still smoked when we met, I hated it. He then put on patches and one ended up in the night on an unmentionable area! That did it, he hasn’t smoked since, hee hee, I put it there but don’ tell.

  17. A benevolent Dada today with a pretty straightforward offering. **/**** today. Some nice clues and well as some trickier ones that took some head scratching. Found SW took the longest to complete. Favourites today 15a, 19a, 24a, 4d & 21d with 15a winner.
    Go … England … GO!!!

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for blog and hints

  18. Not quite finished, but hope to over lunch later. But wanted to say Well Done to Richard Branson, just landed safely. And best of luck to the great English team. Will be waiting with baited breath, and we aren’t even football fans. Still remember listening to the World Cup in 1966, on our little transistor radio, as we painted the kitchen in our first house.

    1. Started slowly. Put it down and picked up later and then quickly finished all but a couple in SW corner. Didn’t find it that memorable

    2. Did finish, but needed help with the southwest corner, but main holdups were 2d, 12a, and 14d which would not have occurred to me if I sat here all day staring at the puzzle. Thought 20d was very clever. Thanks to Dada and Senf.
      Dismayed now reading about the storming of Wembley by ticketless football hooligans… what a crying shame that this day is being again spoilt for thousands by a few self-centered idiots.

  19. Yup, definitely benevolent Dada today, all went in a treat and I completed it before breakfast – I might add that I eat breakfast late! I was also watching Wimbledon! Maybe I’m getting on the Dada wavelength? I doubt it. My tricky quarter was the SE. I used the thesaurus copiously but used only two e-helps. I bunged in 24a, which was rubbish, and my word search gave me the correct answer. I knew the French author from the Chopin association, so no problem there.
    Really enjoyed this, 22a was really clever, but I think fave is either 7d or 18d.
    Thanks Dada for the fun and Senf for unravelling a few, also the Trout Quintet! My fave Schubert is Impromptu in G, the theme of a super made for TV play Separate Tables with Alan Bates, I think!

  20. Ooops! Posted this on Saturday’s when I meant to post it for today. Definitely a foggy thing even by my standards.

    Very enjoyable although for me it was not at all easy. Thank you to the setter, Big Dave and Senf and of course everyone here. I love reading the comments as much as I do the help with the clues. Favourites…. so many though I always have a weakness for puns so they are usually my favourites.
    I have been struggling generally with each puzzle for the past week or two so it’s especially satisfying to finish one, albeit with help here. I have recently been prescribed with something called Hydromorphone. I can take half a pill every 4 hours but I stick to half in the morning and half in the evening. I am already naturally foggy and these things make it a pea souper! Then something really weird happens and an answer pops into my head out of nowhere, even sporting references. Alan always says “How on earth do you know that?” Answer “Absolutely no idea, I probably saw previously on Big Dave’s blog.” :-)

      1. Thank you. Lovely to ‘see’ you too.

  21. Had to Google 23d but otherwise finished unaided. LOI apart from that was 27a, also my COTD.
    Some very interesting and enjoyable clues and a good brain teaser.
    Mr Th and I had an exciting day this week when we went to a lunchtime concert which we used to visit once a month but of course it was now 18 months since our last visit, and actually also involved a trip of a few miles to our nearest town. As we have all been supporters of Lola I thought the commentariat might be interested that one of the items was as follows:
    Cat Suite, written by composer Denis Bedard,born 1950, in memory of his cat:
    1. Prrrelude
    2. Cats at play
    3. Catnap
    4. Toc-cat-a

    Many thanks to Senf for the hints, which I will now read, and to the setter

  22. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. I came to a shuddering halt in the SE Corner. Needed the hints for 24&30a. Still unsure about 21d. Favourite was 22a. Was 3* / 4* for me.

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