ST 3246 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3246 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3246 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where the meteorological numbers for December are in – the third warmest December since records began in the mid-1800s and 30 of the 31 days with above average temperatures.

For me, and I stress for me, with no wee dram, no Magnum Caramel Duet, just vino collapso, Dada quirkily friendly again – seven anagrams (three partials), two lurkers, and no homophones, all in a symmetric 26 clues; with 13 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, 5d, and 13d.

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 Fit soldier with spirit joining first of troops (7)
A soldier insect and (with) a three letter (liquid) spirit all placed after (joining) the initial letter of Troops.

10a Personally, I felt, he wants NHS reformed (2,3,5)
An anagram (reformed) of I FELT, HE and (wants) NHS.

14a A wife in win for knight (6)
A from the clue and the single letter for Wife all inserted into (in) a synonym of win gives a knight (of the Round Table).

15a Is uniform in effect for tonight? (4,7)
IS from the clue and a synonym of uniform all inserted into a (somewhat dubious) synonym of effect.

19a Money that’s found on the African coast? (6)
A double definition – the first is a coin that was in use until the early 19th century and the second is a country – before you place yourselves at risk of ending up on the naughty step, my hint refers to the coin; the term continued in use as a unit of account until decimalisation in the UK and is still in use in horse racing circles.

23a Handle good egg in which found second of yolks, most surprising! (10)
A single word synonym of good egg as used when describing a person in a complimentary manner containing (in which found) all of the second letter of yOlks and an anagram (surprising) of MOST.

26a Detail embroidered on front of carpet for fortress (7)
An anagram (embroidered) of DETAIL placed after the first letter (on front) of Carpet.


1d Argument about a rubbish bin that’s very colourful! (7)
A three letter argument containing (about) all of A from the clue and (oh dear) a three letter anagram (rubbish) of BIN.

5d Results worth 120 Premier League points, mark finally secured for the rest! (5,5)
Oh dear, I can hear the groans from the non-football fans who will probably need to do some e-research – the lowest number of results that will amass 120 points in the Premier League, or any other league, containing (secured) the last letter (finally) of marK.

6d Poisoned, filled with cynicism initially — is one? (7)
An adjective to describe, for example, a poisoned wound containing (filled with) the first letter (initially) of Cynicism.

9d Booking in doubt? (11)
A double definition(?) – the second may be a concern about, for example, the completion of a transaction.

13d Where those serving drinks are locked up (6,4)
An oldie but goodie – a double definition – the second refers to those serving time at HM’s pleasure.

24d Net percentage up (4)
The reversal (up) of a synonym of percentage as an element of a whole.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Peter Michael McCartney, younger brother of Sir Paul of that Ilk, also known by the stage name Mike McGear, a member of comedy, poetry and music trio The Scaffold, is 80 years young today. Thank U Very Much was a last attempt to achieve a hit record which it turned out to be reaching Number 4 in January 1968, before the Number 1 success with Lily the Pink later that year. Here it is (audio and stills only):

32 comments on “ST 3246 (Hints)
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  1. Good morning one and all.
    This was a gallop through for me until it wasn’t and I found I had 4 missing answers that needed some real effort. Not helped I must say by completely missing the anagram indicator in 26a, and making a proper horlicks of parsing 23a (thanks Senf for unpicking that one for me).
    Favourite for me today was 15a.
    Thanks also to the setter

  2. 1.5*/3.5*. For me, this was at the easier end of the Sunday spectrum. All good fun except I wasn’t particularly enamoured by the “effect” in 15a and there were a few strange surfaces along the way.

    25a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. It wouldn’t be a Dada without a ‘somewhat dubious’ synonym or two as in 15a or a sprinkling of strange surfaces but the, what I can only describe as clumsy, ‘in which found’ for a containment indicator in 23a surprised even me.

  3. 17d my cotb being as it is only a stones throw west of me. I was moving quickly until i reached the SE which required much more thought. All in, a fun start to a sunday

  4. The SW corner was the problem for me with three unsolved. Then the money came in a flash which gave a way in to the two left. Senf is certainly right about this being on the friendly end of the spectrum as it was solved in *** time. Two with very honourable mentions : 5 and 13d with others jostling for a mention.

    Many thanks to Dada for a fine puzzle and to Senf who covered so much in his blog but was no help to me.

  5. Not sure how to best describe my reaction to this puzzle. Ambivalent perhaps. Had problems convincing myself of the parsing of a couple of clues and this probably set the tone. Just one of those days. Thanks to Dada and Senf

  6. Dada at his most benevolent for which I for one are most grateful after yesterdays struggles.
    This puzzle contains for me one of the top 5 clues of all time in 5d, brilliant!
    My last in 24d took me ages to get so I am grateful for the hints.
    Very enjoyable. Thx to all

  7. I didn’t resort to any e-research to get 5d, Senf, just took a guess based on checkers and possible definition!
    Tops for me were 23a for its novelty value plus 3&16d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – begging your pardon but I left the video clip alone……….

  8. Quite a quick solve for me, with 7a causing the most trouble. Thanks to Senf for parsing 23a. Might have got there in the end but a bacon butty was calling.

  9. Well this week Dada’s Sunday puzzle is definitely at the easier end of offerings of late. No hitches in this one at all for me. One new word for me in the NE area.

    1*/4.5* for me

    Favourites included 10a, 15a, 23a, 1d, 5d & 13d — with winner 5d.
    Smiles from 7a, 10a, 19a, 3d & 13d

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog

  10. Great fun – except for 5 down where I was debating between north and south winds before reading Senf’s hints. He’s quite right in saying it would be anathema to the non sporty types like wot I am. There were some lovely clues, 23a made me laugh. Glorious sunshine here in Cambridge but cold. Off to a concert shortly so I’ll just say many thanks to Messrs Setter & Senf.

  11. Found this to be quite an easy solve. Bunged in 23a – couldn’t parse it at all – thanks Senf , seems obvious now. Had to cheat on my last one in 17D . I’m guessing then Dada always does Sundays ? I’ll add this to my setters list. Thanks to Dada and Senf

    1. Yes, Dada has been the regular Sunday setter for just over five years. He also sets the occasional, usually Tuesday, Toughie.

  12. Brilliant! Another thoroughly enjoyable Sunday morning challenge from Mr D 👍👍👍
    As ever, it took a while to clutch into the usual quirky wavelength, but once there, it was a series of ‘Doh!’ 🙄 & ‘Ah Ha!’ 😃 moments!
    I know 13D is an oldie, but it never fails to make me smile, and 5D was superb (once the penny dropped!)
    Much appreciated – keep ‘em coming, and thanks, as always, to Senf for the blog ‘n hints.

  13. Not on wavelength today, I think I slept too well and my brain has not properly awoken. Needed help from Senf for 5d. Most of the rest I got unaided but many without understanding the parsing. That said it was a fun solve.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints

  14. Nice to find a friendly Dada waiting, although Senf is right about groans from us non sporty types re 5d. Between coughs and sneezes I managed this one quite steadily. Thanks to both Dada and Senf.

  15. I only needed word search for 6d and even with the hints I’m still not sure it’s right, not to worry, it fits. Lots to like, remember when doctors’ and lawyers’ fees were always quoted in 19a?
    Thank you Dada for being kind, and Senf for your unravelling so much.

  16. Enjoyable puzzle which bookended the completion of my tax return.
    The SE took me a while but with the checkers I eventually got there. I had the wrong cake in mind for 3d which didn’t help.
    I struggled to parse 7a, 15a and 23a so thanks for helping with those, Senf.
    My clue of the day was 5d which brought a smile.

  17. Not one of Dada’s best, I thought – short-changed on the number of clues, excessive number of anagrams, a dodgy synonym and some rather weak clues. Podium place to a lonely 25a, for the surface read.

    2* / 1*

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  18. Nothing special from Dada 15a but a gentle way to spend the afternoon,
    12a was my favourite today as Peter Sarstedt has been on my playlist today
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  19. Top half went in reasonably quickly but needed help from Senf for some in the bottom, notably 23a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    Bloomin’ cold here. But at least it isn’t raining.

  20. I don’t know why but, unlike others, I found both prize guzzles more of a challenge than usual this weekend. I got there in the end but with no great feeling of satisfaction. It must be me as the majority found it to be at the easier end of Dada’s spectrum. I have no favourites. I am just happy to have finished, which gives me another shot at The Mythical.

    Thank you, Dada – it’s me not you. Thank you Senf for the hints.

  21. Middling difficulty,
    My time prolonged by
    A pesky four-letter clue,
    Enjoyed, esp. the juicy anagrams.
    So, 2*/4*
    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  22. Did cheat on 5d to find out what that was about! Spent ages parsing 7a, having totally forgotten my spirits and soldiers. Big clanging of pennies. Gave 23a.
    Many thanks Dada. And a special thanks to Senf for taking me down memory lane to the mid 60s when I spent one of not two sessions working with the Scaffold at the Edinburgh Festival in a small theatre where I was the lighting man and assistant stage manager. This was when they were a ‘theatre group’ rather than singers – cabaret / music hall kind of stuff, before Lily! To be quite honest can’t remember their act at all.

  23. Late solve & a game of two halves for me. Very Lionel Richie (™ Franco) t’up north but the pennies most reluctant to fall down south for no real reason as nothing obscure or particularly difficult. 5d the clear winner with podium spots for 23a&13d. Perfectly enjoyable without being one of his Sunday best.
    Thanks to D&S

  24. I am staggered to find this identified as a Dada product ‘cos I felt it had to be from some kind of rookie due to numerous iffy clues/solutions including 10a, 23a, 4d and 6d. I see I’m not alone in pleading ignorance of the Premier League scoring system. Altogether a somewhat uninspiring way in which to end the day. Thank you anyway Dada for your composition work and Senf for enabling my completion.

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