ST 3137 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3137 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3137 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where it has been revealed that, while the USA has a Strategic Oil Reserve, Canada has a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve – one has to get one’s priorities in the right order!

( Why Canada is unlocking its vault of maple syrup | CBC News )

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, business as usual again this week.  I counted five anagrams (one partial), two lurkers (one reversed), and one homophone and a guess the fish as well as a guess the girl – all in a slightly asymmetric 27 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 – 4a, 13a, 22a, 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:


1a River containing 75 per cent of fish, lower (6)
What must be Dada’s favourite river, of which there are five with same name in GB, containing three letters of a four letter (75per cent) fish.

11a Part of blade, yet rotating in saw (4)
The reverse lurker (part of . . . rotating) found in two words in the clue.

13a Stroke followed by reversed figure — might there be a comma in there? (9,3)
One for the lepidopterists – a (swimming) stroke followed by a (two digit) figure reversed.

16a Device that decreases pure stress, or otherwise (7-5)
An anagram (otherwise) of PURE STRESS, OR.

20a Particulars — of the hokey cokey? (3,3,4)
Where one is instructed to put one’s limbs during the hokey cokey turned into a pluralised nounal expression.

22a Loyal servant wearing skirt? (6)
Written as (4,2) an indication that someone is wearing a type of skirt.

25a Soldiers confronting wicked troublemaker (6)
The three letter term for soldiers placed before (confronting) a modern(?) slang synonym of wicked (which at first blush is more like an antonym).


1d God: American under clerical council raised to accept one (8))
The two letters often used for American placed after (under) the term for a clerical (church) council (or assembly) reversed (raised) and containing (to accept) the letter that represents the Roman numeral for one.

3d Person who criticizes prison? (7)
A double definition – the second is a slang term for prison – I thought it might be an American term but the BRB does not indicate that.

6d Traveller with black dog (3-6)
A synonym of black (think Whitby) and a type of dog.

9d Anything finished? Little following delay, oddly (6-5))
A three letter verbal synonym of finished followed by a synonym(?) of little placed after the odd letters (oddly) of DeLaY – I am not sure that the answer ‘matches’ the definition, I am more familiar with a different definition..

14d Layer helping lab test (9)
A (generic) small type of (feathered) layer and a synonym of helping (as in allowance).

15d Distance set to change over mountains (8)
An anagram (to change) of SET placed before (over) a term for a group of mountains.

21d What goes into grandpa’s tagliatelle? (5)
The lurker (what goes into?) to finish – found in two words in the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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American musician, singer, and songwriter Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, was born on this day in 1932. Apparently considered by some to be ‘the architect of rock and roll,’ this is an example of his work:

56 comments on “ST 3137 (Hints)

  1. Maybe it was just me, but I found this a fair bit harder than recent Sunday puzzles. 13a took me way too long to complete, but once I had it became my favourite. An honourable mention in dispatches too, to 14d. My only raised eyebrow came with my understanding of the definition of 9d. That aside, this was an entertaining and rewarding solve, so thanks to Dada for the fun, and to Senf.

    1. I should probably have mentioned in the hint for 9d that the BRB considers the answer to be N Am inf. I am familiar with the expression as it was in relatively ‘common’ usage during my later years serving HM although, very often and a little like Cockney rhyming slang, only one of the two words was used.

      1. I was very familiar with it at home in England, but have never heard it used here in South Florida. Except when watching Clarkson’s Farm 😊.

  2. The NE &14d took me just into 3* time where I was looking for the wrong definition of “black dog” in the former but finally solving the clever 4a made it all clear. The latter was a guess worked out from the checkers and the “helping”.
    I liked the construction of 9d more than the definition but a good clue all the same as was the skirt wearing servant and the clever use of distance as a verb in 15d. Also liked the aforementioned 4a&6d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  3. I was beaten by 8a and 9d both of which I cannot fathom out despite Senf’s hint for the latter. The rest of the puzzle was most enjoyable if a little tougher than usual. I did like 4a but, having just been to the town suggested by Senf, my COTD is 6d.

    Many thanks to Dada for the beating and to Senf for making sense of it.

        1. Ever since it all went completely wrong in May 16th my brain still can’t work out anything much else!!
          Things are getting a bit better but SO slowly – patience is NOT my middle name but . . .
          There are answers that I still can’t get but I don’t really care – I’ve done much better than the Sunday crosswords so happy for today.
          Thanks to all to Dada and too Senf.

          1. Kath, so very nice to ‘hear’ from you. We all think of you a lot especially on Ray T Thursdays.

          2. Well done, Kath, sorry it’s such a slow process but believe me you really are getting there.

          3. The enjoyment is the thing, Kath. Take care of what matters and the rest will follow in due course. 🌹

      1. I did consider the possibilities for 2d when I solved it and am fairly sure I have the right one, MP.

        Hang on! I have just solved 9d. Now, let’s see.

        Got it!

        Thanks for the help.

  4. Found this a little tricky in places but it all came together in the end.
    Quite a few to smile about including 4&13a along with 9d but my favourite was 6d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. Pleased to hear that you won’t be going short of maple syrup!

  5. Totally stumped by 4a at the moment. Not sure what word could possibly be that shape. Really doubting the letter at the top of 6d, but I see my answer fits the hint.

    1. Got it now. Not happy with it being clued as (6): I’d regard it as (3,3) or (3-3) at a push.

        1. I guess I need a newer edition of the BRB … I have 2 of them a 1983 reprint edition and the 7th edition and neither show the word as a 6 letter word or as 3,3. Just not in there at all.

          1. The rapidly aging, published in 2014, Revised 13th Edition.

            I was told several years ago that there were plans for a 14th Edition but that seems to have been dropped for a total on-line presence.

  6. Favourites 13 and 22a and 1 6 9 and 15d. I had a break when I was lacking 13a 9d and 8 a. It was worth the wait to complete without help. 13a was a real teaser! I am assuming I have 10a right but I am either missing something or it is not a clue I like. Does anyone else admit not to counting the letters and putting the wrong capital in 24a? Thanks Dada and Senf.

    1. 10a also doesn’t do it for me. I know I’ve got it right, as the online version tells me I’ve successfully submitted a complete solution, but no idea why for this clue…

  7. 3*/4*. Nicely challenging and good fun with only one raised eyebrow for 5d.

    My top three were 20a, 22a & 6d.

    9d is an interesting one. It is often used as part of a negative slang phrase, e.g.: “you don’t know 9d” and, as a result of the negative consequence, has started to evolve into the opposite meaning when used on its own. Collins gives the meaning as used in the clue, but the BRB gives the opposite meaning as well assigning it as American.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  8. Quite a lot were straightforward which made it possible for me to get the rest. I was held up in the NE by the god – not knowing any classical literature at all and dragging the name from the deep recesses of my failing memory. The hard fruit also nearly failed me. I had the wrong soldiers for 26a which I could not shake off. Overall an enjoyable solve.

  9. I was also held up by the 8a 9d corner but got there in the end. A bit slow on the uptake as I find if I miss a few days my brain fogs up. Rather hectic few days but now down in Aldeburgh for a week – first nights away since December 2019 so all warm and cosy in our little rented cottage but the weather not so welcoming. Lovely meal in our very favourite restaurant last night and despite an absence of 2 years greeted as friends and not strangers. We both had our big birthdays there is 2019 so a big thank you to The Lighthouse in Aldeburgh run by the amazing Sam and his team. Back to the puzzle – really enjoyable and thanks to Senf and the setter.

    1. We keep promising ourselves a couple of days on the Norfolk/Suffolk coast but something always seems to intervene. Enjoy the change!

  10. I absolutely loved this brilliant Dada today. Thought that 9d could read, as it might in these parts of the American South, ‘anything or nothing’; at any rate, it’s my COTD, followed by 13a, 14d, 16a, and 8a. Best Dada in a while for me. Thanks to Senf for your busy weekend and to Dada. 2.5* / 5*

  11. Difficult but doable although we hadn’t heard of 14d. Favourite was 13a but there were other contenders. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. Just the right level of brain testing for me. ***/*** 9d made me laugh. Favourite 13a. Thanks to all.

  13. A trickier Dada today. I too picked the wrong answer for 2d so 8a and 9d took a bit of thinking about. I will pick 13a and 17d as C’sOTD, the clunk when the PDM came was most satisfactory. I did waste some time looking for a German fish called O**o
    Thanks to Senf for his double duty today and yesterday and thanks to Dada too

  14. I started to look for a pangram when I saw 4a and 9d made me look again! (Not too naughty?) as well as those two I liked 16,20 and 22a and 6d. George knew 14d, I would not have twigged that one. A very pleasant diversion on a grey and miserable day, but the Lovely Neighbours are trotting down the Gin Path at 6 so that is a pleasant thought to sustain me. Many thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  15. One of those where all but 8a and 9d were solved in the time it takes to drink 2 cups of tea. 8a and 9d I could have stared at until doomsday and get no closer to the answer.
    I still have absolutely no idea what the answers are and have now lost all interest.
    Thanks both.

  16. Without a doubt a very tricky Dada puzzle today … quirky in some areas, most assuredly. For me 3*/4* today. Whilst it was very hard to get this one going, it eventually and slowly came together. Needed a few hints today, so thanks to Senf for figuring this out.
    Clues for favourites include 13a, 20a, 23a, 6d & 9d

    Thanks to Dada for this Sunday challenge and Senf for the hints

  17. Definitely at the hard end of Dada’s spectrum… others, I felt 9d didn’t match the definition (whatever Collins may say) but it came to me in a flash once I had the checkers….re 8a, I know it is technically a fruit, but…..

  18. Bit unsatisfactory picking at this one through the working day. As has previously been said, a lot of staring at the wonderful 13a for a sweet PDM.

  19. Pax, I surrender! I knew I was in trouble early on and almost gave up, then I revisited the NW and started off with a bang. Having a choice at 2d, I chose the wrong one. I was about three quarters done when I ran out of crossword time, must do something else, like get in the pool and flail my legs around. COTD was 9d, my fave expression, it says a mouthful.
    Thanks Dada, and much appreciation to Senf for hauling me over the finish line.

    1. It’s a Sunday Prize Puzzle but there’s a hint for 9d and an ‘unofficial’ hint for 8a in Comment 3.

  20. Glad that I could finish, albeit it with a few hints, but found some definitions rather stretched, or at least part of the clue, such as 21a. Thrown by the 6 letter 4a, as I have always seen it as 3, 3 and I did put in the wrong choice for 2d at first. Didn’t find it as tricky as most Sundays, so that is a plus. Thanks to setter (Dada?), and to Senf.

  21. I, too, got stuck on 8a. I misunderstood 2d. Thanks for the gentle nudges. I got there eventually.

  22. Phew! I found that a struggle not helped by quibbling over a few – 4a (2 words), 10a – no, 16a (puts creases IN), 9d – no and in any case I hate that expression, 14d – not sure about xxxxx. Altogether not a lot of fun but interspersed it with watching Davis Cup final which was more amusing. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  23. Well it was reasonably straightforward until 4&13a but figuring out those two more than doubled the solve time. I thought it above average in terms of difficulty & as usual great fun to solve. My page, if I had one, was littered with ticks but if I had to plump for a favourite it would be 6d. Lovely opening round of golf in Orlando though fair to say the course won.
    Thanks to D&S

    1. Glad you made it and that your opening round was at least ‘lovely’. It’s very late–almost 10 pm here–and I’ve just finished Monday’s bonus cryptic. I think you’ll enjoy doing that one, especially the long answers.

  24. A quite delightful puzzle while it lasted to end the evening, one where I had the fortune to find myself on the setter’s wavelength from the off – found myself thinking that Dada was in a particularly benevolent mood, at least for my mindset. Really enjoyed the constructions, but was slowed down at the finish by putting the wrong letter for the beginning of 9d – one from the other end of the alphabet – making me wonder what on earth 8a could be, until the light dawned and I saw my error, and groaned audibly. Hon Mentions to 14d and 8a.

    1* / 3.5*

    Many thanks indeed to Dada and to Senf.

  25. Never heard of 14d and for some reason 8a eluded me, but other than that I completed this fairly difficult but very enjoyable puzzle. Very difficult to choose COTD from this clever collection of clues, but 13a was beaten to the podium by 20a, which made me laugh. Thanks to Dada and to Senf whose hints I will now read and enjoy.

  26. Sorry to be late to the party I though this was an excellent challenge thank you Dada and Senf (and I’m going to get some of that maple syrup!).

  27. What is the BRB? Managed to finish this after a couple of sittings, 8a was last in mainly because I got the spelling of 2d wrong. I thought 9d iffy along with 25a. Must be getting past it. Favourite 20a.

    1. BRB is the Big Red Book, as the Chambers Dictionary is affectionately known around these parts.
      Further info is available in the FAQ up above;👆


  28. Travelling back from Norfolk to Austria – at the mercy of KLM – so only got round to Dada today.

    Looked v intractable at the start but all soon fell into place with a little liquid inspiration.

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