ST 3122 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3122 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3122 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, at the beginning of the week, I completed reading Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy – three volumes of his expert ‘weaving’ of fictional characters into real events from the 1910s up to the 1980s.

Keep staying safe everyone.

I’ll let you decide how Dada ‘is’ this week; all I will say is thank goodness I only had to solve half of the puzzle to be able to write the hints :wink:

I counted five anagrams (two partials), no lurkers, 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 – 14a, 2d, and 17d.

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:


9a I’m leaving you symbolically beside a drop (5)
How you might be represented by a single letter (symbolically) placed after (beside) A from the clue and a synonym(?) of drop.

10a Asian in Asia went off with European (9)
An anagram (off) of ASIA WENT followed by (with) the single letter for European.

14a Elaborate alcoholic drink with tea is brewed (9)
A term for (a measure of) an alcoholic drink (often accompanied by wee) and (with) an anagram (brewed) of TEA IS.

16a West Country produce, Cornish-made, ever churned? (10,5)
An anagram (churned) of CORNISH-MADE, EVER.

21a Master, teacher holding me back (5)
A three letter (university) teacher containing (holding) ME from the clue reversed (back).

27a Chapels in gold attended by a group of members in blue? (9)
Heraldic gold followed (attended) by A from the clue and the alternative name for the members of the ‘blue’ party in UK politics – this example is in Montréal.

28a A poetic pattern in progress (5)
A from the clue and a term for a division of a line of poetry (poetic pattern) – straight from the BRB.


1d Smack insect from below (4)
A type of insect reversed (from below).

3d Very quick human, one entering draw shortly (10)
All of a synonym of (a) human and the single letter for one inserted into (entering) a synonym of draw with the last letter removed (shortly).

7d Secured by peg, trousers put on (8)
The brand name of some (denim) trousers contained (secured) by a synonym of peg (as used by golfers).

8d Old European with maiden featured in great news broadcast (4,6)
The single letter for a crickety maiden contained by (featured in) an anagram (broadcast) of GREAT NEWS.

13d Rubbish swimmer’s huge impact (10)
The swimmer including the possessive S that used to be the reason for ‘going to war’ with Iceland and a single word for huge impact.

17d English mathematician has claimed one in America on another planet? (8)
A ‘Russian doll’ charade – the English mathematician (of the illustrated diagram) containing (has claimed) all of the single letter for one inserted into (in) the three letters for America.

18d Feeling good, fastener finally accessing joint, lock securing device (4,4)
A three letter type of feeling, the single letter for Good, and the last letter (finally) of fastener all inserted into (accessing) one of the joints in our bodies.

26d Take out something sticky (4)
Thank goodness, after all that, a relatively straightforward double definition to finish – the something sticky is illustrated.

Quick Crossword pun:


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Military musicians are very talented and have to be proficient on more than one instrument.  To recognise its 25th anniversary in 2019, the Corps of Army Music released a series of music videos to showcase some of the talent within British Army music. This video features Lance Corporal Adrian Calef, principal cellist of The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, which was formed on April 1st, 2014, performing one of his own compositions, New Day:

72 comments on “ST 3122 (Hints)

  1. 3*/4*. I thought this was nicely challenging and good fun with 13d, which is such a lovely word, my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  2. This was good exercise for the grey matter and, although challenging, both satisfying and enjoyable (3.4*/5*). It was wily, the misdirection was excellent but it was perfectly fair. Of the many clever clues, I liked 3d, 17a, 7d and COTD, the well disguised 18d thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for a good challenge.

  3. I thought this was quite tricky, not far off his Tuesday Toughies, and it took a refreshing dip in the sea for the last couple to reveal themselves. All in all a very enjoyable puzzle though, full of the usual Dada misdirection.
    My ticks go to 9,11&19a plus the clever 6d with top spot claimed by 13d as it’s such a great word.
    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the top notch entertainment.

  4. Very satisfying and very enjoyable.
    Certainly exercised the grey matter.
    Completed unaided except for spelling check, in **** time.
    7d was brilliant, I thought.
    Many thanks Dada and to Senf for the review.

  5. My initial thoughts on completing this were much the same as Stephen L, that it would have made a good early week Toughie. The NE corner held me up for the same amount of time it took to solve the rest of the grid, with 7d my final entry. 13 and 17d were my co-favourites. Great fun.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  6. Tough going. 7d my last one in baffled me for ages but I don’t call the garments in question trousers! ****/*** Favourite 13d. Thanks for the workout to dada and Senf for the hints although I had worked them out eventually.

    1. Using trousers as a generic classification of that type of garment they are. But, I consider that Dada’s use of trousers was also some mis-direction as the word can be used as a containment/insertion indicator. So we have two containment/insertion indicators in one clue, which one should be used in that way?

      1. Even allowing an enormous latitude for crossword land “generic” terms, not in a million years!

        1. The definition of those garments is “hard-wearing casual trousers made of denim or other cotton material”. There’s no latitude required.

  7. That was tough! Didn’t recognise cast as an anagram indicator and thought 12a a poor clue. 21a was a very weak synonym and 28a was just plain difficult. One of those that is no fun but you don’t want to be beaten.
    Thanks for the hints without which I would not have completed this somewhat unpleasant puzzle.

  8. At the limit of my level, taking **** time & two put-downs. Got there in the end with the SE corner hding out longest. *** fun factor.
    13d my COTD.
    Thank you Dada for the work-out & Senf for the hints.
    Lovely sunny morning up here, 70F & nice gentle breeze.

    1. Wish I could say the same. Enjoy it while it lasts. Grey, overcast and miserable again in the south.

    2. Am looking forward to see how Louise Duncan fares in the last round at Carnoustie. I see she’s a member at West Kilbride, a delightful links I’ve been fortunate to play a few times when up in Troon. Was pleased to see James Corrigan picked up on the fact that she was the only one out there with legs bared. I remember playing her course in what to me was a gale but a member (possibly tongue in cheek) dismissed as stiff breeze.

      1. H hought of you last week – they had their big amateur week at Royal Dornoch the Carnegie Shield, It is 36 hole strokeplay then, if you survive, 5 rounds of match play. If you haven’t played the course it is a great way to enjoy the experience The normal summer green fee is £200 but that is the competition entry fee & you will get at least 2 with the chance of 7! There are separate handicap (8 to 18) and scratch with over 120 in each.
        It should be on the bucket list for any player who appreciates golf courses for the test they present.

  9. Definitely more of a challenge than is usual for Dada on a Sunday but very satisfying to complete. 7d was the last to fall – as others have mentioned, I don’t equate the brand with ‘trousers’!
    23a made me smile at the reminder of the iconic film and my favourite was the delicious 13d.

    Thanks to Dada for the work-out and to Senf for solving enough clues to bring us the hints! I really enjoyed the piece of music written by that talented young Lance Corporal, thank you for sharing it.

    1. I do agree with you, Jane, about the “trousers” in 7d. However, Collins and Chambers both suggest we are wrong. Collins, for example, defines trousers as “a piece of clothing that you wear over your body from the waist downwards, and that cover each leg separately”.

  10. I haven’t got a paper this morning and I probably won’t bother now, so I’ve been solving a few DT cryptics in a Hamlyn book, published 2018. Very coincidentally, 3 consecutive puzzles all contain the answer HAIRDRESSER:

    57. 13d: Locksmith (11)
    58. 27a: Cropping expert (11)
    59. 1a: One providing shock treatment (11)

    *Well I thought it was a mildly interesting thing to post …

  11. I have given up! After pouring over it for ages I had only filled in five clues. I may have another look later but, to be honest, I have better things to do.

    I hope this is not a foretaste of what the week will bring.

    Nevertheless, thanks to Dada. Thanks to Senf for the hints, which I will need if I do come back to it.

    1. Yup, but I didn’t give up, I struggled on with e-help, having to give up with three unsolved in the NE.

    2. Don’t give up. I managed in 2 sittings and teased out the last few this morning. Like Merusa, I finished in the NE corner. I thought of 1D pretty early but didn’t put in because was mis directed to the definition of smack which you aren’t allowed to do to children anymore. This one certainly stretched the brain cells.

      1. Difficult, but the best puzzle of the week I thought. I did like the swimmer and the stripper.

  12. That was tough going, but I was left with three to go after ***** time. As commented above, I don’t consider the five letters in 7d to be trousers, and the pairing of 26d and 28a across defeated me, never having studied poetry in my life. There did seem to be more GK required than usual.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  13. Just popped in to glance at what the general consensus was & am not surprised. No problems in the west but the east is another matter entirely. Think I’ll have a spot of lunch & look at it again with fresher eyes.

    1. The toughest Sunday for quite some time in my book & as Albert says a great deal of satisfaction once the pennies dropped however long it took. Other than not knowing the musical context of 15d all successfully parsed albeit working back from the answer with a few. Last in was 7d & there’s nowt wrong with it in my view. Loads of ticks in what I thought was a cracking puzzle – 11,16,19&23a plus 6,7,8,13,17,18,20&22d can make 4 podia. Favourite was 20d.
      Thanks as ever to D&S

  14. Phew, what a tussle! That was tougher than some toughies. a full *** maybe **** for me.

    What a satisfying solve though as the pennies gradually dropped. Last in was 7d. I see nothing wrong with the clue. Surely trousers is the generic term for all forms of this garment?. Thank you to Senf for parsing 9a. It had to be what it was but I couldn’t see why. Still not sure why 15d is flat for example.

    Lot’s of great clues to enjoy though 2d and 11a held out for a while and gave me the greatest satisfaction when the answers occurred to me, so are my joint nominees for COTD.

    Thanks again to Dada for a great crossword.

  15. Seem to be in the minority, having solved this over a (leisurely!) cup of tea, and without any scribbles or recourse to the thesaurus. No doubt will get my comeuppance tomorrow when I DNF and everyone else says it was a walk in the park. C’est la crossword vie!!

  16. I think 4 clues baffled me. Certainly 7d, 3d I have an answer which is probably right but even with the hints I don’t get the parsing. Needed the explanation for 17d even though it was obvious. Similarly 15d although, I still can’t understand what flat has to do with it. Finally 28a. No joy following a Google search.
    Not fun

  17. I’m in the decidedly tricky camp today. 4d last one in. I was spelling 10a wrong for ages which didn’t help. I bet they are shaking in their boots as to what might befell them now. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  18. Considering the controversy that already exists on the pacing of jam etc, I think 16a could be inflammatory!

  19. Sorry, folks, I am completely stumped by 14a and 4d, even the hint for 14a isn’t helping! If I had any hair to pull out………! Please help without ending up on the naughty step.

    1. Well, it’s a Sunday Prize Puzzle so no-one wants to end up on the naughty step, so anyone else replying to you could easily end up there!

      But, I am surprised that the hint for 14a is not helping and 4d includes a term which is a (Dada?) description of what ice is in form (compared to water).

      1. Hmm, based on my Boy Scout cooking, the only menu items available on the naughty step would be Dampers and Twists!

        1. They sound marginally more appetising than the desperately under-cooked sausages I turned out during my quest for a 1st Class Girl Guide badge. Mind you, the bananas with chocolate cooked in foil in the camp-fire embers seemed to go down quite well!
          Sorry if I trod too close to the edge of the naughty step, I thought I’d given it a sufficiently wide berth.

  20. All done and parsed eventually. Not the easiest we’ve done by any stretch of the imagination. Favourite was 28a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  21. The NE was my undoing, alas. I finally yielded to an electronic boost to solve 14a and 7d, and then kicked myself once again all the way to Savannah. (Hello from Savannah, GA, folks!) A thoroughly wonderful puzzle nonetheless, with 4d, 14a, and 7d taking the honours. I also liked 13 and 17d. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for besting me once again. **** / ****

    Over 5,000 new Covid cases in S Carolina yesterday, the worst single day since the pandemic began. Many school districts are refusing to abide by the Republican governor’s no-mask mandate.

  22. As there is no Toughie on Sundays, this is clearly one masquerading as a regular Cryptic. Too many off the wall clues, and not at all enjoyable. I assigned sad faces to too many clues, and no smiley ones ☹️. Giving up as I am getting older by the minute and don’t have time to waste. Weeds are calling to me. Thanks Dada, but above my pay grade today. Thanks for the hints Senf, but sadly I was still in the dark in many spots.

  23. Was slow out of the starting gate and then found it heavy going but hung in there and somehow made it to the finishing post. Needed prompt with 17d and bunged in 18d. Surely 14d not necessarily alcoholic. In spite of regular appearances 6d lower was Fav. Thank you Dada for quite a workout and Senf for being there on standby. I enjoyed Lance Corporal Adrian Calef’s “New Day”.

        1. I suppose the original drachma was equal to a weight of gold, maybe, a bit like our pound

    1. I remember from the early 60s when we went to see my grandfather, my parents were always offered a peg, which was invariably whisky. Just to be pedantic, never whiskey!

      1. Unfortunately, too many pegs ardened grandfather’s hearteries, resulting in 2 heart attacks and a stroke, which bowled him out.

  24. 5/3. Didn’t finish but still working on some of it. 13d my favourite as haven’t seen that word in ages. Such a lovely sound. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Went to see the corpse flower yesterday. Very apt nickname.

  25. Found this a VERY quirky Dada puzzle this week. Managed the NE and SW without hints but the rest was exceedingly troublesome. 5*/4* for me today. Several of the answers I still cannot parse, but they have to be what they are.
    Clues for favourites include 16a, 19a, 2d (last in), and 13d with winner 2d followed by 13d as close runner-up.
    Very tough solve today but unlike Senf I had to solve the whole puzzle(!!) as I was not just writing the hints!
    But I must agree with him in his comments.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints he offered.

  26. What a challenge, thank you Dada! 28a and 7d threw me so thanks also to Senf for the explanations. 20d is so clever and simple; my CotD

  27. No problems really, although I’m pleased it took a bit longer to solve than yesterday’s or Friday’s back pagers, especially as there’s no toughie today. Don’t mind the trousers bit, I just assume poetic licence. Liked 16a, 7d LOI. ***/****
    Thanks Dada, and Senf. I’ll read your hints in a bit

  28. Tough love today from Dada but managed in the end!
    Thanks for the hints Senf – needed a couple to confirm the parsing.

  29. And I thought I was getting cleverer! Not so, struggled biggly with this, three in the NE were DNF. Luckily 16a went in immediately, I don’t know a lot about West Country produce but that’s one of my fave things ever. I still don’t get 9a, but that’s OK, I might have the wrong answer.
    Fave hands down is 13d, wotta lovely word, but 15d ran a close second.
    Thanks Dada for the hand-wringer, and to Senf for unravelling that lot.

  30. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very difficult puzzle. Needed several hints. Still stuck on 28a and 22d.
    Was 5*/2* for me.

  31. Tough puzzle that I managed to complete only after taking two breaks from it. No unfairness – ‘trousers’ fine with me! – and some neat misdirection and use of synonyms that weren’t so obvious. 13d probably reminded some of us of trying to write a clue for it in the Telegraph clue-writing competition a few months ago.
    Favourite clue was 20d, mostly for the amusing image in the surface.

  32. Very tough for me – although I normally find I am on Dada’s wavelength, not on this occasion…..I am sure I am being dense but just can’t parse 15d…

  33. I managed to complete all but the NE, where I needed e-help and help from the hints. Having now finished the puzzle my poor brain is too exhausted to choose a COTD. Thanks to setter for a very demanding but interesting puzzle, and to Senf for all the very hard work providing the hints.

  34. Late getting round to this one. Some v good clues, especially 13d, our favorite. Last one in 7d, which required the crossword dictionary but obvious when you parse it.

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