ST 3236 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3236 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3236 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where the 4-letter ‘S-word’ arrived on Wednesday, more or less on  the forecast schedule, and continued on and off until midnight on Friday, fairly light, with a total of 15cms (plus or minus).  Worse in the West of the Province and further West into Saskatchewan and Alberta.  More of the same forecast for today and tomorrow and it looks like we are going to stay ‘negative’ (in terms of temperatures) for a while.

I hope that UK residents remembered that BST ended with a return to GMT at 2:00am this morning.  Now, we ‘across the pond’ have the customary week’s hiatus of puzzles being available an hour later than usual until we ‘fall back’ next Sunday.

For me, and I stress for me, once again Dada not quite as friendly as he has been recently, personal thesaurus in hand, with six anagrams (three partials), one lurker reversed, and no homophones, in a somewhat NW-SE grid which I think we have seen before giving us 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 – 9a, 13a, 23a, 7d (brilliant!), and 15d.

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 Broadcast very lively sport (11)
A four letter synonym of broadcast and a single word term for very lively.

9a Extraordinary in alien territory? (3,2,4,5)
A double definition I think – the second indicates where one might be to be in alien territory.

17a Touching action by nurses with last of patients (6)
A verbal synonym of nurses and (with) the last letter of patientS.

20a Jab, rare cure for impresario (8)
A synonym of jab (as in poke in the chest?) and an anagram (rare) of CURE.

22a Goddess in Greek, I never retreated (4)
The reverse lurker (in . . . retreated) found in the three words ‘sandwiched’ by the indicator.

27a Venus observed at night in folk tale? (8,6)
A ‘generic’ synonym of Venus observed doing what lots of people do at night.

28a Gifted student appearing in a flash? (6,5)
A two word term that is equivalent to flash.


2d Pain in the leg as hideous snake winds round me from below (10,4)
An anagram (winds) of HIDEOUS SNAKE contains (round) the reversal (from below) of ME from the clue.

4d Best team, until beaten after losing lead in Newcastle (8)
An anagram (beaten) of TEAM UnTIL with the first letter of Newcastle deleted (after losing lead in).

7d Film mee? (5,9)
Quite brilliant – a crosswording term to indicate that MEE in the clue might come from a word with a letter deleted followed by a synonym of what the complete word that starts with MEE might be – brilliant the clue might be but not easy to hint clearly without giving too much away so here’s an illustration to help (or not).

14d Flatten a guy (5)
A synonym of flatten (as in trees?) and A from the clue.

15d Problem initially with a Far Eastern animal (5)
The first letter (initially) of Problem, a synonym of with, and A from the clue (again, in successive clues!).

21d Something warming for Christmas decoration that’s put up, for example on top (6)
A slang term for a (military?) decoration that is reversed (put up) preceded by (on top) the Latin based abbreviation of for example.

26d Theatrical party (4)
A double definition – the first might be theatrical in an exaggerated manner.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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American comedian, illustrated song model, singer, and actress Fania Borach better known as Fanny Brice was born on this day in 1891, passing away in 1951. Her life story was loosely adapted into the musical Funny Girl in which Brice was famously portrayed by Barbra Streisand in both the original 1964 Broadway production of the musical and its 1968 film adaptation. Here is Ms Streisand singing one of the most recognisable songs from the musical:

97 comments on “ST 3236 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable if a little quirky.
    Not sure whether I like 7d or not, which probably means I don’t, though I’m sure several will. I did like several others though, foremost amongst them 13&20a plus 4,10&15d.
    Thanks Dada and Senf
    Coincidentally re 4d Newcastle appears in the wordplay of today’s excellent Robyn Toughie.

    1. I was completely flummoxed by 7d, although I did put in the right answer I had no idea why. As soon as I read Senf’s hint I fell in. It was clever but I didn’t like the feel of it!

    1. I started with the islands and, unconvincingly, changed my mind. We might never get to know what Dada intended; answers to Weekday and Saturday puns, but not Sunday puns, are available on the ‘Old Web Site’ and I can’t find any indication of anything being available on the ‘New Web Site.’

      Dare I say that there are some setters who are very good at puns, Campbell immediately springs to mind, and some who aren’t.

      I will add the islands as an alternative.

  2. Wonderfully entertaining puzzle; thanks to setter. It will, no doubt, divide opinion because the clear COTD, for me, was the very clever 7D!!

  3. I obviously totally fail to understand 7d as it would appear to be the daftest clue of all time but as it is Dada it must have some form of logic which is beyond me. Not sure about the part of the answer to 27a being a synonym of Venus and don’t understand my answer to 11a.
    A real Curates Egg for me but I did like 1a.
    Thx to all

  4. 2.5*/3*. Mostly enjoyable with the bottom half being slightly tougher than the top.

    7d gets my nomination as one of the worst clues ever with a nonsensical surface involving a non-word.

    And how is “rare” an anagram indicator? Is it another example of use any word you want for that purpose?

    My top two were 4d & 15d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

      1. Thank you, Merusa, it’s very kind of you to say that but, although I hold strong opinions, I would never consider myself as any sort of authority.

        In this particular case, the wordplay is very clever but, for me, a clue’s surface reading has to make some sort of sense. I would welcome anybody’s explanation of what “Film mee?” might mean.

        1. An annoying kid in front of a camera “look at mee, look at mee, film mee”? That’s probably why I took so long to solve the blasted thing :scratch:

  5. 7d is the most brilliant clue
    Since time immoral.
    Enjoyed very much this
    Sparkling puzzle
    Dada excelled himself
    Many thanks and to Senf.

  6. A tough and not particularly enjoyable Dada puzzle from my point of view. There were some good anagrams to entertain, particularly 2d and 8d. However there were rather a lot of quirky cryptic definition clues, which were hard to unravel. Like Stephen , I wasn’t greatly enamoured of 7d, a love it or loathe it kind of clue for me. I did, however, like the cryptic definition at 27a. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Dada for an interesting curate’s egg of a guzzle.

  7. A big thumbs-up from me for the clever 7d. Not too sure about 19a though.

    Another good clue is 3d but it rings a vague bell so I might have come across it before.

    Trying to find somewhere sheltered to walk the dog as she is in danger of getting blown over due to the 50 mph wind and her wobbly old legs.

    Thanks to setter and Senf.

  8. I tend to agree with RD above re 7d; it’s a non-word.
    The answer was blatantly obvious, but a very strange surface.
    That aside, a nice puzzle.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf

    1. Every so often, Dada will provide a clue that is completely off the wall and 100% Marmite.

      Another one was in ST 3147 – 5d – Illicit TS? (10).

      1. It is very rare that I would not look at a Sunday puzzle, but it seems that I did indeed miss out on that one back in February 2022.
        From a cursory glance at the review, it didn’t look like a very straightforward puzzle either.

  9. I’m in the “loved 7d” camp. Yes, it’s a daft surface but clever and fun. Liked 27a too. But 19a did rather grate on me. All in all, a cracking puzzle. For those who are so inclined, Robyn’s toughie is adorable. Thanks to Dada, and Senf, of course.

  10. 7d is clearly going to polarise opinion into two distinct camps: I am not sure whether it is brilliant or awful, but tend towards the former. Ignoring that single clue, I found the puzzle a tad harder than usual for a Sunday, but still a rewarding and entertaining solve. Stripping out 7d, my favourite was 1a.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  11. Gosh what a mixture of write-ins and real brain ticklers.
    Most of my time spent chasing the answers to 11a and 7d. Luckily 11a fell into place when the checkers were there and I’d had another coffee. But 7d was really fun. Being a fan of Asian cuisine spent inordinate amount of time chasing wild geese until a pocketful of change dropped! Nominate 7d as winner.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf (wrap up well!)

  12. Our setter taking all sorts of liberties today, three of which seem to have divided opinion. Think I’ll stay out of the line of fire and award my rosettes to 1,9&13a plus 15d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the review and rather poignant clip from Funny Girl – keep yourself wrapped up warmly and steer clear of slippery surfaces!

  13. I rarely make comment on puzzles these days, but I can’t let this one pass without me saying how clever and entertaining this was, for me at least. Although it took only a little longer to solve than it took me to sup my mid morning coffee, I thought it one of the best for many Sundays past. 7d was my stand out favourite by some distance. 27a was, IMHO quite clever, but I found many chuckles along the way too. My thanks to Dada and also to Senf – and by the way Senf, please keep the snow your side of the Atlantic – well, at least until Christmas ;-) ;-)

  14. This week I would put this Dada puzzle at the easy to mid range of his spectrum. No obscure words.
    Helped to get the two across long ones in the puzzle as well as the four perimeter clues … gave lots of letters to work with.

    2*/4* for me

    Favourites include 9a, 11a, 19a, 28a, 2d & 7d — with winner 9a

    Several made me smile such as 11a, 28a & 3d

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for blog/hints

  15. This is really difficult today.
    I’m on the side of “don’t get it at all” of 7d so I think I’ll carry on in case I suddenly “see” it.
    Onwards – other things worrying my brain today – our middle grandson, Joseph, who’s just two, fell downstairs yesterday evening and broke his arm!
    Back later – in the meantime thanks to Dada (I think!) and to Senf.

    1. Oh dear, poor lad. It must have been an unfortunate fall as they are usually quite bendy still at that age. I am sure they will give him a colourful cast but I expect he’ll get very frustrated. I hope you live close enough to help to entertain him. 👳‍♀️

      1. Poor kid, I expect he will feel very frustrated at being w1unable to do his usual activities. Lots of fuzzy felts, puzzles etc on the horizon I suspect. Hope he gets well soon.

    2. Poor lad, but as M says they heal fast, I seem to recall I was quite accident-prone at that age too Mama Bee reminded me that she had to deploy a very second-hand knitting needle to aid scratching beneath the cast, I think it is still in the bottom drawer in the kitchen where once useful but whose purpose is long forgotten things go to spend eternity

    3. Sorry to hear about your grandson, Joseph.

      When I was 2 years old, the day before we were going to Royan in France for our summer holiday on a campsite, apparently I fell off a stool and broke my right arm.
      15 years ago, my wife and I went back to the same campsite in Royan for a holiday, with our 2 year old son (also called Joseph).
      I am sure you can guess the rest… yes, he fell over and broke his right arm!
      We have given Royan a miss since then, and when my daughter Sophia was 2, we gave France a miss that year !!

  16. I am pleased to have finally regained my cryptic brain. Apart from 7d I finished unaided for the first time in 3 days. I unfortunately had entered an incorrect letter by accident in one of the across clues which did not help solve 7d and so I used the hints. I can see how brilliant it is. I enjoyed the rest very much, especially the multi word clues.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  17. For me, and I stress for me { ™ Senf } this was an amusing and enjoyable crossword. I ‘got’ 7d more from the checking letters, but then paid homage to the very clever creativity behind it.

    Yesterday we witnessed another awful defeat for the mighty Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Sometimes, though, life throws perspectives at one. When we arrived, we were advised by the stewards that we would need to access the ground by a different entrance. In front of us, on the cleared concourse, stood an air ambulance, which took off, remarkably noiselessly, some minutes later.
    As I often do when situations like this pop up, I reflected upon how thin the line is between a normal day and catastrophe. A family may be out for the day, looking forward to watching their team, when, in an instant, everything changes forever.
    Easy to say, but harder to live by – we really should enjoy every moment, as we never know what is around the next corner.

    And on that sober note…

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

  18. Haven’t done the crossword yet but had a quick look at the comments…..the picture hint for 7d rather gave the game away…we live about a couple of hundred yards from the station where the film was made! Not sure I really understand the clue though. Thanks Senf for explaining.

    1. When shooting took place in early 1945, the particular station was chosen as it was considered that it was far enough away from major cities to avoid the blackout, which was still in force, for filming purposes.

      1. Sadly the famous clock in the film has had a rather chequered history, especially in recent times. Apparently, it’s languishing in someone’s garage at the moment waiting to be restored.

  19. Quite brilliant, tough to get going, then picked up speed as I went along. Absolutely loved 7d, well done to our setter, most fun in ages.

  20. This was a veritable curate’s egg with a mixture of goodies and baddies which is usually the case for me with Dada. Never heard of 18d. Bunged in wrong first two letters for 19a which clobbered the clever 10d. Fav 27a. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  21. There were a few clues that I wasn’t keen on – 19a, 25d, 26d – but pommers thought ok.
    Synonyms seem to be getting extended these days.
    Struggled on 7d until we had a lightbulb moment – quite like it after that!
    Thanks Senf and Dada

  22. The cleverness of 7d and some good anagrams saved this puzzle from a critical crucifixion.

    Many thanks to Dada and soon to be snowbound Senf.

      1. I can’t enter an emoji here ; I am told that by a message. It would be a devil rolling on the floor laughing with its legs pumping the air.

  23. My cup runneth over, loved this one today, a real gift from Dada. Contrary to most comments above, I didn’t find this tricky at all, with the exception of the dreadful 7d, and for me was one of the most benevolent of his puzzles. Perhaps I am just on wavelength for once. From 1a onwards it all fell into place, with LI being 7d, solved from the checkers and not the baffling clue. Nice timing too, as I have struggled for the last few days and thought perhaps my cryptic solving days might be over. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  24. Happily on wavelength for a brisk & very enjoyable solve so found it at the gentler end of the Sunday spectrum. Absolutely love 7d – David Lean’s film that is. Not so sure about the clue though I twigged the wordplay immediately. Mr G tells me mee is a Malaysian dish of noodles but it ain’t in the BRB. Bit surprised nobody other than Chriscross has highlighted 2d – the surface is a bang on description for anyone suffering from arthritic complaints & trying unsuccessfully to sleep. Liked all the long ‘uns & reckon 10d the pick of ‘em. Fav the wee one at 14d.
    Thanks to D&S

  25. Nice puzzle today, only the south put up resistance because my brain refused to see anything other than planets 😏🤷‍♂️ I’m a teensy bit sat on the fence with 7d, I clearly care for a clever clue of course but needed almost all the checkers and several grimaces made before the big smile. Variety is the spice of life eh! Other favourites 1a 16a 2d (not sure why that one has so far escaped the ire of the ladies!). Most enjoyable were the cleverly done anagrams.

    Thanks to Senf and, in honour of 7d, Crossword Dad

  26. Just a little ramble if anyone cares, but 15d brought back distant memories of what could have been the first cryptic clue I ever wrote! When I was a kid my parents and sisters would drag me around clothes shops, bored out of my skull and misbehaving. One of which was C&A. I remember asking my mum why the clothes had little plastic tags on which said CANDA, and did the clothes come from Canada? She explained that it spelled out C AND A. I remember stealing several of these tags 😅 and thinking “C&A with a country” was quite clever. This led to asking mum [redacted – it’s a prize puzzle – read the instructions in RED below the hints]. I was an odd kid.

    1. Apologies for the hint, I’d presumed as there was a great big picture of the said animal in the hints, it’d be ok to say it.

      1. Thanks 😁 It’s a bit ruined now but hopefully people can fill in the gaps to find the punchline – much like 7d I s’pose 😁

    2. Apparently you were not very good at spelling when you were an odd kid. To set the record straight C and A were the first initials of the two brothers who founded the company.

      My Mum always said that C&A was actually an abbreviation of Coats and ‘Ats!

      1. I was always good at spelling. The tags were little green and gold plastic rectangles with nothing on them other than CANDA in capital letters and for the life of me I couldn’t see the obvious connection with the name of the shop – just that we were in yet another boring clothes shop. As an insufferable smartypants I presumed it was actually the shop which had spelled Canada wrong 🤣🤣 hence asking mum. God had His sweet revenge as my daughter is even more of an insufferable smartypants, and usually correct – which makes it worse!

        1. Remember as a kid plaice & chips in the C&A cafe in Coventry an exotic treat that made the pain of being dragged all around precinct shops by my mother an almost bearable trade off – mind you that was only condition no store tannoy was required to reunite me with her – a frequent occurrence as I recall.

          1. I don’t remember them having a cafe in my time but I definitely recall Littlewoods and BHS for very similar reasons to yours 😋 Always with a little pot of jelly for dessert! I had a tearaway friend when I was about ten, he distracted the customer services lady in Littlewoods and pressed the tannoy button, shouting into it “party time, everything half price!”. We got in so much trouble 😂

  27. Good afternoon
    Quite the brain workout today – 10d deserves a mensh for longest time taken for the penny to drop; 7d is COTD without a doubt!
    Thank you to Dada and to Senf

  28. 3/5. I really liked this. Quite tricky in parts but peppered with some interesting clues – 7d was by far my favourite and I’m surprised you didn’t hear the clang when the man hole cover dropped. I also liked 9&20a and 10d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  29. Whew, wotta relief, not only a guzzle I can solve but I also enjoyed it a lot. There was so much fun along the way, loved the multiple word answers. The only one I had a problem with was 14d, I bunged it in but wasn’t at all sure that it isn’t slang. I confess to using ehelp for the anagram at 8d, a word that’s a little clumsy I think. Outstanding clue was 7d, what an epiphany when I tumbled, such memories of one of the best movies ever.
    Thank you Dada, I like you wearing this hat, and thanks Senf for explaining a few.

  30. All done – fairly enjoyable with 7D being my favourite which made me 🙂 when the penny dropped!
    My last in was 19A – only because I really thought the answer was 1 letter short (I think others commented earlier on this too…)…hmmm.
    Anyway, it’s always a fine challenge from Dada and I always look forward to his Sunday offering.
    Many thanks, and of course, also to Senf for the blog ‘n hints👍

  31. I’m with you Merusa in being a bit concerned over my answer for 14d. I would call it slang but then of course I may have the wrong word. Everything else fell into place nicely and I really enjoyed the challenge, with some meaty anagrams. We have had rain and sun in equal quantities today but it is cold and when DD2 came over with Stanley & Baxter we lit the fire. I had made a Dutch Apple Cake and bread is cooking in the machine so the house smells really cosy. Many thanks to Messrs Setter and Senf.

    1. I’m sure your 14d chap is correct – he is in the BRB though I suppose it’s variant slang. I use it all the time.

    2. I thought we might have an unindicated Americanism with 14d but, to expand on Huntsman’s comment, the BRB, both paper and electronic, indicates it as ‘informal’ with derivation apparently from ‘Middle English.’

        1. Genuine – but the dictionary entry is not saying that the 14d word existed in ‘Middle English’ (apparently a period of roughly 300 years from around 1150AD to around 1450AD) rather that it is derived from a word from ‘Middle English.’

  32. This was fun. I love 7d, though I would never have got it without help from Senf. For the first time in ages I have managed to complete a crossword. Not sure if it has been general brain fog or being distracted by the garden. Yesterday was amazing, not just warm, hot outside as I planted spring flowering bulbs. However I think we are heading into a colder snap, what Senf has one day we tend to have the next and the UK 1 to 2 days later.

    With thanks to the setter, the many people here, hinters and commenters, and lurkers which I have been for a while. Thank you to BD somewhere on his cloud still explaining what the naughty step is to other angels.

    1. Welcome to the blog. As it is a prize puzzle, I tried to not give too much away in the hint but I will add this. There are a number of ‘indicator’ words used in clues to suggest deletion of a letter from a word, usually the last letter, and the first word of the answer is one of these.

      If that does not help you will probably have to wait for the full review in ten days time.

  33. Thanks Dada and Senf. Rather the opposite of yesterday when I retired having only answered one clue. These went straight in with few pauses and no hints or aids needed. I’ll now read the comments and hints. Always enjoy the variety of views.

  34. Must be getting on Dada’s wavelength – didn’t find this too difficult, even 7d, though couldn’t parse it , despite the hint – until now, v clever!

  35. This comment is very late. My apologies.
    I enjoyed this very much but haven’t been able to choose a favourite clue. I have the answer to 7d, quite how I am not sure. Looking at the hint now, I agree that 7d is indeed brilliant!
    Many thanks to Dada for the entertainment. Much appreciation to Senf for the excellent hints which I have enjoyed reading and needed only the one.

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