Reader Survey

Please complete a short survey

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Preliminary results have been very impressive, with responses from about 10% of the estimated readership.
If you haven’t already done so, please complete the survey.  BD


EDIT 24 October, 2017:  The poll has now closed.   To see the results click here.  For a graphic showing the original survey questions click here.

Mr Kitty here.  My last back-page blog included a short survey designed to yield information about the demographics of visitors to that blog. BD has suggested opening it up to all site visitors, so we’re making it available here for several days.  I’d particularly like to get responses from the many visitors to the site who haven’t posted comments. 

The survey has four simple multiple-choice questions and it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to complete.   It’s all approximate, so just bung in whatever answer feels most appropriate after a few seconds’ thought.  Some visitors will round up, some will round down, and it will all average out in the end.  Click the “Finish Survey” button at the bottom to submit your answers. 

Thanks to everyone who has already responded, and thanks in advance to those completing it here.  I’ll post an analysis of the data next Tuesday.

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69 Comments

  1. Posted October 18, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    I try to do without help but find this useful if I’m stuck

    • Posted October 18, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Chris

      If nobody ever needed help there would be no blog!

  2. Katy
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have followed your site from pretty much it’s birth and have thoroughly enjoyed it and learned from it which in turn has enabled me to enjoy the crossword itself more.
    I’ve never had the courage to contribute and anyway the regulars cover the issues more than adequately. Thanks for creating and maintaining the site it is a valuable asset and an achievement.

    • Gazza
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Katy. Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

  3. Arthur morris
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I find your blog of great interest and assistance. Thank you for all that you do. As a tennis player I thought the clue with the answer ‘point of no return’ clever.

  4. Paul Loft
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great site – a real help in solving individual puzzles but also a great aid to improving solving technique

    • Gazza
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Paul.

  5. Gordon Robinson
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very glad that the site is here.An invaluable resource for when I’ m stuck,which for some reason always seems to be on Thursdays and Fridays.Long may it continue Dave,and a big thank you to you all😁

  6. Clematis
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Do Cryptic every day. Generally takes about ****** with no assistance. Would love to know what is the norm.
    Have never tried the Toughie. Looks too much like hard work.
    Crossword is always priority for the day.
    Thanks to Big Dave and helpers for the super service.

    • Gazza
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Clematis. We discourage comments about solving times because they can be a dampener for those who take longer.

  7. Fenny
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found you all by accident. What a treasure trove. I don’t always finish the back page and sometimes feel the Toughie seems to be written in some kind of Martian dialect, so I really appreciate the hints and tips that tell me what I should have done or looked for.

    Thanks to all of you for the wit and wisdom.

    Fenny

    • Gazza
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Fenny. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll comment on a regular basis.

  8. Spotted Jaguar
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I appear to qualify as a semi-lurker

    I try to do the crossword on a daily basis and normally complete 3-5 a week.

    Occasional comments but I generally finish well after the regulars have posted and think my comments are unworthy having read the others

    • jane
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Nobody’s comments are ‘unworthy’ SpottyJ, the blog is all about sharing the disasters, the little triumphs and – hopefully – answering each other’s questions. You’ve obviously enjoyed reading posts from the rest of us – why not join in more often?

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted October 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Well said Jane. I nearly posted same. :smile:

  9. Russell Burgess-Dawson
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    When all hope has gone. Along comes Big Dave with a lifeboat.

    • Posted October 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Russell

      The sentiment did make me smile :smile:

  10. Maggie Saunders
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This site has definitely improved the quality of my life and (to a lesser extent 😉) my crossword solving. Forever grateful for the hints. Thanks to all contributors!

  11. Joehorn
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Mr Kitty,
    I can’t complete the survey as the adverts are blocking it. I got as far as ‘ Cryptic s – 30 years’ and ‘Visit – several times a month’ but can’t go any further.
    Regarding additional comments, I think it’s a great site for beginners and experts alike.
    I tend to use it to see others opinions on the Toughies, difficulty and enjoyment wise, and in extremis, look for help when I’m at wits end!
    I don’t take the Telegraph every day but never miss Friday’s Toughie. Also I’m usually late in the process as I save the Toughies until the next day usually.
    Keep up the good work.

  12. John Lansdowne
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you for the blog so often solving the maddening word, greatly appreciated.

  13. Alan
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Always interesting, and sometimes vital. Thanks for your help over the years

  14. Verlaine
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I tried to make myself seem younger than I am by pretending I’ve been solving the crossword for fewer than 30 years. But it may actually be more than 30 by now. Gadzooks…

  15. Joehorn
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi again, I’ve installed a pop up blocker and have now completed the survey.
    My comments are as before but I forgot to mention the crosswords you provide on site.
    They’re a godsend on Telegraphless days!

    • Posted October 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Joehorn

      Glad you like the puzzles as a lot of work goes into providing them.

  16. Arthur Sharp
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have bought a number of “how to solve cryptic crossword “ books over the years, but this blog has been more helpful to me than any of them.
    I’m enormously grateful to Big Dave and his helpers for the the guidance they provide daily.

    • Posted October 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Arthur

      That’s exactly why we are here.

  17. Barbara Mackay
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Really helpful when completely stuck on a couple of clues

    • Gazza
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Barbara.

  18. Barbara Mackay
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I find the explanation of the answers really helpful – sometimes I think I know the answer but can’t justify it

  19. Chris Klinger
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    I do the DT crossword whenever I get the chance now and, since discovering this blog, I pretty much always check it out once I’ve finished (or given up!). I’ve learned a lot from the explanations of more seasoned solvers and it’s nice to share the experience of good clues with a like-minded community.

  20. Werm
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    I rarely post but regularly check in. My solving abilities have skyrocketed since I first found this blog. I solve the Toughie now more often than not and that would have been impossible to predict way back when .

    Thanks to Big Dave for the site but also to all bloggers, all contributors of every hue and most of all to the setters.

  21. Harport
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    I usually complete the crossword but my electronic friend is in frequent use.

  22. Stephanie Rogers
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Can only be in awe of how clever solving these clues you are!!! It’s taking me a while, but I have a great tutor in your blog/site. I go through the few I can do, until I have to resort to the clues you give, and then the answers.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Stephanie. Stick with it, and you’ll soon find that you can do an increasing proportion of the crossword on your own.

  23. len
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I find it very useful

  24. Norman Maclean
    Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    I like to use your hints if I get stuck

    • Posted October 21, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Norman

      That’s why we are here!

  25. Posted October 21, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Started solving in my twenties with the Evening Standard Two In One crossword while making the gradual switch from my native Greek to English having migrated from Cyprus. Started compiling a and contributing to One Across magazine (as Cypriot) about three years ago. I love the blogging sites and definitely prefer the BD way which doesn’t give the game away so the solver can get help with individual clues unlike 15squared and T4T.

  26. Dom
    Posted October 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A great site. Find it helpful and informative. It got me started on a nightly pastime.

  27. Trudy Hilary
    Posted October 22, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    We find your blog v helpful – this week’s Saturday Telegraph Crossword was a stinker for us – we try to hold off until the Sunday before checking your blog for help.
    Gutted we will miss the pub crawl – we live in York just up the road from the Fox and Roman but are off to Dublin on the 27th.
    Are you based in York or just visiting?

    • Posted October 22, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Trudy

      I’m not sure to whom you are addressing your comment – if you use the “Reply” button it keeps the thread together.

      John and Jane Henderson are often to be found in the Fox and Roman, together with Tess, their pet whippet.

  28. Samantha Baxter
    Posted October 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Love Big Dave crossword advice and support. Makes doing it so much more rewarding
    Thanks to all the team

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 22, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog – that’s nice to know. Hopefully now you’ve made yourself known, you’ll comment regularly in the future

  29. Rosie Baxendale
    Posted October 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I usually try to do as much of the crossword as possible without help then look at some of the hints – it’s just brilliant to have them if all else (and the brain) fails!!!

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 22, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog

  30. Ginny
    Posted October 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you very much, BD and all the bloggers and contributors. This site is indispensable to me.

  31. AKMild
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I only buy the Telegraph on a Saturday, so miss out on the Toughies, and I also tend to save crosswords and then solve them at irregular intervals, so by the time I’ve done that, it’s usually a bit too late to post comments. However, I thoroughly enjoy the site and it has improved both solving and setting skills enormously. I’ve had four Rookies published on the site and if can get my act together I should have another for consideration soon.

  32. Geraldine Vincent
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Last ditch attempt only
    Mainly to see why my answer is correct as don’t understand clue derivations

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog

      I only found the blog back in 2010 in a last ditch attempt to solve a Toughie clue that had been driving me mad for over 24 hours – totally life transforming.

      Hope you’ll comment in the future

  33. Ian
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A brilliant site which has helped me develop solving techniques at the same time as completing crosswords I get stuck on!!
    One negative comment, the degree of difficulty score is often understated- very very rarely do we see 4 or 5 given. The bloggers are great and I don’t like to criticise but could they grade the difficulty as applicable to the average user and not themselves

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog

      Rating the difficulty level isn’t the easiest thing and I’m sure my fellow bloggers will respond to your post with their thoughts on the matter

    • Mr Kitty
      Posted October 23, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome from me too, Ian.

      You make an excellent point about the difficulty ratings. It’s timely too, because I have a new survey lined up for my blog tomorrow aimed at finding out what the average user thought about this Tuesday’s back page puzzle. I’m hoping that the results of that survey will allow me to provide more meaningful difficulty ratings.

      • Ian
        Posted October 24, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for that. It would be interesting to look back on say a couple of months ratings to see how many come in the 4 and 5 groups- I don’t think there will be many.

        I think a moderator to minimise the potential variation between individuals together with perhaps a 3 grade system to reflect the fact that the rating is always going to be something of an inexact science (5 grades tends to give it a precision which is hard to achieve) may work and indeed reflects the reality of what actually happens now.

        Once again thanks for your sterling efforts on the blogs – it’s very much appreciated

        • Mr Kitty
          Posted October 24, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink | Reply

          I’m sure that you’re right about the paucity of 4* and 5* ratings on the back page. I believe that Kitty is looking into collating data on that point, along with quantifying how commenters rate each puzzle.

          I’ll leave it for BD to comment on your suggestions for improving the rating system. But I will say that since it’s often a bit of a scramble to get the puzzle solved, hints written and illustrated, and everything uploaded to the site before 11am, it might not be feasible to also wait for and try to incorporate input from a moderator (if we could even find a volunteer to assume that role.)

          If today’s survey gets a similar number of responses to last week’s we will at least have a very good idea of how the blog readership thinks DT 28566 should be rated.

          • JohnY
            Posted October 25, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Do you think the star rating could work equally well to including the Toughie? When a Toughie gets a two-star rating, it usually means it’s worth my own personal while to give it a go and generally turns out to be (say) a three-starrer on my scale – sometimes (rarely) it is indeed a two-starrer. Four and five stars are not often seen with a back pager (as you say) but would get used more if the scale referred to all crosswords. Just a thought.

            • Mr Kitty
              Posted October 26, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

              The back-page and Toughie rating systems are separate. I’ve heard it said that adding one or two stars to the Toughie rating should give an equivalent back page rating. I think the Toughie scale needs that additional headroom to accommodate the 5* Friday Elgar puzzles.

              • JohnY
                Posted October 27, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

                I’m sure you are right. However, for me (who only occasionally ventures into Toughie territory when prompted) a crossword is either do-able or not and easily fits “my” idea of one to five stars.I suppose it is self evident that regular Tough guys will find their own degrees of toughness with puzzles that would all be five stars to me!

    • Miffypops
      Posted October 23, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Miffypops never touches the difficulty/ enjoyment ratings. BD adjusts them on Mondays when he remembers. Welcome to the blog Ian.

  34. Alan Colquhoun
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Have meant to leave thanks and comments but “never got around to it”. Poor excuse, but use of emoticons or whatever they are called is off-putting!

    I have learned a lot from this site and it really is appreciated!

  35. AlfiePops
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I won’t repeat my first post suffice to say fantastic blog, wonderful people. Very very much appreciated. Been lurking a few years. Problem with posting is I rarely solve on the day so ‘late on parade’ doesn’t get close!

    Often use the blog to help complete at weekends looking back over the week when stuck due to the affluence of incohol!!!!!

  36. Ismalia
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you so much for this site. I visit it several times a week. If I’m finding a particular crossword difficult I log on to the site, skip through the clues and read the comments (hoping that nothing crucial is given away!) just to see if my difficulties are justified. Sadly the comments usually indicate that I’m having a bad day! So, once again, thank you very much.

  37. Julia Dowson
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 9:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Your blog is great. Thank you.

  38. PVilly
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like several others, I don’t usually start doing the crossword until the evening…or later, so by the time I look at the blog it’s too late to make a worthwhile comment (conversely, before I retired, the cryptic was part of my daily commute…what does that say about retirement?!?).
    Needless to say, a great blog and always helpful, thanks to all concerned….and by far the best cryptic crossword out there, even though it now costs £1.80! ;)

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