ST 3227 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3227 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3227 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where we have had a really mixed bag of weather – morning fog, localised hailstorms, and a dreary damp day on Friday which almost decided me to ‘fortify’ my coffee when I got home from the supermarket.

For me, and I stress for me, Dada much more friendly than he has been of late, although he appears to have used his personal thesaurus again, with five anagrams (one partial), two lurkers (one reversed), 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.

Candidates for favourite – 21a, 31a, 7d, 8d, 18d, and 24d – and not a favourite, I am sure RD will agree, 4d.

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 Tied oddly, the cardinal bound (8)
The odd letters of TiEd, THE from the clue, and the colour that has a cardinal ‘variant.’

9a Cured meat in pate can’t spread (8)
An anagram (spread) of PATE CAN’T

13a Smart with scarf on, acting the peacock? (8)
A synonym of smart (after an encounter with an insect?) placed after (with . . . on) a feathery type of scarf.

15a Just arrived, cake for youth (7)
A two letter term for just arrived and a type of cake (that is decorated with icing, filled with cream, etc – so says the BRB).

20a Christmas prize-giver losing heart (4)
A famous Swedish chemist, who bequeathed his fortune to create a prize fund, with the middle letter deleted (losing heart).

26a Pig meat more ill-advised? (6)
A double definition(?) – the second is the comparative term (more) for a synonym of ill-advised.

30a Cool score, result secured (6)
A score in the oval ball game containing (secured) a synonym of result.

31a Type of mineral, gem almost broken by two strikes (8)
GEm from the clue with the last letter deleted (almost) containing (broken by) two synonyms of strike (a person).


1d Warning why cue proving useless? (3-3)
A double definition(?) – the second describes a problem with an item used in several types of game.

2d Sport taken up by thousands, in netball (6)
The reversed lurker (taken up by) found in three words in the clue.

7d Heart, say: tick in it once erratic (8)
A two letter synonym of tick (relating to time) inserted into (in) an anagram (erratic) of IT ONCE.

11d Gripping instrument aimed at fungi (7)
A three letter term for aimed at and a three letter type of (edible) fungus pluralised as required by the clue.

14d Sudden thought to put lid on food (7)
A three letter synonym of put lid on and a type of grain (food).

18d Two lots of meat cooked, one on the same side (8)
Quite brilliant – the combination of two different anagrams (two lots of . . . cooked) of MEAT.

24d Something to play, violin part? (6)
Double definition(?) – the second is part of a violin (and several other stringed instruments).

27d Finish off extra post (4)
A synonym of extra (as in left over) with the last letter removed (finish off).

Quick Crossword Pun:

TUCK + SEED + OWE = TUXEDOif you haven’t already done so, look at 5d in the Quickie, which contributes the fifth letter of the pun – some self-aggrandisement on the part of our setter?

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For some reason, it was not easy to find some music for this week, so I have opted for some ‘nonsense’ from 1966 which actually made it to number four in that year :

79 comments on “ST 3227 (Hints)

  1. I thought this had quite a variation in difficulty level (though mostly very friendly indeed) but found it very enjoyable.
    I suspect we’ll get one or two protests over 4d but I think it’s legit (and plenty of setters use it) and was actually quite a clever clue
    Top three for me were 3,18&24d
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. Most enjoyable, much
    Time extended by last in,
    7 and 11d. Proverbial very
    Super brilliant 16 and 31a.
    Dislike our old friend 4d.
    But that’s me.
    In summary, 2.5*/5*
    Many thanks Dada and Senf

    1. The only reason I disliked our old friend 4d today was because the first answer I saw was wrong – I saw the lurker which wasn’t helpful in the top left corner! Am I the only one?

  3. A lot of pretty straightforward clues, with a handful of head-scratchers left at at the end was the story of this SPP for me. I liked the twin anagram at 18d and the 2d lurker but 24d, with its clever word play was my COTD. Thanks to Dada, for an amusing, if not vintage puzzle and to Senf for the hints.

  4. Typical Dada, if somewhat on the quirky side. As ever with this setter I was slow to start, fairly swift middle part followed by a slow finish. I got 1a straight away but then nothing until 20a. There was plenty to like and amuse such as the second whale at 13a and the youthful cake at 15a. My COTD is the double helping of meat at 18d.

    Very many thanks to Dada for the fun. Thank you, Senf for the hints, which I will now look at.

    I have emailed the solution in to Telegraph Towers but, once again, have not had an acknowledgment. Maybe this is why The Mythical eludes me?

    1. Steve, I thought I would enter to see what happened and I did get a reply email but actually I fear I did not put the correct bit in the title line!

    2. I have the obeah man on the job, Steve, you should be hearing back from Telegraph Towers shortly.

  5. 3*/3.5*. I enjoyed this despite finding a few clues particularly tricky. Perhaps I was thrown by the unspeakably vulgar 4d.

    I had a lot of ticks with 18d & 24d battling it out for first place.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. We get that so often now, I’m pretty well inured. At least we haven’t had pants or anorak recently.

  6. Thanks Senf, nothing too tricky though 15a held me up for ages.
    Much to like and an enjoyable revisit to DT crossword land.
    Thanks Dada also.

  7. That was a fun challenge with South the most friendly territory. I suppose 12a component can be certainly. I am one of StephenL’s anticipated protestors re 4d but am with Kath in having initially used wrong lurker. Heart for 7d is surely rather sweeping. Fav enigma was 18d. Thank you quick 4d and Senf (thanks for your 1966 “nonsense” which evoked memories of my schooling in the city and confirmation there).

  8. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Dada and Senf,
    The contenders for my podium are 13a, 30a, 31a and 24d.

  9. For me, and I stress for me {™ Senf}, this was rather a tricky fellow. However, I pressed down the mental accelerator. The old lemon throbbed fiercely, and like a snail who enters the London Marathon, I reached the finishing line eventually. The toast had long been consumed; the orange juice with no bits had been quaffed and was but a memory. Yet the grid was complete and an air of satisfaction pervaded the room.

    “What’s that sweetest one? To the garden centre, you say? I shall accompany you at once!”
    Aside to reader: “A chance for a lovely sit down while H drifts like a summer breeze, meandering amidst the rudbeckias and the dahlias. That’s my kind of outing.”

    Thanks to DaDooRonRon and The Man From Manitoba

    1. I envy you the trip to the garden center Terence. They are few and far between here, where the big box store have stolen much of the market. My favourite local one is closed on Sundays, and you really can’t meander around there the rest of the week right now, with the weather constantly around 95F. For some reason, I think all the plants, it always seems 10 degrees warmer there.

      1. Garden centres here in the UK are increasingly combining as gift/household goods emporia since that stock is more profitable (some 100% mark-up). A local family business sold to a large group and just that has happened – one has to take a lengthy walk through all the gift sections before reaching the garden/plant section.

        1. I live near Percy Throwers Garden Centre. It used to be just that when he was alive – a massive site dedicated to all things garden. Now it’s like Ikea with coach trips full of old ladies arriving. Mr. Thrower must be turning in his grave.

          1. What a lovely man he was. Our garden centre has gone the same way but, a small family one only 4 miles away is still fantastic. They know everyone by name and sympathise with our muntjac invasion!

          2. So long since I heard of Mr. Thrower. My aide likes to fancy she’s doing a bit of gardening, she’s learning, and I call her Percy Thrower but she has no idea who I mean.

          3. Steve, as you know, Percy Thrower’s Garden Centre was bought by Blue Diamond which is the same company that bought the family business near us. They claim to be second largest garden centre group in UK so obviously have their sights on improving on that!

            1. By buying up all the small, friendly and very helpful smaller centres. The same with everything these days. Corporations take over and the personal service for customers suffers.

  10. A real mixture of difficulties today. Thankful for the lurkers and anagrams which got me started then down to the head scratchers such as 7d and 15a. My fav was 18a. Last in was 28a which held me up for a while.
    On the whole a kinder Dada than some (last Sunday for instance!).
    Thx for the hints

  11. Dada was certainly using his personal thesaurus today and I do wish he’d erase the idea of 4d being acceptable as a noun from it.
    The notion of 25a raised a smile and my top two were 31a plus 24d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints and pics although perhaps not the music this week!

  12. I am obviously being dense, because I cannot see where the second letter to 10a comes from.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

          1. The abbreviation is one letter. There is no mention of the second word in the clue. I don’t want to expand on my point, as this is a prize puzzle.

      1. My first caffeine of the day has got my brain working, and to save anyone being sent to the naughty step, perhaps consider blessing as (1,4).

        And, there I consider that this discussion should end.

        1. With respect Senf, if you want to send me to the naughty step, go ahead. Nobody in this thread has said anything pointing towards the answer to the clue being discussed. You are suggesting an additional letter which is not indicated in the clue. Just my opinion…which was clearly stated in my first post.
          This is my final post on this matter, as I am obviously not making my point clear.

  13. Far from vintage but enjoyable nevertheless. Only last in 27d caused a head scratch having been slow to clock the wordplay & needing to confirm that particular context of the answer. 14d&31a my top two
    Thanks as ever to D&S

  14. A few of these clues took some unravelling, but it all fell into place in the end. 18d took the honours, ahead of 7and 11d. Most enjoyable, and about right for a prize puzzle.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. Held up by the 4 letter clues again! As usual had to head to the dictionary to check for obscure definitions. Enjoyed 15a, 25a, but favourite the 18d double anagram. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  16. For me this was tricky and several took a long time with the hints helping explain ‘the why’ . However some were much easier and thank goodness I had the lurkers, anagrams and multi word clues to help. 18d was my favourite like others.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  17. For some reason 12a gave me the most trouble but then the proverbial (as opposed to the Mythical) dropped. Many thanks to Dada and Senf for the brain exercise. There is a distinctly autumnal chill in the air today, I suppose winter drawers on. I am wondering if Merusa can get me a T-shirt with the Bloviator’s scowling, intimidating face emblazoned in the front. As Trotter would say – What a plonker! Best wishes to Robert if he is listening in.

    1. Wot me? Spend good money on that bloviating idiot? He can pay his own legal fees, he doesn’t need me to help. Even his lawyers now have lawyers so they need all the help they can get.

      1. And they must be really thick as they haven’t realised yet that he never, ever pays anyone. Any money they get is apparently coming from his campaign funds…

  18. Well despite Senf finding this an easier Dada puzzle this week, I found it quite tricky, although Dada certainly had his own personal thesaurus out, that is for certain.

    2.5*/4* for me

    Favourites today include 21a, 25a, 29a, 11d, 18d & 22d — with winner 11d
    Got chuckles out of 20, 26a, 19d & 24d

    Thanks to Dada and Senf for hints/blog

  19. I did find this friendlier on the Dada spectrum, notwithstanding his personal thesaurus. I did need ehelp with three, I had all the checks but just couldn’t come up with an answer, 15a was one of them. Two stood out for me, 25a and 24d.
    Thank you Dada for being kinder, and thanks Senf for unravelling quite a few.

    1. P.S. found a couple of books in my library that our reading fraternity might like, both by Alexandra Fuller.
      “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” and “Cocktails Under the Tree of Forgetfulness”.

      1. Thanks Medusa, that first one looks really interesting, I have added it to my list (not to be confused with Terence’s List)

  20. I struggled today, not unexpected with a Sunday Dada. I’ve just realised I have a really good excuse, in that I am forbidden caffeine, so I’m probably not firing on all pistons 😊. But I’m almost done, and will save the eight holdouts for lunch time. No COTD for me. Thanks to Dada and Senf.
    I won’t be here tomorrow as I’m having my left cataract fixed, having had the right one done in March. Hope tomorrow’s setter is kind.

    1. You have my sympathy BL. I’m caffeine free as well. Having tried de caffeinated tea and coffee and been unimpressed, I’ve resorted to Redbush (or Rooibos tea and am enjoying trying out herbal teas. So far Twinings Lemon and Ginger, their Sleep concoction made from passion flower and camomile and mix of fennel and apple are my favourites. Itvtakes a while to come down off the caffeine though!

      1. Chriscross, I’ve been caffeine free on doctor’s orders for several years now but just couldn’t give up coffee, but thankfully my daughter suggested we got a Nespresso when they had a big sale. I really enjoy two of their limited decaf options, one I use for cappuccinos and one for my afternoon iced latte. My throat won’t accept any type of tea, not decaf, camomile, or any of the various herbals either. So Nespresso is my friend 😊. My biggest problem was stopping taking extra strength painkillers, which almost always are stronger because of added caffeine. And I couldn’t give up coffee ice cream, but found a recipe for decaf ice cream, so now I make my own. Getting old is a lot of work…

        1. You can say that again. Growing old is not for wimps. And yes, Manders, I tried to like Rooibos but it is disgusting.

      2. I lived in South Africa for a decade and still think Rooibos is like sucking on a tree trunk!

  21. Definitely at the easier end of the spectrum today. No real standout clue but 1a was as good as any. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  22. 2/4. This was at the easier end of the Dada spectrum. A lot of ticks topped by 26a which put a smile on my face. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  23. I found this on the trickier side of the spectrum today, Like Jane I noticed the personal thesaurus a lot today. I did like 14 and 18d though. I have just bought some rather nice charcuterie and cheese from the Malton Food Festival so shall have a rather nice supper to recuperate the brain cells

  24. I have just spent several hours at a lovely party where I was talking to a a delightful couple from the next village whom I have known for many years. The husband does the DT Xword and in conversation it transpired that he is a Lurker on this site and had sussed me out! Golly gosh. I thought I was anonymous. Now I feel naked! Has anyone else been ‘discovered’ by s neighbour?

    1. I don’t think it would have caused him much effort to suss you out DG. For example, there’s two big clues in your Gravatar: your name and a photo of you! 🤣

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