ST 3118 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3118 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3118 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we have had some, but not enough, welcome rain.  We have also had three or four days of Air Quality Alerts caused by drifting smoke from more than 130 wild fires in Manitoba and more in NW Ontario.  When the sun was visible through the smoke haze it was an orange disc; it reminded me of my four visits to Beijing seven years ago.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada is somewhat quirky today and he seems to have used his personal thesaurus a couple or more times.  At least, he just about redeemed himself on The Battle.  I counted eight anagrams (four partials), two lurkers (none reversed), and two homophones – all in an asymmetric 28 clues; with 14 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 12a, 23a, and 16d.

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 Grating, where scattering of dirt sent (8)
We start with an anagram (scattering) of DIRT SENT – ‘where’ appears to be nothing more than ‘padding’.

11a Perfect drama Eliot conjured up (6-4)
An anagram (conjured up) of DRAMA ELIOT.

12a Writer of examination for dog (6)
A double definition – the first is the ‘creator’ of the examination not the person who is being ‘examined.’

17a Lighten lingerie originally in maroon (6)
The first letter (originally) of Lingerie inserted into in a synonym of maroon (as in to isolate on a remote island?).

20a Battle beyond party, that’s clear (8)
A famous battle placed after (beyond) the abbreviated form of a (political) party.

23a Cut material, fixed amount (10)
A four letter type of material and a single word for a fixed amount (or helping).

26a Ignore frantic second cry of parachutist (8)
An anagram (frantic) of IGNORE and the two letter abbreviated form of a synonym of second (in time) – I would really like to know if parachutists really do cry this as they leave the aircraft, perhaps Dada tried parachuting and he did.


1d Dark without famous people? (8)
A synonym for a type of famous person (rather than famous people) then add a suffix which would create a single word for being without famous people.

2d Old Briton selected for audition? (4)
One of the homophones (for audition) of a synonym of selected – the other homophone not hinted by me is 22a.

4d America in song for party (8)
The three letters often used for America contained by (in) a type of song (think Christmas in particular).

8d Whatever it’s called requires a bit of strength in gymnastics (6)
One of the lurkers (requires a bit of) found in three words in the clue – the other lurker not hinted by me is 21d.

16d Mark and Don trained raider (8)
A (punctuation) mark and an anagram (trained) of DON.

19d Spelling nigh impossible, old flame claimed (6)
An anagram (impossible) of NIGH containing (claimed) the two letters often used to indicate an old flame.

24d Refuse boat (4)
A double definition to finish – the first depends on pronunciation and the second is illustrated below.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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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If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

I think this is the Quick Crossword pun, but remember as an on-line solver I do not get the benefit of italicised clues:


In response to King George I’s request for a concert on the River Thames, George Frideric Handel composed a collection of orchestral movements, The Water Music, often published as three suites.  It was first performed 304 years and 8 days ago on July 17, 1717.  Perhaps the most easily recognised movement is the Alla Hornpipe from the (second) Suite in D major (HWV 349).  Here it is being played by the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen:

76 comments on “ST 3118 (Hints)

  1. A pleasant Sunday workout (which is more than I can say for the Times today!). Some nice clues but my favourite was 20a.
    May I add that I think these tips come out too early and some of the pictures make the answers too obvious for what is supposed to be a prize crossword.

        1. Please don’t begrudge the help provided to many who appreciate them. One of the main purposes for this blog is to help anyone who becomes stuck part way through. The vast majority of us never enter the competition, we just do the crossword for our own satisfaction.

    1. As a humble blogger, being paid (much) less than minimum wage to produce a Sunday blog, I follow the guidance given to me by our dear leader including publishing time and the use of illustrations. The latter is reflected in the ‘answer’ to FAQ 9.1, and I quote ‘Some hints for prize puzzles might be illustrated with an image and hovering over this image could reveal an answer. These “gimmes” are at the discretion of the author of the hints.’

      You have to appreciate that solvers of all capabilities participate in this blog and some are very grateful for the hints including the illustrations.

      Fortunately, I only have to solve half of the clues in order to produce a Sunday blog.

      1. Oh dear Senf! I never cease to be amazed. Sometimes people complain they are posted too late. Most of us who prefer to struggle on don’t open the post until we are finished or are stuck. I occasionally during the week uncover an answer I’m not sure of, but choose not to do that unless I am struggling with another clue, and fear I have a wrong checker. Membership of this club is not compulsory.

        1. The current rate is £8.91 below the April 2021 minimum wage. I will leave it to you to determine what that is with Google or whatever.

          1. Your payment, Senf is the joy you bring to us all with your helpful hints. Surely, that brings a warm glow to your heart? 😊

            All bloggers on Big Dave are greatly appreciated. I resist looking at hints because I want to finish unaided but, if I am beaten, it is good to read the hint of the blogger of the day so I can learn the construction of the clue. I even do this with Elgar but he still eludes me.

            As for the prize puzzles, I never submit unless I finish totally unaided.

            Ok, who’s going to be the first to say, “Don’t call me Shirley!” 🤣

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this SPP from Dada. It had a nice variety of clues, including a few brain teasers in the bottom half of the grid, which held me up for a time It was completed in 4* time but I was distractedly watching the Olympics part of the time. I’d give it 5* for enjoyment. I liked the craftily constructed 19d and 20a and the misdirection in3d but my COTD is 26a, which did make me laugh, when the penny finally dropped. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for another fine puzzle.

  3. 3*/4*. For me this was a puzzle of two halves in terms of difficulty. The top half was a par 1* solve and the bottom par 5*, so overall 3*. The whole thing however was very enjoyable indeed, in spite of a slight hmm for the American usage in 14a (Chambers agrees!)

    Podium places went to 12a, 17a, 13d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. Carbon copy of last Sunday for me. All over in just under ** time with the exception of 3d which I just can’t see at all – hopefully it comes to me quicker than the 5 hours or so it took for the penny to drop with perverse last week. Thought the top half distinctly lacklustre but the puzzle was redeemed by some nice clues down south. 26a was my clear winner with 19d & 20a claiming silver & bronze.
    Thanks to D&S
    Ps re 7a in the Quickie – have never seen without an S at the end.

      1. I don’t understand your comment. Are you referring to the answer in 3d? Just curious.

            1. You don’t do the Quickie, WW?

              It’s the warm up for the cryptic as far as I am concerned. I always look at it with a coffee, before tackling the cryptic, to wake up my brain.

                1. WW, You should try the Quickie if only for solving some of the excruciating but amusing puns usually found in the first few across clues.

      1. think of a 3 letter word for dry as in wine then add a 3 letter word for … no enough spinners you’ll end up on the step!

  5. Pretty much a perfect Sunday puzzle for me, I had all but two in before my early morning sea swim and they duly came to me post refreshment.
    Didn’t the battle in 20a come up last week, was wondering whether it was a defiant nod in the direction of Senf from the setter following the former’s criticism of it? I may be wrong!! Anyway I liked it along with the excellent 24&26a along with18d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the Sunday entertainment.

    1. Probably pure coincidence on The Battle appearing in successive weeks in different ‘guises.’ We are often told that puzzles have been compiled weeks or even months in advance.

      I suppose there is always a possibility that there might have been some rapid ‘shuffling’ in the Dada ‘pile’ but I doubt it.

  6. A most enjoyable Sunday puzzle in which our setter did lead me astray for quite a while with 3d.
    Plenty to smile about and I packed the podium with 10,20&23a plus 8&19d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and music. That movement from Handel seems to paint such a vivid picture of the royal party in all their finery proceeding serenely along the Thames, must have been quite a sight.

  7. I struggled with the SW quadrant this week, and it took two bites of the cherry to finally complete the grid. Total time was probably ****.

    I had spotted the anagram at 15a but thought of a different word which I knew had something to do with geometry and therefore a bearing? I was wrong and it wasn’t until 13d proved it wrong that I could tidy up that corner.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  8. 3d my last one in too. Altogether a very enjoyable puzzle, no particular favourites. Horrid cold day, very overcast but no rain. Thanks to the setter and Senf. I actually don’t look at the hints until I’ve finished but I like reading the comments to see how everyone is doing.

  9. 3/4. Very enjoyable solve with quite a lot of head scratching towards the end. 3&19d we’re my favourites. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  10. A lovely Sunday prize puzzle by Dada. Thoroughly enjoyable although I also found I stumbled over 15a and had all kinds of words that were obviously wrong. I could not for the life of me see the answer even though I knew it was an anagram. I liked 6d and 20a but my COTD is 26a.

    Many thanks to Dada for the enjoyment and thanks to Senf for the hints. Stay safe with all those fires around you. Terrible pictures coming from across The Pond.

    1. Thanks Steve. Fortunately(?) for us in the city the fires are considerable distances away and it is only the smoke that we have to put up with when the wind is blowing in the right, or is it wrong, direction over a number of days.

      Of course, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have had to evacuate and have lost property. Some of the biggest concerns are for the pets that have been left behind – a whole different problem.

  11. 3d my last one in too. Enjoyable crossword, just about within my grasp.

    We had a really magical evening yesterday. ‘L’amico Fritz’ by Pietro Mascagni at Opera Holland Park. Everything about it was superb – the performances on stage, the setting, the orchestra; and sitting next to Maureen Lipman who was delightful !

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Oh my, what a treat that must have been. Such a rarity these days, Terence. Mascagni actually conducted the first recording of ‘Fritz’ when he was almost 80 in 1942, I’ve discovered. I’ve never heard the whole opera, but what a far cry from Cavalleria Rusticana, eh?

    2. Oh lucky you! We just watched Pavarotti in the Park on TV! But that was pretty good. How I miss live theatre…..

      1. Mr. Th and I are delighted that someone else watched Pavarotti – it was absolutely fantastic. (How we miss our regular twice monthly lunchtime concerts which were a major part of life pre-Covid) That’s my usual time for bedtime tea and crossword each evening, but for once crossword just went by the board – there are very few things moire important than the crossword. I did find time to get it finished in the end – the next morning tea in bed took a bit longer than usual!

  12. Was pleased to have a testing workout today with an uneventful day in prospect and rain forecast all day. Wasted time looking for clear synonym for 20a – d’oh! Have learnt origin of 26a. 1a is crafty. Altogether absorbing with East proving less taxing than West. Thank you Dada and Senf (love the innuendo re setter using personal Thesaurus as IMHO is not infrequently the case!).

  13. So many contenders for awards from Dada today. What a great puzzle! I too was held up, as others were, by 3d and 15a–both very clever–but the podium is smack-dab filled with the brilliance of 26a, 19d, 20a, 8d, 24a, & 13d. (Two podia actually.) About as perfect as Dada can be, so thanks to him, and to Senf, whose hints I’ll read now. *** / ****

  14. Another great puzzle on a Sunday; thanks to Dada. Last one in was 3D and favourites were 20A, 16D & 19D. 3*/5* for me.

  15. All complete except for 6d which has beaten me. Don’t understand the wordplay on 13d if my answer is correct.
    Funny one puzzle today, a real mixture of the glaring obvious and fiendish clues.
    I was enjoying until I reached the SW corner when my enjoyment diminished considerably.
    As I haven’t finished it I can’t really rate it.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. I recall, I hope not incorrectly, that you are/were a golfer so you must know the synonym for average in 6d. Then the teacher should not present any problems and take note of the ‘?’ at the end of the clue.

      The definition in 13d is the last two words of the clue.

    2. Hi Brian,
      Split the 6d clue into 2 parts – the first three letters can equate to ‘average’ and the last three give you a type of teacher – at a university perhaps. Join the two together and you have a word used by way of apologising or asking for a repeat of something said.
      13d ‘crosswise’ is the definition and you need a word meaning to cross into which you insert the two usual ‘poles’.

      Sorry, Senf, crossed in the ether. Please delete my comment if you feel it necessary.

      1. Thx everyone, it was bugging me. Not sure that term in golf means average rather than expected at least it certainly doesn’t represent my average score per hole😩
        Thx all anyway

        1. Brian
          You are correct re expected score. Shots to reach the green plus two putts.

  16. No hold-ups for us this afternoon despite putting the wrong fool in 25a but 16d soon sorted that out. Favourite was 13d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  17. Found this a more user friendly Dada today. Never jumped out of a plane, but 26a just had to be, even before I realized it was an anagram. Thanks to Dada and Senf for an enjoyable crossword over Sunday breakfast.

  18. Definitely a quirkier and trickier puzzle from Dada this Sunday. Caused quite a bit of head scratching today. 3.5*/****
    Clues for favourites include 9a, 12a, 26a & 8d with winner 12a. 8d caused a chuckle as did 9a & 26a.
    A fun solve overall for another hot sunny day in the Lower Mainland today.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints of which I definitely needed a couple today

  19. I have not yet got around to trying the new browser to access the site on my computer as I feel I need a clear head and a quiet hour in which to tackle the problem (I told you I am not technical!) and do not seem to have had either in the last 24 hours. But I will. Lovely crossword just completed after DD2 came over with some shopping for us. I liked 12, 20 and 23a and 16 and 5 down – a lovely word to roll around the tongue. Many thanks to the setter and to Senf, those fires sound terrifying. It reminds me of the war years and the dreadful fear of losing everything. I am sure that turned me into a hoarder! Take care.

    1. So that’s where your offspring got their habit of hoarding from, DG! Sadly, they’ve taken to hoarding it all with you………….

      1. To be fair to them DD2 is not a hoarder and DD1 has got early onset dementia so really didn’t know what she was doing. And junior grandson has no home other than with us which is why we have all his clobber. No, the hoarding and collecting is all mine. During the war I lost my teddy bear, my Rosebud lifelike baby doll from America, books, clothes etc etc. My Scottish grandmother had me unpicking cotton from seams which was reused as tacking thread. All containers with lids might have a use despite a cupboard full of Tupperware. And my years as an artist didn’t help either. Poor George.

  20. Did pretty well on this one but am completely stuck on 3d.
    Any chance of a clue, please ?

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  21. Must be a friendly Dada, I finished apart from 1d and 3d! Natch, with e-help, I think it goes without saying that I’d never complete a Dada without help, though I did finish the east without help.
    Fave was 26a, Megan’s (the Me of Merusa) husband was called 26a, please no schoolboy jokes, but I did like 20a a lot.
    Thank you Dada, I enjoyed that, and Senf for all your help to finish, and for the lovely music.

      1. Megan, Rufus and Sadie! Yellow, chocolate and black, each one as precious as can be.

          1. That it does, DG! When you invite a pet into your life you inevitably invite heartache as well. Yet the joy they bring while they are with us! 👍👍👍

            1. One of our friends sent us a superb poem after Bella left us.
              Will send it to you & Merusa.
              Tried to get the puzzles newsletter. Have had some stuff but not puzzles.
              So no entry for CH. My clue was: Middle hotel consuming system seldom used in Tibuktu say.

            2. Every time one leaves us, we think there’ll never be a special one like that again, yet we give our hearts up again and again. My Sadie is my bestest friend, she’ll be 10 in September, I just hope she outlasts me!

  22. Another good Sunday puzzle, thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints.
    Related to 9a, there was an interesting obituary in the Telegraph today to Bill Lacey, one of the last of the ‘Marshmen’. Well worth a read. They made ‘em tough in those days!
    And 1d reminded me of a track on a Stan Tracey album which I will have to listen to now!

  23. Wavelength thing. Much speedier for me than many of Dada’s. I have done in two sittings only because a friend came to visit. 3d was a bit of a teaser but came to me as soon as I commenced the second session. I already had the checkers. I did not know the word in 19d but had to be what it is so I checked I was right. 24d came to me straightaway as we’ve seen it very recently. Lots of different synonyms for maroon so I floundered for a little while! Favourites 20 and 23a and 3 6 13 and 16d. Thanks Dada and huge thanks to you Senf for putting up with brickbats.

  24. Found this about average for Dada, when I remembered to adopt “Sunday thinking”.
    16d my COTD.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf. Seems like we need rain like you do. Falls Shin now the Trickle of Shin. Hopefully the rain will come before the salmon have to return downstream.
    Great weekend for sport performances. The Lions win yesterday & Stephen Dodd winning the British Seniors.
    Lovely man Stephen they will be drinking Brynhill (Barry) golf club dry tonight (on him probably. Few, if any, will have heard of him, it is a real “Cinderella, out of nowhere” story & couldn’t happen to a nicer, more down-to-earth man.

  25. Cracking puzzle. Some
    Lovely words in the NE. Enough said. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  26. Finished the E fairly quickly, but needed hints and e-help quite a lot for the W. Nearly gave up at one stage but then determined to finish. LOI 3d which defeated me for a long time. I’m glad the weather has not been quite so hot otherwise I would never have coped. Thanks to Dada for a very clever puzzle and to Senf for much needed help. Think 11a is my fav.

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