ST 3242 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3242 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3242 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where relatively mild weather, with no great amount of precipitation, continues which has two possible outcomes; firstly, the city will be very happy that it is not spending thousands of dollars on snow clearance, and, secondly, the farmers will probably be complaining in the Spring and Summer about the lack of moisture in the soil.  And, oh dear, we now have pre-Boxing Week Sales!

Some (round ball) football trivia – which player has scored most goals in international matches (of all types from World Cups to Friendlies)?  Answer ‘under’ the ‘Click Here’ button – Canadian Christine Sinclair

For me, and I stress for me, Dada back to not very friendly, some clues require very careful reading and dissection, and there are some never before seen anagram indicators – six anagrams (one partial), no lurkers, and one homophone, in a symmetric 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.

Candidate for standout favourite – 20a!

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:


8a Contented sound as pussy unwinds, really relaxed initially (4)
The first letters (initially) of four consecutive words in the clue.

12a Route behind narrow part for plunger, say? (8)
A synonym of route (as in public transport?) placed after (behind) a single word term for narrow part (of a bottle?).

13a This page surely hadn’t failing! (6,9)
An anagram (failing) of PAGE SURELY HADN’T – see my comment in the preamble about never before seen anagram indicators, another one immediately below in 17a.

17a Ban bag, more toxic (7)
An anagram (toxic) of BAG, MORE.

20a Focal point V? (6,2,7)
The location (focal point?) of a ‘V’ in a word that is part of a descriptive phrase for a particular focal point.

25a More flesh visible in lecture (6)
Written as (4,2) a two word term that can lead to more flesh being visible!

28a Scottish or Irish dance film (4)
A double definition – the dance was a favourite of our late HM when she was at Balmoral.


1d UK duo’s playing the numbers game? (6)
An anagram (playing) of UK DUO’S.

2d Company offering service for six, wine served up (8)
A Latin based synonym of for, the Roman numerals for six, and a the reversal (served up) of a generic wine.

3d Young adult might yet, in short, set out (6-9)
We have had this before, and I still consider that Dada’s definition of young is ‘off’ – an anagram (set out) of MIGHT YET, IN SHORT.

5d Jessie, girl left with American dish (7,8)
A synonym of jessie (when referring to someone who might be frightened or scared?), guess a (four letter) girl (the contrary one), the single letter for Left, and a synonym of with.

16d Part that’s nailed to back of tree (3)
TO from the clue and the last letter (back of) treE – one of the clues that require very careful reading and dissection.

18d Counselling a swimmer, victory is secured (8)
The single letter for Victory and IS from the clue all contained (secured) by A from the clue and a fish (of the genus Zeus).

24d Communist score read out? (4)
We finish with a homophone (read out) of a synonym of score.

Quick Crossword Pun:

KRIS + MASK + ACHE = CHRISTMAS CAKEgroan, but better than last Sunday I suppose.

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Somewhat approaching a ‘one hit wonder,’ British a cappella vocal group The Flying Pickets had their only number one with their first single which was in the top spot for five weeks starting on this day in 1983 and that meant that it was the Christmas number one for that year:

67 comments on “ST 3242 (Hints)

  1. Yucky grid but in the main very friendly puzzle.
    I was helped by three of the four long ones jumping out at me giving lots of useful checkers. I’ll choose those as my top clues along with 15&25a plus 16d, very typical of this setter.
    Many thanks to Dada and Senf

  2. Well that was fun. All but 15a in, but needing the hint for 3d. 20a was my favourite, with 16d a distant second.

  3. After a couple of passes not much to see! But then a 15 spot jumped out and the rest as they say ….
    Steady as she went. Favourites 12a and 15a.
    Very grey day here in Witney but, nothing for it, dog walk!
    Thanks to compiler.

  4. What a tricky little number with some clever clues. I’m not sure my 15a is correct, infact pretty sure its not right – could someone provide the definition without finding the naughty step although maybe the ginger nuts are still there! Thanks to all

  5. Tough today but some great clues. Particularly liked the plunging 12a and the clever 20a. Thanks to Senf for the hints – I needed one or two of those to complete the grid. Thanks also to the setter. Off to Craven Cottage this afternoon to see the whites take on the claret and blues – come on Fulham!

  6. Dada’s quite quirky today – thanks to him and to Senf for the hints.
    The clues which made my podium were 12a, 6d and 16d.

  7. Not my weekend, I felt about this as I did yesterdays but at least I managed to complete it. Surely the tense is wrong in 18d and words fail me for 20a, yuk!
    A real drudge with weird clues.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Sorry to disagree with you Brian, but IMHO 20a is quite brilliant.

      On a more general theme, I loved this puzzle as it gave my aging grey matter a good workout. I struggled to understand 15a and 16d for a while, but on the whole I found it most enjoyable. 20a has to be my favourite, closely followed by 25a, which always amuses me despite it becoming a bit of a chestnut. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

    2. Brian, agree about the tense of 18d, the answer made me doubt my 28a answer, but only briefly.

  8. Didn’t like this one bit, felt odd and disjointed, agree with Brian about 20a. roll on tomorrow….

  9. Struggled with 18d and, like Brian, wasn’t happy about the tense. My electronic Thesaurus gives them as synonyms however.

    Favourites are the matching pair of 10a and 6d along with the amusing 25a.

    Good to see the Scottish water at 26a instead of the more usual Northern English one.

    Thanks to Dada for the brain exercise and Senf for a few confirming hints.

  10. I was feeling rather chipper when I started with the first few springing straight to mind. I thought I was on for a very quick solve, but then it all slowed down and I found that some real effort was required. Well they say you have to work for your rewards and I did enjoy this puzzle.
    I got a bit stuck for a while and had to revert to pen and paper to see the obvious in 13A, but happily that got everything going again.
    My favourites were 13A (because I should not have found it so hard and then laughed when the penny finally dropped) and 20A.
    Like Brian I am a little uncomfortable with 18D.

  11. I totally disagree with those earlier commenters who disliked 20a as I loved it and put it down as my favourite very early on. And yes, this was Dada in a less than benign mood, but it was fairly clued throughout and for me, nicely challenging and very enjoyable.

    My thanks to the aforementioned and Senf.

  12. Agree with previous posters that this was a quirky solve today, a few straightforward but then some real head scratchers! Was delighted that Senf had hints for the couple I was stuck on, and 18d for which I had the answer but also was unsure about grammatically. Favourite was the very clever 20a – a real lightbulb moment.
    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  13. My word, a tricky start to the day – a v loong breakfast!
    Fave has to be 20a, but lots of others worth mentioning, 10a, 13a, 15a, 6d. My local sports club has two sets of 3ds, 18-29 and 30-35! Had to Google Jessie for 5d, still not fully convinced what Dada was getting at (lovely dish though!) Spent ages on 18d looking for the fish, as had it as a participle to start with before the checker forced the adjective and the obvious catch!
    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf. (Can’t believe his farmers will wait until the spring to complain!)

  14. Not Dada at his best perhaps with many quite awkwardly phrased clues I finished it all apart from 15a which leaves me even more baffled than some of the other clues. Since Jessie was my much loved mother’s name, the synonym in 5d is most displeasing to me and ruins what could have been a good clue. However, the geographical lego clue at 26a and the cryptic definition at 12a are good clues. Thanks to Senf for the hint and to Dada.

      1. The first two words make more sense if considered as “second word” by the “first word”. Second word is misleading as written, but then this is cryptic ;-]

      2. Thanks, it does help CS. i had failed to grasp the anagram indicator. Feeling a bit fragile today after spending the wee small hours helping my husband up after a fall, when I should have been sleeping Dim , as Kath would say.

        1. Oh, no, not another friend falling! Please, tell him to be careful, falling is the most dangerous thing for us older folk.

          1. I’m afraid he has peripheral neuropathy, Merusa, a vile ailment in which the nerves die from the toes upwards. It has now progressed to his hands, which are also becoming numb. The problem is that he is 6 ft 1 and I’m only 5ft 6 and I can’t lift him. Difficult to deal with at 1.30a.m. I shall have to seek advice.

            1. Here the Fire Station has EMTs and you can call them to help. I have a digital lock on my front door and a med-alert thing around my neck. I just press the med-alert and the Fire Station has the code for my front door, they just come on in. It would be worth checking if your local Fire Station has anything like that.

              1. Thanks Merusa. I’ll investigate it. Meanwhile, jim fell again overnight and we we went into the John Radcliffe Hospital by abulance at 3a.m Sunday/ monday. Looks like he has another attack of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) sthe falls were a product of being unwell with that as well as the peripheral neuropathy. Time will tell

  15. Didn’t enjoy this and didn’t finish without help. If it hadn’t been raining and cold I would have been outside chopping logs. *****/*.

    Thanks to Senf for explaining some of the clues and to Dada for not being benign.

  16. Well, that was a bit of a mind mangler for a Sunday lunchtime. I’m in the “good grief” camp for 20a, as without the checkers, it was a stretch too far for me. I liked 10 and 12a but the solve would have been easier if I hadn’t transposed the answers in the grid 🙄. 12a gets my favourite. Thanks to CS for nudging me in the correct direction for 15a, Dada for the mind mangle and Senf for the hints

  17. 4*/2*. I don’t mind at all that this was tough, but it was probably the worst Sunday puzzle I have solved since taking up the Telegraph cryptic crossword as a daily hobby when I retired in 2012!

    – The BRB says that “sassy” is uniquely American and defines it as “impertinent” so what that has to do with the answer to 9a is anyone’s guess.
    – The surface of 13a is bizarre and why is “failing” an anagram indicator?
    – There were a few other odd surfaces too.
    – Why is “toxic” in 17a an anagram indicator?
    – In 5d we have to guess a girl in order to arrive at an (admittedly indicated) American meal.

    I did like 17a.

    Can we have the old Dada back next week please? Thanks to Senf for wading through this.

      1. Even so, it’s definitely American and that meaning is not in the BRB, which is the Telegraph’s bible for crossword definitions.

  18. There is one lurker, three letter word 14d. BRB concurs that the informal definition of gannet is consistent with, but a more polite way of describing the target.
    Now I know what Google thinks of this community! Love the cat poster.
    Appreciation to all

    1. Of course there is a lurker. My excuse is that the MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) meter was just about at full scale deflection when I was identifying the clue types.

  19. Well, I must say that this was a really quirky and difficult Dada puzzle and I can’t remember one like this for yonks. Certainly at the difficult end of his spectrum and would have been at home on the Toughie page. As for his thesaurus, it would seem to have a few dog-eared pages this week.


    Favourites include 9a, 11a, 13a, 20a, 21d & 22d — with co-winners 13a/20a

    Never heard of 5d and the four 3-word clues and answers were a tough solve too. I also think some of the non-uk solvers may have difficulty with 11a too.

    Nevertheless … finally completed!

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog

  20. Quirky indeed. Some strange anagram indicators and the brevity of clueing in some cases was admirable, but in others it did lead to some “what on earth’s going on here?”
    I did think it ironic that the solution to 23a was in complete contrast to the quality of the clue! Hope that doesn’t put me on the naughty step.
    Not one of my favourite Dada’s. Thanks to Senf for the hints.

  21. House looks like a bombsite but at least the invasion force has gone to meet up for lunch with Aunty Jojo, so a bit of peace has descended – if I ignore the sound of the washer and dryer pounding away in the background!
    26a made me laugh as my house is currently festooned in those monsters, fortunately of the fluffier variety and mostly red.
    Our setter definitely in quirky mode which I found amusing and annoying in equal parts. Top of my tree are 12&20a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the words and music – I really enjoyed that tune when it came to the fore but hadn’t realised what an odd looking bunch of singers were behind it!

  22. I never bother with the numbers puzzles because frankly I find them a bit boring. As for spelling them I can never remember in which order the vowels come & particularly the last one – not that that’s any excuse for failing to spot I had wrong vowel at the end of 1d (my spelling not even tallying with the fodder) so no wonder I couldn’t figure what the first word at 13a was. Eventually the penny dropped but it took a while. Definitely trickier than usual & I share a couple of RD’s views on the definition synonym at 9a & the indicator at 13a & I agree with Brian that the tense seemed odd at 18d. That said I rather enjoyed the guzzle despite making a bit of pig’s ear solving it. 20a was probably my fav & I had ticks against 6,16&24d as well as quite liking the 2 long ‘uns at 3&5d.
    Thanks to D&S

  23. Favourites today were 13a and 20a. Completed without any extra Big Dave clues. Love the split opinion on 20a 😂 Thanks all

  24. After reading the above I am wondering what has happened to me as I rather enjoyed this and unusually for Dada seemed to get on wavelength quickly. Not something that has happened often. I liked the long clues. 15a was my last in.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.

  25. Quite tricky and quirky. Couldn’t fully parse 4d as we seem to have a word or two left over in the clue that don’t fit in. Agreed with other comments about 9a, 5d and 18d. If we had to pick a favourite it would be 20a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  26. I’m in the decidedly tricky camp, though I was a bit dim with some. I had to use an anagram solver to get 13a and get me going as only had five answers with first run through. I was DNF with 15a and 16d, only two, not bad! I’d never heard of 5d, had to use word search for that, and too many others! How many times have we had 25a? Yet I needed all the checkers to get it, so part of my problem was brain not functioning on all cylinders. Fave was 20a, very clever, and I solved it without help.
    Thank you Dada, can we have the old Dada back please? I needed your help Senf, so thanks for that.

  27. I didn’t find this one as hard as many seem to have, though I still have to admit to a DNF.
    Needed help to confirm 4d….still don’t know how it works and had a total blank at 10a….cannot think why as it is now so clear.
    I’m in the ‘like’ camp for 20a .
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    Utterly miserable weather again here. Haven’t seen the sun for days. Raining on and off , mainly on.
    At least it isn’t as cold.

  28. Looked fiendish at the start but once we got the long ones in, everything fell into place. Favorite 25a.

  29. Agree with Senf’s assessment of “not very friendly” and this kept me sitting at the breakfast longer than I should. However I have no problem with 3d meaning young adult as I have a birthday tomorrow which makes 3d definitely young in comparison. Like Brian, I struggled to reconcile my answer for 18d as tense seems off. Don’t think in 41 years of living in the US that I have ever had 5d. Thanks to Dada and Senf for helping me through the rough spots.

      1. That unimpeachable source of all knowledge Wikipedia believes that Dada’s ‘American’ designation is correct!

  30. Well good grief! That’s finished me off for the rest of the day.
    I think I enjoyed it but I have quite a few answers which I’m pretty sure are right but BD would have said that if you can’t explain your answer it’s probably wrong. Oh dear! Now what do I do??
    I liked 8 and 12a and 14 and 16d. I think my favourite is probably one of the most simple answers – 6d.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Senf.

  31. I found this to be quite tricky but nevertheless enjoyable. 4*/4*. LOI was 5d (rather obscure). Favourite was 25a.

  32. I am another one in favour of 20a as there was almost a visual element to the 20a in the relevant letter,
    15a was a tricky one to see and like DaveP, the more northern water was nice to see
    19d brought a wry smile as I have a different clue for that crime in the toughie today
    Thanks to Senf and Dada, it was the local power cut that gave me half an hour to concentrate on the final few

  33. Agree with many that this was Dada at his quirkiest/toughest for a while…but I really enjoyed the test and was very pleased to finish!
    The 6D/10A combo made me smile – 13A a superb anagram – and 20a a brilliant example of cryptic mis-direction👍👍👍
    For me, this puzzle was some of Dada at his best!
    15A was my last one in (and least favourite today) and only solved when I’d had my “Doh!” moment with the short 16D, but otherwise a great challenge.
    Thanks, as ever to Senf, for the blog ‘n hints – I remember the 1983 Christmas No1 well and found myself joining in…much to the surprise/amusement of Mrs H!! 😜

  34. Absolutely brilliant crossword with so many excellent clues with hidden definitions and wonderful wordplay. Nothing untoward for me, just a fantastic Cryptic puzzle. Thanks to all involved.

  35. Late on parade today because of housework – you know, laundry, hoovering, polishing and changing bed linen? A man’s work is never done!
    Oh boy, was Dada in a mean mood today! Put me in the group who liked 20a but I have no real favourites. I’m just pleased to finish it and have my millionth attempt (got to be) at The Mythical.

    Thank you, Dada for the challenge and a huge thank you to you, Senf for the hints.

    1. I am sure Mrs C appreciates all your help. I’m lucky too in that Peter really helps lighten the housework load. We are both lucky in not having husbands who deem it “women’s work”.

  36. So there I was at 21:30, after several tries at this over the course of the day, feeling jealous of all those people who had finished this guzzle. I had even looked at the hints which didn’t take me too far. Then, suddenly 23a went in. The remaining 20 (yes, it is embarrassing) then fell into place in less time than it takes to eat a portion of 5d.
    I agree that the way18d is structured seems slightly off. I liked 12a and 15a.
    Thanks for the hints which got me going.

  37. A really enjoyable crossword for me. I was on Dada’s wavelength from the word go, for a change.

    I thought 20 across was really clever and 6D and 10A provided a chuckle. Well done.

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