ST 3203 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3203 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3203 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, while it was snowing at 2:00am this morning, we endured the biannual nonsense of changing our clocks and other timing devices by one hour, ‘springing forward’ in this case.  We are told that we will eventually settle on being on what amounts to Central Daylight Time  (5 hours behind GMT) permanently but we are waiting for our Southern neighbours to implement a similar policy, if their ‘Sunshine Protection Act’ is ever passed into law, how one can protect sunshine is a mystery to me, so that we can remain harmonised.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada with his personal thesaurus at hand again this week and four long ‘uns to get you on the way – with four anagrams (two partials), one lurker, and one homophone, 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 – 10a, 15a, 3d, 5d, and 16d.

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 Which person comes to a stop? (4)
A single word for which person followed by (comes to) A from the clue.

10a Ed Banks dead happy! (6)
ED from the clue contains (banks) a synonym for dead – banks not a proper noun so the misleading capital is OK.

13a Remarkably hip soul, me: accent that’s fine and clipped (6,9)
An anagram (remarkably) of HIP SOUL, ME: ACCENT.

15a ‘Island‘ composed by Gershwin? (7)
A synonym of composed followed by the first name of one of the Gershwins, not that one the other one.

20a Old mechanism in car’s weird: scheme failing (10,5)
An anagram (failing) of CAR’S WEIRD SCHEME – an invention from the old guy who also made a discovery while taking a bath.

23a Surface that’s huge covering borders in Egypt (8)
A synonym of huge, that is about as huge as you can get, containing the outer letters of (borders in) EgypT – a Hmm is probably merited for this one.

28a Wine took off (4)
A double definition – the first is a generic term for wine that is in the middle of the wine colour spectrum.


1d Literary group becomes ragged on the radio? (6)
The homophone (on the radio) of a single word for becomes ragged (as in fabric?).

3d Painting of kettle and cake (9,6)
This has to be solved as (8,7) – the type of kettle that lets you know when the water is boiling and a (verbal?) synonym of cake.

5d Cheese on conventional board game property (9,6)
A cheese named for a ceremonial and a non-metropolitan county in the East Midlands (without the shire) and a synonym of conventional.

16d Show what goes over one’s ‘ead? (3)
A double definition – the enumeration of the second should probably be (‘3).

18d Deal with eccentric king or queen, say (4,4)
A double definition – the second applies to a king or a queen (or a jack).

21d Little pig, quite possibly, in play? (6)
Part of a pig that has been ‘cured’ with a suffix that might indicate that it is little (quite possibly) – I don’t think that there is a Hmm big enough!

24d Roof off chicken houses — oh dear (4)
A single word term for chicken houses with the first letter deleted (roof off)

Quick Crossword Pun:


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In the spirit of the change of seasons, if changing the clocks is anything to go by, Billy Strings and Marcus King entertain us with a well known Gershwin tune:

66 comments on “ST 3203 (Hints)

  1. For me Dada slightly more quirky than the norm. I’d never heard of the picture at 3d but worked out the first word and got the second from checkers then Googled and there it was in all its “glory”.
    Top clues for me were 8a plus 4,18,21&22d with favourite 17a.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf, I agree with you on the palaver of changing the clocks, the only reason seemingly being because we’ve always done it.

    1. Living here in the US helped me with 3d, but I have no idea how the second part of the clue = (redacted – the hint should help)

  2. 3*/4*. Initially I put in a wrong 3-letter word for 9a as one of my first answers in which caused me untold trouble getting 3d & 4d to finish the puzzle. Eventually I realised the error of my ways but, by then, I had reached my 3* time.

    Jostling for podium positions are 15a, 1d, 3d, 4d & 14d.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and Senf for the review and the particularly enjoyable clip of the two excellent young guitarists.

  3. Dada giving a new meaning to immersive solving, as I became quite fixated on two of the longer clues until, as a noted Greek once said, “Eureka!” And, voila! Both of those long ‘uns fell at the same time. A most enjoyable SPP for me, with 17a, 15a, & 14d on the first podium; 4d, 22d, & 21d (how could I not?) on the second one…and I could easily fill a third one. Many thanks to Dada for one of his best ever and to Senf. ***/*****.

  4. Hard work for the ” brains trust” here, but satisfying to complete today’s challenge. 16 down was last in!

  5. Very, very hard, but absolutely brilliant! Loved all of the 15 letter clues especially 20a which I remember learning about at school. Many thanks to our setter today, great fun.

    1. I too learned it at school and I think I can honestly say it has never been of any use to me. But I have carried it all these years just for this moment. Isn’t education wonderful🙂

      1. I have heard of it, never knew what it was, I needed ehelp for the anagram. I must google and see if I can learn something … will I ever need it again?

        1. By the way Merusa – you were right of course – I DID mean David Nicholls!
          Although I do like David Mitchell as well – ‘Would I Lie to You’ on BBC.

  6. Dada has ratcheted up both the difficulty and the fun today – thanks to him and Senf.
    I’ll select 2d, 3d and 18d for honourable mentions with my favourite being the LOL 21d.

  7. Unaided to completion but what a hard and difficult journey.
    Gradually getting used to the brilliant quirkiness of Dada’s clues.
    Last in, and after much staring at,13a.
    Really inexcusable for an anagram.
    And it followed 1d which took an age for the proverbial penny.
    Many thanks for the enjoyment and Senf for the review.

  8. My least favourite Dada for a long time. Far too arty and quirky for my taste. Needed the hints big time and even then to explain my answers to those not hinted I needed Google’s assistance.
    Not one for me I’m afraid.
    Thx for the hints.

  9. Following a very late night, courtesy of Book 4 in the Irish Doctor series, I was hoping for an easy ride from Dada today – should have known better! Found almost no easy ways in to this one and the old grey matter needed a serious caffeine injection to get me on my way.
    Plenty to enjoy when I finally made a breakthrough and my top two were 15a & 3d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and music – motley pair of musicians but they produced an excellent sound!

  10. I thought yesterday’s Cephas puzzle the best he’s given us for some time & reckon the same could be said for this excellent Sunday PP. I got the painting easily enough but not sure I quite get the cake bit & it’s been a long while since I played monopoly so initially kicked off with the wrong cheese before realising it wasn’t a property & was a letter too many anyway. Too many great clues to pick a fav.
    Thanks to D&S – thanks for posting the clip of Billy & Marcus. The Carter Vintage Guitar Shop series is excellent & well worth checking out. I’m really looking forward to seeing Marcus at The Forum in Kentish Town in a couple of weeks.

    1. Your problem with ‘the cake bit’ is that you don’t have a copy of Dada’s personal thesaurus!

      I justified it enough with some lateral thinking on an entry in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

      1. I justified the last 7 letters of the answer via the thinking that you can [redacted – it’s a prize puzzle – read the instructions in RED below the hints]

  11. Quirky and tricky but most enjoyable. Still haven’t managed 22d so will comeback later to try and finish.

  12. I’m exhausted as I spent ages trying to hammer the word ‘Bloomsbury’ into six letters. It simply would not work and now Virginia Woolf is spinning in her resting place under the elm tree at Rodmell.

    For me, and I stress for me ⟨™⟩ this crossword is both superb and mind boggling in equal measure. I sit here gawping and wondering what on earth Dada is rambling on about; then a few checking letters appear and I have an ‘OF COURSE!’ moment.
    I have this mental image of Dada cackling to himself in the most fiendish manner as he sends his latest work of hallucinatory genius to the crossword editor.

    Thanks to Dada and The Man From Manitoba.

    1. Is he rubbing his hands together gleefully as he cackles, Terence? You must be a happy chap after yesterday – is Potter finally getting it together, I wonder. We’ve got your near neighbours this afternoon, and this particular Gooner is somewhat apprehensive!

      1. Mustafa – It has been a rather amazing and unexpected change in fortune. I remain unconvinced Mr Potter has the character needed in a high profile job but I hope he proves me wrong as he seems a decent fellow.

        Good luck at The Cottage!

      2. Definitely a challenge today, but you never know we might be able to talk about flying pigs.

    2. I, too, was looking for a Bloomsbury look alike at 1d. Not sure my answer is correct!

  13. Great puzzle for a Sunday morning, with just the right amount of ‘bite’ to get the LGCs warm and working on an otherwise cold and dank day. A good mix of cryptic clueing and GK, with the latter very fairly clued even if the answer was unfamiliar (3d), though there were a few quirky surfaces, I thought. Hon Mentions to 13a, 17a, 25a, 2d & 21d, with COTD to the beautifully 22d.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf (good music!)

  14. Only completed with the hints as I had a complete mental block on a couple in the north west corner. I found this trickier than many Sundays. I would not have got 3d without the hints. Overall I still enjoyed this and think it was my brain being woolly rather than the clues. Alternatively it could be himself playing Tubular Bells at me non stop in preparation for seeing it live in concert tonight!

    Many thanks Dada and Senf

  15. As others have said, very tricky but ultimately a very satisfying solve. The SE corner held out the longest and finally fell when the penny dropped on 18d. My favourite was 10a.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  16. Well, that was tough and I didn’t like it that much. Too many obscurities for me. Surface and cake? Ok, the cake I can just about agree with but not surface. Having said all that I did finish (with help) but not with any great satisfaction.

    Thank you, Dada, for the beating – will you be putting your personal thesaurus on sale? :grin: Thank you, Senf for making sense of it for me.

    Perks has ventured out but comes dashing back into the kitchen the moment he hears a noise.

  17. Yes quirky, yes difficult in places and yes enjoyable. A couple stickers in the NW but 3d made 15a easy. So cotd was 3d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. Absolutely loved this challenging puzzle. I’m even fully on board with Dada’s elastic synonyms. I didn’t need my own thesaurus at all this morning! 13a was the only clue I didn’t like because of the strange surface read. Otherwise, I’m spoilt for choice. The podium is shared by 10a, 20a, 18d and 22d. Thanks to Dada for the absolute pleasure and Senf for confirming my thoughts on 15a.

  19. A cracking Sunday PP, a rare treat as I normally don’t get these emailed to me. Great clues, a toughish challenge and an enjoyable tussle. Favourite of a top-notch bunch 3d. I had no problems at all with surface or cake. 4*/4.5*.

  20. Not a barrowload of fun but some goodies including 10a, 2d and grinworthy 22d. 20a new one on me as was thinking around principal second word. Deal with didn’t occur to me for 18d. Agree with Huntsman re 3d cake. Would never have sussed 13a without digital assistance. Not keen on accentless 28a. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  21. Absolutely brilliant although we spent a stupid amount of time thinking of different shapes of 13s. And I am supposedly an anagram queen! 15a was very clever but I think 8a wins the rosette for being short and to the point. Daisies also for 17a and 4d. I shall send it off, of course but, Oh dear Stephen – what shall I do with another pen? Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. DG did you get an iPhone yesterday? Someone recommended a site for reconditioned phones, iPads etc called Black Market. I looked at the Trust Pilot reviews and bought an iPhone last year. They are listed as Fair, Good and Excellent and carry a guarantee. Most people, including me, went for Fair – mine looked brand new, absolutely nothing wrong with it and was a fraction of the price of a new one. I’m now looking at iPads.

      1. Hi Manders, it was only a fishing (or phishing?) trip to compare prices.
        John Lewis are £50 cheaper than Apple and O2 and give a two year
        guarantee. I did write late last night on Saturdays puzzle about the advice
        I had from a 10 year old, so funny. Trade in on my iPhone 7 was about £20 – I might
        give it to George if I thought he could cope with all that technology or I
        know of a Hospice which sells them on. I was actually looking to buy outright but
        will certainly follow up your lead.

  22. Last one in was 1d where I experienced a real penny drop moment when I finally twigged to the meaning of “literary set”.

    In 16d, I took the show to be the late 1960s rock musical, so both parts enumerated as (‘3) for me.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    By the way, Sent, is something missing from your hint for 1d?

    1. I might be ‘jet lagged’ from ‘springing forward’ but I consider that the 1d hint is complete.

  23. Dada at his challenging best, finished just in time before this afternoon’s rugby international. Luckily a couple of the long clues went in quickly which helped to open up the grid. I too initially put the wrong answer in 9a which held me up for a while in the north.


    Fav 17a LOI 1d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  24. I managed to finish, but only with a bit of Googling.8a, 3d and 5d were favourites.Thank you setter and Senf.

  25. Very, very tricky and a DNF. I never did solve 17a and 14d, not hinted, natch. I had to use an anagram solver to get a toehold, eg 20a, I would never have got that in a thousand years. I think, but not sure, I’ve tumbled to the “cake” in 3d, but that went in right off, the kettle gave it away! I liked 8a, but 21d amused so that’s my fave.
    Thanks to Dada, hard work today, and to Senf for his help solving. This rahtid daylight saving is rubbish, why can’t we stick with a standard time and just leave the time alone.

  26. Late today but just time for me to add my thanks to Dada for a challenging but most thought-provoking puzzle. Thanks as always to Senf as well.

  27. A DNF for me today, nearly half done but clearly way above my head. Eyes are getting tired too, I think it is the drops the doctor has me putting in before my cataract surgery tomorrow. Plus, our clocks went forward this morning, and I always struggle with the “spring forward” but, but never the “fall back”. At least I was familiar with 3d, a well known picture over here,

    1. ‘‘Twas hard work for me too, but I used copious ehelp and managed to finish all but two. Often, even the ones I did get, I had no idea of the “why”. Very tricky.

      1. I agree. I found it very hard and needed lots of electronic help to finish it. We do need a hard puzzle from time to time. Tomorrow is another day. Thanks to the setter and for the hints.

  28. Late to this one today as I walked the dog early, (after a short night with our switch to DST), and then made it back by 8am in time to watch the Scotland vs Ireland Six nation game. Certainly the best game of the three this weekend. Enjoyed it immensely.
    For me today Dada at his quirkiest that he has been for quite a while. NW was last area to finish.
    3*/3* today.

    Favourites include 8a, 13a, 1d, 3d, 5d & 24d with winner 5d

    New city for me in 11a.
    Smiles elicited with 25a, 4d, 21d & 24d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints

    1. Handsome fella! But I take exception to “the dog”, he has a name. How would you like it if he called you “the hooman”?

      1. Hudson is in total agreement with you, Merusa and wonders if he and Tucker could exchange “pmails”.

        Hudson also asks if he could come to where you live, Tucker because all he has here is turnips!

    2. Scotland v Ireland much more entertaining than rubbish by England v France yesterday!

  29. Fairly straightforward once the long ones in. Last one in 1d. Favorite 21d despite Senf’s hhm.

  30. Fantastic crossword! Great hidden definitions and excellent misdirection. 100% enjoyment. Thanks to the Compiler; nothing “quirky” IMHO! Thanks also to Bloggers and commenters; highly entertaining.

  31. Hard but fair, on the whole I enjoyed this and didn’t find it as hard as some. I needed a hint or two from Senf and I tend to agree that the Hmms were merited. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  32. Phew…that was tough today! I think I must have lost my ‘Dada wavelength’ this week as I struggled from the start and needed a couple of Senf’s fine hints to really get going. Now done and only just fully parsing a few…with the standard ‘Doh!’ moments when realising where Dada’ mis-direction and very clever clueing was leading too!
    Sir, you got me this week…but I always look forward to you next challenge.😜
    Thanks, as ever, to Senf for the sterling work with the blog ‘n hints.👍

  33. I saved this puzzle for this evenig to enjoy whilst Mrs SB watched The Great Pottery Throw Down and I am so pleased that I did. I loved 3d and 5d. 12a,17a & 21d gave me ‘laugh out loud’ moments, and overall Dada has provided what was for me a really enjoyable Sunday solve. Thanks to ‘Himself’ and Senf. Ps, today’s Times prize puzzle was equally as enjoyable – I so rarely buy that newspaper, but it provided me with some entertainment whilst I parked up and Mrs SB visited the malls in Telford’s Shopping Centre,

  34. Wouldn’t call 18d a double def. Thought the word play was deal with for the first word and the usual eccentric for the second.
    Dada a bit more benevolent here compared with his Guardian prize.
    Thanks to him and to Senf for the hints.

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