ST 3119 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3119 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3119 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where it continues to be hot and dry with air quality alerts as the wild fires continue to the North and East of us.  This might be a holiday weekend but, because of Covid, it is difficult to differentiate a ‘special’ weekend from all the rest.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada is staying quirky this week, especially with the four 15 letter clues, only one of which includes a partial anagram.   I counted four anagrams (one partial), one lurker (reversed), and no homophones – all in a symmetric 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 – 13a, 20a, 3d, and 5d – which you might notice are the four long ‘uns.

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:


8a Isle, a state (4)
A three letter abbreviated form of an English island followed by A from the clue.

12a You’ve done well: first violin lesson? (4,1,3)
What a music teacher may say at the start of a first violin lesson?

13a Become very angry when pest released from grip? (3,3,3,6)
A three letter type of pest (often in the kitchen?), a three term letter term for released from, and a (3,6) nounal term for grip including a definite article.

15a Is one charged for crime? (7)
A double definition – the second is a type of violent crime.

20a Lacking position, though (15)
A perhaps slightly clumsy, or even quirky, (3,4) way of saying lacking and a synonym of position (in an organisation?).

25a Leader is between king and a queen (6)
IS from the clue placed between the single letter for King in that board game, A from the clue, and HM’s regnal cypher.

28a Long river in Israel I navigate the wrong way (4)
The reversed lurker (in . . . the wrong way) found in three words in the clue.


1d Possible reason for extra head on everyone (2,4)
A crickety clue to start the Downs – a three letter informal synonym of head placed before (on) a three letter synonym of everyone.

3d Initially up that tree, pals etc playing (2,3,5,5)
A (2,3,3) synonymic phrase for up that tree (a type of conifer) followed by an anagram (playing) of PALS ETC.

5d Fashion presenter in rambling hypocrite! (4,4,7)
It might help if you consider the answer as (4,3’1,7) – a four letter synonym of fashion, followed by a four letter (TV?) presenter inserted into (in) a synonym of rambling (as exercise?).

6d Cook particular course, speciality (6)
A two letter synonym of cook and a particular course (as part of a meal?).

19d Overwhelming disaster, it arising to obscure source of light in the morning (7)
IT from the clue reversed (arising) containing (to obscure) all of our source of daylight and the two letters used for in the morning.

21d Top of wall that is hardest to jump over? (6)
The first letter (top) of Wall and the unabbreviated form of the Latin term for that is.

24d Capital of Turkmenistan erased from geography book, woe is me! (4)
The first letter (capital) of Turkmenistan removed (erased) from the geography book named after this chap.

Quick Crossword pun:


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Canadian-American singer, songwriter, and actor Paul Anka celebrate his 80th birthday on Friday.  Here he is performing one of his compositions that he wrote for Frank Sinatra, English lyrics set to the music of the French song Comme d’habitude composed and written by French songwriters Claude François and Jacques Revaux:

62 comments on “ST 3119 (Hints)

  1. The third in a row of three difficult back page crosswords and the most enjoyable for me (3*/5*). I particularly enjoyed the four long clues, my COTD being the cleverly put together 5d, although it took a while for the penny to drop. The cryptic definition at 30a was not far behind in quality. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and thank you to Dada for a birthday treat of a crossword today.

      1. Thank you Merusa. I share my birthday with my 9 year old grandson and my sister-in-law. So it’s been a great family weekend afrer a very long dry spell.

  2. Loved this one, so much better than yesterday’s offering. Helped getting the long ones quite quickly. I can’t see the puzzle as it’s on this machine but the only query i have I think is 8a. Have an answer but can’t see why. Lots of favourites so thanks to Dada and Senf.

        1. Not for me it doesn’t. That’s my last piece to parse as well. Otherwise a very clever crossword.

          1. I’m sorry, but for those of us who don’t know Ray T, or do the acrostic or Everyman puzzles, you aren’t helping.

        1. One could also say think Dada as there is a clue of this type almost every Sunday. The key is looking for the indicator word(s), such as today’s or initially, which appear at the beginning or end of the clue.

  3. Just right for a Sunday. 8a gave me trouble but having seen the hint I let out an audible Doh!

  4. I thought this was outstanding on a very a very quirky grid. My only slight criticism is that I wasn’t keen on 6d but the rest top notch.
    Big ticks go to 11a plus 5 (isn’t there an abbreviation in there?)&24d but the gold medal goes to 19d, always reminds me of the brilliant Manic Street Preachers.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the fun.

      1. Manic Street Preachers are a rock band Brian, one of the better things to come out of Wales.

    1. First a disclaimer, I am not a grammar expert. Assuming that I have understood what you mean by an abbreviation in 5d, what is ‘going on’ is a contraction, not an abbreviation, which I indicated in the enumeration I included in the hint.

      It would help if such enumerations were given in clues but that is one ‘horse’ that I have flogged so much it is definitely beyond resuscitation.

      If Mr Lancaster reads this perhaps he would consider commenting on it in the Puzzles Newsletter.

      1. Thanks for your feedback Senf, gramatically of course it is a contraction or short form. I just wondered what the convention was on the cluing of such. I rarely read hints before posting, perhaps I should start!

  5. Rare for me to complete a Dada puzzle in ** time but everything just fell into place today, helped considerably by the 4 excellent long ‘uns going straight in. 8a was my last in too & was initially at the wrong end of our island with an incorrect 3rd letter until the wordplay penny dropped. I see another appearance for 12a though I thought Elgar clued it better on Friday. Don’t know if it’s just me but a good portion of the clues seemed as though wouldn’t have been out of place in a Ray T production. Pick of the bunch was 19d with 25a the runner up.
    Thanks as ever to Sunday’s double act

  6. Now this I enjoyed. Two science clues and a cricket clue, right up my street. A lot easier I found than yesterdays Toughie/Prize puzzle.
    Still struggling to fully parse 5d and found 6d clumsy. But really like 20a, 15a and of course 1d.
    Thx to all

  7. Unusually for me, most of these fell into place fairly quickly. Sundays used to be so difficult! I rather liked 24d

  8. It took me a while (as everything seems to do these senescent days) but I got there, jubilantly, in the end.
    While I very much enjoyed the four long answers, I agree with Huntsman on the top two clues, though in reverse order: 25a and 19d, with 5d sporting the Bronze. 6d was my LOI. What a wild puzzle, full of bravura and real showmanship, Dada in his glory. Thanks to Senf for hints I fortunately didn’t need, and kudos to Dada. *** / *****

  9. Took me a while to see through some of our setter’s subterfuge this morning but very satisfying once all became clear.
    No excuse for being so slow to parse 8a given that my younger daughter lives on the island in question and I couldn’t see the proverbial wood for trees when it came to 21d.
    13a raised a smile and my top two were 12&20a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and music clip. I think Mr Anka aged remarkably well!

      1. Having lived there for some years now, I think my daughter’s opinion is that it’s a lovely island for a holiday but the practicalities of actually living there can be pain in the proverbial!

        1. Visited for the first time last September as a pandemic induced alternative to France and loved it. Visiting another with similar initials this September also for the first time.

  10. 3.5*/5*. For me, this was a perfect mixture of hard, medium, and easy clues, and huge fun from start to finish. Although I twigged the answer to 5d quite quickly it took me a month of Sundays (not literally!) to parse it.

    I can’t fault Jane’s podium choices – 12a, 13a & 20a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  11. A most enjoyable offering from Dada. Not an unaided finish because I had to resort to help for 5d. However, the other three long ones fell into place easily to give a load of checkers. For once, the short clues caused few problems apart from 27a, which eluded me for ages. Great drop of a penny when I finally sussed it. My COTD is 15a.

    Grateful thanks to Dada for the entertainment and thanks as well to Senf for the hints.

    1. Steve, was it you who recommended the Peter Robinson books to me? I am working my way through them and thoroughly enjoying each and every one. Thank you.

      1. Well, I did once recommend them to everyone, and I think it was Greta who then commented on how much she was enjoying them. I’ve read and enjoyed them all. Alan Banks is one of my favourite sleuths. If it wasn’t Greta, do pardon my memory lapse.

  12. Sailed through this except for 27a. Only one answer fits in but I cannot parse it.
    Any news on Mrs BD? We worry!

      1. Thanks Senf, I had exactly the same question…understand now…doh!🤦🏼‍♂️

    1. I’ve been concerned about Mrs. BD as well, we’ve had no word at all since the initial heads up.

  13. I struggled with this and didn’t particularly enjoy the challenge and was considerably hampered by 5d holding out until last and even then I needed help. I forgive myself and agree with Senf and StephenL inter alia on the basis that the second word should at least show an apostrophe ‘cos no way is it a single word. In addition a different 3-letter knight kept occurring to me for 27a so no help there. Joint Favs 15a and 21d. Thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. Thanks so much Senf for the terrific Paul Anka/Ol’ Blue Eyes combination performance – very nostalgic. I recently went to a funeral where “My Way” was played – perfect!

  14. Whilst it took a while to get a handle on this cracker it was worth the effort . A few hold ups on the way so
    I found so many clues to be worthy so the puzzle itself gets Clue of the day.
    Many thanks to Senf & Dada for a stunner of a puzzle.

  15. I liked this Dada puzzle a lot as I found it only a tad quirky today, **/***** as it was a fun solve needing only 3 hints throughout.
    For favourites other than the “4 long ‘uns”, to quote Senf, I liked 12a, 15a, 4d & 19d. To hard to pick a favourite as this was a well clued offering and all the clues worth being COTD. It was a great start to the day.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the Sunday fun.

  16. A mixed bag for me, and should have been easier having solved 3 of the 15 letter clues. 5d was the holdout, just couldn’t think of anything that meant hypocrite or fashion. Could see 26a was an anagram, but was a bung I as I didn’t know the word. However, did solve 1d despite zero cricket knowledge, just had to be. Definitely quirky today. Thanks to Dada and Senf.
    On a worrying note we had three notifications of residents in our neighborhood (320 houses) with Covid yesterday, all double vaccinated, so this not over yet.

    1. I’m worried about my pool man, he’s normally so reliable and answers my phone calls toot suite. He was supposed to be here five days ago to work on my pool pump, no sign of him. I get concerned too about these aides, I know nothing about them, they could be cavorting all over town for all I know.

    2. We sadly lost a friend a week ago, mid 50s, double jabbed and healthy. It hit him really hard and very quickly.

  17. I really enjoyed this Dada, normally I’m not on wavelength; not easy but very doable. I got stuck in the SW and needed the hint for 21d, which helped for 26a, I had to look it up, never heard of it. The long ‘uns were a treat, except 5d, I had to write that out on my paper with the checking letters before bunging in an answer, a pure guess. So much good stuff here, I think fave is 20a as one of my first in.
    Thank you Dada, maybe I’m learning how to crack the code? Thanks to you Senf for getting me going again.
    My neighbour is away for the week, I need to see if I can get someone to get my newspaper for me. I never did manage to teach Sadie how to do it like my other labradors did!

  18. Well I found this one tough. Needed a lot of help from Senf to get finished. I see to be bucking the trend as I really enjoyed yesterday’s puzzle , today’s not so much. I am beginning to doubt that I will ever get on to Dada’s wavelength.
    But I will persevere.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    I hadn’t seen anything about Mrs BD…..hope she is OK or at least improving whatever the trouble is.

  19. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. Super crossword, I think Dada was a bit spaced out, with 18d&26a, great stuff. Just needed the hints for 6d, my last one in. So many clever clues, especially the three-letter answers. Favourite was 27a. Was 3* / 4* for me.

  20. Am I right in “remembering” Colin Parsons used to set the Sunday cryptics?

  21. All done in good time and thoroughly enjoyed – thanks as always to Dada for the excellent challenge, and of course to Senf for the hints…especially the extra one above to help parse 27A!👍 Sometimes I just can’t see the wood for the trees! Anyway, stay safe up there in Canadialand 😜

  22. An earlier post disappeared so here’s a short version. I had the same problem as most people with 5d so relied on Senf’s hint. Thank you. Thanks to Dada. Favourites 12 and 20a and 4 and 24d. I revisited yesterday’s which was a largely unsolved mystery and the answers flew in. Strange isn’t it?

  23. The usual brilliant stuff from Dada, my favourite setter…..struggled with 5d but has to be COTD….

  24. How can one choose a COTD from this magnificent collection. If cryptic xwords were part of the olympics Dada would deserve a gold medal. This was finished almost unaided. I didn’t know 26a but it had to be what it had to be. The LOI was 6d where I needed e-help. I can’t think why, perhaps my brain was utterly exhausted by then. Thanks to Dada for the really enjoyable struggle and to Senf for all the hard work.

  25. P.S. I am convinced that it is only because of all that I have learnt in the past few months from this blog that I was able to virtually complete this very difficult puzzle. So very many thanks to all the bloggers, and thanks for the pleasure I have had as well.

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