ST 3186 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3186 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3186 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where on Thursday evening into early Friday we had the first snow-laden Colorado Low, the second of the season.  We were somewhat on the outskirts receiving around 13cms – South and East of us, and South of the border, got the worst of it.

Fortunately, the main Remembrance Day observance that I attended on Friday was held ‘indoors’ and I was privileged to lay a wreath on behalf of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada was very friendly with six anagrams (two partials), three lurkers (one reversed), and one homophone all in a symmetric 32 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 – 21a, 26a, 5d, 15d, and 20d.

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 Alcohol taster in audition? (6)
The homophone (in audition) of a ‘possible’ synonym of taster(?).

10a Attention-seeker was in front, running well after taking fluid (5)
A two letter interjection sometimes used by someone trying to attract attention and a single word term for was in front.

13a Length, an imperial measure, for cord round neck (7)
The single letter for Length, AN from the clue, and, trying not to confuse, an imperial measure of length.

14a Filthy individual, cause of swine flu in piglets? (9)
Start with a term for (a group of) piglets and add an informal generic term for the cause of swine flu (or many other diseases).

21a Beneficiary back in house after member had dinner (7)
The last letter (back in) of house placed after all of a three lettered member found on a body and a single word term for had dinner.

23a Surprisingly, heart stolen by you and I in 22 Down (7)
An anagram (surprisingly) of HEART contained (stolen) by the plural pronoun that represents you and I – and the answer has been BRB verified.

25a Aide-memoire about a balance (9)
A synonym of aide memoire contains (about) A from the clue.

28a Barking threat, barking character? (6)
An anagram (barking) of THREAT.


2d Packed White House? (5)
A house manufactured from ‘packed white stuff.’

5d Lower luminosity initially in dark — by this (9)
A synonym of lower (as in the sound made by cattle) followed by the first letter (initially) of luminosity inserted into (in) the time of day which is dark .

7d Cream on fruit for chief (3,6)
A synonym of cream placed before (on) a type of fruit.

15d Oojamaflip, insubstantial and tacky (9)
A synonym of insubstantial (as in flimsy?) and a synonym of tacky (as in sticky?).

17d Go everywhere with glass firstly (or bottle when drunk) (5-4)
An anagram (when drunk) of the initial letter (firstly) of Glass and OR BOTTLE.

20d Number fifty though follows forty-nine, ultimately (6)
The Roman numeral for fifty and a synonym of though (often accompanied by if or so) all placed after (follows) the last letter (ultimately) of forty-ninE.

22d Dance revelation (5)
A double definition – the second could be a request to the dealer to provide another card face-up (revealed) in a card game such as Pontoon.

24d Anxious to be perfect, say (5)
A double definition to finish – the second is an example (say) of grammatically expressing the time of the action in the form of a verb.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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For Remembrance Sunday:

35 comments on “ST 3186 (Hints)
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  1. Excellent puzzle, hats off to this setter for producing minor gems week after week. Light but great fun.
    In a strong field my winners are 10a plus 5,9&20d.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  2. This was rwally enjoyable without being too straightforward or brain -burningly difficult. It had a nice variety of anagrams, kurkers, double definitions, cryptic definitions and lego clues. I liked 5d, 115d, 17d and 28a, the latter being my COTD. Many thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for another winner.

  3. What an excellent puzzle to complement a sunny Shropshire morning, full of clever clues, misdirection and humour. A couple in the NW quadrant held me up the longest, and I really liked the White House. But my favourite has to be 10a.

    My thanks to Dada for the fun, and to Senf.

  4. A cracking puzzle from Dada – thanks to him and Senf.
    As someone (I think it was Zandio) said the other day Dada’s ability to switch, seemingly effortlessly, between gentle and fun puzzles like this and the much stiffer challenges he produces elsewhere is amazing.
    Top clues for me were 14a, 27a and 2d.

  5. 2.5*/4.5*. What a splendid puzzle – nicely challenging and very enjoyable.

    My top picks were 28a, 2d, 9d & 20d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  6. Steady and pleasing progress to completion in 2* time.
    Great surfaces.
    2 and 15d vie or rather tie for COTD.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf

  7. Good fun for a Sunday morning with 14a & 15d taking the top spots here.

    Thanks to Dada for the enjoyment and to Senf for the hints and tribute to the fallen. Watched part of the Remembrance Festival from the Royal Albert Hall last night – such dignity on parade.

  8. This puzzle had everything, the most enjoyable Dada I can remember solving. 15d has to take the cake for COTD, but I also loved 21a, the 23a/22d combo, 14a, 27a, & 5d. Great Sunday fare! Thanks to Senf and Dada. ** / *****

  9. Phew – we didn’t pick the same Remembrance Day piece. I too enjoyed the BBC concert last night and wanted to include the Family Bocelli but the clip I found was blocked. I hope the alternative works.
    Not got around to this yet but thank Senf and Dada in advance, as I will tackle this after lunch.

    1. I have used, and plan to continue using, the same ‘piece’ on every Remembrance Day blog I have done, six so far, and will do, who knows how many. For me, it ‘chooses’ itself.

      1. We had a wonderful turnout round the war memorial this morning, the bells rang for an hour before, we had a bugler for the last post, all the uniformed groups were mustered and almost everyone came into the church for the service. Splendid. I wore, as usual, my father’s 17th/21st Lancers motto (not called a badge) with pride.

        1. Oh dear!! I think I need a visit to Specsavers – I thought you’d had a thief rather than a musician for the last post!!

  10. Took me a time to get going but I always do with Dada so I was not unduly worried. So it proved. After a couple of passes the answers revealed themselves slowly and, before long, I had the grid completed. (The spellchecker has a mind of its own – it just changed “grid” to “grin”). I love words like oojamaflip because my mother always used them. I used the wrong two words in 19a so that held me up for quite a while and I could not see 28a for the life of me. Then I saw it and gave a huge “doh”. My COTD is 25a because it had me searching for all kinds of devices for weighing.

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

    As Young Salopian said, it’s a beautiful sunny day here in The Marches so I took the opportunity to mow the grass. It’s a bit wet but at least it now has a chance to dry out and, hopefully, is the last cut of the year. Mind you, the way the weather is at present, there could be another one.

  11. As usual Dada puzzles are a long struggle which normally finds me counted out by the ref. But today the struggle was won by a split decision which went to the very last judge. Dada failed again to land the sucker punch and I can now go and finish the planting of the overwintering broad beans with a spring in my step and strulch on my spade.

    11a and 15d were both remembered when I came round so thanks to Dada for his puzzle and to Senf for his blog.

  12. Great crossword, thank you Dada. Is there any connection between 13a and the roof space clue from yesterday for which CS very kindly nudged me? Just wondering. It’s a funny word. It is a lovely day here too in Cambridge -which was good for all the little Brownies in their thin uniforms earlier. Thanks to Senf for the hints, I only needed them for 10a, easy when you know it!

  13. Very late on parade today due to watching the cricket, WELL DONE ENGLAND!
    Anyway, about this crossword, if it were a child I’m betting it’s parents weren’t married, it took me ages and three separate visits to complete, but I wouldn’t give up. Some really clever clues which I enjoyed immensely. My top clue today was 20d. Well done to the setter, great fun!

    1. The cricket was fantastic wasn’t it! I could barely watch the last 15 minutes. Thank goodness it happened before my Sky puck froze, again. Have only had Sky Stream for 3 weeks and the grief it has caused me.

    1. It wasn’t the best of clues in my view Manders. Last 2 words the definition – think The Green Party or maybe SNP. Wordplay is usual abbreviation into a term for the first 3 words

  14. Struggled to start with but quickly found a way in and completed without help.17d was the one that held me up the most. I was on a completely different wavelength focussing on the wrong half of the clue to give me a sensible answer. The ‘drop ‘ moment was worth much more than a penny! I loved 15d, both oojamaflip (which I couldn’t find in the BRB) and the answer being wonderful words which reminded me of my lovely Mum. I also liked 10a, 14a, 2d and 20d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. Light and entertaining with a number of contenders for cotd but we’ll go with 15d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. 14a and 15d didn’t come readily but the parsing led me to the right answer.
    1a made me laugh.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    On the news front, we have just created an international zone in Hyères to welcome all the migrants from the Ocean Viking. Hope they will have a better life in Europe.

    1. Hello J-L,
      It’s lovely to see you again – I was going to send you a comment yesterday but ran out of time (long story).
      I do hope that you’re going to be back to a regular commenter again.

  17. Well, unlike Senf’s comment, I found this on the tougher and quirkier end of Dada’s spectrum.
    3*/3.5* today.

    Favourites include 1a, 5a, 17a, 28a, 2d & 15d with winner 15d
    14a, 2d & 6d all made me smile

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for yet another fine blog

  18. I agree with everyone about this being a reasonably not too tricky crossword.
    For no reason 28a was my last answer – something had to be, I suppose.
    15d seems to associate lots of us with parents – my Dad used that sort of word – poppycock is another one. I remember 15d was a Jay special – a different clue.
    Today seemed the kind of crossword that I could get the answer but then took ages to say, “Yes, OK but why”.
    I liked 5a (eventually) and 14a and 18 and 22d. My favourite was, obviously, 15d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  19. I thought this maybe a tad trickier than the last couple of weeks albeit still gentle. Zandio’s observation that he admired the setter’s ability to switch up & tone down levels of difficulty rather made me regret my comment last week that for me Dada’s puzzles of late seem to have lost a bit of their sparkle. I did enjoy this one though perhaps not as much as others. Top 3 for me – 10a + 2&20d.
    Thanks to D&S

  20. Quickest Dada I have done helped by getting 1a straight off. For me the homophone works perfectly, not to be confused with another alcohol. 2d and 12a held me up but the last two were 20d and 23a. Eventually worked out which way round to put the remaining letters in the last one. Top favourite has to be 15d. Followed by 25a and 27a and 20d. Thanks Dada and Senf. No hints needed but confirmation of some parsing helpful.

  21. Another Sunday cracker from Dada with some more excellent mis-directed clues e.g the first & last 1A & 24D – simple but very clever👍
    Managed to watch last night’s Festival of Remembrance from across here – absolutely superb and, as a veteran myself, made me extremely proud of my country and those who still serve and, of course, to remember those who served and are no longer with us – must admit it got a tad dusty here at times 😢.
    Thanks as ever to Senf for the blog ‘n hints.

  22. Hooray I’m back on track in crossword land- just three to go for when I wake up. I knew it was going to go well as I managed the quick crossword unaided. Thanks very much to the setter and Senf – how wonderful to be able to lay a wreath. I watched Remembrance Day in London on television today as I do every year – always so poignant. It’s been warm and sunny in Surrey today too – I was shocked to spot a ladybird, butterfly and some bees in the garden. My spring bulbs also seem very advanced this autumn which is a worry.

  23. This doesn’t happen very often to me but it was dnf although a second go at it this a.m. did reveal more with just the SE uncompleted. It was however a terrific puzzle with numerous Fav candidates which I wont list. Thank you Dada and Senf especially for the emotive Remembrance tribute.

  24. I found this one of Dada’s tougher offerings, unlike those who deem it a light puzzle.

    4* difficulty for me, but completed unaided eventually.

    Thanks to all.

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