May 14, 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

ST 2535

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2535

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

No great difficulty with this one – just the smooth surfaces and fair clues that we expect. The grid consisting entirely of 5, 7, and 9 letter words probably helps to make it easy – these are the bread and butter of 15×15 grid-fill.

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Toughie 354

Toughie No 354 by Elgar

The girls at 45

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

Well, this was a struggle – but an immensely satisfying one. I don’t expect total agreement with my star ratings, but it seems likely that many of you will call it either 4/5 or 5/4. The difficulty came from clever clueing rather than obscurity – in fact there was only one bit (a wordplay component) I needed to look up.

It took a long time to get going, with only four answers placed on my first run through, but in the end, when I looked back on it, my very slow solve was down to absolutely fair deception from the setter. There aren’t really any LOL moments but plenty of “Oh, you clever bugger”. There was some extra help when I noticed the likelihood of four symmetrically placed girls’ names and I wondered if the grid contained any further thematic material, but I haven’t spotted anything so far. Another thing I noticed was a generous smattering of modern phrases and colloquialisms which certainly helped to give the puzzle an air of freshness and originality.

Favourite clues are in blue.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts on the puzzle. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

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DT 26240

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26240

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have a typical Giovanni today, a good mixture of clues but nothing too exciting. Let us know your views in a comment.
For new readers, the answers are hidden between the curly brackets under the relevant clues. Just drag your cursor through the space between the brackets to reveal the solution.

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