ST 3135 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3135 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3135 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.  Hands up all those who fondly remember ST 2978 published on November 18th, 2018, a.k.a. Dada’s first Sunday puzzle.  So here we are three years and a few days later, and Dada is still in the Sunday chair and, even though I have been in the blogging chair for all three years worth of puzzles, I still have more hair on my head than my son and my baby brother put together.  Although, I have to admit that my MPB tonsure ‘patch’ is growing weekly if not daily!

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada nothing like he was three years ago.  In fact, and I hope I don’t upset too many by saying this, it seemed like a Monday Campbell a day early.  I counted five anagrams (two partials), two lurkers, and one homophone – all in a slightly asymmetric 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 – 10a, 23a, 4d, and 8d

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 Strike, touch careless (8)
Not a double, or a triple, definition – synonyms of strike and touch.

10a Peninsula in African country refusing leader (6)
Begin with the illustrated African country and delete the first letter (refusing leader).

11a Fancy pants in use, old (8)
An anagram (yes, that terrible indicator pants) of IN USE, OLD.

17a Second hot drink, coffee (5)
An informal abbreviation of a synonym of second and a brewed hot drink.

20a Perilous arrival, something flipped onto floor at end of flight (7,7)
Something that is flipped during a cooking process and the ‘disastrous end’ of its flight, onto floor, if it does not end back in the pan.

23a Flower father keeps out back, one ending in soil (8)
An informal synonym of father containing (keeps) a synonym of out reversed (back), followed by the letter representing the Roman numeral for one and the last letter (ending in) of soiL.

28a An insect on the move, most cautious (8)
An anagram (on the move) of AN INSECT.


1d Society member in black suit (4)
A double definition – the second is a bit of a ‘stretch’ of the use of member.

5d One of those roasted in joke? (8)
A type of joke, or a crossword clue, that is considered ‘an oldie but goodie’.

6d Asian individuals coming in from Kolkata, say? (10)
A synonym (note the plural) of individuals inserted into (coming in) a term for someone from Kolkata.

13d A personal failing, with mistake finally admitted, for high-fliers (10)
An anagram (failing) of A PERSONAL containing (with . . . admitted) the last letter (finally) mistakE.

14d Specific taste of macaroni cheese (5)
A lurker (taste of) found in two words in the clue.

21d Passionate office into music, for example (6)
A type of (home) office contained by (into) what music is a form of (for example).

26d River of Ukraine seems endless, initially (4)
The first letters (initially) of four words in the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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A random selection that ‘popped up’ on YouTube while I was considering a Jimi Hendrix number one from November 21st, 1970.  Dave Brubeck, live in Belgium in 1964, with some good improvisation especially an almost two minute drum solo by Joe Morello:

89 comments on “ST 3135 (Hints)

  1. 1.5*/4*. The usual high quality Sunday fun from Dada at the easier end of his spectrum. Many thanks to him and to Senf.

    4d doesn’t quite work for me even with the question mark, as I don’t think the answer is someone who delivers.

    My podium places go to 17a, 20a & 8d.

  2. Good morning, everyone. It’s my 83rd birthday, and I have just watched Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins–a very early birthday present, since it’s just 0520 over here. Haven’t seen the puzzle yet, so I hope to be back later. Hope Dada has a nice present for me and that all of you are having a good Sunday. Cheers to all of y’all!

    1. Happy Birthday Robert. I enjoy your reminiscences about your time in England and Nottingham in particular. I wish you continued good health and happiness

    2. Happiest of days, Robert! Have lots of fun and a nice relaxed day, enjoy the Dada. You’ve now caught up but I’ll soon be ahead again!

      1. Thank you, Merusa! Does wisdom begin at 83? Never thought I’d be around this long…and still learning something new every day.

  3. Excellent, I loved this from probably my favourite setter, solved over two early morning cups of tea.
    I’d never heard of the term at 20a but it was obvious with wordplay and checkers.
    In a very strong field my podium contenders are 15a&25a plus 8&16d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the first class entertainment.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyable and a good confidence builder for the forthcoming week.
    Loved 20a and 22d, my last in.
    So, **/*****
    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  5. Super puzzle but not quite as easy as others have suggested. My COTD is 20a which made me smile. Can’t help feeling that 4d is not quite right, surely this person is a sender rather than a deliverer?
    Very enjoyable.
    Thx to all
    Now off the walk the dog before it rains and the cold weather sets in.

  6. A lovely way to start a sunny day in Shropshire. This was definitely a long way from the relatively impenetrable fug I found myself in three years ago, post Virgilus. 17a was my top clue for its simplicity, although 20a was a close second for different reasons.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and thanks too, to Senf.

  7. A really enjoyable puzzle with so many great clues it difficult to pick one(2.5*/5*). There was good misdirection in 9a. 11a was clever and 20a mde me laugh. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  8. Apart from 4d where the answer isn’t used in this context on either side of the Atlantic, this was a benevolent puzzle from dada. **/**** I’d never heard of 20a and mercifully never been involved in one but it’s easily doable with the checkers. The quickie on the other hand took me nearly as long to sort out as this one. An awful of lot of synonyms that were stretched beyond breaking point. No real favourite. Happy birthday, Robert. Thanks to all.

  9. Not my favourite puzzle from this setter but perhaps I was expecting something a bit more auspicious to mark his anniversary!
    Top two here were 15a & 16d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the slice of Dave Brubeck.

  10. Don’t know about Campbell a day early but this was a breeze until it wasn’t. I came to an abrupt halt with 4 left in the SW – 16&21d plus 23a & the first bit of 20a. It was only when the wordplay penny dropped with 20a (never heard of) that the fog lifted & I realised that the flower didn’t start with the consonant I thought it did & the dominos fell obligingly.
    Quality puzzle as ever. 9,20&27a along with 6,8&16d the big ticks for me. Am guessing his Graun prize puzzle will be a different proposition.
    Thanks to Dada & Senf.

    1. Possibly the same four as me! Fixed after a couple of pints at the pub. Many happy returns to Robert 🥳🥳 mine was yesterday, but several years behind you. Still a large number though!

  11. Ah ha, the puzzle is back on my Kindle although now I have to log in each time to access the Telegraph. Loving today’s offering but still got two to go, 8d and 22d. I will look at it later and hope to finish it off. Happy Birthday Robert, have a lovely day. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  12. Dada has settled in nicely and the horrors of those early Sunday’s have long gone. A few 5d’sbut this lad from the NE picked 28a for my favourite.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  13. Enjoyed every minute of this one. Favourites were 20A 8D, 16D.

    I agree 4D definitely needed the question mark.

    Sigh, now I’m rested it’s back to raking those leaves.

  14. About average Dada for me but as always a pleasurable Sunday morning exercise. Brightened up a cloudy damp morning up here.
    Go for 20a as my COTD.
    Thanks to DaDa and Senf for the hints.
    Like a few others I think I found the first Dada offerings impenetrable. Thanks to your hints my ability improved. It took 6 months for my Sunday morning routine to be restored. Can’t thank you enough Senf.

  15. I parsed 20a differently from Senf’s hint. The first word is something flipped which does not have to be disastrous. The second word is the floor at the end of a flight. I don’t think I have said too much to warrant the naughty step!

      1. I had not heard of the expression but second word was obvious. I got the first word with the checkers but could not justify “onto floor” until the penny dropped.

  16. Thank you to Dada for this anniversary edition. Thanks to Senf for long standing Sunday hints. I sailed along with most of this, a far cry from the early days. However I became miserably unstuck at the end. Fancy has diverse meanings as a verb, adjective or even a noun. I had no success in looking up synonyms. The reason became clear as I had the wrong third letter. I quickly thought of an old word for someone who delivered with which I was satisfied. I am not too good on US novelists but found one and the use of obscure (to me) novelists is not unheard of. It was only reading other comments that I twigged and I agree the name does not fit someone who delivers. Favourites 27a and 8 16 and 20d.

  17. On the first pass I got to 25a before solving a clue. I then went to the end without solving any more. However, knowing this is always the way with a Dada puzzle, I persisted and it gradually revealed its secrets in true Dada fashion. What a wonderful puzzle it was. The lurker was very well hidden and 27a was very neat. My COTD is 20a because of the great misdirection that had me thinking of things that were flipped on the floor. Great moment of “doh” when the penny finally dropped.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints.

    Hudson and I walked to the edge of the moor this morning but as the weather was a cold, howling gale and driving rain, we decided to go back to the pub for a couple of pints and a warm by the log fire.

  18. Thank you all, my lovely cruciverbal friends, for the birthday greetings. I am having a very good day–first, I was beguiled and bemused by a wild NYT Sunday jumbo puzzle (the ‘code’, which it took me a while to break, involved movie titles within movie titles [Huntsman would love it!] ); then, I really enjoyed this charming Dada puzzle–archetypal Dada, which and whom, in my almost two years on the blog, I’ve grown to appreciate deeply…from age 81 to 83, if one can call that ‘growing’! I really liked 20a best of all, but 16d and 8d run a close 2nd and 3rd. ** / *****

    And, guess what: Let me recommend Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle…very different from his award-winning The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. Very American, very New Yorkish, to be sure, and a crackerjack of narrative discipline and sheer story-telling. I’m loving it.

    1. That is a book that will be going on my list to read for sure.
      I recall many years ago reading “A Star Shines Over Mt. Morris Park” by Henry Roth and thinking a more New Yorkish book would be hard to imagine. I visited Mt. Morris Park in about 1998/2000 but it has been renamed in honour of Marcus Garvey, but nevertheless, Henry Roth is a greater American novelist than 4d IMO.
      Hippo Burpday from me too 🎂🎂🥃

      1. I agree about Roth re 4d, although The Executioner’s Song is worth the effort. 4d was always about 4d but manages to keep his distance in that one.

      1. I just put Cloud Cuckoo Land on the back-burner once the Whitehead arrived as a birthday present.

  19. Perfectly straightforward with no hmms from us. Favourite was 20a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. Many thanks Dada for a great puzzle. 8 and 13d were brilliant, I didn’t need the hints but always pleased to know they are there so thanks also to Senf. Like others, not to happy with 4d but just being picky. 1d was my last one in. It’s jolly cold today brrr.

  21. Agree with Senf on the gentleness of this Dada offering. Not quirky but very logical for the most part. **/**** for me. Clues to like for favourites include 7a, 20a, 23a, 2d & 8d.
    I liked the construction of 2d,16d, 27a … just to pick three clues, that were very similar in brevity and reminded me of Ray T clues.
    All in all enjoyable solve for a Sunday.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  22. Dada does occasionally throw us a friendly puzzle, but I’m afraid I didn’t find today’s to be one. Unlike everyone above, I struggled with this. Last night I finally got around to tackling Zandio’s from Friday, and was feelong good at completing. But then I came back down to earth this morning. Perhaps the answers will become clearer later over lunch. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. I parsed 20a as the something which we flip next to the second thing. My next to equals onto. Perhaps I am wrong.

    1. I took the second part of 20a was referring to ‘floor at end of flight’ as in a staircase.

      Thanks to Dada for the puzzle, and to Senf.

        1. I often do that especially if I got distracted half way through a comment. Also when a lot of replies it’s easy to miss something. I’m sure we are right though which makes it a very clever clue. It is easy to forget that particular flight especially when the clue is aircraft related.

  24. Haven’t heard from Grannie Helen in a while but, if she’s around, I’d love to hear how she got on with reading The Dinner Guest. I don’t think it will be finding a place on my ‘all time favourites’ list but at least I gave it the chance. Odd and contrived spring to mind!

  25. It has taken me forever to get on Dada’s wavelength after the initial impenetrable offering. I sailed through this with huge enjoyment, with the exception of 11a where I had to use e-help, that pesky “pants” again. I’m going to choose to ignore it, I can’t believe I forgot it again. I loved it all, impossible to choose a fave, maybe 20a?
    Thank you Dada for the fun, and Senf for his unravelling a couple … oh, and for the Dave Brubeck, a classic memory.

    1. I remember the first time I heard ‘Take Five’ – sitting in the bedroom of a university student in Manchester. He went on to become a well-respected expert in his particular field of science, I just hope his ideas of personal hygiene improved somewhere along the way! Not a very longstanding relationship for me…………

      1. I was living in London when I heard it first, must have been the early 1960s but don’t remember the exact year. I never went to Uni, I did the Cambridge Higher School Certificate, I think they call it Sixth Form now. You must have had a lot of fun!

        1. Jane and Merusa: I saw Brubeck in concert, sitting way up in a balcony, in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was a delegate to a college-wide Honour(s) Society (Phi Eta Sigma) in the autumn of 1958. It remains the only live jazz concert I’ve ever attended, and it was brilliant. Yes, he encored with ‘Take Five’.

  26. 2/4. Another puzzle at the easier end of the spectrum. As others have mentioned 4d doesn’t work for me but this minor blemish is no big issue when the rest of the clues were so well crafted. 20a was my favourite. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  27. Not really my scene but surprised myself by finishing it. 20a had to be but it’s a new one on me. My least Favs for various reasons were 11a, 1d, 3d, 16d and 22d. Thank you Senf for hints and Dada for 3 years of your brand of puzzling.

  28. Late as usual. Fairly whizzed through this and thought it was full of gems and well constructed clues but I’m really stuck on 22D. I can see what it must be but for the life of me cannot see why. Any help that doesn’t break any rules appreciated ( if anyone around this late in the day). Thank you Senf and Dada.

    1. I’ll try. A two-letter word that means ‘fix’ as in ‘fix it!’ + a pipe that carries water. I hope that this hint doesn’t break any rules, MsGlad.

      1. Got it! Thank you Robert, no rules broken as far as I can see. I’d hate for you to be sitting on that draughty step without a cake in sight on your birthday!

  29. An enjoyable puzzle to come home to after running the Conwy Half Marathon in the cold sunshine this morning. I hadn’t heard of 20A but it became my favourite. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  30. Thank you Robert and Happy Birthday. Like MsGlad I could not fathom 22d, coming late to the puzzle today.
    Your birthday makes me wonder, does doing this thing every day keep our brains young? Difficult to run a double/blind controlled experiment.

    1. I had always been under the impression that crosswords, etc. helped to stop mental decline however I then read more recently that researchers conducting a study under Dr.Roger Staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary had found this was not in fact the case. Whom to believe? In any case that doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a daily cryptic dose!

    2. Thanks, Granimal Doctor! I’ve been doing crosswords since my early teens, most notably and most happily the New York Times. Started doing cryptics about five years ago, was a lurker until 2020 when the lockdown began. I like to think that the cryptics especially keep our brains young, as you put it, though the particularly tricky nature of the NYT and the L A Times puzzles has been the seasoning I’ve needed for the cryptics. Cheers!

  31. I finished this almost unaided, except that Mr. Th had inspiration for 20a. This quirky clever puzzle was challenging but a pleasure to solve, with an interesting collection of anagram indicators. Very difficult to choose COTD but 2nd on the podium was my LOI 22d and first place to 15a.
    Many thanks to Dada for a really enjoyable puzzle, difficult but doable, and to Senf for the hints which I will now read and enjoy, together with all the comments

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