ST 3251 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3251 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3251 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we have had some more of the fluffy white precipitation but not as much as in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland where, in three days this week, communities ‘received’ amounts ranging from 60cms to 150cms (that’s two feet to five feet in ‘old money’) with a lot of snow drifts due to high winds.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada reasonably friendly, using the same grid as last week, and I didn’t need to take my slippers and socks off to count the anagrams – seven (five partials), two lurkers, and two homophones, all in a slightly asymmetric 30 clues; with 15 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 – 12a, 18a, 21a, 7d, 20d, and 24d.

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 Bird, duck takes advantage of first of ponds in school (5,7)
A crickety duck, a four letter term for takes advantage of, and the first letter of Ponds all inserted into (in) a school – not any old school, the one that Winston Churchill attended.

12a Wrong kit, names incorrect (8)
Quite a clever clue, I will explain why I have not underlined a definition – an anagram (it could be wrong or it could be incorrect) of KIT, NAMES gives a synonym of incorrect, if the anagram indicator is wrong, or wrong, if the anagram indicator is incorrect.

13a Try a story, no. 1 usually? (6)
A synonym of try, A from the clue, and a (false) story – with the ‘modern’ practice of think of a number,  I wonder how many are still no. 1.

18a Denial from France about a European emperor (8)
The French word that indicates denial containing (about) A from the clue and a favourite four letter European.

19a More than one pin proves fascinating (6)
The plural (more than one) of a type of pin (used in metal work?) that can also fascinate.

27a A report in place for orbiter (9)
A from the clue and a verbal synonym of report all inserted into (in) a synonym of place.

28a Container in good colour, smooth surface (7,5)
A type of container (found in a kitchen?), IN from the clue, the single letter for Good, and guess a colour.


1d Mark owns hot ticket (7)
A synonym of owns, the single letter for Hot, and a type of ticket.

4d Container companion filled with iodine (4)
A three letter synonym of companion containing (filled with)n the chemical symbol for Iodine.

5d Star granted immunity, initially worried (3,5)
An anagram (worried) of GRANTED and the first letter (initially) of Immunity.

8d Heart, from which army officer’s spoken? (6)
One of the homophones (from which . . . spoken) of an army officer.

18d King in particular on head of large foreign coin (6)
The single letter for King (in chess?) inserted into (in) a synonym of particular (which I did find in the Crossword Dictionary) all placed before (on) the first letter (head) of Large for an informal term for a foreign coin.

20d Doctor in rush, working (7)
A synonym of rush and the two letter word for working.

22d Filling in canapes, tomato sauce! (5)
One of the lurkers (filling in) found in two words in the clue – but it is not a tomato sauce!

25d Cash raised for public school (4)
One of the forms of cash reversed (raised).

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Brotherhood of Man achieved success in the 1970s including winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976. Created in 1969 by songwriter and record producer Tony Hiller, Brotherhood of Man was initially an umbrella title for a frequently-changing line-up of session singers. But by 1973 the concept had run its course and Hiller formed a definite four-member line-up consisting of Martin Lee, Lee Sheriden, Nicky Stevens and Sandra Stevens. This version of the group went on to score many hits around the world in the mid to late 1970s including Figaro which reached number one for one week on this day in 1978 (not a microphone in sight!):

83 comments on “ST 3251 (Hints)
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  1. Fairly light work for a Sunday I thought, but pleasant enough.
    I had a few niggles, with a sporting reference in 13a with which I was unfamiliar, and a bit of a question over whether the answer in 15A really fits the definition.
    Last one in for me was 19a which though simple I just could not call to mind until I left it for a bit, whereupon it was obvious…
    That apart I had ticks against 7 clues and with no double ticks I am picking 24d just because it is a word I don’t seem to hear very often these days and I am pleased to see it getting an outing.
Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

      1. ah, you have caused me to do a rethink and I see you are of course entirely right, it seems I had a bit of a fixation on only one part of speech…

  2. Quite a few clues that were difficult to parse but quite guessable in this week’s SPP. I liked the homophone at 8d, the double
    definition at 7d, and the Lego clues at 13a and 28a. It took me a long time to fathom 19a, not perhaps one of Dada’s finest clues. Thanks to Sebf for the hints and to Dada for another absorbing guzzle

  3. Got ’em all bar 19a, is this meant to be misleading because of limbs? if so it certainly mislead me. Can’t say I liked this clue at all.
    Other than that a totally entertaining crossword with lots to like, loved 1a and the brilliant 13a. Many thanks (except for the aforementioned 19a) to our setter today, great fun.

    1. Enjoyable solve for a Sunday afternoon in Virginia waiting for the Super Bowl tonight. Thanks to Dada and Senf for the hint for 13a which was the only one I had trouble with. All else went in smoothly and the answers just 15a’d until I got stuck on 13.

  4. 1.5*/3*. This was light and fun, except for 19a which defeated me until I read Senf’s hints.

    I am unconvinced by the use of “particular” in 18d. The BRB cites “over-particular”, which to my mind is a more appropriate synonym.

    13a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  5. Got them all bar two. 1d completely fooled me and like Tipcat missed 19a until I was nudged by Senf’s hint. Thought 1a was a gem and is my cotd. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  6. 19a also my last to fall in this otherwise fairly entertaining and not too tricky puzzle. Some of the low number down clues weren’t helped by me inserting another species at 1a but all was well in the end. 13a my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  7. In the main a rather benign Dada but some in the bottom left proved quite tricky. Still can’t see where ‘kooky’ fits in with 14d. Best clues for me were 21a and 28a. However with no religion or obscure arts questions it was a very enjoyable puzzle. A great relief after yesterday’s offering.
    Thx to all

      1. Thanks, I did wonder but it seems somewhat bizarre. I think there is an ongoing contest amongst setters as to who can find the weirdest anagram indicator!

            1. A previous comment of mine on the subject disappeared for some obscure reason or other after going into moderation, so I will try to make the same point again. Someone on here several years ago, taught me that if a clue seems strange and to make no sense to look for a lurker – I said that I’d add to that by saying, if all that fails then to look for an anagram indicator as all seems fair in lcryptic crossword puzzles. Over the years I have found many ways that setters have indicated an anagram.

                1. After 50 years or more of Telegraph puzzle solving I would beg to disagree. Whatever, I enjoy exploring all.possibilities, I usually get there eventually. 😀😀😀

  8. I spent ages trying to find the quick crossword pun – glad I was enlightened! Am having a break from the cryptic and am enjoying the sunshine. Still struggling with 5 answers so will read the additional hints- wearing sunglasses! How wonderful- definitely feeling sun deprived- somehow vitamin d spray doesn’t quite cut it.

  9. The one that gave me the most trouble was 19a; the synonym for pin wasn’t one of the first that sprung to mind.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  10. A pleasant Sunday puzzle with just 19a holding out for quite a while. That one earned a rosette along with 1a & 1d.

    Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to Senf for the hints – I had thankfully blotted out the memory of that Fandango and have to admit to not knowing the American fella in the Quickie pun.

    1. Oh! Oh! Oh! Delightful Jane! The American fella – one of the greatest comedy shows (along with its later sibling ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm) ever to come out of our former colony.

      1. I’m afraid every single American “comedy” I have watched has left me utterly mystified, and not helped when often accompanied by over-dubbed canned laughter. I have heard of the sitcom Seinfeld but who knew his name was Jerry? Possibly everyone but Jane and me.

        1. I’ve never watched it, but I did know his name, so it has somehow permeated out of fans of the show and into general knowledge.

          I did like Frasier though, and, more recently This Is Us, plus the first decade or so of The Simpsons. I suspect there’s at least one American comedy out there that you would find funny — as well as a bunch of UK ones that you wouldn’t!

        2. Never watched an American sit – com that I could see as even remotely funny. Canned laughter got right on my nerves. What my kids found amusing in “Friends” I never could fathom. My grandchildren now watch re runs of the series on Sky or somewhere and they love it, so it really must be me, lol, lol.

  11. For me, and I stress for me (™ Senf), this was an enjoyable challenge, not quite as straightforward as some others found. 15a left me bewildered for a while, until I finally resolved 16d.

    Yesterday we went for a very late lunch (4:30pm) at a restaurant in Virginia Water. On arrival, the maître d’ asked if we would prefer to sit inside or outside. The temperature outside, at the time, was about 5 degrees centigrade, and we are in our sixties*.

    Note for Daisy – this afternoon we are going for a lovely walk; destination undecided yet.

    *We sat inside.

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

    1. I jolly well hope you wrap up when you go out for your lovely walk. I’ve just made a foray to the compost bin and it is freezing so I came back in and lit the fire – wonderful smell of woodsmoke.

  12. Gentle and pleasant while it lasted, if unexceptional. At least Dada reduced the number of anagrams this week, though they were still nearly a quarter of the puzzle; enough chestnuts to keep one fed on a cold winter evening. 19a my LOI – like others I had to get legs out of my mind … ah well. COTD to 18a with 1d the runner-up.

    1* / 2.5*

    Thank you to Dada and to Senf

  13. All polished off in under * time except 19a which I can’t fathom. Hopefully the penny drops quicker than it did for yesterday’s writer. Better than last week’s puzzle though for me still not one of his better ones. 1a my favourite

      1. Talking about pennies dropping, I finally saw the ‘theme’ in yesterday’s guzzle, I’d been looking at the grid, not the clues!

  14. Pleasant enough but not one of my favourites. North was most accommodating. Took a while with 13a as was unaware it is usually No. 1. Not sure about 16d “smudges”. 19a last in.
    Thank you to the well-established Dada/Senf combination.

  15. Lovely puzzle with no real problems. Last one in was 19a just as it was for a few others.
    I particularly liked 1a, 12a and 1d.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. Thought this Sunday offering from Dada was at the easier end of his spectrum again this week. Lots of fun clues and a few misleading ones thrown in too.

    2*/4* for me

    Favourites include 9a, 27a, 28a, 3d, 14d & 25d — with winner 23a
    Chuckles for 9a, 13a, 28a & 14d

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for blog/hints

  17. All very straightforward except it took us far too long to spot the anagram in 5d. A more satisfying solve than last week. No real outstanding clues but 1a was probably the best. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. Thoroughly enjoyable once I got going with steady solving to the end.
    Last one in was also 19A with Senf’s tip confirming my answer.
    Thanks, as always, to Dada for another excellent Sunday offering, and to Senf for providing the blog ‘n hints👍

  19. Seems like I am in the majority in that this presented few challenges except for 19a which was my LOI and a long time after the penultimate answer. But still 2.5* / **** so thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. I’m also in the 19a LOI and I don’t think I would have got it without the mustard man’s hint. DD2 came at 12 and left at 2 effectively messing up our lunch, but she’s such a busy girl and it is so nice to see her, if it fits in with her day we just have to be flexible! Good thing we mostly have our main meal at seven ish. Anyway, to the guzzle. No problems until the aforementioned pin and I was convinced that the set of characters involved cast. 1a gets the star and it took me a while to understand the balloon. All done and dusted now. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Senf. Apropos nothing, we watched a fascinating programme on the shops in St James’s, happy memories of working in the area.

    1. I saw that programme too….too rich for me by a country mile, but interesting to watch.
      I particularly liked the chap saying he didn’t want a royal warrant as he preferred his customers to pay their bills !

  21. Really enjoyed this one with no major holdups except my last one in19a like many others , and I just resorted to a hint to finish. An excellent clue I have to say.
    I have a question about how the setter’s name is pronounced. Is it ‘Da daah’ like I’ve just pulled a rabbit out of a hat to rapturous applause , or is is ‘Dada’ like a baby would talk to it’s daddy ? I’ve often wondered.
    Either way thanks Dada for the enjoyment and Senf for the hints.

  22. A lovely puzzle today. Like many I needed Senf’s hint for 19a but everything else went in reasonably smoothly.
    Favourites 1a, 1d and 13a. Not keen on the pins in 19a.

    Thanks to Senf….stay warm in the white stuff…and to Dada.

  23. Don’t hold your breath for me ever describing a backpager as light or gentle, that ship has definitely sailed. But today’s was full of enjoyment and one that did not set out to defeat. Thought 17d was a clever clue, which eluded me for ages, and needed the hint for 13a. Not sure why the hint refers to 18d as “slang”, at least not if describing the American version. COTD for making me smile is 7d. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Don’t think I’ve seen Steve Cowling on here recently? Hopefully he’s just busy marking papers and nothing untoward.

    1. Thank you for your concern, BL but I am fine. I am simply inundated with marking at the moment, all of which is to a strict deadline. At the last count I have about 50 essays of 5000 words each to get through by mid March. 😳

      Also, Mrs. C is still in hospital so I have to fit in visits to see her. She is being moved to Ludlow tomorrow, which is a lot further away. She has been declared medically fit but she is nowhere near being physically fit, which is why she is going to Ludlow and the physios.

      I am still doing the crossword – not even Putin could stop me! However, I have to limit it to between 9 and 10 in the morning over coffee. If it’s not solved in that time it stays unsolved. I did manage both prize crosswords this weekend so incantations and the casting of spells are well in hand to summon The Mythical.

      On another note, I did see all the lovely comments regarding Mrs. C and my grateful thanks to all.

      1. Glad to know it’s the essay marking that’s kept you away. A pity that Mrs. C is further away, but the PT will certainly help to bring back her physical strength. Sending the very best wishes to her and hoping she will soon be fit.

      2. Relieved to know you are just understandably busy right now, but sad that Mrs C is still in the hospital. But on the plus side, sounds like they just need to get her fit enough to return home, and I hope that will be in the near future.

  24. Dada is fast becoming one of my faves and today was a treat. I was DNF with 19a, I needed Senf for that one, and I had 13a wrong. I don’t feel I’ve got to be Ms. MENSA and finish every puzzle, and this one was fun. I didn’t know 5d, but I knew the other one and guessed “why not” for the opposite, completely missed the anagram. Heavens, I’m tying myself in knots trying not to get my knuckles rapped. Fave is 1a, but others were close behind.
    Thanks Dada for the fun and Senf for explaining some for me.

  25. I liked this puzzle and found it much more to both my taste and sense of humour than I did with last Sunday’s puzzle. It kept me amused quite nicely while Mrs SL contented herself watching the Ireland v Italy ‘walkover’. Not overly hard to solve, but very enjoyable, thought I. My favourite? maybe 1a or 18a, but I enjoyed them all.. Now to attend to more important things – like dinner. Tonight it’s shoulder of lamb roasted over a bed of all kinds of soft veg and served with spinach and fresh tagliatelle, Italian style, well, as Italian style as I can make it, lol. Ta all :-)

      1. I must admit that it was raaaaather tasty – now relaxing with a glass of Yellowtail Chardonnay and then for the Antiques Road Show :-)

        1. Chardonnay with lamb? Interesting! We had McCuigan (spelling?) Shiraz – disappointing with wild boar pate! Yours sounds lovely.

  26. Really enjoyed today’s puzzle. 1a was my favourite clue. Took me awhile to get 1d and I noticed a couple of new anagram indicators. Last one in was 19a which really exercised the little grey cells. Many thanks to Dada and Senf.
    Senf, as a matter of interest, how do you manage to post so early when you are 5/6 hours behind the UK?

    1. Quite easily. Puzzles are available on-line at midnight (plus a few seconds or milli-seconds presumably) UK time. This means that they are available to me at 6:00pm the day before. So I can solve and prepare the blog while enjoying an appropriate alcoholic beverage on my Saturday evening. Then, through the magic of WordPress, I am able to schedule the publication of the blog for some ridiculous time when I am still safely in the arms of Morpheus otherwise known as 10:00am on Sunday morning in the UK.

  27. I am pleased with myself, it might have taken 3 visits but I managed to finish. I was left with 4 or 5 for my last visit which included 19a but as if by magic they all fell into place. I really enjoyed the mix of clues and 1a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  28. Enjoyable Sunday guzzle. I’m sure I’ve seen 17d in the past few dsys. Spent ages trying to parse dwarf into 5d! Didn’t have a problem with 29a, carpentry and metalwork were hobbies long, long ago!
    Faves are the NE corner 1a/1d.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf.

  29. As expected Dada bounces back with a rather pleasant Sunday teaser the 1’s a and d pleased the most
    Thanks to Senf and Dada
    Todays Sunday dinner was Short Ribs of Beef stewed in the other half of that bottle of red. I notice it is named for the French detective who crops up now and again. The beef and wine was delightful but the pudding, the spoons that indicate the imminent arrival of, less so – the homemade blackberry and apple pie (marked with a pastry B) was actually more beef – making the custard redundant

  30. Like many others, I found this more doable than most weeks, and 19a took me a while, with its crossing letters leaving so many options. Thank you to Dada and Senf.

    13a (“no. 1”) was my favourite — making it ▒ ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ ▒▒ ▒ ▒▒▒, which is odd because I’m not even into ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒. Other picks were 6d (“little bird”), main because of the answer featuring in ▒▒ ▒▒▒▒▒ ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ and 18a (“emperor”).

    The repetition radar pinged with ▒▒ and ▒▒▒ (presuming I’ve got them right), but I’m finding it really hard to say anything without risking the naughty step. Maybe I’ll remember to post an uncensored version of this after the deadline?

  31. Glad to see that most reconciled themselves with Dada.
    Top crossword which was hugely enjoyable while it lasted.
    Last one in was the homophone in 8d and thought about our blogger immediately.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Senf for the hints.

  32. Mrs H commandeers our DT, so I usually get to do the crossword a day late.

    I found this pretty enjoyable and a pleasant challenge **/***.

    Last one in (as for many) was 19a, snd favourites were 1a, 6d and 13a (once the penny dropped!).

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