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.

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96 Comments

  1. Spindrift
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    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. Franny
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    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. crypticsue
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

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

  4. Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks BD, so much for ‘cloud computing’!

  5. Shrike1313
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Act of God?

  6. Nora
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It’s tempting to send the explanation of the problem to the Plain English web site!

    • Spindrift
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I recognise the words as being English in origin but after that….

      • Nora
        Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        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.

        • mary
          Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          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 :-)

          • crypticsue
            Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

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

            • mary
              Posted August 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

              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

          • Nora
            Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

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

        • crypticsue
          Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          BD has put a link to my scan – see comment 16 below.

      • Nick
        Posted August 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        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.

      • Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        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!

  7. Tilsit
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    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.

  8. mary
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Incredible! :-(

  9. Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    @Nora: I was thinking the same.

  10. Spindrift
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Rufus is in fine fettle over at the Grauniad!

  11. Qix
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    There’s something ironic about “the cloud” being disabled by lightning.

    • Nick
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

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

      Nick :smile:

    • Posted August 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Ditto

  12. Mike in Amble
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    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

  13. mary
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

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

  14. mary
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

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

  15. Posted August 8, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I like the way one of the adverts below the post says ‘Electricity Insurance’!

  16. kieran
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

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

    • Posted August 8, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink
      • Lea
        Posted August 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        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

      • Nora
        Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        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.

      • megansgran
        Posted August 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        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

  17. Andy G
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    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.

  18. Tonyp17
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    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;.

    • Qix
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      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.

  19. gazza
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    The site is now back (don’t know for how long!).

    • mary
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      thanks Gazza -:)

    • mary
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      It is still stuck on yesterdays puzzle though!

      • Posted August 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Mary

        The home page is still stuck – select “Latest Puzzles” from the second menu row.

        • mary
          Posted August 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          OK thanks Dave :-)

  20. PJ
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    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.

  21. Spindrift
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Gave up & bought the paper much against my better judgement.

  22. Claire
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    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…..

    • Qix
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

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

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

  23. Spindrift
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

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

    • Spindrift
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

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

    • Libellule
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Spindrift,
      Just tried to get my daily fix, and yes its dead again.

    • Libellule
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

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

  24. Posted August 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know about outage, should be outrage. And they have the cheek to charge for the so-called service.

  25. jo mayor
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    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!

    • Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Jo

      There are still a number of problems, but if you try at 10 minute intervals you usually get in.

    • kieran
      Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I can’t get on this morning either. Does anyone have a pdf lying around?

  26. andy
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Hi Kieran
    BD posted the link in comment #1 under 26633

  27. Qix
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:57 am | Permalink

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

    It’s getting ridiculous.

  28. Mike Collins
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    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!

  29. Jo
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    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!

  30. Posted August 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    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.

  31. Jo
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmmm maybe you’re onto something there?

  32. Qix
    Posted September 15, 2011 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    And still it goes on…

    • spindrift
      Posted September 15, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      I logged on at 7:15 & got on straight away. The first time in a long time though…

  33. Mike Collins
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    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.

  34. Patricia Porter
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    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?

    • Posted September 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      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.

  35. crypticsue
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    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

    • Posted September 24, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      All caused by the lightning strike? Most of us never believed that story in the first place and we were right.

      • crypticsue
        Posted September 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        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 :)

        • Posted September 24, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

          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.

          • crypticsue
            Posted September 25, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

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

            • mary
              Posted September 25, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

              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!!

      • Ann Walls
        Posted September 30, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        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”

        • Posted September 30, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          I haven’t been able to get in to the site myself yet – one week to go, and we are counting every day!

        • Jezza
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

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

  36. spindrift
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    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?

  37. Jo
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    SNAFU?? FUBAR?? have I missed something? Maybe you can give me a clue – cryptic preferably ;)

    • Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Try using a search engine like Google – they are too rude to publish here!

  38. Jo
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Ha! Good ol’ Google eh?

  39. Erickenfig
    Posted September 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • R Livett
      Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

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

      • gazza
        Posted October 13, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Hi R Livett – welcome to the blog.

  40. John Scarrott
    Posted October 12, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

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

    • Posted October 12, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog John

      You have been able to download the puzzles as pdfs from here since last Saturday.

  41. Susan
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    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

  42. Susan
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    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

  43. john m
    Posted November 27, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    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.

    • gazza
      Posted November 27, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Hi john m – welcome to the blog.

    • spindrift
      Posted November 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      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.