ST 3231 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3231 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3231 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we seem to be have had one last hurrah of Summer before Astronomical Autumn began yesterday with, in the first half of the week, sunshine and temperatures in the middle 20s and even 29 degrees on Tuesday.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada quirky again today – the SE seemed to take as much time as the rest of the puzzle put together, plenty of anagrams which may or may not help – seven (four partials) plus one lurker (reversed), and one homophone – all in a slightly asymmetric 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 – 10a, 19a, 3d, 7d, 22d, and the Pun.

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 the 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 Slight, minor infection on joint (4-8)
A minor (viral) infection followed by (on) a joint of the body.

12a Separate gents are different (8)
An anagram (different) of GENTS ARE.

13a Sketch again in colour, green (6)
Guess a three letter colour and a synonym of green (as in naïve?).

18a Wretched involuntary action (8)
A double definition – the second is associated with the eyes.

21a Colourful writers considered advice (4,4)
A synonym of considered and a synonym of advice.

23a Floating, where I can be found? (3-3)
Where I can be found, indicated by the first part, in the second part of an expression that is related to floating

28a American zip for clothes? (8,4)
The best I can come up with – a slang seven letter synonym of zip in American English and a (Dada) synonym of for which when applied to clothes, taking note of the ‘?’, can mean . . . – not sure if ‘for’ should be part of the definition rather than a (Dada) synonym.


1d Severely criticise attire (7)
A double definition – the second is a slang term.

3d Hunt round shopping centre for gossip (5,4)
A synonym for hunt containing (round) the modern term for a shopping centre.

4d Promise cap in orange and elaborate hat (4)
The first letter (cap in) of Orange and an anagram (elaborate) of HAT.

6d Composer inspired by opera gleefully rising (5)
The reversed lurker (inspired by . . . rising) found in two words in the clue.

14d Sharp and penetrating thing, part of exercise? (5,3)
A double definition(?) – the first is as illustrated.

16d Where one must be to win it, one needing partner first (9)
A two letter term equivalent to where one must be to win, IT from the clue, the Roman numeral for One followed by (needing) a synonym of partner.

20d By the sound of it, trip resulted in misery (7)
The homophone (by the sound of it) of a type of trip (going from place to place) followed by a (Dada) synonym of resulted.

25d King Edward perhaps sour at first, then sweet (4)
The first letter of Sour and an abbreviated form of a synonym of sweet.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES OR HINTS in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

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Actor, singer, songwriter, and filmmaker Anthony Newley was born on this day in 1931. From 1959 to 1962 he had a dozen entries in the Top 40 charts, including two number one hits. One of the number ones, Do You Mind, written by Lionel Bart, featured in the 1960 film Let’s Get Married in which he starred with Anne Aubrey and Hermione Baddeley. I do remember the song, Big Sister may be at least partly to blame as I am sure she had an Anthony Newley ‘phase’ at one time, but I only found out about the film when I was doing the ‘research’ for today:

93 comments on “ST 3231 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable indeed!
    1a got us off to a good start and I also particularly liked 19&23a plus16d, which was quite brilliant. On the other hand thought 7d was a bit weak and the question mark is doing a lot of heavy lifting in 9a (as clever as it is) but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

      1. Marvelous, I’ve corrected an incorrect hint (and given no more information than what’s in it) and I get redacted!! I’m well aware of the restrictions in a prize puzzle and don’t need to be directed towards them.

        1. One day we hope to write something clever enough to be redacted – our best telling off was the occasional red text comment from BD that made us feel like we were naughty schoolchildren.

          Mr & Mrs T

  2. A chewy little Sunday guzzle!
    For me 28a was an all in one, with the US zip [redacted – it’s a prize puzzle – read the instructions in RED below the hints] and clothes. Took a while to remember the Xwordland synonym for [redacted – it’s a prize puzzle – read the instructions in RED below the hints] for a long time.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

      1. Lurker again after being Redacted,

        We enjoyed your comments (both pre and post redaction)… please say you won’t leave us!

  3. A few ponderous moments but all flowed nicely. I did like 23a and 16d. [redacted – it’s a prize puzzle – read the instructions in RED below the hints]

    I would recommend today’s toughie from proXimal ( about a 2*?)… well worth a go.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

      1. As I recall, we hade a sunny week honeymooning in Cornwall, while you were making your first appearance. Hope youe had a nice birthday🥂

    1. Where does one find this Proximal puzzle? The electronic version does not have a Toughie, they probably think the Prize puzzle is tough enough!

      1. Regrettably, the Sunday Toughie is only available on the puzzles app or in the actual paper, I could email a PDF if you like

        1. Thx for the offer, it’s not that important. Just a shame that the DT would rather publish some of the dross articles rather than all the puzzles.

    2. Redacted? A little harsh. Like Stephen above, I was suggesting a correction to the hint. I understand the rules, but no further clues were given I’m my comment.

  4. Certainly exercised the
    Grey matter.
    The SE being the time-consuming
    Quirky but very clever
    Clueing eg 1 and 19a
    And 14 and 16d.
    In summary, 3*/5*
    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  5. It would be nice to have one’s own copy of Dada’s thesaurus and certainly save a great deal of time! I had quite a few ‘is it or isn’t it’ moments with this one and – unlike our blogger, they weren’t confined to the SE corner. Still, all’s well that ends well and I handed out the rosettes to 18,19&23a.

    Thanks to Dada for the Sunday wake-up call and to Senf for the review and video clip – knew the song but had no recollection of its appearance in a film.

  6. For the second day running, the top half of the guzzle was morecapproachable than the bottom. It was the SW that really took as long as the rest of the crossword in my case and there were some clues which seemed more suited to a Toughie than a backpager. Unsurprisingly, the clues on my podium come from the top half of the grid where there was a great reverse lurker a great carade and a good botanical clue. I liked 1a, 5d and 1a but, as a whole, for me, this guzzle wasnt really up to Dada’s usual high standard and not as enjoyable as usual. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada

  7. I seem to have made hard work of this. Top half in no time and lower half took for ever! 19a baffled till I realised I had 7d wrong and changed it!
    Quite a challenge but very enjoyable.
    Thanks to setter and others.

  8. I’m in total agreement with Chriscross about the upper-lower divide. The top half went in really quickly and all seemed very logical, but the bottom half was extremely vague with clues that didn’t really point to the answer, particularly 20d and 19a. On the plus side however I really liked 26a and 28a.

  9. Typical Dada, some more straightforward clues to lure you into his more devious ones. A very clever puzzle but I am still at a loss to unpick 23a. I can see the answer is floating but the wordplay has me stumped. No one will be surprised that my two favs were 7d and 26a.
    Thx to Dada for a very entertaining puzzle and for the hints even if I still don’t get 23a!

  10. I’m with CC here, the top half sailed in but the bottom was a struggle. Tackled on return from Harvest Festival (already so soon!) service and with a warming glass of Sherry to hand, which helps. Off shortly to a special event of The Laughter Specialists, a group of clowns who visit hospitals, sick and disabled children. George helped them to set up the charity and was Chairman for many years. The work they do is amazing and humbling – there will be tears of laughter, compassion and humility I guess, thank goodness it is not raining. Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the diversion before the immersion!

      1. Not so strange Merusa. We got married on October 1st in our village church. It was full of flowers, fruit and vegetables celebrating Harvest Festival. On our audio tape you can hear one of my page boys saying “You could have a picnic in here” 😊.

      2. Harvesting is well and truly over now Merusa. All the fields are stubble. My mother always said it was bad luck to look at the back of a cartload of hay! I still avoid looking in the driving mirror if I pass a hay wagon on the road. Best not to tempt providence.

      1. There was a violent thunderstorm during our wedding on September 14th 1968, with a flash off lightning as the vicar pronounced us man and wife and a huge clap of rhunder as he intoned, “Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder. ” West Ham United were playuming at home to Spurs and fans were parking everywhere along iyr road until my dad and my most intimidating uncle went ou there and ‘ redirected them”.

        1. Ours was in 1966 and also a very wet day, pictures outside the church show our best man holding a huge umbrella over us. I can still remember the raindrops going down the back of my neck. But enjoyed every minute.

  11. 3*/3.5*. I’m in the tale of two halves club with the top half relatively straightforward and the bottom half Toughie standard.

    I took 28a as a cryptic definition.

    I didn’t think much of “a nightmare?” in 9a as an anagram indicator, and even less of the supposed homophone in 20d.

    I had a lot of ticks however, with 1a, 23a & 16d making up my podium.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  12. A great guzzle from the Sunday master although, like Brian, I don’t understand 23a. That was the only query, though, ion what was a joy to solve. Favourites include the minor infection at 1a, the wretched action at 13a and the gossiping shopping centre at 3d. My COTD the trip at 20d.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun. Thank you, Send for the hints.

    Sent it off for The Mythical but no acknowledgement today from Telegraph Towers.

    I do hope everyone is fit and well.

    1. I hope it isn’t going too far to say that the device in 23a was used in a back pager this week and people found it difficult to spot.

  13. Found this Dada puzzle at the easier end of his spectrum this week and I think he left his personal thesaurus on the shelf today. Nothing to scare the horses this week, but a few chuckles and son=mme fun clues.

    2*/4* for me today.

    Favourites include 1a, 18a, 3d, 5d, 7d & 25d with winner 25d
    Chuckles were had with 18a, 28a, 1d, 3d & 14d

    A fun puzzle today.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints/blog

  14. And for all the redactees, there is some coffee and rum Bundt cake with English icing drizzle in the naughty corner…

    Greatful Thanks Dead Fans

    Mr & Mrs T

  15. Finally got there, like others the south east held me up for ages and I have come back to it several times over the last few hours. I liked 1a which got me off to a confident start.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints which helped reassure me I had probably put the right answers in.

  16. We solved this quadrant by quadrant. Last one in was the SE where we only had two answers until we got 20d which was the key to unlock that corner so becomes favourite. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  17. I did enjoy most of this, but the SE was a bit of a slog, having to use copious help from word search. Lots of good stuff here, I even aced the crickety thing at 7d. Solving 1a at first read was a plus and gave me confidence. I couldn’t understand 23a at first, it was a cousin of one yesterday, I think 3d, but huge penny drop when I sussed it out. I liked 18a, 28a and 6d in particular, and many more.
    Thank you Dada for the fun and Senf for unravelling quite a few. I’d forgotten Anthony Newley, thanks for that.

  18. Left half done, and right half mostly empty. Despite living in the US for 40+ years, I cannot fathom 28a. And agree with Brian and Steve Cowling on 23a. Got a call from a 93 year old friend in the middle of solving so kind of lost interest I suppose. But glad to say she is still as sharp as a needle, so there is hope for the rest of us. Thanks Dada, but doubt I will be able to finish, and thanks to Senf for helping me get as far as I did.

      1. Hi BL, I’d suggest that you look back at Senf’s preamble where he stated how many of each type of clue Dada had included in the grid.

  19. Unexciting but doable. 26a Fav. 28a bung-in unparsed. Slang seems to be increasingly prevalent on this site viz.17d and 25d. Thank you Dada and Senf.

    1. I agree about the slang, seems to be a lot lately, though I thought 25d was in sufficient common usage to be acceptable. I thought 18a and 1d more qualified.

  20. Someone has gone beserk with the redacting pen. I saw the remarks prior to being redacted and didn’t think anything was given away. Even with the hint(s) had no idea what the Americanism ‘zip’ was all about but my answer fits OK. Also held up in SE corner, mainly because I discovered I had put the wrong answer to the crickety one (maybe that will be redacted)! Thanks to all. Have a good week everyone.

    1. Same here, Manders, with the cricketing clue. Realized when I solved some other clues.
      It, the cricketing clue, could have been either.

  21. Quite tricky today – a very busy yesterday so probably still a bit knackered – my excuse anyway!
    It would seem that I’m incapable of spelling as Ia went completely wrong!
    Is 12a really a word? It does look very odd, or my answer is wrong.
    I liked 1a (eventually) and 21a and 4 and 21d. My favourite was 23d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.
    Back to my last couple of answers to see if I can finish from yesterday’s – they’re driving me mad!

  22. I threw in the towel with this one.
    Struggled even with Senf’s most excellent hints.
    I did get 28a by guessing the words but have absolutely no idea of how it parses….and will say no more for fear…..

    Thanks to Senf and I suppose also to Dada but this gave me very little pleasure.

  23. Top half went in without me pausing for breath. SW I was a little slow to start but got there. I got 28a but still don’t know the Americanism. I do know something they use zip for but nothing to do ziti clothes. I should have got 23a quicker than I did especially as we have had a similar clue recently. I’ve just this minute parsed 18a. I have only looked at hints since finishing. Thought some of the redactions weee harsh especially as Senf was more generous with some of his hints.

  24. An enjoyable guzzle & comments (albeit redacted) that followed. Trickier terrain down south following a gentle stroll up north. Can’t decide whether I like 28a’s cryptic definition or not but saw it pretty quickly. The wordplay device at 23a took me a while to peg for the 3rd time this week & one of those was by this setter elsewhere. Agree with RD re the indicator at 9a & the homophone at 20d (did wonder if trip should have been rip). Last in was 18d where I initially had the incorrect final letter but corrected it on reflection. Ticks for 1,18,19&23a plus 3,16&24d
    Thanks as ever to D&S

  25. This week, including today, has upped the anti in difficulty.
    Another example, Friday’s.
    Or, rather, I’m getting slower.

  26. I am also in the game of 2 halves club – whizzed through the top half but laboured on the bottom, which contained some v tricky (but always fair) clues….All Hail to the mighty Dada…

  27. Thanks for all your help with xwords.

    My question is what dies it mean when using Dada in hints?

    I’ve no idea from clues or meanings.


  28. i thought this was pretty normal for Dada,…….unusual for almost any other setter.

    i enjoyed it . i think different types of crossword and setters are good for my learning process. Long may it continue

  29. Fairly rattled in until, like everyone else, we hit the SE corner. Took ages but got there in the end. Still not able to parse 28a despite the hint. Didn’t think much of 20d either.

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