ST 3222 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3222 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3222 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where we seem to be catching up with everyone else in terms of temperature and humidity being above seasonal norms with, of course, a Prairie Storm here and there.  Once, again, grateful thanks to crypticsue for ‘picking up’ last Sunday.

For me, etc, Dada sort of friendly today, with a couple of helpful long ‘uns, seven anagrams (two partials), one lurker, and one homophone, – all in a very asymmetric 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 – 11a, 16a, 3d, and 6d.

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 Reportedly, complaint is bigger (5)
The homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of complaint.

10a Country in days gone by having spoken (8)
A single word for days gone by followed by (having) a synonym for spoken.

11a French city hardened elderly relative from the East (6)
The reversal (from the East) of all of a synonym of hardened and a pet name for an elderly (female) relative.

14a Working as examiner, technique extremely smart (7)
The outer letters (extremely) of TechniquE and a synonym of smart (after an insect bite?).

19a Butterfly active in early spring? (7)
A two letter synonym of active inserted into (in) the month that can be considered as early spring.

23a A line bound to be written about Spanish dish (6)
A from the clue, the single letter for Line, and a synonym, of bound all reversed (to be written about).

26a Treasure buried in strange land (5)
The lurker (buried in) found in two words in the clue.


2d Prophesy fit for change (7)
A four letter synonym of prophesy and a synonym of fit (as in appropriate).

3d Sounds on instrument after you and I hit the bottle (3,4,7)
A synonym of sounds followed by (on) a type of instrument all placed after the plural pronoun for you and I.

6d Check felon’s entourage (9)
A synonym for felon’s (including the possessive S) and a synonym of entourage.

8d House decoration is done, retiring shattered (8,6)
An anagram (shattered) of IS DONE, RETIRING.

18d Endless charm in friend, certainly not alone (6)
A (verbal?) synonym of charm with the last latter removed (endless) inserted into (in) a synonym of fiend.

19d Feeder fed a head (7)
A cattle or other livestock feeder containing (fed) A from the clue.

22d Snap part of a tree (4)
A double definition to finish – the second is the outer part of the trunk.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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Singer, songwriter, and actor David Essex OBE (born David Albert Cook) is, presumably, celebrating his 76th birthday today. This is the first of his two number one singles, this one from 1974:

67 comments on “ST 3222 (Hints)

  1. I agree with our esteemed blogger that the majority of this puzzle was quite friendly, but there were a couple that stretched out the solving time, notably 2d which I got but had trouble fully parsing. That and 6d were my final two entries, with 11a and 3d my favourites.

    My thanks to Dada for a good Sunday challenge, and to Senf.

  2. Well I am bucking the trend because I didn’t find this at all friendly but probably that is down to me. I managed it but it was a struggle. I did like the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks, Campbell but not my cup of tea today. Thank you Senf for the hints.

  3. Thanks to Dada for our usual dose of Sunday morning entertainment and to Senf for the hints.
    My laurels were awarded to 10a, 19a and 3d.

  4. There were definitely some awkward synonyms today and I felt the guzzle lacked Dada’s usual sparkle. However I did like my COTD 3d and also 8d and some of the anagrams. Thanks to Senf for the hints and glad to see youback in good health. Thanks also to Dada forthe SPP.

  5. I started this is bed with my early morning cuppa and after half an hour managed about half a dozen only. Came back to it a couple of hours later and had a steady solve. Not sure I have 2d correct as I think my answer would have a hyphen in it. Glad your better Senf and thanks for the hints and thanks to Dada.

    1. You probably have the correct solution to 2d – I’d probably have written it with a hyphen too

    2. The BRB shows 2d without a hyphen in one of those ‘tables at the foot of a page.’

      To ‘borrow’ from old Bill Shakes – to hyphen or not to hyphen, that is the question :wink:

  6. Reasonably fathomable subject to a bit of help in NW. 3d is an amusing if somewhat broad synonymous expression. Only after bunging in 19d did I twig the feeder. Thank you Dada and Senf (hope you are feeling better).

  7. Usual tough Dada but friendlier than yesterdays offering. Having completed the puzzle I am left struggling to parse 2d, 7d, 22d, 26a and 19a. My fav was 3d, very clever.
    Thx to all

  8. No real problems to report although, as usual with our Sunday setter, I came across a couple of synonyms which, whilst perfectly valid, just didn’t ‘feel’ right.
    A big tick went to 25a simply because it made me laugh and I also liked 6&18d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf (great to have you back on board) for the hints and the video clip. Very encouraging to discover that ‘baby-face’ David Essex is older than I am!

    PS Heard from Robert C last night. He is back in hospital at the moment but tells me that he’s feeling quite upbeat and reading voraciously, which sounds positive. He asked me to post a note on the blog sending his best wishes to all his friends in the BD community.

    1. Jane, many thanks for the update on Robert. Good to know he is reading a lot. As you say, that is a good sign.

    2. Thank you for the update on Robert, Jane. Please give him my best wishes when you are next in contact.

    3. Good to have news about Robert C. Please reciprocate his best wishes and tell him he is much missed and his return is warmly anticipated.

      1. Thank you for tthe update on Robert Jane. Like him, I can always lose myself in a good book, however bad I feel. I hope his treatment is going well and wish him happy reading.

    4. I wonder if his reading includes keeping up with us? In which case he will know that he is often mentioned and certainly missed. 🌼

  9. 2.5*/4*. I had some delay in the NW, notably with 2d which involves a synonym that for me is stretched to breaking point.

    My top two were 10a & 6d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. I agree about 2d. I wrote it in expecting to be wrong, imagine my surprise when I saw it was right!

  10. Quite tricky in part.
    Last in 10a, cunning
    Misdirection, brilliant
    Caused my 3.5* time as I
    Paused and came back to
    Overall great puzzle, thanks
    Dada and Senf.

  11. *So pleased to read the update about Robert. Thank you Lovely Jane.

    For me, and I stress for me (™ Senf) this was far from the walk in the park, the breeze, the picnic, the doddle, that Manitoba Man and Young Salopian found. To be fair, putting on my nightgown and cap, and snuffing out the candle, at 3 o’clock this morning didn’t help matters. When my valet woke me this morning, I felt like someone had stuffed a billiard ball in a sock and whacked me round the bonce. I only drank two Diet Cokes last night – what do they put in that stuff?
    No need to answer. I can tell you. Carbonated Water, Colour (Caramel E150d), Phosphoric Acid, Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame K), Natural Flavourings incl. Caffeine, Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate).
    It all looks like it is jolly healthy to me.

    As I write this the ‘Super Sopper’ is attempting to remove the ocean that is the outfield at Old Trafford. The Australians are wriggling off the hook like wily trout in the River Itchen. Come on England. Come on The Weather!

    Thanks to Dada and The Man From Manitoba.

        1. Come in Terence, we all know you have Orange Juice Without Bits. Your life is not all grey.

      1. Or a good malt. At least you know it is natural and not full of nasty chemicals like DC!

  12. Haha – I snuffed the candle on the Sunday Toughie long before you, if you get no cricket proXimal is quite friendly today, I can’t speak for his EV today though as I am struggling. No amount of Merlot last night or Guatemalan coffee this morning is helping

        1. Aha, thank you! I should have thought before the Blue Mountain recommendation. I’m so lucky I have friends bring me a supply.

          1. I do treat myself to JBM at Betty’s when they have some in but my local coffee roasters have a fine selection of others, Guatemalan Red de Mujeres being the current taste de jour

  13. At first glance I feared this might be quite challenging, so switched straightaway to Plan B: start at the bottom & look for the anagrams. From that point onwards it was reasonably plain sailing, and very enjoyable. Hon Mentions to 11a, 5d, 8d.

    2* / 3*

    Thanks to Dada, and of course to Senf – good to see you back & in better health. Thanks to Jane for the update on Robert – his contributions to the Board are missed.

  14. Not so friendly Dada for me today, struggled with wavelength and needed an extra shot of coffee to stimulate the old grey matter. Not my cup of tea today (no pun intended!) I’m afraid, with no cricket in prospect today I’ll will need to find something to make the grumpiness go away.


    Fav 19a LOI 2d.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. Found this Dada puzzle about the middle of his range with a couple of the answers from his own personal thesaurus! Nonetheless, a fun solve and enjoyed to completion.


    Favourites include 10a, 24a, 25a, 3d, 20d & 22d — with winner 22d

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for hints&tips

  16. Thanks Dada, found it a real struggle but weirdly enjoyed it!

    Many thanks to Senf, both for much needed hints but also for video – brought back many happy memories, not least sitting in middle of front row at Godspell, being first onstage during interval (we didn’t just climb up, we were invited) and being kissed by David Essex. Didn’t wash for a week!

  17. Fairly straightforward today with a couple of head scratchers in the NW. Favourite was 10a, we were led up the garden path for some time with that. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. Finished but too fraught with wondering will I solve another clue for any enjoyment. If it hadn’t been raining all morning I would have been in the garden and not bothered.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  19. Think we were suffering from a surfeit of wine last night and had a very slow start. But got there in the end. Last in was 2d and we still can’t parse why the 4 letter bit is prophesy even with the hint 🤣
    Thanks to Dada for our Sunday workout and to Senf for the blog.

      1. That’s where I got to if one assumes the four letter bit has the same meaning as when it has ing as the ending .

    1. Something to do with fortune tellers & palms or tea leaves was the best I could muster

  20. Can you believe it, tiny brain solved this and enjoyed it! South was very accessible, but north presented more problems. Natch 2d was a bungin, I had to use word search as I had all the checkers, in it went for want of anything better. I didn’t know 12a was medicinal, I guess it could be. It’s hard to choose a fave but I did like 3d and 8d, plus they gave lots of checkers, but 25a amused!
    Thank you Dada for the fun, and Senf for unravelling so much. A treat to see you on the mend and feeling much better.

  21. Finally completed, I found a few tricky to parse but got answers in eventually, only time will tell if they are right or mere invention. My favourite was 3d which certainly helped to fill the grid, I struggled with 2d and 18d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints

  22. Thanks for the hints Senf, and I hope you have fully recovered.

    I don’t think I am on the same wavelength as Dada. I found this difficult, having what I perceive as remote definitions. This wasn’t helped by overthinking 11a because ‘East’ contains two x ‘s’ in the app version, which I was using. I guess a prize puzzle can’t be too easy, but I might not have bothered with the NW if I hadn’t filled in the rest.

  23. Tough NW corner! Am I alone in finding the synonym in the first part of 2d stretched to breaking point?

    1. To me, the required synonym isn’t a synonym for the relevant part of the clue purely on its own, even after checking my dictionary and thesaurus. But then, I don’t have Dada’s special thesaurus that has been referenced by other commenters.

  24. I fought a good battle and got most of this done, and then set aside while I went outside to do some potting. Pure madness in 34C and 73% humidity, but I’m indoors now and recovering with a long, cold drink. And as usual, brain has now solved the remaining empty slots. LI was 18d. I did find several awkward synonyms, and only a couple of answers that went in with supreme confidence, and wouldn’t have got there without Senf, thank you. Also ta very much to Dada for the workout.

  25. I sat down to this after a rather splendid roast at The Pig & Abbot at, where else, Abington Piggot – unfortunately I seem to have fallen asleep half way through and have a wandering pen line scrawling off down the page. Bang goes the fourth pen this week. I found this a bit of a struggle so thanks for the hints, Senf and so glad you are feeling better. Thanks also to the fiendish Dada. I am still muttering yesterday’s pesky Spoonerism trying to resolve it!

      1. Oh my goodness ! It’s a spooner! Yes gods and little fishes, that is devious! Thank you!

  26. I finished eventually but interrupted by TdF and other things so no real perception of difficulty. I did notice Dada’s weird thesaurus occasionally but a fine puzzle. 10 and 13a provided the earworms for Beethoven and Phil Collins.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf’s recovery
    The TdF is over for another year time to change my Avatar back to a Bee

  27. I did post a comment earlier but it appears to have vanished. Pleasant enough but I’m with JB&CC in thinking this one not up there with his best. Very much like his Graun prize puzzle yesterday I found it at the easier end of his range. No particular fav but am very partial to a good 23a with a bottle of Rioja to 3d.
    Thanks to D & great to have S back in the blogging chair

  28. Not often I make a comment as I don’t usually start yet alone finish the Sunday crossword until Monday! But today was a great day for just sitting in the back garden, listening to the Open golf on the radio (the only time I ever show any interest in golf!), watching a swift make regular visits to our swift box (they’ve bred for the first time which is very exciting) and doing the Sunday cryptic crossword – just a shame there was no Test cricket!!! I should add that this is the Solent and we were spared the rain. For me this was unusually benevolent on the part of Dada and I was able to actually finish it without having to refer to my trusty thesaurus or the blog….a rare occurrence!
    Thanks to Dada and Senf for providing excellent entertainment and support.

  29. A busy weekend – very!
    I did a few answers but I’m so far off finishing that it isn’t worth commenting – might have another try in the morning, or not!
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  30. Was beaten in the NW largely because I had a wron first word for 3d. 19a and 6d favourites. Thanks Dada and Senf

  31. Late getting round to this. On first pass through got nothing but then bit by bit it fell into place until we got to last one in 13a. This took us an inordinate amount of time but was really obvious in the end -grrrr!

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