June 11, 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 370

Toughie No 370 by Elgar

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

If any of you are about to pick your jaws off the floor after seeing a 2-star difficulty rating, let me just say that from time to time it’s possible to be on the setter’s wavelength from clue 1, and for the answers to flood in with barely a pause. It’s quite rare, but it happens. That was certainly the case here, with nine across answers entered almost without thinking, which of course was an ideal start for filling several downs as well. To be honest I could have reduced the rating to 1 star, but while the answers went in quickly there were occasions when unravelling the wordplay wasn’t straightforward, and as I write this I’m still thinking about 24a and 28a.

Easy as the puzzle is, there are some cracking clues as you’d expect from Elgar, 4d being the pick of the bunch, and the odd bit of signature naughtiness. Another Elgar trademark is the occasional strangeness of surface reading – perhaps a few more than usual in this puzzle.

As ever, my favourite clues are in blue.

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ST 2539 – Even better than most Sundays

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2539

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Watch out for the multi-word definitions in this one – among the def+wordplay clues, only 17A, 27A, 7D and 13D have one-word definitions. Watch out for lots of other good stuff too – three &lit/all-in-one clues, a 13-letter hidden word, and some classic examples of the trick of making you look for synonyms of words when you don’t need to. This is one for aspiring setters to keep as an example of what they should be aiming at – apart from the highlights, every clue has a convincing surface reading and every cryptic reading makes perfect logical sense.

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DT 26264

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26264

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I took longer than I should have to do this puzzle by Giovanni (partly explained by my putting in the wrong answer for 5a) because in retrospect I don’t think that it’s one of his more difficult ones. What’s your opinion? Leave us a comment and please remember to vote by clicking on one of the stars at the bottom.
As always, the answers are hidden between the brackets under the clues. Just highlight the space between the brackets to reveal them.

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