ST 3104 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3104 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3104 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we had our 25cms of snow starting last Sunday evening and ending on Wednesday morning.  Apparently, that amount of snow is equivalent to 2.5cms of rain so the farmers will be less unhappy for a while. 

Keep staying safe everyone.

I know that it cannot be planned, but, after yesterday’s gentle SPP from our esteemed editor, guess what, Dada is anything but gentle.  I counted one anagram which is a partial, two lurkers (one reversed), and no homophones – all in a symmetric 30 clues, with 16 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, 17a, 24a, 5d, 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 Reckless daughter, a communist, wicked (4-5)
A simple step by step assembly of four pieces of Lego – the single letter for daughter, A from the clue, the colour that is used to identify a communist, and a synonym of wicked.

10a Couple of shakes, very little (6)
A double definition – the first is a not very well defined period of time.

14a Almost nothing about it, hard instrument (6))
A synonym of nothing with its last letter removed (almost) containing (about) all of IT from the clue and the single letter for Hard.

17a Sailor, I nearly forgot to say, returning for fish (5)
A three letter term for a sailor and the two letters for a last minute addition to a letter (I nearly forgot to say) all reversed (returning).

19a Let me see rose cut in Italian region (6)
A two letter expression (of hesitation?) that could be equivalent to let me see and a generic term for a rose (bush) with its last letter removed (cut).

21a Weed remaining on empty lake (6)
A four letter term for remaining (financially) after deductions from a total amount before (on) LakE with the interior letters deleted (empty).


26a Preserve guts (6)
A double definition – the second relates to being courageous.

28a Combine treating complex with medicine, ultimately (9)
An anagram (complex) of TREATING and (with) the last latter (ultimately) of medicinE.


1d Instant blow over documents (5)
A three letter synonym of blow placed before (over) the favourite two letter documents

2d Place for drinkers to get into scrap — France perhaps? (8)
A three letter informal term for a place for drinkers inserted into (to get into) a synonym(?) of scrap.

5d Seal petition in bag (6)
A verbal synonym of petition inserted into (in) a verbal synonym of bag.

6d Half of tree, flower and cherry stolen (9)
The (first) half of the letters in TRee, a river (flower) – select one of four that go by this name in England – and the colour that may be called cherry.

15d Awkward, fake jewellery? (9)
A synonym of fake and a slang term for jewellery.

20d Chance hurried complete with header from midfielder (6)
A three letter synonym of hurried, a two letter verbal synonym of complete, and (with) the first letter (header from) of Midfielder.

23d Note on instrument one’s played (5)
The objective is to turn one (musical) instrument into another – one of the single letter musical notes placed before (on) the illustrated instrument.

25d Number going into eighteen I notched up (4)
The reverse lurker (going into . . . up) found in three words in the clue – the ‘forward’ lurker not hinted by me is 13d.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

My Italian does not extend much beyond ‘Due birre per favore.’ and ‘Grazie.’ when they are served.  However, I was able to more or less understand the details in the text below the ‘full’ YouTube version of this video of Va, pensiero (otherwsise known as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco.  The performance was in an arena in Verona on May 24th, 2015 and there were 4,600 choristers from 25 choirs in 18 regions:


85 comments on “ST 3104 (Hints)

    1. In reference to a 3 letter word ?
      Can’t see one anywhere other than the obvious partial one.

    2. Ah, yes, the 10a one (not the one in 10a, but using one ‘version’ of the 10a answer) which missed getting an annotation on my printed sheet so missed being counted.

  1. Slow start but eventually got into the swing of things and enjoyed the journey. Umm to 16a (abbrev.) and 3d (surely fail not failing). NE came aboard last. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  2. A real head- scratcher with some previously unthought of synonyms for my part (4*/4*). I got great satisfaction from being able to finish the puzzle, albeit with an electronic hint for one clue. It wasn’t all fun and games but it was a good intellectual workout, followed by a long brisk walk in th Spring sunshine. “Mens sane in corpore sano”. There were lots of wily clues to choose from but I liked 14a, 27a, 2d and my COTD 19a. Thanks to Senf for the hints andto Dada for a very good challenge.

      1. Yes I get that it is something they sing, but what it has to do with the soldier part of the clue beats me…

        1. Not sure what goodies are on offer on the naughty step but I’ll risk it. Jepi’s definition but the first word’s meaning is neither numerical nor owt to do with anaesthesia. Think a different number.

      1. Thank you! It was the way the the word ‘try’ in the clue was used, but I’ve looked it up again and found a suitable definition, so all happy now :)

        1. I still can’t find try in the answer, but I do have the answer! I’ve looked up the definitions of try and have got nowhere.

          1. If you have your answer and you remove the ‘soldier’ then look up what you have left in the dictionary

    1. Hooray and thanks to all of you who couldn’t do this one – neither could I and it was going to drive me mad – more thanks to the various people who helped.

      1. Yes me too. Strange that this was considered one of the more obvious ones, and so not hinted.
        It would not be out of place in Dada’s alter ego in the Guardian.
        Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Hard work! It took me a long time to grasp the wavelength of this one. ****/** I do not understand 17d which was a bung in. The rest I just about managed to unravel but even then wasn’t 100% sure so not the most enjoyable exercise for me. I think 3d works well enough as a noun, Angellov? I liked the cricketing clues and the fishy ones. Thanks to all.

    1. I agree on 3d. Not the most obvious synonym of failing, for me at least, but it does work.

  4. Wow. That was a puzzle of two halves. The top half went is at just above my normal pace for a 1* completion, then the bottom half proved to be an absolute brute of around 5* difficulty! Nevertheless I did enjoy the challenge and my overall rating is 3.5*/4*.

    With lots of good clues to choose from, with my cricket hat on I’ll go for 9d as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  5. What a horrible crossword with very little to recommend it. Difficult just for the sake of it.
    One for the bin in my opinion. And don’t get me started on 18a!
    Thx for the hints
    **********/minus 5

    1. Back on that fence again Brian…..
      Lovely afternoon for golf. Looking forward to my knock later.

  6. Definitely some thinking outside of the box required this morning and I know very little about baseball teams so had to rely on the checkers for that one. Not keen on 16a but some good stuff elsewhere. Quite liked the fish food idiot and the preserved guts.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  7. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish this without outside help but at the second time of asking, I noticed that my answer to 11a wasn’t agreeing with my guess for 4d. Solvers beware, there is a perfectly good alternative answer to 11a, which is, of course, wrong.

    Having sorted that mess out, the rest fell into place in *** time.

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  8. That was a poser and no mistake! I struggled with it but, with the help of some electrons, I managed to finish but with no real sense of achievement or satisfaction.

    Thank you for the beating, Dada. Thank you, Senf for the hints.

  9. Unlike Brian I thought this was right up there with his best for some time albeit maybe he meant to put it in his Graun/ Paul folder. As Jane says a fair bit of outside of the box thinking required but that made for a very satisfying solve. Plenty of clever clues with big ticks for 11,14,19,21,24&26a plus 5,6,9,15&17d. My favourite was 24a as the first bit is what I invariably feel struggling to see the obvious trying to parse clues.
    Many thanks to Dada & to Senf.
    Ps Am not usually a fan of the sometime giveaway pics for the prize crosswords but on this occasion I certainly wouldn’t have been able to identify 14a from the pic nor would I have bet my last penny on 23d.

    1. Not always easy, but I do try to make my pics non-giveaways. In 23d for example, I could have chosen to illustrate the answer rather than illustrating the ‘starting’ instrument.

      And, I stopped using the ‘cursor hovering’ identification feature some time ago.

    2. Nor would I have guessed from the pictures. Often wondered what a 14a looks like, though.

      1. Really only know the instrument because of the theme in Carol Reed’s wonderful film. Watched it again recently on BBC 4 in a Greene double bill with Brighton Rock.

        1. I seem to remember a lady called S****** A****** who played the instrument on TV when I was a small child.

          (I nearly gave her full name but I don’t want to go on the naughty step after just having had our second jabs!)

    1. Welcome to the blog. As it is a prize puzzle, no more ‘official’ hints but you should find some help in Comment 4.

  10. Dada in a far from benign mood today, with several clues demanding some real attention. For me, the NW corner held out the longest, producing three clues that took me ages to sort out. It was a battle, but an enjoyable one. I think 17d was my top clue followed by 9d.

    Thanks to the aforementioned and Senf.

  11. Well I’m a relative newcomer to the cryptic crossword. I read Chris Lancaster’s book and have been making good progress and getting closer to completing the Sunday Cryptic each week. But today’s just seemed in a different league and I feel like I’ve taken a step backwards. Even with the hints I’m still struggling!

    1. Welcome to the blog. Occasionally, Dada will come up with a puzzle like today’s. As Huntsman says, at Comment 11, Dada might have confused himself with one of his other crossword identities.

      I strongly recommend that you ‘study’ the review of this puzzle which will be published on the blog on the 28th. That should help with understanding the clue constructions.

        1. Tell you what Jon if you’ve completed this blighter having only recently started doing them then you’re making a darn sight quicker progress than I did. This blog will help you enormously + CL’s book. Keep commenting.

          1. It’s like most learning curves, Jon, steep at times, gentle at others and thencthere are plateaus, when we don’t feel their is any progress at all We’ve all been there.

    2. Welcome, Jon and don’t worry about going backwards. I’ve found that solving cryptics is often one step forward followed by two steps back. :smile:

      Hope we hear from you again.

      1. Thanks Steve. 17D has just fallen into place thanks to some hints on here so a tiny bit closer to completion.

    3. Jon
      I have been doing backpage cryptics for years. When Dada first came on the scene a couple of years or so ago I did so badly that I gave up Sundays for a time! Then thanks to Senf & my bloody- mindedness I have come to solve every week.
      Puzzles cannot be the same level every week & it is not necessarily that we have taken one step back but there is one step up in difficulty. So it was today, as almost everyone has agreed. As Senf says reading CS’s review on the 28th will help your improvement. Your progress so far is impressive.

    4. Don’t worry, Dada takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, his puzzles are fair but challenging.

    5. Thanks everyone for your encouragement. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months and I look forward to the day when I can post on here that I’ve completed one without any help!

  12. Perfectly straightforward until it wasn’t but we got there. 28a became easier when I included the e instead of the m (ultimately) there’s no hope really. Favourite was 17d when we finally twigged. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  13. Another wonderful Sunday puzzle; thanks to setter. Favourites included 2D, 9D, 15D & 18D.
    ***/***** for me Thanks

  14. No real problems in top half but then started getting stuck in the lower regions!
    I guessed the answers for 19A & 17D to complete, but did need Senf’s hint for the former and the blog above for the latter to confirm & parse correctly…and me a retired sailor too…doh!!
    Thanks to Dada for a very challenging puzzle and to Senf for the excellent blog ‘n hints👍

  15. Since we Americans have yet to learn how to use the term in 26a in all its ramifications, I again found myself struggling to finish this rather tricky Dada last night, and so I finally settled for one little electronic gift, the first letter of the answer for 26a–and voila! I was done. One of these days…. But I thoroughly enjoyed the tussle, especially solving 17a/d and 15d. Thanks to Senf and to Dada. **** / ****

    For what it’s worth, re 18a; the great National League pitcher Jacob deGrom struck out nine batters in a row yesterday, a feat rarely equalled in the annals of baseball.

    1. Robert, did you notice that today’s NTY cryptic, also by John Halpern (and friends), had a second NY baseball team?

      1. Thanks, Woody. I don’t know what the NTY is, but since there is only one other NY baseball team, it must have been the NYY.

  16. After a very modest first pass it took some getting going but quarter by quarter (starting with SW) things fell into place in ***/**** time.
    Tough and certainly not one for those who find it difficult to tune in to Dada’s wavelength.
    Go for 11a as my COTD.
    Thanks Dada and of course Senf for hints. Spent ages trying to remember the 60s pop star who played a 14a. Had to ask Mr G in the end sadly.

  17. It’s becoming a habit with me at the moment, whizz the first two thirds in and then come to a grinding halt. Such was the case today, the last 3 or 4 clues took an age. Still can’t see the ‘try’ in 17d but I am sure I have the correct answer. Anyway, thanks to all on this sunny but chilly day.

      1. Sorry, I added this before reading the your comment. I have the soldier so will try googling the other word. ‘Try’ didn’t reveal this word. Thanks for your help.

        1. Hi Manders, I’ve been checking with a friend on your behalf since your comment yesterday about the scar on your leg. What you need is pure Vitamin E cream which is available from They only advertise the oil on their site so you need to give them a call to get the ‘proper stuff’. My friend used it religiously following a double mastectomy and the results were quite astonishing.

    1. Re 17d thinking [redacted](in the good old days, BD used to say that anything starting ‘think or thinking’ was definitely straying into alternative clue territory)

      Glad the leg is getting there.

  18. A lovely and difficult (for me at least) puzzle to enjoy on this sunny Sunday. Unfortunately it looks like next week will be cold again and we may have snow.
    My surgeries are on hold again because of the latest wave and lockdown. We are scheduled to get our first shots at the end of May, hopefully they will go ahead.
    I watched parts of yesterday’s funeral but found it uncomfortable when the camera lingered on the Queen, I felt I was intruding on her grief, so I would look away then.
    Hope everyone is well and not going to mad because of the pandemic lockdowns.

    1. I agree, and was glad that she wisely kept her head down for the most part, to retain some degree of privacy. I don’t think the cameras should have been allowed to focus on her at all.

      1. I think that’s why they all had their heads down. Pre-arranged. Head down and the veil prevents press intrusion. Quite rightly so, IMHO.

      1. LOL I suspect it is your snow that we will be getting!

          1. So have we and I have all kinds of bulbs coming up. If we do have to have a cold snap I hope it snows because that might just protect the flowers and veg that are coming up. I do so need to be in the garden as this latest lockdown thing takes hold again. That and the crosswords are keeping me sane……. well my family would say relatively sane. :-)

  19. After a slow start I thoroughly enjoyed this Dada puzzle, and didn’t find it to be one of his toughest. You can always rely on Dada to be challenging, but always fair and never obtuse. Having said that I still don’t understand 17d completely. Too many clever clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to Dada and Senf. I am hoping to get an update email from Merusa today.

  20. This was as hard today as yesterday’s was easy. 4*/4* Not quirky but clues that required a lot of grey matter and head scratching to get through. Still have several that I can’t parse, but they are right as it is what fits.
    Clues I liked include 8a,17a, 24a, 5d & 6d with winners 8a & 6d

    Watched yesterday’s event and must say I felt really sorry for the Queen as it was not the way she should have had to say goodbye to her Prince … all alone.

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for the hints I needed today

  21. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I didn’t find this too tricky, but definitely a few to make you think. LOI was 18d, which took a while. I liked 5d, but my favourite was 20d. Still can’t parse 9d, but think I have the right answer. Was 3* /4* for me. Great puzzle.

  22. Too clever for me, I was completely stuck on top RH corner. I read Senf’s hints and found that the answer I had thought of for 9d was right but because it was in Australia I was trying to write it backwards! Numbskull. And I eventually got 5d but had to look it up because I would never have known it had anything to do with a seal. So, happy I have finished it but it was a slog and I have been popping back to it throughout a glorious afternoon spent poddling in the garden. A nice relaxed day after the tension and drama of yesterday. What an impressive display. I thought it was a superb send off.

  23. Must be the warm weather or something, but I found this quite straightforward for a Dada, just creeping into my ** time. 17d favourite clue and just loved listening to the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves – one of our family favourites. Thanks Senf for that, and everyone else for the blog.

  24. Two sittings, perseverance and some lateral thinking required for this one. Very satisfying to cross the finishing line, but hard work.
    Favourites were 11a and 24a.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  25. I haven’t completed this yet. A case of Italian wine delivered Friday, and a visit from grandchildren for lunch today, in the lovely sunshine, meant a late start.
    Does anyone remember the brilliant game called 9d that we played in the 60s? A little tin full of hours of enjoyment. We bought proper score books from the local sports shop, and recreated test matches.
    I think I’ll try to finish tomorrow!

  26. Phew, that was tough but there was a certain perverse enjoyment in completing it! Thanks to Senf for a couple of hints and Dada for the challenge.

  27. Far too late to add much, if anything.
    A busy day in the garden with the Elder Lamb, her partner and our young grandson in London.
    Got back late – had a go at the crossword and here I am.
    I wasn’t sure if it was a tricky one or if I’m knackered and out of routine or just plain dim – haven’t read all the comments yet – need wine and supper – but I get the idea that it wasn’t a “just me day” – thank goodness for that.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – will read comments either later or tomorrow.

  28. Top nice and easy, bottom not so.
    Failed in the SW corner, mainly due to ignorance of the Italian region, though I think I have heard of it.
    Thanks Dada for the workout and Senf for the hints, even though the three I could not get were not hinted.

  29. 3*/3*…I am another who cannot quite parse 17D…
    the reckless daughter in 7A sounds interesting.

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