ST 3159 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3159 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3159 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where, even though it is still Spring we have gone from late Winter to early Summer in a matter of days.  But there is still a major flooding problem partly because one of our rivers flows North from North Dakota and Minnesota and as they got the same Colorado Lows that we did they have ‘passed on’ their ‘contribution’ to the river to us.

For me, ‘middle of the road’ for Dada as far as the challenge was concerned but I didn’t have a great sense of satisfaction on completion.  I counted six anagrams (with three partials), one lurker (reversed), and one 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 – 20a, 1d, 18d, and 21d.

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 Insect beat a hasty retreat, we hear (4)
The homophone (we hear) of a single word for beat a hasty retreat (as in run away).

12a Darn that item of underwear (8)
I was slowed down by misreading the first word of the clue as it is one of those where the last letters tend to ‘run together’ – a double definition – the first is an interjection expressing exasperation.

13a Nevertheless, only seating available? (15)
Written as (3,4,8) an indication(?) that only seating is available.

20a Artistic steps left and right, mood shifting during evening (8,7)
Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once – the single letters for Left and Right and an anagram (shifting) of MOOD all inserted into (during) a synonym of evening (which is nothing to do with time of day).

23a Rain said to spread in Mediterranean location (8)
An anagram (to spread) of RAIN SAID.

27a Animal caught by shotgun, gracelessly falling over (3)
The reversed lurker (caught by . . . falling over) found in two words in the clue.

28a Valley dropping away, largely empty, first of all (4)
The initial letters (first of all) of four words in the clue.


1d Drunk, half-cut blokes imbibing too much (6)
The first half (the rest is cut – half-cut) of BLOkes containing (imbibing) the three letter abbreviation for an expression that means too much.

3d Running about in the raw, pet, don’t 5 down! (5,3,4,3)</br />
An anagram (running about) of IN THE RAW, PET, DON’T.

4d Nonsense gags satisfactory, one enjoying reading (7)</br />
A four letter synonym of nonsense (apparently borrowed from Turkish) containing (gags) the two letters often used for satisfactory and the Roman numeral for one.

5d Don’t tuck your shirt in for party! (3,2,3,4,3)</br >
An expression that might indicate that one has decided not to tuck one’s shirt in or one was going to have fun at a party!

18d Get behind team that’s bottom (8))
A single word for get behind (as in support) and a synonym of team.

21d Start of long summer run (6)
The first letter (start) of Long and a synonym of summer (as in someone carrying out an arithmetical process).

24d Light in spirit initially extinguished (4)
A spirit (from folklore) with its first letter removed (initially extinguished).

Quick Crossword Pun:


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American musician, songwriter and actor Eric Hilliard Nelson, better known as Ricky Nelson, was born on this day in 1940.  His ‘best performing’ single in the UK was Hello Mary Lou which in 1961 reached number 2 in the charts as half of what was known as, in the days of vinyl at 6s 4d, a ‘Double A-side’:


31 comments on “ST 3159 (Hints)

  1. I found this fun Dada puzzle very gentle indeed, a bit of a 26a. It’s days like these when we could really do with a Toughie.
    I don’t normally choose this type of clue as a favourite but 3d was great, I also liked 1,21&24d plus 20&25a.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. As always with a Dada I approached this with trepidation, what sort of mood is he in today?
    I need not have worried as by and large it was not too tricky. Still don’t understand the reference to evening hint for 20a.
    My favs were 18d, 21a and best of all 12a.
    Thx to all

    1. A, probably crossword only, synonym of evening is required to get 9 of the 15 letters of 20a and, as I said in the hint, it is nothing to do with the time of day. You should not have been able to solve 20a without this synonym.

      1. Your picture gave it away but I get it now. Odd synonym that I must tr6 to remember.

  3. As usual, Dada took some time to break into. Once I got going it was a satisfying solve with a couple of cheeky clues to bring a smile to the face. I’m not sure whether or not I have 4d right because I can’t see where “nonsense” comes into it. 13a is probably an old chestnut but it got my nomination for COTD.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints.

    1. 4d was my loi too Steve but I have heard the word for nonsense and if google it you will find it.

      1. I see I have one letter wrong in 4d, Senf. Annoying really, because a little more thought would have given it to me.

  4. I always get a sense of satisfaction when completing a Dada, but this one seemed almost to solve itself. Still, I’m satisfied. Like SL, I seldom cite one of the long ones, but 20a gets my top nod today, along with 25a, 24d, 3d, 4d, & 6d. Thanks to Senf and Dada. 2* / 3.5*

    Toughie 15, however, is something else again.

    1. Tell me about it. I sweated blood to get across the line. I fancy a rant about some of the homophones and could have easily hinted at the vast majority of the clues I hope the 50% + I have hinted help fill in the gaps.

        1. oh It was do-able in the end but I am looking forward to a more relaxing moment with the Dada now.

  5. I didn’t quite find this so much of a 26a as the previous few weeks but still pretty straightforward. 20a my last in & assume if it was one of his Paul puzzles in the Graun odds on some risqué reference to 5d. Can see where Senf is coming from as I didn’t think this was top drawer Dada either. Top 2 for me 4d & 12a – doubt I’d have twigged the former without the checker from the latter despite a kitchen full of the rubbish homophone.
    Thanks to D&S
    Wordle in 4

  6. Got the long ones fairly quickly which helped. All in all a good workout. LOI 4d and my COTD. Thanks to all.

  7. Bit of a hold-up with the parsing of 20a but otherwise quite a 26a.
    13a always raises a smile, 5d amused and 21d was probably my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – Ricky Nelson’s right leg must have been exhausted when he finished playing!

  8. Certainly at the gentler end of the Dada spectrum but still plenty of enjoyment to be had. Favourites for me were the long 3d and the short 14d for its penny drop moment.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints. Let’s hope your inundation soon recedes.

  9. For those of you who are not in the habit of ‘returning to yesterday’s blog’ (tomorrow, today’s will be yesterday’s), Chalicea claimed ownership of the SPP a few hours ago.

  10. For the most part this was a kind and gentle Dada puzzle for this week. I found a half dozen or so clues slowed me down and really needed some thoughtful head scratching.
    Podium favourites include 12a, 26a, 3d, 5d & 18d with 3d & 5d combined winners.
    12a, 17a & 18d gave me a chuckle

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for double weekend duty again

  11. This is going to drive me crazy – the only answer I can’t get is the long 3d anagram – I’ve turned it upside down and inside out. Oh dear – grrrr
    I’m not sure about a favourite – possibly 25a or 6d if only because either defeats me too often.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Off now to go loopy about 3d . . .

    1. Hello Kath. It took me a long time to get 3d although I got the other long one straightaway. In fact I only got it this morning although solving on the train last night was punctuated by Police being called to remove a passenger, train standing outside to Grantham due to theft of cables further North and finally emergency evacuation of station! C’est la vie.

  12. Thanks to Senf and Dada, That was a fair bit easier than Toughie 15 but still enough to warm down the brain cells. 3d 5d combo is my favourite today. some nice bits of Dadaesque humour. I need a lie down now. Time to take my batteries out for a bit.

  13. We thought this great fun with lots of humour. Favourite was 13a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  14. A very enjoyable and doable Dada today, and I don’t often get to say that 😊. Solving the four long answers 3d, 5d, 13a and 20a really helped of course. 13a was my COTD. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. 2/4. Dada in benign form today and very doable for a change. Favourite was 12a. Thanks to all.

  16. Stephen L beat me to it, a gentle 26a. Lovely long uns nicely linked. Thanks Dada & Senf.

  17. Late in the day once again but a very accessible and enjoyable Dada once I had got into the rhythm of solving it. 21d was my favourite.

    Belated thanks to the aforementioned setter and Senf.

  18. Got all of this without hints with the exception of 24d….which I could have looked at until Doomsday I think without Senf’s help.

    Thanks to Senf and to Dada

  19. Had to leave this halfway and return later, but It was Dada in a good mood, I enjoyed this. I got bogged down in the NE where there was a dearth of hints. I like multi-word phrases so 13a (my fave), 20a, 3d and 5d, once I got some checkers for them, went straight in. Not sure my 4d is correct but it fits.
    Thanks Dada for a friendly offering and Senf for your hints and tips.

    1. Been stewing around 4d in my brain ever since I finished, I’ve only just got it – thick or what?

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