July 9, 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Church Times

Church Times – Crosswords

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Many of you will be aware that the Church Times publishes an excellent crossword each week.  These are edited by Don “Giovanni” Manley, and I thought you would like to know that this week’s puzzle, #1067, is by Peter “Cephas” Chamberlain and can be accessed here.… Continue reading

Toughie 386

Toughie No 386 by Petitjean


+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A generous smattering of F1 references in this offering from Petitjean, and my first review of a puzzle by this setter. It was difficult to pinpoint an accurate BD rating and 4/4 may be a compromise. I have a little knowledge of motorsport so some answers were easier for me than they may be for others; combined with some obscure answers elsewhere you may find it warrants 5 stars for Difficulty. For Enjoyment I was close to giving it 5 stars as there are some lovely clues, and certainly no quibbles worth dwelling on. Perhaps what took the edge off was the frequent use of initial/last letters for the sake of tying in with the theme – when it’s not done well it looks a little desperate, and in fairness that’s not the case in this puzzle.

Immediately noticeable, on printing the puzzle, was a clutch of long clues. For me they ran to about ¼ of a second page (hence my brilliantly observed and impossibly clever choice of title) whereas previous puzzles have always fitted on one page with a little spare space above the footer. I’ve been called “Mr Short and Snappy” before – hopefully it was a reference to my cryptic clues – so very long clues can feel like a bit of a slog. But again, as with the initial/last letters thing, the long clues here didn’t seem tortured – in most cases they’re actually very smoothly presented.

I’ve highlighted my favourite clues in blue – please let us know about your favourites too.

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.

Continue reading “Toughie 386”

ST 2543

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2543

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It’s the fourth of July and the puzzle is from a setter who likes to do themes and has worked in the US for the last decade or so. So no surprise that there’s stuff about Independence Day and the USA, past and present. I guess this is a pretty wide thematic range, but I’m still impressed by the 3 very relevant 15-letter acrosses and a grid where the effect of the thematic material is small – the single extra black square in the top and bottom rows. (The 3-word columns at the edges don’t matter as there are only 29 grid entries.

Continue reading “ST 2543”

DT 26288

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26288

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It’s not the easiest Giovanni today, but it’s entertaining as usual. Let us know what you think of it in a comment.
As always the answers are concealed between the curly brackets under the clues. Drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal.

Continue reading “DT 26288”