ST 3208 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3208 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3208 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, belatedly, Spring seems to have arrived as we had three or four days of double digit positive temperatures before it cooled down but remained positive.  But, we now have one of the worst parts of the end of winter as all the snow banks, from ploughing and so on, thaw and leave dirt, rubbish, and goodness knows what other detritus behind them which the City will make a half hearted attempt to clean up after most of it has been blown all over the place.

For me, and I stress for me, it would appear that last week’s generosity was an error on Dada’s part – with six anagrams (two partials), no lurkers, and one homophone, all in a very asymmetric 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 – 12a, 26a, 28a, 8d, and 9d.

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 Upset with sharp pain, something done with needle? (5-6)
A synonym of upset and (with) a sharp pain (that can be experienced during running?).

11a Maine car customised, a collection from there, say? (9)
An anagram (customised) of MAINE CAR followed by A from the clue.

12a Position of US player in two garments (9)
The combination of a (6) garment and a (3) garment gives a participant in a US summer game.

18a Affectionate type in theory completely gutted, seeing hooliganism (8)
A term for an affectionate type (of individual) inserted into (in) TheorY with all the interior letters removed (completely gutted).

24a Defeat almost catching people out, initially, in sport (5,4)
The defeat, or was it, that caused considerable discussion two weeks ago so it shouldn’t need to be discussed again today, with its last letter deleted (almost) containing (catching) the initial letters of People and Out.

26a Hey, vodka’s back: fancy double? (9)
A synonym of hey (as an attention getter), the last letter (‘s back) of vodkA, and a synonym of fancy.

28a Flower shape, people inspired by little one (6-2-3)
A synonym of shape (by a smith?) and a three letter synonym of people contained (inspired) by a three letter term for a little one.


2d Animal with horn, I gathered (5)
An anagram (gathered) of HORN, I.

3d Vet drops in on spook (7)
A verbal synonym of vet with IN deleted (drops) and our favourite two letters equivalent to on.

8d Great fiddler, unbeliever in Italy (8)
A synonym of unbeliever (a polytheistic?), IN from the clue, and the IVR code for Italy.

9d Advertiser offering snack and regular meals? (8,5)
A type of snack (which might have been ‘invented’ in the 18th century) and a term for regular meals (associated with lodging?).

15d Valid fight, hollow for musician (5,3)
A synonym of valid and a synonym of fight (as in the noble art).

21d Lot of money assigned to musical composition (7)
A three letter synonym of assigned and a type of musical composition.

25d Beat off party (5)
A synonym of off (as in away) and our favourite two letter party.

Quick Crossword Pun:

GOO + GULP + LEGS = GOOGLEPLEX or GOOGOLPLEX they are both in Wikipedia, only the second one is in the BRB, take your pick! My guess is that Dada was thinking of the first one.

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Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien OBE, better known as Dusty Springfield, was born on this day in 1939.  Originally a member of the trio The Springfields, this is her first solo single from 1963 performed on the chat show Aspel and Company in 1989:

52 comments on “ST 3208 (Hints)
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  1. Excellent puzzle. Took me slightly longer than the average Sunday to sort it out but well worth the extra effort.
    I particularly liked 24&26a plus 3&5d (the last of which I thought involved Toughie level wordplay).
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. A wily bunch of clues and a slow start from me, rapidly spoeeding up as rhe checkers went in (as is often my experience with Dada). I never did work out the convoluted parsing of 26a (thanks to Senf for an excellent collection of hints) although it ghad to be only one answer. I liked 16a, 8d, 24a and 1a and what a splendid vzriety of clue types there were. Thanks again to Senf and to Dada for a most absorbing puzzle.

    1. I didn’t get the gist of 26a for a long while either, but once the penny dropped it seemed obvious, but isn’t that always the way?

  3. 2.5*/4*. Enjoyable Sunday fare with 9d the only real head-scratcher, so I’ll make that one my favourite. A special mention too for 5d.

    Both Chambers and Collins have 15d as (8) not (5,3)

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. What a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable puzzle for what is so far a dismally grey Shropshire morning. It was certainly harder than recent Sundays, with some intricate and tricky clues, foremost among which, for me, was the excellent 5d, my final entry.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge, and to Senf.

  5. Only one word for that puzzle, absolutely brilliant! Enjoyed every minute of it, very hard, very clever.
    My clue of the day was the outstanding 28a. well done to our setter today, great fun.

  6. Took an age to even get started.
    Worked steadily up, leaving 15d to be the last in after the proverbial penny performed.
    Gratifying to complete unaided apart from checking my construction in 12a which was, fortunately, correct.
    An excellent puzzle throughout.
    In summary, 3.5*/5*
    Many thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  7. Real mix of old and new in this one, certainly kept me on my toes.
    Top three here were 4,7&21d – mostly for their humour.

    Thanks to Dada, Senf and Ms. O’Brien.

        1. No, I didn’t, just listened to the clip. I love her music, so sad she died so prematurely. Thanks for that Senf.

  8. Yesterday’s lovely sunny weather didn’t last long – it’s cold and dreary here again this morning.
    Dada has done his best to cheer us all up with an entertaining puzzle – thanks to him and to Senf for the hints.
    My trickiest bit was arriving at the Quickie pun.
    Ticks went to 26a, 3d, 5d, 7d and 9d.

      1. As you say the very large number is the only one in the BRB (and Collins) so that’s probably what’s intended.

            1. I wasn’t too worried about a 9-hour solving time but the answers I’ve blanked out were for 9d and 8d in today’s puzzle. I should have looked more closely at the puzzle number.

          1. Thanks John. Both the answers that I’ve blanked out appear in today’s prize puzzle, not in the Friday puzzle so I think that Tricky Dicky must have put his comment on the wrong blog.

  9. For once Dada was within my capability, helped by the checkers and after finishing by Senf’s parsing of those I was sure were correct but couldn’t justify.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  10. Just right for Sunday morning. Maybe a 2 for difficulty and 4 for enjoyment?
    No particular favourites but no irritating fillers either.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  11. Didn’t overly care for the 26a wordplay but an otherwise very enjoyable puzzle. After my struggles with Ray T & proXimal on Thurs&Fri both this & yesterday’s Cephas SPP a gentle stroll. 7d my favourite as it reminded me of an old Brian De Palma film that caused quite a controversy at the time. Am a big fan of 11a & Ray LaMontagne’s retro 8th album Monovision is my current go to listen in the car.
    Thanks to D&S

  12. Very good puzzle at the upper end of my ability. I am not going into that debate again but it all depends on which side you were on but it is generally considered one of the greatest triumphs of the Napoleonic wars with the possible exception of Austerlitz.
    Loved 20a but my fav was 17d because it made me smile. The hardest clue to unpick was 26a and for me 8d as I always just thought of him as a composer not a noted violinist.
    Thx to all esp to Dada for an entertaining Sunday puzzle.

  13. Found this a good challenge for a SPP. 5d took my amateurish brain a while to solve and was my LOI. 26a appears to have split opinion but was my favourite COTD, mainly because when I first looked at it I didn’t have a scooby-do. So particularly gratifying when I finally worked it out. Thanks to both Dada and Senf.

  14. I really enjoyed this and have lots of ticks on my page, but 8D and 9D share my top spot. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. Well the good news is I have finally tested NEGATIVE! although still feel very fluey! The bad news is a DNF for me. Still haven’t got 4d despite having all the checkers. Hopefully the answer will suddenly pop into my head. Thanks to all and hope Robert is feeling a bit better today.

      1. Well a begative test is a step in the right direction and the flu-like synptoms will eventually go off, Manders. So you’re making progress👍

  16. Another puzzle from Dada that is very much like yesterday’s Cephas offering, in that it practically solved itself. Nothing quirky in this one at all.
    Once again nothing to scare the horses and all done and dusted before Saturday night fish & chips take-away.

    For me 1*/4.5*

    Favourites include 1a, 12a, 26a, 7d & 17d with winner 1a

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the blog and hints.

  17. Today’s Dada took me a while but all the clues were fair and gettable. I did like the clothing in 12a and the affectionate hooligan at 18a. My COTD is 4d.

    Many thank, Dada for the fun and to you, Senf for the hints.

    I solve the puzzle in the paper but then fill it in on line to send it in for the mythical.

  18. We found this quite tricky and a bit quirky and there were several clues I personally wasn’t keen on, not shared by Mrs. TWLC. Mrs. TWLC’s favourite was 28a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Finished, although as ever, it took some time to get onto Dada’s wavelength.
    I’m not quite sure of the parsing of 5D – I sure it will come to me with a ‘Doh!’
    Thanks as always to Senf for the blog ‘n hints👍

  20. I do confess to needing to enlist help for 10a, 3d, 4d and 5d but otherwise this was surprisingly a nice steady solve for a Dada puzzle. Even surprised myself by getting the Italian city and the violinist (not a musical genre I enjoy). But even more amazing that one of the first in for me was 26a, which probably shows I have a convoluted mind. So thanks to Senf and Dada for an enjoyable Sunday puzzle. Two days in a row, what a joy. Need to get outside now and clip the seed pods off the palm trees before they fall and produce hundreds of seedlings that have to be hand pulled.

  21. I was pleasantly surprised at how approachable this was! I did have a lot of trouble parsing some, I solved from the checking letters but had no idea why, eg 24a, 26a, 28a had to be, and a few others. I am so surprised they’re right. I can’t believe I remembered 9d. Lots to like here, 12a, 21d, 7d amongst others, but fave was 18a.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for unravelling so much; shame on me forgetting the defeat at 24a.

  22. Very nice Dada today that probably took about the same time as the toughie today. Although the pressure of blogging allows me to use some “tools” to speed up the solve on the toughie, I don’t permit using them on puzzles I solve for fun.
    28a was my favourite today but I had to look at the answer I had bunged in for a while until the parsing dawned on me.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

    1. “Allows me some tools to speed up the solve”, SJB? Is that a crib sheet, perchance? 😌

      Reminds me of the time I took part in a BBC radio quiz. It was Radio Shropshire against Radio Warwickshire and, as we all took our seats in the studio, we were handed sheets of paper. When I asked the producer what it was he informed me it was the answers to the questions. “This is radio”, He stated. “We can’t have you all humming and ahing on air. The show would die!”

      1. No but when I try and solve a Sunday Toughie I have to use anagram helpers and the facility on the BRB app to put in the checkers you have helps too. It doesn’t always work as 1d yesterday was to the point until checkers put me right. The facility on the old Telegraph puzzles site to submit for errors and up to 5 letter reveals helps too. None of which I allow myself on other puzzles

  23. Dada often leaves me cold and I admit to feeling below par but this was for me literally the least enjoyable DTel/STel Cryptic ever, the wavelength was inaccessible and I certainly DNF. Perhaps I will refrain from too many quibbles. Sort of thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. I agree, you should say it as you find it. Not every puzzle suits everyone. I know how you feel, it’s so depressing when you find yourself swimming in molasses and others say “piece o’ cake”, more like that please, and so on. I enjoyed this today, but not that often do I jump for joy at a Dada offering. Tomorrow is another day … I hope I’m not putting my goat mouth on it and we end up with an undecipherable Campbell!

      1. Thanks for your reassurance Merusa. Had to look up your “goat mouth” expression and wasn’t surprised to find it is originally a Jamaican expression! As a matter of fact I can usually cope with Campbell.

  24. I have had a lovely and rather hectic day at a family event for a Diamond wedding anniversary so have not had time to think about this enough. I am 75% done with this interesting and for me challenging puzzle, I can see from the discussions above that I will need a clear head if I am to complete it. I have done 26a which I thought was a great clue.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints which I am sure I will need soon…

  25. Did this in short bursts. I have an answer for 5d but no idea is I’m right. It fits but I can’t parse.Favourites 20a and 4 and 7d. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  26. A late start which was then polished off first thing. Got 8d from the nether regions although thought he is more well known today for his football sticker albums!? 🤣

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