ST 3196 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3196 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3196 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where the un-seasonally warm January continues although more seasonal temperatures are forecast to return in three or four days time.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada not so friendly today, with a not too friendly grid, with five anagrams (three partials), two lurkers, 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 – 8a, 12a, 19a, 24a, 17d, 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 Mark is cool with men on manoeuvres (9)
An anagram (on manoeuvres) of IS COOL and (with) MEN.

11a Old coin, item from a long way back? (8)
A synonym of item placed after a three letter term equivalent to from a long way back.

12a Part of eye with ear, ear cut (6)
A synonym of ear (in a cereal crop?) and (the second) EAr from the clue with the last letter deleted (cut).

16a Pot with lid off spilling coloured fluid (4)
The first letter (lid off) of Spilling and a type of coloured fluid – Dada at his best or his worst – I can’t decide which.

21a Entertain girl in green, removing coat (6)
A three letter synonym of girl inserted into (in) gREEn with the first and last letters deleted (removing coat).

24a Japanese dish I’m returning, nothing special, finished (4,4)
I’M from the clue reversed (returning) ignoring the apostrophe, a (2-2) term equivalent to nothing special, and a two letter synonym of finished.

27a 20 Down dog? (5)
A double definition(?) – the second is well known for pulling sleds.

28a Flier over southern oceans, rare bird on course? (9)
A double definition(?) – the second can occur on a (golf) course.

1d Champion traps a wild animal (5)
A synonym of champion contains (traps) A from the clue.

3d Cushion regularly found under head of sleeper (6)
A synonym of regularly placed after (found under) the first letter (head) of Sleeper.

5d Smashed, drunkard as he drinks bottles (6)
A lurker (bottles) found in four words in the clue.

15d Savage biting arm briefly suffered as if the victim? (9)
A synonym of savage containing (biting) ARm from the clue with the last letter deleted (briefly).

20d Rough, rocky ground in which article is buried (6)
An anagram (ground) of ROCKY containing (in which . . . is buried) one of the indefinite articles.

22d Language very similar, though not entirely (6)
A single word term equivalent to very similar with the last letter deleted (though not entirely).

25d White stick (4)
A double definition – the second can be used in a type of fencing.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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A random offering from YouTube to me which I would like to share with you; the Prague Cello Quartet with their interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody:

73 comments on “ST 3196 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable indeed, a top-notch puzzle.
    Though 4d made me laugh my ticks go to 24&28a plus 2&15d with top spot going to the clever 16a.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. I didnt find this at all friendly either and gave up after getting just 13 clues. I shouldn’t have said last week that I I always enjoy Dada puzzles. Famous last words! Thanks to Senf and Dada.

    1. Agreed – But I did soldier on perversely and only just finished it. The bottom left corner was my main stumbling block and I’m Still not sure about 6 down !

  3. Gentle Sunday morning puzzle but I agree with Senf about the grid – for me this pushed a * difficulty to a ** today. I liked the 20d and 27a clue combo and thought they worked well together, I’m stretching the rules but they get my COTD. **/***

    Thanks Dada and Senf

  4. 3.5*/4*. This was good fun as usual on a Sunday but I agree with others that it was tougher than usual.

    15d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

      1. It may be the year of the rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac but I am sure that fans of Mr K will also delight in knowing it is the year of the cat according to the Vietamese zodiac.

  5. Found this pretty bland again today, no really enjoyable solves for me.
    Can’t see how 28a works so will have to read the hints, also thought 5d
    was a badly constructed clue. On a more positive note though, I liked the couplet of
    27a and 20d.
    Sorry again to our setter, this one was just not for me.

  6. Thought Dada had dipped into his stock of Toughie clues for 16d – the last to fall here by quite a margin.
    Top clues for me were 11a – I’m sure we must have seen it previously but it made me laugh – and 15d just because it’s a delicious word.

    Thanks to Dada for the Sunday work out and to Senf for the hints and clip – at the risk of getting shot down in flames, I thought that was an infinitely preferable version of Bohemian Rhapsody!

    1. I’ve just listened to it and it is delightful – but I am a Queen fan, especially Brian May, and Bohemian Rhapsody is one of my favourites.

  7. I am glad I was not the only one who found this more difficult than usual. 16a and 15d were my final two entries, with the latter taking top spot as favourite. Tough but fair, and great entertainment.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge, and to Senf.

  8. A challenging and enjoyable puzzle.
    12 a my favourite.
    Many thanks to the setter and special thanks to Senf who, week in week out, has an uncanny knack of selecting my bung-ins to explain.

  9. I’m with those who thought Dada was delving into his collection of clues for Toughies. Quite a struggle and help was needed but I got there in the end. I fretted over 5d for ages because I thought it could be any number of words until I sw it was a lurker. I’m not in danger of the naughty step, I hope, because Senf has already said it is a lurker. No COTD because nothing leapt out at me.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and Senf for the much needed hints. I thought the Quickie pun was great.

    Jane, I agree about Bohemian Rhapsody – I groan every time it turns up on the radio.

    Another cold day in The Marches with hills white with snow. I must get the Peacock hand warmer out for this afternoon’s walk.

  10. A real oddball today. Parts were almost not cryptic for instance 8a and others were so fiendish as to be very difficult such as 15d.
    Never come across 24a before and I thought 1d was a very weak synonym and 2d was just simply a very poor clue.
    So all in all a mixed bag which makes it difficult to rate.
    Thx for the much needed hints.

    1. Brian I’m curious as to why you think 2d ‘simply a very poor clue’. I note Stephen has it as one of his picks & I agree. The context of the definition isn’t immediately obvious & neither is the wordplay for that matter. I’m a little surprised Senf didn’t hint it as I thought it one of the trickier ones.

      1. 2d just missed ‘the cut.’ Although, I thought that with, say, the first three checkers in place and the not very good four letter anagram (move one letter) ‘positioned’ by two of the checkers, the answer would be reasonably obvious.

  11. This was a puzzle of two halves for us – the eastern section was a relative doddle, but the western side took a lot of head-scratching, especially 15d, 20d, and 27a. Thanks to the setter for a good Sunday morning work-out and to Senf for the hints.

  12. Unusually for a Sunday, my goddaughter was on an early shift so managed to email this to me before any of the residents could adulterate it. The clues were good, it was a toughish challenge and an enjoyable tussle. Fav: 15d. 4*/4*.

    * Two professional dancers join cellist Diana Gomez on the Plaza del Callao, Madrid, in a street performance of the Lewis Capaldi song Someone You Loved. Absolutely beautiful!

  13. Dada has ratcheted up the difficulty today without needing to employ obscurities – it’s good to get a proper ‘prize’ puzzle now and again. I enjoyed this one – thanks to Dada and Senf.
    I have 28a, 3d and 15d on my podium.

  14. For those who have looked at the list of Toughie setters on the Home Page of the blog, and for those who have not, I understand that the reason for it looking somewhat odd, Elgar on a Thursday and ‘?’ for Friday, is that Friday’s puzzle is number 3000 and will be a ‘celebratory combined effort’ from the Toughie setter ‘pool.’

  15. Certainly bordering Toughie territory.
    Last in 16a, took an age as I was off on a different thought for too long.
    Brilliant clue, as were 12a and 15d.
    Very satisfying to complete unaided, albeit in 4*time.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  16. A good bit tougher than we’ve got used to of late from Dada. Like Carmen a game of two halves for me also with all the head scratching in the west taking me to just under *** time. All parsed & very enjoyable too. If picking 2 of each I’d plump for Stephen’s picks at 24&28a alongside 2&15d & I also rather liked the related 20d&27a.
    Thanks to D&S

  17. Unlike others, and unusually for me, I found this relatively straightforward. Think I’ll plump for 3d as favourite as I spent ages looking for alternative letters in some of the words before the penny dropped. Thanks everyone.

  18. Interesting to read (above) that there is almost a 50/50 split between ‘that was a breeze’ and ‘Oh, my poor brain!’.
    I am in the latter category, mainly because I found the last half dozen or so very challenging; especially the irritating 16a!

    I’ve had Covid again for the last week, and have found even picking up the pencil for the crossword a very tiring exercise. I have been sleeping for about sixteen hours each day; but here’s the odd thing – I first tested positive on Tuesday, but by Friday I was negative again. It’s all most peculiar.
    However, I’m happy to be alive and (almost) kicking.

    Thanks to the setter and The Man From Manitoba

    1. I hope you get better soon, Terence. Covid is horrible like a bad flu. A doctor friend of mine once told me that if I saw a ten pound note lying in the garden but could not get up to go and pick it up, I had flu. I now say the same for Covid.

      1. Oh poor you! Did Mrs T get it as well? It is so odd that sometimes with two in a household sharing a bed, only one will get it. My DD2 had it, husband did not. Life is hard enough having to cope with getting a new toothbrush out of its packaging without the fear of getting Covid as well.

        1. About those toothbrush packagings DG, I resort to taking a sharp pair of scissors to the backing and swearing a lot – under my breath of course – wouldn’t want to spoil the impression of my loveliness!

    2. Bad luck Terence! How many times can one get this pestilence? It completely turned me off food, I haven’t eaten a meal since June. The very smell of food cooking makes me want to puke!

      1. It doesn’t seem fair that you should be afflictwd with Covid again, Terence. But then, who said life was fair? I hope iit is a mild case this time. Get well soon.🤧

  19. I must have been bang on the setter’s wavelength today, as apart from perhaps 16a and 24a being exceptions, I found this Dada offering much easier to solve than I normally do on a Sunday. I totally disagree with Brian over 2d, which I put among my favourite clues. I also liked 22d, 19a and 21a, but my top prize went to 28a. I have very mixed feelings about 16a, hmmm let’s think about that one. 24a ought to have dawned on me sooner considering the amount of Oriental cooking I do. Thanks to both Dada and Senf – an enjoyable lunch-break.

  20. I guessed the first word of 24a but had to resort to a cookery book for the second. 2 and 15 down were my last in, and I was looking for a girls name in another case so it was a bit of a struggle. I really liked 12a and the 20/27 combo. I have 15 jars of runny Seville sauce – I am definitely losing my touch despite spending yesterday afternoon in DD2’s state of the art kitchen. I’m throwing in the towel. Many thanks to Dada and Senf. Playing cut throat Canasta with friends tonight, great fun.

  21. Too much static on every wavelength I tried today. Needed help for a quarter of the clues – it would be slightly less if I took more care with my writing. 27a was immediately marked as a good’un so heads the podium alone ; I was thinking I was doing well but with Dada that is always a mistake.

    Many thanks to Senf for unravelling the parsing on some and to Dada for momentarily lulling me into a solver’s paradise from which I emerged a much wider man.

  22. I thought that this one was ok, but I felt that I’d seen some of the clues before. Someone over the last couple of weeks recommended that I try the Toughie, so perhaps that’s where I saw them. 11a was my favourite. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  23. I love it when the Saturday prize in the Guardian is from Paul as it gives me the opportunity to solve two crosswords from the same setter consecutively.
    The Sunday one being slightly easier though.
    Favourite 6d as we are finally going through a cold spell after a rather mild year.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

    1. I’d say a sight easier jean-luc. I completed 2/3rds late yesterday & have it to go back to today. I thought Robyn’s Toughie today about on par with his Picaroon prize of last Sat.

        1. Lol, I didn’t realise that Robyn was a bloke – the only Robyns that I have ever known have all been lasses. Well I never!

  24. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I found this very difficult, needed help with 11 clues. Hence not much fun. I still can’t get 2d. Was 5* / 2* for me.

  25. Definitely Dada at at the more difficult end of his scale today. Almost like a toughie, as this was not a friendly puzzle.
    Can’t say the grid was a lot of help either.
    3.5*/3* for me today.

    Favourites include 7a, 11a, 12a, 2d & 13d with winner 12a

    Thanks to Dada for the tough puzzle and Senf for the hints

  26. Very difficult in places not helped by 24a being new to us, but we worked it out. We also liked the 20d/27a combination. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  27. Finished this in 4* time but it was nevertheless very enjoyable with lots of misleading “surfaces” as in 20d which was my favourite.

  28. Very tricky! I did manage all except two, 2d and 15d, solving both from the hint and discussions above! In any case, it was a DNF. I bunged in 16a and I’m still trying to get my head around it being a “pot”, but it seems it is correct. I was able to solve enough that I got some nice checkers, with e-help lots of bung ins. Fave was 11a, but 17d and 28a worthy of mention, I presume 28a is a mention of golf.
    Thanks to Dada, not a complete loss as it appears many guesses were right, and, of course, Senf for unravelling so much.

  29. So very late today (having slept through the morning hours over here) after finishing and enjoying both puzzles last night, though I must confess that my brain suddenly died in the cryptic at 15d and I settled for a letter reveal. For some reason, even with all the checking letters, I could not make heads or tails of the clue (it happens like that sometimes with me: I simply fog up). I had otherwise had no real problems, with 2d, 20d, 24a & 11a earning big ticks. Thanks to Senf and Dada. ***/****

    1. “Fog” my middle name. How is Mr. Arthur Itis? You’ve been having some pretty dank and damp weather, not kind to the joints.

  30. East was OK bar my having bunged in wrong unparsed 6d but West was a dnf prior to seeking electronic help. 11a is a no no for me and surely 14a needs an added ‘with’ for both synonymous expressions? I agree with Florence re repetitions from recent puzzles. No Fav today but thanks to Dada and even more so to Senf.

  31. I never find Dada particularly easy so always expect a challenge, and actually found this one less tough than many weekday offerings. I was slow to start, but a few hints opened up the empty boxes for me, and it gradually came together. I am annoyed that I didn’t spot 2d, having focused on the wrong type of rocket. While not all my own work, found this quite enjoyable. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  32. Enjoyable and completed it quite quickly. Agree with Wiggler the combination of 20d and 27a was great – my two clues of the day. Thanks

  33. Just got round to this Sunday puzzle – found it quite easy for Dada. Perhaps it was the red wine in the pub first that helped!

  34. Very difficult,even for Dada. His can occasionally be quite friendly, this one not so. A real slog, which I eventually conquered all bar 16 across, for which I totally needed the hint (thanks).


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