ST 3161 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3161 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3161 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where it is time to break out the beer, burgers, and hot dogs for the unofficial start of Summer, as we have a holiday to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, although those brave enough to party outside will probably need thermal underwear and wellies.

For me, solved with the assistance of a wee dram and a couple of Mr Tunnock’s finest tea cakes – it might have been a mistake to have included the tea cakes.  I counted four anagrams (with one partial), one lurker, and one homophone – all in a very asymmetric 31 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 – 16a, 26a, 19d, and 23d

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 Area where the race is sabotaged (7)
An anagram (where . . . is sabotaged) of THE RACE.

10a Oxygen inside part of flowering plant for a second (7)
The chemical symbol for Oxygen inserted into (inside) part of a flowering plant (where the pollen is produced, apparently).

15a Fuse ultimately short after setback, peaceful agreement reached (5)
The last letter (ultimately) of fusE and a synonym of short (when related to a person’s behaviour) all reversed (after setback).

16a Where bowler for example hits the ground immediately (2,3,4,2,1,3)
An Oldie But Goodie that I am sure I have hinted before – an expression for something to happen immediately referring to some ‘falling’ headwear.

25a Determined soldier, for example, behind a barrier (7)
A type of 6-legged soldier (for example) placed after (behind) all of A from the clue and a type of barrier (that holds water back).

28a Book, dull shape (7)
A synonym of dull (when referring to surface finish) and a verbal synonym of shape (with an axe perhaps).


1d Island with capital in Indonesia, a country formerly (8)
A (Mediterranean) island and (with) the first letter (capital in) of Indonesia and A from the clue.

4d Reported variety searched for (6)
The homophone (reported) of a synonym of variety.

5d Complete, however approximate (8)
The poetic variation (so says the BRB) of a synonym of however and a synonym of approximate.

8d Desire fellow animal doctor? (5)
This caused some serious thinking on the parsing and this is what I came up with – a two letter combination, perhaps followed by a hyphen in normal usage but not here, equivalent to fellow when discussing combined efforts and the short form of an animal doctor – a four letter synonym for fellow, which might immediately come to mind, cannot be used as that would make it impossible to include anything relating to animal doctor.

9d Old adversary fairly lacking in it (7)
A four letter term that could be a synonym of adversary and a synonym of fairly with IT removed (lacking in).

20d Male aggressor concealing advanced weapon (8)
A variation on guess a man’s or boy’s name, just a male today, and a term for a person acting as an aggressor containing (concealing) the single letter for Advanced.

22d Aerosol perhaps in dirty abode, inadequate (6)
An aerosol or what it might be contained in (perhaps) inserted into (in) a term for a dirty abode.

23d While up, rotate massive spinner (6)
A synonym of while reversed (up) and a synonym of rotate.

26d Place in Idaho, Meridian (4)
Remember the mantra, if all else fails . . . The lurker (in) found in two words in the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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German composer Richard Wagner was born on this day in 1813.  One of his most famous works is Der Ring des Nibelungen – the four opera Ring Cycle based on Norse legend. The second opera in the cycle is Die Walküre – The Valkyrie. This is The Ride of the Valkyrie from a performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 2011/12:

56 comments on “ST 3161 (Hints)

  1. 2.5*/4.5*. This was good fun once I’d recovered from reading the surface for 3d.

    I’m not entirely convinced that 23a is a member of an orchestra, but that is a minor point.

    16a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. With my (lack of) musical knowledge I might be wrong but there is a famous march, played as the second encore every New Year’s Day in Vienna, that opens with a 23a.

      1. For me, Senf, 23a is an instrument not a member of an orchestra even though one specific musician can play one occasionally. Chambers defines orchestra as “a large company of musicians” which 23a, being an inanimate object, clearly is not.

  2. Phew that was tough! Especially the top right which held me up for ages. Best clue for me was 26a.
    Not keen on poetical terms but liked the anagrams.
    Thx to all

        1. Oh, I see. Something you said in your hints, but not in the clues themselves…and variously defined in my dictionaries. I would not necessarily call it a ‘poetical term’, but all right.

  3. I really enjoyed this quintessential Dada today, with 23d outrivalling a number of worthy contenders, 20d, 26a, 1d, and that old chestnut 16a. Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / ****

    Finished Bad Actors (#8 in the Slow Horses series) last night and can’t wait for #9. And to those of you who know what I mean, the River seems to be flowing again, or did my eyes deceive me?

    1. It was with much relief when I realised the river was flowing again Robert. As you say number nine can’t come quick enough. No crossword today as I’ve been otherwise occupied. Will I survive !

  4. If anyone who likes to read mystery novels is running out of reading material, I can thoroughly recommend the Lane Winslow Mystery Series by Canadian author Iona Whishaw. Set in and around Nelson, BC it follows Lane Winslow after she arrives in Canada, in 1946, including ‘after effects’ of her service in Intelligence during WW2. This URL leads to a listing, with synopses, of the nine books in the series so far –

  5. Once I’d donned my special ‘Dada’ hat this didn’t cause too many problems and certainly produced quite a few smiles.
    Top three here were 16&26a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and the Met’s take on Ride of the Valkyrie – amazingly versatile, those ladies!

  6. Sailed through threequarters of this but SW hung fire for a while. 23a new to me so must accept it as an orchestra member. 16a brought back fond memories of Flanders and Swann and has to be my Fav with 2d running up when the penny dropped. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  7. Still got 5 to go and finding it very tough going including 5d and 23a – I simply cannot link rabbits and breakfast! Hey ho, will give it another go later when the fog clears.

  8. I agree with Jane that a special “Dada” hat is needed when tackling his offerings. As usual, started slowly only to gather speed before slowing down again. It is ever thus with Dada for me. Getting 16a helped give a toehold but it was the NE corner that helps me up the longest daily because of 3d. I simply could not get the rabbit element.

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

  9. Tough today, NE held out, had to reveal a few to get over the finishing line. Those still wondering if 23a is an orchestral member, think Miss Torvill, and Messrs Dean and Ravel. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Quite a tricky one. I was down to the last three clues, when my son srrived to help me with the garden and came up with two answers, whilst I found the third so I didn’t quite finiSh unaided. I liked 3d, 5d,23d and 23a. Thanks to Senf for the review. I now have a mental picture of you eating yor hot dog in your wellies and thermals, with a plateful of Tunnocks teacakes for dessert. You might need the whisky too if it’s that chilly. That to Dada for a fun head-scratcher.

  10. I am feeling a bit of crossword lethargy after a rather gruelling toughie last night, but I am out with Mama Bee For a restorative brew and bacon butty. I will pick up the ✏️ again this afternoon but will have a bit of a break now before putting on my Dada hat.

    1. ‘Grueling’ is the word, John. But after eons, I am down to one 4-letter clue in the Toughie, and I hope that you can relieve me of my agony.

      1. I’ve hinted three of six of the four letter words, two of the others get 50% checkers hinted, only 1 is unhinted and sparsely checked and that is not too difficult if you remember the Miffypops Maxim, When in doubt…

  11. Finished after lunch. Enjoyed this one. Lots of good clues but for me. The stand out was 5d as it made me smile.
    Lots of bees in the garden and the sun is up.
    Hopefully it will be warm enough to sit out before dinner with a snifter of something.

    1. I hope they are honey bees, BobH. We have few in our neck of the woods.

  12. A good solid Sunday Dada – tackled from the SE and pretty straight forward. Hon Mentions for 13 & 25a, 8, 9, 29 & 23d.

    2.5* / 2.5*

    Thank you to Dada and to Senf.

  13. A few days ago someone posited that I had worked myself into a paddy because of several crosswords being too difficult for me. Not so, that’s just not my style. My problem has been much more complicated. I have developed old age falling syndrome and have ended up in A&E, the worst one in Miami, one fall gouged a large hole in my left leg. I have now been banished to a wheelchair, which is no fun, but I think you can understand my not commenting, not due to a hissy fit.
    Keep parsing, chaps, and enjoy your crosswords, my Dad would have loved this site but I’m bowing out for now

    1. That is a shame Merusa. I will be sorry to see you go. Best of luck with the wheelchair. If it helps stop you falling that will be a real benefit.

      1. I do sympathise , Merusa. I’ll be sorry, not to see your cheerful comments. Old age is not for cissies or the faint-hearted is it?

    2. I am so sorry, Merusa. Please stay with us. We need your humour, and we need your presence.

    3. Don’t stay away from us for too long, Merusa, we’d all miss your comments and insights into the language of your homeland. Take good care and remember that so many folk are willing you to get your mojo back.

    4. Warm wishes for relief from your sufferings. Take care and I do hope you will join us again soon. In the meantime you
      will be very much missed. 💐.

    5. Merusa – please don’t stay away for too long – take your wheelchair off outside with you to go into your ‘insootierie’ – the trouble is that you’ll need to remind me how to spell it! Damn! Dim!!

      1. Hi Kath. Merusa may well have to correct me but I thought she referred to it as a sitooterie?

        1. Yes I rhought that was it too Jane, for sitting oot in the open, presumably?

        2. Thanks Jane – I knew my spelling was a bit wrong for Merusa’s sitooterie! :oops:
          It’s like Winnie-the-Pooh – It’s good spelling but the letters wobble and get in the wrong order.

    6. Many sympathies Merusa, hope your recovery is swift and your return here likewise.

    7. Very sorry to hear Merusa. I do hope you will keep in touch. We’ll all miss your contributions.

    8. So sorry to hear that, Merusa. We will all miss you, and I am sure everyone will be hoping you will feel able to rejoin us at some time in the future.

    9. Oh don’t stay away for too long. I absolutely love reading your comments. So sorry to hear that you’ve been in such pain and I hope that you’re on the mend. As for the wheelchair, well you’ll be able to get out and about more and it will be safer! Hoping you feel better soon.

  14. Slow but steady progress although not too many real hold ups. Favourite was 26a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. More challenging than recent Sunday offerings. As with others, the NE was the hardest part and only finally getting 3d unlocked it. 3d and 9d my favourites.

  16. The NE corner took as long to sort out as the rest of the puzzle, but stubbornness won the day and the grid is mercifully now complete. I agree wholeheartedly that 23a is most definitely not a member of an orchestra, but that gripe aside, this was a most Dadaesque crossword, enigmatic and sometimes quite awkward. 23d was a great example of our compiler’s style and my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf. I hope Merusa manages to overcome her feelings and sticks with us: she has become an integral part of the site and it would not feel complete without her.

  17. Tougher Dada puzzle today than last week. 2.5*/4* for me today.
    After 16a, found this hard to get rolling along. SW was last area finished.
    Favourites today 13a, 15a, 26a, 3d & 22d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints

    Wordle & Canuckle in 3 day

  18. I always find Dada’s Sunday crosswords difficult – this one was specially so – it’s taken me ages – never mind.
    For no reason my last answer was 23d – very silly as it probably wasn’t one of the most difficult ones.
    My favourite was 26a.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf for the “hints”!!

  19. A nice accompaniment to an early evening beer that took a bit of teasing out.
    In a strong field I’ve gone for the whimsical 16a plus the amusing 13a, with 5d making up the podium.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  20. Steadily worked through but came to a shuddering halt in the NE.
    This segment eventually capitulated but left me not fully understanding the why of 5d.
    So, thanks Senf.
    Loved 20d.
    Many thanks, Dada.

  21. A good solid Dada puzzle which I’m pleased to say I tuned into pretty quickly for a problem free solve in 1.5* time. 16a my favourite – not a chestnut I recall.
    Thanks to D&S

  22. Dada in fairly benevolent mood, though the
    NE caused a fair amount of concern.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

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