ST 3117 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3117 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3117 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, as a two dose vaccinee, I now have several ‘freedoms,’ but masks are still de rigeur, such as being able to go to the cinema – if only there were some decent films to go and see . . .

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada is somewhat benevolent again this week although I do have quite a large Hmm on 21a.  I counted four anagrams (one partial), two lurkers (one reversed), and no homophones – all in an asymmetric 29 clues; with 15 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 5a, 15a, 3d, and 8d.

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 Wife ready to answer question in practice (4-2)
The single letter for Wife and how one might indicate being ready to answer a question (especially in school).

9a Stupid, happy band (10)
A synonym of happy (as used in the title of a well-known play) and a synonym of band.

12a Symbols: children carrying them briefly (6)
A four letter synonym of children (remember it needs to be plural) containing (carrying) a shortened (briefly) informal version of them.

15a Home in tree guarded by blessed good Lord! (8)
A type of home in a tree contained (guarded) by a synonym of blessed.

19a Way a little torpedo moves backwards (4)
The reversed lurker (a little . . . backwards) found in two words in the clue – the forward lurker not hinted by me is 22d.

21a Artist in Somme trench, virtually? (6)
A (3,4) term that could be considered to be a Somme trench with the last letter of the second word deleted (virtually) – a big Hmm for probably Mr Halpern’s worst clue ever – even the ? at the end does not ‘save’ it for me.

26a Value of prose for poet? (10)
A descriptive nounal synonym for prose and a synonym of value.

28a Latest tip embraced by judge (6)
A synonym of tip contained (embraced) by a verbal synonym of judge.


2d Nothing out, it’s inferred, drained (3,2)
A double definition – the second considers exhaustion.

5d Put the flags out, with pattern done another way (5,3,4,3)
An anagram (another way) of WITH PATTERN DONE.

8d On your bike, drained, hurried to aeroplane (9)
A five letter term equivalent to on your bike and a synonym of drained (perhaps in terms of an old medical treatment).

14d Sour fruit, half of plum eaten by two animals (4-5)
The first half of PLum contained (eaten) by a marine decapod crustacean and a primate (two animals).

16d Signalling plan, heroes excited about that (9)
A three letter plan (or chart) contained (about that) by an anagram (excited) of HEROES.

20d Wow, group stays part of this? (6)
A three letter informal interjection equivalent to wow and a three letter synonym of group.

24d Knownas is music? (5)
A double definition(?) – the second is how music is written down.

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Martha Reeves, American R&B and pop singer and former politician, she served on the Detroit City Council, is 80 years young today. Here she is with The Vandellas with their signature song Dancing in the Streets.  However judging by some of the ‘long faces’ in the audience it looks as if a ‘Covid-like’ lockdown has just been announced:

67 comments on “ST 3117 (Hints)

  1. A most enjoyable solve. As to best clues I agree with you about 5a, but also particularly enjoyed 9a and 21ac.

  2. Peach of a crossword, enough low hanging fruit giving some strategically placed checkers (plus being on wavelength) enabling a swift finish.
    I could have chosen at least half of the clues as podium contenders but I’ve gone for 5,15& 21a plus 17&20d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the fun in the hot hot sun

  3. Completed in *** time before the heat gets to me, this was a beautifully crafted number. Far too many contenders to decide on a COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and Senf.

  4. Found this very hard but eventually finished after two sittings. Agree about 21a, dreadful clue. My fav was 20d even if it did make me groan somewhat. Not sure the term enjoyable could be applied but certainly satisfying to complete even with help.
    Needed the hints for the top left so thanks to all.

  5. This wasn’t all straightforward but had a sufficient number of gettable clues that, after a slow start, I managed to finish it in 3* time. It was a really well-clued puzzle and tremendously enjoyable, so much so that it is impossible to choose a favourite. I really liked,5a and 5d, 8d and 17d, 27a and 26a. If forced to, choose a COTD, I would say 9a, which was a lot of fun. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for a smashing SPP.

  6. Very enjoyable – thanks to Dada (it’s a pity that he can’t spell the North African port) and to the overworked Senf.
    After being alerted last week that the Sunday Quickie now contains a pun I had a look and sure enough there’s a pun there.
    My ticks went to 1a, 5a, 8d and 17d.

      1. That’s what I thought. I always count the letters to see if I needed one or two for the centre. It is sometimes spelt with the S and I don’t know why unless it is an old French spelling.

        1. With the S it is (or was?) the English spelling. Same as Marseilles (English) and Marseille (French).

  7. About average Dada for me completed in *** time. Gave both fun and satisfaction so ****.
    Some straightforward clues eg 5a & 26a plus the long anagram gave a solid start with the West side coming together quicker than the East.
    COTD was 20d with 15a R/U.
    Thank you Dada and our double jabbed reviewer

    1. The apparently straightforward 5a still eludes me after completing the rest of it in ** time & spending the same amount of time staring at it in frustrated befuddlement. No doubt it’ll pop into my head whilst doing something unrelated.
      Trust that you’ve been enjoying The Open. Am hoping for a Louis win in the absence of a home winner but wouldn’t mind Speith or Rahm. It’s been an excellent championship with the course far fairer than in previous years.

      1. H
        Yes I am enjoying the Open thanks, hope you are too.
        Refereed in the Home Internationals at Royal St George’s so know the layout pretty well.
        Following your endorsement will rooting for Oosthuizen to triumph, although I quite like how Speith conducts himself around the golf course.
        As far as 5a is concerned: It is 5a that someone of your prowess can’t see it, yet someone of my modest ability thought it a gimme

  8. I can’t seem to concentrate on today’s puzzle after the excitement of seeing my name in print as the winner of 3115!

    1. Congratulations Jon.
      Wouldn’t worry about today’s. Lightning, striking twice & all that!

    2. Well done, Jon. A glass (or two) of Pimms outside would seem to be a good way to celebrate.

    3. I missed this! Congratulations, Jon! I’m with you regarding the cider! 🍺

  9. Plenty to enjoy this morning although I wasn’t overly happy with 21a.
    Top three for me were 1&9a plus 20d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for ’round two’ of his weekend chores – much appreciated.

  10. 3*/4*. A few iffy surfaces dotted around, coupled with the incorrect spelling of Tangier and the poor taste of 21a (which was my last one in) prevented this otherwise very enjoyable puzzle from getting top marks.

    My ticks were too numerous for a podium selection: 1a, 5a, 9a, 5d, 17d & 20d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to the overworked Senf.

    1. P.S. If anyone is looking for another fun puzzle to solve outside in the sun, I can recommend today’s eXternal in the Independent. The setter is none other than proXimal in another guise.

    2. RD, regarding the African port. All my life I have seen the spelling with the S in English but without it in French. Same with Marseilles and Marseille. So, the clue is fine by me. But I am not 100% sure on this, so if you (or Gaza) can enlighten me (and others I’ve no doubt) I’d be appreciative and won’t be disagreeing this time. Thank you.

      1. The correct spelling is Tangier. The reason it’s sometimes spelt wrongly is that it gets confused with the other North African port Algiers.

            1. Indeed! But because my brain was in “Geography” mode I must have been thinking of the Gaza Strip. :-)

      2. I wondered about that with the French silent S but then it would have been the other way round. However, the French is Tanger. (In answer to Jose)

  11. Oh dear, I typed quite a lot and then lost it all and frankly it is just too hot. 5a favourite, still cannot get 17d, thanks to Senf for hints on 21a and to the setter.
    Enjoy the sun or not as you wish.

    1. Daisy – if you have 21a you should get 17d. However, I did not find it easy to parse and only inserted after I got 21a with Senf’s help.

    2. Daisygirl, 17d was my favourite.
      Definition is the first word of the clue, reverse the following two letter preposition, the rest should be easy.

    3. DG, that was my last one too. I even had the last 5 letters but couldn’t get the first 3, but do exactly what Stephen says and you wll have it!

  12. I struggled with this one but enjoyed completing it, eventually.
    21a really did make me groan. Had I but thought about David Bowie and ‘Hunky Dory’ I might have got it sooner.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Immediate Singles Collection

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  13. This was slightly on the tough side for me and it took me quite a while to break into it. Maybe the thirty degrees of heat have frazzled my brain. Once I got going it was most enjoyable with plenty of good clues. I liked 21a and 26a but my COTD is 9a.

    Many thanks, Dada and, for the second time this weekend, thanks to Senf for the hints.

  14. This was a nice steady solve for me unaided until I got to 21a and 17d. I admit to looking at Senf’s hint for the former. I was not sure whether I was looking for an artist or a synonym for virtually and did not want to frazzle my brain in case the answer was an unknown (to me) artist. Once the penny had dropped I had the confidence to insert the non-checking letters in 17d. I did not like 10a assuming I have it right, but rings round 1 9 15 26 and 27a and 3 14 and 16d.Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. 5a and 17d my last ones. Had the wrong 3rd letter in 5a. Found this a bit tricky in places but enjoyable all the same. Thanks to all on this wonderful sunny day.

  16. I’m not sure I agree about the awfulness of 21a, coincidentally my final entry. I rather liked it. The whole puzzle was delightfully Dadaesque and great fun for a scorching Sunday in Shropshire. Hard to pick a favourite from such a fine set of clues, but 9a gets the nod.

    My thanks to Mr H for the challenge and to Senf.

  17. We found this straightforward but enjoyable although we needed the hint to parse 1a. Just couldn’t see it. Hard to pick a favourite but we’ll go for 9a, such a lovely word. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. My opinion of 21a is underwritten by the fact that the soldier who was to become my maternal grandfather was at The Somme. Fortunately he survived, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, although he was a casualty. So, even though the battle was 105 years ago, for Dada to make reference to it in what I considered was a flippant manner was, for me, in very poor taste.

    1. My maternal grandfather was in the Royal Engineers during the Battle of the Somme, building trenches at Ypres, when he was gassed. He never fully recovered.

      1. I had three maternal great uncles in WW1. Two of them were brothers. All three were killed, one of them in the Battle of the Somme. Over the years I have visited their graves (2) and the memorial for the one who was not laid to rest. My first visit was 60 years after the Battle of the Somme and I felt sad that I was the first member of the family able to visit.

    2. I think that is rather pompous of you. I imagine that the majority of people on this blog have an ancestor who was a either a casualty or a survivor of WW1.
      My Grandfather was also at the Somme and was severely wounded. However, I take no exception to the clue or the reference.

      1. Thankfully, we live in countries where we can express our opinions freely and ignore those of others.

      2. Mrs. C’s grandfather was killed in WW1. We have his letters to her father. While I appreciate Senf’s point of view, I don’t agree with him fully. However, I would never dream of calling him pompous. These things affect us all in different ways. I think respect should be shown.

        1. For goodness sake, there is nothing ‘disrespectful’ about the adverb.or in what I wrote.

    3. Aside from the fact that I didn’t think it was a very good clue anyway, I agree with you Senf, I do think it is in poor taste.

  19. H
    Yes I am enjoying Royal St George’s thank you. Hope you are too.. Any course that has a dog water bowl outside the clubhouse gets my approval.
    After your endorsement Me Oosthuizen gets my vote too, unless a home burst through ( not going to happen now)

  20. The answer to 5a eventually came while watching the golf & not even thinking about the crossword. No idea why it took so long. Thought the puzzle right out of the top drawer with enough contenders to fill at least 2 podiums. Big ticks for me were 1(neat wordplay),9,15,21&27a together with 8,17&20d. I’m with those who rather liked 21a & must confess that I reckon I too may well have spelt Tangier with an S on the end.
    Thanks to D & S – reading through the comments I see that you took pity & gave me a helpful prod which I nearly needed so ta.

  21. Slow start but sped up towards the end. Enjoyed, 5a, 18a, 23a and 25a. Took some head scratching but obvious when the penny drops! All in all good fun.

  22. Funny old world, it’s slightly hotter in parts of England today than it is here in South Florida. I got so engrossed in weeding my new flower bed yesterday that I spent too long out there and was close to keeling over when Peter ordered me indoors. So be careful out there folks. I didn’t find Dada at all benevolent over breakfast this morning and was ready to throw in the towel. But with a little help, I did eventually manage to finish with COTD being 5a, although it took ages for the light bulb to go off. Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. A benevolent puzzle from Dada today. **/**** Some nice clues include 1a, 5a, 26a, 3d & 5d with winner 5a and runner up 3d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf ( and to Senf for yesterday where I messed up)

  24. Late today because of a sporadic Internet. When I finally was able to access this brilliant Dada, I found it not only charmingly Dadaesque but among his best in memory. As others have said, there are enough winners to fill two podiums for me, so I’ll just pile them onto one: 9a, 15a, 3d, 5a, 5d, & (because it was my LOI and the ‘wow’ word is alien to an American usually, though not to me) 20d. I did not like 21a though I solved it easily enough. Thanks to Senf for his double-duty weekend performance, and kudos to Dada. *** / *****

  25. Thought I was never going to get off the ground with this but the bark was worse than the bite and I subsequently enjoyed a distraction from the heat. NE was toughest for me. 5a may be clever but IMHO not exactly wrong. Didn’t like 21a. My podia feature 3d, 17d and 20d. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  26. I’m never on Dada’s wavelength so nothing new today. About halfway I went to the hints to get me going again, but I’ve thrown in the towel now. Fave was 9a, love the word, I also liked 15a. I agree with Senf re 21a.
    Thanks to Dada for the workout and to Senf for helping me as I limped along.

  27. I enjoyed this though it seemed to take a long time to finish. 1a was the last one in. Once my brain has started going in the wrong direction it is very hard to back up and turn around, much like my driving, not that I can do that any more because of the gaga pills. I definitely couldn’t have done it without your help Senf. BTW I agree about 23a. Didn’t like that. But I did enjoy many of the others so it more than balanced out.

    Thanks as ever to everyone involved. I need the crosswords and all of you to keep me sane. Do be quiet at the back there, it’s rude to laugh that loud. I saw a cartoon, not sure I am allowed to post images but this made me think of all of us. Hoping this works……

  28. Good Sunday fun, thanks to Senf and Dada. Given that 26a wrote one of the longest poems in the English language, he would have been a wealthy man if he had been paid as in 5a!

  29. Gosh, it’s hot! I’m thinking of bringing back my patent air conditioner. Very cheap. Freeze a bottle of water then stick it infront of the fan. It works for about half an hour!

  30. I really liked this. Started in bed after our visitors left and after perusing all the clues I had about half the answers. This morning I managed to complete the rest except for the first syllable of 20d. I don’t think I’ve ever said this word in my life, except when linked to ~blimey. The stays should have given me the answer but by this time I had succumbed to the hints so thanks for the illustration. A bit sad masochistic but served to illustrate the answer. Favourite clues 21a and 17d

  31. Late arrival at the Dada Puzzle Ball … Really enjoyed this puzzle, reasonably straightforward, generally smooth surface reads with some good subtle clueing and a number of red herrings.

    Liked the pairing of 5a and 26a, both of which were podium contenders along with 27a 9a and 20d, but my COTD was 21a, about which I had no “taste” concerns whatever.

    2* / 3.5*

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

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