ScrewedUp News – Jan 2014 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ScrewedUp News – Jan 2014

ScrewedUp News – Jan 2014

Edition 26

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Those of you who have been with us for a while may remember ScrewedUp News.  The last edition was published in June 2010, and the time has come for its renaissance.

Please use this post for complaints about the Telegraph Puzzles website.  From today any comments added to other posts will be transferred here.

I have been assured that the pdfs of the puzzles will be available, for the next few days at least, from the following link:

Today’s Puzzles

110 comments on “ScrewedUp News – Jan 2014

  1. Just thought I’d use this today’s posting.
    The DT site has come back but, repeat, but, doesn’t work.
    The litle clock goes round and round and round and round…….
    And the link from the E-mail sent to you when you sign on to change the new password , if you so wish, doesn;t work either.
    DT IT is beyond a joke.

    1. It’s totally inconsistent. I logged in this morning, it had remembered my login & password, it allowed me to print off & even let me access previous puzzles. So no complaints here [yet].

      Don’t ring the “helpdesk” as nobody answers but here goes anyway ~ 0800 316 6977 or 01622 335 030. Good luck!

    2. Yip, same here, tried to log on using my existing password, no joy, have emailed them twice to ask for a new password, no email has been forthcoming. Thought then that I’d get round it by setting up a free trial, but that does not allow you to select your address from the list given once the postcode is inserted – so that doesn’t work either. Absolutely ridiculous. Have now been to the (free) Guardian website for my daily fix.

        1. Thanks Big Dave. Situation is now actually worse than when the site was down – at least then there was a link to the pdf files. I only renewed my subscription to the Telegraph on 21st November – and they managed to take the payment twice, so that aspect not without its issues also. Think I got one day before the website fell over, so, that’s pretty much nothing for my money so far. I don’t know why the password reminder is not automatic – it actually looks as if somebody has to manually issue the email – which I still don’t have, roughly 4 hours after requesting it. They really are pushing their luck now, I am not a happy bunny.

          1. I presumed the password reminder was automatic, silly me. I first requested a reminder 24 hours ago and have asked for 4 more. I can’t access the remainder of my subscription and I certainly won’t be renewing. Once the PDFs end, I’ll be gone.

            1. I have asked twice for a new password, more than 24 hours have elapsed and I have yet to hear from them – except to send me an email offering a £10 Amazon voucher and telling me that I will be sent a temporary password upon ‘first logging on’ to the site. I should be so lucky. They appear to be aware that there are ‘problems’ so should by now have the link to the PDFs on their website. As it is, they are relying on people knowing about this website in order to access what they have paid for. Not good enough.

  2. I was really pleased to see the site up this morning. Then less than pleased to find my password had expired. Temporarily mollified when they sent a temporary password to allow access. Now INCANDESCENT because I can’t change my password!!!
    Does anyone know how to contact someone who can put this right, please?

      1. Ditto!
        The pattern seems to be:
        Oh, goody. Back to normal.
        Your password has “expired”. We will email you a temporary password.
        30 minutes pass.
        1 hour passes.
        Email Telegraph to complain.
        30 minutes pass.
        Telegraph’ ‘I Speak Your Weight Machine’ replies.
        Leave to stew for 24 hours
        Still not password and no reply to previous email so email again this time asking how long one has to wait before either suing for breach of contract (I’ve paid to get in here, remember) or reporting DT to Trading Standards Office.
        30 minutes pass.
        Telegraph’ ‘I Speak Your Weight Machine’ replies, this time whingeing about “high contact volumes”.

      2. I’m finally back online, largely thanks to the help I received from Daniella, Phil McNeill’s assistant, and the long-suffering Alan Edwards in Customer Services.

        1. Alan is such a gem, I had wanted him for a toy boy the last time he was so helpful. I was thinking of contacting him again but reckoned he was snowed under with people wanting help.

  3. Well our subscription ran out while the site was down so clearly didn’t renew. Paid again this morning but not letting me access :( so frustrating-can’t believe we’re paying for the privilege of being so messed about!!

      1. My old password doesn’t work either. Requesting a new one has given instant response – 3 times, but the link in the email doesn’t work. Sadly entering the site the old fashioned way using the new passwords has not worked yet.

        Any chance of you getting pdf versions pro-tem, BD?


    1. John,

      Exactly my problem too… I guess I will try Dave’s advice and request a new password. However I am not holding my breath.

  4. It’s worked fine for me this morning. Solved today’s back-pager on-line and submitted to check I’d got it all correct (it found a typo in 1a) and then I successfully copied the clues off the print page for today’s blog.

    You can only search the archive by puzzle number. If you try a date it doesn’t find anything.

    1. 55 days to be precise. I got £2.99 refunded after contacting customer services . Sh#t! This should have been a reply to Brian.

    2. Pommers,
      As far as I know the site is not interactive yet so how do you submit for checking? (which is really the thing I miss the most)

      1. The site is working perfectly for me. Done both the back page and Toughie on line. It’s not the bit where oyu can get the PDF download but the original site. Give it a try.

          1. No problems here. I can access via IE (more print options) and Chrome. I can print off and I can see previous puzzles. How weird that it’s OK for some but not others.

            1. A word from the DT would be helpful, apart from the routine message on 3/1. Thanks to Pommers advice I have now accessed the puzzle site but, like others,I am waiting for the password that never comes. So, back to the printed PDF

  5. I get Incorrect User Name or Password and have requested a new one. I’m amazed that they have the cheek to continue charging for it. What about the lost subscriptions over – what was it? – 6 weeks?

    My suspicion is that it was outsourced to a company that went bust. The Telegraph had no access to the source code so the whole thing had to be redeveloped. Does anyone know the inside story?

    1. I contacted customer services back in December and got a 1 month refund (£2.50).

      Unprompted, I got a second month refunded about 3 weeks later.

      In other news, I had the incorrect username/password message. I requested a new password and got one almost immediately. Used it, logged in and changed password – no problems. Logged in this morning – all good …

      … so far ;-)

  6. A general question – is there any accurate information on the status of the web site? I can’t log in, I keep “requesting” a new password but have received nothing in my e-mail, and the backup PDF version is still available (thankfully). Is anyone faring any better? Thanks.

    [Comment thread moved to here from DT 27388. BD]

    1. Hi Senf

      See the new post at the top of the home page – ScrewedUp News. Lots of comment there already.

        1. I have to request a new password each time, when I’m in I change the password and save it but next time I try to get in I have to request a new one again!!!

  7. The experiences seem to be somewhat random. I logged in yesterday, got the ‘password expired’ message and and e-mailed temporary password came through virtually instantaneously. Had no problem changing the password to something memorable (click the ‘My Account’ tab at the top of the page, then the ‘update my account details’ link in the first paragraph of text.)

    I seem to have a problem getting the ‘remember me’ function to work, but haven’t yet worked out whether that is the site or a setting on my computer (Windows 7 and Firefox).

    On the other hand, I tried logging in on my wife’s Android tablet last night, and couldn’t get past the front page. although I appeared to be logged in there, every time I tried clicking a ‘play puzzles’ tab or button I got the ‘you have to be a subscriber to play’ message – and I had made sure to log off the main computer, so wasn’t trying to get two goes for the price of one!

    1. The remember me function is a cookie so if you don’t have then enabled it won’t work.

      Pommette can log in as me at the same time as I’m logged is so you can get 2 goes for the price of one!

  8. Pleased to see the site up this morning, tried to log in and got the password suspended email message. Logged in with new password, changed password (all on iPad) Logged in on laptop with password I had changed, all fine, completed Cryptic and Quick all fine. Printed off toughie which arrived with no squares on it just numbers, possibly a lack of ink problem
    BTW I got £5 refund but complained at no refund over the previous outage

  9. I had the same password problems but then got a display advising that my subscription had run out it hasn’t of course!. I phoned the help desk and was advised that there was a general problem and that they were working on it. I was then promised a refund and emailed a link to the PDF version which has enabled me to print the last two day’s puzzles.

  10. at least at the moment, although I have to request a new password each time, I am getting one sent immediately ‘touch wood’ !!!

  11. So all this time with a temporary solution. They sent a £5 refund. Site appeared to be back today, but password expired! Will send an email for reset SHORTLY. 6 hours ago. Is the Telegraph definition of SHORTLY another 6 or 7 weeks.

    Even tried “forgotten my password” and expecting an email for a reset. One hour later – NOTHING!

    1. Tried the “forgotten my password” trick as well — three times! I daren’t do it again in case I end up with four different passwords and none of them work!

      1. I’ve done it again, from 3 different browers, wondering if it was browser dependent. But no, still nothing. Any you might be right, end up with 3 passwords, none of which will work.

  12. I can log on at home and at work (IE and Firefox respectively) but because I had two months’ refund of subscriptions, it now thinks that my subscription has expired (which it hasn’t) and that I must rejoin. I sent an email two days ago but……

    Why should I want to pay more to rejoin something that I already have a subscriptioin for but doesn’t work properly – my main reason for joining in the first place was so that I could get the Sunday and Christmas Puzzles, and any on days when I don’t work so that I don’t have to drive 2 miles to the shop to buy the paper.

    1. It’s not as though the ‘service’ ran seamlessly before. There were often puzzles missing, mostly on Sundays. I’ve long supposed that the Crosswords/Puzzles section is left to ‘the lad’. If they’re going to charge for it they should provide the goods consistently. At the risk of stating the obvious, the Telegraph isn’t the paper it used to be.

    2. I too am told my subscription has expired (or has been cancelled!) and as I was told I had been given two months refund, it shouldn’t have.
      I have sent two emails asking them to rectify the situation but have so far only had the auto-acknowledgement.
      The problem will come when they cease to post “today’s” crossword.
      Surely they don’t expect me to pay again.

    1. Thanks for that Tony. We have published that link a few times and I’ve added it to this post. I’ll try and let you know when this service is discontinued.

    2. Thanks Tony you’re a star!!
      Was going to ask if anyone on the blog could post a PDF link, (is that what it is?) seem to remember that’s what happened the last time we were “locked out”.
      I am still waiting for a response, apart from the “we got your moan & will get back you you” one. Have paid our money (subscription lapsed during outage, but still getting incorrect username or password message). Was tearing hair out but now at least can get puzzle again. Thanks again Tony, will same link work tomorrow??

  13. I’ve just had an email from a nice man (you’ll see why in a min) at Customer Services, Telegraph Media Group. (Alan Edwards – see BD’s post above) Big apologies and a new password which he used to log in as me with no problems before sending it to me. I have used to log in. The system now believes I have a subscription and I can go into the puzzles and solve them on line.

    It’s a miracle!

    1. I too have just received this, but they still think my subscription has expired – so no site access yet.

      1. I too am about to be the proud owner of a £10 voucher. I think I might get it framed….

    2. Yes – so has my husband. I don’t really understand why – he didn’t ask for it and surely it costs them more to do this than to refund the measly amounts that they have been doing only for the people who have kicked up a fuss and asked for a refund.

    3. I have received the theoretical voucher but not the code to be able to use it.

      I still can’t get my password for the interactive on-line puzzles. Is anybody still waiting and has anyone discovered how to get it?

  14. I’ve just logged on and have had to have my password reset.

    I use an Ipad and the text overlays the password box – a bit amateurish!

  15. Well it all worked OK for me this morning (chancing my arm saying so, I know) but there weren’t any numbers or titles on the sudoku (I print them off for ‘the management’) Took me a while to remember how to print them off too!

  16. Does anyone know what’s happening to the prize money for the weekly prize puzzles that we have had no opportunity to enter during the “maintenance period”?

    At the very least it should be given to charity – better to pull multiple entries out of the hat this week or something

      The site is NOT working.
      I just went back to the crossword after having saved all but one answer and to put in my last answer, and guess what? I can’t get uin, the litle clock just goes round and round and round and round and round.
      Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
      But I shan’t hold my breath.

  17. I have a login that works, but…

    any attempt to open a crossword or sudoku results in LOADING forever…

    I cannot get the interactive puzzle for entering…

    anyone else have this problem?

    I believe I saw a blog saying that submit wasn’t working. Well I can’t even get
    to open.

    Since some people seem to be having most functionality and are rushing to
    submit all 6-weeks-worth of puzzles…

    why can’t I enter even one?

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment so this one required moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

    2. Same here, Robert, now, the little clock goes round and round and round and round against its black background.

  18. I probably being way over optimistic (given many are still struggling to get on to the web-site) but has anyone managed to get the crossword to download to an app on their phone/tablet?

    I’ve managed to get a new password issued and to log-on to the website. I was hoping that would mean the app on my iphone would start working again. However, I get validation failed – credentials not recognised. Has anyone else tried to do this yet and had any better success?

  19. “Sorry We’ve been away for so long”
    I should cocoa!
    Hurrah, now up and running, able to save or submit on screen.
    But, I’m on tenterhooks!

  20. I also have had problems. Firstly it said that my password had expired and that I would be receiving a new one (still waiting >10 hours later).

    When I try to log in now I get a username/password unknown message on IE, Firefox and Chrome. I also received a £10 Amazon voucher. I will be complaining by email tomorrow whatever happens to get at least 2 months subscription back. I noticed somebody earlier said that £2.50 was a months subs – I make it £2.99…

    Anyway I live near a Waitrose and I have a Waitrose Card so I can get a ‘free’ copy of the genuine newpaper for free (and also a cup of coffee) when I spend over £5 – which in Waitrose is easy: it’s a couple of apples !!!

    1. It was me that got £2.50 refund.

      I paid £30 last March for a subscription renewal – I think new joiners pay more?

      Or maybe the subscription went up after I paid?

  21. Many of the problems reported above are old problems. Have we waited for nearly 8 weeks to get the software rolled back to an earlier version?

      1. I’ve never understood why they do that. Who do they think they are kidding? All I can assume is that they get some sort of thrill from seeing their names at the top of a list (probably the only time they gain any kind of prominence). The words sad, pathetic and empty lives come to mind.

  22. I’ve had unimpeded access to the Puzzles Site for two days now. I am using the newly issued password, not wishing to upset the applecart by reverting to my old password, keeping everything crossed. I agree with BD regarding Robr, he/she has managed to complete the Toughie today in 2m 14s. It takes normal people longer than that to read the clues, let alone work out the answers and type them in.

  23. I also had subscription taken twice just before the site went down. staff implied it was my fault. tried like many to login this morning, wont accept password or send me a new one. the ten pound amazon voucher hasnt arrived and is a total joke given the time spent chasing them. they should refund whole annual subscription. this website should not be this hard from IT standpoint. thx Big Dave for todays link. Victoria

  24. Asked for a new password last night, found it waiting this morning. Logged in, changed my password and printed today’s cryptic. Cue Twilight Zone music!!
    I can’t help wondering if I’m just being softened up for some disaster tomorrow.

  25. Having signed up to the Telegraph iPad edition at Christmas I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to subscribe to the puzzles so I can continue doing the Toughie. It’s impossible to complete the registration process so I’m unable to get onto the site. At least I’m spared the frustration of then trying to actually access the puzzles that most of you are having. I’m now crossing my fingers that the glitches are properly fixed BEFORE the pdf versions are withdrawn. I’ve a feeling I might be having to go cold turkey though. I hope this site keeps up the contact with & pressure on the folk who are in charge of all this & let all the addicts continue to have our daily fix.

  26. I quote:

    “Telegraph Puzzles throws down the ultimate gauntlet for even the most quick witted of puzzlers, with a plethora of mind-bending challenges.”

    …and that’s just the registration process.

    However, the lady I spoke to on the phone just now was lovely. Keep on taking the pdf alternatives.


  27. I am on my second “fix” ..This time they did tell me the temp password expires in 24 hours and i barely make it as i am in the US. I managed to get one to print then tried again to login..then at the bottom of the email I received, there is the caveat to logout before you do anything.. log back in and change password..well I had screwed up the sequence for sure..they should have warned at the beginning of the email..and I should have read the whole thing. Hopefully, I will hear back from them again….. Good luck to the rest of you! docdi

  28. Anyone still having trouble with the online puzzle page? They automatically took my subscription on Dec.10 th but are still telling me my subscription has expired or been cancelled. I’m getting no response from e-mailing so now I have resorted to facebook. I willwait and if I have any luck with that.

  29. Failed to login on Wednesday – got incorrect password message. Emailed them immediately and received nothing until Friday when I got an automated response – but NO password nor any info on compensation.

    A total shambles – don’t think I will renew when my sub expires.

    Also found out that subscription to Telegraph Digital pack doesn’t include access to Telegraph Puzzles even though welcome email from Telegraph Media Group said “Unlimited access to The Telegraph website”. Is this a breach of Trades Description Act

  30. Well I am embarrassed. I wrote to the Telegraph asking for a refund only to be told that in fact my last subscription had not gone through but my access had not been discontinued so apparently I have been getting access for free for a long time. When I checked I can only find that I paid a sub well over a year ago!!!!! However the down side is that they say the site will not accept new subscriptions at present and they will let me know when it does.

    Why I did not get some sort of email to say my sub had not gone through I will never know. There is nothing in my saved emails and it would still be there if I had received it. I thought subs went through automatically, especially as some people are saying theirs has been taken recently even with the troubles on the site.

    So I am still using the PDF and spending who knows how much on extra ink printing them off every day. At least it seems to be available early in the day now on a regular basis which has somewhat mollified me.

    I am very grateful for this site and the help it gives and would like to say thank you to everyone who contributes on here to give help with the puzzles and to Dave for all his efforts in hosting the site.


  31. Is anybody still waiting for their password or discovered how to get it so as to have interactive online puzzles?

    1. Hi collywobs the site keeps forgetting my password and each day I open it I have to get a new password and sign in again!!!

  32. The problems continue – for me at least.

    On Thursday I got an email from the Telegraph offering me a £10 Amazon voucher as a hard-done-by subscriber. I have been busy at work so only got round to completing the on-line form yesterday. I also decided to try to log in to the site for the first time since the troubles began.

    At around 15:00 yesterday I put my username and password in. They were accepted, but I got a message saying I would be sent a temporary password. As of now (11:00 Saturday) I have not received this and now when I try to log in (using my old credentials) it tells me that I am not recognised.

    I have tried the “forgot your password” link, which allows me to enter my email address and then gives me a cheery message saying “A new password has been sent to you” – but nothing….


    Two questions:
    a) Does anyone know the best email address / phone number to complain to (one that works); and
    b) Can anyone give me a pdf of today’s puzzle please…


    1. You will have mail in a minute

      According to the Puzzles website the phone lines are only open Monday to Friday.


      Telegraph Enquiries
      Victory House
      Meeting House Lane
      ME4 4TT

      0800 316 6977

      (If for any reason you can’t use the 0800 number, please call 01622 335030. This will be charged at normal rates)

      Please note that phone lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. (All incoming and outgoing calls are recorded for training, quality control and for confirming orders and information.)

  33. January 18th, still unable to log in . Used the new password they gave me and i’ m now being told that my subscription has expired or been cancelled and it was automatically taken from my bank account on Dec.10th ( which I thiink was a bit of a cheek considering the mess the site has been in for such a long time now) I’ve e-mailed them,I’ve contacted them via facebook since the site has supposedly been restored & I’m not getting anywhere. As a result of e-mailing them before this so called restoration they gave me a 2 month refund but that does not add up to the £10 voucher some subsciribers have received. Well and truly disgruntled.

  34. Still after successfully signing on and clicking ‘play’ the little clock against a black background just goes round and round and round…………
    Also, I get my Crosswords from a Stand Alone .com.
    They said that they can’t get the DT yet until many issues are resolved.

  35. Finally I received a response to my complaint ( though no mention of refund) telling me that my access had been restored and I could log in with my user name and password. Not so. My password was rejected and my request for a new password (6th since the site was restored) has been ignored. But the wonderful Phil McNeil has been sending me zip files of the next day puzzles via e-mail daily. I also have the link to the pdfs. but I do very much appreciater Phil’s willingness to personally take care of subscribers who reach out to him.

  36. I too, although having an automatically renewed membership fee removed from my account, am still unable to access the crossword site in an acceptable manner and rely on a PDF link!
    On managing to get through to DT early last week I was told that at least 1700 complaints had been received of unresolved issues! It is now over 2 months since this problem arose. I have several times sent an acceptable email address requesting a temporary password and not received a response! The pleasant but unable to assist telephonist also tried to get a temporary password sent but to no avail.
    What also irks is seeing the new head of the Telegraph group talk of the wealth of digital talent at the DT! I am truly glad they are not organising an event at a brewery because they have already taken the unnamed fluid.

  37. Has anyone actually received one of the promised Amazon vouchers. I got my access restored to the puzzle site 4 weeks ago and with the password email was given a link to get a code for the £10 voucher. Since then ZILCH, despite three emails to telegraphenquiries and two telephone calls – latest call was particularly infuriating as they told me they just didn’t know when vouchers would be sent even though original email promised it would be sent within 7 days!!

    1. Went on Amazon before the bugger disappeared into the ether & bought the DVD of Sherlock 3. However as of this morning its SNAFU!

  38. For the last 3 to 4 weeks, I have been unable to log into the crossword site using the “remember me” function. I have been in touch with the DT customer services who advise that my problem is not the fault of the website but probably a local issue. However, I am at a loss as to what to do; all other sites I use with a “remember me” function work ok but the DT crossword site stubbornly refuses to co-operate! Cookies on my PC are enabled and I have even reset my IE8 to original factory settings but all to no avail. Anyone have the answer?

    1. Welcome to the blog Terrence

      The standard of software developed for the Telegraph website has been at best poor and at worst disastrous. There’s not a lot that the Telegraph staff can do about it other than cancelling the contract with the developers and starting again, which they are unable or reluctant to do. Meanwhile we all have to put up with the idiosyncrasies.

  39. I am having the same problem – the solution used to be removal of Telegraph cookies and Telegraph from IE Favourites. I have tried both of these together but the problem persists


  40. For those still experiencing problems with the site, you have been warned!

    Issues with Telegraph Puzzles have now been resolved, and we look forward to welcoming you back on your favourite puzzles website.
    The free PDF puzzles service on this page will stop on Tuesday 18th March 2014. If you are still experiencing any login problems, please contact our Customer Care team on 0800 316 6977.
    If you are new to Telegraph Puzzles, please join us and enjoy access to a wider range of word and number puzzles.

  41. Today I logged in to the puzzle site and got the following message: “Cancelled or Expired subscription.”
    I paid through WorldPay last month (I’m in the U.S.) and have their email indicating this, as well as a line on my credit card statement indicating payment to the Telegraph.

    It will probably be a month or more before this gets resolved, if it ever does. I almost gave up trying to get my account operational after all the previous trouble on the site (that took a least a month).

    1. Welcome to the blog HalBro

      The incompetence of those setting up and maintaining the site knows no bounds. It it wasn’t for the sterling efforts of the support team the situation would be a lot worse.

      1. My access was restored today, so it wasn’t the long delay I expected. I received the following email:

        Subject: Telegraph Puzzles – Update 22/04/2014
        To: undisclosed-recipients:;

        Re. Telegraph Puzzles Service Interruption

        Please accept our sincerest apologies for the interruption to your Telegraph Puzzles website access, which occurred following a necessary system update.

        We are pleased to confirm this issue was resolved at approximately 10am this morning and you should now find your access has been fully restored.

        Again, we would like to apologise profusely for any inconvenience caused. Should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

        Yours sincerely,

        Telegraph Puzzles Team

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