ST 3132 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3132 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3132 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where the fluffy white stuff is starting to ‘creep’ into weather forecasts!

Keep staying safe everyone.

Either, I was just having a bad day, which could easily be the case, or this puzzle was reminiscent of November 18th, 2018 (Dada’s first Sunday puzzle).  If it was the latter, I hope that all the UK solvers benefited from their extra hour of sleep because you will need it.  I counted four anagrams (one partial), no lurkers, and no homophones – all in a symmetric 26 clues in the same grid as last Sunday; 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 – 20a, 3d, 5d, and 6d.

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 Shape of washer attached to source of water, tight (7)
A 4 letter term that describes the shape of a washer placed after (attached to) a 3 letter source of water.

10a Bird: that female nesting in most important tree (10)
That female represented by the feminine form of the third person singular pronoun contained by (nesting in) a most important (conifer) tree.

14a Untouched, it can’t degenerate (6)
In yesterday’s blog, Hrothgar asked if anagram indicators were getting rather – for the sake of politeness – stretched? Perhaps this is an example. – An anagram (degenerate) of IT CAN’T.

19a Work has gone into hit for maestro (6)
The two letter abbreviated form of the Latin term for work inserted (has gone) into a slang term for hit gives the illustrated maestro.

20a Darling ready for run of four aces, perhaps? (4,4)
A synonym of darling (as a term of endearment) and a synonym of ready (as in up to taking on a challenge).

25a Eat quantity in hard fruit (7)
A synonym of quantity (as a result of a simple mathematical operation) inserted into (in) the illustrated hard fruit.

26a Group, Liberal in general (7)
The single letter for (politically) Liberal inserted into the surname of an American general (who had a last stand).


1d Date for fooling around on bed — that’s fruity! (7)
The abbreviated form of the month and the letter representing the number of the day of the date for fooling around followed by (on) a type of bed.

3d Colour I like, no clothes! (6)
I from the clue followed by NO from the clue containing (clothes) a three letter slang/informal term for like.

5d Disconcerting, inaccurate strokes with golf club (3-7)
A 3 letter synonym of inaccurate and types of golf strokes with a particular club.

6d Poisoner, tuft of hair beneath fringe (7)
A 4 letter term for a tuft of hair placed after (beneath) a type of fringe (not of hair).

17d Talk about location of carnival vehicle (7)
A synonym of talk (to another) containing (about) the familiar short name of the location of a (famous) carnival.

18d Wasted — as tennis ball may have been after lob? (7)
The way a tennis ball may be played after one’s opponent’s last stroke was a lob.

24d Chest broke (4)
With a sigh of relief, a double definition to finish – the first refers to the (female) body.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held in August 1969. In 1970, the festival was memorialised in a song by Joni Mitchell telling the story of a concert-goer on a trek to attend the festival. Wikipedia tells us that the anthemic song, as well as the festival it commemorates, is symbolic of the counterculture of the 1960s. In the UK, the song was recorded by Matthews Southern Comfort, something of a ‘one hit wonder’ as far as I can make out, and began three weeks at Number One on this day in 1970:

76 comments on “ST 3132 (Hints)

  1. I don’t know if Sunday is the start or the finish of the crossword week but whatever this will take some beating, thought it was superb
    Virtually every clue could have gone on the podium but I’ve gone for 19a plus 1,13&21d
    Many thanks to Dada and Send for the top notch entertainment.

  2. This was certainly a terrific puzzle, not as difficult as I thought it would be on the first pass though. Having had three years of getting used to Dada’s style, I found this fairly friendly with only a few tricky clues, mainly in the parsing. I chose 1 and 3d as co-favourites this morning, mainly for their brevity, although were many contenders.

    My thanks to Dada for an entertaining challenge, and to Senf.

  3. Dada is back to his 23a and very enjoyable it is. Thanks to him and Senf.
    Top clues for me were 13d, 16d and 21d.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying.
    Worked steadily to an unaided conclusion.
    But took longer than I would have liked.
    Brilliant clues, especially 13d.
    So, ***/*****
    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  5. It was a difficult puzzle to break into but once a few checkers went in, it fell into place, albeit with a bit of head scratching (2.5*/5*). It was Dada at his wily, misleading best and indeed most of the clues could have been mentioned in despatches. 1d was a superb example of misdirection, as were 23a and21d. 5d made me laugh, but COTD was 10a, where it was the parsing that puzzled me for a bit. Thanks to Senf for the hints. We are trying to stay well and have had both the flu and the Covid booster in the last week. The latter wasn’t available at the local doctor’s surgery, apart from those extremely vulnerable like my husband and the centres for mass vaccination involved 30 mile round trips. So I queued at one of the local pharmacies for an hour or so to get my covid jab. Finally congratulations to Dada on a superb crossword.

    1. We had our flu shots two weeks ago, and our booster shots last Friday. We were surprised to feel so tired the next day, given that our boosters were the Moderna 50% strength versions. But better today, and all worth it to try and stay well and enjoy the upcoming holiday season.

      1. We’re being given a Pfizer booster, although vaccinations one and two were Astra Zeneca. My other half has a 4th vaccination in the offing in 6 months time and received what was called a pre-booster at our surgery 8 days ago.

  6. Mmm. Some have said this was difficult and some less so. I found three quarters of it as what I have come to consider as normal difficulty for Dada on a Sunday, but the SW corner proved to be really stubborn. It was all very enjoyable however, and my overall rating is 3*/4.5*.

    To pinch YS’s words: 1d and 3d were my co-favourites this morning, mainly for their brevity, although there were many contenders.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. Super puzzle, a million times better than yesterdays ******!
    The only problems were 12a which did not sit well with me and 13d which was clumsy. However minor issues compared with the elegance of the rest of the clues. My favs were 2d and 20a both of which were smilers.
    Thx to Dada for restoring my crossword confidence after yesterday.
    Thx for the excellent if not really needed hints (as always the ones I needed were not hinted, ‘‘twas forever thus”)

  8. A bit like today’s Everyman puzzle inasmuch as it was a reasonably straightforward grid completion in ** time but there were a couple where I wasn’t happy I had them correctly parsed. With 1d I couldn’t figure out where the i came from (fool) & with 10a I have a regal synonym for most important but without any confidence. Anyway though maybe not quite as enthusiastic as Stephen I did think it was a top quality crossword. 13d my clear favourite with big ticks also for 12,19&20a plus 5&9d.
    Thanks as ever to D&S

    1. Re the Everyman: That witch’s cat really tripped me up; had to do some research to work that one out, but got there in the end. A jolly good one, I thought. By the way, we watched ‘Minari’ two nights ago on HBO over here and found it quite moving, somewhat of a parable in short segments; over all, an allegory of perseverance. Youn Yuh-Jung gives a most poignant performance, for which she deservedly won the Supporting Actress Oscar.

      1. I thought it utterly charming too. Did you do Paul’s prize yesterday? I tried (& failed) to start with 6a which was the key & only got it halfway through.

  9. I too struggled initially to get a foothold but slowly began to tease out the answers. I had to stop with about two thirds completed to go and get my Covid booster and flu vaccinations – fortunately only about one mile away from home. I returned and filled in the previously stubborn SW corner with hardly any hesitation. Powerful stuff these vaccines, eh? 😂
    Thank you to all involved as always.

  10. Wow, this was pretty tricky – getting some of the long ones early helped. 2d my last in – I originally had some sort of cricket but couldn’t find the ‘woolly’ element. Oh, that lovely penny drop moment. Bazaar event yesterday. Terrible buzzing noise coming from kitchen radiator. Searched and searched but couldn’t find the cause. There’s a small kitchen recycle bin in front of the radiator.
    David had chucked our broken electric toothbrush in it earlier and it had sprung back to life! What a hoot. Thanks to Dada and Senf

  11. I have only recently graduated to the Sunday prize puzzle and found this just at the optimum level of difficulty and very enjoyable.

    Although I did not need any clues today, thanks to Senf for the hints. However, am I the only one that thinks that the illustrations are getting rather too obvious?

      1. I am a little wary of saying Yes, in case I upset Carpenters fans, but that is the sort of thing.

    1. The illustrations are only ‘too obvious’ if you look at them when you already have the answers, Scientist. Our weekend hinters work within very restricted parameters and they do a darned good job. It would probably make life a great deal easier for them if they were allowed to construct a full review.

      1. I am not critising the work of Senf, or any of the other reviewers. I am very grateful to all of them, since I learnt everything I know about cryptic crosswords from reading their reviews.

        I was referring specifically to the pictures of the blue bird and the fruit. Since the answers are obscured during the week and not allowed at all during a prize crossword, it seems strange to post pictures that are, at least to me, immediately obvious. It’s rather like asking for a hint and being told the answer.

    2. I am merely following the guidance on blogging given to me by our dear leader 5 years or so ago, and he has yet to tell me otherwise. Of course, having written that I expect that he will now tell me otherwise. And, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no criticism/objection from the DT Puzzles Editor.

      Just be thankful I stopped doing the ‘rollover’/’hover’ reveals described in FAQ 9.1.

      As far as today’s illustrations are concerned they are based on my solving experience which, based on the majority of comments, was apparently me ‘having a bad day’ rather than Dada reprising his first Sunday puzzle.

    3. I try to only use the picture clues when I am stuck, as a way of limiting the amount of help used, and really miss them when they are not included. And of course, lots of us love Mr K’s cat pictures…

  12. Needed to wake up my ‘Dada-specific’ grey cells to deal with a few of the clues this morning but enjoyed the ride and crossed the finish time within a reasonable time.
    Top marks went to 1&16d with the best swimmer taking bronze.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and reminder of a group I’d completely forgotten.

  13. Highly amusing puzzle from dada today. As I have come to expect, a lot of the clues were ‘off the wall’. ***/**** Favourite 13d. Thanks to all.

  14. Sorry but I am bucking the trend. I did not get on with this at all and gave up.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Don’t give up. My record for Dada is 3 days ( don’t usually get redacted for revealing that time!) 🤣
      It really is worth it in the end.

  15. I found it very tough to get going, just four across and six down on the first pass, but I stuck at it and managed a completed grid, fully parsed in ***** time.

    I didn’t know the phrase at 20a, my last in, and of course the clue mis-directed me to the wrong game, only spotted after 21d eventually gave itself up to me.

    COTD has to be 18d.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. A lovely puzzle but not totally sure about 13D — it felt clumsy. I got the “fluent in language” wordplay (and thus the solution) but couldn’t figure out the “painter and decorator” — that felt a bit of a stretch.

    1. The second part is what you do to the first part plural which involves a bit of painting and decorating!

  17. This seemed tough on a first run through but having put one or two long ones in it began to come together. Very nice clues with just the right amount of misdirection. Many thanks to Dada and Senf. Went to church this morning in pouring rain for the Bishop to celebrate our patronal festival of All Saints. No choir, 25 people in the congregation and a leaky roof. And this sad decline in our circumstances is all due to, well I’d better stop there but is is so sad to see this beautiful building in the centre of our village going downhill. However, now the sun is shining which is a tonic. I hope the sun is shining on everyone else today. 😊

  18. We found this quite challenging but persevered and gradually everything fell into place. No quibbles here. Favourite was 10a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. *** difficulty for me and now need to lie down in a dark place – thank you Dada and Senf with 5d as my favourite clue.

  20. 3/4. The east side went in smoothly but the west proved tricky. My favourite was 13d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  21. Brilliant and memorable. While 13d was terrifically wily and a real groaner, I actually thought that 5d, 1d, and 12a were just as clever. Anyway, those four top the awards list and there are many runners-up. Faraday’s comment above about the power of the booster vaccines made me laugh and so I look forward to mine in the near future. I thought this was as good as Dada gets and that’s saying something! Thanks to him and to Senf for the hints. *** / *****

  22. A little bit quirky in spots in the puzzle and a little tricky, but overall a great Dada offering. **/***** for me today. Many candidates for favourites today, but the 5 top ones were all down clues … 1d, 5d, 6d, 21d & 24d with winner 1d … or 5d
    Too hard to pick.
    Thought 12a was clever and well disguised and 13d for the double definition. Very clever also.
    24d was also straightforward and jumped right out … like 2d did too!!
    Dada’s puzzles always please me as they are well thought out, IMHO.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  23. The East came together first but the West was a completely different kettle of fish where some solutions occurred to me however couldn’t parse them so sought help and then quibbled before filling them in e.g. 19a, 25a and 13d. 20d and 5d amusing Favs. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  24. I found this very tricky, only completed the east side and then was stuck. I usually find Dada hard so there’s nothing new here. I have to get out and into the pool to get my legs moving. My fave was 20a.
    Thanks Dada, I’ll keep trying. Thanks also to Senf for getting me across the finish line.

  25. Well that was a struggle. Only one on first pass. Eventually NE fell into place but nothing else much.
    Definitely needed the hints. Thanks Senf.
    Took me a long long long time to complete it but really enjoyed it in the end.
    Thanks to Dada

  26. Above my pay grade today. Needed all of Senf’s hints plus a bit of electronic help.
    Still unsure of 8a for which I have 2 possible answers with 1 letter different. I see it as a double definition, but each of my answers fits only one definition…..Ora Meringue ?

    Thanks to Senf and to Dada.

    1. I have a good idea of what your two possible answers might be and suggest you choose the one that applies to the second ‘half’ of the DD.

      1. Thanks, Senf. I was tending in that direction as the other feels like an Americanism, but I am unsure that it fits the first part of the definition so was wondering if I had missed something. (I often do.)

        1. Ora, the answer is a British colloquialism for the first four words of the clue, which in itself is a colloquialism!
          That probably hasn’t helped!

          1. Thanks Hoofit. I don’t associate the word that applies to the second half of the clue with the first half…..but I have led a sheltered life…..

  27. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very good puzzle, but way too difficult for me. Needed the hints for 7,10,20,26a and 1,3,18d. Wouldn’t have solved any of them without the help. Favourite was 19a. Was 5* / 3* for me.

  28. I must have been lucky and landed on the right wavelength today, as I didn’t have much trouble with this Dada puzzle, surprisingly. Had a LOL moment with 23a, and also smiled at 8a. In defense of picture of clues, I can now recognise lots of birds, fish etc. from various picture hints over the years, i.e 10a. Definitely much happier with this one than yesterday’s. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  29. Excellent. Every clue a winner. My cotd was 13d, which looks as though it was not to everyone’s taste.
    11a, not sure the answer is actually ‘colourless’ and I can see how the answer is ‘stake’, anyone help?
    Thanks both.

          1. You weren’t alone. It was my last in & had to look it up too. Agree also that colourless is a bit of a stretch.

  30. Late to start today, and even later to finish. This was definitely the harder end of Dada’s spectrum but with Senf’s help, I got there in the end. I learned a bit about Anglo Irish relations on the way.
    13d and 15a pleased me today.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  31. I was really struggling to parse 7A, as I was using the six-letter source of water that is in the answer, and then thinking that I’ve never seen a washer shaped like the one remaining letter…

  32. Later still but just popping in (having been away over last few weekends) to say thanks again to Dada for the (very…I’ve been away!) challenging puzzle, and to Senf for the (needed) hints…oh, and special mention to Mrs H for getting 13D!

  33. As usual my view of Saturday and Sunday is the reverse of that of Brian. Saturday was splendid, not a walkover but a satisfying solve. Yesterday’s, completed without hints but after a sleep, was a different matter. 20a and 21d were the last two in. I did not parse 10a as I was looking at the wrong pronoun and did not get the tree. At least the answer was right. I do agree with Brian as to 13d. I’m sure it is clever and I like the answer, if I am right, but no idea what it has to do with a painter and decorator.

  34. Finished this with e-help, 3.5/****. LOU 23a which is COTD but a number of other clues could be on the podium. Thanks to setter for a difficult but very enjoyable puzzle, and to Senf for the hard work of the hints.

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