ST 3144 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3144 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3144 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we have had more of the ‘rinse and repeat’ of several days of extreme cold and a couple of ‘warmer’ days with snow.

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, Dada even less friendly than he was last Sunday.  I counted five anagrams (four partials), one lurker, and two homophones (one of them ‘that’ homophone) – 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 – 10a, 18a, 3d, and 20d

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 Day proceeds for warship (7)
The abbreviated form of one of the days of the week (DT day) and a term for proceeds (from admission charges for, say, a sporting fixture).

8a Snack, small potatoes (7)
A double definition – the second term that can mean the same as small potatoes (as in trifling or insignificant).
(Thanks to Smylers.)

13a Mosquito, say, in open area dancing around lady’s head (9)
An anagram (dancing) of OPEN AREA containing (around) the first letter (head) of Lady’s.

17a Intensify a brief moment for lover (7)
A three letter synonym of intensify (flames, perhaps), A from the clue, and a synonym of moment with the last letter removed (brief).

18a Pour in an Italian drink for starters (9)
A three letter synonym of pour inserted into (in) AN from the clue and our favourite Italian (sparkling) drink.

20a Stage imperfection in audition? (5)
Oh dear, that homophone (in audition) of a type of imperfection.

25a Stand in centre, roughly on left (7)
An anagram (roughly) of CENTRE placed after (on) the single letter for Left.


1d Delight greeting actor in short (3,3,4)
A two letter greeting, and an informal abbreviated form of a synonym of actor (BRB verified) inserted into (in) a three letter synonym of short (single malt, it is Burn’s (and Senf’s) Night on Tuesday?).

3d State governed the wrong way, alert (8)
A three letter synonym of governed reversed (the wrong way) and a synonym of alert.

7d Shocked as fat on bread gets spread (13)
The fat that Wogan used to fight followed by (on) an anagram (spread) of BREAD GETS.

9d Thin sheet one reveals, the end cut (6,7)
A single word nounal term for one (who) reveals and a single word that can be used for the end with the last letter removed (cut).

16d August, and current’s rising in force (8)
The correct pronunciation of the definition is required – a type of current reversed (rising) and inserted into (in) a verbal synonym of force.

17d Warm in Rhode Island, back bitten by insect (8)
The abbreviated form of Rhode Island and a synonym of back all contained (bitten) by a generic type of insect.

22d Up towards the sky, very strong smoke (4)
UP from the clue reversed (towards the sky) and the musical composition indication for very strong.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Not quite all of the final scenes of the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven with very little dialogue but an orchestral version of Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune, the third movement of his Suite Bergamasque published in 1905, and occasional glimpses of the Bellagio Hotel’s fountain display:

72 comments on “ST 3144 (Hints)

  1. Found this pretty tough and, impatience led me to getting e-help for 13d so a DNF for me.. Balances out yesterday’s offering I guess. Still a very acceptable and enjoyable workout
    13d my COTD as I like the word.
    20a, as Senf says (reminding me of Kath), “Oh dear”.
    Thanks Dada and Senf for the hints.
    Wordle in 4.
    Still fairly mild for January up here so Biggles can enjoy a prolonged swim this morning.

      1. I got word Kevin two because of the spoiler alert in yesterday’s paper warning that one of the five letter words in the article beginning with ‘-‘ would be used today. So I guess it does not really count as genius?

  2. 5*/4*. :phew: Crikey that was really tough but I did enjoy it despite a couple of iffy surfaces along the way.

    I’ve never heard of “small potatoes”, so wasn’t surprised when I found them in Collins as “mainly US”.

    9d was my favourite with 20d in second place.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I had heard of ‘small potatoes’, but I don’t understand why 8a doesn’t count as a double definition: it means both that and the definition that Senf underlined. Am I missing something?

      1. That’s how I ‘saw’ 8a through my Saturday evening alcoholic haze, but, after my Sunday morning ‘Full Monty’ I can see that I am in error and I have revised the hint accordingly.
        Thanks Smylers.

    1. Thanks for the info on the Pun, now updated. As an ‘on-line’ solver I do not get the ‘benefit’ of the italicisation of the Pun clues and it took me so long to get the first word that I didn’t look any further.

      3d is hinted, with an illustration, if you are desperate.

  3. Super puzzle from the Sunday maestro, with a bit more bite and all the better for it. My only slight quibble (and I’m not someone who usually complains about this type of clue) was 20a though it may be fine for others.
    Loved 3,7,8&16d in particular amongst a whole host of others. Great stuff.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. 20a is fine for me, Stephen, but I realise it is a particularly contentious homophone. However, doesn’t the ? covers the “some might say” element.

      1. Probably it does RD (and to be honest I didn’t even notice it) and like I said I don’t usually quibble about this type of clue as I understand we have a wide range of accents. However this one for me was particularly wide of the mark for me, but the fact that it works for you justifies it I guess.

    2. There is one of our company, Gazza if memory serves, apologies if I am incorrect, who has significant issues with this particular homophone which is why I started the hint in the way I did.

      Although, I agree with RD that the ? covers the “some might say” element.

      1. You’re right, Senf, the two words don’t sound anything like each other to me (or to anyone else who pronounces their Rs correctly!) but as RD says the question mark covers up a multitude of sins.
        I thought this was a proper prize puzzle which was welcome after the string of Saturday puzzles we’ve been getting recently. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.
        My ticks went to 17a, 21a and 9d.

        1. There’s no r in ***** when it is pronounced correctly. Of course correctly is defined by the person who is saying it.

  4. Phew. Very enjoyable but felt like a long slog. When I looked at the clock it was not as long as it felt. Last one in 19d mainly because I’d missed it whilst battling with 9d, 17a and d and 19d. It was worth the effort as got them all in that order. 9d came to me with the checkers so not fully parsed. Thanks for the parsing Senf. I missed the loss of a letter in 17a as I clearly spell it wrongly. I just thought of a brief moment! Favourites 7 10 and 18a and 1 and 5d. Thanks Dada

  5. Aargh! Spelt 18A wrongly and couldn’t parse it until I saw Senf’s clue. Hugely frustrating but, as usual, Dada provides a cracking Sunday morning for me!

  6. What an absolute gem of a puzzle. Certainly at the tougher end of our setter’s spectrum and all the more enjoyable for it. It reminded me very much of his early grids when he took over the Sunday slot a few years ago. 10a was my top clue ahead of 9d with 17d my final entry.

    My thanks to Dada for a superb workout and to Senf.

  7. This was a tough puzzle and I did myself no favours by barking up the wrong tree on two clues. However, it was an enjoyable challenge (4*/5&). The ckues were fair and I didn’t feel that I was hiking up a mountain with no map or compass in dense fog, just that a few of the signposts sent me off in the wrong direction, which is par for the course in a Orize Puzzle. Out of a multitude of great clues, my favourites were 3d, 23a and COTD 7D. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for a Sunday treat.

    1. 9d was a case in point CC of barking up the wrong tree because I was convinced it was a very thin sheet of wood! The V was there!

  8. I give up, managed about 1/3 but the rest has completely defeated me. Way above my abilities.
    Would make a good Toughie.
    Not really surprisingly I found it dreadful because I simply did not understand most of the clues.
    Not for me.
    Thx for the hints but they are almost as cryptic as the clues.

    1. Well Brian, It’s quite a while since you said that my hints are (almost) as cryptic as the clues. It would be of great benefit if you could ‘name’ one or two that you consider to be particularly cryptic.

    2. Brian,
      Last week #9 “I am gradually getting used to Dada puzzles which are always tough but fair”.
      Who would be a puzzles editor?

      1. To be fair to Brian, occasionally Dada puzzles are friendly, but I agree today’s was not.

        1. BL
          I understand I was just making the point that setters’ ranges of difficulty are pretty wide. This was tough but to go from solvable last week to about a third this is a big change. However it is not often RD allocates 5* for backpager so tough it was
          Brian didn’t it was unfair just above his level.

  9. Think I must have had a lucky break as 7d occurred to me immediately and gave plenty of checkers to build upon. Hadn’t previously heard of the ‘small potatoes’ phrase so was relieved when 4d gave me the first letter and it was the two 17s that were last to fall.
    Pick of the bunch for me was 10a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and reminder of Oceans 11 – what a stellar cast!

  10. For me not a lot of fun to be had today. Never heard of 8a potatoes and IMHO “thin sheet” is a bit latitudinous for 9d. 24a was Fav. Thank you Dada and Senf.

      1. I now understand small potatoes is an American expression but having lived there for several years (admittedly sometime ago) I don’t recall hearing it used.

  11. Really enjoyed this one. My favourite clue was 13A, due to the misdirection.

    Senf, your hint labeled 8D is for 9D.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. I seem to be with popular opinion this time, as I also found this significantly harder than last week’s, and needed help with a few. Thank you Sent for the hints, explanations (I’d failed to parse 9d and 16d), and the lovely Wogan reference: the fighting you refer to was well before my time listening to his show, but his other listener(s) still made frequent mentions of it in messages he read out.

    I only knew 11a’s ‘cooler’ because it’s cropped up somewhere else already this week. At least it shows I’m capable of learning and remembering something.

    My favourite was 24a’s note — though I do particularly like 20a as well, mainly for the consternation it seems to cause others. (For what it’s worth, I’m incapable of working out how to pronounce those words differently from each other. But then I live with somebody who claims ‘more’ and ‘moor’ are homophones and who claims they can’t hear the difference in how I say them. Isn’t the brain funny?)

    19d (totting), 21a (delta), 22d (smoke), and 10a (bird comes in) also got ticks from me. Thank you to Dada.

  13. I set off at a great pace then came to a total stop and could get no further. Not a great deal of enjoyment derived for me because I found the final part impenetrable. I have an answer for 17d but it bears no relation to the clue and, for the life of me, I can’t work it out. It makes me think my answer is wrong but I can’t see another word that will fit. This does, of course, assume that all the crossers are correct. Anyway, as I have started my annual marathon post graduate essay marking session, I have given up.

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

    1. Steve I think your 17d must be wrong as the answer definitely relates to the wordplay.

  14. Not as 17d as recent Dada’s. I found 9d a bit of a stretch and 16d was a bung in and I don’t really understand all of its parts.
    (Had another look and it is clearer now thanks to Senf’s hint)
    One state was an easier leap than the other.
    I did like 20d and 18a. and 13a and 14d were nice too.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  15. This was a bit of a slog for me. Last one in 10a..Also thought of Wogan for 7d but didn’t put it in straight awash as I was going to put an H in it which would make it too long. Had to look up synonyms for small potatoes, never heard of this before. Thanks to all. Wordle 5 – nothing at first pass.

  16. Well at least it wasn’t so much of a struggle as last week but it still took me to nearly **** time for the fog to clear. Like Jane 17a&d were my last two to yield & not helped by the fact that I initially entered the singular form of 18a. No issues with the 20a homophone or with small potatoes. I thought this top drawer Dada & full of excellent clues not withstanding a few iffy surface reads. I agree with Angellov that the definition at 8d is a bit of a stretch though I liked the wordplay. Ticks for me – 7&17a plus 1,7,16& best of all 17d.
    Thanks to D&S
    Ps Today’s solving soundtrack the new Joe Bonamassa album Time Clocks – recommended if a fan of guitarists

    1. Huntsman p, I think you are referring to my comment on the broad definition in 9d rather than 8a which is another story.

      1. I was – meant 9d. I say 8a myself which RD says is an Americanism & thinking about reckon it’s something I’ve picked up from over there.

        1. Interestingly the main character in the novel I’m reading, a young lady living in London, has just used the expression. The author is English too

        2. In my travels on either side of ‘The Pond’ I cannot be certain where I first came across the potato expression. However, while RD, and his beloved Collins, say ‘mainly US,’ the BRB (latest, but aging fast, dead tree edition) says ‘US’ without qualification.

  17. Well, I managed to complete, but found it tough going indeed! 🤪
    Last in was 1D and definitely needed Senf’s hint to parse it out…v convoluted even for Dada.
    Dada certainly knows how to get the old grey matter going with the occasional ‘Doh!’ (13A, 23A) and one or 2 ‘Really!!s…’ (20A, 10A) but, as ever, he sets a cracking challenge which I was proud to finish (with Senf confirming a couple afterwards…) 😜
    Thanks Dada & Senf for the entertainment.

  18. We found this a challenge but enjoyable and satisfying to complete. We liked several with 9d just winning by a short head. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Enjoyable level for me. Did some then came back to the last few. I agree that the definition 9d was a little tenuous. Wordle in 3 today.

  20. Relieved to see that most other folks found this on tough……managed the LHS reasonably well, then ground to a halt in the right.
    Like Gazza , for me the 2 words in 20a sound nothing like each other…..but I am Scottish …..
    Also, I think I could have stared at 9d forever and still would not have solved it ….thank goodness for Senf’s hints.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  21. I am with Bruce here as I found it very tricky and have been returning to it for the last couple of hours whilst preparing a meal etc. Quite pleased with myself for finishing unaided but I was glad that Senf had chosen 1d as one of his hints as it was a complete bung in and I was pleased to see the reasoning. I put stars by 10 & 18a and 1,3,5 and 20d. Many thanks to Dada for the fun. It is cold and grey here and I have to finish an article on the village celebrations for the 1977 Jubilee for the magazine, but then I am just going to sit by the fire and vegetate!

  22. Certainly not the easiest Dada puzzle of recent weeks … quirky even in some areas today. 3*/4* for me.
    Clues to like include 10a, 3d, 7d & 19d with 10a my winner.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the blog

  23. A disappointingly tricky one today, and I am giving up with a third done. 7a went straight in, 7d was obvious, except I spent too long trying to make it for as anagram from the words provided. Some weeks I think I am getting the hang of Dada, and then one like today pops up, destroying that illusion. Not much enjoyment here for me, but at least yesterday’s Chalicea’s was a lot of fun and I have her NTSPP puzzle saved for later. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  24. I printed this off and then scanned through the clues for a starter, I went through all the clues and couldn’t solve one. I decided it was way beyond the tiny brain’s abilities and have given up before even starting. I hope for better luck next week, meantime I have my fave Chalicea’s bonus from yesterday to amuse me. Dank, damp and grey today and a cold night ahead of us, no wonder I’m like the clappers of doom today.
    I’m so glad you pleased so many today Dada, what happened to our friendly Dada? Thanks Senf for the hints and tips, alas I’m way too thick for even them to help.

    1. Don’t forget to look at the full review on February 2nd to get some helpful(?) insight into how Dada’s brain was working when he set this one.

      1. I certainly will, but “insight into how Dada’s brain works?” That’s a bridge too far!

  25. Gracious, this one took me two different visits and pushed me into **** time, but I did finally finish all on my own, exhaustedly but happily. Surprised to see two US states in the same puzzle, which may be one reason why it took me so long to solve 3d, and I’ve never heard 8a called ‘small potatoes’ over here. Nor does my pronunciation of 20a have an ‘r’ anywhere near the definition for defect. I can’t really say that I enjoyed this one, though I did like 5, 7, & 1d. Thanks to Senf and to Dada. **** / ***

    It was 24F in Charleston County last night. A hard frost in my front yard, newspaper frozen. Brrr.

    1. At least I didn’t have a frozen paper this morning, that would certainly have sent me over the top!

    2. I think you will find the expression “small potatoes” is used in the Godfather and other gangster movies … as in “he’s small potatoes, he could never pull off a hit like that”

      Thanks to Dada for a great challenge and Senf for the blog.

  26. I got about half before I stalled. Grabbed 2 across hints from Senf then managed to complete it surprisingly quickly.
    Mostly enjoyable if a bit tricky but not joyless.
    I like Dada’s puzzles even if it sometimes takes me a while to get with the plot!
    Thanks to Dada and Senf
    Loved Chalicea’s NSPC or whatever it’s called yesterday. Never done one of those before.

    1. It’s called the NTSPP as in Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle. Roughly translated that means you can only give yourself a pat on the back for completing it, the DT won’t be sending you a prize!

  27. I usually enjoy a good tussle with Dada but this week it was just a bit too difficult to be enjoyable. I did manage to finish which I didn’t think I would. The clues and some of the answers were just a bit too ‘cryptic’ (eg 9d), if that makes sense. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  28. Well, I got there. Well into **** time, even without the interruption of the annual vestry meeting. I was wondering if I’d enjoyed my lunch too much to have a clear head for crosswording, but I’m relieved it wasn’t just me!

  29. Thanks Dada for another Sunday classic, so many good clues and I nearly got there but made the mistake of ending the ‘starters’ answer with ‘****’ not knowing my Italian wines. Thank you Senf for explaining!

  30. Like others, found this about as tough as I can remember a Dada…..I am a fan and generally enjoy his (or could it be her) puzzles and this was no exception BUT not happy with 9d as the answer just doesn’t seem to relate closely enough to the definition…

    1. It does if you pronounce the first word of the answer differently and add a letter to the second word. I agree much harder to parse than fill in the correct answer but it works!

  31. At a christening yesterday.
    Very tricky, finished but some of the parsing eluded me.
    Thanks both.

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