ST 3140 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3140 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3140 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Boxing Day morning from Winnipeg from where I trust that you have awoken from your tryptophan induced slumbers bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to take on Dada’s latest challenge.

A very big thank you to our esteemed editor for providing me with an advance copy of today’s puzzle so that I could complete the solving and the preparation of the hints in advance of the festivities.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada much more friendly than he was last Sunday.  I counted five anagrams (three partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and one homophone – all in a symmetric 32 clues; with 16 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 12a, 28a, 4d, and 15d.

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 Father out of bed, nothing filling in snack – something in the kitchen? (3-2,7)
Dada unusually garrulous to start – a three letter synonym of father, a two letter word that indicates out of bed, and the letter that represents nothing inserted into (filling in) a synonym of snack.

10a Find round sovereign in bank (7)
A synonym of find containing (round) our sovereign identified by the usual two letters.

12a Good space for union man (5)
A single letter for good and a synonym of space.

16a Very keen to go around a country (7)
A single word synonym for very keen (as in eager desire) containing (to go around) A from the clue.

18a Road hazard, however, covered up by staff (7)
A poetic, or abbreviated, synonym of however contained (covered up) by a type of staff.

21a Huge residences, intimate ones (7)
An intimate (as in acquaintance) and another term for ones (in a pack of cards?).

28a Mistake of royalty beginning to cut back (7)
A single word adjective that is equivalent to of royalty (note that ‘of’ is not just ‘filler’) followed by the first letter (beginning to) of Cut all reversed (back).

30a Old spinner given test, he failed to trap Yorkshire’s opener (7-5)
An anagram (failed) of GIVEN TEST, HE containing (to trap) the first letter (opener) of Yorkshire’s.


1d Relate narrative originally supporting pirate at sea (7)
The first letter (originally) of Narrative placed after/under (supporting) an anagram (at sea) of PIRATE.

3d Draw electrical link on beam (7)
A four letter term for an electrical link(?) placed before (on) a synonym of beam (just think of our own Mr T).

7d Literary force, but contrived plot, cold stuff (7,6)
A synonym of but, an anagram (contrived) of PLOT, and some three letter cold stuff.

8d Mother’s absurd tailored garment (7,6)
An anagram (tailored) of MOTHER’S ABSURD.

14d Country welcoming leader in gorgeous African city (5)
A country (not in Africa) containing (welcoming) the first letter (leader in) of Gorgeous.

20d Part not including drinking water, ultimately (7)
A six letter word equivalent to not containing (drinking) the last letter (ultimately) of wateR.

26d Look inside tunnel, going up (4)
The reversed lurker (inside . . . up) found in two words in the clue.

27d Canine, cooler dog in the end (4)
A three letter type of (rotating) cooler and the last letter (in the end) of doG.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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American singer-songwriter Johnny Mathis had his only UK Number One success at Christmas 1976 (much better than most Christmas Number Ones):

51 comments on “ST 3140 (Hints)

  1. Agree with Senf a more benevolent Dada to start off St Stephen’s Day. I found this just enough of a challenge to be enjoyable and satisfying though I suspect the experts would have wanted a stiffer workout.
    For no real reason the SW corner was the last to fall.
    Lots to like with 30a my COTD. Quite poignant wordplay on the day the sad news of Ray Illingworth’s passing broke.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  2. A most satisfying puzzle with lots of good clues such as 7d. Unusually for me with a Dada puzzle I filled a large portion of the grid on the first pass. Normally, I find a Dada puzzle is very slow in revealing its secrets. Anyway, I had ticks all over the paper with my COTD being 1a.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun. Thanks also to Senf for the hints.

  3. 1a was a real smiler (as was 30a) and that set the tone of this very enjoyable puzzle.
    Liked the surface of 6d, along with the clever 28a&20d in particular but favourite has to be the topical 7d.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf, hope all enjoy their Boxing Day.

  4. Thankfully, after the enjoyable excesses of yesterday, this puzzle was at the easier end of Dada’s range.

    Many thanks to him and to Senf.

  5. I think I must have worn out my cryptic grey matter yesterday as I found this trickier than last week’s Dada

    Thanks to him and Senf

  6. An enjoyable puzzle, alrhough I found four that were a bit tricky to parse So I was a bit longer finishing it than usual (4*/4*. Yesterday’s marathon play aession with the grand-children left me a bit depleted. Who knew they made archaeological dig toys?! 7d was the outstanding clue for me. Many thanks to DT for the hints and to Dada for such consistently entertaining Sunday Prize Puzzles. Have a very enjoyable Boxing Day everyone.

  7. I can think of several ways to describe this but benevolent is not one of them. Malevolent perhaps?
    Needed most of the hints and Google to finish this …….!
    Def not full of Christmas spirit. Very little to recommend it.
    Thx for the much needed hints.

  8. Pretty straightforward but I still don’t really understand 9a.
    Liked the old spinner in 30a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

    1. J-L. 9a is a double definition. I’m surprised that the bird is not in the BRB but the second definition is.

    2. Thank you my friends.
      Typical of Paul. Should have read it as “running a cross-country”.

      1. Hi Merusa,
        I’ve been watching the festive edition of ‘Celebrity masterchef’ and one of the contestants cooked the Christmas meal you described to us. It went down very well with the judges!

  9. My brain is clearly not back in full working mode yet as I found some of this quite hard to solve. I got there in the end but it was not as easy as I thought it would be after the first dozen or so clues flew in. 1a and 30a were my joint favourites, with 20d my final entry.

    A most enjoyable Boxing Day workout, so thanks to Dada for this and all this year’s puzzles, and thanks, too, to Senf for his reviews over 2021.

  10. Well for the first time in ages I finished this one alone and unaided….so Dada was definitely benevolent to me.
    Particularly liked the old spinner.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    Hope everyone has had a good Christmas….we certainly have as we made it to Norway to see our son…..after 2 years !
    And there is snow!
    Joy definitely unconfined here.

  11. Nearly finished unaided, just a teensy cheat to fill 20d, whose answer I couldn’t extract despite/because of all the fillers. Like Chriscross, had to take a little time and pleasure parsing. Top marks for all the long un’s today. Thanks Senf for the colourful 8d and Dada for all the fun.

  12. Nice & gentle. Definitely at the benevolent end of the Dada spectrum. Close call between 7d & 30a for pick of the clues. No need to reach for the BRB (my secret Santa present) other than to find out if my slumber had been tryptophan induced.
    Thanks to D&S

  13. As most others have said, a benevolent offering today, completed in ** time. My only query was the parsing of 28a, I’m sure if I’d written the word our backwards I would have seen it, but another royal 5-letter word kept popping into my head.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    A happy Yuletide to all our contributors, and you lurkers who never show yourselves.

  14. I thought that was a bit easier than last Sunday but as CS has been blogging the Double Toughie along with everything else she has on her plate I am not surprised a few neurons may have misfired today.
    I will refrain from mentioning the noise of the penny drop moment for 28a as I don’t have room for even a morsel of cake from the naughty step but I will pick it as COTD for me.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada and may all your hangovers be light (mine isn’t)

      1. Yes it is. It is on the page for yesterday’s (25th) puzzles but carefully disguised as ‘Enigmatic Variations 100,013’ and it is print only.

  15. Great puzzle, Dada on top form I thought with a mixture of some straightforward clues with others requiring lateral thought and and a number of amusing ones…..I particularly enjoyed all 4 of the long edgers…..

  16. Late to this having spent a happy couple of hours on Skype watching the grandchildren knee-deep in offerings from Father Christmas. I had quite a struggle with Dada this morning some of which was possibly down to having stayed up late last night to watch Love Actually for about the fifth time!
    Last to fall and subsequently becoming my favourite was 30a closely followed by 7d.

    Thanks to Dada for the wake up call and to Senf for the hints and mellow voice of Mr Mathis.

  17. Like Jane above, 30a was my last one – I had the second word OK which seems ridiculous now – I looked at the hint and then called David and asked him what the machine was, that is what I thought I was looking for, if that makes sense. I read him the clue and showed him what I had and he got it immediately and he’s hopeless at crosswords. So half a clue took me well into *** time. I remember when I was about 5 my brother had his collection all over the wooden floor and I trod on them all and broke them. Obviously he was very upset but my mother told him I was too little to know what I was doing – horrible child, I knew exactly what I was doing, I was getting my own back on a rather bullying 11 year old. Happy days. Thanks to Dada and Senf and Happy Boxing Day.

    1. Same here Manders for 30a. I looked at the hint, and asked if he knew what the machine was called. He came up with the same selection as me, none of which were right of course. Completely on the wrong track 😊.

  18. Except for 28a (not common over here as a ‘mistake’ but very clever), which was a bung-in, I found this a very friendly Dada, especially after last week’s stumble (mine, not his). Big winners: 7d, 30a, 1a. Thanks to Senf and Dada.** / ***

    Going ‘cuckoo’ in Cloud Cuckoo Land, the new Doerr novel…am I losing it?! Anyone else?

    1. Cloud Cuckoo Land has the dubious distinction of being one of the few books I committed to the recycling bin when I’d finished reading it. Many apologies to the author whose ‘All the Light we Cannot see’ I found thoroughly absorbing, but this one simply wasn’t for me and I couldn’t think of any of my bookworm friends who would have appreciated having it passed on to them.

      1. Don’t you find it depressing that so many modern novels just aren’t worth keeping? My crime novelists mostly come up to scratch but I find the fiction I enjoy, (what I call comfort reads), mostly come out of my very old bookcase.

    2. If I read a real book I tear off the pages I’ve read and throw them away. The book gets lighter as it’s read and you have nothing to bother with once finished. Mostly now I use my iPad. Hotel World by Ali Smith at the moment

  19. Definitely benevolent from us too, but enjoyable nevertheless. Favourite was 7d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. 9a took me a while to parse. What with the bird and the aeroplane the third meaning evaded me.
    30a also took ages as I was so sure the answer was a sporting legend. Got there in the end.
    My COTD is 8d because I remember how well they suited my son in law when he worked there.

  21. I didn’t find this either mal or ben evolent, so just evolent, I guess. The ‘Quick’ crossword took me much longer. Missed yesterday, so Merry Christmas everyone.

  22. For someone who normally has no problem with Dada, I found this difficult.
    Thanks both.

  23. I must be just thick today or maybe just exhausted from all the hustle and bustle with the two families visited yesterday and then cooking dinner, but this was 3*/3* for me today. Yet when all said and done nothing really tricky.
    Favourites for me were 9a, 28a, 30a, 6d & 22d with winner 30a

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints I needed today to keep on track
    Recovery day today.

  24. Oh dear! A much quieter day compared by yesterday but it’s still too noisy for me to be able to concentrate – what on earth does anyone expect on Christmas Day or on Boxing Day?
    I’m not going on for ages but please could someone give me a boot up the back-side to help me get the second bit of 7d? I’d also be very grateful for some help with 28a too – thanks in advance.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf

    1. Good to hear from you. Think 1984 for 7d. The answer to 7d will provide the first letter for 28a, which should help.
      Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

    2. Hi Kath,
      I think Square leg has given you a George Orwell hint for 7d – as for 28a, the answer when pluralised was the title of a British TV series for youngsters broadcast in the 70’s, involving mouse-like creatures with high-pitched voices. Alternatively, the answer is something you drop when making a blunder.

  25. Was quite enjoying this, but wasn’t able to finish without hints and a bit of Google help for several clues. 7d totally evaded me as I was looking for a body that controls written matter, and 30a as I was wracking my brains for a name for the machine to fit the answer, and of course a breed of dog in 27d. Oh dear. I will put it down to being exhausted after entertaining family yesterday. But overall I did better than normal for a Dada puzzle, so quite satisfied. Thanks to Dada and Senf, and Mr Lancaster for obligingly giving him the puzzle ahead of time. Now that’s what I call the Christmas spirit 🌲.

  26. Definitely benevolent for me! As it is a Dada, it wasn’t all plain sailing for me, in the end I needed e-help for 7d, I’d never heard of that and had to look it up. The other one I needed help with was 30a, you shudda heard the thud when it fell! I’m of an age to remember those well, how on earth did it take me so long? That’s my fave with hands down.
    Thank you Dada for the fun, and Senf for his help understanding so much.
    We had a super time yesterday, the result of not socialising for over a year and a get together of my fave people. Good food, champagne (Veuve Cliquot) flowing, a Christmas pudding that lit up like Vesuvius, so much rum it didn’t want to go out! Sadie had a high old time, she’s so good everyone spoils her. I was exhausted when I got home, I was in bed and asleep by nine o’clock. I’m back down to earth, the pool pump is not working and the sun is shining, bah humbug!

  27. Odd time to comment but I’m huddled downstairs due to central heating breakdown on Christmas Day. Favourites 30a and 19d. Needed Senf’s help to parse 28a. Last one in 20d. Thanks Dada. This was certainly not a R&W but just as it should be. What joy when I put weaving, roulette and spiders out of my head for 30a.

  28. Hi! Happy Christmas and New Year all. Am I the only person in the world who can’t get rid of the cookies acceptance notice when I log in on the iphone. I’ve done everything including getting a new phone! Doesn’t happen any other site at all. Frustrating!

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