ST 3130 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3130 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3130 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, from Wednesday morning to Friday morning, we were under the influence of the first Colorado Low of this Autumn/Winter season.  In a couple of months time such a weather event would mean two days of the fluffy white stuff but this time we got some very welcome wet stuff to help replenish our drought diminished water table.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, another one I will reserve judgement on, especially the Quickie Pun.  I counted four anagrams (two partials), one lurker, and one homophone – all in a symmetric 30 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 – 17a, 19a, and 13d.

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:


7a Robust binder (9)
A double definition to start – the second might refer to material used to bind together.

10a Little devil in crisis (6)
Another double definition – the first might refer to troublesome offspring.

12a Marked with dots, plans ultimately something to go on! (6)
Some ‘mild’ toilet humour – the last letter (ultimately) of planS and what an infant may use to go on (as illustrated below).

16a Treasure sold for a pretty penny (4)
Yet another double definition (it makes a change from insertions) – the first might relate to a term of endearment.

17a Rubbish fine, picked up by drone (5)
But, now we have an insertion – the two letters that can be equivalent to fine inserted into (picked up by) a three letter synonym of drone (gives some North American slang).

19a First of tendons pulled from bone in dish (6)
A reverse insertion! The first letter of Tendons removed (pulled) from a bone of which we have two in our bodies (and the result is one of my favourites).

24a Verbal, when rioting inmates caught (8)
An anagram (when rioting) of INMATES and the single letter for caught.

28a Scariest, a bumpy flight (9)
An anagram (bumpy) of SCARIEST, A.


1d Grave didn’t move, by the sound of it? (5)
The homophone (by the sound of it) of a single word equivalent to didn’t move.

3d Happy with extraordinary pub lunch? (6)
An anagram (extraordinary) of PUB and a verbal synonym of lunch.

5d Figure welcoming a very generous act (6)
A four letter figure (numeral) containing (welcoming) A from the clue and the single letter for very.

6d Game on date following a battle (9)
A three letter (card) game followed by (on) a verbal synonym of date all after (following) A from the clue.

9d Ball of yarn with tangle of hair twice brushed up (6))
A three letter term for a tangle of hair repeated (twice) and all reversed (brushed up).

13d Canadian territory that welcomes island nation (5)
A poetic synonym of that contains (welcomes) the two letter island nation (in which most of our correspondents reside).

18d Problem is masked in subtlety (8)
IS from the clue contained by (masked in) a synonym of subtlety.

25d Musical account written up: Eliot, say? (4)
The two letter abbreviation of account reversed (written up) and the two letter initials of one named Eliot (say) who provided the inspiration for the musical.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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No suggestions from my on-line resources this week, so here is one of my Dad’s favourites – Fascination, composed in 1904 by Italian composer Fermo Dante Marchetti. Here it is being performed by the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok, with soloist Katica Illényi, in the Bela Bartók National Concert Hall in Budapest. Ms Illényi is also a very talented singer and (tap) dancer and can also play that weird instrument the Theremin:

57 comments on “ST 3130 (Hints)

  1. I struggled and was eventually pushed into just over 4* time by the NW corner of this puzzle and had to use electronic help with 2 clues to break into it. Nevertheless I enjoyed the puzzle (4*), as I usually do on Sundays. The clues are just clever, not tied up in excess verbiage. I liked 9d, the26a anagram, with great misdirection, 19a and 2d, both of the latter two requiring multiple pieces of GK. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for a stiff challenge.

  2. The NW quadrant was also my nemesis in terms of completion time. It might just be me, but overall this felt like the puzzle would not have been out of place as a Tuesday Toughie, as some of the clues were pleasingly tricky. For pure cheek, I loved 12a, but my favourite was 19a.

    Thanks to Dada for brightening up a dismal Shropshire morning, and to Senf for confirming some of my parsings.

  3. Can I join the NW corner headscratchers, please. Rest fell in quite easily, but NW held me up. I think it’s because it has a lot of double definitions and I always struggle with them. Possibly because it just feels like racking your brain for words that fit both halves without any of the cryptic clues you have with other sorts of clues. Anyway, finally got 7a and that got me through. Thanks to setter and hinter both.

  4. Like others so far, I found the NW corner the last to yield, but when that bird sat on that spike, I was home free–and what a spectacular puzzle this one turned out to be. At one point, I had completely solved Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and other points east and southeast. The entire west remained unpioneered until that bone lost its tendon, those dots connected, and that bird landed on that spike. I really enjoyed this Sunday Prize challenge and thought that 12a, 13d, 19a, 7a, & 3d all deserve to be on that crowded podium. Thanks to Senf and to Dada. 2.5* / 5*

  5. No NW corner terrors for me perhaps because 10a plus 2&3d yielded early in the solve – 10a being my Dad’s pet name for me in my younger years!
    Podium places dished out to 26a along with 5,13&18d.

    Thanks to Dada for the Sunday fun and to Senf for the words and music.

  6. Add me to the gang of NW strugglers. I thought this the toughest Sunday offering for quite some time & maybe harder than his prize puzzle in yesterday’s Graun, though I’ve completed this one & still 4 shy in the other (NW also). I struggle with flowers in crosswords so like Robert the right bird took a helluva long time to land on the correct spike & even once it did 10,12&16a still took a while to tease out & pushed me into **** time. Anyway a super puzzle with a host of podium contenders. I’ll plump for 19a ahead of 3&6d with a mention also for the related 8a & 20d.
    Thanks as ever to D&S for the usual quality entertainment.

    1. Hi Huntsman, really enjoyed yesterday’s Graun prize, just the parsing of 1d doing my head in.

  7. Finished after two sittings. My verdict, a thoroughly unpleasant puzzle with very stretched synonyms and inelegant clues.I only persevered because I didn’t want to be beaten.
    Zero fun for me I’m afraid.
    Thx for the hints

  8. I’m in the NW stuck group. I still can’t see 10a, with electronics providing a few possibles.

    Still, all done bar two without help is a good Sunday result for me.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. I was doubtful that I had the correct answer for that one & even after reading Senf’s hint still wasn’t sure so I went to the Telegraph Puzzles site & revealed the first letter which confirmed my answer. Never heard of troublesome offspring being so called.

      1. I’m not sure it can really be considered a synonym for ‘crisis’ either, the “Cuba Missile ******” would not have sounded right!

        1. Good one Hoofit. I also question this clue, as the answer really doesn’t fit either parts.

  9. NW corner did for me too, compounded by the fact that Ihad the wrong word for 7a (also connected wirh binding) & couldn’t get it out of my head. Also didn’t see the fairly obvious (after the hint pointed my nose in the right direction – thanks Senf) 3d.
    So **** / dnf for me but thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.
    12a brought a smile (soon wiped off when I looked out to see a dreich day outside) so gets my COTD.
    Thanks Dada and Senf, always there when needed.

  10. First time I’ve tackled a Sunday Cryptic for a while. I will assign myself a place in the NW strugglers camp.
    2d went in reasonably early, but 1 and 3d and 7 and 10a held out until a moment of reflection, before reaching for assistance, provided the inspiration.
    2d was a pleasing solve but 6d gets the nod for my COTD.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  11. I have never put in so many bung-ins in a puzzle before as I did with this one. I agree with everyone that NW was a problem but the rest fell gradually. As with all puzzles by Dada I started slowly, sped up then crawled to the finish. Not the most enjoyable of Dada’s as far as I am concerned. My COTD is the rather cheeky 12a.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. I enjoyed this one. The East side fell into place first and the northwest, like many others, was the last in. I’m not too sure about the definition of 10a constituting a crisis but it had to be. My last one in. **/**** Favourite 19a although 12a made me smile. Thanks to all.

  13. West side took the longest and in fact have still not got 15d so I will come back to it later. Thanks to all.

      1. It was my LOI in too, and for the same reason that I didn’t spot it as an anagram for ages, must be the Norfolk air !

  14. 4*/4*. I normally finish Sunday’s cryptic over breakfast, but today I only managed three-quarters of it with, yes – you’ve guessed it, the NW completely bare. I have been busy since then and finished it off over lunch taking my total time up to 4*. Despite the struggle, it was great fun though.

    12a was my favourite with 9d & 13d joining it on my podium.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  15. Our heartfelt thanks to Senf without whose hints the NW corner would never have ben completed. Blimey, that was hard.

  16. I see I’m in pretty good company in finding my last two in were 10a/2d, for which I’ve added half a point for difficulty and subtracted half for enjoyment.
    Overall a cracking puzzle, full of Dada’s customary wit and guile, appreciated more on going over and parsing some of my initial bung ins.
    My ticks go to 17a plus 3,23&25d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the fun in the South Devon sun.

  17. Made heavy weather of this, very satisfying to finish, though.
    The NW corner took some time for pennies to drop.
    So, ***/*****
    Loved 6d.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf

  18. My nemesis was 16a for which I cheated and used Danword. However, it was the only hiccup in an otherwise relatively straightforward puzzle.
    I see I was not alone in being called 10a as a child. A generational thing?

    1. Maybe we were just naughty children, JB. I do recollect the answer appearing in a song some years ago but my internet trawl has yielded nothing. Could have been an army marching number? I seem to remember that 10a was rhymed with ‘dollar and nickel’.

      1. As I said above, it was just a term of endearment. I would use it now. My word for a naughty child would be much stronger. ‘Little perisher” comes to mind!

  19. A relatively non quirky puzzle by Dada standards, but still tricky in parts. Pleasant solve for a Sunday at **/**** for me.
    Candidates for favourite 8a/20d, 28a, 1d & 13d with the 8a/20d duo the winners. Lots to like here and many made me chuckle like 27a, 28a, 3d & 13d.
    Great fun for the time it lasted.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  20. I am another one who found the going heavy in the NW mainly due to 2d not occurring to me as I don’t think of it as being particularly big although I gather they can in fact be up to 6 feet. 18d and 22d are a bit chestnutty. 16a, 17a and 26a amused. 6d was a bung-in as I think of the game as two words and 23d also bunged in since that meaning of milk didn’t occur to me. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  21. This was my worst effort at a Dada for some time, so I was relieved to read that others found it hard going too.
    I needed all but one of Senf’s excellent hints.
    So, not my best day.

    Thanks to Dada and big thanks to Senf.

  22. What a difference to Saturday’s. I struggled through the whole of this and for me the NE was harder but only marginally so. I’d but this at 4*/1* for difficulty and enjoyment.

  23. Seems I’m in the good company of the NW strugglers – I did get there in the end with 1d being the last to fall. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge – Dada’s clues are so concise and clever – but there is great satisfaction in cracking them one by one. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  24. A corker of a Sunday tea-break puzzle: Dada’s typical concise precision and elegance, not a wasted word, dash or comma, no specialist or arcane knowledge required, every clue a poser but utterly fair. This particular grid is one of the more testing, I always feel, because so many answers – just over half – lack initial checking letters. A proper challenge and very satisfying to complete, most enjoyable while it lasted.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Dada, and to Senf.

    1. Your positive review is refreshing, Mustafa. I said in my post that it was not my favourite Dada but should have mentioned that the difficulty was down to me and not a reflection on the estimable Dada.

  25. Great crossword from Dada.
    Fav has to be 2d as its namesake won the Derby in 1962. My grandad was at Epsom that day, and the race is notable for the fact that at Tattenham Corner one of the horses tripped and brought down six other horses, injuries to jockeys followed and tragically the death of one of the horses. My grandad also went on to say that he had five bob each way on the horse at 22-1.
    Hoofit – a mine of useless information.
    After a success with the Guardian prize on Saturday and today’s Dada, the score is Hoofit 2 – Dada/Paul 0. A very rare event, the planets must be aligned or something!
    Thanks to Senf for the hints.

  26. Just to be contrary, I sailed through the NW, solving 7a with no trouble and solving that corner with no help. I completed the south with copious e-help, then came to a standstill in the NE and needed the hints to finish. I don’t know why I was stumped at 6d, it was perfectly clued. Lots to like, I agree with Senf’s choices, adding 6d with 13d in first place.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for our Sunday fun. As usual, liked your choice of music.

  27. Struggled to get on wavelength today. Had at least half a dozen answers in the margins which I just didn’t feel comfortable filling in. Turns out they were all correct. 10a defeated me as I have used that word to mean either of the definitions, and definitely not for crisis. That is much more serious than the answer. Same problem with 1d, wihixh I got right away, despite grave indicating something much more serious than the answer, which I would use to mean something dull, or uninspiring. Like I said, not on wavelength. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    By the way, where is Miffypops? Haven’t seen him the last couple of days which is unusual.

  28. Oh dear, I was in the NW corner as well despite the fact that I got the bird on the spike straight away. Thank you setter for a very neatly clued puzzle and to Senf for helping me out of the corner. I particularly liked 17 and 19a. I have had a nostalgic afternoon sorting out hundreds, nay, thousands of photographs. DD2 is 60 on Friday and I was compiling an album of her beloved Cornwall holidays. So many happy memories.

  29. As others, held up in the NW corner….I could never have got 10a without help as I have simply never heard the word used to mean a naughty youngster….I am a fan of Dada, but for me this was not his best effort….

  30. What everybody else said. Except that the lower number of anagrams meant that overall I made faster progress than is typical.

    Took me 2 stints. I had a much more fun word which had been in the local news recently and fitted all of 7a’s checkers (though neither part of its clue) and kept distracting me.

    Thank you Senf, especially for the hint I used, and Dada for the fun: I had 8 clues marked as potential favourites, but I’ll join the hoards going for 19a — so often it seems to be food-based clues that do it for me. A couple I don’t properly understand, for which I’ll await Wednesday week. Cheers, all.

  31. Finished without aids save for looking up one or two synonyms. Last in was NE with the battle taking me far too long. 16d was also a straggler which I put down to all the checkers being vowels. I was reduced to setting the remaining letters out and arranging them until they fitted. The Canadian territory should have been obvious, but clearly too obvious for me as I was looking for a country using the initials for the territory plus an island. Thanks Dada and Senf although hints avoided by the skin of my teeth. Not my favourite but certainly a challenge.

  32. Hurrah I’ve finished at last, although barely half the clues were solved unaided. Many thanks to Senf for the much used hints,(and also to my much used e-machine.)Thanks to Dada for challenging me to have the determination to finish this clever puzzle. COTD has to be 12a for the laugh.

  33. No Terence today (actually yesterday)? Hope all is well with him. Now I can say, perhaps, without being sent into the naughty corner, re 6d, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”!

  34. Really got stuck on 10a but there was only one possible answer in the end. NW caused much the most difficulty, otherwise a jolly stroll for Dada.

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