ST 3154 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3154 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3154 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where Spring has sprung more or less, but we can’t tell if the grass has riz because most of it is still covered by the last vestiges of three months of snow that is reluctant to melt completely, however we do have birdies, mostly the small hardy ones, such as sparrows, that are with us all year round.

Keep staying safe everyone.

Brian can rest easy – just another plain old nothing to get too excited about Dada puzzle.  As CS clarified in the Friday blog, proXimal is on Toughie duty today.

For me, back to the cheesy end of the chalk to cheese spectrum.  I counted 4 anagrams (3 partials), 1 lurker, and no homophones – all in a symmetric 30 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 – 11a, 14a, 6d, and 17d..

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 Rubbish retained includes last of festering trash (9)
An anagram (rubbish) of RETAINED containing (includes) the last letter of festerinG.

11a Singer finding it in first piece of music? (8)
IT from the clue inserted into (in) a (3,3) term that could indicate first piece of music.

12a Weakly fearful, respond to stamp on toe, perhaps? (6)
A (4,2) phrase for how one might respond to being stamped on one’s toe.

14a Country certainly not welcoming king (6)
A (2,3) phrase equivalent to certainly not containing (welcoming) the single (regnal) letter for king.

19a Heap provided for mountainous plateau (6)
A synonym of heap and the two letter conjunction equivalent to provided.

24a Pond-life drinking weak bubbly (8)
The illustrated pond life containing (drinking) a synonym of weak.

28a Call gent’s idea stupid (9)
An anagram (stupid) of GENT’S IDEA.


1d Sad little pony, disheartened (5)
The ‘North of the Border’ synonym for little and PonY with the interior letters removed (disheartened).

3d Gold mine for author (6)
Heraldic gold and a type of mine.

6d A trip from Chelsea to Bath? Great deal! (9)
A from the clue and a verbal synonym of trip (in a ballroom?) containing a type of comestible of which Chelsea and Bath are two varieties.

15d Bird, alas: sort forced to carry burdens for a start (9)
An anagram (forced) of ALAS: SORT containing (to carry) the first letter (for a start) of Burdens.

17d Advertising blurb in flier (6)
A four letter term for advertising blurb (which I think we have seen before) and IN from the clue.

18d Expanding trade in which wife invested (8)
A verbal synonym of trade containing (in which . . . invested) the single letter for Wife.

22d Fashionable way gin served? (4,2)
A descriptive phrase for a cocktail when a fortified wine, known by its two letter informal name, is added to gin.

25d Old horse (4)
A double definition to finish – the second is illustrated.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the biggest film stars of the 1950s and 1960s, American actress, singer, and animal welfare activist Doris Day (born Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff).  In 1953 she starred in the Western musical Calamity Jane and sang Secret Love, which was the first of her two UK number ones, written for the film by by Sammy Fain (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics):

71 comments on “ST 3154 (Hints)

  1. Great fun, light but with smiles all over the grid, 12&14a along with the lol 9d for example but top spot I think goes to the clever 24a. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  2. I don’t think I’d ever not enjoy one of this setter’s puzzles but can’t say I found this one particularly challenging. You get so used to a good head scratch on a Sunday it’s a bit underwhelming when there’s no need for one. Had it not been for the fact that I initially had the wrong first 3 letters in at 12a (worked with the wordplay if not the definition) which messed up 2d I’d have finished in under * time which just doesn’t seem right.
    I wasn’t familiar with the advertising blurb it otherwise very straightforward. 9&22d my jt favs.
    The Toughie on the other hand has me struggling after 8 answers in.
    Thanks to D&S
    Wordle – finally broke my run of phews with a splendid to bring up 70.

  3. It’s got ridiculous now! I had 6 left to finish in the app, made a brew came back and it had deleted everything. Filled it again and had 1 remaining when I foolishly started to read the front pages. Yes it had wiped it all again. So I think I’ll ignore future attempts and submissions with vanishingly remote chances of winning. Hey ho.

    1. A while ago mine kept doing this (on the iPad). In the end I deleted the Telegraph app and reinstalled it which seemed to solve the problem

  4. Contrary to Fridays rumour this wasn’t a Proximal for which I for one was profoundly grateful! I really enjoyed this Dada which I would agree was on his gentler side. Two great clues in 12a and my definite favourite 5d 😀.
    This had been a great weekend for puzzles as far as I was concerned so thanks to all involved.
    Keep up the good work.
    Thx to all

    1. The toughie most definitely is a proXimal and very tough it was too. Blog prepared and you will have to wait until 14:00 to see what I made of it

      1. Can’t say I envied you John. Took a break & am within 2 (in the SE) of completion.
        Fez’s NTSPP was similarly tough yesterday & well worth a look.

        1. Probably my latest finish of these solves. But when awake and suitably caffeinated, the blog came together quite quickly. I hope I have hinted the ones you still seek.

    2. Brian, it’s the Sunday Toughie that’s by proXimal and it’s a doozy. Still staring at several.

      1. I don’t take the dead tree version and there is no Toughie on the electronic issue. So as far as I knew there was only one cryptic puzzle on a Sunday hence my comment re the Proximal whose puzzles I avoid like the plague.

    3. There never was a rumour on Friday, just a misunderstanding on your part. I included a comment in my preamble above, did you read it?

      And, did you read what CS wrote additionally in Comment 32 on Friday?

      1. Thanks for the clarification Senf, I haven’t read your blog yet as I am still solving the puzzle.

  5. Well, unlike others, I never find Dada gentle and certainly not this one, but I did finish, all on my own, for the third Sunday in a row. Found 6d downright inscrutable (trip? Chelsea? Bath?–they all conjure up many images for this alien but nothing edible), so thanks to my checking letters, it had to be what it is. But I did enjoy 24, 7, 12 & 14a, with that pond-life winning top honours. 22d and 9d made me laugh. Thanks to Senf and Dada. 2.5* / 4*

    1. Hi Robert,
      I knew of the Chelsea one but thought Bath had a Royal Croissant.

    2. 6d is probably as (UK-)parochial as a clue can get. Fortunately as an ex-member of the parish, other than a brief pause to recall the particular usage of trip, reasonably straightforward for me.

      At least Dada came up with a different way of cluing an oldie but goodie.

  6. 1.5*/4.5*. Great fun at the easier end of Dada’s spectrum for me with too many good clues to get them all on one podium, so today I’ll have an across podium of 12, 14 & 24 and a down podium of 5, 6 & 17.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. A light-hearted Dada puzzle, with some quirky clues (3*/4*) and as wnjoyable as usual. I liked 11a and enjoyed the geographical clues 14a and 19a. 8a did.make me laugh for personal reasons. Thanks to Dada and to Senf ( no snow settling here but hard frosts every morning).

  8. Very unusually for me I completed this one alone and unaided.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  9. Can’t believe this is a Dada wiith whom I often struggle however I found it a delightfully lighthearted enigma throughout. So many goody clues from which 14a, 6d, 8d and 22d are my Fav candidates. Big thanks Dada and Senf.

  10. Splendid. I did wonder about the horse but got it once I had the checkers. I had a break having done two-thirds which worked well for me as I saw the remainder in a new light. Just the right level for a Sunday. Thanks Dada and Senf. Wordle in four today.

  11. Annoyingly, I still have three to get in the SW corner but the rest fell readily enough. I especially liked 14a and 5d but my COTD so far is 21a because it made me laugh out load. I had vision of a werewolf meekly putting his paw over his mouth because of the noise he just made. (Hope I don’t end up on the naughty step for that).
    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and I will persist with the three unsolved ones because I want an unaided finish. Thanks, also, to Senf for the hints.

    Wordle in 5.

    1. I too found the SW the toughest to finish. But Wordle in 6, phew indeed. But Peter beat me with 3 of course.

  12. Cracking puzzle Gromit. Plenty to eat and drink, cakes and spirits galore. A 6d of great clues but comment of the day/week/month or more goes to JL and his croissant joke. I actually spat my tea out at that one.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  13. 2/4. Nice to have a Sunday puzzle which doesn’t take for ever to complete. My stand out favourite was 5d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  14. This was lots of light delight. Special mentions for 6& 23d. LOI 25d, no excuses but could not see for a minute or two. Thanks Senf & Dada.

  15. We found this straightforward until it wasn’t. The last three in the southwest taking as long as the rest of the puzzle, although having got them it was hard to see why. Enjoyable though. Favourite was 24a, last but one in. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. A fun solve before breakfast after waking up early — which wasn’t intentional, but at least meant I could watch the England innings of the World Cup final in New Zealand.

    Lots of potential favourites, but I’ll go for 12a.

    There’s one I haven’t managed to parse, so I’ll look for that a week on Wednesday, and save my comment on the advertising blurb and its use in The Telegraph till then as well.

  17. Laughed out loud at 12a, but nearly shed a tear for the poor pony at 1d. What a cracking puzzle, thank you Dada and Senf for hinting 6d.

  18. I’ve still got a few that I’m stuck with – back later . . .
    My favourite is 23d – it’s the kind of answer that makes me laugh – hope it’s right as it could be wrong!!
    In the meantime thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I thought of you when I solved 23d, Kath. It’s wonderful that you’re back solving so proficiently after the problems you’ve been through.

    2. Good to hear from you Kath. As long as you have paid ‘attention’ to the ‘?’ at the end of 23d you have probably got it right. It is probably Dada at his ‘tongue in cheek’ best.

      1. You’re probably on the right track, Kath. It’s a tongue in cheek kind of Dada. Nice to see you enjoying your puzzles again.

  19. Got 12a wrong which messed up 2d
    Found this really difficult but enjoyed it
    Needed a couple of hints.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  20. The last third took a bit of teasing out – the little charity one held out the longest before the penny drop moment. Otherwise good fun so thanks to all. Day 4 of no muntjac in the garden, soap bars seemingly doing the trick but the pigeons now tucking into my rocket which has survived all winter. Wordle in 5 and Quordle in 8 – quite good in that after turn 6 I had no letters in one grid at all.

  21. I was somewhat doubtful about this being a Dada effort, until I got to the SW corner, which took longer to figure out. But a very pleasant puzzle, and a surprise for me on a Sunday. But I agree with Brian, Dada is infinitely preferable to ProXimal, on whose wavelength I have yet to get a firm foothold. LOL at 5d. Thank you to Dada for this treat today, and to Senf.

  22. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable but quite straightforward puzzle. I liked 14a & 9d,but my favourite was 18a. LOI was 1d. Was 2* / 3* for me.

  23. Contrary to most I struggled with what I would call a quirky Dada puzzle this week. ***/****
    13d did not seem to be very cryptic to my way of thinking.
    Favourites 10a, 12a, 14a, 17a & 5d with 17a my winner with 5d runner up.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. I hope so too. I don’t read the blog every day any more so missed the fact that she was AWOL until Silvanus said that she was poorly on Friday. I emailed her but she hasn’t replied – maybe I’ll leave it until tomorrow and then write again – it’s difficult to know without being intrusive – anyone?

      1. I have also written to her and not got anything back – so, with some difficulty, I am ‘sitting on my hands.’ I am sure that she will be back with us as soon as she can.

  24. A not impossible crossword but not much fun. Thanks to Dada and Senf who only hinted three anagrams this week. Fortunately I didn’t need hints as finally getting through it.

  25. I thought this was a happy romp although like some others I was held up in the SE. I think 8a is a horrid word I would never, ever use it. And if I did, the retaliation would probably to call me The Other Half or Her Indoors. My wretched nickname is bad enough! Thanks to Senf and Dada for passing the time together with a cup of Earl Grey and a Hot Cross croissant😀on a very cold Sunday in Cambridgeshire, some small compensation for Oxford trouncing us.

  26. I didn’t find this easy, I never do with Dada, but I enjoyed it hugely. As with others, the SW held me up, I had to get the hint for 19a and the rest fell rapidly. There’s so much good stuff here, I’m seconding RD’s choices, with the addition of 11a and 9d, but if I have to choose one, it’s 14a.
    Thank you Dada for this lovely treat and Senf for his hints, needed them today. Wordle in 5.

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