ST 3187 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3187 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3187 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, on the fourth anniversary, two days ago in reality, of Dada as our Sunday setter and even after occasional head scratching on a Saturday evening, I still have more hair on my head than my baby brother and my son put together.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada was reasonably friendly, and very doggy, with five anagrams (two partials), one lurker (reversed but not hinted), and three homophones (one partial which sounds familiar), 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 – 19a, 21a, 23a, 4d/5d, 7d, and 10d.

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 Flock is going to race madly round back of pen (12)
An anagram (madly) of GOING TO RACE containing the last letter (round back) of peN.

9a Sum up about problematic situation that’s paid much respect (7)
A single word term for sum up (mathematically) containing (about) a single word term for problematic situation.

12a Old king with day on his own? (7)
An abbreviated form of a day (of the week) placed after (on) a term for on his own – I can’t quite decide if ‘on’ is doing ‘double duty’.

16a Ball: fast player has passed one, nearly scoring initially (9)
Oh dear, sorry Kath and others – a mixture of cricket and football – a fast player in either the oval or the round ball game placed after (has passed) all of the Roman numeral for one the first letters (initially) of Nearly and Scoring.

21a Person who criticizes a door-to-door salesman, perhaps? (7)
A double definition(?) – the second is based on what a door-to-door salesman might do to announce his arrival.

23a Certainly beyond yours truly, a limit (7)
A synonym of certainly placed after (beyond) all of the objective pronoun that represents yours truly and A from the clue.

26a Small creature in scary West Sussex town, did you say? (6-6)
A synonym of scary and a homophone (did you say?) of a West Sussex town (which is almost in Surrey).


1d Wonderful family rescued by dog, shortly (7)
The three letter synonym for family contained (rescued) by a breed of (famously royal) dog with the last letter deleted (shortly).

2d Very often gallant, by the sound of it? (7)
A homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of gallant describing the behaviour of the illustrated character.

7d Use force getting sovereign and five cents for bread (12)
A single word verbal term for use force followed by (getting) the regnal cypher of two of our (female) sovereigns and the N Am Inf term for five cents.

10d Long time in awful dry season: important to plant in it (7,5)
An anagram (awful) of DRY SEASON with a three letter synonym of important inserted into it (to plant in it).

17d Beauty, one taking snuff? (7)
A double definition(?) – we all need a copy of Dada’s personal thesaurus, although I do believe that I have heard the answer as a nounal synonym of beauty but it is probably no longer PC; as well as one taking snuff, the second may refer to someone using a recreational pharmaceutical.

20d X-certificate, like nothing one’s heard? (7)
A homophone (one’s heard) of a single word for like nothing?

22d Out of practice, easily relied upon to lose lead (5)
A single word term for easily relied upon with the first letter deleted (to lose lead).

Quick Crossword Pun:


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On a recent University Challenge, a team from Southampton University (average age 25) had a set of bonus questions on London in Popular Music and one of the three questions was:

Holloway Jail and Waterloo Sunset are songs by which band formed in North London in the 1960s?

Answer here – a number two in 1967:

46 comments on “ST 3187 (Hints)
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  1. The first thing that struck me when I looked at the grid was how many 7 letter answers there were.

    A very enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the write-up.

  2. Very enjoyable, for me Dada in reasonably friendly mood though with one or two stretchy interpretations in the wordplay.
    I suspect if this had been a Paul puzzle “snuff” wouldn’t have been the word used in 17d!.. Anyway, lots to like including 16&26a, the rather quaint 1d, with top spot going to 10d.
    Thanks to our “setter” and Senf.

  3. Just me then – I thought this trickier than recent Sunday Prize Puzzles and certainly trickier than the Dada ‘toughie’ last week

    Lots to enjoy as usual. Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  4. 2*/4*. Light and good fun despite one or two slightly strange surfaces, notably 4d.

    21a & 7d are fighting it out for first place with 23a & 25a hard on their heels.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  5. Enjoyable fun – many thanks to Dada and Senf.
    Making it onto my podium were 8a, 10d and 20d.

    The Sunday Toughie by Robyn is a cracking puzzle and highly recommended.

  6. Tricky but very enjoyable Sunday puzzle today with some great cryptic teasers.
    Particularly liked 16a and 15d. Favourite today was 26a, very funny! Thanks to the setter.

  7. 26a was my final entry and produced the biggest laugh, although my favourite was 7d. Overall this was about par for a Sunday in terms of difficulty, but with a couple of trickier clues to stretch out the solving time. And as always from this setter, great entertainment.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  8. I thought rhe misdirection in this ouzzle was particularly clever and it made it a bit trickier than usual, particularly with the cryptic definitions, which were craftily rendered less than obvious thereby. The homophones were good too. I particularly liked 10d, 2d and my COTD 26a. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to ,Dada for an amusing puzzle.

  9. Very tricky, so many brilliant misdirections.
    Put me into a solid 4*time.
    Last in, shamefully, 13a and 10 and 17d.
    But all thoroughly enjoyable.
    Many thanks, Dada and Senf.

  10. Tough puzzle but very enjoyable. My favs were 19a and esp 16a (brilliant clue). I think 17d is 40s slang for one part of the definition.
    My only remaining problem is where ‘device’ fits in with the answer to 15d.
    Many thanks to Dada for a great puzzle and to Senf for the hints.

  11. Hadn’t previously met the beauty in 17d and the ‘ball’ required a bit of homework although the checkers were a considerable help.
    Top three here were 25&26a plus the simple but effective 2d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – but perhaps not for the music this time!

  12. Well and truly beaten by Dada today. Needed Senf’s hints to a DNF finish. Cracking great puzzle though, and I should have done better. Except for the ‘ball’, there was nothing I’d not heard (or heard of) before. I’ve even been to the W Sussex town. Thanks to Senf and Dada. 5*/4*

    After finishing Demon Copperhead (imagine an Appalachian Dickens), I’m re-reading McEwan’s Amsterdam (loving it again), with Atonement (for the fifth time) next. Birthday presents to me from me for my 84th tomorrow.

    1. Happy birthday Robert and enjoy your reading and your presents. I have just dug out my Joseph Conrad and was captivated by the opening sentences of chapter two of An Outcast of the Islands, a brilliant reflection on the sea. Wouldn’t be allowed today despite its beauty.

      Happy Birthday again Robert and take care so I can wish you many more.

    2. A very Happy Birthday, Robert. I hope you have a great day and your cruciverbal challenges are most satisfying. 🎂🎂🎂

    3. Happy 84th Birthday, Robert. I’m rather late finishing today’s puzzle so only just looking at the comments and seen the greetings. Enjoy your special day.

  13. I struggled with today’s puzzle. I expect to do so at first with Dada but then it usually falls into place. Today it didn’t and it was a slog from start to finish. Still, I got there in the end and a tussle is to be expected every so often. I liked the 4/5d combination and that is unusual because I often find such clues confusing. My COTD is 26a because it appealed to my macabre sense of humour.

    Many thanks, Dada, you nearly beat me today. Thank you, Senf for the hints.

    Beautiful sunny day in Ryedale so Hudson and I will be tramping across the countryside this afternoon if I don’t consume too much Bradfield Steel Cow ale.

  14. We found this difficult too, mainly in the west but having solved 7d we finished quite quickly so cotd. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. I can’t do 16a – having read the hint I don’t expect to get it anyway – think I’ll just quote my sister, when she can’t do something, “Shall we just not mind . . . “!
    I thought this was more difficult than the recent Sunday crosswords have been.
    I like the (several) “doggy” ones and 26a.
    I’ve got the answer for 8a by the checking letters but I’m missing the point somehow – I suspect it’s one of those I’m being dim about!
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  16. Found this Dada puzzle a little on the quirky side for him this week. Lots of head scratching and pauses for thought … with the odd PDM that came with a loud THUD!
    Certainly lots of dogs in this one

    2.5*/4* today.

    Favourites include 12a, 26a, 1d, 4d/5d, 7d & 10d — with winner 26a

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for his hints and comments

  17. Struggled at first with this though was pleased to get 1a immediately! Good clue for 1d but didn’t really like the slang word that resulted. Thought 17d a bit suspect too and needed electronic help with 16a which I was never going to get unaided. I liked 12a, 19a, 23a, 7d and 10d. My COTD was 26a. Thanks to Dada for the challenge and Senf for confirming some of my parsing.

  18. I thought this one considerably more entertaining than recent Sundays & for me a return to form by Dada. Is it really 4 years since the howls of protest that greeted his debut. I thought the 4 long ‘uns all very good with 26a perhaps edging it in a tight 4way photo finish. 18d among a number of others I rather liked also.
    Thanks to D&S – not sure I understand why you think the on may be doing double duty at 12a.

  19. I’m another solver who found completing this puzzle more challenging than the Sunday norm. Top clue for me was the smooth 24a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. Definitely more difficult than usual.3* for us.
    17 down is a term that would be very old fashioned now and probably not PC.

  21. I agree that this was a bit of a struggle today, but maybe mostly because we had a rather splendid lunch with DD2 today and am somewhat sleepy! I liked 10d a favourite expression of my mother’s. Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  22. Phew! Takes me back four years. I must have regressed. I’m clearly swapping places with Brian. I’ve never heard of 16a. 10d was last one in. Some of the parsing is a mystery.
    17d must be pre-war. On the plus side are 9 and 12a, and 2d but 7d and 26a tie for a place in the trophy cabinet. Thank you Dada and the ever unflappable Senf.

  23. Afraid I didn’t enjoy this at all and in fact surprised myself by finally ploughing through it with NE last to come on board. Too many misgivings to list. Thank you Dada and Senf.

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