ST 3124 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3124 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3124 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we are awaiting the full onset of a fourth wave.

Keep staying safe everyone.

Another puzzle where I will reserve judgement (with an ‘e’ notice).  I counted five anagrams (three partials), one crickety clue (not hinted by me), two lurkers, and two homophones (not hinted by me, but the indicators are reasonably obvious) – all in a symmetric 32 clues; with 16 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 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:


1a Opening plan (5)
A double definition to start – the first is illustrated.

11a Up the creek, where fox lives? (2,1,4)
Another double definition – the second is a generic location of where a fox lives, hence the ‘?’ at the end of the clue, rather than the normal three letter term.

13a European city in Antwerp or Toulouse (5)
The first lurker (in) found in three words in the clue.

17a Good speller? Just gory method, unfortunately (5,9)
A synonym of just followed by an anagram (unfortunately) of GORY METHOD.

19a Keep food for sandwiches (5,3,6)
Another double definition (better than a ton of insertions and containments I suppose) – the first relates to basic necessities.

23a Boot in source of water, soggy in the end (5)
A four letter source of water followed by the last letter (in the end) of soggY.

27a Clear something viscous that’s blocked crack (7)
A three letter viscous product inserted into (that’s blocked) a synonym of crack.

30a Churchgoers not wholly in European city (5)
A six letter collective noun for churchgoers with the last letter removed (not wholly).


1d Something else, stolen goods? (3,5)
Another double definition – the second is more obvious than the first.

2d Is this writer fired up about British capital? (7)
IS from the clue, the perpendicular pronoun that represents this writer, and a three letter synonym of fired all reversed (up) containing (about) the single letter for British – yes, it’s that capital.

5d I’d find a girl, out to save boy, modest (4,2,8)
An anagram (out) of I’D FIND A GIRL containing (to save) one of RD’s irritatingly ‘vague’ boys.

7d Moving one book up, only covers seen on volume (7)
The single letter that represents one and a synonym of book all reversed (up) followed by the first and last letters (only covers seen on) of VolumE

9d Fashionable, irrational surrealist painters acting as if related (2,4,8)
The two letter synonym of fashionable, a four letter slang, perhaps US, synonym for irrational, and an anagram (surrealist) of PAINTERS.

18d Republican visiting a state — this one? (8)
The single letter for Republican inserted into (visiting) the combination of A from the clue and a US state results in another US state.

22d Rare shot taken in pyjamas, sexy (5)
The second lurker (taken in) found in two words in the clue – strictly speaking, the last letter of the answer should be accented – it is in the BRB.

26d Fund set up for ring (4)
A type of fund, perhaps associated with a workplace lottery, reversed (set up).

Quick Crossword pun (if there is a third word indicated in the dead tree version of the Quickie, please let me know in a comment):


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Leroy Anderson was an American composer well known for short, light concert pieces. One of his best known works is The Typewriter, which features an actual typewriter as a percussion instrument, composed and first performed in the early 1950s. This rendition is by the Brandenburger Symphoniker at a concert in Brandenburg in 2012:

57 comments on “ST 3124 (Hints)

  1. Tricky I thought but a real pleasure teasing them out, bit of a geographical theme about it.
    I had to check the shot at 22d but was very sympathetically clued, and the Latin phrase at 9d but do remember coming across it before (Senf the middle word is often preceded by “go” or “going”). Last one in 7d, which I got from the definition and checkers but just couldn’t see the parsing so thanks to our hinter.
    Top three for me were 19a plus 5&9d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the entertainment.

      1. Yes of course, I was just pointing out it’s often used with various forms of the verb “to go”.

  2. Did this in ** time with **** enjoyment. Only came unstuck with 2d as could not bring the answer to mind. A quick Google and I found it. Thank you Dada and Senf. I shall now enjoy looking at hints and check some parsings. Favourites 17 19 and 23a and 6 9 and 20d.

  3. Enjoyable crossword. Some ‘specialist’ knowledge needed for one clue in particular, but it is staring one in the face anyway. Oh, and the cricket one.

    Today the England football team take on Andorra. A passing thought – we would be in a much stronger position to criticise the behaviour of fans of other countries if our own supporters didn’t boo and shout down opposing teams’ national anthems when they play at Wembley.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf with his horses.

  4. Dada always amuses me. Always, on the first pass, I get about four. Then follows a long period of pondering followed by a sudden flurry of solving that invariably fills most of the grid. After that, I cruise towards the finish line (sometimes). This only ever happens with puzzles by Dada and I cannot work out why.

    Anyway, today’s offering was a gem and most enjoyable. Were it not for the fact I needed help with 2d it would have been my COTD but, as it is, that goes to 27a with 19a a close second.

    Is 22d that rare?

    Grateful thanks to Dada and many thanks to Senf for the hints.

    1. I can’t answer your question on rarity in 22d other than possibly rare in crosswords. But, it seems to me that, poorly executed, it would be a quick way to needing a new cloth on the table!

      1. Very rare to see the shot played at all & even rarer to see it well executed & if so usually by billiard players.

    2. How many times do you see it used Steve? Obviously never if you don’t watch the game on TV of course . I have watched going back many years & can’t recall seeing it used except in trick shot shows.

      1. Can only recall Selby playing the shot to extricate himself from a snooker & his height is a distinct advantage in the execution of the shot. Their were 2 old boys who only played billiards at the club I used to frequent many years ago. One of them, despite having Parkinson’s, was brilliant at playing the shot.
        What did you make of that nonsense ruling in the Solheim Cup yesterday? I do hope that there’s not half a point between them at the end.

        1. Re the decision, to me it was a classic interference by a jobsworth referee.
          I would have been embarrassed to let a player walk across a green, watch them take an action then penalise them for it.
          Also to me there was clearly surface between the lip of the hole & the ball’s contact area so to me the ball was not “overhanging” the hole and was stationary. Just shows the meaning of words is not just important to cruciverbalists.

      2. During my misspent youth at university I played the game a lot and saw it used (or attempted) many times. The cry would go up “He’s trying a …..!”. There was an accent over one of the letters.

    3. I’m exactly the same. Slow start, then a flurry then a few dropped pennies.
      Perhaps he means it to be like that

  5. 2.5*/4*. Good fun and nothing too tricky today except perhaps for 22d which was a new for me and needed a bit of Googling even though the answer was obvious from the wordplay and checkers.

    I won’t mention what irritated me as Senf has already done so.

    My favourite was 17a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  6. Dear me but that was tough not helped by some dreadful clues in 5d and 27a. A real slog that I was glad when it was done. Still don’t understand what the lurker in 5d has to do with either rare shot or the picture!
    The only clue I enjoyed was 17a.
    Needed the excellent hints a lot today. Thx for the hints

  7. A fairly tough solve for me and, like Steve, I got about 4 clues on the first pass and spent a lot of time pondering (****/****). However, all the clues could be worked out from the clues and with a thesaurus to hand. I liked the geographical clues and the four long clues plus 27a, which puzzled me fora bit ansd is my COTD. Thanks to Senf for the hints and stay safe. Thanks to Dada for another winner.

  8. A tough solve for me too. ****/*** Inexplicably 15d held me up for ages as did the viscous stuff in 27a. I don’t understand 22d – I took it to be a lurker and if the answer has some other relevance, it escaped me. No particular favourite. Thanks to all.

      1. My comment below may help if like me you are down a blind alley though I didn’t spot you there. I kicked myself for losing patience & revealing a letter which immediately gave the game away.

    1. 22a is quite straightforward, Greta. I can’t say more without ending up on the naughty step but do look at it again. :smile:

  9. A DNF for me today or at least solved only after switching to the puzzles website & revealing the 4th letter of 27a having stared nonplussed at it for longer than it took to complete the rest of the puzzle. The problem was I was fixated on the wrong synonym for crack so the viscous substance blocking it was impossible. I wonder also if I was the only muppet to initially think 17a was a full anagram & that penny only dropped once I got 2d. Enjoyed it despite making a bit of a pig’s ear out of solving it.
    I thought it a fine puzzle with 3 of the 4 long ‘uns on my podium & with mentions also for 1&2d plus 4a.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf.

  10. Found this very tricky, probably because it took me too long to work out the long ‘uns. Over *** difficulty but **** entertainment.
    Remember 2d was in recently, the spelling caused me problems then & did again.
    Also a couple of the 4 letter answers (24a & 4d) caused delay.
    17a my COTD. Think England need one, or rain, in the Test.
    Thank you Dada and Senf.
    Terrible referring decision in the Solheim Cup. Hopefully it doesn’t affect the overall result.

  11. I didn’t have a DNF today, more of a DNS. Still, it makes a change to have a go at the Times. No-one else is complaining of no dead tree version, so I guess it’s just me then. Damned newsagents . . .

  12. Playing Devil’s Advocate for Dada is the boy in 5d irritatingly vague or just the male version of an animal species I.e. a boy?
    A very enjoyable exercise. Thank you to Dada and Senf.

  13. Had a bit of bother with the sporty ones today, particularly 22d which needed confirmation from the BRB. Oh yes – and I still can’t spell 2d without looking it up every time!
    No particular favourite to mention although the 6d chestnut made me smile.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – always enjoy the typewriter piece.

    1. Meant to say – if anyone has time to spare this afternoon, one of our NTSPP setters has a most enjoyable puzzle in the Indy.

    2. Jane,
      According to my increasingly fallible memory 22d appeared in the recent past, I think in a Prize backpager, & caused comment then. So it is seen more often in crosswordland than it is in the sport itself!

      1. Well done to you for remembering – it’s obviously long since been filed in my internal ‘junk mail’! I can live with that but I do wish important things wouldn’t keep disappearing the same way…………

  14. I thought this quite hard. I always struggle with the second hand meanings of this setter e. g. 10a 14a, 1d, 8d. When I finally managed to get some letters it began to fall into place. Still can’t fathom 24a. Liked the long clues.

    1. 24a…I don’t think I’m giving too much away if I say that although the solution is split 2-2 the wordplay is split 3-1.

  15. This took me a bit longer than usual to complete as I was listening to the test match rather than concentrate on the puzzle. Very enjoyable to work through, with 27a my final entry. 17a would have to be my favourite.

    Thanks Dada and Senf. By the way, Leroy Anderson has to be the only composer who used to work for the CIA. I think he operated on the Scandinavian desk.

  16. Five in on a steady first pass, time for sink in, headspace alterations to Dada solve mode & completed in 3* time. However, I found this not only entertaining but amusing.
    Thoroughly enjoyable!
    Many thanks to Senf for review & Dada for a Sunday giggle.

  17. Fairly friendly we thought with clues being solved in multiples. Good fun. Favourite was 9d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. Just got in from mowing and suddenly 27a flew in. I think I have been to 2d but still struggled with the spelling. I haven’t got the puzzle in front of me but the second long one across, 3 words, I had completely the wrong third word so all the down didn’t make sense. First time I have used our new mower and at least I can start this one, previously I had to yank an unsuspecting visitor off our lane to start it for me. Anyway thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Always enjoy Dada puzzles, but slightly marred by 22d which I worked out but was a completely unknown word to me…..cricketing terms I have learnt to live with but this is really specialised knowledge!

  20. Definitely a tricky puzzle today with its share of quirkiness that is often associated with Dada. 2.5*/**** for me today.
    Lots of clues really needed some coaxing to solve them.
    Favourites, (other than the four ‘long ‘uns as Senf put it), were 23a, 24a & 15d with winner 23a

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  21. Way beyond my ken, mostly solved with e-help. I liked 22d, hidden word that just needed looking up, started me out in the SW and I worked up from there. I soon realised I was out of my depth and resorted to e-help. Fave was 17a, runner up the typewriter music! It never gets stale for me.
    Thank you Dada, and much appreciation to Senf and the friendly Mr. Google for their invaluable help.

  22. Dada’s offering today was one long slog for me and I was ready to throw in the towel but pressed on regardless and completed but only thanks to much digital help. Too many ‘hmm’ clues to list them all. Here’s to more cruciverbal fun in future. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  23. Needed too much help for this to be an enjoyable solve. Several answers went in without fully parsing, including 19a where I can’t see where “keep” works, and 27a also stumped me. COTD was 17a. A lot of hard work for a Sunday morning. So not really my cup of tea. Thanks to Dada, and to Senf.

  24. Completed over several hours with visits from neighbours, DD2 and dogs and a long nap in the glorious sun stocking up on vitamin D. What a lovely, lazy day and dipping in and out of the Xword. I still haven’t committed myself to 24a though I think I am right. I’ve also been gathering hazelnuts – our garden is surrounded by nut trees but the squirrels get very angry with me and sit on the fence swearing at me. DD2’s dogs had great fun chasing them round the garden. I love the nuts roasted and chopped in Delia’s little chopper and scattered on my porage. Fingers crossed for junior grandson starting his post graduate teaching year tomorrow (physics). He has overcome many obstacles to get here. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Tomorrow we start another week!

    1. Visited a friend this morning and mynson and he collected a bag of Kentish cobnuts. Got there before the squirrels!

  25. That was fun. Nothing to obscure, good to be back doing a Dada puzzle on a Sunday.
    Beautiful day in South London today.

  26. Nice one Dada – always tricky but achievable with some alternative thinking! 👍
    Thanks as ever to Senf for another great blog ‘n hints.
    Cheers (or is that ‘Down the 1A’)! 😜

  27. Completed much more quickly than I normally achieve on a Sunday, nice to be on Dada’s wavelength this week, my LOI was 27A

  28. Another insomniac finish. Had to check the rare shot, Mark Selby played it on TV recently. Had heard of 2d but didn’t know it where it was!
    Thanks to all.

  29. Three on the first pass, then needed much e-help and help from the hints. Still not finished but will go on trying. This was too difficult to be enjoyable, but let’s face it, it was just well above my pay grade. Thanks to Dada and to Senf

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