ST 3165 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3165 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3165 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we are experiencing a mini-heatwave – we reached 28 (feels like 32) degrees yesterday, with 36 (feels like 43) degrees forecast for today, and 32 (feels like 42) degrees for tomorrow.

For me,  slightly quirky with some Dada-esque synonyms but a reduction in anagrams, six (with one partial), two lurkers (one reversed), 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 – 7a, 17a, 2d, and 15d.

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 Extraordinary bird gathering first of twigs (9)
A common bird, which collectively flies around in murmurations, containing the first letter of Twigs.

10a Note in trill? (6)
A double definition(?) – the first is a musical note (which is half of a crotchet).

11a Published, legal entitlement clear (8)
A three letter synonym of published and a five letter legal entitlement.

12a Flop, tax-free scheme rejected already (2,2,2)
A synonym(?) of flop (as in take up a position in a chair?) and a (UK) tax-free scheme all reversed (rejected).

17a Couple prepare for impact (5)
A double definition – the second is one of the things that flight attendants will tell you that you need to do ‘in the unlikely event of an emergency.’

19a Quiet moment for comedy routine (6)
We have seen this before so no complaining – The two letters for (be) quiet and a synonym for a moment (in time).

26a Bird briefly seen beside father in tree (6)
Another common bird with its last letter removed (briefly) placed after (beside) a three letter synonym of father.

28a Cut on a girl, it needs treatment (9)
An anagram (needs treatment) of ON A GIRL, IT.


1d Substantial drink (5)
Another double definition – the second is a type of beer.

3d Served up in decanter, alcoholic drink (6)
The reversed lurker (served up in) found in two words in the clue.

9d Heavy food dogs eat, not a liquid (6)
An anagram (liquid) of DOGS EaT with the A removed (not).

13d Playwright left piece of material for wrapping up (5)
The illustrated playwright and the single letter for Left – with the definition, Dada is obviously not a fashion expert.

15d Bear using pose (9)
A synonym of using and a (not the usual) synonym of pose.

17d Cup of tea inspiring family activity in kitchen (6)
A three letter term for cup of tea (which I can’t find justification for anywhere, but it’s what tea leaves come in these days) containing (inspiring) a three letter term for family.

25d Agent has pocketed a cut (4)
A three letter abbreviated term for agent (not a secret one) containing (has pocketed) A from the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun – one for Star Wars fans, which does not include me:


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Accomplished organist Jonathan Scott demonstrates his skill and expertise playing his own arrangement of Giuseppe Verdi’s Grand March from the opera Aida.  Performed on the magnificent J. J. Binns pipe organ in the Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Clitheroe, Lancashire and skilfully videoed by his brother Tom.  I wonder if he has special ‘organ playing’ shoes:

44 comments on “ST 3165 (Hints)

  1. Very enjoyable, completed prior to a bracing sea swim, with just the SE taking a little teasing out.
    My ticks go to 7&19a plus 18&23d (the latter may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it made me smile) with the excellent 12a runaway winner.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Just reading the review Senf. Re 17d…Cup of tea and the part of the solution are synonymous in the sense of “it’s not my cup of tea/it’s not my ***.

  2. Some wily clues, subtle misdirection and deceptive simplicity kept me in my toes with this puzzle . For me, the pick of the clues were COTD 28a, and runners up 2d, 18d and 22d. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for another absorbing Sunday Crossword.

  3. Much trickier than Dadas of late with some very dodgy clues (4d, why former?, 17d just plain weak, 15d bad synonym, 6d why month?). I did like 2d and 5d.
    Needed almost all the hints to complete this one.
    Not much fun, just a slog, not up to his usual high standard in my opinion.
    Thx for the much needed hints.

    1. You’ll have to put a knot in your hanky to remind you to look at the review on Wednesday 29th

    2. You should Google, or similar e-search, what former is being applied to in 4d and see what it has transmogrified into!

  4. A usual Dada in that it began slowly, gathered pace then slowed down to a crawl again. I agree with Senf in that Dada is being a bit quirky today. I don’t think I will ever remember the word at 19a despite it appearing many times in crosswords. Putting the wrong but plausible answer into 18d threw me for ages in the SE corner. I did not like the “tea” reference in 17d as I thought it a bit tenuous. No real favourites today.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun. Thank you to Senf for the hints, a few of which are needed.

  5. Very tricky Dada for me, here and the Quickie, but altogether satisfying to finish and most enjoyable. Top-notch winners: 2a, 19a, & 22d, with 18d my Clarkie because it made me LOL. Thanks to Senf and Dada. 2.5* / 4*

    Very challenging Sunday Toughie…still at it.

  6. I thought this was a dandy, tricky but doable and stretched me to my personal limits.
    I think I have the right answer for 22d, but I can’t parse it, and needed StephenL’s explanation to fully understand 17d.
    [redacted because it is a Prize Puzzle]
    My favourite was 18d for the PDM.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. You keep putting an E instead of an R in your email address, sending you into moderation!

      1. Oops, heavy-fingered today.
        Thought my comment that got redacted was within the rules, so apologies for that

  7. Dada at his Sunday best, I thought, full of guile and misdirection. 9d was my top pick, and I was only held up in the NW corner by virtue off the fact that I misspelt 2d on the iPad, did not check it, then wondered why I could not complete the quadrant. Silly mistake.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  8. After a number of very gentle Sundays it was back to a welcome tussle with Dada. I struggled to get on wavelength & found both the NW & SE particularly tricky but eventually staggered over the line. Wouldn’t disagree with Senf’s picks of the clues other than to add 18d to them.
    Thanks to D&S

  9. An very enjoyable tussle in 2* time.
    Thought 17d a bit obscure.
    Many cunning clues, though.
    Last in 13d, to my shame.
    Many thanks, Dada and Senf and Stephen L.

  10. A pleasant workout with no hmms apart perhaps from the slightly dubious 17d. Had to be reminded of 19a. 21a was my Fav. Thank you Dada and the hardworking Senf.

  11. Thought I must have lost several brain cells overnight when I finally reached the end of today’s puzzle and came to take a look at Senf’s review. That was when the light dawned and I realised I’d been solving the Robyn Toughie……..
    This was a ‘walk in the park’ by comparison although still gave me the odd sticky moment. Top three here were 17a plus 2&18d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the review and the musical accompaniment.

  12. Excellent Dada, a pleasure to solve. 80% went in very swiftly from N to S & W to … a good pause in the SE, where I certainly found Dada to be at his more wily. No objection whatever to 17d – I use both phrases in the negative (“not my …”) so have no issue with the formulation here. COTD the wonderful laugh-out-loud 18d, followed closely on the podium by 22d and 21a.

    2* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf

  13. Hard to say what we thought of this but we got there in the end. Favourite was 21a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  14. The final penny has dropped on the expanse of flesh and the frogs. Thanks to Dada and Senf. I rather enjoyed that after a struggle with the toughie.

  15. Well, boys and girls, tomorrow I’ll be discharged from this hellhole. I’ve been saturated in Spanish for five weeks, very difficult to understand my carers or they me. There are the busy little bees who fall down the maw of “I’ll be back in a minute” and disappear forever, never to be seen again. Then the ladies who answer the call button, come in, take one look and leave again.
    Half the 20-30 population in Coral Gables have gladly taken care of this old woman’s fixings without a word of complaint, I’d say that’s a plus. Would somewhere else have been better?
    Tomorrow I’m being transported back to Truxton, where I’ll have a loving and warm welcome, hugs for Sadie. I’ll have to be very careful as I’m still very weak and the heart warns me to watch my step!
    If you’re interested I’ll add something from time to time. Love, Barbara and Sadie,

    1. Glad to hear you are getting home. I hope you will pop back whenever you like. Exercise for the brain is as good as exercise for the heart.

    2. It’s wonderful to hear from you. Just take lots of care and keep ‘sending postcards’ please.

    3. Great to hear that you’re going home. Stay in touch please & update us on what I hope is a continued recovery.

    4. Very happy that you are going home tomorrow. Hopefully you won’t have to endure any more of these vacations 😊. I know Sadie is wagging her tail already, and you will be in good hands with Gigi.

    5. Seeing Sadie again will cheer you up no end, Merusa. Try to do more or less as you’ve been instructed and do please let us know how you are progressing. Your blog family cares about you.

    6. Wonderful to hear from you and to know that you’re going home. We are very interested in you and want to hear from you as often as possible. Hugs to Sadie.

    7. Merusa – Great news that you are to go back home tomorrow and I wish you a safe transfer and a warm welcome from Sadie. Take care and do keep in touch with us – your comments are missed. 💐 Best wishes to you 💐 🌈🌈.

    8. I am always so behind time with the crossword and blog so rarely comment but I was planning to enquire where you had got to Merusa. I’m guessing you’ve been poorly and I’m delighted to ‘see’ you here and to hear that you’re going home. I’ve missed your comments and updates. Wishing you the very best.

      All encompassing thanks to compilers, hinters and bloggers. Thought this was sticky but managed to get there unaided. Liked 18d in particular.

    9. Your life story is so interesting Barbara. Serialise it here in daily episodes please.

  16. Trickier puzzle today from Dada after his last two offerings. Nonetheless, a pleasing solve with some head scratching moments. 2.5*/4* from me today.
    Favourites include 14a, 21a, 2d, 5d & 18d with winner 18d with 2d a close second.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the usual nice Sunday puzzle/blog

  17. My goodness, knock me down with a feather. Completed, and almost all my own work. I was so surprised to see all the tricky comments, as I thought most would be complaining that it was too gentle. Just goes to prove the wavelength theory. Hope my luck lasts. Biggest laugh at 18d, but too many great clues to pick COTD. Such a relief after doing abysmally yesterday. Huge thank you to Dada for the enjoyment and to Senf, doing another double stint weekend,

  18. Finished…eventually! 🤪
    Dada back to his most fiendish I suspect having noticed a few ‘quite gentle’ comments from the last couple of weeks?😎
    Extremely tricky in places but with some good old-fashioned ‘head-scratching’ (and Mrs H’s help with a couple of anagrams, particularly one that I can’t mention) it’s a completion.
    Once again, my hat is well and truly ‘doffed’ to you Sir, for a masterpiece of trickery, deception but utter enjoyment & entertainment at your art!
    Thanks also to Senf for another great blog ‘n hints, and very best wishes for a swift recovery to BD!

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