How to Solve a Cryptic Crossword

How to Solve a Cryptic Crossword: Timeshift

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Monday 07 December, 8:00pm – 9:00pm , BBC4

Tuesday 08 December, 2:05am – 3:05am , BBC4

Friday 11 December, 1:35am – 2:35am , BBC4

The only way to see this now is via the BBC iPlayer – see link below

A look at the world of cryptic crosswords, offering up the secrets of these seemingly impenetrable puzzles. Crossword setter Don Manley, aka Giovanni & Quixote, reveals the tricks that compilers use to bamboozle and entertain solvers using a crossword he created especially for the programme.   We also find out why Britain became home to the cryptic crossword, how a crossword nearly put paid to the D-Day invasion and why London Underground is elevating the crossword to an art form.

[Extract from Radio Times]

If you missed the first broadcast, then set your recorder for one of the other transmission times
or use the BBC iPlayer link provided below by Peter Biddlecombe (UK only, I’m afraid) !!



  1. mary
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see some of the faces fit names i have come to know mainly through this blog

  2. Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Big Dave, thanks for updating your link to Diary of a Crossword Fiend! Much appreciated.

    • Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Amy

      For those who don’t know, Amy / Orange was among the first to set up a crossword blog and it is an honour that she has paid a visit here.

      • Peter Biddlecombe
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Amy’s blog was one of the ones I noticed sometime in late 2005 before doing the same with crossword blogs as the Brits did with crosswords – pinch an idea from the Americans and do it slightly differently.

  3. Peter Biddlecombe
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    BBC iPlayer link for UK residents:

    Lots of good stories if you haven’t seen it before, and nicely done graphics illustrating some of the clues.

    • Jezza
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Thanks very much for the link to this; a pleasant hour of my day to be spent in the office !!

  4. Kram
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Utterly spellbinding hour of television,many thanks Dave for letting us know about the broadcast, such a pity it wasn’t possible to video it for future reference.

  5. Derek
    Posted December 10, 2009 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately in NL we only get BBC3 & BBC4 from 19.00 hrs (7pm) so it looks as though I shan’t see it. Pity!

    Is that symbol next to your name one of those mechanical calculators beloved by ralliers?

    I always read other peoples’ comments about the various puzzles – it is amazing how many agonise over solving them!
    They should remain cheerful – it is not the end of the world if you are flummoxed!
    One increases ones word power.

    • Posted December 10, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      BBC 3 & BBC4 are only transmitted from 7.00pm until early morning. They seem to share bandwidth, if not channel numbers, with CBBC & CBeebies.

  6. Derek
    Posted December 10, 2009 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    I just looked at your schedule and now realise it is showing after midnight tonight so shall look out for it!

  7. Derek
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately I missed it! – over here it was on at 2.15 – 3.15 AM and for once I was sound asleep!!

    You haven’t put it on a disc by any chance???