ST 3249 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3249 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3249 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where it seems that the tee shirts and shorts weather could last for another two weeks!

I did take the precaution of saving the Blog Birthday Toast Dalwhinnie until I had solved the puzzle.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada very friendly with four ‘mini grids’ again, two long ‘uns, another anagram fest – eight (two partials), three lurkers, and one homophone, all 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.  And, remember, the Naughty Step is OPEN!

Candidates for favourite – 9a, 11a, 6d, and 20d.

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 Meat as a rule with veg is cooked (5,7)
An anagram (cooked) of AS A RULE and (with) VEG IS – is it a contravention of the Trade Descriptions Act to call the answer meat?

9a Environment not entirely welcomed by bowler, say (7)
A (1,3) phrase equivalent to not entirely contained (welcomed) by the illustrated bowler.

11a Very pink, once in a blue moon! (4)
A double definition – the first may be applied to some real meat.

17a However, little time for consideration (7)
A synonym of however and the single letter (little) for Time.

18a Extreme dictators having dropped to ground (7)
An anagram (ground) of DICTAtoRS after TO has been deleted (having dropped).

24a Coarse skin on rhino, yuk! (5)
The first and last letters (skin on) of RhinO and a synonym of yuk.

29a Multi-million pound contract? Whatevs! (3,4)
How up to date with modern jargon are you? A double definition – the first is easier to comprehend for this old fogey.

30a Novel altered by lie, on purpose (12)
An anagram (novel) of ALTERED BY LIE.


1d Bountiful braille that’s dotty! (7)
An anagram (that’s dotty) of BRAILLE.

6d Start support for young bird (7)
A two letter synonym of start and a medical support.

7d As miniature chocolate might bein a nutshell? (5,3,5)
A double definition (I think?) – the second might apply to a statement that is brief and concise.

8d Where food missing bib might end up — wasted! (5,3,5)
Presumably Dada is referring to a Pelican bib to generate a descriptive phrase for where food missing the bib might end up equivalent to wasted (as in excessive alcoholic indulgence).

15d A little candy out here for child (5)
A lurker (a little) found in three words in the clue.

20d Extremes of toil involved in task, crack up (7)
The first and last letters (extremes) of ToiL inserted into (involved in) a synonym of (household?) task.

21d Brainiac originally getting stuck into a large, complex calculation (7)
The first letter (originally) of Brainiac inserted (getting stuck) into A from the clue and an anagram (complex) of LARGE OR an anagram (complex) of A LARGE.

27d Gawp at other guys, looking eager initially (4)
The first letters (initially) of four words in the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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The Moody Blues were an English rock band formed in Birmingham in May 1964. Originally part of the British Beat and R&B scene of the early–mid 1960s, the band came to prominence with its only UK number one single Go Now which reached that position on this day in 1965.  Here they are, with a live performance – you can see the electric string from the guitars to the amplifiers, plus the false start – looking like they stepped straight out of Burton’s window:

58 comments on “ST 3249 (Hints)
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  1. Nice and straight-forward today. A gentle Dada indeed. Good fun though.

    N.b. The quickie pun also includes TOULOUSE (to lose)

    Thanks Senf and Dada

  2. Very enjoyable and mostly straightforward! Some misdirection and several anagrams made it a good all rounder.
    Thanks to compiler!

  3. I agree with gentle but nevertheless a brilliant puzzle. So many elegant and well thought out clues.
    For me one of Dadas best.
    Be invidious to pick out a favourite.
    Thx for the hint to explain my answer to 18a, all there just needs spotting.

  4. The schoolboy humour in me was disappointed to see that the answer to 24a wasn’t the lurker 😀

    Although there was a King of Persia with that name, I couldn’t make it fit the clue.

  5. A miracle has occurred! I completed this unaided before breakfast. I found it fun with a nice mix of clues with the long outside answers really helping. I cannot choose a favourite.
    A beautiful cross sunny day here.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  6. A gentle entertaining puzzle from Dada who continues to provide us with lots of anagrams – thanks to him and Senf for the hints.
    My top picks were 9a, 16a and 21a.

  7. Very enjoyable & certainly 7d. Completed between teeing off groups on a gorgeous sunny morning. Thankfully I’ve never been in the company of anyone who’s used the abbreviation at 29a. No particular fav but nicely clued throughout.
    Thanks as ever to D&S

  8. For me, and I stress for me, (™ Senf) this was not a vegan friendly crossword. I think the less I know about 1a the better.
    However, an enjoyable tussle with Dada.

    My sister and nephew stayed for a couple of days and we all headed to Stamford Bridge on Friday evening – F.A. Cup tie versus Aston Villa. A 0-0 draw but an absorbing game and my Sis and nephew had a grand time as we were in hostility, or as they call it at Chelsea, hospitality. Yesterday, before they went orf, we had luncheon at the Runnymede Hotel. We have been going there for decades but that will end soon as it morphs into being a ‘residents only’ Warner hotel.

    We are about to head out for a tip run and then a (short) lovely walk before a late luncheon.

    You are now up to date with my diary. Everybody else: Why the devil does he think we are interested in his meaderings?

    That wonderful clip of the Moody Blues features Denny Laine (who died last month) on vocals. Piano needs a tune up.

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

    1. Have you seen Dear England T? I saw the film of the live stream from the National the other night & enjoyed it immensely.

      1. Excellent play, definitely worth a watch. Captures the mood and some pointed humour to boot.
        Terence – Can a walk be lovely before you have experienced it? It may turn out different! 🤔

  9. My rating is 1.5*/3.5* for a puzzle at the easier end of Dada’s range, and one which was great fun.

    I don’t think that “rose” is a satisfactory definition for 10a. One is pale, the other deep. The BRB seems to get its knickers in a twist by describing 10a as “deep” and rose as “pale 10a”. :unsure:

    My podium comprises 9a, 16a & 24a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. It seems that ’emoticons’ are not ‘working.’ I tried to use one in my response to Huntsman, saw that it wasn’t working and deleted it.

    2. Mmm. Previously when I’ve typed :unsure: it has changed to a puzzled face shaking it’s head.

      PS. What a great win for England! Test cricket at it’s finest.

        1. The emoji are implemented with a WordPress plug-in that auto-updated a few days ago. I have rolled us back to the previous version, which has restored the emoji. I’ve blocked updates until I can figure out why the last one broke something that previously worked.

  10. What has happened? I am in the under tens in commenting! Never happened before. It’s because I have been sitting with a glass of sherry waiting until it is time to got to DD2 for George’s Birthday Bash. 91. I never signed up to go to bed with a ninety year old but he’s nice to snuggle up to on a cold night. (Too much information for you). What a nice walk in the park, no biblical references for Brian, no obscure Japanese ceremonial robes for Terence and a plethora of lively anagrams for Daisy. Many thanks to Mr Setter for a good guzzle and to Senf, although this did not need mustard. My neighbour has just asked me which 9 letter word can have eight letters removed one by one, each time leaving a valid word , until you are left with one letter which is still a word. A or I, I presume. Help me out someone. And all because I told her the longest word in the English Dictionary was smiles. .

    1. Startling

      I almost got stuck when I went for Staring/Taring (of scales)

        1. Only because proXimal took it easy on me last night, MrsC and yourself and a whole host of others who provide hints get a mention today

          1. Oh you lovely people ! My knights in shining armour, I knew someone would have it. Excellent. . I can now be very devious and pretend I worked it out for myself. Don’t dob me in, will you. Here’s a gift for you –
            Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
            I’ll draw a sketch of thee.
            But oh, which pencil shall I use –
            2B, or not 2B?

        2. Nothing to do with the crossword, Steve but I read that you (and others) are experiencing problems accessing Wordle. I haven’t been able to complete Wordle first thing in the morning, which is when I normally do it, for the past few days but have found that if
          I leave it until later in the afternoon, there’s no problem. NYT must have changed their release time. How annoying for you that you’ve lost your past record. By the way, I use an iPad.
          Hope that this works for you. Best wishes to you both for the homecoming tomorrow.

          1. Thank you, Essar. When the Worldle site went down I tried it all day but with no luck. I’ve got it now but it does rankle that my stats have been erased. Still, it’s only a puzzle – I’ll just start all over gain. 😁

            Thank you for the best wishes. 👍

            1. Sorry about the Wordle record Steve. Noticing people have been talking favourably about Wordle, I downloaded the NYT app to have a go. You don’t have to register. I’ve played it 33 times now and have had no problems accessing the puzzle at any time of day.

              Many happy returns of the day to the blog.

  11. This puzzle was definitely 7d. Perhaps the brief walk round RHS Wisley this sunny Sunday morning where the daffodils and snowdrops were glorious, got the brain cells working. Too many good clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  12. As ever with Dada, a slow start followed by a quick sprint leading to the limping home. Plenty to like as always. The bowler not being happy with the environment at 9a, the nasty dictators at 19a and food missing the bib at 8d. All good stuff but my COTD is the brainiac at 21d.
    My thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints.

    Happy Birthday to this wonderful blog! 🍺🍾🍺🥂🎂🍸🥃

  13. Quite an easy ride from our setter – no complaints here, there’s proXimal lying in wait for us afterwards……..
    I’ll hand out the rosettes to 11&16a plus 6&20d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – I can’t even remember when The Moody Blues looked so young!

  14. Bring back the real Dada, for I cannot believe this dull read-and-write was one of his. Nothing stood out bar the absurd excess of anagrams – more than a quarter of the clues. Very poor for a Sunday.

    0.5* / 0.5*

    Sorry setter, but as a teacher might say, “could do better”. Thank you Senf.

    1. I don’t think that’s fair at all – I enjoyed it, as I do every crossword I do, it’s just that I enjoy some more than others and it’s good to have some variations.
      I thought that your “read-and-write” was banned by the blog some time ago.

      1. Dinna fash yersel’, Kath. That’s just Mustafa being Mustafa. As I was doing the crossword I was imagining just how dismissal he would be! He outdid himself this time.

    2. Please think of the solvers who are not as gifted as you at solving before denigrating a crossword as a “dull read and write”. It certainly wasn’t read and write for me, and I am sure many others, particularly those starting out.

    3. A harsh verdict in my view Mustafa, particularly on a day with a Toughie. The ‘ordinary’ puzzle ought to appeal to a wider audience, shouldn’t it?

  15. Unlike Mustafa above I enjoyed this but agree too many anagrams and I like anagrams to get me out of a hole but there were no holes to fall into today. What a fantastic cricket result, just wish i could see it. The Beeb should be showing it rather than paying football pundits millions. I’m not a football fan but was delighted the definite underdogs won against Ipswich. Thanks to Dada and Senf for today’s guzzle.

  16. Lovely gentle puzzle today. No real favourites.
    The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the snowdrops, hellebores and Daphnes are all out in the garden. What a lovely day!

  17. I too enjoyed this very straightforward puzzle , needing no help or hints. Ironically 7d was my last in.
    Hope you all have a pleasant Sunday. Thanks to Dada and Senf

  18. Good afternoon

    Well, that wasn’t quite as tricky as my first look suggested. Only three solutions on first inspection; the rest followed after walkies!

    Thanks to Dada and Senf

  19. Seems that once again this week we have relatively easy end of spectrum puzzle from Dada. Nothing in the quirkiness this week, just straightforward clues. Don’t get me wrong, some did need so lateral thinking and the use of the grey cells, but all very do-able.

    1.5*/4.5* for me.

    Favourites include 18a, 24a, 1d, 6d, 20d & 22d — with winner 20d as not a word heard often these days.
    Smiles from 9a, 24a, 7d & 8d

    We in the Lower Mainland are in the middle of a 5 day rain-fest involving the so called, (now), atmospheric rivers, (formerly pineapple expresses), and some areas to expect up to 300mm of rain through until next Wednesday.

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog

  20. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle. Had incorrect answer in for 6d which delayed correctly solving all of 1a and slow to see the obvious answer to 15d! Many thanks Dada and Senf. Now for the General Knowledge puzzle which will undoubtedly take me much longer to complete!

  21. What a surprise to find a “doable” (hate the word) Sunday crossword – I know it won’t please everyone but I’m perfectly happy about the boost for the dodgy confidence.
    Yes, quite a lot of anagrams – I do use them as ways into tricky crosswords – not needed today, I don’t think.
    My last answers were 24a and 15d – probably of the most easiest ones in the whole crossword – how silly!
    I appreciated all the four long answers round the outside and 18a and 6d.
    My favourite was 20d – reminds me of our younger Pet Lamb’s best school friend who used it whenever possible.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf for the hints.

    A quick message to say “Happy Birthday” to the most wonderful blog and so many happy memories – 2011 I went to London to go to the Blog birthday party for the first time and thought I’d lost my marbles!!! – what a long time ago!

  22. They don’t come much more straightforward than that and I think that took some of the enjoyment away. 28a was hardly a ‘desecration’ involving only moving one letter. No stand-out favourite today. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. What an enjoyable guzzle today, well done Dada, all done with only ehelp for one, 15d. Now, why on earth did I not see that lurker, so obvious, I’m very cross with myself. It was fun all the way, 7d fave? It could have been any one of the others, 20d also amused.
    Thank you so much Dada for the fun, and Senf for some help explaining a few, eg 18a. A cold front heading our way this afternoon, got to get my routine in the pool done by then.

  24. After two weeks away from the crossword, returning yesterday, I was relieved to find a benevolent Dada today to help me get back on my feet. Nevertheless, I needed several hints to finish and can’t claim to have found it easy. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  25. For some reason I got nowhere with this this morning but it was a completely different story this afternoon when it all came smoothly together beginning in the East. I’m with RD in having reservation about 11a pink. 29a had to be but whatevs meant nothing to me (count me as a fogey too Senf!) and 7d only just rings true. Many Happy Returns of the Day to our lovely blog. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  26. Happy birthday, everybody! Thank you to all the bloggers, commenters, and emoji-fixers.

    I found this less straightforward than many Dada puzzles — probably because of so many anagrams, which I’m terrible at and usually have to leave till late on. But I got there in the end, and there were plenty of clues to enjoy along the way, including 6d’s young bird and 24a’s rhino. My favourite was 21a, for the splendid definition.

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