ST 3172 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3172 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3172 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we have had all sorts of Prairie summer weather this week including on Tuesday a (very) small tornado about 50 km North of the city with, thankfully, no harm done.

What better way to solve a Dada puzzle on a Saturday evening than with Walkers shortbread and a single malt, one from the Glenlivet family today.

For me, Dada providing another bit of a head scratcher with seven anagrams (two partials), no lurkers, and one homophone – all in a somewhat asymmetric 29 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 – 13a, 24a, 27a, 16d, and 22d.

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 One touching prickly thorns briefly (2,5)
The Roman numeral for one followed by (touching) an anagram (prickly) of THORNS.

12a Large mammal with cry that’s audible? (5)
The homophone (that’s audible?) of a synonym of cry.

13a Green water, ebbing (5)
The brand name of a mineral water, named after the French town it comes from reversed (ebbing) – perhaps the answer applies to those who buy the water.

17a American writer in West Germany, he travels (6,9)
An anagram (travels) of IN WEST GERMANY, HE – one of this writer’s claims to fame is that he was a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War.

24a Mark part of the intestine (5)
A double definition – the first appears in a sentence.

26a Large vessel left empty, article scoffed by pig (3,6)
An informal or slang name for a pig based on the onomatopoeic sound that it makes containing (scoffed) all of LefT with the interior letters removed (empty) and one of the indefinite articles.

28a Revolutionary queen I love for so long (7)
A four part charade to finish the Acrosses – our favourite South American revolutionary, HM’s regnal cypher, I from the clue, and the letter that represents love as part of a score in racket sports.


1d One line redacted in documents, working for old PM (6)
Documents that give away all of our belongings when we pass away with one of the single letters for line removed (redacted) and the two letter synonym for working.

3d Virtue has come after loss of business, I say! (8,2)
A synonym of virtue with (has) coME with the two letter abbreviation for business removed (after loss of).

6d Stick together — or split (6)
Dada has obviously been reading his BRB – one of those double definitions where the word in question has opposite meanings, I am more familiar with the second one.

15d Item of jewellery, article for troublemaker (10)
A four letter item of jewellry (worn on a finger?) and a perhaps thought provoking article appearing in a newspaper.

16d Cane and single bullet for collection (4-5)
A synonym of cane (associated with punishment?) and one word for a single bullet.

18d Hairy spider’s ending in drink (8)
The last letter of spideR (‘s ending) inserted into (in) an alcoholic drink that is made in Ireland or the USA but not in Scotland.

22d Hideous thing where no rum and water served up (6)
NO from the clue and a drink that is a mixture of rum and water all reversed (served up).

25d Christmas book, middle torn out (4))
A five letter term for a book (of fiction) with the middle letter removed (torn out) – I wonder if Dada is practising for the Christmas Day puzzle as it falls on a Sunday this year?

Quick Crossword Pun (about a month late):


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Something quite different this week. Even though the video title says 2003, this was probably recorded in 1996, part of an Italian folk song about a young man going down to the sea to look for a new love – the full lyrics and a translation can be found here – .

The singer is talented Belgian tenor and singer-songwriter Helmut Lotti:

46 comments on “ST 3172 (Hints)

  1. I thought this was relatively straightforward for a Dada puzzle. Thanks to him and Senf.

  2. For a change I was quickly on wavelength & breezed through this one in Campbell time with only the briefest of head scratch for the parsing at 26a. Thought the anagrind at 11a nicely disguised in the surface read & 7d raised a smile. Pleasant as ever but not one of his corkers in my view.
    Thanks to D&S
    Ps no idea who’s set the Sunday Toughie but have only 4 answers in the time this puzzle took so am fearing it’ll be SJB to the rescue.

  3. Slow start, this is going to be difficult.
    But eventually cracked the NE.
    That with the long 17a provided entry.
    For a fairly speedy solve.
    Many a smile along the way eg 27a and 6d.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  4. If there’s been a more gentle Sunday puzzle than this one, I can’t remember it, but as ever with Dada it was a lot of fun.
    Top three for me where 14a plus 1d with top spot going to 4d, a real smiler.
    Thanks to the aforementioned setter and Senf.

  5. For some unknown reason I solved far more down clues than across on the first pass. In fact, I only managed 14a first time round. This continued as I solved more down clues until there were enough checkers to start on the across clues. Anyway, it was a most enjoyable puzzle with a few smiles along the way. 27a was a new word for me so my vocabulary continues to grow (assuming I remember it). I think we have had 28a recently. My COTD and one that raised a smile is 17d.

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

      1. I will have to take your word for that, SJB. I’ve looked at the Toughie and have not been able to solve any at all.

  6. A typically wily Dada puzzle full of unexpected twists and turns and clever misdirection. I was slow to get going until I got the magificent long anagram across the middle, whereupon tthe SW corner rapidly fell into place, followed by the rest, with the NW corner last. There were so many clever clues it’s hard to pick favourites today. I liked 1a (it took ages for the penny to drop),7d, 18d, 17a and 26a, COTD because it made me laugh. Many thanks to Dada for another fine, absorbing SPP and to Senf for the review.

  7. Smashing fun puzzle today, just right after Sunday breakfast. 22d took me a while, my to favourites today were 19 and 26a.

  8. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who left such kind comments yesterday, about little Lola. I read them all and became rather tearful. Everyone has been really lovely. I have printed them to show to the family who I know will find comfort in everyone’s kindness.

    Back to normal tomorrow, I promise, with me moaning about clues related to the Hanseatic League and Roman togas.

    1. I didn’t read the blog yesterday but your comment prompted me to. Sorry to hear of the loss of your furry friend Terence, if you can judge someone by how they treat their animals you’re obviously a top chap.

        1. I hope Lola has a nice resting place in the corner of the garden where you can talk to her.

  9. Right hand side went in fine but the left was more problematic. 9d seems a weak synonym for dance, the word for pig in 26a is not in the BRB and 6d is just not a particularly good clue.
    However having said that overall it was very enjoyable.
    Now off to the tackle to xxxxx Wordle!
    Thx to all

    1. With some reluctance:

      We have had 9d as a synonym for dance before, a few times quite recently. Personally, I consider that it is a weak synonym for holiday.

      26a may not be in the BRB but I don’t think there is a rule that every answer should be. Anyway, in this electronic age there are plenty of ways of confirming the meaning of a word.

      6d a double definition, how can it not be good? I wish you would explain when you make comments like that.

      1. Why can’t you two just get along?

        Enjoyable sojourn into acetyl choline drenched synaptic exercise.

        Thanks as always to confused dead fans.

        Mr & Mrs T

  10. I tend to agree with those earlier commenters who found this both entertaining and relatively simple. Of many excellent clues, 13a was my favourite.

    My thanks to both Dada and Senf.

  11. I enjoyed this immensely and was spot on with the wavelength. I did try to over-complicate a couple though. So thanks to the setter and Senf. I’ve seen a small rat near my house a couple of times (they give me the absolute creeps). I bought something called a RatBox which I have baited with peanut butter but it hasn’t done any good. Anyone got any ideas? We have owls round here and I don’t like to use poison – I want to see it dead and can dispose of it securely. Thanks for any help.

  12. Good fun all round with no hiccoughs to report.
    Top three here were 11a plus 16&18d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – the tenor in your clip looked to be having a really good time!

  13. Still struggling to get right onto Dada wavelength but hopefully it’s coming. I found this a bit of a slog but did eventually manage it on my Jack Jones. SW was last corner to fall not helped by my failing to suss the clever 27a for sometime. Not sure about 19a and 26a was a bung-in. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  14. All good for me. I hesitated on 6d but I thought it could have opposite meanings. Not sure why Brian does not like it. Senf confirmed. 16d and 26a took a while but no complaints. Favourites 13 and 27a and 4 5 16 and 17d my favourites. Thanks Dada and Senf

  15. Again, it has all been said. We got 1d but was glad of Senf’s explanation because I couldn’t justify the documents. There seems to be a feeling of Christmas in the air, one or two references lately. Am I missing something? Thanks to Dada (18d favourite) and Senf. I’m off to the sun lounger in the shade.

  16. A nice non-quirky Sunday outing with this Dada puzzle, albeit with a couple of uncommon words for me.
    1.5*/4.5* today.
    Solved this on a nice warm Saturday evening here on the west coast of BC

    Favourites today include 8a, 10a, 27a, 6d, 16d & 18d
    By a hair the winner is 27a … followed closely by 6d
    4d, 7d, 17d all made me chuckle too.
    Lots of fun in this puzzle with no hold ups.
    Everything you want from a Dada puzzle

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints

  17. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this was straightforward – Sundays never are for me – but it was just about ‘doable’.
    I made things more difficult than should have been by splitting the answer 18d instead of 16d – made them both jolly tricky.
    I don’t quite get 10a – think I’m probably being dim but . . .
    Lots of good clues including 14 and 21a and I think my favourite was 7d.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf for the hints.

    1. Kath, IMHO it seems that 10a clue is a bit iffy with testament being too obvious and reference to “word of introduction” only just relevant.

  18. No real hold-ups for us today, just a steady solve all the way through. Good fun though. Favourite was the well disguised 14a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Excellent Dada as usual. Although 16d was new to me, I had no problem unpicking the clue. 4d made me laugh, as did 22d, which is my COTD, but there really isn’t a dud in the grid. Whenever I think of 17a (and that is surprisingly often these days), I remember the joy I always felt (and shared with my darlings in the classroom) when teaching The Sun Also Rises, which still has the finest last sentence in all of American literature. And then there are all of those unmatchable short stories. Oh, how I wish I could go back and do it all over again! Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / ****

    1. “Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”

      Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.

      “Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

  20. I was looking forward to this all week after a few hard struggles and severe head-scratchers, and today’s offering from Dada did not disappoint at all!
    Another amusing and thoroughly enjoyable solve all round – my COTD (amongst several) was 4D with some simple, but Dadaesque, misdirection…brilliant!
    Thanks as ever to Senf for the blog ‘n hints.👍

  21. I did love 28a not just because it was an apt way to finish the acrosses, but it was the third time that revolutionary cropped up in today’s crosswords. (See the toughie for a double appearance of Ernesto)
    I agree with Daisygirl, yesterday we had a Christmas present and today Mr Coward shows up again not for the first time this week. I think there is a festive feeling in crosswordland.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  22. Very surprised to see 11a again so soon … almost the same clue appeared in ST 3169.

    My short-term memory is not as bad as I thought.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. A tad on the tricky end of the Dada spectrum, but certainly doable and enjoyable. Just had to confirm a couple of my answers as I wasn’t 100% sure they were right, 9d and 11a. 27a was a new word for me. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  24. 2/3. For me, a couple of clues were a tad tenuous (10a and 9d) although they had to be what they were. I did however like 17a. Last quadrant in was the NW for reasons I can’t fathom in retrospect. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  25. Well, everyone is different – I liked 10a…..the long anagram held me up but otherwise the usual bright enjoyable fare from Dada – I always look forward to Sunday’s crossword…

  26. Tricky for me as usual on a Sunday, but I got through all but 3 without using the excellent hints, so not too bad.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  27. Well I did eventually get started doing the bottom down clues first and then everything slotted into place. Just read the extra clues and feeling pleased with myself. Many thanks to Senf and Dada. I actually slept really well for a whole night – might be because I was looking after all 4 granddaughters in splash area, sand pit and playground while their parents went wild swimming at Buckland Park. Certainly kept me busy – then lunch overlooking a lake. Because I got lost getting there I was told to follow behind both cars going home. I’m sure the scenery in the Surrey Hills was wonderful but driving through so many narrow lanes was the last thing I needed! Sorry to hear your sad news Terence – Lola had a wonderful life with you.

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