ST 3128 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3128 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3128 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where Mother Nature seems to have forgotten that Autumn has begun and we have been enjoying record breaking temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s, although I am not so sure about the accompanying record breaking ‘feels like’ from high humidities.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada approaching benevolence with a puzzle of two halves, less complicated in the NE and more complicated in the SW and a first word in the Quickie Pun I had never heard of clued as ‘Blue-green paint (4)’ for those who have not seen the Quick puzzle.  I counted a generous seven anagrams (two partials), two lurkers (both reversed), and two homophones (one partial) – all in a symmetric 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 – 14a, 6d, 9d, and 25d.

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 Award for second fiddle announced after brass (6,5)
A homophone (announced) of fiddle placed after a type of brass (as an informal synonym of money).

10a Follow the track when he has departed (5)
The from the clue with he deleted (when he has departed) and a term for (a piece of) track.

12a It sure rattles carrying tea service! (9)
An anagram (rattles) of IT SURE containing (carrying) a synonym of tea (as a drink).

14a Hidden pavilion in Los Angeles? (6)
A type of (temporary?) pavilion placed after the two letter abbreviation for Los Angeles – so, by placing the pavilion after Los Angeles the ‘in’ becomes superfluous.

23a A motive lacking in each crime (5)
A from the clue and a synonym of motive with the deletion (lacking in) of the abbreviated form of each.

26a Restriction in first of colours, light blue (9)
The first (letter) of Colours, a type of light(ing appliance), and a synonym of blue (when feeling sad).

28a Moving target I pass in events for young men (4,7)
An anagram (moving) of TARGET I PASS.


2d Raised in Africa, a significant biblical figure (5)
One of the reversed lurkers (raised in) found in three words of the clue.

4d Country, one moving fast, by the sound of it? (6)
A homophone (by the sound of it) of a single word for (some)one moving fast.

6d Desert with a river in middle of Qatar (7)
A from the clue and the illustrated river all inserted into in the middle letters of Qatar.

8d Priceless work Somalian lost (4,4)
An anagram (lost) of SOMALIAN.

15d Various patterns in area crossing nave (8)
An anagram (various) of PATTERNS.

19d Seed with long head (4,3)
A synonym of long (as in desire) and an informal synonym of head.

25d Small tree, old as it happens (5)
The single letter for old and a single term for as it happens (in a TV broadcast?).

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Gustav Holst was Director of Music at St Paul’s School for Girls, in London, from 1905 until he died in 1930, although he did seem to have very liberal terms of employment at St Paul’s as he was doing plenty of other things while he held that post including being an ambulance driver in WW1. In 1913, he composed the St Paul’s Suite for the school and here is the final, The Dargason: Allegro, of four movements being performed by the New Sinfonia, conducted by Robert Guy, at the 2020 North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph’s Cathedral, South of Rhyl in North Wales:

50 comments on “ST 3128 (Hints)

  1. I thought this good Sunday fare at **/*** with some clever clueing and solving aided by numerous achievable anagrams. Thanks for the hints happily not needed Senf and I agree with 6d as my COTD. Not sure who sets on Sundays but most enjoyable so thanks.

  2. Unusually straightforward for a Sunday. COTD for me was 24A, great misdirection, but I also really liked 8D as that was a new one for me. Not heard of 15D but had to be that from the clue.

  3. A mostly straightforward puzzle i which I was pushed into 3* time by 22d (still not convinced by the synonym for clocked in) and 23a (thanks to Senf for the hints). It was an enjoyable solve otherwise. I liked the charade at 7d and the lurker at 20a but my COTD for its misdirection was 12a. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. Another 17d puzzle from the Sunday maestro, completed either side of a bracing sea swim. It took me a little to justify the wordplay in 14a but that was my only problem.
    Top three for me were 12&18a plus 3d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  5. Another 17d winner from our Sunday maestro, most enjoyable. I stuttered a bit on 22d until I realised how ‘clocked in’ was skewed (very clever). Highlights: 12a, 9d, & (just for the hell of it) 28a. Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / ****

    We just passed 700,000 deaths from Covid in the US, almost a quarter of the world’s total, apparently. It didn’t have to be that catastrophic.

    1. Don’t understand the ‘skewed’ comment. What I thought was naughty was saying ‘in’ implying that the 1st and last letters were at the start and end.

      1. Then, you ‘fell’ for the mis-direction and did not ‘dissect’ the clue correctly for the correct solution (see Huntsman’s response to you below).

  6. 14a. By re-jigging the clue as suggested in the review above – not only would this jettison the superfluous “in”, it would also mean that the elements in the word-play and in the answer would both be in the same order, making the clue briefer and more elegant too.

    1. The way the clue is written creates a ‘pause for thought’ of is this a containment clue, and how is a pavilion inserted into Los Angeles? This would otherwise be ‘lost’ if the clue was rewritten. So, typically Dada and OK as written for me.

      1. I understand your explanation (and thank you for that), but I’m not sure if that was the intention or if most solvers will have used such rather convoluted thought processes in their parsing. But I’m quite happy to give you and the setter the benefit of the doubt.

    2. If you read or interpret “pavilion in LA” as an “LA pavilion” Jose the clue is fine and “elegant” as it is.

      1. To be honest, I was perfectly happy with the clue until I quickly read the review. I realised that the “in” was superfluous if you re-jigged the clue – but obviously that wasn’t what Senf was implying. At the end of the day, what is wrong with: Hidden Los Angeles pavilion (6), pray tell. Maybe too straightforward for a Toughie? And did you parse it as explained just above?

  7. An excellent puzzle that had lots of lovely anagrams, just a shame that those dreaded religious clues are still cropping up. I had no idea what the service was until I googled it.
    I still, however, have a problem with 22d, don’t understand the clocked reference.
    Thx to all

      1. Ooo, that is both clever and far too cryptic for me😀 thx for the explanation which would have eluded me forever.

  8. A fairly gentle puzzle but like Robert & Stephen I thought it a cracker. Strangely 1a, possibly the easiest clue, caused me a bit of a head scratch so it’s my pick of the bunch on account of the initially misleading (well to me at least) orchestral surface. Big ticks also for 12a plus 6,8&9d. All done & parsed in just over ** time.
    Thanks as ever to the trusty Sunday team.

  9. A very enjoyable puzzle. ***/*** 12a was my last one in and took a moment to find the tea! 6d came readily to mind and my favourite is 26a. Thanks to all.

  10. Unlike Greta, it took me a while to come up with 6d but 12a occurred quite easily and took the ‘favourite’ slot. Put me in mind of the exploits of Mrs Jalopy who used to get regular mentions from a setter elsewhere.

    Thanks to Dada for the puzzle and to Senf for both the hints and the enjoyable piece of music.

  11. Put me down for another who was head-scratching 22d. my last in and so good I will give it COTD.

    All done in *** time.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. I took a while to break into this puzzle but I got there in the end. I found it too much of a struggle to be enjoyable but there was satisfaction in the finishing. I was another who found 22d more than a little “skewed”. I took ages to get 8d because I always spell 18a incorrectly. Every time I come across it I tell myself to remember the spelling but I never do. :???:

    Many thanks to Dada for getting the week off to an interesting start and to Senf for the hints.

    1. Difficult to do without ending up on the naughty step but, at the risk of ending up there with no cake, take the odd letters of some of the words.

      Just posted and see you have cracked it. I may end up on the naughty step for nothing. :sad:

      1. Personally, I don’t agree with this system of supplying offenders with cake on the naughty step. Bring back the “cat” or birch – that’s what I say!! :-)

        1. I am currently on the Isle of Man where they birch was in use until relatively recently.

  13. Just finished as I thought 9d was an anagram and 13a didn’t fit in with that. Finally googled ‘mission’ to confirm 13a and then 9d was obvious. Didn’t find it as easy as others seem to have done. Now exhausted! Thanks to all for the work out.

  14. An enjoyable if not overly taxing crossword for a sunshine and showers day here in Shropshire. A couple in the SE corner held me up for a short while, but otherwise all was plain sailing. 12a was my favourite, with the seemingly tricky 22d my final entry.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for the blog.

  15. Very slow start and then I found this a struggle but softly softly catchee monkey. I feel 10a, 14a and 22d (in spite of all comments above) are a bit iffy. The 5d great thinker is becoming a bit of a chestnut. Haven’t come across 6d desert before. My Fav was 18a. Thank you Dada (you often give me a hard time and today was no exception) and Senf.

  16. No problems for us apart from the parsing of 22d. Favourite was 9d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  17. First, thanks to everyone for their kind anniversary wishes. Have to confess I struggled with this Dada today, just couldn’t get on wavelength, and had to resort to hints half way through. Visited 8d in the late nineties and was disappointed at the small size of that painting. Wanted to put in another word for broody in 26a which held me up. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. We found this quite a struggle, probably because we were fooled by the misdirections. I knew there would be comments about the ‘religious’ clues but surely 12a at least is a word often used in the press? And listening to any Dimbleby reportage of a state occasion would throw up 15d? Anyways up, it was a good head scratcher, like others 22d was LOI. Many thanks to the setter and to Senf for elucidation.

    1. Quite right DG. You don’t have to be a Christian to solve 12a, you just need some basic general knowledge. The fact it is an anagram makes it even easier.

  19. Found this puzzle a little on the quirky side this week with some of the clues, like 14a & 22d as well as some others. Lots of mis-direction that took a while to suss out and get the right answer.
    SW and the lower half the toughest area of this puzzle. ***/*** for me today.
    Clues for favourites 12a, 26a, 27a, 15d & 22d
    6d required electronic help as well as the parsing from Senf as I had never heard of this one. I also had the wrong answer in 17d for the longest time and that held me up too.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for invaluable hints today.

  20. Thank you Dada and Senf plain sailing today and a very enjoyable set of clues with a geography theme

  21. Very tricky, but I always have a problem with wavelength for Dada. Once more I’m thankful for my CofE school education, those saved me from throwing in the towel. Was “young” really necessary for 28a? I didn’t finish in the SE corner, natch, a paucity of hints for that quarter – Senf, please note. Fave was 16a, yum yum, I always have some in the freezer.
    Thank you Dada, I’ll keep trying. As always, thanks Senf for the help, and you always come up trumps in your music choices.

  22. 2*/4*. I completed this over breakfast and then left to play my final cricket match of the season which has delayed me posting.

    I enjoyed this a lot and my only slight hold-up was with 6d, which I can’t recall having heard of before. 12a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  23. I found this tough but brilliant – thanks Dada! Like others I was foxed by 22d until it finally came to me in a flash…wonderful mis-direction but makes perfect sense to me…

  24. Very nice, not over taxing Sunday puzzle.
    Took a long time to parse 24a, which was just plain daft!
    Thanks both.

  25. Heavy pounding but got there in the end. Had a huge struggle to get xxxxxxx out of my mind for 6d. ***/***

  26. Thanks, all. This took me a medium amount of time and I used a medium number of Senf’s hints, but having had the clues that foxed me explained, I don’t find any of their parsings at all dodgy/iffy/unsatisfactory.

    I did like 12a’s tea service, though I only got it from the checkers (partial anagrams are usually beyond me), so as a standalone clue I can’t really be my favourite. 20a’s some animal made me smile, as did 3d’s bad, bad guy†. 26a’s old flame was almost my favourite, but that turned out to be 17d’s brilliant solving.

    Unlike some others, 6d was definitely my least-favourite clue: I hadn’t heard of the desert, and cluing it with a vague river made it close to unsolvable.

    I didn’t know 13a was a mission (but the wordplay made it obvious anyway), so did a quick search to confirm that. Does anybody else now have car-hire adverts following them round the web?!

    † I do have a question about 3d though, but I’ll leave that for the full review a week on Thursday, when it can be discussed freely.

  27. I agree with our esteemed hinter that the SE was difficult, but I completed the W side unaided. After that I needed help from the hints, and Mr. Th knew 6d, which I had never heard of. When I started by looking at 1a, the answer came straight away, and I had hoped this would be a portent for all the rest – but sadly it was not! There was some very clever cluing which was a pleasure to parse and I enjoyed all the anagrams, where I have learned the art of looking for the partials. LOI for some unknown reason was 21d, which has to be my fav.
    Many thanks to hinter and setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  28. Only needed a little electronic help in the SE corner with this 9ne…so better than I usually do on a Sunday.

    Thanks to Senf and to Dada.

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