May 11, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

DT 25925

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25925

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment **

Very much at the easier end of the scale, the only thing that I suspect will hold solvers up today is the grid itself.  What an abomination!  Just under half of the clues contained a double unchecked square (known as a “double unch”).  Indeed my record solving time for the Telegraph would have been beaten only for being held up with 5 down. I really don’t like grids with double unches and although I’ll tolerate a couple in a normal puzzle, surely this was too much.

When a previous Times Crossword Editor took over a few years back, he devoted a bit of time to revising all the Times stock grids.  I think it’s time for the DT to follow suit.

Back to the puzzle.  It being Monday we have the usual collection of cryptic definitions, which are fine, but I would rather have two or three a puzzle instead of the number we get.  I always recommend the Telegraph and Guardian Monday puzzles as good places to start when solving cryptics but I sometimes fear that newer solvers are tempted to stick at this level when other puzzles adopted, shall we say, a more balanced approach.  In addition, as my esteemed colleague Big Dave points out, sometimes the puzzle is weakened by these, 26 across is a good example.

That said, there are some lovely surface readings and constructions.  Thanks as usual to our Monday Maestro.

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