ST 3142 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 3142 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3142 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winterpeg where we are cycling through several days of extreme cold followed by a couple of days of warm enough for snow, rinse and repeat. Still, when all this (frozen) moisture gets into the water table during the Spring thaw we may not be in ‘drought conditions’ any more!

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, and once again, Dada as friendly as he was last Sunday.  I counted a generous seven anagrams (two partials), one lurker, and two  homophones (one partial) – all in a slightly asymmetric 29 clues; with 15 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 27a, 1d, 23d, and the Pun.

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:


8a African native, captive in Mali, one’s sensed (7)
We start with the lurker (captive in) found in three words in the clue.

10a England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are in new country (7)
What our four listed countries combine to become followed by an anagram (new) of ARE IN.

14a Team are one short: more than one way back (7)
ARe from the clue with the last letter removed (one short) followed by the plural (more than one) of a type of way (for travel) reversed (back).

17a Brainiest men cite virtually ludicrous politician (7,8)
An anagram (ludicrous) of BRAINIEST MEN CITe with the last letter removed (virtually).

26a Where Arctic fossils are uniquely preserved? Wrong (9)
A (2,4,3) phrase which can indicate where (and how) Arctic fossils are preserved.

27a It’s not known who wrote that about military decoration etc (3,2,2)
The four letter term that indicates an unknown writer containing (about) a three letter abbreviation of a military decoration.

28a Bar where trouble curbed by gang (7)
A three letter verbal synonym of trouble contained (curbed) by a synonym of gang.


1d Miscalculation has kids at school on the rise (4-2)
A single word for kids at school reversed (on the rise) and divided per the enumeration.

3d Decided trim needed when scruffy (10)
An anagram (when scruffy) of TRIM NEEDED.

4d Country welcoming leaders in another leading country (9)
Guess a country, but it should become obvious, containing welcoming the first letters of (leaders in) Another Leading.

7d Mock rings fit for seller of necklaces etc (8)
A synonym of mock (as in make fun of) contains (rings) a synonym of fit.

17d Dark grey fish on cabbage, did you say? (8)
A four letter fish (that Dada has used before) followed by (on) a homophone (did you say) of a four letter synonym of cabbage.

20d Country united over borders in Guinea? (6)
The single letter for united before (over) the first and last letters borders of GuineA with a conjunction between them.

22d Bottom of lass on narrow horizontal surface for ride over snow (6)
The last letter (bottom) of lasS followed by (on) a term for a narrow horizontal surface (in a rock face perhaps).

25d Tightly-packed group never heard? (4)
A homophone (heard) of a synonym of never.

Quick Crossword Pun:


Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES OR HINTS in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

I wonder if I can buy one of these in Winterpeg, Troika, the fourth movement from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite, by Sergei Prokofiev.  Anatole Fistoulari conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra:

70 comments on “ST 3142 (Hints)

  1. Dada is one of those setters who never disappoints, I thought this was top notch.
    I’d never heard of 6d as a verb but the checkers and wordplay led me there and that was my only slight hitch.
    Sunday stars for me were 10&25a with golds going to 14&27a.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. There were uite a lot of anagrams, which I enjoyed but I found the west more challenging than the east (3*/5*). There were some stonking good clues here and superb misdirection. I loved the lurker at 2d, 16d and 13a but COTD was26a. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada, consistently good, as ever.

      1. I meant 8a, Senf. I had a job to choose favourites because there were so many good clues and it was between 8a and 2d, which was indeed a nicely misdirected anagram.

  3. 2*/4.5*. This was great fun at the lighter end of Dada’s spectrum for me. There did seem to be a lot of anagrams; I didn’t count them as I knew Senf would already have done the maths.

    My podium choices are 26a, 27a & 20d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. Unlike Stephen I didn’t think this puzzle was one from Dada’s top drawer though that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it – reckon his Graun Prize yesterday (which I did this morning) the better of the two. Agree that it was at the gentler end of his difficulty range. The fact that my solve wasn’t particularly quick entirely due to a reluctant PDM at 27a. Clear favourite the witty 26a with 14&27a taking podium spot.
    As ever thanks to D&S.
    Ps I’m always surprised at how few comments the NTSPP receives. I thought yesterday’s Jaffa puzzle tricky but great fun & certainly worth a look.

      1. I’m one short in Picaroon’s Friday puzzle & it’s driving me potty.
        Knew you’d peg Millers Crossing incidentally. I did watch it & never tire of it. Have you watched Power of the Dog yet ?

  5. Certainly felt like something of an anagram fest this morning and it was without doubt one of Dada’s easier puzzles. 17a was neatly constructed and my favourite was 27a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and jolly piece of music – almost makes one feel excited by the prospect of dashing through the snow!

  6. Must have been me as I didn’t find Dada in benevolent mood at all. 3/4 of it was, but the last few took seemingly forever , even though I had almost all the checkers. Needed self-help for 3d which was stupid of me.
    Settle for 26a, which brought a smile, as my COTD.
    Thank you Dada for the challenge and Senf for the hints.
    Lovely winters day up here. Virtually no wind with sun providing lots of green energy to our solar panels.

      1. Championship course closed due to frost H. Otherwise yes the perfect day for winter golf.

    1. When I started I thought I’d be walking in the park with Dada today, but I soon got bogged down in the NE, not helped by 14a! I never did solve 6d.

  7. Great fun.
    Loved 26a.
    Probably pondering for too long over 6d and 17d put me into 2.5* time.
    Many thanks, indeed, Dada and Senf.

  8. I agree, this was one of the easier Dada’s we have had. The first pass gave me 2/3rds and a second pass gave me all bar two in the SW.( 24a 25d) but I still set a PB. The reversal of the scholars and the three countries pinged my recent repeat radar.
    I did this last night before bed and I was one of the early solvers but just a smidgen behind a certain Moutarde on the puzzles leaderboard.
    15d triggered a nightmare of a certain 15d of my youth
    26a and 27a tied on the top step of my podium.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. As you might have guessed, Moutarde (on the Puzzles web site) is my (evil?) twin. Some time ago, years not weeks or months, when the Puzzles web site was having one of its spells of ‘playing silly b*ggars’ I could not log is as me as ‘that name was already in use’ (or similar) so I had to register anew as someone else.

      Fingers crossed, no further problems although subscription renewal is later this month so toes crossed as well!

      1. Every time I speak/e-correspond with the DT I plead for a simpler system than what prevails. I pay for dead tree and e subs via one DD and have to use some weird Worldpay website for the puzzles site. They give smooth words agreeing that the system is overcomplicated and it would be better if one payment covered all needs. Digital subscribers on Ipads/Android get cryptic and toughie these days but if you use the website you have to have a puzzle sub as well to get the puzzles. Crazy or what?

    2. It would seem to me that the puzzles leaderboard is in a constant state of flux. Whenever I refresh it it changes the rankings around so it doesn’t seem to be an accurate measure of position. The old site used to display one’s solving time which I preferred, but that all changed just over 3 years ago.

  9. Great fun if very tricky in parts. Thx for the hints that were needed once or twice. My fav was my last in 6d.
    Cannot fully parse 17d or 11a or see what deck has to do with the answer in 15d.
    Was not at all keen on 16d, very weak I thought.
    As always Dada puzzles are very satisfying to solve even if sometimes I fail spectacularly.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian, not many days ago you were ready to throw the towel in!
      I know some of the contributors to this site are real high fliers but many of us struggle and have off days. It is part of the fun!

  10. Dada in one of his more accessible modes for me today, with 27a, 26a, and 14a winning top honours, but 15 gets a special Clarkie because I can remember mine, at age 6. (We lived down the street from the main gate of a naval base, you see.) Thanks to Senf and to Dada. ** / ****

    1. I was also 6or so when I disgraced myself and the family by losing Sunday dinner all over my 15d in the company of The Earl of Harewood! – Hence the nightmare scenario that Mama Bee reminds me of often.

  11. A very enjoyable puzzle despite the fact I needed help with a few. As usual with Dada, the answers were slow to arrive but I eventually staggered over the line. There are some memorable and clever clues with my paper ending up with stars all over it. Picking a COTD was difficult but I have to go with 26a.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge. Grateful thanks to Senf for the hints.

    A beautiful sunny day in the Welsh Marches. Let’s hope it dries up the mud,

    1. Steve – am I alone in thinking (as the letters often begin) that if you enter a vowel rich word like adieu into Wordle you immediately see which of the 5 vowels are being used and it makes it much easier to guess the word. I am of course digressing from the crossword, forgive me!

  12. Pleased as punch that I was able to complete unaided. Doesn’t happen very often!
    I’m still not certain of my answer for 13A. Can anyone explain?
    20D and 26A were cracking clues.
    Also I can’t understand why the word “invisible” is included in the clue for 21A. Help!

    1. 13a – first of all = initial letters (of words in the clue).

      21a – (oddly) invisible = ‘odd-numbered’ letters deleted (from words in the clue).

      1. Darn it, I promised myself I’d never be taken in again by first letters, I missed it again. Got the answer but not the why.

    2. 13a baffled me for a while but finally parsed when I realised it’s the first letters.

      1. Dada often/usually includes a ‘first letter selection’ clue. Recognising the indicator is the key!

    3. Hi Eddie. Re 13ac … “first of all” indicates you should look at primary letters in the preceding words. It’s late in the day but I Hope that helps?

      PS after I posted all of the other posts came in the refresh. I was surprised that no-one had answered! Anyway you got an earlier answer.

  13. Our Sunday setter was on top form this morning, with some delightful clues and a smattering of misdirection and guile. 17a was easily my COTD my some distance.

    My thanks to Dada for a very enjoyable puzzle, and to Senf.

  14. A lovely puzzle on a lovely suuny but chilly day. 6d last in and my COTD. The roast celeriac did not go to waste but became pretty tasty soup Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Meanders, on a whim I did a full roast lunch today – cannot remember the last time I cooked a joint. Roast lamb all the trimmings, even found some mint alive in the frozen wastes of the potager. Good heavens, I had forgotten how exhausting it is. I am flattened

      1. I too did a full lamb (rack) roast for guests a few days ago and it similarly knocked me for six – even ahead of the washing up! My mint had bitten the dust so ordered mint sauce from Waitrose and it was quite disgusting – redcurrant jelly saved the day. Now I discover that one of my guests who works at Kingston Hospital has tested positive for Covid so LFTs here I come.

    2. I keep meaning to ask you … is your avatar the Cley windmill? It looks like it is to me. Just curious.

  15. Thought this Dada was very benevolent today as I had no issues at all. Considering I solved on it on a rainy/snowy Saturday night here in the Lower Mainland of BC without hints is always a plus. 1.5*/5* for me.
    Lots of clues to like but my top five are 12a, 24a, 26a, 16d & 20d with my winner being 26a.
    I will say that 24a, 26a, 7d, 16d & 22d among others made me smile/laugh … some very good clues and answers that went with them.
    A classic Dada puzzle in my mind.
    I note that 10a showed up within the last week with a different clue.
    A fun solve tonight.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf, for whatever hints he provides. Always fun reading.

  16. Gentle by dada’s standards. **/*** I needed the hints to explain 7d. Thanks for that. I couldn’t see for the life of me why the answer is what it is. A bit of a bung in. Favourite 17a. Thanks to all.

  17. Dada has set us an easy and enjoyable ride today. Needed help with parsing 6d and 13a but that wasn’t a problem as they were not delaying any crossers. IMHO 15d isn’t a very clever clue. My joint Favs were 26a and 27a. Thank you Dada and Senf to whom particular thanks for the Troika ride.

  18. 6d also our last in, a difficult word to spot even with the checkers. Favourite was 26a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Thanks Send for the hints. Not needed today I’m pleased to say, worked through one with a pleasant mix of smiles and head-scratching. Thanks Dada for the entertainment, 14 & 27a favourites. I was entrusted with the sleigh bells for the local youth band rendition or Troika, poor audience.

  20. A gentle and enjoyable post-prandial amble through Dada land, to whom and for which my thanks. Thank you also to Senf.

    All reasonably straightforward, thanks to the generous dollop of anagrams; ticks afterwards to 14a (few would have given us much chance of a way back in early September), 26a, 27a, 16d, 17d and 20d.

    2* / 2.5*

  21. I completed this several hours ago whilst waiting for the aforementioned shoulder of lamb to cook but there was a hitch on the site. I thoroughly enjoyed it, great fun. I thought of the answer for 7d but couldn’t believe it was so simple so thanks for clarifying the mock, Senf. I love anagrams and there were several of those, 26 and 27a had stars as did 1 and 22d and I thought 16d a good anagram. Many thanks to the setter and Senf for rounding off the first week of the New Year.

    1. DG
      I had the “glitch” too.
      Thanks to BD and the team for sorting it out. They took less time than the Nationwide Bank are taking to sort their woes out.

  22. I start off looking for the vowels. Managed today’s at number 5, thanks to a good guess at number 4 as I only had one letter up til then – it’s quite addictive isn’t it!

  23. I so enjoy Dada Sundays- 16d as my favourite. Thank you Senf for explaining 27a which I parsed but did not know how

  24. Last corner NE with LOI 6d. Hesitated over 7d until I worked out the parsing. Would have been well within my 2* time but went a bit over with the last one. All completed without hints or aids. Favourites 14a and 1, 5 and 17d. Thanks to Dada and Senf (I’ll now read the hints and comments). Late start due to having family here for weekend during which we have had a postponed Christmas. As regards yesterday’s puzzle, the least said the better. Certainly I was not on the right wavelength.

  25. I started out with gusto but it soon became tricky. I often find I get the answer but the why escapes me, I don’t write the answer in as I think “can’t be”, and end up bunging it in at the end. I never did get 6d but solved the rest in the NE with e-help.
    There were quite a few gems, 26a was fave, but lots more to like, 27a was a winner too, 17a honourable mention.
    Thanks Dada for the fun, and, of course, thanks to Senf for unravelling a lot for me.

  26. Too much like hard work for me. But the oddest thing is that I had already solved all the picture clues, and most the hinted ones. If these are indeed the toughest clues, I very contrarily found the easier ones the hardest. I bunged in 6d, my LI, but still don’t u detest and how that = secure. And have seen 1d already this weekend. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  27. An enjoyable solve as always from this setter. Most of it went in fairly quickly but there were a few clues that stubbornly refused to yield and upped my solving time as a result.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf – 2*/4* for me today.

Comments are closed.