Outage at Telegraph Puzzles – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Outage at Telegraph Puzzles

Telegraph Puzzles Update

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Apparently the server used by Telegraph Puzzles was struck by lightning.  Last night Phil McNeill left a comment on the ST 2600 post, which I have copied here:

Hello all. Telegraph crossword editor here.

Many apologies to all Telegraph Puzzles website subscribers for the crash today, which is not yet resolved. It appears that it was due to an explosion after lightning struck the Amazon ‘cloud’ server in Ireland which hosts Telegraph Puzzles along with many other websites. Amazon’s latest announcement says:

Performance issues: Connectivity issues
07 August 2011 23:01
A quick update on what we know so far about the event. What we have is preliminary, but we want to share it with you. We understand at this point that a lightning strike hit a transformer from a utility provider to one of our Availability Zones in Dublin, sparking an explosion and fire. Normally, upon dropping the utility power provided by the transformer, electrical load would be seamlessly picked up by backup generators. The transient electric deviation caused by the explosion was large enough that it propagated to a portion of the phase control system that synchronizes the backup generator plant, disabling some of them. Power sources must be phase-synchronized before they can be brought online to load. Bringing these generators online required manual synchronization. We’ve now restored power to the Availability Zone.

I’m sorry to say we don’t know when TP will be back, but some other websites have been restored, so hopefully not too long.

Best wishes
Phil McNeill
Telegraph Puzzles Editor

As Libellule (and most of the rest of us) relies on the website for his copy of the puzzle, this morning’s review will be somewhat delayed.

96 comments on “Outage at Telegraph Puzzles

  1. Thanks BD! I thought it was just my PC that had thrown a “wendy. I do hope the Grauniad has not been affected as that would really scupper my elevenses…

  2. Yes, thanks BD for keeping us up to date. I was just back from my holiday and looking forward to my Monday puzzle, but now I know what happened I’ll just have to go and pay a ridiculous sum for the paper edition.

  3. I have just sent a scanned copy of the paper to Libellule so hopefully he will be able to review it.

      1. It’s the way they put them together that makes it into a language I don’t recognise.

        I now have withdrawal symptoms – no crossword and I’m starting to have the shakes.

        1. Nora, Dave has set up a link further down at comment 16 , you should be able to download it from this, hope the shakes improve or not as the case may be :-)

          1. Mary, Do you think we should get out more?? :D My excuse is that I am putting off doing the dusting. What’s yours?

            1. I think maybe you’re right :-) I’ve finished the dusting and the hoovering and the washing and watered all the garden, so I’ve run out of excuses, so here I am :-D

          2. Thanks Mary. I just scrolled down and found the link. What a relief. I hate to miss my daily crossword fix!

      2. I think if they calibrate the transponders and propagate through the utility quantumiser, then the level of cross-polarity will be significantly disestablished – enough to recover the re-synchronisation of the phase modulator with concomitant reversal of the availability zone’s tertiary transformer.

        Surely someone could have pointed that out before?

        Kirk Out.

      3. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I worked in computing – for 30+ years.
        Pommers often says “that sounds a little like English, but I can’t understand a word you’ve just said”.
        Well, I have to agree with you all that this is just gobbledegook even to me!

  4. Rufus fans can go to the Guardian crossword and FT crossword sites for a fix of their hero. Both are free to download, though you may need to register.

    1. Ha! Marvellous… thank you Qix, you’ve brightened my afternoon with that one…

      Nick :smile:

  5. Isn’t it comforting to know that it is not your computer or mind that is not coping well this morning? Thanks BD for your help. :D

  6. Not knowing anything about these things just wondering how the amazon website is working if the amazon ‘cloud’? has been ‘hit’ ??? :-D

  7. Ah well there’s always the weather, nice and sunny here today so far, now that cloud has been blown away :-D

  8. Any chance of linking to your scanned copy, crypticsue? My Monday morning seems empty without the crossword fix.

      1. Thanks for that BD – I was just about to go out again and get a paper. Didn’t get one after the gym this morning as thought I would do it online – since it wasn’t CS’s fault that the site went down it must be mine!!

        Will start it now

      2. Thanks Dave. I’ve just commented that, without my daily cryptic, I’m starting to have the DTs (pun intended). I can now enjoy the afternoon.

      3. Thank you Big Dave. Started this at my Gym using their copy of Telegraph. Was looking forward to completing at home online and like others frustrated when cou;dn’t access the website. I now can finish it off….well hopefully

  9. Oh well. At least I can enjoy a hard copy of today’s cryptic in the comfort of a local hostelry, surrounded by fine ales.

  10. Waht a strange arrangement the Telegraph have for hosting Clued Up.

    It seems clear now why you all suffer so often. Perhaps they should have a little more control.

    I rely upon the paper and as a subscriber have an objection to being asked to pay again to access Clued Up;.

    1. If you believe Amazon, their EC hosting should prevent this kind of thing from happening. Sadly it doesn’t.

      Having only one European data centre is short-sighted but not surprising.

  11. Streuth – what a day! Thanks to BD for the tip. I enjoyed doing NTSPP 078 for a change and will save up today’s for the Italian holiday.

  12. My husband has just joined a company that sells (amongst other things) cloud computing services. Should I be worried? Should I check our home insurance against being struck by lightning…..

    1. If he’s working for Amazon I shouldn’t worry.

      Redundancy seems to be one thing that they’re lacking.

  13. I think the hamsters may have escaped overnight as I can’t access the site – AGAIN!

    1. I should have persevated & remembered that this is one of the slowest sites on the web. Panic over!

    2. Looks like its old habit of crashing, restarting, working, crashing etc is whats happening now.

      1. I managed to print a copy of both the cryptic & the toughie so if you let BD have your e-mail I’ll try & forward them to you.

  14. Anyone else still having problems with the site? Takes me several goes to log in then if I try to check an answer the little clock just keeps spinning & nothing happens. It’s been 10 days now – please tell me it’s not my computer!

  15. Did Friday’s back-pager, after a long wait for the page to load, but was unable to submit again.

    It’s getting ridiculous.

  16. I too am completely fed up with the ongoing problems, and lack of updates being posted on the website (when you can actually get to it!) I am seriously considering cancelling my subscription and going with the Times instead. My lunchtime of doing the daily crosswords and sudokus has been completely spoilt!

  17. Like you Mike, am seriously thinking of switching! The Guardian offer cryptic crosswords & loads of other puzzles for free. Think Telegraph site needs to wake up to opposition!

  18. I seriously wonder if the lightning strike is being used as an excuse for a site that has been getting progressively slower for many months. I also doubt if there is a quick fix available.

  19. Well I have given up and joined the Times Crossword Club. Taking a while to get my head around the way the compilers think! Only downside is the lack of sudokus.

  20. Obviously the problems are still ongoing. I have difficulty accessing the site, and after submission of 2 puzzles the wheel keeps spinning when I try to submit another, and I am often out of time for bonus points when it is at last accepted.
    The Save option does not work, and the leaderboard is unaccessible.
    How about a refund?

    1. Welcome to the blog Patricia

      We are all in it together, but it is genearally agreed that more honesty about the problems would have been appreciated.

  21. Just in case you couldn’t get in, there is a message today as follows

    Hello again

    We now have a date by which the IT developers expect to have resolved the “outage” problems: Friday Oct 7.

    I’m afraid that’s a week later than I had hoped, but we had been warned that it could take up to 8 weeks. My hope that it would be over by the end of September was evidently born of eternal optimism. Of course, that date of Oct 7 depends on the fixes being successfully tested before release, so there is still a possibility that it may run into the following week.

    I do hope that you are enjoying the puzzles, when you are able to access the site long enough to complete them.

    Many apologies, as ever, for the ongoing inconvenience.

    Phil McNeill
    Puzzles Editor

      1. More ‘jargon’ today:

        Apologies to all subscribers for the incidents of server overload which are causing sporadic outages (i.e. lack of access). If you experience a problem, it will generally be resolved after a few minutes. The work to correct it is expected to be finished early in October. Thanks for your patience.

        My question is how long is a few minutes? Polite answers on a postcard please :)

        1. Why do they continue to post messages about poor performance on a site that you can’t always access? Surely an email would be more apposite.

          1. And why can you always access it late in the evening but not in the morning when you want to download tthe crossword :(

            1. maybe in that case if they put the next days puzzles on the evening before we could all access them ready for the next day!!

      2. Driving me mad as I just can’t download today’s(30th Sept. 2011) cryptic crossword. Please could you send me a copy? Eternally yours “the very old one”

        1. I managed to get in at 7am for the cryptic, but haven’t managed to get back in since then to get the toughie.

  22. 8 weeks! I would be out of business if I told my clients it would be that long before I could deliver the goods. Not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. And by the way it’s SNAFU again this morning or should that be FUBAR?

  23. I am getting a bit fed up with poor access to the Daily Telegraph puzzle site. The problem has existed for a long time and surell their IT whizkids should have sorted it out by now.

    1. Me too. Sometimes it will reach the site, say “done” and then a blank page. I think a refund in subscriptions is in order.

  24. Well it’s October 15th and mine still loads randomly but not the last 2 days…..WHERES MY CROSSWORD TELEGRAPH?

  25. What on earth is happening to the telegraph clued up section. For years i have subscribed and pull up the Quick, and GK on Sundays, crosswords.
    It has been hit or miss on accessing the crosswords on line for over two months now. Is there any hope and can I get a two month refund of the 30 pounds I pay each yea? Thanks. Susan

  26. Forgot to mention that being in California makes calling the UK a timely event. Anyway this morning got a voicemail advising me to contact them online by entering http://www.telegraph.co.uk/contact. Guess what…..the site is unavailable. Bye bye newspapers I say. Susan

  27. 16 weeks of poor or non-existent service. Would you accept that from any other service company? I think it is time to call my credit card company for a refund. This level of service is so bad that it a close call between total incompetence and downright fraud.
    I urge you all to cancel subscriptions and get the money back from your card company If the issue is not properly resolved in one week from today.

    1. The alternative being to give them £2 or £1.20 for something which has practically nothing worth reading these days….I’ll stick with the web site in the hope that nobody can be this bad for this long.

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