ST 3131 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3131 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3131 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, this week, we had a number of days that started in sub-zero temperatures!

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada approaching benevolence; I thought I recognised some oldies but goodies but the Quickie Pun generated another Hmm this week.  I counted four anagrams (one partial), one lurker, and three homophones – all in a symmetric 26 ‘Ray T-like’ clues, except for 3a, and plenty of containments; 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 – 23a, 3d, 9d, 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 Drink: case of daiquiri in shade of pink (7)
The first and last letters (case of) of DaiquirI inserted into (in) a (maritime) shade of pink.

8a Ghastly horse circling vehicle (7)
An adult horse containing (circling) a type of vehicle (that can be hired).

12a A feature held by gear wheel for guidance (8)
A from the clue and a (facial) feature all contained (held) by a type of gear wheel.

14a Cut in magnitude, reportedly? (6)
IN from the clue and a homophone of a synonym of magnitude.

19a Intimate clothing is reborn, quite possibly? (6)
A 6 letter word which, when pronounced in a particular way, could be equivalent to (quite possibly) is reborn?

23a Criminal activity: kind inspiring knave (10)
A synonym of kind (as in looking after) containing (inspiring) another term for knave (in a pack of cards).

26a Glue, perhaps, joining two animals? (7)
Perhaps the illustrated animal followed by (joining) a type of 6-legged animal.


1d Lack of satisfaction in bedroom, unfortunately (7)
An anagram (unfortunately) of BEDROOM.

3d Middle Eastern country importing endless tat from the south? (6)
The reversal (from the south) of all of a country (which is also in the Middle East) containing (importing) TAt with the last letter removed (endless).

5d Fussy point (10)
A double definition – the second is a nounal synonym of point (as in detail).

9d Live wire possible cause of ignition? (6,5)
A possible cause of ignition (in an internal combustion engine?) that is extra powerful.

16d Not a soul has kept dry in front of aircraft (4,4)
A (2,3) or (2-3) term equivalent to not a soul containing (has kept) a ‘synonym’ for dry (in relation to wine).

17d Very old article, quite flexible (7)
One of the indefinite articles and an anagram (flexible) of QUITE.

24d Vegetable in stock, a leek (4)
We finish with the ‘solo’ lurker (in) found in three words of the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Recall that last Sunday I said that the violin soloist Katica Illényi’s talents including playing that weird instrument the Theremin.  Well, here she is playing Maria from West Side Story on said instrument:

63 comments on “ST 3131 (Hints)

  1. Unlike Senf, it took me a while to get into this puzzle but it was a highly enjoyable challenge and there were some superb clues (3*/5*). My COTD was the miisleading 15a but there were severallego clues that were wellput together such as 13a and 18a. The geographicak 3d was another corker as was the anagram at 20a. A feast of a puzzle so thanks to Dada and thanks to Senf for the hints.

  2. Very enjoyable this morning. Many thanks to all.

    Senf perhaps you need to take a look at the hint for 1d.

      1. Thanks Gazza.

        I will have to speak severely to my ‘proof reader’ and warn him that his Saturday evening wine allowance is ‘under threat’! :wink:

  3. I thought this was excellent, not overly difficult but a definite step up in class from yesterday.
    At least half of the clues could justifiably sit on the podium but I’ve chosen 8,11,15&23a plus 3&18d with top spot going to the clever and amusing 16d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the top notch entertainment.

  4. Had to admit defeat after completing half. Even with the excellent hints I cannot understand most of the clues.
    Way out of my league I’m afraid. Very little enjoyment to be had from this one.

  5. Was quickly on wavelength so I reckon this about as gentle as you’re ever likely to get from this setter. As Stephen says a step up in class from yesterday (different division altogether for me), succinctly clued throughout & a pleasure to solve from start to finish. Both the 1d surface read & 19a made me smile & for that alone they’re my picks though there were plenty of excellent ones to choose from. Those 2 sticky critters at 26a do seem to be cropping up quite a lot of late mind you.
    Thanks to D&S

    1. The second “animal” in 26a grates every time he comes up, calling it an animal seems a stretch to me. I’m sure it’s right, just madame fusspot feeling it’s wrong.

      1. This has been discussed before, Merusa. All living things are animals whether insects, bacteria, fish, birds or dogs etc. :smile:

        1. … and humans, yes, I know, I know, I know, but I’m ornery enough that I cringe every time. Why? Who knows, you’d think I’d learn to accept it by now.

  6. Enjoyable puzzle, would have been easier if i was better at spotting anagram indicators.
    Thanks to setter and to Senf for hints which cleared up some parsing difficulties.

  7. 2.5*/4.5*. I solved three quarters of this puzzle on course for a 1* time, but then the SE corner put up quite a fight taking me over my 2* time overall. The whole thing was a lot of fun with several smiles along the way. There were too many good clues to single out any, although if you pushed me hard I’d probably settle for 3d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  8. A couple that almost took me into extra time this morning but all done and dusted before that occurred.
    Favourite was 9d with a nod to 15a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the review and the piece played on a Theremin – fascinating ‘piece of kit’!

    1. Check out Godson’s sister, Jo Hamilton, with the “air piano”, another fascinating “piece of kit”.

  9. I found this fairly straightforward except for an annoying technical problem: I use the Telegraph app on an IPad. For some reason, if I put the IPad down to do something else, when I come back, the crossword has often been wiped either in part or in whole.

    1. It’s a bit of a pain but you need to press “save” if you want to retain it before the screensaver comes on. :-)

  10. A model of what a cryptic should be! Thoroughly enjoyable, from top to bottom, and Dada in all his glory. I have several podia filled with winners, but I’ll just select one threesome: 19a, 3d, and 23a. And for a special citation and an honorary Platinum, 11a. Kudos to Dada and thanks to Senf. ** / *****

    My cherished Boston Red Sox will spend the winter licking their wounds; our Atlanta Braves, however, have made it into the World Series (vs the Houston Astros). Go, Bravos!

  11. Terrific clues thank you Dada and Senf just one tiny niggle with 15a should this include the word ‘is’ i.e. ‘where seed is located’ ? Sorry if I have got this wrong!

    1. For me, perhaps 15a deserves a ‘?’ at the end. As written, the two parts of the clue suggest brevity. If ‘is’ was included that might not be so.

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed this today. Left with about half a dozen but after brisk walk to our little harbour, the rest fell into place. Thanks to the setter and Senf

  13. I’m not sure I agree with our esteemed blogger about benevolence as I had half a dozen clues that took me a fair old time to dissect and reassemble into the correct answer. It was, I thought, pleasingly tricky, with a smattering of excellent clues to increase my enjoyment. 3d gave me the most trouble and became my top clue.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf for his hard work.

  14. Superb clueing which required considerable brain effort to solve.
    Special mention 19a and 3d.
    Got there, eventually, unaided, so, ****/*****.
    Many thanks indeed Dada and Senf for the review and music.

  15. Having read Senf’s hints I put my lethargic performance down to a post booster jag hangover. However I see others struggled a bit too.
    Pity I couldn’t fully appreciate this excellent puzzle but eventually I got there unaided. Like RD the SE corner held out longest.
    I’ll go with 3d as COTD.
    Thanks Dada for the workout and Senf for the hints. I think I had vaguely heard of the therein but it goes down as my new fact of the day & thanks to the recording it may stay there.

  16. Echoing the appreciative comments for an excellent puzzle, thanks Dada and Senf. 3d perhaps favourite (but, to be hyper-critical … am I alone in thinking 9d a bit weak in both definition and wordplay?)

  17. I took longer than usual to break into today’s Dada. Sitting staring at a blank grid for ages can be demoralising but, as usual for Dada, the answers revealed themselves in slow succession and I ended with an unaided finish. Despite my taking ages to solve it, the puzzle was most enjoyable. I have to admit to not being sure why “jam” is relevant to 4d. Plenty of good clues especially 8a, 12a and 16d but my COTD is 19a because it caused a grin.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and also to Senf for the hints.

      1. Thanks, Senf. That’s the way I looked at it as well but it doesn’t quite gel with me.

        1. I have to say that the BRB’s verbal definition of the answer is somewhat more elegant than ‘jam in.’

          1. This one is a double definition but the Jam can also be a reference to the filling ‘in’ said snack. (This would be more obvious to those in UK who may well have grown up eating them)

            1. Welcome to the blog.

              Your comment probably merits redaction in accordance with the instructions in RED under the hints.

              I thought I would be lenient and respond instead. It looks like that with your use of reference ‘Jam’ becomes a single definition with ‘in snack’ as wordplay. This would not result in the correct answer for today’s puzzle.

              However, you are correct in identifying today’s clue as a double definition.

  18. I, too, took some time to get this one going, but with the downs offering less resistance than the acrosses, I managed to finish the groid in **/*** time, without assistance. Always pleasing to achieve that on a Sunday. Last one in was 18d.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. I managed to cross the line on this while waiting in a queue for Mama Bee’s Covid booster. I tried to book mine at the same time as Boris said they were changing the wait for my age group to 5 months, However the “computer says no” so I will have to go back and wait again in about 3 weeks. I hope the crossword then is as diverting as this one.
    8a was LOI as I started with all the wrong three-letter vehicles. I haven’t checked the online version but I suspect I have made a boo-boo with 26a and “answersmashed” the wrong animals my 2nd animal has gills and fins rather than six legs.
    12a and 3d were joint faves here.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.
    As expected I had the wrong animal and tense in 26a – So close but no cigar.

  20. We found a number of clues really difficult but having got the answer it was hard to see why. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  21. I found this pretty straightforward. My only mistake was to insert an African country into 3d rather than a Middle Eastern person, Reading the hints put me right on that. I think.

    1. The African country was all that occurred to me too. I was gullibly misled by the clever 3d surface hence overlooked the correct solution.

  22. Enjoyable puzzle for me this week.

    I still needed some help from Senf and the electronic gizmo, but a much better performance from me than the dismal show last week.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.
    I think the best description of the weather here is ‘not raining’. Shades of the Radio Ham for any Hancock fans.

    1. I’m one Ora – played The Blood Donor for my phlebotomist the other week while she was extracting another pint. She’d never heard of it & thought it hilarious

  23. I managed to complete this with the exception of 8A which has me stumped. I’ve avoided looking at the hint so far as I’m still hopeful I’ll get a clean sweep!

    Could someone please tell me what is meant by the “Quickie Pun”? I’m obviously missing something!

    1. Jon
      The first answers (usually two or three) in the Quick crossword are linked in some way and are solved by the reviewer at the bottom of the review. Sometimes they form a very cringeworthy pun.

    2. Quickie Pun – for some while the first two or three Across answers of the Monday-Friday and, more recently, the Sunday Quick puzzles form a pun which we include in the blog for fun.

      On a Monday, the present setter, Campbell, usually has two puns, ‘top’ and ‘bottom,’ and will sometimes have a third in the ‘centre.’

  24. A relatively tame Dada puzzle this week with some tricky clues throughout that caused some head scratching. SW was ;east area to fall. 2.5*/**** for me today.
    Clues for favourites include 8a, 12a, 9d, 13d & 16d. Clues that caused a chuckle were 11a, 19a & 1d
    A pleasant Sunday diversion ahead of the ‘bomb cyclone’ we are expecting on the West Coast tonight and into Monday.
    Caused by drop in millibar pressure of greater than 24 in a 24 hour period and we are expecting a drop of double that.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  25. A disappointing first pass, however once the tea and extra chocolatey M&S biscuits kicked in, it was soon over.

    Liked the middle eastern one.

  26. This required application but I did enjoy the exercise. Orient was friendliest side. 16d had to be but it is a new one on me. Joint Favs 19a and 21d. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  27. I always find Dada tricky and nothing is new today. I could no more solve a Dada puzzle unaided than fly. Today I used e-help, thesaurus, dictionary and Big Dave’s Mine with wild abandon. There were quite a few treasures, 8a was my fave, but 15a, 23a, 3d and 16d were all worthy of mention.
    Thank you Dada, and oodles of thanks to Senf for unravelling not just a few!

  28. 18d raises a point which comes up quite frequently. “Crime” and the word which stands in for it as part of the answer (so as not to give anything away) are not synonymous. If we call crimes “A” and the other word “B”, all As are Bs but not all Bs are As. As offend against the criminal law; Bs may offend against moral ideals only.

    1. But, we know that all crossword setters use their form of ‘artistic licence’ often committing ‘crimes’ that are much worse than you have described!

      1. Sorry Senf, but “artistic licence” is too convenient an excuse for things which are simply incorrect.

    2. You could apply the “all As are Bs but not all Bs are As” to half the clues in any given crossword. If the words appear as synonyms in several thesauruses (as they do in the case you quote) then the setter is justified in using them.

  29. 14a is my favourite today, with 11a, 19a, and 13d among my top few.

    I learnt the ‘dry’ in 16d, which I looked up having solved it from the rest of the clue. I was happy to learn a new word (and, obviously, did not consider doing so to be in anyway cheating).

    This was a tough first pass for me, but eventually I managed to get the rest into place. Thank you to blogger, setter, and commenters.

  30. Tough for me, not helped by the grid, but got there in the end…as usual, first class fare from Dada

  31. Finished this, although not completely unaided. Mr. Th helped with two clues, and I spent a lot of time researching that the answer which had to be for 3d was in fact correct (did anyone actually know this answer without research?) A very good selection of clues and very enjoyable, completed in reasonable time apart from 3d. Thanks to setter and to Senf whose hints I will now reas, along with all the comments.

  32. Commenting very late on this most enjoyable Dada puzzle. Inclined to agree with Senf that Dada was being rather benevolent – either that or I was straight on to their wavelength, which would be of no surprise as they are one of my favourite setters.

    1.5* / 3.5*

    Thank you to Dada & to Senf

  33. Very late and nobody will see this probably, but just in case somebody does, please could you tell me how you know that Dada is the setter. Also, I had thought that Brian Greer (Brendan/Virgilius) was the ST setter; certainly he was at one point. Has he moved on?

    1. You’ve changed the alias you last used in 2012 so this comment needed moderation. Both aliases will work from now on.
      Virgilius (Brian Greer) passed the Sunday baton to Dada (John Halpern) several years ago.

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