December 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 486

The 2010 Toughie by Micawber: No 486

Not so much a crossword puzzle, more a topical news quiz!

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

A candidate for, or possibly the, Crossword of the Year. Micawber has managed to cram a number of topical news references into this superb puzzle. The blue highlighter has been used extensively today!

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DT 26437

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26437

Hints and tips by Gnomethang

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

Morning All! Gazza has kindly agreed to vacate the chair for the day so you have the dubious pleasure of me reviewing the final back-page puzzle of the year.
It looks like we are back on track with our regular Friday setter, Giovanni, giving us a nice fun puzzle with a few clues to make you think. It’s good to see the more obscure words being clued in a slightly gentler fashion, 21d for example, is one that you can take a flier at then look up to confirm.

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My new job

Those of you who look at the Times for the Times blog will know that I’ve just started a new job. I can now tell you that I’ve been appointed on a trial basis to edit the crosswords in the Sunday Times. I’m obviously very pleased and know that many of you will be very pleased for me. At this stage there are only a few things to say:

  • A big thank you to Barbara Hall for the help she’s given me during a brief handover period, and to those at the Sunday Times who decided to see whether I can fill this role well.
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DT 26427

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26427

A full review by Crypticsue

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

I was really glad that it was my turn to do the review this week as this very enjoyable crossword was the perfect example of what a prize puzzle should be. My average difficulty rating of 2.5* reflects the fact that it wasn’t a difficult solve for the very experienced solver but with very entertaining clues throughout to keep us amused, so 2*. Slightly more difficult for the less experienced but achievable through cogitation and Mary’s hints, hence the 3*. Thanks to the Saturday Mysteron for a great crossword.

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Toughie 485

Toughie No 485 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I had no real problem with filling in the grid but I had to think hard to work out some of the wordplay. I worked it all out except for 21 down. Big Dave couldn’t help but Gazza and Tilsit came up with the explanation.

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ST 2567

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2567

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Christmas is always special in crossword land, but your Sunday setter has excelled himself here. The central 15-letter answer is “A Christmas Carol”, and there’s other material about 3 different Christmas Carols – Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Good King Wenceslas, and the Dickens book of the same name. And there’s heaps of other Christmas material too – 12 answers by my reckoning. Two things to wonder about: If a puzzle referring to a carol with the words “on the feast of Stephen” was printed on the 19th of December, what’s on the 26th? And if next week’s puzzle is Christmas-related, will he have anything left for next year?

A very Merry Christmas to all readers, bloggers and setters from me – as well as from everyone else here.

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DT 26436

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26436

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

A workmanlike puzzle from today’s mystery setter which is spoilt by the dreadful grid. Not only does it divide into four corners but four of the answers either start or end with two unchecked letters.  The only saving grace is that those four answers are relatively easy to get.

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Toughie 484

Toughie No 484 by Petitjean

The French Connection

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I can’t pretend that I enjoyed this one a great deal (and I don’t think that’s just down to post-Ashes tiredness – well-done to the lads!). There is the usual CluedUp problem of having to hunt around to find the full enumeration for several clues, then we have no less than 13 anagrams to plough through. A bit 15d for me, although Petitjean would probably say “de trop” since he’s started to give his indicators in French! I’m sure that some people will have loved it so let’s have a full range of comments!
This is my last review of 2010 so may I wish everyone a Very Happy New Year – see you all in 2011.

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DT 26435

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26435

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

There is something about having to write a review that can make the little grey solving cells freeze up a bit, but no such problems this morning. Thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable puzzle, with a nice mix of clues, many of which needed you to say something out loud in order to get the correct sense of the word required to obtain the solution, 10a being one example of this.

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Toughie 483

Toughie No 483 by Warbler

Primary Qualities!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

To understand the mini-theme in today’s puzzle, 7 down and 28 across must be solved first. Overall I found the puzzle a bit disappointing, and the reversal clue at 26 across should never have seen the light of day.

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