ST 3138 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3138 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3138 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we have ‘warmed up’ after starting the week with highs of minus 20 and we may even reach plus 3 today!

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, once I got going, I should have started with the Downs, Dada bordering on benevolent this week.  I counted six anagrams (three partials), one lurker (reversed), and no homophones – all in a symmetric 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 – 18a, 2d, 5d, and 7d.

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 Supporter of bridge game (7)
A double definition to start – for the first, the bridge might be temporary.

11a Bones set, unfinished before seventh of operations (5)
A 5 letter type of set, that was one of the only forms of domestic entertainment before TV came along, with its last letter deleted (unfinished) followed by the seventh letter of operations.

13a Point rewritten another way (5-4)
An anagram (rewritten) of ANOTHER and the abbreviated form of a way (on which we might live).

15a Piece from Bach’s ending in state of ecstasy (7)
The last letter (ending) of BacH inserted into (in) a single word for state of ecstasy.

17a Wheels turned within 1760 yards, phenomenal achievement (7)
A synonym of wheels (as personal transport) reversed (turned) and inserted into (within) what is 1760 yards.

23a Opener in European city’s team (9)
A European port city (West of Milford Haven) including the possessive apostrophe and a type of (water borne?) team.

25a In spite of all that, victory secured by hero we suspect (7)
The single letter for Victory inserted into (secured by) an anagram (suspect) of HERO WE.


1d Friendly hosts I would scare (10)
A synonym of (very?) friendly contains (hosts) the contracted form of I would.

2d Work wearing the aforementioned formal item (3,3)
The abbreviated form of a (musical?) work contained by (wearing) a four letter word for the aforementioned.

5d Composer has caught cold on hot, hot day (8))
A generic probably informal term for a composer containing (has caught) the single letter for Cold and the single letter for Hot.

14d Frame a chart I’ve redesigned around capital in Reykjavik (10)
An anagram (redesigned) of A CHART I’VE containing (around) the first letter (capital) of Reykjavik.

16d Check injury caused by knife, blunt (3,5)
A three letter injury that can be caused by a knife and a synonym of blunt (describing a person’s behaviour).

19d Gallery area briefly accommodating knave (6))
AREa from the clue with the last letter removed (briefly) containing (accommodating) a three letter synonym of knave.

22d King with currency (4)
The single letter from the Latin for King and a synonym of with.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Something to ‘blame’ my 6 years older sister for, American pop singer, former actress, and top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, better known as Connie Francis, is 84 years young today. This is the second of her two UK number ones from 1958:

39 comments on “ST 3138 (Hints)

  1. A very enjoyable but relatively friendly puzzle from the Sunday maestro.
    As usual with this setter I have lots of podium contenders including the clever 13&17a plus 15a as it’s a lovely word along with 5&17d.
    Many thanks to Senf and Dada.

  2. I too found this friendly and enjoyable (2.5*/4*). I liked 7a and 17a and got stuck on 1d for a qhile because I misread what I had written in the checker. Otherwise it wastrouble free. Thanks to Senf for thehints and to a benevolent Dada for a fine puzzle.

  3. I agree that this was Dada in a friendly pre-Christmas mood this morning, with nothing particularly obscure or difficult to slow up what was a fairly rapid solve. As always with this setter there were one or two awkward moments, but overall this was nicely clued and good fun to complete. 23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. 1.5*/4*. This was friendly and fun, with 23a my favourite. Bizarrely with hindsight, my biggest issue was working out what the “set” was in order to parse 11a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I had the right answer for 11a immediately, but was the last in as I could not get “set”, it’s one of crosswordland’s basics.

  5. Despite needing help with a couple, this was most enjoyable and I had stars by many clues. Those of note are 18a, 21a and 24a but my COTD is 5d.

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

  6. I had a few bung ins that required Senf’s help to fully parse (16d 11a) but a somewhat easier Dada today.
    I agree with Steve’s podium with the addition of 15a for the PDM.
    For a while, I thought the top and bottom row was an anagram of “I need a tissue”. I hope Dada isn’t coming down with the lurgi.

  7. Raced through this one today. All that time spent staring at Toughies must be having an effect.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    Aren’t the picture hints rather literal for a prize crossword?

    1. FAQ 9.1!

      Within the remit given to me by our dear leader, except I no longer use the option of being able to reveal the answer by ‘hovering.’

  8. I fully agree with the sentiments expressed above. A friendly and enjoyable puzzle. It did ask some questions as in 13a and 23a (I would not have struggled if the clue was xxxxx xxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxx).
    Thx to all

  9. I thought perhaps dada was having a day off. This was very benevolent. **/*** I can’t work out why 17d is what is which is irritating. Can anybody enlighten me without visiting the naughty step? Lots to like but no particular favourite. Thanks to all.

    1. I had trouble with that one Greta. The anagram in question gives a word that is descriptive of one characteristic xx xxx xx and I’m convinced that Merusa will get it straight away.

  10. Like RD, the ‘set’ caught me off guard and I also allowed my mind to wander through Bach compositions for a while. I could almost hear our setter chuckling……..
    Think my favourite was 24a which made me laugh.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I certainly remember Stupid Cupid and don’t even have an elder sister to blame it on!

  11. Very gentle for a Dada puzzle though I’d have finished a darn side quicker if I hadn’t initially (heaven knows why) selected the wrong part of the body at 7d. Enjoyable as always with 13&23a plus 5d claiming the podium spots.
    Thanks as ever to D&S.
    Ps one game of golf left & then back home to winter’s gloom – deep joy.

  12. Took a time to get into this for no obvious reason as I agree it was at the easier end of Dada’s range.
    9d brought Hoofit to mind – still dishing out the cards H? COTD was 26a, probably a chestnut, but it brought a smile, and to Terence I guess.
    Thanks Dada and Senf for the hints.
    Now fpr the Grand Prix.

    1. Hi LROK, I have taken a temporary holiday from refereeing, due to the outbreak of the new strain of the virus. Grassroots football is not the best environment to avoid the plague!

  13. Sleepyhead Sunday. After the deep pleasures of solving this friendly Dada last night, I slept through a rainy night, past breakfast and the delivery of the Sunday paper, and woke wondering what year it was. But I do remember enjoying 18a and the Bach piece and that philanthropic communist most of all. Also liked 17d, so clever. Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / ****

  14. Probably the most straightforward Dada crossword we’ve done. Dual favourites were 7d and 9d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. I found this the most benevolent Dada ever, to the point I doubted if it was he.
    A wavelength thing after tackling many Paul puzzles in the Guardian perhaps.
    Getting the two long clues down the sides certainly helped.
    Thanks both.

  16. Dada in Christmas mood? Very straightforward, some odd surfaces, but no special GK required and enjoyable while it lasted.

    HMs to 21a and 2d, COTD to 11a.

    0.5* / 3*

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf

  17. Found this puzzle a relatively benign Dada offering, but nonetheless very pleasant. 2*/4* for me today. Some fun clues for favourites including 13a, 17a, 18a, 24a, 2d & 20d, very hard to pick a winner so I won’t as they were all good.
    7a, 24a & 9d all made me grin.
    Super puzzle today, thank you Dada.
    Thanks to Senf for hints that I only used for 13a for the parsing, although I had the answer.

  18. Bizarrely it was the point in 13a that gave me the trouble others had with the set in 11a. Apart from that, that felt quick, and almost as enjoyable as yesterday’s puzzle.

  19. A very benign Dada, indeed, and almost solved without help. I used e-help to solve the anagram at 14d, I’d not heard of that before and doubt I’ll remember it. There was so much to like, fave was 17d, but 7d was giggle worthy. Am I finally on Dada’s wavelength?
    Thank you Dada for the fun and Senf for unravelling some. My word, Connie Francis took me back a long way! Thanks for the memories.

  20. I really enjoyed this one. Thanks to the setter for 21a and to Senf for sorting out my ‘set’.

  21. Just as I was beginning to think I was perhaps getting onto Dada’s wavelength I see that most commentators felt today’s puzzle was on the uncomplicated side. Nevertheless I enjoyed the trouble-free workout which was a perfect wind-down from today’s main event in the form of West Side Story which is an excellent, if somewhat violent and emotional, screen revival of the Stephen Spielberg successful Broadway show which I well remember seeing in the 60’s while living in NYC. 5d is a bit loose. My Fav 24a. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  22. Only two clues put up a fight, 15a (I was looking for the wrong definition), and 17d which was a total mystery until I saw the comments in the blog, but then partial anagrams are not my favourite. An enjoyable Sunday solve. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

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