ST 3149 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3149 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3149 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where I celebrated the results of yesterday’s two 6 Nations matches with Stilton and Camembert!

Keep staying safe everyone.

For me, if chalk was two weeks ago and cheese was last week, this was definitely at the cheesy end of the scale.  I counted 6 anagrams (2 partials), one lurker (reversed), and two homophones – all in a very asymmetric 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.

Candidate for favourite – 13a.

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 Hawk biting head of raw fish (5)
Not hawk the bird, a synonym of hawk (have I got a deal for you) containing the first letter (head) of Raw.

11a Mushy prune eaten by operative (6)
A three letter verbal synonym of prune inserted into (eaten by) a particular type of operative.

13a Ski resort ref? (8)
A double definition – the Western Canada members of our company should easily recognize the first.

14a Associate backing infant to the greatest degree (7)
A synonym of associate placed after (backing) a three letter infant.

19a Possible declaration in seat after significant figure returned (2-5)
A synonym of (bodily) seat placed after an informal term for a significant figure reversed (returned).

21a Stance in reforms, most prudent (8)
An anagram (reforms) of STANCE IN.

24a Old prison cell: it’s abysmal, some recalled (8)
The reversed lurker (some recalled) found in three words in the clue.

26a Convenient rewriting of panto (2,3)
An anagram (rewriting) of PANTO.


2d Pragmatic type on a register (7)
A neat three part charade – two letters equivalent to on, A from the clue, and a synonym of register.

5d Empty garage it seems for spice (7)
The answer written as (3,4) could indicate (it seems) an empty garage.

8d Propose this to queen surprisingly succeeding father (3,3,8)
An anagram (surprisingly) of THIS TO QUEEN placed after (succeeding) an informal synonym of father.

18d Article spotted reportedly, native American (6)
One of the indefinite articles and a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of spotted (Hmm).

20d Two girls — is one capped? (7)
Probably the two most famous girls in cruciverbalism who when put together appear on our bodies.

22d Italian city where a drink served up (4)
A from the clue and a three letter synonym of drink (not a specific drink) all reversed (served up).

Quick Crossword Pun (with a groan for how long it took for the penny to drop):


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Virtuoso Anglo-Australian guitarist John Williams (nothing to do with Star Wars) is here, with the RPO, playing the second movement Adagio of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (nothing to do with Orange Juice!):

46 comments on “ST 3149 (Hints)

  1. Dada in quite benevolent mood I thought, but what a super puzzle. Never heard of the resort at 13a but with all the checkers the answer was obvious enough.
    Ticks aplenty here including 1a plus 6,8&18d with 9d just shading top spot. Great stuff.
    Thanks to the Sunday maestro and Senf for his review.

  2. Enjoyable. 13a used to be a regular haunt before the little people made France an easier option. I still remember ripping it up down school marm. Thanks to Senf and today’s setter.

  3. 2.5*/4*. This was not too taxing and good fun with 8d, 9d & 18d making it onto my podium.

    It’s quite a rarity these days ever to find the item referred to in 5d in a garage.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. What an enjoyaable puzzle, with something for everyone
    The SE held me up longest but it was a teasing deligjt rather than a joyless slog. (3*/5*). The pick of the clues were12a and 19a. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for another fine SPP.

  5. Thought this was our setter at his playful best although I’m sure someone else owns the royalties on 20d!
    Too many ticks on my sheet to play favourites so I’ll just say many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the lovely music which was certainly ‘Orange juice’ to the members of the colliery brass band in Brassed Off.

  6. A typically tricky Dada, for me anyway, and I stared at 13a until–thanks to some key checking letters–I remembered my last trip to B.C., and I thought, Could it be? And sure enough, it was. A most enjoyable puzzle, with 5d, 18d, and 19a (to which I commented ‘Thank goodness!’) taking top honours. Thanks to Senf and Dada. *** / ****

      1. I’ve gone further in view of his recent preaching to his adoring base, how about a pontificating, pentecostal, pastor? He boasts that he is the only 21st century president whose term never saw Russia attack anyone, well, maybe there’s a reason for that?

  7. Found this to be very two paced. The left was delightful with some very clever clues the best of which was 18d.
    The right however was very difficult and even with the hints I struggled. Still cannot parse my answers to 4a and 9d.
    Would perhaps take issue with the definition of 21a, just cannot make it mean prudent, in this part of the world (NE) and in the BRB it means something is clever or good.
    Not my favourite Dada as the right hand side was way above my pay grade.
    Thx for the hints.

      1. Thx for this. I had the wrong word in 4a, almost right but the last letter was wrong, makes sense now. Still can’t see 9d, have to wait for the answers.

      2. From the clue it looks like I got 9d wrong having spent literally hours looking at it as it was my last clue and working out the possible words that would fit ! I tend to kind of think that checking with bigdave is cheating somewhat so had sent it off anyway via the app. An enjoyable crossword, good mix of relatively easy clues and more taxing ones. 16a my favourite !

  8. A lovely gentle offering from our Sunday maestro. Not heard of the ski resort at 13a but the golf courses there look spectacular. All over in 1.5* time & with 18d my clear pick of the clues. Nods also to 19&24a plus 5d. His Graun prize puzzle yesterday was also pretty benevolent.
    Thanks to D&S
    Wordle in 4

      1. Wordle in 2 today, a total fluke, I had two greens to start and numerous words could have fit. I felt a bit deflated at my success, I enjoy the fiddling around with letters and I had cut myself off from the fun in a minute. After my spectacular failures, I suppose I was due.

        1. Looking for more than one daily Wordle challenge I have a go at Wheeldle now and again however, as I have said previously, they do use some ridiculous words e.g. today ‘blimp’ and ‘howdy’.

      2. Got wordle in 4. Another odd one as I had wasted one by putting a letter I had already got. Having said that it may have helped me.

  9. Two foxed me totally and I had to resort to e-help much to my chagrin. One was 9d and the other 13a. With the latter, I understand the “ref” bit but the “ski resort” totally eludes me. Nevertheless, the rest of the puzzle was a delight with Dada being rather benevolent. Plenty of clues raised a smile including 4a, 11a, 6d and 19d. I have two contenders for my COTD – 5d and 15d. I am going with 15d because of the misdirection caused by two of the words.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and, of course, to Senf for the hints.

    Sunny with a cold breeze in The Marches with, thankfully, the mud starting to harden.

    My new run of Wordle has started with a 4.

  10. Sailed through this, most enjoyable but then stuck with 2 to go. Finally cracked it, it was the seed that flummoxed me. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Now off to friends for lunch and a pink footed goose is on the menu, how yummy is that!

  11. Good fun, just right for a sunny Shropshire Sunday. 13a was my standout favourite, ahead of 5d.

    My thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf.

  12. This turned out to be not as hard as we first thought with very few answers on first pass until the south eventually came to the rescue. No lack of enjoyment though. Favourite was 6d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  13. I found this a little bit tricky today. I was expecting a stronger drink served by 17a and I share Brian’s NE roots but Chambers has it and therefore the BRB is the oracle and has to be believed.
    I too have been to 13a and as well as enjoying the piste Jonners mentions, the local Ice Hockey team (the Canucks) were having a rare excursion to the sharp end of the Stanley Cup that year and nights at the Creek Hotel were a bit raucous.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  14. The left hand side went in swiftly but I did have to spend a while on the top RH corner. Never heard of 14a but I think it has to be and I was completely fazed by 9d but have done a bung in based on Senf’s tip of first word importance. Great entertainment, I loved the misdirection at 15d and I liked 10a (our impressive toweringly tall Bishop came to our church this morning) and smiled at 12a. Many thanks to Senf and Setter. Glorious day here, might almost think it was spring.
    As I said earlier, a Wordle failure today😟

  15. I found this downright tricky in fact, only getting 8 answers at first pass. Now that a Toughie is provided on Sundays, I was hoping the regular cryptic might be a tad friendlier. However, balanced out by getting Wordle in 2 today. Might resume the cryptic later, but at least I still have Chalicea’s NTSPP to do. Thanks to Dada and Senf. My thoughts and prayers for everyone in Ukraine.

  16. West fell into place without too much trouble but the East, especially the NE presented more problems. Finished unaided in about average time for a Dada. Some extended thinking needed but very much typical of a Sunday PP.
    13a my COTD.
    Thank you Dada and Senf for the lucid explanations.
    Wordle in 3.

  17. Maybe I’m getting on Dada’s wavelength? I’m sure I’ve said that before and had a huge disappointment later. I’ve bunged in 17a but it has no relation to the clue so I’m sure it’s wrong. Fave hands down is 13a, but 12a is smile worthy.
    Thank you Dada for the fun and Senf for unraveling a few.

  18. Tried to do two things at once as I am working on this whilst watching 6 Nations Italy v Ireland but that has become a farce due to a red card and a replacement rule forcing Italy to play with only 11 men. Anyway the crossword eventually fell to but for me not particularly entertainingly. West was smoother half. Unusually found parts of the Quickie quite a challenge and I didn’t even suss the pun. Lovely to have John Williams providing some gentle Rodrigo relief. Thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. What a clot – meant to say Italy were playing 2 men short i.e. only 13 men (not 11!) – sorry.

      1. I used to play a lot of rugby long ago – last millennium. Being vertically challenged, my team always had one short. :wink:

  19. 17a got me, but what a good puzzle – thank you Dada for distracting me from watching the news all day. Thanks also to Senf

  20. 3/4. A very pleasant solve especially for a Dada puzzle (at least for me). 13a was my favourite – well it would be wouldn’t it? Thanks to Dada and Senf. Going to walk the dogs while the wind and rain has abated.

  21. Relatively straightforward Dada puzzle today 3*/4* with a couple of tricky ones included. Note that one of the clues was one of Rufus’s from way back today as I read about it the other day and it hit me right away.
    Candidates for the podium include 4a, 11a, 13a, 8d & 20d with winner the Rufus clue/answer.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf
    Wordle in 4

  22. Very gentle and generous Dada this weekend, both in the Guardian Prize and here.
    I never get bored.
    Thanks to one of the masters of this art.
    Thanks to Senf for the hints.

  23. Got stuck on 9d needed electronic help for that . Got 13a with Senf’s help. NeededSenf again for parsing 1a and 19a though I was pretty sure I had guessed correctly. So, not bad for me for a Dada.
    The definition of 21a doesn’t quite fit for me. Up here it means gentle or taking care. See Brian at 8 above for other meanings.
    Hope this doesn’t get us both thrown off.

    Thanks to Senf and to the setter.

  24. Good fun — my kind-of puzzle! I managed to complete this yesterday, but then had to go and do some parenting or something before I could comment.

    My favourite is probably 5d’s empty garage, but could easily have been 1a’s hawk or 13a’s ref.

    I have comments on 4 other clues which I shall endeavour to remember a week on Wednesday. Thanks, Dada and Senf.

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