ST 3123 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3123 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3123 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, after the heatwave, we seem to be having an early ‘taste’ of Autumn with ‘high’ temperatures in the high teens and low twenties plus some welcome rain.

Keep staying safe everyone.

Well after the last few weeks, and last week especially, I hope you find Dada as accessible as I did today.  By Dada’s standards a bit of an anagram fest with six in total (three partials), two lurkers (both reversed), and one homophone – 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 – 13a, 3d, 5d, 8d, and the Pun.

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 Ultimately, holiness affected devil (5)
The last letter (ultimately) of holinesS and a synonym of affected (when describing a person).

11a Songs principal heard? (6)
The homophone (heard) of a synonym of principal.

12a Wife bitten by a hawk too (2,4)
The single letter for wife inserted into (bitten by) A from the clue and a synonym of hawk (nothing to do with the feathered variety).

13a A pro wearing long apron (8)
A from the clue and a synonym of pro all contained by (wearing) a synonym of long (for).

16a Key: one of two in first (6)
A double definition – the second is crickety.

21a Man after map in wood (8)
The illustrated man placed after a synonym of map.

23a Little growth in a bison after mutation (6)
An anagram (after mutation) A BISON.

26a Range analysed, naturally dropping back somewhat (5)
One of the reversed lurkers (dropping back somewhat) found in two words in the clue – the reversed lurker not hinted by me is 17a.


2d Otherwise dunked in tea, buns served here? (7)
A four letter synonym of otherwise inserted into (dunked in) a synonym of tea.

5d Monster story? (7)
A double definition – Churchill invented the term terminological inexactitude for a synonym of the second.

8d Carried by old cook, starter of fillet coming up, meat dish (4,10)
The first letter (starter) of fillet and a one word synonym of coming up all inserted into (carried by) a famous old (19th Century) cook.

19d Snapper, like one on river (7)
A three letter synonym of like and the single letter for one placed before (on) an East Anglian river – before anyone asks, it is in the BRB.

20d A cart drawn up on outskirts of Grasmere, distance measured (7)
A from the clue and a type of cart all reversed (drawn up) and placed before (on) the first and last letters (outskirts) of GrasmerE.

22d Pure gunk on top of dustbin (4)
A three letter synonym of gunk placed before (on) the first letter (top) of Dustbin.

Quick Crossword pun:


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When a group is performing live, the drummer is always the one at the back who is difficult to see, especially when there is someone like Mick Jagger cavorting around at the front of the stage, except when there is a camera ‘assigned’ to him.  To commemorate the passing, yes, I know Gazza included a different video yesterday, of Charlie Watts this is his ‘part’ in a performance of All Down The Line:

53 comments on “ST 3123 (Hints)

  1. Another top notch Sunday puzzle from the Sunday maestro, completed before a lovely sea swim.
    I only had to confirm the cook at 8d and the xxxxxx [a little too much information as it relates directly to the answer] song at 11a, but was pretty sure of them both.
    My picks are 1&16a plus 3d with top spot going to 2d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the fun in the South Devon sun.

    1. Enjoyed the clip of Charlie Watts, like all great artists he made the difficult look very easy.

  2. An excellent puzzle to kick start a sunny Sunday in Shropshire. 13a was my top clue, followed by 2d. My final entry was 25a. The cook in 8d had me wondering for a while, but the checkers confirmed the answer had to be what it was.

    My thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf.

  3. The usual assortment of wily clues but with a great selection of anagrams, which I always enjoy (2*/4*). I really enjoyed 2d and 18a but COTD for me was18d, a witty concoction of culinary references. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for another Sunday winner. If we had had a summer, I would say its a bit Autumnish here, with moist, misty or cloudy mornings and brighter afternoons.

  4. Sadly not an unaided finish of this excellent puzzle. Sped through it to within 2 of completion until 19d& 21a. With the former I had the river but initially had the wrong 2nd, 3rd & 4th letters & even after that correct penny dropped I then bunged in the wrong 5th letter in for 21a, only corrected after seeing the pic in Senf’s review.
    Loved the 1a & 2d starters, thought the reverse lurkers nicely disguised & liked the 6d & 23a anagrams. Fully agree with Senf’s selection of the top 4 clues.
    Thanks as ever for the entertainment to D&S

  5. 2.5*/4*. Another in a long line of very enjoyable Sunday puzzles. My last two in were 25a & 19d, which took me over my 2* time.

    Assuming I’ve parsed 15d correctly, I’m not sure about the use of “another” as an anagram indicator.

    13a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  6. I got off to a flying start with this offering, which is unusual for me as I always seem to start very slowly with a Dada puzzle. However, I did come to a grinding halt with only a few to go. As there is garden work to do, I resorted to the hints and electrons to help me across the line so not an unaided finish. Despite that, it was a most entertaining workout with my COTD being the very concise 2d.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the puzzle and hints.

    Clouding over here in Shropshire so I will now have to dash out and put the wheelbarrow with its drying onions back in the garage in case it rains during lunch.

  7. Couldn’t get my head round 19d until I’d stopped dithering over 25a which gave me the all-important final letter. Quite a bit of wiliness going on as usual from this setter and some laugh out loud moments in the likes of 5d.
    Think my favourite was 8d for more reasons than one!

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – enjoyed the video clip, it’s only too easy to overlook all the hard work put in by those ‘men at the back’.

    1. I wonder if you mean 21a as I had the same problem with 19d until I got the last letter of 21.

  8. This weekends puzzles have been the most difficult I have found in a long time. Nowhere near finishing either of them.
    Not ones for medium to high handicappers. Please DT can we have at least one of them doesn’t require a darkened room with a wet towel.

    1. Hi Brian. Have you tried the 50-50 crossword on the inside back page of the Saturday section of Saturday’s ( obviously) DT? A good introduction for high handicappers.

      1. Gordon
        As a mddle to high handicap solver Brian can be a bit of a bandit at times.

        1. Gordon, For Bandit I would read contrary as my namesake’s comments are so often completely against the general opinion!

  9. A straightforward Sunday solve. I was uncertain about the man in 21a, perfectly legit but a bit over familiar? I really am not sure about 23a. I always feel it is an example of Japanese cruelty. No doubt the enthusiasts among you can reassure me.
    Oh, how difficult it is to avoid using expressions that will place me on the naughty step!

  10. Pretty middle of the road Dada I thought. NW corner last to fall.
    Had a wrong start to 19d (amazingly not in the BRB) which held me up in the SW too. So overall over *** time but **** entertainment.
    2d my LOI & COTD (probably Terence’s too).
    Thank you to Dada and Senf.

  11. SW corner held out the longest. Didn’t think 21a was a particularly good clue – I would like to have had a ‘royal’ element.//Hope thats not for the naughty step! Otherwise an enjoyable puzzle so thanks to all.

    1. I have lost count of how many times I have used the illustration to ‘support’ 21a so I can only suggest that it is one of Dada’s favourite cluing ‘devices’ and well worth remembering.

      1. Have only just read the hints but I don’t think the illustration would have helped! Oops, now I see it!😀

  12. Finished at last. I’ve been messing about with 15d and 25a for about an hour until the penny,(pennies?) dropped.
    I knew it couldn’t be that difficult or Senf would have hinted them.
    Most enjoyable crossword and a sense of satisfaction at sorting out those 2 last clues.
    I even took a photo of it to use when the solution comes out.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.
    Dada in a benevolent mood today I think.

  13. Slow start but persistence paid off and I finally got there but minus 19d thanks to my luddite tendency. SW last to give in. Agree with JB and Manders re inapproptiateness of 21a which delayed me. Picture for 8d made me feel hungry but will have to settle for a Gressingham ready meal! Thanks Dada and Senf.

  14. Fairly straightforward until it wasn’t, ie 21a, 25a and 19d. Rather grudgingly we’re going for 21a as favourite as the answer was staring us in the face and it took ages for us to see it. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. It was 19d and 21a that held me up for an eternity, it seemed, and so I slept on it after last night’s stymie and woke up no smarter than I was before. So I caved in, looked at Senf’s illustration for 21a, and quickly solved both clues. Ah me. After finishing a very punishing Sunday NYT jumbo puzzle, I thought I was just the cat’s whiskers, only to remind myself that Pride Goeth Before A Fall!
    Thanks to Senf and Dada for the chastisement. ***** / ****

    A viciously strong Hurricane Ida is bearing down on the LA coast with 150 mph winds. Those poor people along the Gulf! Their hospitals are full with Covid patients and now this.

    1. I’ve been watching Ida, those people can’t get a break, anniversary of Katrina as well. It’s not that I don’t worry about people, but my heart goes out to the animals.

  16. Needed the hints for 19d but otherwise a steady solve. What? Did I write that about a Dada crossword? I better go in the garden and recover my sanity.

    Thanks to Senf for his blog and to Dada who has obviously got tired of my moaning and so gets a week off from it. I don’t expect this to be repeated for some time.

  17. This went fairly smoothly, apart from 25a which is still unsolved after 7 hrs! Any help?

    1. Well, it’s a Sunday Prize Puzzle and the full ‘ration’ of hints has been provided, but Dada has been a little sneaky in giving us a word with first and last letters unchecked so consider factorisation.

  18. Not the easiest Dada puzzle for today in my opinion. Rate this 2.5*/**** Not overly quirky, but definitely some head scratchers and plenty of mis-direction, certainly. Managed to solve most of it without hints but the last five or six in definitely needed some help. Favourites today include 16a, 22a, 25a, 2d & 5d with winner 5d followed by 2d.
    New word for me in 11a.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  19. 26a was last in. I had the answer but missed the lurker. I hesitated over 25a for ages as I wasn’t sure about two and three. However I took the plunge and wrote it in. I have just asked Mr Google the question and he agrees. I struggled like others with 21a but should not have done as we should always remember words connected with games even if we don’t understand the game. I thought most of it was light, even humorous, for a Dada production but most of us seem to have come unstuck on a few. I am glad I persisted. Favourites 2 3 5 and 20d. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  20. As a relative newcomer to this blog, but not to DT crosswords, I see frequent references to BRB, which I assume is Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary (but do not know what the letters BRB stand for). In today’s hints by Senf, s/he refers to the answer to 19d being in BRB, but I cannot find it there in the 19th edition. Am I wrong in my supposition that BRB is Bradford’s?

    1. Welcome to the blog.

      The BRB is The Chambers Dictionary a.k.a. The Big Red Book – so called because it is big and its covers are red. It is the preferred dictionary of all crossword setters and, hence, solvers.

      And, I’m a he by the way.

  21. Yes Shrimp I agree. It was my last one in, I was thinking in terms of something in a car. The rest of it fell into place very nicely, it has been a good week in crosswordland which makes up for real life having been a bummer, as they say. Many thanks to Senf, Dada and all the other setters and hunters for taking my mind off things. And here is the News! Runner up in three blooms class at the church Dahlia Day tea party. Despite planting new tubers this year the weather was against us and runner up was the best I could do. It was freezing but at least it did not rain.

    1. Congratulations, DG! I just wish my dahlias would flower. They’ve been in bud for about two weeks and show no signs of going any further.

  22. I find Dada such a struggle, at first I thought this couldn’t be his offering, I fairly whizzed through it. That is until I got to that infamous duo in the SW corner. I had to use e-help for 21a, then solved 19d with the help of the final letter. My first reaction was “hell no, Senf” there’s no such word, but it crept up on me and, yes, I have heard of it before.
    There was so much to like here, 3d, 8d, 13a, but I think 5d takes the prize; I like “economic with the truth” as well.
    Thanks Dada, I do love you after all, and Senf for unravelling a couple, 8d in particular; I have the old cook’s book here.

  23. Dada made me work hard as usual, and I almost got there, with just a few left. So went out to declare war on the weeds, with the hope that blood to the brain would help. Back indoors, I am having trouble seeing the clues as it is 92F outside, and I look like I have just stepped out of the shower. Needed a little help at the end, with 21a being the last in, I do love 2d, a problem as I can’t get them here in South Florida. I keep saying I am going to make some. COTD for me was 3d, for the laugh it raised.

    So many parts of the world in dire straights today, Afghanistan, Haiti and now Louisiana with powerful Hurricane Ida bearing down on them, and on the anniversary, 16 years ago today, of Katrina.

    1. I do so agree, BL, the world is in a parlous state at the moment and we are so insignificant and ineffective.

        1. Climate change: I try so hard, I recycle with a passion. Then I have all these strange bods coming in here to look after me, as soon as they’ve gone I check the garbage and retrieve all the tins, glass and plastic bottles and put them in the recycling bin.

  24. Started much earlier than usual this afternoon while watching the eventually thwarted GP on TV from Spa. Just finished unaided so I have achieved a whole week unaided. Grateful that Dada was more benevolent than usual. Liked 8d, the key being the cook whose book I remembered my mother using way back in the 1950’s.
    Thanks to all.

  25. Another one thoroughly enjoyed…always want to give a “Dadaaa!” when completing one of his genius challenges! 😜
    As usual the puzzle looks quite daunting to start but…gradually…a couple fall into place and other clues start to become slightly clearer…the selection of anagrams, lurkers and ‘whole clue’ answers are really clever…I tip my hat to you, Sir.
    …and of course to Senf for another great blog ‘n hints!

  26. With e-help, help from the hints and from the BRB (as recommended for 19d) I managed to finish ****/****. Thanks to Dada for the enjoyment and to Senf for the hints.

  27. 7d has me still scratching my head! I get the test and the right but nothing else. Hints?

    1. You’ve changed your alias – both old and new will work in future

      7d the solution is the test which you get by scratching the head of the ‘right’

      1. Yes, couldn’t remember what I used last time. I’m a very infrequent visitor!

        Still not sure i get it. Scratching as in omitting? Right as in the high ground?

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