ST 3212 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3212 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3212 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, on Wednesday evening, somewhere between three and six weeks early depending on when you think Summer begins, we had the first Prairie (Summer) Storm of the year with all the usual ingredients including hailstones varying from pea sized to golf ball sized.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada perhaps more ‘friendly’ than last week – a near anagram fest with seven including three partials, one lurker, and no homophones, 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 – 7a, 25a, 26a, 1d, and 6d.

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 Moving passionately initially in tango dancing (8)
The first letter (initially) of Passionately followed by an anagram (dancing) of IN TANGO.

11a Where soldiers in the trenches would go, too much (4,3,3)
A double definition – the second is often abbreviated to three letters.

15a Contemporary, Hollywood cricket match? (6)
The two letter abbreviated form of the US city that Hollywood is part of and the term for a ‘red ball’ (international) cricket match.

22a Insect in position, heading for trees (6)
A synonym of position and the first letter (heading for) of Trees.

23a Panic! Strap failing in trousers (5,5)
An anagram (failing) of PANIC! STRAP.

25a Local seabird passing round a pattern of geese in flight? (6)
A type of seabird containing (passing around) all of A from the clue and the letter pattern formed by geese in flight.

26a Pieces served with mixed spice, for example (8)
An informal term for a specific collection of 32 pieces placed after (served with) an anagram (mixed) of SPICE.


1d China has imported gold on boat in European country (8)
A ‘friendly’ synonym of china (note the correct use of lower case) containing all of (has imported) the term for heraldic gold and a type of boat mostly seen in harbours.

2d Senior artist briefly stood up (4)
A French Impressionist artist with the last letter deleted (briefly) and reversed (stood up).

5d In ju-jitsu, person I challenge is very fast (10)
The lurker (in) found in four words in the clue.

8d Fly goes down into empty tube (6)
A four letter term for goes down inserted into TubE with the interior letters deleted (empty).

13d Broken below the belt (3,2,5)
A double definition – the second relates to being unfair.

21d Batting off, somehow (2,1,3)
The two letter term that can mean crickety batting and a four letter synonym of off (on holiday?).

24d Hard song for musical (4)
The single letter for Hard and a three letter song.

Quick Crossword Pun:

VARY + HUNGARY + CARTER + PILLAR = VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLARapparently a children’s book, published in 1969, by US author and illustrator Eric Carle

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This week I got an earworm from where I know not, which I would like to share with you, of Peg O’ My Heart written by Alfred Bryan (words) and Fred Fisher (music) in 1913, which was used as the theme tune for The Singing Detective a 1986 BBC television serial drama, written by Dennis Potter and starring Michael Gambon.  During my research, I was surprised to be reminded that it was a mini-series with only six episodes.  For the series, the theme was a version by Max Harris & his Novelty Trio and here it is:

63 comments on “ST 3212 (Hints)
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  1. A very satisfying solve today with ticks all over the paper. I do like the old chestnut that is 14a and I loved the Hollywood cricket match. The misdirection in 7a had me looking for word ending in three different letters to the actual ones. This held me up in the NW corner for a while until checkers arrived. I had never heard of 23a but it could be nothing else. Both 25a and 3d vied for the top spot with the “pictorial” 25a becoming my COTD.

    Grateful thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints, which I will now read.

    Not quite so sunny or warm in The Marches today so it will make taking the bunting down an easier task.

  2. Super puzzle with just a couple in the NW giving pause for thought.
    I particularly enjoyed 25a plus 4(lol) 6&8d (excellent).
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  3. A very enjoyable puzzle with lessons on how to produce a head-scratcher clue and misdirect rhe solver without reams of convoluted wordplay. It’s so clever! There was an otstanding lurker And 25a led me completely up the garden path before I realised what was going on. Apart from that, 1d, 8d and 16a were all great clues. Thanks to Dada for another winner and to Senf for the hints.

  4. Scatter gun approach
    Provided checking letters
    And a steady progress
    To completion.
    Big smile at 3d
    Thought 25a simply brilliant.
    Very satisfying throughout.
    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  5. As gentle a Sunday puzzle as I can remember, over almost before it started and I wondered whether it came instead from the Saturday pile – is it really a Dada? Quite a few chestnuts but enjoyable while it lasted. Good lurker in 5d, my COTD.

    1* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to the setter and to Senf

  6. 1.5*/4*. As others have said, this was gentle but enjoyable with 25a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. Scattered early solves, then more laborious and just finished!
    23 across is something I didn’t know and wouldn’t recognise! Luckily I solved the thing and then looked up.
    15 a was amusing! Thanks to setter .

  8. No need to look beyond 25a for my favourite today with a nod to 7a just because I like the word!
    Satisfying Sunday morning fare from our setter.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints & music – I was familiar with the tune but not with either the trio or the TV series.

  9. Thoroughly enjoyable with 23a being a new term to me and 25a favourite but plenty of fun here. I also wondered if it really was Dada as to me it had a slightly different feel but I am no expert.

    Lovely and warm and sunny here, hoping it lasts for tomorrow as we plan to attack the garden.

    Many thanks to Senf and to Dada

      1. I think it’s just that I must be getting on the right wavelength so finding it easier, which is a good thing! The same cannot be said for my poor success on the toughies where I have yet to find anyone I am remotely in tune with.

  10. Great puzzle, just the right amount of difficulty for me. Lots of great clues but my fav is 17a (love the cricket inspired clues).
    Last in was 6d which for me was the toughest.
    Thx to all

  11. For me, and I stress for me (™ Senf) this was a cracking crossword to solve whilst consuming orange juice with bits, strained through a sieve to be transformed into orange juice without bits, and burnt toast.

    To Stamford Bridge yesterday to watch Chelsea struggle to a draw against a well-organised Nottingham Forest. What a year we chose to upgrade to hospitality season tickets. Four managers, terrible football, and a dearth of goals. A total shambles.
    What’s that? Oh yes, of course we’ve signed up again for next season.

    Thanks to Dada and The Man From Manitoba

    1. We would make a fine Jack Sprattish couple, I like to let my OJ with bits settle and pour off the bitless juice for Mama Bee, whilst I enjoy the remainder that is thick enough to stand a spoon in

      1. I still think you are both wrong – no processing and preservatives, just as Mother Nature intended, an orange every day freshly removed from its ‘natural wrapper’!

    2. Have you ever considered transferring your loyalty to the better SW6 team? The new Riverside Stand will be in full operation next season

        1. I’m with Senf on eating a whole fresh orange a day, and the ‘packaging ‘ can be conveniently recycled in my compost bin!

      1. That remains to be seen Senf – even if the stand is completed, at the prices Fulham are charging for next season, it is unlikely that the seats will all sell, thus rendering the new Riverside Stand less than fully operational. There are some disgruntled season ticket holders down at the Cottage – but at least we’re not having to watch Chelsea with Terence every week.

      2. I think this is fascinating for anyone with an interest in Fulham or the history of football stadiums in general. Certainly a unique ground.

    3. Terence, in the nicest possible way I am abandoning you. I realise that no amount of chivvying, bits-shaming, pull yourself together lad joshing is going to move you. Enjoy your bit-free juice. Wallow in it. I promise never to mention bits to you again, though it saddens me that you are so set on your wayward path that you are impervious to being ‘turned’. As to your taste in football I would not dare to comment as I know absolutely nothing about football and would always assume that you were cheering the elite. I trust we shall remain friends if I restrain myself thus.

  12. Enjoyed today’s friendly exercise with NW requiring most application. Took a while to suss 23a and likewise use of batter in 17a. 26a is new one on me (thanks MrG). Hard to single out Fav but will settle for 26a. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  13. Dada has his benevolent hat on today. Hate to disagree with Brian, but far too many cricket based clues for my liking though at least today’s were easily gettable.That said I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. 6d my favourite and too many more highlights to mention.Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  14. Once agan, I thoroughly enjoyed Dada’s superb challenge, although must admit that I obviously got on his wavelength much faster than usual, and it was all over too quickly today!
    A whole host of favourites from this one – 5D (super lurker), 7A (for the clever mis-direction), 14A (for the “Doh’ moment), 17A (and the other ‘crickety’ clues), and the very clever 25A (which took some careful parsing – thanks Senf for the confirmation!)
    Thanks, as ever, to Dada for the puzzle and to Senf for the blog ‘n hints 👍

  15. I can only agree that this was a very bright and friendly Sunday puzzle to go along with the sunny day here in Shropshire. 25a seems to be the popular choice for favourite which I will happily endorse.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. What a perfect puzzle to finish the weekend. It is Mothers Day here in the US, so an unexpected gift. (Although I really don’t like this Hallmark generated occasion, it is not Mothering Sunday like in England.) This was an enjoyable steady solve, with help only needed for my LI, 6d, where I had taken the wrong fork in the road. 20a fell straight in, as Peter went to our local model RC one 3 times this week. Engine would not start on Day 1 nor Day 2, but thankfully he had three successful flights on Day 3. 23a was another rapid solve as I live in these year round in South Florida, unless we are having a rare cold snap. Huge thank you to Dada for this very doable backpager.

  17. I agree with everyone else that today’s crossword is considerably easier than the last few weeks have been – something to do with it for the number of anagrams (for me anyway).
    I think my favourite was probably 1d.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf for the hints.
    While we’re on the subject of favourites (I know we’re not but we were!) maybe its time for me to remind everyone that we’re only allowed one favourite – I did notice someone with a huge number of them!! Oh dear!! Oh dear!! I can see I’ll need to get out of my big stick!

    1. But Kath, when there are so many excellent clues it is really hard to choose only one. Have a heart.

    2. :smile:
      Yes – I was definitely the one who set the rule and I’m going to stick to it! As Senf said my rule was made a very long time again and I’ll be watching . . .

      1. I’m with you, Kath! I often mention several clues but pick only one as my COTD. There simply cannot be several COTDs.

        1. Thank you – I’ve spent years trying to convince people on the blog (and others) that the word “favourite” is a superlative and there can only be one (or should be anyway!) We’ll see . . . .

            1. Who said anything about a Fav having to be perfect? Horseracing allows Joint Favourites if there are two horses in a race with the same shortest odds!

              1. As far as the bookies are concerned, Angellov, there are joint favourites. However, the punters pick just one as their favourite.

            2. It’s like that phrase “very excellent”. Drives me mad, it is either excellent or it isn’t.

          1. My own particular bugbear is “almost unique” you just cannot be almost… You are either unique or not, no degrees of uniqueness are allowed. There are quite few friends here who are unique but each in their own way.

  18. Agreed with everyone, Dada at his finest for me; doable and enjoyable. I only had a problem with 13d, a bungin, thanks to Senf for explaining it, not really that difficult but I suppose I had to have one dim moment. I even solved the crickety clues! I liked 3d and 23a, but fave by a country mile is 25a.
    Thank you Dada for being so kind, and to Senf for the hints and pics.

  19. Another great puzzle from Dada at the easy end of his spectrum again today. Nothing quirky in this one at all. Enjoyable solve, being almost R & W for me.

    1*/4* today.

    Favourites include 11a, 20a, 25a, 1d & 22d with winner 25a

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog

  20. I agree with Merusa and almost everyone else. Excellent guzzle. I did it sitting in the back of the car whilst DD2 drove us up to Worcester to visit DD1. A horrid visit, she was in a very aggressive mood and nothing was right. The carers are angels without wings. I see there is a quarter of an hour before G ‘n T time but hang it. It is medicinal. Many thanks to Dada for keeping me occupied and to Senf for explaining the crickety ones. I think 1d was my favourite, with 25a close behind – sorry Kath.

    1. Poor you, DG – I’m SO sorry – what a horrible/difficult day it must have been for you all – I prescribe another G&T with lots of ice and lemon, and possibly another one too . . . .and given the day you’ve had I’ll let you off with the sin about the ‘favourite’ . .

    2. I am so sorry to hear of your travails, Daisygirl. I know it doesn’t count for much these days but you are in my prayers.

    3. So sorry your visit was so upsetting. I think you only had one fave, the second choice was close behind but hasn’t reached fave status.

  21. Late to this. Gentle but top notch. 1a&d kicked us off in fine style & weren’t bettered in my view (well maybe by 25a) & with a good few ticks elsewhere At the risk of incurring Kath’s wrath I’ll declare a triple dead heat. Wasn’t entirely sure of the style of garment at 23a but otherwise pleasingly straightforward
    Thanks to D&S

  22. We have been treated to another delightful crossword from our regular Sunday setter. Like yesterday it was at the easier end of the spectrum, but that didn’t stop me enjoying the challenge.


    Fav 25a LOI 26a.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. 1/4. A walk in the park this Sunday. My favourites were 7, 15, 17 & 25a and 6d with 15 the winner. 25 had me trying to fit the word for geese in flight which held me up until the crossers appeared and the penny dropped. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  24. Very good. Last two in were 6d and 26a. I had a penny drop with 9a. Lots of favourites bu in case Sister Kath is watching I shall stick to 25a. Hours after the event I have only just parsed 1d. Thanks Dada and the man from Winnipeg.

  25. Gold star for the Quickie pun. And COTD for the magnificent lurker cruising round the world. Many other clues were worthy of the podium in this slightly head-scratching but very enjoyable puzzle for which many thanks to Dada. Thanks also to Senf, whose help I needed for the parsing of 25a which completely beat me.

  26. 6d – I have no idea, but xxxxx (redacted – please read the instructions in red at the bottom of the hints) fits in very well!

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