ST 3126 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3126 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3126 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, unlike some other Provinces, Manitoba is more or less ‘holding its own’ against the Fourth Wave with the majority of new cases occurring in a region that has the lowest vaccination rate where the residents presently prefer to rely on Ivermectin, a horse de-wormer (absolutely true), and most of the other bogus remedies coming from our Southern neighbours.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, this was quite hard work and not a lot of fun, a lot of geography and I counted six anagrams (four partials), three lurkers (one reversed), and two homophones – 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.

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 Moment back (6)
A reasonably straightforward double definition to start – the first is a moment in time.

10a Fish isn’t swimming, ashen in Florida? (8)
An anagram (swimming) of ISN’T and a synonym of ashen (as spelt) in Florida or anywhere else South of the 49th Parallel, or Alaska, or Hawaii.

13a Directors twiddling thumbs, reportedly? (5)
One of the homophones (reportedly) of a term that might indicate that the only thing that one has to do is to twiddle one’s thumbs.

17a Lacking good judgment, mad using dinner to welcome leader of Conservatives (12)
An anagram (mad) of USING DINNER containing (to welcome) the first letter (leader) of Conservatives – a ‘slightly ugly’ word for me which I did find in the BRB eventually.

20a Painting, say, expression of enjoyment in hold, performing acrobatics (12)
What painting can be considered a type of (say) and a four letter expression of enjoyment (on a fairground ride?) all contained by (in) a synonym of hold – now one of our young ladies can do ‘the splits,’ I wonder if she can do this as well.

23a US state without a hope’s captured (4)
One of the lurkers (captured) found in three words in the clue.

28a Cooler hugs with energy in dance (8)
A type of cooler contains (hugs) a synonym for with then this is followed by a synonym of energy.

31a Hard work, an advertising phrase (6)
A four letter term I would have used to describe my experience with this puzzle if it was not part of the answer to this clue and AN from the clue.


1d Tidy tree aloft (6,2)
A type of (coniferous) tree and a two letter synonym of aloft.

2d Bill’s partner has carried peer around a US state (8)
A ‘Russian Doll’ charade, a three letter term that ‘partners’ with bill when considering intimacy between lovers containing (has carried) a peer (of the realm) which itself contains (around) A from the clue.

5d Pub with ale gone unfortunately, last of bitter drunk (8,4)
An anagram (unfortunately of WITH ALE GONE containing (drunk) the last (letter) of bitteR.

8d Two articles supporting chap in South American country (6)
Two indefinite articles placed after (supporting) a synonym of chap gives a (Commonwealth) country in South America.

11d Place above hand for last stretch (4,8)
A (domiciliary) type of place placed before (above) a type of hand (in a card game).

19d African eating crusts on pasty, remarkably (8)
An anagram (remarkably) of EATING and the outer letters (crusts) of PastY.

22d Loud weapon standard, by the sound of it? (6)
The other homophone (by the sound of it) of a type of (ecclesiastical) standard.

27d Those eventually attacked, lowering heads, duck (4)
Something simple to finish, well I think it is, the initial letters (heads) of four words in the clue.

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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Meteorologists, at least those in North America, believe, and would have us believe, that Autumn started on the 1st of this month, while Astronomically it actually begins on this coming Wednesday the 22nd.  So, close enough for government work, this is the first movement Allegro of the third Concerto of that well known Suite by Tony V:

55 comments on “ST 3126 (Hints)

  1. 2.5*/3.5*. Good fun with just 24a, my last one in, taking me over my 2* time.

    31a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    P.S. Senf, there are only two words italicised for the Quickie pun.

      1. UNBELIEVABLY, I’d made a typo in 5d (on my phone), so was trying to fit the wrong checkers for 24a. It’s literally taken me half an hour to spot that. So annoyed with myself!

  2. Never have I needed the hints more than with this, Dada at his most infernal. Had to look up 26d, not a word I knew and don’t get 7d. On the plus side I did like 30a. I have huge respect for dada but I do find his puzzles very difficult.
    Finished with help so I won’t be submitting my puzzle.
    Thx to all

    1. I thought this was a well crafted puzzle and not as infernal as some of dada’s offerings lately. 2d was a bung in for me because it couldn’t really be anything else but a round of applause due to Senf for unraveling that one for me. ***/*** I particularly liked 18d but my favourite is 30a. Thanks to all.

  3. I found this nicely but not overly challenging and very enjoyable, though three countries in four down clues seemed a bit repetitive!
    Lots to like as ever on Sundays, I’ve ticked 10,30&31a plus 2d for special mention.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the top notch entertainment.

  4. Happily on wavelength today & a quick finish with this one. 27d last in where I must admit it took longer than it ought to have to twig the heads. Off to the Cotswolds this morning for a few days golfing with Sunday lunch booked in at a nice 5d so fingers crossed that the weather is set fair.
    Thanks as ever to our trusty Sunday duo for the usual high quality entertainment

  5. This took me a full **** time, but I am always happy with an unaided finish. I wasted far too much time trying to find an anagram of “FISH ISNT” at 10a, and Bill’s partner was another delay on the road.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  6. Not surprisingly, I really enjoyed all the geographical clues in this puzzle and there were some nicely misdirected anagrams as well. However, my COTD was 20a, which was a well engineered and amusing clue with a nod to 30 a. So 2* for difficulty and 5* for enjoyment for a puzzle which was my cup of tea. It never ceases toamaze me how different our individual reactions are to each puzzle. Horses for courses. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. This took me a tad longer than usual for a Sunday but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. 20a was my final entry despite having all the checkers in place; I was over-thinking it and looking for something that wasn’t there. Difficult to pick a favourite from a fine selection on offer, but 31a just takes it for simplicity and conciseness.

    Many thanks to Dada for the workout and to Senf.

  8. Northern half yielded more easily than the South with SW corner last to fall. Not heard of 26d so needed electronic help to sort out.
    Just about average for a Dada I thought finished in *** time. Satisfying but not as much fun factor so *** enjoyment.
    No really outstanding clues for me so 30a gets my COTD. I need it to solve Dada quite often.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf. Get regular Covid updates from sister-in-law in Calgary. Find the attitude towards vaccination counter-intuitive. Noted in today’s paper amazingly it is becoming an election issue.

    1. One has to wonder if the anti-vaxxers having been involved in, say, a ‘dirty’ workplace accident would refuse the almost obligatory tetanus ‘shot.’

      1. Do they ever wonder why smallpox is not knocking on their door? Because they were vaccinated?

      2. Senf, I wonder how many know that dogs’ heartworm pills are ivermectin! We have the same problem here. We are also having a problem that emergency rooms can’t handle the regular emergencies, a child nearly died from a ruptured appendix when an ER couldn’t treat them in time.

    2. Seen news clips of tired and frustrated doctors and nurses overwhelmed by unvaccinated Covid patients, many who then ask if they can now get the shot? That has got to be extremely annoying. Especially as those same anti-vaxxers are causing the lack of available help for patients with other life threatening complaints.

  9. Guessed this one would appeal to Chriscross but there was a little too much geography involved for me. Fortunately, there were sufficient old faithfuls to help out with checkers.
    18d made me laugh so takes pride of place today.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the Vivaldi piece, I always enjoy The Four Seasons.

  10. Not that straightforward for me and a few clues needed eHelp to unravel. Not that I didn’t enjoy the rest of it. A typical Dada, I thought, with some quirky clues that required much scratching of the cranium – dandruff all over the shoulder now!
    I had never heard of 26d. No real favourite today but I did like 7d.

    Many thanks, Dada for the challenge and thank you, Senf for unravelling it for me.

  11. Dada rarely my cup of tea hence found this rather a first four letters of 31a. North was more amenable than South. Not keen on 24a abbreviation. Took a while to recall 25a. Fav was 26d pick-me-up. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  12. 3/4. I don’t usually find Dada puzzles doable without a lot of help. However, not this week although there were a couple which I couldn’t parse but had to be right. So thanks to Dada and Senf for explaining 20a.

  13. 2 down. Bills Partner

    [Attachment removed as it included part of the 2d answer – it’s a Sunday Prize Puzzle.]

  14. Good stuff, this. Took me a while to get there but once the Eureka! sign in my brain turned to 14a at 20a (my COTD), lots of pennies went clanging down. Amazing how two neighbouring entities such as 2d and 23a could be so disparate in just about every imaginable touchstone–one progressive, the other medieval. Ah well, it’s a strange world. Loved the geography today, especially 7 and 15d. Thanks to Senf, whose hints I happily didn’t need, and to Dada for another gem. *** / *****

    Republican anti-vaxxers down here are largely responsible for the Ivermectin hogwash, Senf. Like that Clorox that the previous so-called president tried to pour down American throats.

  15. Waiting for friends to come and eat then play Canasta. By jiminy this entertaining lark Is hard work! I won’t look at the crossword until late this evening but two things, firstly has anyone else been inundated with theses dear little cyclamen? They are all over the garden, here alongside the garage, and I haven’t planted any of them. In cracks in the paving and in the gravel but they are very sweet. Just ugly great corms when they are dormant. The other, a message for Manders- did you see my plea yesterday for somewhere fishy to eat in Wells?

    1. I’d love to be inundated, Daisygirl! A few rather meagre specimens, but yours are so lovely I’m inspired to plant more.

      1. If you lived near me I’d give them to you! Where have my flipping’ visitors got to? Everything is ready and I am ready for bed!

        1. Hi DG – yes I did pick up your request yesterday but waited until you commented today. Wells Crab House is the best but very booked up, if you can’t get a booking on line, ring and see if they have a cancellation. The Crown Hotel I’m told is good but haven’t eaten there for quite a while. Or try the Victoria at Holkham and then walk on that fantastic beach (avoiding the nudist end which consists of overweight middle-aged men generally standing up so they can be seen! They look so ‘untidy’!). Sadly a lot of places simply cannot get staff so are on very limited hours – maybe it will change when all the people on furlough have to find a new job next month. French’s fish and chips are wonderful. If you went to Cromer instead, Galton Blackiston’s No. 1 Upstairs is also good although we have only eaten downstairs. I’ll give it some more thought. Hope your visitors have arrived.

    2. Hi, DG. Yes, we have cyclamen all along the path and in the beds. They add a wonderful touch of colour in Autumn.

      I like indoor cyclamen as well and I had one for 15 years before it died. I have tried to find a suitable replacement but those you buy from garden centres do not last because they only have roots. They need a corm to be able to flower each year.

    3. I remember visiting Aegina Island in Greece, the hillsides were covered in cyclamen. I wish we could grow them here.

      1. I planted my cyclamen in the corner of my front garden that I can see from my kitchen. Imagine my surprise to find one peeping out from my strawberry bed in the back garden.

  16. Did half in bed this morning with my cuppa and then ground to a halt. After a nice walk came back and it all slotted into place. Thanks to the setter and Senf. The pyjama party last night turned out to be remarkably good fun although we did feel daft walking through the village in our PJs. Hadn’t taken a torch as it started at 6pm and we left at 8.30 – no street lights so a very dodgy walk home.

  17. I seem to find the 4 letter answers more difficult than the longer ones, so today was a real challenge because of 6d 26d and 27d and with 20a as my favourite. Thank you Dada and Senf for an enjoyable afternoon

  18. Found this really quite challenging with some definite quirkiness thrown in here and there. The last area in for me was SW and struggled greatly and it took me to 3* time. Enjoyment was 4* when some of the pennies finally dropped.
    Favourites today 20a, 24a, 25a, 30a & 6d with winner 25a with runner up 30a

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for his hard work on the hints. Glad I didn’t have that job today!

    1. I think someone remarked on that a couple of days ago. I hope he’s all right. Maybe someone could email?

  19. Nearly finished but it’s proving to be quite xxxxxx [You, probably accidentally, included part of an answer in your comment so it has been x-ed out.]. Not much fun.

  20. I like geographic clues so this was right up my straße, you can please some of the people some of the time, etc. Considering this was Dada, I think I did quite well, even finishing it; full disclosure, with copious e-help. I spent three-quarters of my solving time in the SE corner where I had the wrong answer at 25a (lovely memories of the 60s), but I eventually revisited it and found the right answer. The rest just slotted in nicely. Hard to choose a fave, maybe 26d, powerful stuff, pretty much the shortest distance.
    Thanks Dada, hope I don’t backslide next week and lose the plot. Thank you, Senf, as usual, for unravelling a few.

  21. Too much of xxxxxx [You, probably accidentally, included part of an answer in your comment so it has been x-ed out.] for me today. Gave up and had a bash at Kate Mepham’s GK from yesterday, the only GK puzzle I actually like. Thanks to Dada and Senf, but clearly above my pay grade today ☹️.

  22. Struggled over line as I’m not functioning on all four cylinders due to having come down with a cold which has gone to my sinuses. Unlikely to be anything more sinister. Favourite was 28a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. 10a and 30a probably favourites. Had to sleep on 20a and won’t be doing any today. Big of xxxxxx [You, probably accidentally, included part of an answer in your comment so it has been x-ed out.] if I’m honest. On the plus side I did easily get some of the short ones which some found difficult eg 27d. Thanks Dada and Senf!

  24. Great puzzle, excellent wind-down material for a late Sunday evening. Was able to tune in to Dada’s wavelength quite speedily, which certainly helped.

    Some lovely surface reads giving plenty of choice for podium mentions – 13a, 17a, 24a, 18d and 26d all stood out for me, but my COTD was the wonderfully crafty 7d.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the review.

  25. At last I’ve finished this, with much help from Senf, e-help, and even Google for 25a (you will probably have guessed that I have ever been a fan! – hope this does not put me on the naughty step as its too early in the day for Cornish pasties) The N went in fairly easily but after that It was mostly way beyond my pay station, and therefore not very enjoyable. Thanks to Senf for all the hard work,and to setter for providing a very clever head scratcher.

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