June 4, 2019 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 2239

Toughie No 2239 by Chalicea

Warm and Fluffy!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I had an email from today’s setter concerning my comment last Friday about “those fluffy offerings found in the early part of each week”. Apparently, our editor thinks that less able solvers should have some puzzles that they can tackle.… Continue reading

DT 29068

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29068

Hints and tips by The Mysterious Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty **** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  I found today's puzzle tougher than recent Tuesday puzzles.  I got only a few answers on the first pass through the grid, and I had to use an aid or two to get the grid filled in time to complete the hints.  It's also one of the most enjoyable Tuesday puzzles that I've blogged recently.  I would love to know who crafted this masterpiece and thank them, so if our setter is reading please consider posting a comment below.

That wish brings us rather appropriately to the results of last week's survey on whether our setters should be named or anonymous.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  The result was a clear 3:1 split in favour of identifying setters (154 votes for naming them, 51 votes for keeping them anonymous).  I've put a selection of comments and a recent Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter extract on the topic under the following spoiler box.  Feel free to continue this discussion in the comments below.  What do we think about Kitty's compromise suggestion made last week that setters of anonymous puzzles be named when the puzzle's solution is published?

Click here to see a selection of comments on the survey question

Some comments in favour of naming setters:

  • Knowing the setter adds to the enjoyment.  I'm 100% in favour.
  • I would like to know but purely out of curiosity. Ignorance of the setter's identity does not spoil my enjoyment of the puzzle.
  • No reason not to as far as i am concerned!
  • Those using this blog already know who the setter is about 60% of the time so publishing the name would ensure a level playing field for those solvers who don't access the blog.
  • There are good reasons for each way of doing things but on balance I think the Telegraph would do well to shuffle the back page running order and publish setters' pseudonyms alongside the solutions.
  • Wasn't sure which box to mark - I'd like to see the names alongside the solution the following day.  Best of both worlds!
  • Why not? They should be credited for their work, same as anything else that's published.
  • I think it makes the crossword more interesting to see who's set it and you can start to identify a setter's style.
  • Just out of general interest.
  • Nice to know.  I am not so aware of each setter's name and it would be good to get to understand them a little better.
  • It is always good to know your "opponent " !
  • Surely, after having worked hard to create a puzzle, setters would wish to be recognized.
  • Perhaps revealed together with the answers the following day?
  • Why would they want to be anonymous? Clever people who give other people a lot of pleasure. Their choice of course.
  • On balance yes - but if the setters want anonymity then fair enough.  I can't see why they wouldn't want the accolades they deserve though.
  • To give credit where it is due
  • I think I would prefer to know the setter but have been guilty of avoiding some setters but I recognize that I will improve at solving toughies if I overcome this.
  • Although I'm not much good at identifying setters, I do like it when I know who it is for some reason. I also like it when the setter "drops in" and leaves a comment
  • Yes it would be nice to pay credit to my daily adversary.
  • Not particularly bothered one way or another, but it would be nice to thank someone in person.
  • I'd be quite happy with the status quo but given the choice I'd choose to know the setter, it would make the challenge more personal and the appreciation of the puzzle would I feel be enhanced.
  • I would like to see a nickname or something. Would add something to it for me.
  • I'd really like to know who the setters are. They provide us with so much enjoyment week in week out it would be lovely to be able to express our appreciation to them by name. It's always great when a setter 'pops in' to the blog!
  • ...but not on the day of the puzzle - much more fun to see the identity the day after.
  • It's nice to know who you're going up against, and to give kudos when beaten
  • Why should cryptics be any different to toughies in this respect? From the blog some cryptic's authors are mentioned/ generally known. Why not all?  Some also visit the blog to comment.
  • It adds to the fun if one gets to know the setters' styles.
  • One can often spot the style of a setter and it would be good to have this confirmed with a name.
  • Recognition of "traits" of individual setters would add an extra level of interest and enjoyment to crossword solving.

Some comments in favour of keeping setters anonymous:

  • Part of the magic is not knowing the "style" you are facing on any morning. Switching days should also be encouraged so that more is added to the mystery.
  • I think part of the fun is to guess who is the setter
  • It allows you to muse upon who the setter might be.
  • Not really bothered either way. Why not leave it up to the setter
  • I like a bit of mystery !
  • Negative comments about a crossword can be so discouraging to the setter. Some setters do sign in and declare their hand from time to time. That's a treat, and an added bonus for the day. I think that it's better left to the setter to decide to declare him/herself.
  • Doesn't really matter to me.
  • Quite fun seeing if you can identify or at least see which ones are easier or more difficult and judge them against others
  • I think it would be a pity if the conversation about possible setters and the detection of who has set each puzzle ceases. Surely it is part of the daily fun to try to identify a setter even if there is a known pattern.
  • Adds to the fun using intuition to identify a compiler.  Names are not necessary.
  • I enjoy trying to guess the setter and it's really lovely when they pop in with a comment on the blog
  • It's nice to be kept guessing.  Why do we need to know everything about everything?
  • I'm not sure that knowing who has set the puzzle will help me solve it.
  • I would have liked a don't care option.  I just enjoy solving the puzzles without getting involved in 'spot the setter'.
  • I like that they are anonymous and you can guess who has complied it
  • It helps encourage a house style

Finally, in the May issue of the Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter (sign up here) our Editor Chris Lancaster explained his view:

This is a good question, and one that has vexed Telegraph Crossword Editors for some years. Solvers quite often get in touch to say that they have favourite compilers, and so would like to be able to watch out for puzzles by a particular setter; some even get in touch to say that they have particular compilers they don't like, so would like to be able to avoid their puzzles. Others point out that we publish the pseudonyms of our Toughie Crossword compilers, so it would make sense to be consistent across both types of crossword.

My own view is that for some solvers, the battle of wits between themselves and an anonymous, mysterious other person, the compiler, is what it's all about. If one knows the identity of a compiler before embarking on a crossword, one perhaps know something of what to expect, as most compilers have their own foibles that act as a kind of signature. Knowing a little in advance about what's to come, based on the compiler's name, would spoil this for those solvers. If retaining this anonymity adds to the enjoyment for some solvers, then that's a great argument for maintaining the status quo.


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