ST 3233 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3233 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3233 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we and our Southern neighbours are enjoying a holiday weekend.  For us, it is our version of Thanksgiving and for our Southern neighbours it is the annual celebration of Columbus not finding, on any of his four voyages, the land mass that became Canada and the contiguous 48 states of the USA.  In any event, the Vikings were the first Europeans to discover North America some 471 years before Columbus didn’t.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada quite friendly with a soupçon of quirkiness – seven anagrams (five partials), one lurker reversed, 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, 11a, 23a, 1d, 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 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:


7a Insect burrowing into unremarkable fruit (8)
A type of three letter insect being inserted (burrowing) into a synonym of unremarkable.

11a Part of timer used (6-4)
A double definition – the latter one is a descriptive term for an item that has been used (by a previous owner).

12a Grave punch-up in tavern? (6)
Another, perhaps more modern, term for tavern followed by a three letter term that could mean punch-up.

14a Super activity on court? (8)
A double definition – the second may refer to activity on a court in SW19.

20a Meeting outside of college, set off (8)
A type of meeting (usually involving only two people) placed around (outside of) a well known college (across the Thames from Windsor).

23a In prodding damp flower, one enjoying bouquet? (4,6)
IN from the clue inserted into (prodding) a synonym of damp and a type of flower of which there are around 170 species, all but one of which are restricted to Eurasia.

26a Massive weight originally on one foot (8)
The single letter for weight and (movement when) on one foot.


1d Hit fly — messy! (8)
A synonym of hit (often on one’s face) and a synonym of fly (as in move quickly).

2d Join some unit in Kenya on the climb (4)
The reversed lurker (some . . . on the climb) found in the words ‘sandwiched’ by the indicator.

4d Very old goat seen on the rocks (5-3)
An anagram (on the rocks) of GOAT SEEN.

6d Marker certainly not for the French flag (6)
A type of marker and the French for certainly not – we have seen this type of flag before so no BMW!

18d Toxic substance with carbon monoxide in it, figure will claim (8)
The chemical symbol for carbon monoxide inserted into (in) IT from the clue all inserted into (will claim) a figure (as in number less than ten).

19d Gift set newly secured by tied ribbon? (6)
An anagram (newly, move one letter) of SET contained (secured) by a single word for tied ribbon.

24d Input category (4)
A double definition – the first may relate to processing data.

Quick Crossword Pun:

DEAR + VENICE + URN = DEER VENSIONat least, that is what I think it is; I am happy to be corrected.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

American-British actor and singer David Soul, he became a British citizen in 2004, probably best known for his role as Detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson in the television series Starsky & Hutch, had two UK number ones in his singing career. The second was Silver Lady which began three weeks at number one on this day in 1977:

66 comments on “ST 3233 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable.
    However I must say that 13d is just factually incorrect . The great African swimmers don’t actually swim, though their Asian counterparts do.
    I particularly liked 25&26a plus 1,6&19d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

    1. Well done, Stephen L. At the risk of being redacted, I was going to make the same point, perhaps the setter was thinking of the river horse, as I did until the checkers nullified that.

  2. A really enjoyable Sunday brain twister, just about the right level I thought. Nearly gave up half way through, but as I was still waiting for Mrs TC to get her idle carcass out of bed so that we can eventually go out, I stuck it out to the finish. Some clues that seemed impossible at first glance simply slipped into place a little later on, such as 26a and 24d.
    My two favourites today were 20a and 18d. Great puzzle, ta to our setter today.

  3. 2.5*/4*. This was a strange solve for me. I struggled to complete much of it initially before I got interrupted and took a break. When I came back to it, it all fell into place smoothly.

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

  4. Mostly sorted, but I hate riding in the back of the car getting thrown about! DD2 driving us to see DD1 which I absolutely dread – isn’t that an awful thing to say? But the guzzle has taken my mind off the impending nightmare and so far. Very enjoyable. So far I like 9a.

    1. No, I don’t think it’s an awful thing to say – I can understand your feelings completely, or I can at least try to.
      I’ll think of you today.

        1. It’s quite natural to feel like that, Daisy. The person you love appears the same but isn’t. My friend felt the same about her husband whodeveloped dementia in his early 50’s and wvebrually got to the point that he didn’t recognize her. A friend of his was very critical of her but you can’t judge anyone unless you’ve walked 10 milees in their shoes.

  5. Enjoyed this guzzle a lot, I think it was 22d that held me up for ages, longer than the rest of the puzzle. Question please: Just received a communication from DT saying sub for tree version going up to 247 pounds a quarter, ie nearly 1000 smackeroos a year. I don’t read the paper version at all but husband IT illiterate! Would I do better to let sub lapse and then try and negotiate a better rate? Or perhaps jettison the husband?

    1. Yes as PC Security says (and she is always right) the best action is to call them. Say it is an outrageous increase, and they then offer you the rate you are currently paying. That was my experience.

    2. Yes give them a call. When they increased the online subscription rate to an acceptable rate, it was well worth my international call as it then came back down to normal. If not I would have had to say goodbye.

      1. Yes Mander’s, I commented last week as I had also been increased to 247. We have now been out down to 182 a quarter so definitely worth ringing. You do have to cancel the direct debit and restart but that is all in one phone call.

  6. After a lovely walk – it is like the best summer’s day 22deg and very sunny – I thought I’d solve the crossword before getting on with all the things I’m supposed to be doing. Dada was in very kind to the solver mode, so now I have lots of time to sort stuff out and then sit in the garden after lunch

  7. Plenty of humour from our Sunday setter which always puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Everything seemed to flow smoothly and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride – sorry, Daisy!
    Podium spots allocated to 7,11&12a along with 1d.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints and music clip – think David should perhaps have stuck to the acting!

  8. No I give up. This one is way beyond me. Managed about 1/3, most of the rest is just words I’m afraid.
    BMW? Even the hints are too cryptic for me.

    1. Although you haven’t used it for a while, I have to think that your comment that ‘Even the hints are too cryptic for me.’ is just an excuse for not being able to complete the puzzle with or without hints.

      Don’t answer because it is a Prize Puzzle but how can the hints for 11a, 26a, 2d, 4d, and 24d be cryptic at all?

      And, for example, the hint for 20a gives clear step-by-step instructions.

      By the way, as part of an italicised comment BMW is not a germane part of the hint.

      1. What I mean is that the hints are not helping solve what is an extremely difficult puzzle for me. They may well be obvious to you but you wrote them so obviously you know what they mean.
        I always appreciate the hints and the effort made in producing the, but in this instance they are not helping me, just me.
        PS I know BMW is not part of the hint, I just wonder which of the several interpretations you meant, not the racist one I hope.

    2. It was too clever for me Brian, and although I am always grateful for the hints, they don’t always lead me to the answer, as was the case in some instances today.

  9. I enjoyed this one very much…and even finished it ! Almost unheard of for me and a Dada.
    Last one in 23a. Favourite 14a.

    Come on, Senf, put us out of our misery. What does BMW mean other than the car ?

    Thanks to Dad and to Senf.
    Persistent heavy rain here with flood alerts, but thankfully not warnings. Temp today 13C which is a great improvement on yesterday’s miserable 8C. Indoor games for us.

  10. An enjoyable Dada puzzle – thanks to him and Senf.
    I thought that the Quickie pun was rather weak.
    My top clues were 12a, 26a and 1d.

  11. Fun puzzle – imo about the right level of challenge for a SPP. The recently named Devon and Cornwall was the last corner to fall, with 21d my LOI. I spent too long thinking of an alternative word for imagine – a penny drop moment when I worked it out, Never heard of the word in 6d (and don’t know what BMW means) but Mr Google confirmed the answer. COTD for me was 22d – very clever. Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

    1. I, too, went through my thesaurus trying to find another word for imagine. I failed to solve that one, but I feel pretty stupid now that I know!

  12. Very enjoyable but a blank at 22d despite every other letter. I had a theory but have forgotten it, as so long ago.
    Many thanks to the compiler and others.

  13. No particular standout clues but a very enjoyable guzzle which I’d rate at the gentler end of the Sunday difficulty spectrum.
    Thanks to D&S
    Ps do hope Daisy’s visit goes as well as can be reasonably expected

  14. When I was researching for the video, YouTube ‘offered’ me this 2014 TV commercial for National Express coach services which some of you might remember. Yes, it is a ‘not so slim’ Mr Soul behind the wheel but I don’t think you would see a Bald Eagle over any part of the UK.

  15. For me, and I stress for me, {™ Senf} this was a cracking guzzle. Some (four letter) bung-em-ins and a few to really stretch the noggin.
    In between some clever clues that one could figure out if accompanied by toast and orange juice with no bits.

    As part of our increasingly minimalist approach to life (a garage cleared this morning) we are off to the municipal tip again. A thrilling way to spend Sunday but with the compensation that we will be back for the Gooners v Man Citeh game on television. We can relax after Chelsea walloped Burnley yesterday; an unexpected bonus.

    Very best wishes to Daisy for her visit to DD1.

    Thanks to Da-doo-ron-ron and The Man From Manitoba

    1. Yes… what a result for Chelsea yesterday! My 17 year old son who is an avid supporter couldn’t watch anymore after they went 1-0 down. I persuaded him to come and watch when Chelsea picked up their third! Let’s hope

  16. Lots of entertaining clues to brighten up a dismal Sunday.

    Favourites 12a, 20a, 23a and 1d.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    Back to struggling with the SW corner of the Toughie 🤔

  17. It always amazes me that I can stare at a clue for several minutes, parse it, play with it, and have no idea of the word. Then I go into the kitchen to make tea and out of nowhere get the answer. And of course sometimes I don’t, but today I did so ***/***. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  18. Late on parade, as 3 had family visiting. The second enjoyable weekend guzzle in a row. Mr Lancaster is spoiling us and no doubt we will pay the price in the near future. I liked the clevwr misdirection in 21d, the double definition at 11a, the lego clue at 23a and the cryptic definition at 11d. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for a crossword full of variety and enjoyment.

  19. Unlike Senf, the SE came together nicely. To borrow a comment above, it was for me, and I stress for me, ™ , a great puzzle, nicely balanced, and nuanced. Most convoluted was 23a, but no hints offered, due to red rules. Is it wrong to fish for help, in view of rule 12?

    Comment Etiquette

    With time to spare, I tackled the Prize Toughie. Only aware of its existence recently. Doesn’t appear in my iPad edition, so had to navigate the Telegraph puzzles website. Another great puzzle, and 12a a real 5* blinder.

    Thanks all for your valuable time.
    Super-cruciverbalist-ic-expi-alidocious, as Mary Poppins might say

    1. I am confused. I haven’t given any indication of having experienced problems in the SE or any specific area on the grid come to that.

      ‘Fishing for help’ beyond the hints given on a Prize Puzzle is definitely frowned upon especially when the clue you mentioned, 23a, is one of those hinted!

  20. A fairly flat but straightforward crossword for us without reaching the heights of Dada’s usual offerings. Didn’t like the quickie pun. Favourite was 23a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  21. I found this Sunday puzzle from Dada more toward the harder end of his spectrum this week. A couple of clues from his personal thesaurus too this week, I thought.
    I filled this puzzle with the top half first and then slowed toward the SE finishing in the SW.
    As I said, a little more challenging than the last few puzzles from Dada … IMHO. But I still thought it was a good puzzle, nonetheless.

    2.5*/4* for me.

    Favourites today included 7a, 15a, 22a, 1d, 5d & 21d — with winner 21d
    A couple of chestnuts in this one including 22a & 5d … both of which made me smile.
    Liked 1d & 26a too.
    Did not know the word in 6d … a new one for me.

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog … no 16d for me today though.

  22. Very enjoyable. Several penny drop moments with 26 producing the biggest smile. Although one or two awkward surfaces took the shine off the puzzle for me
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hints

  23. Very enjoyable and, for me, not as difficult as I usually find a Dada offering. I was only transiently thrown by the incorrect implication in 13d, since the form of clue meant it could have been nothing else. Lots of choice for the podium today. I’ll pick 23a, 18d with 19d for favourite. I’m not a fan of the quickie pun. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Happy holiday!

  24. Oh dear! Now I’m stuck with two I can’t do at all – 21 and 22d!
    With a bit of luck I’ll probably “see” them the minute I stop trying to do them.
    I didn’t think it was any less tricky than is usual for a Sunday Dada.
    7a took a long time – I don’t think it as ‘fruit’ although I suppose it is.
    I liked 11 and 23a and 3 and 16d. My favourite was 26a.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf.

  25. 3/4. I struggled to get into this but after persevering it gradually came together. Looking back I can’t see why it took so long to get going. No standouts for me which probably explains my previous comments but satisfying to get to the finish line. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  26. As is not necessarily the case for me with Dada I surprised myself by making it through this enjoyably satisfyingl challenge. NE brought up the rear and that not helped by certainly overstatement in 6d and gorgeous in 8d. Yet more cheers in 24a. Thank you Dada for a lot of fun and Senf for reassuringly being on hand for us if needed.

  27. Thanks to Dada and Senf for a relaxing puzzle I could do in the bath after an exhausting time tackling a Yew tree in our front “garden” with a cheap b&q trimmer that was a bugger when extended to reach the top. I was covered in yew leaves and spiders that floated off as I soaked. The incipient 16d was soon 22d

  28. I was so late starting today, I was just able to solve the north before having to do my pool routine. When I came back to it, the south seemed even more difficult. With some ehelp I was able to do the SE but have four unsolved in the SW. Now that I know the answers, I have no idea why I found them so hard, in any case, a DNF for me. I liked 13d and 26a, but others were good too.
    Thank you Dada, and a mucho gracias to Senf for unravelling so much.

  29. Finished this evening after a beautiful day here in Wales with my friend and g and t. We found this fun and managed to finish.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  30. Tried and tried to get xxxxxxxx to fit the clue to 26a until solving 19d showed me the error of my ways…..22d last in – v clever and my COTD

  31. I don’t normally attempt the Sunday puzzles, but I decided to make an exception today and found this very enjoyable, with no real hold-ups.

    Thanks to Dada for setting such a friendly puzzle, and to Senf for the hints.
    By the way Senf, I had an Aunt who married a Canadian serviceman in 1945, emigrated with him to Canada and lived until her death in 2009, aged 100, not far from you in Brandon, Manitoba. It must have been a healthy place to live, as she outlived all her siblings by many years.

    p.s. This is my second attempt to post a comment on this particular blog, but using a different email address this time!

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