ST 3243 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3243 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3243 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, with continuing mild weather, compared to what it should be, a brown Christmas seems more and more likely.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada definitely not very friendly – only two anagrams, two lurkers (one reversed), and two homophones, in a symmetric 32 clues; with 16 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, 29a, 8d, 11d, and 16d.

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 Coinnicker? (6)
A dubious double definition to start – the second could refer to an individual who apprehends a wrongdoer.

13a Month filled with toil ultimately, had a rest (5)
A four letter abbreviated form of one of the months of the year contains (filled with) the last letter (ultimately) of toiL.

17a Milan team fail to score in netting zero — half-time? (12)
We have had more than enough discussion of this Milan team recently – the five letters that are an abbreviated form of part of the team’s name, a four letter term equivalent to fail to score, and IN from the clue containing (netting) the letter that represents zero.

20a Powerful type in twilight, free to roam (12)
An anagram (free to roam) TWILIGHT, FREE.

24a Bread brought home — what might go in sandwich? (5)
An informal term for what can be brought home which is often referred to by the slang term bread.

28a Plant, anything but a girl’s best friend! (8)
A four letter slang term for what may be considered a girl’s best friend preceded by a term that indicates that something is ‘not the real deal’ (anything but).

29a Suspect recalled trapping good man (6)
A verbal synonym of suspect reversed (recalled) containing (trapping) the single letter for Good.

31a Like seabird in the wake of ship? (6)
A two letter synonym of like and a seabird that frequently appears in puzzles.


1d Alien caught by huge slap (8)
Our favourite two letter alien contained by an informal synonym of huge – we have seen this use of the definition before.

2d Latitude, see, where children get together in New York? (4,4)
A synonym of latitude (as in tolerances?) and a synonym of see (for a romantic assignation?).

5d European set for first place (4,8)
Our favourite four letter European and a synonym of set (as in place).

8d Extremely disappointed, as a fish might be? (6)
A term that describes a fish that has been prepared for cooking?

11d Out-of-this-world sighting, evidence of poltergeist in kitchen? (6,6)
A double definition(?) – the first might be a type of spacecraft from another world.

19d Clear up seaside city, did you say? (8)
A homophone (did you say?) of a South Coast city that may refer to improving meteorological conditions.

22d Cigar that may go to one’s head? (6)
I am not a cigar aficionado as Dada appears to be, but my answer was accepted on electronic submission; one of the countries where cigars are made can also be a name for an item of headwear (may go to one’s head).

27d Burden is America’s? (4)
Written as (2,2), a phrase that can indicate that something is the responsibility of America.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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English entertainer Sir Thomas Hicks OBE, known professionally as Tommy Steele and regarded as Britain’s first teen idol and rock and roll star, was born on this day in 1936. He became an all-round entertainer in the 1960s and starred, playing Kipps, in the original productions, in London and New York, of the musical Half A Sixpence based on H.G. Wells’s 1905 novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul. He also starred in the 1967 film version of the musical. Here he is, with Julia Foster, singing the title song:

71 comments on “ST 3243 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable. Never heard of 2d but was very sympathetically clued, and had to check 16d could indeed be a verb….it can.
    I thought 12a was clever but a slightly strange surface read (current old) but I very much liked 29a &1d but the winner has to be 28a, a clue so typical of this setter.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. Got the wrong cigar for 22d as have never heard of the proper answer, but the rest was fairly easy all apart from 15d, I’ve got an answer but can’t see how the first bit works, can anyone hint at it without giving the game away?

        1. For the first half of the clue – think Huntsman! Then, the second part of the clue is descriptive of the appearance of that of Saudi Arabia (mostly). I would tell you to find an image of ‘that of Saudi Arabia’ but I am sure that you have already done that.

    1. I’ve heard of both but plumped for the wrong answer on a 50-50. That was a little irksome but the rest of the puzzle was splendid! My favourite clue was definitely 15d.

    2. Back when tobacco was advertised on TV, there were 2 brands commonly advertised – Hamlet and 22D. I guess it helps if one smokes!

  3. 2.5*/3*. An enjoyable puzzle which was mostly straightforward but with a few tricky clues to negotiate along the way.

    I have heard 2d frequently over the past few months from my granddaughters. I assumed, correctly as it turns out, that it is another Americanism which has hopped over the pond. At least Dada has indicated its provenance.

    It took me a while to think of the cigar in 22a as I couldn’t get an alternative with the same checking letters out of my brain.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. A very entertaining puzzle, all the better for not relying on loads of anagrams – thanks to Dada and Senf.
    I’d not heard of the 2d expression but the wordplay was very helpful.
    My top three clues were 28a, 11d and 15d.

  5. Pleasant Sunday diversion if not a hole in one?
    2d clued so that it didn’t matter that I’ve never heard of it.
    Favourites 28a and 29a.
    Thanks to compiler.

  6. Well much better than yesterdays offering but not easy. My fav was 1d but I can’t fully parse 26d & 7d. Never heard of the cigar or the Americanism in 2d.
    The rest was ok but not my most favourite Dada, he has done better.
    Thx for the hints

  7. Am assuming my answer to the hat/cigar is the correct one (country as opposed to city) – the alternative didn’t occur but is that not a valid answer also?
    Otherwise reasonably plain sailing other than last in 2d which kind of rang a bell. Like Brian not my favourite Sunday puzzle but still plenty to like. 5d&28a my top two.
    Thanks to D&S

  8. Had something of a problem with justifying 1a but everything else fitted in quite smoothly, although I did check on the Saudi and the cigar. Favourite was 28a with a nod to 1d.
    The invasion force have gone over to Aunty Jojo’s for lunch so peace reigns once more. We were playing Poo Bingo this morning – who knew that wombats produce square poo!

    Thanks to Dada for the puzzle and to Senf for the hints and truly cringeworthy clip!

  9. Took a while to get going, but once some checkers came in it got easier. Didn’t know 2d was an Americanism, even after googling, but does sound like one. Also had to check that 22d could also be home to cigars! Lots of nice onez, but in the end first equal faves are 28a and 29a, followed closely by 16d.
    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the blog.

  10. Really disappointed that the answer to 22d wasn’t a “Shakespearean” brand of cigar (head / skull?) but got there after a couple of iterations. 15d loi which defeated me. Had to resort to e-help in sheer frustration. That said much to enjoy on a sunny Sunday. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  11. Tricky in places I thought, particularly the NW corner.
    Lots to like and some I am not so sure about.
    15d seems particularly unsatisfactory but maybe I have the wrong answer. Equally I think 22d has two viable answers that still fit the checkers so I plumped for one but could easily have chosen the wrong one.
    The ones I did l like though were 24a, 29a as well as 8d and 16d both of which made me chuckle. 28a was however my personal favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to senf.

    1. Agreed about 15d. See thread No.2. Tempted to show a picture [redacted]
      9th upvote for 28a. (Although not from Senf). A runaway favourite 🤩
      Can the software do vote rankings?

  12. Quite tricky but i did enjoy it. I’m never sure with clues like 29d whether it’s [redacted] that belong in the answer

  13. I have to agree with Senf in his pre-amble comments. Seems to me this is just like a Dada puzzle repeat from last week as he was at the quirky and difficult end of his spectrum. Several parsings I could not fathom today. Evident too that he was using his handy-dandy Dada thesaurus again too.

    2.5*/4* for me

    Despite the struggle on some of the clues, I did manage to find some zingers for favourites — including 1a, 2a, 28a, 29a, 15d & 16d with winner 29a for the clever clueing.
    Laughs from 1a, 4a, 28a, 15d & 19d

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog

  14. Pretty light and straightforward, and even though the last 3 or 4 in the NW took almost as long as the rest of the puzzle, as they fell I did wonder why I had been held up. Lovely mixture and balance of clues, with podium places to 27a and 28a.

    1.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. 3/2. Not my favourite puzzle by any means and required a couple of bung ins to get me to the end. No standout favourites for me. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. Managed to complete it without having to look at the hints. Felt quite proud that I now know the name of a Milanese team – 29a got my top marks. Carol concert tonight and the first airing in our church of a carol named after our village – my musical uncle wrote the music and I wrote the words some 40 years ago but the then organist did not like the orchestration. I’m quite excited!
    Thanks to Messrs Setter & Senf.

      1. Damn. I didn’t think to record it! It was jolly hard to do as everything has already been said. Every time I thought of a phrase I realised someone else had already done it. So it finished up all the right words but not necessarily in the right order – like Eric & Ernie!

    1. I’m well impressed, DG.
      Sure it will be a triumph when sung tonight. Will you let us know how it goes, please ?


  17. Thanks to Senf and setter, though this was not my cup of tea today.

    Senf – does your hint for 22d mean that the submission is rejected if the answers aren’t all correct?

    1. As a non-UK resident, I don’t qualify for entry in a Prize Puzzle draw.

      I still use the ‘Old’ Puzzles Website and for any puzzle, including Prize Puzzles, when I submit my completed grid any incorrect answers are highlighted and I am able to make corrections and resubmit until it is 1000% correct. Not unlimited attempts; I think I get five chances before the system ‘says’ OK that’s enough! It’s all to do with ‘scoring’ points for solving and the generation of a league table of best solvers.

      I don’t pay any attention to the league table aspect but on blogging days it’s nice to know that I am working with correct answers.

      1. That is the most useful feature of the old puzzles site I use most Sundays Do the league tables still exist? I used to notice if Dr Bob or Mr Moutarde had completed before me

        1. Yes they do – under the ‘Welcome (your name)’ tab at top right. Apparently I am 473rd on the ‘All Time’ Leaderboard.

      2. Very useful to know, thanks for the info. I’ve got used to the new site, and prefer it for non-prize puzzles, but will consider the old one for weekends.

  18. Well, finally finished but it was a bit of an uphill struggle. 15d my last one in and had to look at said flag to twig it. Should be cruising round the Canaries right now and I see it is nice and warm there, unlike here. Had my knee Xrayed at Cromer yesterday so perhaps they can tell me what is wrong. Apparently I have to pay £20 for my doctor to sign the letter to the insurance company so I get my money back. What a rip off. Thanks to Senf for the hints which I did not need to today and to Dada for scrambling my brains.

  19. Not our cup of tea really with some clues being completely off the wall but there was enough good stuff in there, best of which was, for us, 11d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. Regarding the hint to 1A, I think that the second definition refers to something else entirely, which is a synonym of the answer.

    1. Having reviewed the four definitions of ‘nicker’ in the BRB, which were no help at all, and trying not to give too much away as it is a Prize Puzzle I offer the following. Taking account of the ‘?’ at the end of the clue, one ‘side’ of the answer is a synonym of an individual whose duties include apprehending wrongdoers and who says, on TV at least, ‘you’re nicked’ while doing so. That could make him or her a ‘nicker?’ in Dada’s thesaurus.

      If you still have other thoughts I would recommend that you save them for a comment on the full review of the puzzle in 10 days time.

  21. Quite pleased to have finished this tricky little number. I enjoyed many of the clues, with 28a my favourite. I was significantly held up by the digital edition having 2d clued as 8 not 4,4. I only twigged when I checked in on here and then looked on the back of the paper. Like others 15d was last in and involved looking at a google image.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  22. Just back from a week in Dumfries and Galloway and what a pleasure it was. The hotel was good, the staff were excellent, and the people of the county were welcoming and helpful if need be. Quite unlike many places in England.

    I came to the blog with the worry that our colonial host might say Dada was in a friendly mood and if it was so to vent my frustration at him. But we were saved that ill bred outburst. It was not a likeable puzzle even though the BRB validates the unlikely definitions weaselled out of it.

    11d my favourite but 15d remains a mystery only known to some. Many thanks to Senf for his help with a few of my difficulties and thanks to Dada for giving me a break from all the jobs required when you arrive back from a holiday.

  23. Catching eels with soapy hands again, just when Dada was clawing his way up my fave setters list. Oh well, I did finish bar two, 15d and 26d, the latter not hinted, the former explained above! Is 1d “slap”, really? There was some great stuff here though, 28a and 29a were my top picks, but 1a also amused.
    Thank you Dada but you’re losing points here, and to Senf for the unravelling.

    1. Just tumbled to 26d. It’s what I wanted to put in but couldn’t see the “why”, but of course, now I see it, it’s so easy!

      1. So, you couldn’t see 26d originally!

        Yes, really on 1d and as I said in the hint we have had it before. The word does have more ‘specific’ origins but has apparently, over time, come into general usage.

  24. Not my cup of tea today. In fact a real struggle for me. Needed some of Senf’s excellent hints then some electronic help to boot.

    Liked 1d when I eventually unravelled it. Didn’t like 1a or 15d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    We have finally got our Christmas tree up and decorated .
    Weather continues to be grey and damp here . We don’t seem to have seen the sun for weeks now. But at least it is a lot less cold. And the tree looks cheery.

  25. Delightful synaptic romp… and pleased to see a smattering of Americanisms to handicap you Brits.

    Thanks to all – and Happy Holidays!

    Mr & Mrs T

  26. My first DNF for ages.
    Thank you, Dada for the thrashing. Thank you, Senf for making some of the clues make sense.

  27. I’m another DNF with the NW corner defeating me – it still defeats me even with the hints. 2D is listed as (8) in the app rather than (4,4) so thanks to Senf for choosing to provide a hint for that one along with the others. And thanks to Dada for the three quarters of the puzzle I was able to conquer!

  28. Late solving today as we went over to visit younger daughter recovering from retina surgery. Oh the poor thing, she has to keep her head down for 7 days (and sleep on her stomach with a contraption) so couldn’t even look at us. If only we could change places, I’d do it for her. This could have been a good crossword today, but I felt it was spoilt in some places with odd or convoluted clues, such as 17a. Numerous friendlier ways that clue could have been written. Not sure what 2d has to do with New York, unless they don’t have them in England? Forgot that word for 1a slap. Sorry, but 16d doesn’t work for me. The bird is said completely differently to the answer. If it’s meant to be a homophone – it isn’t. Just when I was getting to like Dada. Thanks anyway, and to Senf.

    1. Forgot to say thank you Senf for the Tommy Steele clip. He was my first heartthrob as a teenager, and I had his picture in my bedroom wall, and I think “Little White Bull” was the first record I ever bought. Memories 😊.

      1. I remember singing Little White Bull to my three young cousins on my uncle’s farm in Yorkshire. I thought they would love to hear the tale.
        They looked me as I were daft!
        I do hope YD is soon ok.

  29. A two whiskies puzzle. Never heard of a 2d and needed Senf’s hint to get it. Thanks for the hints and to Dada for an otherwise solvable puzzle.

  30. I still can not get 26d, even with your exchange with Merusa, Senf. I have a word – a shortened form of a word which fits the first word of the clue – but can’t see how it could fit the rest. Daren’t say more for fear of the naughty step – or is it too late for that? I found this puzzle difficult but not as hard as yesterday’s. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

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