Give the question author what they are asking for. Feel free to ask for clarification if you must in some cases, but let's not make it a habit of pestering people to see whether they want full answers or just a hint.
Your example. Sometimes things are phrased all airy-fairy, but the person still wants a concrete answer. With a title like "How can I get the shovel", the person wants to know how to get the shovel. And the user desires the shovel in the event that it is possible to obtain, as indicated by... the entire question, really.
If the person asks for hints only, give them hints and not complete answers.
If the person asks for the complete solution, provide the complete solution and not something that just tries to nudge you in the right direction.
Doing the opposite to either of these is just going to frustrate the question author. The most likely scenario is that someone who only wants a clue will explicitly state this in some fashion. Sometimes, if it is unstated, a hint will be sufficient, but usually someone who comes to this site to ask a question is wanting a solution. It doesn't reflect well on the site if we don't deliver it.