February 12, 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

ST 2522

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2522

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

A puzzle of about average difficulty for me. I think part of the difficulty is created by longish definitions – there are only 5 single-word ones in this puzzle, compared 11 in the considerably easier Saturday puzzle.
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Toughie 302

Toughie No 302 by Elgar

Yes, but why?

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

With most crosswords – especially those of the harder variety – you can expect to fill in one or two answers without fully understanding the wordplay. For me this must have been some kind of record; certainly one of the quicker fills I’ve done, but with around half a dozen clues I couldn’t unravel. Until I went back in for a closer look, 10a, 26a, 2d, 3d, 11d, 19d and 23d had me flummoxed and there were a couple I wasn’t absolutely sure I’d got right until I saw the solution grid.

Big Dave came to the rescue with the explanations for some – I’m amazed that he worked them out because some of the clueing liberties taken are close to outrageous. I can’t use that as a reason to mark down the enjoyment; in all honesty my Telegraph solving career is still in its infancy and not all of its wiles are fully ingrained yet. But I didn’t find the clues particularly convincing and some of their surfaces felt almost random.

So, a pretty tough one I think. I’ve shown my favourite clues in blue – let me know which ones floated your barge, or indeed which ones sank your kayak.

You can also add your assessment of the puzzle by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

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DT 26162

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26162

A Year of Living Dangerously

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

Libellule’s comment yesterday, about it being near the anniversary of his first review, prompted me to check through the archives to find my first, and, surprise, it was done on 12/02/2009. So I have been doing these reviews for a year, during which time I must have written about 140 – I’ve certainly learnt a lot and derived a good deal of enjoyment from doing them.
Today’s puzzle from Giovanni is full of cultural references, ranging from grand opera to nursery rhymes, via music hall and children’s comics. I enjoyed it – how about you? Leave us a comment.
As usual, the answer to each clue is hidden between the curly brackets under it. Just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal it.

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