ST 3213 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3213 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3213 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, across Western Canada, principally in Alberta, wild fire season has arrived earlier than usual.  While we have some fires in Manitoba, the major effect on us, so far, is poor air quality from smoke drifting eastwards from Alberta.

For me, etc, Dada Not so ‘friendly’ this week – four anagrams (one partial), two lurkers, no homophones, and one oldie but goodie long-un all in an asymmetric 29 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 – 1a, 18a, 28a, 2d, 14d, and 17d.

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 Chap regularly knocked back beer in plant (6)
Alternate letters (regularly) selected from CHAP, I’ll let you decide which ones, and a (measure of) beer reversed (knocked back).

9a Tie cross in part of castle (10)
A synonym of tie (in a sporting event?) and a synonym of cross (a river?).

11a Target surrounded by genuine defence (8)
A target, or part of a target, (at a rifle range?) contained (surrounded) by a synonym of genuine.

12a Short amount of time on shoulder of leader? (6)
A double definition, one of which relates to supporting a leader (on shoulder of)?

19a Challenge wife, in scene (4)
A synonym of challenge and the single letter for Wife.

25a Fruit that will never take off? (4)
A fruit that is also a flightless bird.

27a Separate bags in any event for minister (8)
A synonym of separate (with force) contains (bags) a single word term for in any event.

28a Politician punched by that man — possible explanation? (6)
The short form of a UK (blue) politician containing (punched by) the nominative masculine pronoun equivalent to that man.


2d A grassy area cut for match (5)
A from the clue and a grassy area with the last letter deleted (cut).

3d Large island freshly minted old coin? (3,6)
A single word term for freshly minted and an old coin that was equivalent to £1.05.

7d Eye, tongue, but not head (5)
A liturgical language (tongue) used in Egypt and Ethiopia with the first letter deleted (but not head).

8d Wicked crimes in evidence initially, look to more innocent times? (9)
An anagram (wicked) of CRIMES IN E(vidence initially).

14d Animal hiding gold vessel in tree (9)
Heraldic gold and a drinking vessel contained by (hiding . . . in) a cone bearing tree.

16d Terrible man climbing over part of wall — safe to go through? (9)
The first name of the terrible man who was the first Tsar of all Russia reversed (climbing) placed before (over) part of a wall.

24d A little beaut, a serious stunner! (5)
One of the lurkers (a little) found in three words in the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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English-Australian singer and songwriter Gerard Hugh “Leo” Sayer is, presumably, celebrating his 75th birthday today. While this song did not reach number one, it is probably one of his most recognisable, from 1977:

63 comments on “ST 3213 (Hints)

  1. Very enjoyable indeed, Dada on top form, with just a couple in the SE holding me up a little.
    Thought 17d a tad weak but plenty to compensate.
    I particularly liked 11,12&28a plus 14d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf…..I think the “shoulder of a leader” in 12a is a positional reference in a race maybe

    Going off topic (which I don’t often do) a big congratulations to Manchester City, yet again thoroughly well deserved Premier League champions.

  2. As I usually find with Dada, I solve very little on the first pass but after a while the fog starts to clear. 1a raised smile as did challenging the wife and the grounded fruit. Spelling (stupidly) the second word incorrectly in 3d held things up for a time but solving 18a sorted it all out. My COTD is the accountant at 21a.

    A strange grid with two “H” blocks although I have come across it before.

    Many thanks, Dada for the fun challenge and you, Senf for the hints, which I will now read.

    The Quickie pun is apt because I have rather a painful one in my spine.

  3. 2*/4*. The usual very high standard puzzle for a Sunday with 14d my favourite.

    I know it’s in the BRB but I don’t much like the definition for 7d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. Superb Sunday fare.
    Completion marred only by not fully understanding 7d
    Until later.
    Brilliant clue, as was 17d.
    Nice to meet 6d
    Yet again, though
    A frequent visitor.
    In summary 2*/5*
    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  5. Excellent Dada today, not the easiest but a very fair puzzle. Still can’t quite work out 22d.
    Best clue for me was 4d.
    Off to enjoy the sun in the NE.
    Thx to all

  6. Entertaining fare as usual from Dada – thanks to him and Senf.
    My ticks went to 13a, 4d, 6d, 16d and 24d.

  7. East fell in ahead of West where my wrong solution to 21a caused problem with 22d although other two crossers held good. 28a punched by took while to ring a bell. 4d needed prompt but then became Fav. Thank you to the regular Dada/Senf team. One had to think cockney to read Quickie pun!

  8. The usual high quality guzzle from our Sunday setter. About 5d in terms of difficulty but at the top end for entertainment. No real head scratching though had to remind myself exactly what tongue 7d was & the target synonym at 11a was unfamiliar. Fav a coin toss between 1a&14d with 16d sneaking on to the podium.
    Thanks as ever to D&S
    Ps for anyone looking for a further puzzle yesterday’s Acnestis NTSPP on the site is terrific & deserves more comment

    1. Still waiting for more folk to try the NTSPP from Acnestis – it really is a treat from probably our youngest setter.

        1. No, Merusa, I fear that young Navy with all her gender problems is ploughing a different row these days. Acnestis is a young New Zealander currently working his way through university hence why we don’t get many compilations from him at the moment.

    2. Just tried the NTSPP. What a treat. A lesson in brilliant cluing with the smoothest of surfaces. Thanks for the recommendation and to Acnestis for the enjoyment. Best of the week for me.

  9. Our setter in a more challenging mood today but nevertheless furnishing us with a most enjoyable Sunday puzzle.
    Top marks here went to 14d with 1&9a taking silver and bronze.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – yes, I almost feel like dancing, especially now that I realise Mr Sayer is older than I am!

  10. I left the western half of the guzzle and started in the east. After that most clues fell into place apart from a few head-scratchers. I liked 2d, 16d,c8d and 14d, but COTD was that wily bird at25a. Many thanks to Dada for a thoroughly cabsorbing and enjoyable puzzle cand to Senf for the hints.

  11. For me, this was on the more benevolent side of Dada’s repertoire. 5d fell immediately so that was a great help. Needed Senf’s hints to parse 7d and then could have kicked myself. Favourite today was 14d with podium places for 20a and 16d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. Tricky in places – I have a couple of answers that I don’t quite ‘get’ – I hope that the brain wakes up a bit later!
    It took a long time for me to catch on to 11a.
    My favourite was 14d.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf for the hints.

    I heard of a man who called the police to say that he had a 14d in his cellar – they told him to leave a trail of apples, open all his doors and it would follow the apples and go out. A couple of hours he rang the police again, “Now I’ve got two 14d’s in my cellar . . . “!

  13. Like others above, the east went in far quicker than the west. But all in all an enjoyable solve. 27a was a bit of a bung in as I couldn’t see the separate. I read yesterday that you could poach an egg in the microwave by breaking the egg into a suitable dish, just covering it with water and pierce the yolk with a toothpick and then cover. Indeed I watched the procedure on uTube. Tried it this morning – after 45 seconds there was one hell of a bang and on opening the door partially cooked ‘strings’ of egg absolutely everywhere and the lid smashed to pieces. Do not try this at home! Thanks to the setter and Senf

    1. It’s easy. Use a rounded cup or a lake land silicone egg poacher perched on a small glass. smear a tiny drop of veg oil around the cup or egg poacher break in egg. No need to pierce yolk. Place in dead centre and Microwave for 15 or 16 secs tiny pause then again for 15 or 16 secs depending on size of egg. Sometimes you get a bit of a splutter but nothing serious. Remove with a palette knife or similar and serve on freshly browned buttered toast. Sprinkle on grated parmesan for more flavour.

      1. I have plastic egg coddlers (probably from Lakeland) which I use frequently and they usually work perfectly but there is spluttering sometimes which necessitates a microwave clean-up!

    2. Ouch. I did a silly thing on Friday. Unpacked 2 pouches of rice from shopping bag and later picked up one and made a cut in the top, was distracted and then put the uncut pouch in for 2 mins. Big mistake.

  14. A Dada puzzle at the easier end of his spectrum again this week, at least for me. No obscurities or quirkiness this week.

    1.5*/4.5* for me.

    Favourites were aplenty but I pick 1a, 25a, 28a, 4d, 5d, & 16d — with co-winners 1a & 4d

    Many well constructed clues and with great wordplay within them.
    Dada never disappoints … he surprises me sometimes, but does not disappoint.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for blog/hints

  15. I always find Dada takes me a while get on wavelength with and today was no exception, I found this more testing than last week but great fun. 25a held me up as I had a different answer in mind. Once I realised the rest fell into place with the north west being last. 16d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  16. Nothing to really hold us up although some took more thinking about than others. Favourite was 16d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  17. Just made it with the help of the Word Wizard on the SE corner. Thought 1a was the best of the lot.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

    Some thoughts about the Premier League. The Beatles almost said it all in ‘Can’t buy me love’. Just need to change ‘me’ to ‘my’. I dislike the Premier League like most Yorkshire football fans hate Leeds United ; deeply and with a vitriolic splendour. Success depends only on who can buy the best players. There was a time when the players from a team could be seen around the town but now they are no longer local by birth, interest or choice. The bottom line is which team with good players will want me and pay me loads’o’money. Dispiriting at best, nauseous mostly. The world cup in Dubai was a great example of how deep in the sewers top professional football is.

    in one of their early songs : Money Can’t buy Me Love.

    1. I agree with your observations on the Premier League…

      One can’t put back the clock. But apparently Tom Finney, the Preston North End and England forward used to go to the Saturday matches at Deepdale on the local bus. And he didn’t give up his day-job of plumbing.

      Good crossword from Dada – thanks to He and Senf (you do get a lot of weather where you are!)

      1. You should read ‘My Father and other Working Class Footballers’ by Gary Imlach. It’s a revelation about how fotball was before the 1960s changed everything.

        I lived in Blackpool in the late 50s and used to Stanley Mortenson, Ray Charnley, and Jimmy Armfield around the town. In those days you watched international matches to see quality players and I prefer them now to the Premier League. We can’t go back to those days but we don’t have to celebrate the swamp that is professional football.

  18. We got about 50% on a first pass then got a bit bogged down. I got the wrong four letter fruit to begin with, could not reconcile 23a with let out and 27a was the last in. I had daisies beside 1,2,25&28a and 6,16d but I think the favourite has to be the excited dormice. I suppose that will be another pen…..
    Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Senf.

    1. DG I wonder if we had the same fruit in mind, I even managed to make it fit the rest of the clue… my mind anyway!

        1. I had another fruit to start with with the same last letter but the penny dropped. Used the hint for 1a as there are so many plants and beers I couldn’t be bothered to puzzle over it. Rest OK although I struggled with the parsing of 27a. I got 11a quickly as the word is a familiar one. I knew the target synonym but in relation to a live target. Favourites 9 and 25a and 2, 4 and 5d. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  19. No idea how long I took over this, solved while wandering round the Valley Gardens between tea and ice cream breaks, got the final few by the Riverside in Wetherby waiting for the Brass Band to start. I think the bandleader is more fond of blowing his own trumpet than playing his instrument, a twenty minutei tro for a three minute tootle.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada it was the little Un’s I struggled with today

  20. I think somebody must have given me a brain transplant last night…. For the first time I completed a Dada without any help, not a single hint. To say I found this enjoyable would be a real understatement. I will try to remember this when I flounder later in the week. Several clues had me chuckling, including 21a, 25a, 5d and 14d. LI was 27a as it took me ages to parse. So huge thank you to Dada, and apologies to Senf for not needing your hints, just this once.

  21. Right on wavelength today, with the SE as the last in, all unaided except for word search for 1a … doh? Probably the easiest clue! I did have a couple that I questioned, I needed the thesaurus for 22d, never thought of that. Remember when races were names for the old coin? What do they call them now? I really enjoyed this, lots of choices but I think 14d gets the rosette.
    Thanks Dada for the fun. Senf, I needed you to unravel 27a, so thanks for your hints and pics.

    1. 🏇 Merusa, the horseracing community sticks to traditions. The 2000 xxxxxxx and 1000 xxxxxxx continue to be called that. They are the first Classic Races of the season and are held on Newmarket Rowley Mile Course at the beginning of May. 🏇

      1. Thanks for that, so interesting to know. My Godson says I’m so yesterday, but there are times when I still yearn for £.s.d!

  22. Great puzzle from Dada. As others have indicated, the latter definition in 12a caused some head scratching. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    By the way, Senf, your hint for 7d lacks an indication that the tongue needs a bit of pruning.

  23. Not sure how many of you are still around at this time but wanted to let you know as soon as possible that I’ve just heard back from Robert C. He’s struggling a bit at the moment and has been in hospital for the past week but wants everyone to know that he’s missing his blog family and hopes to be back amongst us very soon. Het tells me that his literary brain is still sharp – it’s just the nuts and bolts body-wise along with QWERTY abilities that are playing up!

    1. I am sure you have already sent him our best wishes, and I am sure Jimmy is looking after him

      1. I have indeed assured him that we’ve all been anxious and are wishing him well. I think he’s still in hospital although his message was a little bit difficult to unravel.
        I think Jimmy is up for sainthood!

    2. Thank you Jane, I’ve been concerned as it’s been so long. He’s only a few months younger than I am, I know well the aches and pains associated with an aging body. I’m sure he’s being well taken care of. Get well soon Robert!

      1. I hoped you might spot my post, Merusa. I know that he’s in (or has been in) St Francis hospital in West Ashley, about 8 miles away from his home and I know from experience, as you probably do, that the very fact of being in hospital can leave you totally discombobulated so I’m hoping that he’ll soon be feeling a great deal better. Thank goodness he’s been getting the attention he needed. I’ll let you know if I hear any more from either Bobby or Jimmy.

        1. Thanks. You’re quite right, hospital is not the ideal place for someone not feeling up to par! I’m rooting for him.

    3. Thank you for the update Jane, I’m very far from being alone in missing Robert’s comments and observations. Please wish him well and a speedy recovery and return.

    4. Thanks for letting us know, Jane. I was just wondering if he was OK, as I’ve missed his comments. I do hope he’ll be better and back home very soon.

    5. Thanks Jane. Good to hear news of RobertC – do hope he will soon be back amongst us. He is very much missed. Best ‘Get Well’ wishes to him.

    6. Thank you for letting us know, Jane. As others have said, hospital is not a cheery place. I wish Robert a speedy recovery and hope he is back home soon. My very best wishes to him and Jimmy.

    7. Thanks for the update Jane. I hadn’t realised Robert was actually in hospital. I’m sure he well knows how much we all miss him & look forward to him getting better & his daily posts

    8. I’m still up and doing a last check of emails etc. all good wishes to Robert, we miss his erudite contributions!

  24. All done – found this one from Dada to be more of a challenge than last few weeks, but got there in the end! Needed a couple of Senf’s hints to confirm a couple of parsings but it seems I was on the right wavelength! 😜
    Thanks, as ever, to Mr D for the excellent Sunday challenge, and of course to Senf for the blog ‘n hints👍

  25. 2/4. A very rewarding puzzle solved east to west and north to south. My favourite was 7d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  26. Cracking puzzle, reasonably gentle. Long day, much needed glass of wine and a rest. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  27. It’s Monday, catching up on the Sunday papers today after a trip to Manchester to compete in the Great Manchester Run. Great crowds, fabulous weather, no PB as it was too hot for me but the atmosphere was electric as the great Sir Mo completed his last competitive 10k. Another fine crossword to complete last week with lots to enjoy.


    Fav 28a LOI 3d.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

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