January 29, 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

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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