January 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

ST 2521 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2521 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

A bit more difficult than last week’s Prize puzzle, but still excellent quality.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Friday, 5th February.

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The Clueless Club

Big Dave announces the launch of the Clueless Club’s own Website

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To celebrate the first birthday of the blog I have set up a twitter-style blog for the present, past and aspiring members of the Clueless Club. … Continue reading

DT 26151 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26151 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Next Saturday Tilsit and I plan to be in the White Horse on Parson’s Green between the hours of 11.00am and 7.00pm. Feel free to join us there for some or all of the time. If the last session is anything to go by then you can also expect to meet some or all of Elgar, Jetdoc, Notabilis, MynoT and Derek Harrison. For Listener fans, there will be a large contingent of setters and others connected with that puzzle. I’ll try and get a more accurate idea by next Saturday

That’s the interesting bit. Today’s Prize puzzle offered very little. Both of the enjoyment stars were earned by 16 across.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them. A full review of this puzzle will be published on Thursday, 4th February.

Continue reading “DT 26151 – Hints”

ST 2520

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2520

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment *****

Sorry for the delay – I got engrossed in the tennis and then forgot about my blogging duties until a lunch at the local Italian, so this comes to you through a gradually diminishing haze of Pinot Grigio and Amaretto.
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Toughie 294

Toughie No 294 by MynoT

Today I am being mostly grumpy (it was on the cards)

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment *

First things first – until now I’ve always enjoyed MynoT’s puzzles; they’ve been fair and entertaining. For some reason this one just didn’t rock my boat and I think it has less to do with the clues than the awful grid. This one has only a single link to each corner and each of those links has less than 50% checking letters, so the solver is always up against it. Furthermore, in this puzzle the four central answers are given pretty tough clues, and the cross-checking letters consist of 4 Es, A, I, O and N – not at all friendly!

As for the clues – let me start by saying that (perhaps for the wrong reasons) 22d was super, a real smile-raiser. A couple I thought were pretty dodgy – 10a is convoluted and one part of it too subtle (to the point of potentially misleading), while 17d turns an uncommon meaning into a weak cryptic definition. Elsewhere there were some good moments but there were also several chestnuts, which are great for the newer solver except that the newer solver is more likely to be tackling the other puzzle. I found that the interspersed selection of card games didn’t help with the solve – indeed I only noticed them at the end!

Despite a few moments of torture this was a pretty quick solve, but at the end of it I really didn’t feel that I’d enjoyed the experience. Let’s hope I’m wrong and that the rest of you gained far more pleasure. The four-star difficulty rating I’ve given it is based on the fact that I suspect many solvers will find it difficult to break into the four corners, and that the four linking answers will prove to be troublesome.

Favourite clues, for me at least, are shown in blue.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.
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DT 26150

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26150

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

It’s Friday and Giovanni produces what is the highlight of the week for many solvers. I’ve given this four stars for difficulty mainly because of 3d and, especially, 24d. How did you find it? – comments, as always, are most welcome.
The answers, should you find my hints even more confusing than the clues :D, can be found between the curly brackets beneath the relevant clue. Just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal.

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DT 26145

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26145

Take a Bow, Gilbert Burrows –

a full analysis by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This was more the sort of puzzle that I like to tackle on a Saturday with some good cluing and unusual words and Cephas certainly seems to have upped the ante on recent weeks. That said, the only clue I would have an issue with as unfair is probably the one that some will enjoy the most – 15 down. To me the answer is what I would describe as one step away from the definition, and that makes it too clever for its own good. Had the answer been “Sleep Music”, if such a thing existed, I would be raving about it, but the real answer “sheet music” is one step from that and in my book unfair.

However, I really liked 21 down, 6 down and 11 across. My Latin master at school, Gilbert Burrows used to expound upon unusual words and their origins and meanings and one of them was “peculator” meaning a sinner, derived from the Latin verb ‘pecco’, meaning to sin. It’s taken almost 40 years for the word to be needed, but there it was last Saturday. I am sure if GSB was doing the Telegraph puzzle on his cloud up above, he’d have had a wry smile.

Feel free to have your say on the puzzle below, and don’t forget to rate it with the star system.

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Birthday

Big Dave’s Telegraph Crossword Blog celebrates its first birthday today!

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One year ago today I set up this blog, with absolutely no idea of where it would be after its first year – from 26 page views on the first full day to 4,500 ~ 5,000 today it has been an incredible journey.… Continue reading

Toughie 293

Toughie No 293 by Osmosis

A Tale of Four Corners

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment *****

Tilsit had another overlong stay at the hospital this morning so I have dragged myself away from my year-end accounts to solve and review this puzzle.  Having seen earlier plaintive cries in the daily review comments from those who were stuck, I was expecting the worst, but it wasn’t that bad.  I whizzed through the NW corner, gave up on the NE, sailed through the SW  and struggled a bit with SE before finally returning to tidy up the NE.  As I progressed I realised that younger solvers might well have heard of the pop group formerly fronted by the late, much lamented,  Sid Barrett but could well struggle with the entertaining Ms Bryan, a lady who was still performing the splits on stage while well into her seventies.

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DT 26149

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26149

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

I quite enjoyed this, a reasonable challenge and some fun. Some nice straightforward clues to ease you into the crossword, then a nice mix of other clues to keep you guessing for a time. The only issues I have with this are the usual couple of dodgy anagram indicators.

If you highlight the space between the curly brackets you can read the answer or alternatively you can derive the answer from the hints and explanations. All comments are appreciated.
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