ST 3205 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3205 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3205 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, while Spring may have sprung, the grass has not yet riz, because most of it is still under up to 30 cms of hard-packed snow, but we do have birdies mostly the hardy small ones, sparrows, chickadees, and nuthatches, who stay with us all year unlike the wimpy large ones which have to migrate to warmer climes for Winter.

For me, and I stress for me, but presumably for many others, yesterday’s Chalicea was but temporary relief, once again Dada providing a head scratcher – with three anagrams, two lurkers (one reversed), and two 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 – 14a, 19a, 21a, 9d, 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:


7a Art nicely surreal? Yes! (9)
We start with an anagram (surreal) of ART NICELY.

11a Design container in which kept a tropical fruit (8)
Somewhat ‘clumsily’ written, a four letter synonym of design and a metallic container containing (in which kept) A from the clue.

12a Mint wrapper (6)
A double definition – the first could be in the sense of a large sum of money.

17a Controlling authority in check, by the sound of it? (5)
A homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of check.

18a Meat, not a sausage at Lord’s? (4)
A double definition(?) – the second relates to a no score in St John’s Wood.

21a Cool, like a vinyl record? (6)
Some lateral thinking required, a double definition(?) – the second is an adjective based on what the needle runs in on a vinyl record.

27a Equally ready for help (5)
A two letter synonym of equally and a synonym of ready.

28a Fast — as a speeding bullet? (4,1,4)
A synonym of as, A from the clue, and a single word for a speeding bullet.


1d Shelf left on side (5)
The single letter for Left placed on a synonym of side.

6d PM a cheat, so I gathered (9)
An anagram (gathered) of A CHEAT, SO I – not a PM by name but by title.

9d Opera‘s male drivers? (6)
A single word term for male drivers?

13d Bag flimsy, splitting in the end (5)
A synonym of flimsy and the last letter (in the end) of splitting – as in a particular interest?

15d Winger‘s cross to bear! (9)
Another double definition – the second may be metaphorical.

22d Very many minions, but no leader (6)
A synonym of minions with the first letter deleted (but no leader).

25d Follow story in audio book? (4)
We finish with a homophone (in audio book) of a synonym of story.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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After this week’s saddest of sad news something calming, my Dad’s favourite:

66 comments on “ST 3205 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable indeed, Dada quirky and cryptic.
    Thought 28a&3d a tad weak and the bird’s a bit of a chestnut but the rest all good.
    My Sunday front runners are 18&26a plus 17&23d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  2. 2*/4*. I thought this was a fun puzzle at the lighter end of Dada’s range.

    I did have a very slightly raised eyebrow for 26a and was surprised to find it in the BRB,

    I can never pronounce nor spell 6d, but fortunately the checking letters helped me to write it in correctly.

    My top picks were 12a, 14a, 18a, 22d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    P.S. I can’t recall having heard from LetterboxRoy recently. I hope he is OK.

        1. Yes, that one held us up at the end and I am grateful to CS for telling me how to spell it next time it appears.

    1. I had a combination of raised eyebrow and furrowed brow over 26a. What I would consider to be a ‘niche word’ (if such a term exists) used by a particular social group, I wonder if it still exists, and, sorry RD, I just can’t imagine you, or any other member of our company, being a member of that group!

  3. Great fun – thanks to Dada and Senf.
    I ticked 12a, 19a and 13d but my favourite has to be the excellent 10a which must be an all-in-one if you remember the old thug who lived there.

    1. Yes, Gazza, I remember him. The school, where I taught, in London, had a huge influx of child refugees, sent to relatives in England for their safety. One way in which their parents could get money out of their accounts t to he JK was for school uniform/equipment so we had a lot of well-padded requests to sign.

        1. Yes, I agree, Gazza. And XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX won a Best Actor Oscar for portraying that thug in XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Riveting performance.

          [Let me explain the redactions – all someone would have to do is Google what has now been redacted to get to the answer which falls within my interpretation of an alternative clue or hint.]

          1. His breakthrough performance as Bird in Eastwood’s Charle Parker biopic also tremendous & surprisingly overlooked for even a nomination.

  4. A puzzle in two halves for me with the East Being tougher than the West. All in all I really enjoyed the level of challenge and the range and variety of clues. COTD for me was 6d, followed closely by 11a and 10a with 23d highly commended. Thanks to Senf-wimpy migrating birds- I love it. Thanks to Dada for another finely judged SPP.

  5. I too found the east a good bit trickier than the west but overall a reasonably gentle & pleasant enough Dada puzzle & certainly nowt like last week. Picks for me – 10&18a plus 17,18&23d.
    Thanks to D&S

  6. As usual with Dada for me, a slow start, a quick middle section before an extremely slow finish. I can never remember the character at 6d and it took me ages to parse 27a. I also raised an eyebrow at 26a. My favourites were 11a, 19a and 18d with my COTD being the clever 18a.

    Thank you Dada for the fun. Many thanks, Senf for the hints.

    It’s good to have the puzzle on the back page on a Sunday! :good:

    I loved the Quickie pun.

  7. A bit of a struggle for me today but the little grey cells worked it all out in the end. 6d had me running through the list of past UK PMs before the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Thought a few clues were a bit ‘dodge’ such as 13d, 27a, 28a, but they are the clues that make the challenge. COTD for me 23d, one of my favourite sporting venues. Thanks to Dada and Senf – now to submit to the SPP lottery.

    1. I was running through rhe list of past politicians too PB, before looking in the dictionary after the penny dropped.

  8. As relative newbie, I got through this fairly quickly with the exception of 6D. I have never come across this word before, not sure I will remember how to spell it either! An enjoyable puzzle thank you to the setter.

  9. Not the most difficult Dada but far too slangy for my taste. Didn’t help that I can never spell that PM!
    Two good clues in 18a and 23d but mostly a bit below his usual high standard.
    Thx for the hints

  10. My body clock didn’t do a very good job of ‘springing forward’ this morning, I’m always better when it comes to ‘falling back’ later in the year!
    Can’t recall the last time I heard anyone use 21a but it has given me a pleasant earworm for the day and I did smile at 9d, remembering Matthew Bourne’s ballet version which I saw some years ago.
    Top clue for me was 19a because it made me laugh out loud.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – your dad’s favourite piece of music sounded lovely but I could have done without the prominence of the wind turbine in the visuals!

    1. We’re two weeks after our “spring forward” here and I am still waking up late every morning. It always take me a while to adjust, but never for “fall back”…

      1. For the first time in my life “Spring Forward” has affected me. I’ve been like a zombie all day. Hudson didn’t mind my getting up an hour earlier but Perks looked at me as if his servant had lost his marbles!

  11. Good fun and all done- but worried about 26 across! Seems horrid if my entry is correct?
    PS just saw earlier comments and relaxed!

  12. Completed but not without the hints on this occasion, mainly to double check a couple I was uncertain of as I found some of todays synonyms more oblique than my brain could be sure of. I was on the completely wrong track in 15d exploring sports and other species, so I have learnt a new definition today. Every day is a cryptic school day. The spelling of 6d always gets me but I can see CS has given me a way to remember….for 5 minutes maybe?

    Many thanks to Senf for the hints ( and for picking the ones I needed to check) and to Dada for making this week easier than last!

  13. 27a was my last one in, with the excellent 10a my favourite. I hope I never come across 26a again, which caused deep furrows in my forehead rather than a raised eyebrow. Otherwise all good, and most entertaining.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  14. I cannot imagine anyone was too comfortable with 26a! We’ve had a funny old morning. Went to church all dressed up to go on to delayed Mothering Sunday Lunch with DD2 (they were in Cuba) only to find they’d gone out – crossed wires somewhere, kids eh? After 6 phone calls we have found somewhere to take us at 2pm which fortuitously left me time to complete the puzzle. Some clues seemed ridiculously easy but then I was brought up short by some tricky ones. All in all a good aperitif for whatever The Pheasant has to offer. Many thanks to the Setter and Senf. My heart goes out to those poor people whose lives have been devastated by the tornado in Mississippi.

  15. Heading for * time then screeched to a halt at 27a and 15d.
    Complete mental block until I returned to this excellent puzzle some time later.
    Pennies dropped in quick succession.
    18a by a nose is my COTD.
    Many thanks Dada and Senf.

  16. As for others above the East presented the most hiccups particularly the NE. Altogether this was for me an unrewarding workout but with a couple of Favs – 19a and 21a. Surreal in 7a is stretching it a bit. 11a as fruit didn’t occur to me. Describing 8a merely as meat is unfortunate and 23d not necessarily a person. My hat off to those who filled in 6d without having to check spelling. Thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. Re: The Lucky person – perhaps lucky charm could have been used. I was fixated on the title character of a book and a film which of course did not fit.

  17. Crosswords by Dada which are reportedly on the easy side of very hard still render me tired (I believe the technical word is knackered). I am with a few others for whom 19a was the standout clue for its humour and clever clueing. Honourable mentions to 10 and 18a, and 15d.

    Thanks to Senf for his hints for two which evaded my dull brain, and of course to Dada for the puzzle.

  18. Did the puzzle in the car for the two hour journey to Hintlesham Hall for our annual night of luxury (tho ‘ we missed the last 3 years). Finished all but 6d which held our for most of the journey as I battled to find a PM from the anagram! HH have installed very posh coffee machines in the rooms which took some mastering. Why is everything so complicated? Looking forward to our dinner in Carriers restaurant tonight.

    1. My goodness Manders your mention of HH brought back so many memories of good times spent in Robert Carrier’s days (before it became a hotel) and then later with Ruth Watson as owner. Several New Years Eves in Carrier’s Restaurant were particularly memorable. Hope you enjoyed your stay.

      1. We love it and spent Christmas here a few years ago. A great friend, Mark David, was Robert’s Maitre d’ who joined us for dinner last time we were here and regaled us with hilarious yarns of those days.

  19. Reasonably straightforward until it wasn’t with 12a, 27a and 13d being the main offenders and didn’t like 26a either. High on head scratching and low on enjoyment. If we had to pick a favourite it would be 9d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. Poor attempt by me. Just could not remember the PM. Had to look it up. Needed hint for 21 and 28a. Thanks Senf – your help was needed. Thanks Dada but not on my wavelength today. Complete opposite of yesterday when I could have done with something to occupy me for longer on my train journey. Favourites 19a and 9d.

  21. This is heading for a DNF. I will have to get electronic help for 6d as absolutely nothing is coming to mind. I also was amazed that 26a is a recognized word. I took a new prescription pain killer yesterday that made me feel so awful I’d rather have the pain 😊. So perhaps I will think better when it fully wears off, and perhaps finish solving later.

    1. I had that experience, BL, when I was prescribed something called Tramadol after a knee replacement operation. It left me dizzy, spaced out and hallucinating. Never again.

      1. OMG, it was Tramadol! As you say, never again. I do have neighbours that tell me that they take 2 a day, every day ….

  22. For me, this Dada was definitely a head scratcher.
    I think I would have to use the word quirky to describe this puzzle in many areas today.
    No really tricky words although 26a gets a ‘hmm’ from me. I can’t say I knew the word in 6d either but given the checkers it was easy to determine.

    Overall 2.5*/3.5* today.

    Favourites include 8a, 14a, 21a, 3d & 9d with winner 21a

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints.

  23. Made a good start with this one then ground to a halt with 13d, 22d and 26a which I eventually worked out with Senf’s help….. could not believe that 26a was in the BRB, but it is.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    Blinking cold here today and just starting with sleety rain….summer time my foot!

  24. Once again I struggled to get going but, with some online help regarding the PM at 6D (thanks CS for the way to remember how to spell it 👍), I made it to the end with a couple of satisfying ‘Ahas’! 😜
    Thanks as ever to Dada for the quirky challenge, and also to Senf for another great blog ‘n hints.

  25. Trickier than Dada of late, I am beginning to see like Senf, that Dada’s personal thesaurus is a bit different to others but with help from Monsieur Moutarde I got there eventually. I very nearly said 17d out loud with exclamation marks after several answers
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for shining some light on the lights

    1. I just nearly replied to you with the answer! I’m pleased to say this one did not present me with any problems unlike many others.

  26. Up late last night watching ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, which I remember first seeing at a cinema in downtown Nottingham when I was a guest lecturer at the University there (52 years ago now)–many happy memories (hello Weekend Wanda!)–with memorable performances by Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson. And then, because I couldn’t sleep, I read more of Maugham’s Ashenden stories. Good (if heavily dated) stuff.

    Haven’t looked at the comments yet so no idea what the prevailing view is, but I very much enjoyed this light-hearted Dada, with my favourites 21a, 19a, & 6d (no problem there, thanks to seeing it everywhere these days). Very enjoyable, indeed. Thanks to S and D. **/****

    1. Hello Robert. That may have been at the Odeon or the Elite neither of which are there now. There are some large new ones , one in the centre and the other on the ring road near the University. My favourite is called the Broadway which is a cinema/arts centre with a café bar. After all those years out of acting Glenda Jackson is still brilliant.

      1. Glenda Jackson is the very first British actress I met.
        She was playing Strange Interlude from Eugene O’Neill with the dashing James Hezeldene. The stage set was quite barren but her presence alone filled the theatre.

      2. I remember her in a movie where she spat out at the hero, “you fool, you pusillanimous fool …” with all the venom in the world.

      3. WW, I well remember the Odeon (I used to sneak away on Saturdays, away from my ‘moral tutees’ in Cripps Hall, and see whatever flick was playing there). They served delicious popcorn too. Sorry that it is no more.

      1. Sorry, John, I missed the reference altogether. Googled RW and his films but nothing clicked in my head.

  27. Sorry, not my cup of tea. I liked 10a and 21a made me chuckle, but otherwise too many raised eyebrows made this more frustrating than enjoyable for me. **/**

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  28. What a difference a week makes!. It’s unfortunate this comes on the heels of Chalicea yesterday, tricky but doable. I bunged in 27a and 13d because they fit but had no idea of the why, so thanks Senf. Having said that, there was a lot to enjoy. The PM we’ve had before and, as Robert says, it’s been in the news lately. My toes curled at 26a and I don’t care that it’s in the BRB, I use it all the time knowing I’m saying rubbish. Fave was 19a but 9d is well worthy of mention, 21a is a bit dated isn’t it?
    Thanks Dada for an enjoyable solve and to Senf for unravelling so much.

  29. No problems apart from 6d. if I’d been a fluent Gaelic speaker I might have got
    there quicker! And 26a. used a questionable abbreviation

    1. Welcome from me also. If you are referring to the 26a answer in your comment, it is in the BRB so (sadly) not questionable at all.

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