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ST 3127 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3127 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, today, we are enjoying (maybe, maybe not) Dada’s 150th Sunday puzzle.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, I think I made it harder than it actually was by not recognising some of Dada’s indicators although I did have some Hmms including one for the Pun.  I counted a generous eight anagrams (no partials), two lurkers (none reversed), 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 – 11a, 5d, 20d, 24d.

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 A hybrid throughout (6)
A from the clue and a synonym of hybrid (especially when discussing a four legged hybrid?).

5a Second worker shot (8)
A synonym of second (as in support) and a synonym of (a human) worker.

10a Bloodyas hens’ teeth? (4)
Probably a double definition – the second refers to, say, an event being unlikely.

11a Cook opening a tin, or fancy dish cooked in oven (8)
This was a problem to get the parsing correct. At one stage, I thought we might be looking at an indirect anagram, but Dada would never do that, would he, so, a two letter synonym of cook inserted into (opening (remember what I said about indicators)) an anagram (fancy) of A TIN, OR.

18a Insect burrowing into ugly vegetable? (8)
A three letter insect being inserted (burrowing) into a synonym of ugly (which I did find in an on-line thesaurus).

23a Local, a despicable type welcoming pardon? (8)
A from the clue and a five letter despicable type containing (welcoming) a two letter interjection equivalent to pardon.

26a Man like that, awful clothes, a cleaner (6,4)
ITMA (see the illustration below) and a two letter term for like that all inserted into a synonym of awful and then A from the clue to finish – ITMA – the abbreviated name of a very old radio show that preceded even me.

28a Words of wisdom always in serenade (6)
A two letter (Northern) synonym of always inserted into (in) a verbal synonym of serenade.


2d Around countryside I ran, certainly ambling initially (5)
The first letters (initially) of five words in the clue.

5d Paperwork: huge amount carried by supporter in sports kit (9,6)
A five letter abbreviated term for paperwork and a three letter huge amount (by weight) all inserted into (carried by) a type of supporter (for a shelf perhaps).

6d Top town in Wales (8)
Now, we all know the top town in Wales is Beaumaris but that’s not the answer – a double definition – the first is a clothing type of top.

8d European wearing no pants (9)
An anagram (pants) of WEARING NO.

16d Jolly, are you joking? (9)
A double definition – the second might remind you of John Mcenroe but he did not actually use this one word.

22d Precious lump inspired by playing Othello (5)
One of the lurkers (inspired by) found in two words in the clue.

24d Fifty per cent dark in lighter country (5)
Two letters (fifty per cent) of DARK inserted into the ‘lighter’ that provides us with daylight.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Dame Olivia Newton-John, born in Cambridge in 1948, is 73 years young today, her family emigrated to Australia in 1954.  This is her 1981 hit Physical performed during a concert at The Sydney Opera House in 2006:

58 comments on “ST 3127 (Hints)

  1. 2.5*/3.5*. I enjoyed most of this with a couple of reservations.

    Data is a plural word so the surface of 15a is ungrammatical as a singular adjective is needed. 18a is dodgy on two counts: personally I don’t think “ugly” is synonymous with the word in the answer (even though it is in the BRB as a euphemism); and the answer is a fruit not a vegetable.

    My top two were 6d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. RD…although strictly speaking data is a plural noun it’s generally regarded as uncountable so for me the surface works (you wouldn’t say “these electricity”) I agree with you regarding the fruit, the only explanation i can come up with is the question mark indicating that it is used as a vegetable?

      1. I think you are right about data, Stephen. The BRB indicates it both as a plural of datum, in which context it is countable (in this case “these data” would be correct), and as a singular noun meaning “facts given” which is as you say uncountable (in this case “this data” would be correct).

        My reservation regarding 15a is therefore withdrawn!

    2. Yes, agree definitely a fruit. But if you’ve ever been picked one up mistaking it for a banana, you’ll be very disappointed.

  2. Very enjoyable, I seemed to be bang on wavelength with this one and it didn’t present too many problems.
    My top three are 5a plus 5d (once I’d clicked the parsing) and 16d, as I suspected immediately that jolly was unlikely to be an adjective.
    Many thanks and congratulations to Dada for his milestone puzzle and to Senf for the hints.

  3. Thanks Senf! I couldn’t get the parsing on 11a, so your analysis was very welcome. A very enjoyable start to what promises to be a lazy Sunday – I would be up and raking leaves of course, but the cat’s asleep on my feet, so what can I do? Congratulations and thanks to Dada.

  4. Mostly enjoyable except for 5d which I thought was a despicable clue.😀
    Not the easiest grid but apart from 5d well clued and fun.
    Thx for the hints and to the setter.
    ***/*** (would have been **** for enjoyment if not for 5d).

    1. I really don’t understand your problem with 5d. A three element charade with two of the elements inserted into the third with a clear indication that is what is required.

  5. I interpreted 11a as a simile for opening in an anagram of a tin. Otherwise I liked 16d and agree with comments above over 5d

    1. From my perspective, your interpretation of 11a does not use all the elements of the wordplay.

      But we should not prolong the conversation as the (cakeless, based on CS’s comment yesterday) naughty step is beckoning.

  6. Great milestone crossword – thanks Dada… and I’m definitely in the “love it” camp for the marmite that is 5d

  7. I, too, thought that 5d was brilliant. I managed the whole without help, except for 23a. Surprising really, given my penchant for them. I needed electronic help for that, despite guessing the ‘pardon’.

    All over in *** time.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. 23a was my sticking point too. Thank goodness it was one of the clues hinted by Senf. I suppose it is because I don’t rate the pardon word!

  8. Welcome Jonny. I too usually love Dada’s puzzles and this one was no exception. It was wily, full of misdirection and amusing (2*/4*). I’m in the love camp for 5d and I liked the geographical clue at 8a. Thanks to Dada perhaps for 150 consistently great puzzles and thanks to Senf for the hints.

  9. I’m not sure of my answer for 26a but, otherwise, a steady solve, which I found enjoyable. No real favourites, just happy to finish it unaided, assuming I have 26a correct – even Senf’s hint makes it no clearer for me.

    Many thanks, Dada for the challenge. Thank you, Senf for the hints.

    1. I had a problem too, and I’ve just tumbled to what Senf meant by the ITMA reference. I’m old enough (just) to remember it and I’ve got it now – and ITMA means?

  10. Had both prize puzzles to tackle this morning. Unlike yesterday’s crossword where I needed Tilsit’s hint for with the raspberry edges this one was a fast completion in under ** time though I did have to check back through a couple to parse them. 11a also caused me a head scratch & I too thought it may be an indirect anagram until settling on Senf’s explanation. I’ll plump for Brian’s ‘despicable’ 5d as my favourite & also smiled at 8d.
    Many thanks to Dada (congrats on the milestone) & to Senf.
    Ps Stay put & hope or venture out & forage – less than 100 miles (with a 60 mile hospital round trip due on Wednesday)left in the tank & not a forecourt to be found with fuel. The situation looking about as bleak as our predicament in Wisconsin where an 8-4 drubbing in the singles is the best I fear we can hope for.

    1. Like your optimism H.
      Think there should be some penalty on the obnoxious behaviour of the two Americans towards their referee and the chief referee yesterday. The pressure they put on the guys to find for them has no place in golf: then to greet the decision when it didn’t with expletive-ridden remarks took golf too far down the soccer route for me.
      That said we are being turned over by a better team.

      1. Absolutely agree with you. Talented golfer though he undoubtedly is I’m no fan of Koepka & that behaviour only confirmed my suspicions. Highlight for me thus far was Shane’s magnificent par on 18 yesterday & his display overall. He was always a correct pick for me. I hope Poulter prevails today but fear he may get thumped.

  11. Despite realising what the answer had to be, it still took me a while to find my paperwork in 5d! Clever clue, bravo to our setter for that one. I also fell into the wrong ‘opening’ when parsing 11a and had a blank moment where the 23a ‘local’ was concerned so those contributed to a longer than usual solving time.
    Top two here were 5&10a.
    Thanks and congratulations to Dada and thanks to Senf for the review and for pointing out the ‘real’ top town in Wales! Judging by the congestion at the moment, a lot of people seem to agree with you……….

  12. Saved yesterday’s PP to tackle with this one during the regular monthly platelet donation session, and was pleased to complete both with some time to spare.

    An enjoyable – and I thought rather gentle – challenge from Dada, to whom I add my plaudits if it is indeed the milestone suggested above. I really look forward to the style, finesse and humour of a Dada puzzle. Podium place to 5d, COTD to 16d.

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to Dada, and to Senf.

    1. Last Virgilius ST 2977, today’s Dada ST 3127.

      3127 – 2977 = 150 and we have no reason to doubt that he is not ‘responsible’ for all of them.

  13. Managed to finish without any external help, a rare event for me! 23a, 26a, 5d & 6d my favourites of the day.

    Thanks to the setter and also to Senf for the hints although for a change I didn’t need any today.

    1. The illustrated ‘man’ appears regularly. ITMA was a ‘hinting’ device I decided to use; when it is ‘unabbreviated’ to the full name of the old radio show it is a comment on the frequency of the man’s appearance in crosswords.

      (Your comment went into moderation because you used your name rather than one of the approved aliases used previously.)

      1. Given recent comment about illustrations giving away the answers in PPs I thought your attempt at a cryptic hint was admirable Senf.
        Thanks for the efforts.

      2. We had a radio (I think known as a shortwave radio) that my Dad listened to the BBC during the war. It was a ritual to listen to the news and another must was ITMA! I just remember it. So far from “home” during the war, they were always worried about family. Mum was always mailing care packages, I often wonder how many made it, particularly the ones to France.

  14. 5d was my favourite clue from this friendly and fun puzzle. 11a was my final entry and that took too long to parse before the penny dropped. Overall a good challenge and worthy of this setter’s milestone.

    My thanks and congratulations to Dada, and thanks, too, to Senf.

    We are sitting in our hotel room in Wiltshire plotting our route home tomorrow assuming we can get no unleaded. The onboard shows 178 miles left, best journey under normal conditions around 130 miles. Not much margin for error. Thanks heavens there is no crisis or fuel shortage as the incompetents in charge suggest or we would be in dire straits.

    1. I managed to fill up with diesel today. The garage on the Nesscliffe bypass does not have any restrictions on the amount of fuel that can be bought – for now anyway.

      1. I wonder if minimum amount purchases might cut the lines? Lines are often caused by people continually topping up. When they use a couple of gallons, they go back and buy another couple, thus adding to the wait. We usually get lines when a hurricane approaches, and then you will see people waiting to fill their cars and often several cans (for their generators). But some dealers do restrict to their regular customers.

  15. We didn’t have any problems apart from the parsing of 26a. Favourite was 23a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. Found this a pretty straightforward Dada puzzle today. Solved right side first then SW to NE with 4d last in. **/***** for today.
    Favourites include 11a, 15a, 23a, 14d & 16d … very hard to pick a winner but 15a, I pick 23a.
    Had a hard time parsing 5d, but it had to be what it was and Senf explanation made all clear to me. It was a great clue once I ‘got it’

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the excellent hints.

  17. Found this quite difficult but managed to complete in *** time.
    Typical Dada with a sprinkling of clues that caused me some head scratching.
    Took ages to see the connections in 16d which is my COTD now I have.
    Thank you Dada & congratulations on the milestone. Senf – as I said above the cryptic hint for 26a suggests a whole new art form.

  18. Congratulations to Dada on his 150th anniversary. I started off great, with NE and SW corners going right in, but then thr hard work began. COTD goes to 6d, LOL. Had the wrong spelling for second word in 5d so that held me up. And wasted time trying to make a specific name for 9a. I always forget to ponder the generics. Thanks to Dada and to Senf. Are you sure John McEnroe never said that? I have his book “You Cannot Be xxxxxxx”. Hope that doesn’t send me to the naughty corner.

    1. I had to do a quick edit! In his most famous rant, at Wimbledon, the title of his book is what he said (confirmed with a check on YouTube).

      Some trivia worth forgetting – the Umpire was an RAF Wing Commander dentist who I knew. It was in the days when all the officials were provided by the LTA not the professional umpires that are on the ‘circuit’ these days

        1. Yes – he was one of our dentists at RAF Gütersloh when I was based there in the late 70s/early 80s.

    2. Remembering the book, I also doubted Senf’s statement! McEnroe was such a character, wonder if he’d get away with it today. He was hugely charitable as a youngster, probably still is, he had a lot of charities that benefited young people. Enfant terrible he may have been, but I admired him immensely.

  19. I just popped in to see the correct parsing of 11a. Thanks, Senf.

    I then spent much more time wondering what ITMA had to do with the price of fish in 26a. Quirky?

  20. I couldn’t believe this was Dada, very approachable and enjoyable. Not to say I didn’t need e-help, I don’t think that day will ever come, but I needed much less than usual. There had to be a fly in the ointment, the dreaded “pants” reared it’s head, small price to pay for the fun. I liked lots, 5d was fun but fave was 6d.
    Thank you Dada, and thanks to Senf for his hints and tips and for the memories!

  21. Very nice Dada today. Lots of fun. 11a my favourite and LOI. Thanks to Senf and Dada. **/***

    Finished reading Richard Powers’ Bewilderment. Perfect title. Rather creepy book. Makes a mockery of my undergrad maths degree.

  22. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with a few tricky clues. Favourite was 24d, which was LOI. Was 3* /4* for me.

  23. Finished this at cock crow this a.m. then out for day to attend friends’ diamond wedding celebration – some achievement! Not one of my favourite cruciverbal challenges. NE quadrant last to come on board. No Fav. Thank you Dada (congratulations on your 1.1/2 century) and Senf.

  24. I did this on the way up to Nottingham to visit junior grandson doing his PGCE. Lucky to get a fill up on the way ! Thanks to the setter for the entertainment and to Senf for his explanations.

  25. Late to the party, I kept this one for a rainy day, which it is. I enjoyed it though stumped for a while by 11a. The problem I had with 5d is that I’ve always thought that item was spelt differently, not the American way.

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