December 30, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 276

Toughie No 276 by Excalibur

Liquorice All-Sorts

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Firstly, thanks to Big Dave for stepping in and doing my Cryptic review yesterday – it’s amazing how the loss of one’s broadband link for just 24 hours produces withdrawal symptoms!

Today’s puzzle is by the setter who polarises opinions more than any other Toughie setter. While I don’t think this is a great puzzle and it’s not really Toughie standard, it is nevertheless a distinct improvement on the ones we were getting from this setter 6-9 months ago – most of the surface readings are reasonable and we’re now getting less of the convoluted word order which were a feature of previous puzzles.

As usual we’d love to get your views – please leave a comment.

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DT 26124

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26124

Winding Up or Down the Year

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Another gentle wind-down towards year’s end in keeping with the recent run of daily puzzles, which seem to be finding a good level for solvers. I am sure that most of the regulars will find this acceptable. There were a few really nice clues, but a couple of weak ones. These seem again to be the cryptic definitions.

If I have one wish for this particular puzzle in 2010, it’s that our setters will not try to outdo each other by trying to come up with smarter and smarter cryptic definitions. A good cryptic definition will come naturally and push all the right buttons, but I believe that far too many are forced and demonstrate a lack of adventure and thought on the part of the setter.

If you have finished this, and have a little time to spare, try these two challenges from the Guardian of the past two days by Giovanni and Elgar respectively. Both extremely enjoyable!

Rant over. Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and challenging New Year and thanks to everyone for their kind comments and messages during 2009. See you next year!

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