ST 3125 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3125 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3125 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, on Friday night, we had a thunderstorm with some welcome, but not enough, rain.  Meanwhile, in the early hours of yesterday, Hurricane Larry ‘hit’ the city of St John’s and the surrounding area of SE Newfoundland – fortunately, no casualties, just downed trees and power outages, etc.  So, I wonder what Larry’s, or its remnants, next landfall might be in, say, a week’s, plus or minus a couple of days, time?

Keep staying safe everyone.

Quirky!  I counted four anagrams (no partials), one lurker, and two homophones (one partial) – 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 – 12a, 21a, 17d, and 18d.

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 Put to death, one died, canonised apparently? (6)
ONE from the clue and the single letter for died preceded by the two letter abbreviation that indicates canonisation.

5a Reportedly, sovereign power knocked for six (6)
Not a crickety clue! A homophone (reportedly) of a single word to indicate sovereign power.

11a Inexperienced magician with no time for London Town (9)
A (colourful) synonym of inexperienced and a (female) magician with the single letter for time removed (with no) – now, whether the answer meets the definition could be up for discussion.

12a Look at Pakistan’s opener in cricket, for example? (7)
Another not a crickety clue! The first letter (opener) of Pakistan in what a cricket is an example of in the animal kingdom.

14a Leaders cutting advantage (4,5)
This begins as (5,4) – a synonym of leaders and a synonym of cutting (as in taste?).

21a Wine drunk by little man before daylight (7)
A (very) generic type of wine contained (drunk) by the illustrated little man.

25a Restriction after period of time for entrance (9)
A type of restriction (which one might find oneself in) placed after a single word for a (nonspecific) period of time.

28a Cad knocked over, achieve objective (6)
A synonym of cad reversed (knocked over) and a synonym of achieve.


2d Flags prepared, raised round Ireland (5)
A three letter synonym of prepared reversed (raised) containing (round) two letters for Ireland (which is not its IVR code).

4d Figure like playground chaser (5)
A three letter synonym of like and the two letter term for the ‘chaser’ in a playground game – so, not The Beast or The Governess, etc.

6d Clean water in several houses (5)
The lurker (houses) found in three words in the clue.

9d Corny as Lancashire, perhaps? (6)
An adjectival term for a dairy product that can come from Lancashire (perhaps).

15d Disbelief at fitting in puzzle pieces (9)
AT from the clue containing (fitting in) a type of (labyrinthine?) puzzle and a plural term for the illustrated piece at 21a.

17d Aficionado hosting fashionable banker (9)
A seven letter aficionado containing the two letter synonym of fashionable.

20d Canopy in street, fabricated (6)
We have seen this before, but not for some time as far as I am aware – an anagram (fabricated) of STREET.

24d Jog is good to take part in altogether (5)
The single letter for good inserted into (to take part) a single work for in (the) altogether.

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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Another fine example of the versatility of the UK’s Military Musicians – Lance Corporals Hannah Smither and Kirsty Haines of the Royal Marines Band Service performing The Flower Duet from French composer Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé (which some of you may recognise from a British Airways commercial sometime in the 1980s):

48 comments on “ST 3125 (Hints)

  1. 2.5*/4*. This made a light and pleasant relief after yesterday’s brain-mangling NTSPP.

    25a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    P.S. Only two clues in the Quickie are italicised in the paper.

    1. Sorry RD I take full responsibility for the NTSPP having expressed a hope that it would offer a wee bit more of a challenge than the SPP. I looked at it for 10 mins & didn’t get a single clue & thought sod this & watched the golf instead.

    2. Thanks RD for the Pun information. Most of Dada’s Puns have been just two words but he has ‘slipped in’ a couple of three worders which are not always easy to spot in the web site puzzle.

    3. I think this is the first time I’ve seen you describe a puzzle thus! It must have been mind boggling.

  2. Not so sure about light & pleasant relief. I thought it quite tricky but hugely enjoyable & up there with his top drawer Sunday offerings. My last in was 20d where the definition synonym was new to me. Plenty of head scratchers for me so a fairly laboured solve in a shade under **** time with 3 cups of coffee. Amongst a host of good clues 10,11,12,13&21a plus 3,7,8,17&18d would be my picks with 11a my favourite.
    Thanks as ever to the Sunday team.
    Ps Well done to Channel 4 for showing the fairytale of New York yesterday evening. What a truly magnificent achievement.

    1. I was all set to follow the Daily Telegraph live text updates (As I did for the semi-final) when I spotted that the match was on Channel four. Cue a shout out to Saint Sharon to quickly work the television set for me. Stirring stuff. Well done Emma Radacanu. Well fought Leylah Fernandez. Were there ever two more smiley finalists? As for the puzzle. I do like Dada’s Sunday offerings. That subtle nuance of difference in the clueing keeps the interest alive. The top left corner was most problematic.

      1. I agree, M’pops, two of the smiliest tennis players I’ve ever seen. They had fun and we had more. I hope this is the start of a friendly competition for several years. It’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed a match so much and I really didn’t care who won. Well done all.

    2. As I said in the hint, we have seen 20d before, but not for a while. On occasion, it has probably been one of those words of the week which, by pure coincidence we are told, appear in two or more puzzles in the same week.

      As for the tennis, it was difficult for me, should I ‘sit behind’ the Canadian or the born in Canada Brit. In any event, a magnificent exhibition. Let’s hope that their games are not ruined by too much ‘external’ hype. I thought Judy Murray’s article during the week had some very good advice.

  3. 20d was my final entry as I had to dive deep to dredge up that particular word from the sediment of my memory bank. That was the only real delay in completing what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining Sunday puzzle. So many fine and clever clues, but I think 25a just takes the top spot.

    My thanks to Dada for yet another excellent crossword and to Senf.

  4. Never have I needed the hints more than for this (words fail me for a suitable polite description) puzzle.
    Having finished I can admire the the elegance without enjoying what turned into a ‘this b*****d is not going to beat me”.
    No fun but a lot of respect.
    Thx for the hints

  5. Definitely some quirky bits in this one but getting a few checkers helped to mop up the tail enders.
    My own top three were 17a along with 4&17d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – especially for the delightful singing of those two young lance corporals.
    Speaking of youngsters, what a charming new champion we have in Emma Radacanu – well done to both her and her valiant opponent.

  6. You know what you’re going to get with Dada and that’s a quality offering and this was no exception. Completed either side of a hospital visit where I couldn’t praise the staff highly enough, very friendly and efficient.
    Far too many great clues to try and select a podium bit I did like 26a as I’m a fan of many bands who come under that genre, the topical 12a plus the nice misdirection of 25a
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for lighting the morning.

  7. Previous submitted comment didn’t appear so here goes again. A bit jaded after 3 weeks of burning midnight oil for the US Open Tennis but all so worth it particularly for the excitement of last night’s match between the two delightful budding stars and congratulations go to Emma for winning through 👏🏆. Now doubtless another late night for the Men’s Final. Eventually managed to concentrate enough to make headway with Dada’s offering today but as usual found it quite challenging. NW last to fall. 14a was Fav with silver for 24d. 6d was unparsed and 26a bung-in is a new one on me. Not sure about 6d or the corny 9d and I thought 4d a bit far-fetched. Royal Marines Lakmé recording beautiful. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  8. SW corner held me up quite considerably mainly because I did not notice I had typed a wrong letter into one of the clues which made two others impossible to get. All sorted eventually. The ‘fitting’ referred to in a down clue reminded me of when I was quite small there was one in a gite the Aged Ps had rented in France. I peered into it and pressed the button and got a full face soaking. Anyway thanks to Dada for the enjoyment and Senf for the hints which I read after I finished.

  9. Brava Radacanu !

    What a delicious Dada today! So much to like, especially 25a, 17d, 11a, 13a, & 21a. Finished in fast time (for me, for Dada) and thought this the best Sunday grid in weeks. 20d was my LOI. Thanks to Senf (loved the Delibes!) and Dada. ** / *****

    A slightly chilly September morn here on the Carolina coast–low 60s F, a nice change from the usual.

  10. I haven’t finished this yet but I will have another look after taking Hudson out for a walk.

    I’m finding it tough but the walk may clear the brain a little – I hope!

    As an aside, I bought a dozen dahlia tubers. I prepared the ground thoroughly and planted them together. Only one grew but I’m not too bothered. The blooms on it are 8 inches across!

  11. NW definitely the hardest with 10a the key to cracking it. This made us think more deeply about the parsing of the answers we already had for 1a, 2d and 4d until the pennies dropped. My favourite was 10a but herself preferred 25a. Thanks to Dada and Senf. My phone has ‘blinked’ again so a restart required.

  12. Not sure how long this took, due to interruptions, whilst preparing things for a family visit. It’s probably a 4*/5* and I did enjoy the not inconsiderable challenge and the wily, oblique clues with their subtle misdirection. 7d caught me with misdirection to a different beginning. 5d got me too and I needed my husband to help me. However, COTD for its splendid misdirection was 25a. Thanks to Senf and to Dada

  13. Completed at a canter…definitely on Dada’s wavelength this morning! 👍
    Never ceases to amaze how some days it’s a real struggle and clues just make no sense…and on others answers seem to leap out at you!
    20D was new to me but Mrs H had heard of it before…every day’s a school day!😜
    Thanks again to Dada for another great challenge, and of course to Senf for the blog ‘n hints – love the Flower Duet! 👍👍👍

  14. Way above my level, it’s 4*. I admire those who found it an easy canter. I had to resort to numerous electronics but in doing so I now really appreciate this one. You live and learn.

    1. Your comments went into moderation because you have used a different alias. Both aliases should work from now on.

      As the comments were identical, I have deleted one of them.

  15. Not even the hints helped me today. Way above my pay grade. Clearly one for the smarter folks today. Probably just what I expected after two user friendly days. Not going to use up my Sunday morning chasing electronic help. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    1. Don’t worry Lizzie, this puzzle is not meant for ordinary mortals like you and me. The DT and DADA abhor the less experienced setters when it comes to the weekend offerings.

      1. Brian, as one of the less gifted solvers who fails miserably over the weekends, to be fair, so many people enjoy solving his Sunday offerings, I think we should let them have their fun too. As long as they let us have two or three during the week for our enjoyment, allow them their day in the sun!

  16. This was a really great puzzle for today. Definitely some Dada quirkiness here and quite tricky and head scratching in many of the clues. 2.5*/**** for today.
    Last area to fall was the SE corner for me.
    Clues for favourites 11a, 14a, 5d, 9d & 23d with 23d winner as there was a big CLANG! as the penny dropped. Liked 9d too as I like that particular type.
    New word meaning for me, (in the form it was being used for), in 20d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the great hints.

  17. Most elegant clueing throughout and, in some cases, added quirkiness eg 21a
    Always a joy to solve.
    Completed in 2.5*/*****
    Many thanks to Dada and, for the hints, fortunately not needed, to Senf

  18. I was out of my depth here. I did solve the east but with copious e-help, then it felt a bit pointless, so went to Senf’s hints. I had no trouble with 20d, one of my first in, but I still don’t get fitting in 23d. Of the ones I solved without help, my fave was 17a, I liked 11a as well.
    Thanks Dada, and much thanks to Senf for his help. Huge appreciation for one of my fave pieces of music, certainly a different version!

  19. Challenging and beautifully clued. NE corner last to fall with the parsing of 11a being the last tumble.
    Thanks to Dada for the best of the week for me.

  20. I enjoyed and pretty much solved this Dada under my own steam. Words I never thought would pass my lips! Needed help with a couple in the NW so thank you Senf. Staying up late to watch the fantastic tennis last night obviously helped the brain cells. Thanks to our tricksie setter as well as Senf.

    1. At least the tennis has finished earlier tonight thanks to an excellent performance by Daniil Medvedev to whom congratulations … and so to bed.

  21. Finished at last, with a lot of much needed help – from the hints, e-help and help from a couple of comments. NE confused by wrong spelling of 5a Delayed by an early morning visit to the surgery, but I was determined that this was not going to beat me. Fav clue 7d – when I got the right first letter.
    Thanks to Dada for many clever clues and to Senf for all the help.

  22. Brian, as one of the less gifted solvers who fails miserably over the weekends, to be fair, so many people enjoy solving his Sunday offerings, I think we should let them have their fun too. As long as they let us have two or three during the week for our enjoyment, allow them their day in the sun!

  23. Took as long as the rest of the puzzle to get 9d. Still cannot feel happy with “corny” and the answer. Finished under my own steam though. Loved 23a.

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