Big Dave – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Big Dave

It is with deep sadness that we have to let you know that Big Dave died peacefully on Wednesday evening. He had been in ill health for some time and was still grieving the death of his wife Pam earlier this year.

Big Dave set up this blog in January 2009 blogging first the Toughie Crossword and soon after the other Telegraph Cryptic Crosswords.  Since that time the blog has grown well beyond Dave’s initial expectations.  It has become an institution in its own right with over 68,249,810 page views and a dedicated community of readers and bloggers.

As well as blogging the Telegraph crosswords, one of Big Dave’s biggest achievements was to foster new crossword setters, first with the Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle and later with the Rookie Corner.  Many current nationally published setters first cut their teeth on the pages of this blog.

We do not know what the family’s wishes are for the funeral or when this will be.  When we have news from Richard, David’s son, we will let you know.  Please remember Richard in your thoughts as he has lost his mother and father in a very short period of time.

One possibility we are considering is having a blog drinks one weekend where those who want to can come to raise a glass in Dave’s memory.

If you want to leave messages of condolence, please do so below and we will pass them on to Richard.

May Dave rest in peace.

402 comments on “Big Dave
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  1. We are so very sad to hear this. He has become part of the fabric of our lives through this website though we never had the joy of meeting him in person. Our sincere condolences.
    Carolyn and Alan

    1. This blog has helped me firstly to solve the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword and encouraged me on to the Toughie. Very sorry to hear of Big Dave’s death. Condolences to all family and friends

  2. Thinking of you at this terrible time. Your father will be missed. I have always loved this site and it has helped my puzzling immensely. Rest In Peace, Big Dave. Thanks for the memories.

    Robin Balfour

  3. Oh no

    I’ll never forget him. The events in Paddington, the chances he gave me, the opportunities he gave everyone with his wonderful site. Rookie Corner through to published puzzles – the conduit by which potential setters became published setters – without Big Dave it would never have happened

    What a huge loss

  4. So very sorry to hear this very sad news. I too lost both parents, within a short time of each other and send my deepest condolences to Richard. I hope he feels some comfort with the knowledge of how highly his father was regarded and will be missed by this blogging community.

  5. A great loss, never knew him obviously but thd blog has been part of my life for some time. He’ll be sorely missed R.I.P Big Dave

  6. This is very sad news.
    For several years I have enjoyed this blog and been helped enormously by it.
    Big Dave will be much missed by many, many people.
    Please pass on my condolences to Richard.

  7. Terrible news.
    I can only echo Skinny’s comments. Big Dave’s site was the starting point for so many of us and I, for one, will be forever grateful. Condolences to family and friends. Rest well.

  8. Big Dave made crosswords easy for everyone to understand to all his family please accept my condolences RIP.

  9. A great loss to so many, but then he was such a great asset to so many too. I hope he knew how much he enhanced our lives every day, and was rightly proud of his achievement. Richard – you had a dad to be proud of.

  10. Although I never had the pleasure to meet Big Dave, I feel that I have come to know him through his Crossword Blog. It is a wonderful legacy that he has left to us and I hope it will continue to delight setters and solvers in the years ahead. Mrs S and I send our deepest condolences to all the family, who have sadly lost both Dave and Pam within such a short time.
    Thank you, Big Dave, for your outstanding contribution to crosswordland. Big Dave’s Crossword Blog will continue to provide inspiration to us all.

  11. Sorry to hear this very sad news. This website is such a helpful resource for us Telegraph crossword solvers, experienced and inexperienced alike, and will be a fine memorial to Dave.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

    RIP Big Dave.

  12. What sad news indeed. In the short time I have been with the bloggers I have been amazed at the camaraderie and helpfulness shown and all in the name of the wonderful Big Dave – truly inspirational. My thoughts are with Richard and his family and I send my condolences. Long may Dave’s memory be kept alive. I never had the honour of meeting him in person but I will always think of him and everyone involved with the site as friends. RIP dear Dave – we’ll always remember you.

  13. I suppose we’d gradually come to accept the inevitability of Dave’s demise but the reality still came as a dreadful shock.
    I’ve enjoyed some wonderful times in his company and, like others, am so appreciative for everything he’s done to further the ambitions of new setters.
    My very sincere condolences to Richard and all Dave’s family and friends.
    Rest in peace Big Dave.

  14. I am devastated. I was only going to ask for news when thinking about him earlier today. Recently when we passed Hanley Swan I thought how we would have called into the pub had Dave been well. The first time I met him I. Person was at The George on the day of The Times competition. All the men there looked like I expected BD to look but I eventually found him. Thereafter followed the birthday bash every January in Little Venice. So sad the pandemic cut through our fun. The last time I let BD in person assuming the last birthday bash just before the pandemic hit us. We were short on numbers as there was a train strike and other factors that intervened. I therefore spent a lot of time with him before we were joined by all those who could make it. Little did we know that, by the time the pandemic was over the worst, BD would be ill and unable to continue to helm the ship. I hope we can all go back tonLittle Venice and have a birthday bash to remember. Greatest sympathy to the family and those closest to him in our BD family.

  15. Very sorry indeed to hear this. I knew how ill he had been but even so his passing has come as a shock.
    I had the pleasure of meeting him at the 10th anniversary bash and subsequently speaking to him a few times on the telephone and he was always very supportive and willing to share his knowledge. He leaves a very fine legacy, he’ll be much missed.
    My condolences to his family, particularly his son, I hope these messages will be some degree of comfort.

  16. Oh no, this is such sad news, especially following so soon after Mrs BD (Pam) just two months ago.

    I owe Big Dave so much. His brainchild Rookie Corner gave me my first opportunity to have my puzzles solved by others and he told me on more than one occasion how proud (and frankly surprised) he was by the great success of his initiative. I consider myself privileged to have known him and I shall be forever grateful to him for his encouragement and support. This website and the community it has created is the perfect legacy to him.

    My deepest condolences to his family for their loss.

  17. If it wasn’t for Big Dave, I would never have started or progressed as a setter. What he instigated is a brilliantly supportive forum for all of us, a site of many characters, hues, and abilities. When I first spoke to him, his commitment to doing it the right way, and ensuring that others followed suit, was clear. Richard, I don’t know you nor whether you are a cruciverbalist, but just be assured that your Dad created something special that gave us all a huge amount of pleasure. I am so sorry for your losses.

  18. Oh my what devastating news. I think the blog was just three years old when as a newbie to cryptic crosswords I accidentally came across it and has been my daily addiction ever since Big Dave was truly a giant in the lives of so so many of us who have enjoyed being part of it.My sincere condolences to Richard and all the family.
    Long Live Big Dave’s Crossword Blog

  19. This is such sad news. Like so many other setters, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Big Dave. The value of what he created here cannot be overstated. Deepest condolences to Richard and the wider family.

  20. I had the privilege of meeting Big Dave at a couple of the Little Venice get togethers and also at tThe George in Southwark. His hand written name tag is a treasured possession. This sad news while not unexpected is still a shock and my condolences go out to his family.
    I would love to raise a glass to his memory whenever this can be arranged and hope to see many of our mutual friends on this sad occasion, and hopefully happier get togethers to come

  21. This is very sad news, such a shock. May this blog, his creation, last forever in his memory.

    Rest in peace, BD.

    Death is not extiguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. (Tagore).

  22. It is many years now since Big Dave invited and encouraged us to join the blogging team. This Blog has been an important part of our lives ever since and we feel honoured to be part of it.
    We only met Dave in person once, when we visited UK in 2015. A lasting and much cherished memory that we hold dear.
    Deepest sympathy to Richard and all the family.
    Rest in peace Big Dave. Your efforts have had a big influence on our lives and the lives of so many others.
    Carol and Colin.

  23. Just catching up with today’s blog and saw the sad news. I never had the honour to meet Big Dave and had hoped to meet him one day. His site has been so welcoming and helpful. You will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family especially upon their double loss within a couple of months.
    Thank you Big Dave for everything. May you RIP.

  24. I’ve only been part of this community for a few short years, if that, but Big Dave’s wonderful creation – and the people who each day make it the unique and marvellous place it is – has become a very cherished part of my life. I owe Big Dave an incalculable debt, being able to tackle puzzles today that would have left me floundering not so long ago.

    My very sincere condolences to Richard and the family. It is given to few to leave such a legacy, to have such a positive and enduring impact on the lives of so many.

    Thank you Big Dave, rest in peace.

  25. I am truly sorry to learn of Big Dave’s passing. My sincere condolences to Richard and other family and friends. Big Dave was a mentor to me, initially encouraging me in my fledgling efforts to establish a cryptic crossword blog in Canada and later recruiting me as a contributor to his own blog. RIP Big Dave.

  26. So sorry to hear the sad news about Big Dave. Like many I never had the pleasure to meet him. It felt I knew him though through the blog. It has become a big part of my life and I look forward to reading it every day and hearing what the weathers like in the bloggers part of the world – a very British pastime! Condolences to Richard awful to lose your parents in such quick succession. Rest in peace BD

  27. I have only been on the blog for a short while but can tell from the comments of those who knew Dave that he was clearly a remarkable person with a great vision. This blog, the setters he has inspired and encouraged and the loyal bloggers are all testament to his creation.

    I send my condolences to Richard and all his family, may Dave rest in peace with Pam.

  28. I can only echo the thoughts already expressed. I also never met Big Dave but have felt a connection with him through the incredible warmth towards him shown by the comments people have made during his recent ill health. What a wonderful legacy to him this blog is. The loyalty and commitment shown by bloggers, some have become setters through BDCB initiatives, is testimony to his legacy. Deepest condolences to Richard and BD’s wider family and friends. Stephen

  29. RIP Dave. I’ll be forever grateful to you for bringing us this wonderful site and the opportunities it has given me.

  30. Sad news indeed.

    I’ve had some good times with BD over the years since I joined the blogging team (March 2011) and I’d hoped for more but sadly it was not to be.

    Condolences to Richard and family and Dave, rest in peace..

  31. Oh, this is sad news indeed. The blog helped me and thousands of others to understand and enjoy the DT cryptic crossword. His vision and hard work made the blog what it is, a friendly place to discuss the puzzle of the day with like minded friends.

    May you rest in peace, Big Dave. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

    God bless you, Big Man.

  32. Doing the crossword gives me such enjoyment, and I wouldn’t be able to do them without the help, support and encouragement of Big Dave and the community he built around this site. Like many I owe him my thanks, and I have particularly fond memories of an off topic exchange of emails about the use of mirrors in pubs. I never got to buy him the beer I ought to which is a regret, but more than one will be had in his honour. Peace be with you Richard, and all who will miss him.

  33. RIP Big Dave… you set up the best of all crossword sites, I’ve followed the DT crossword for over 50 years and your site is always a welcome addition to the experience. Thank You.

    1. Such sad news. We are so lucky that Big Dave had the foresight to set up this blog. We are indeed blessed. My deep sympathy goes to Richard and family members.

  34. Very sad news. RIP Big Dave.

    I discovered this site many years ago and it has massively enhanced my enjoyment of crossword solving once I had this site to explain the clues.

    He has left an extremely impressive legacy and I will forever appreciate him setting up this site.

  35. I can only add my condolences to BD’s family. What a marvellous legacy to leave, and how wonderful that he has inspired others to carry on running this great site. It was a lifeline to so many of us during lockdown and has seamlessly become part of our daily lives. Big Dave lives on and will not be forgotten.

  36. RIP Big Dave. Very sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to Richard, especially having lost both parents in such a short space of time. What a brilliant thing Big Dave invented and kept going for so many years. I would be lost without it and do hope it will continue in his memory.

  37. This is tragic news. The innovation shown by BD in setting up this blog has helped numerous people to develop and hone their crosswording skills – it has also created a community of like minded people who have commented over the years that the site has been running – a truly great achievement. It is sad that we all never had a chance to celebrate the Blog’s Birthday over the last few years and have a pint (or two) with the Big Man himself due to COVID. I’ll raise a glass for him tonight.

    My thoughts are with his family at this terrible time – especially Richard ( a fellow submariner). I hope you draw comfort from all the comments posted here and proud of the highest esteem in which your Father will always be held.

    RIP Big Man

  38. Sad, sad news indeed. A great inspiration to us all who will be sorely missed.

    Condolences to Richard and other family members.

  39. I’m very sorry to hear this news. Through this website Dave has created a wonderful community that means a great deal to many people. I shall always be grateful for the crucial role it played during my earlier setting days. Thank you Dave.

  40. As a relative newbie to the blog I never met Big Dave nor have I met any contributors to the blog but reading comments daily from the regs you almost feels that you know people. What a marvellous legacy the site is to his vision: a launch pad & help to wannabe setters & an invaluable teaching aid for solvers.
    My thoughts are with the family

    1. Huntsman, you’ve encapsulated my thoughts so entirely that I don’t think I can add any more apart from, I’ll raise a pint or two in Big Dave’s glorious memory too.

  41. I am so sorry to hear this news, though I knew Big Dave had been unwell for quite some time. My thoughts are very much with Richard and the wider family. Richard, your father has been an inspiration.
    For me at least, finding Big Dave’s “Rookie Corner” was a revelation. A place where kind people, who knew what they were talking about, are delighted to help others daring to take those first steps into setting cryptic puzzles. It helped me hugely when I first started off and I have always felt it was the least I could do to return that favour, over the years that followed. And I have made such good friends through it.
    I’ve so many good memories of chatting with BD. And it has been my privilege to buy him a beer (or three!) and enjoy his company over the years, at the various BD annual ‘birthday’ events at Paddington plus at The George in Southwark, where he made regular appearances before/during/after the Times crossword championships. He will be in my thoughts for a long, long time.

  42. RIP Big Dave and Pam too

    So sorry to hear this and my condolences to Richard on the loss of both parents so close

    I know it is tiny but this blog has been a wonderful find and we will remember always the support and help and encouragement it has given and will no doubt continue to provide

  43. Very sad news, I’d the pleasure of meeting Dave on numerous occasions at crossword events at The George and elsewhere and he will be sadly missed. Great vision to set up the website. Deepest sympathy to his relatives and all who knew him.

  44. Such a loss to our community, but where someone gives so much, it is inevitable that such a loss be felt so deeply.

    I knew Dave had recently lost his wife, and so I am very sorry to hear that Richard must face yet more upset so soon. Life is not fair sometimes, as many of us know, but Dave’s legacy is of immense value, and he will be remembered for it always. RIP.

  45. So sorry to hear this – my condolences to Richard and others who are close to the family.
    I never met Big Dave in real life, but I’m glad I had a phone conversation with him last year in which we talked mostly about crossword setting – of course.
    Hundreds of us are indebted to him for the entertainment, enlightenment and sense of community he engendered online.

  46. Desperately sad news.
    I owe the big man so much for setting me off on my setting “career”. Here is the comment he prefaced my first Rookie Corner puzzle with, back in July 2017: “Recently Shabbo wrote to me “You may or may not recall that we met at The George in May. I was the one who was pestering you about what I needed to do to become a crossword compiler.” Well, I did remember, and had posted a picture of Shabbo with his wife in the Gallery. Here is his very first puzzle.”
    I did indeed pester him at The George that year, but he could not have been kinder or more helpful. A true gentleman.
    I knew he had been struggling with his health, but this news has still come as a terrible shock.
    Rest in peace, big man, and thank you for everything that you have done for the crossword community.
    Sincere condolences to the family.

  47. I’ve only just heard this sad news across on 225. I am yet another who laments the passing of one of the big influences in the cruciverbal world. As others have said, this site and the community based around it are a wonderful legacy.

  48. RIP Big Dave. You, through this blog, are single-handedly responsible for tens of thousands of people enjoying a richer and more fulfilled latter life through the daily mental activity of solving and understanding the elegance of cryptic crosswords.
    Rest well alongside Pam. Sincere condolences to Richard.

  49. It was my privilege to meet Dave on a couple of occasions at the York S & B events. I will not forget the kindness he showed to my wife – who is not a solver but accompanied me to the events – making her feel welcome and part of the occasion. He was big in stature and big in personality. A really great loss to the crossword community as well as to his son, to whom I send my condolences.

    1. Such sad, sad news. My brother introduced me to this wonderful site and it has brought immeasurable joy. I had a few email exchanges with Big Dave which allowed me to feel part of this amazing community.
      Such a loss….

  50. What very sad news. RIP and thank you, Big Dave. This community owes you a great debt of gratitude for your wonderful creation which has become a way of life for so many people.

    You will be sorely missed. Sincere condolences to Richard.

  51. Such sad news. It’s many years since we found the blog and can honestly say it has enriched our lives immeasurably. Our thoughts are with Richard and all extended family.
    You can take comfort in the knowledge that “BIG DAVE” has touched and enhanced the lives of many thousands in a unique and extremely positive way.
    Bill (aka Popeye)

  52. We are so sad Richard. Big Dave, with his guidance has enriched our crossword lives and contact, real and on-line was always a pleasure.

  53. Such sad news. My condolences to Richard and the family. Hopefully at some point in the future they can take solace in the wonderful tributes being made to Big Dave. His blog has touched so many lives and helped countless of us who struggle with the DT cryptic crossword. His legacy is a massive one in this arena and long may it continue. The community he has built up is a strong and friendly one which hopefully will pull together so that his legacy continues for a long time. RIP Big Dave and thank you for all you have done for us.

  54. My condolences to Richard, it is so difficult to lose bothparents in such a short space of time. You must be so proud of them both. Although I have never met Big Dave, I shall be forever grateful to him for this Blog and it is with deep sadness I hear of his passing.

  55. Such sad news. I join the ranks of many,many people who are indebted to his wonderful site and personal encouragement in venturing into crossword setting. Thank you Big Dave and rest in peace

  56. We are so very sorry to read the very sad news and send our sincere condolences to Richard.
    Since finding Big Dave’s site we have derived so much pleasure in increasing our crossword knowledge and we have looked forward every week to the Rookie and NTSPP puzzles. Big Dave has left a wonderful legacy with this site and we do hope it will continue in his name. A big Thank You to Big Dave.

  57. I am not the only person who, in desperation, typed a whole Toughie clue into a websearch and found Big Dave’s blog and totally transformed my crosswording life. It is just over 13 years since he sent me an email that said that he thought I’d be a good blogger but that I was probably too busy. I’ve been even busier since!

    One of the highlights of a Birthday Bash was when people would come up to me, look round the room and say ‘which one’s Big Dave?’ You’d point at a group of people, most of them average-sized and say ‘which one do you think?!

    Condolences to Richard and Dave’s sister Carol – RIP Big Dave, you will be much missed but never forgotten

  58. Condolences from me and all at The Telegraph. I only met Dave two or three times, but he was good company and certainly larger than life!

    Many of us at TMG are very grateful for Dave’s creation and love of Telegraph crosswords. I certainly read the blog most days (as do colleagues, both those who work in puzzles and those who don’t), and find the feedback and comments very useful in determining which puzzles are most favourably received. It’s a great resource for solvers, and of course several compilers have graduated from the blog to appearing in the paper. A big thank you to Dave.

  59. I knew nothing of this site back in 2016 when I was seeking – in vain, as it then seemed – an outlet for my blocked puzzles. Hanni suggested Big Dave, so I contacted him. He replied immediately, and from the outset he was generous and supportive. I knew straight away that I had found the right home for my crosswords, with my first NTSPP being published just a few weeks later. His continued support over the years that followed was very much appreciated.

    Long may this wonderful site continue as a monument to the man who created and nurtured it. RIP BD, my condolences to family and friends.

  60. I am very sad indeed to hear this news. RIP Big Dave and my deepest condolences to Richard and all the family.

  61. I’m so sorry to hear about Big Dave. His website has been my favourite for a long time now, he will be missed.

  62. When Big Dave set up the site in 2009 I was the first blogger, other than BD himself, to have a blog published. Although I’d been solving cryptic crosswords for years I knew little of the technical vocabulary involved – BD was immensly supportive (and patient) in educating me in the intricacies of unches, Ninas and the like.
    I know that he was rightly proud of the success of the site over the years and the number of bloggers and setters who benefited from his wise counsel and steadfast support.
    My condolences to his family. He will be missed by many as is evidenced by all the comments above – RIP Dave.

  63. So sorry to hear the sad news. I visited the sight regularly to help me on my journey so that I could begin to understand and enjoy solving cryptic crosswords. An invaluable blog from an invaluable man. RIP Big Dave. 🙏

  64. It is with deep sadness, on opening my email this morning, I learned of Big Dave’s passing. I never met Big Dave, but have followed his blog since virtually the very start. I’d been doing the DT crossword for many years, not progressing much beyond the anagrams, lurkers, double definitions and the straight forward cryptics. The clues I believe are called the “lego clues” left me absolutely baffled and it was only once I found this site the fog began to clear. I’m in full admiration for the generosity of Big Dave in using his time to start and run this site, not many people are fully aware of the time it takes and the frustrating IT difficulties encountered, and, I believe, over the years, Big Dave had his fill of them. I hope someone is happy to take over these responsibilities so the blog can continue. But his greatest legacy must be leaving behind a bank of compilers (as shown above), because without them, there would be no puzzles for us all to enjoy, so thank you, Big Dave for this. My sincerest condolences to Richard and the family and hope, these dedications give them some comfort. RIP Big Dave and Pam – you are back together now. Anne

  65. Terribly sad news. Like so many others, I am hugely indebted to Big Dave for all that this blog offers. His kind and encouraging words meant a lot to me as a rookie setter. My sincerest condolences to his loved ones.

  66. Thank you all very much for all the kind words and sentiments posted above. I have been reduced to tears reading them. Tears of sadness and tears of immense pride in the entity that he created. I remember, both fondly and frustratingly, the early days of its creation, when he was compiling his “The Mine” section of reference (which I still use regularly). He would set me tasks of researching lists of assorted things like James Bond themes, famous peoples horses, the list goes on. I asked him at the time, where would it all stop? His reply was “When I run out of things to list!” Fortunately for all it ended before that. It is comforting to know that so many people worldwide are more accomplished cruciverbalists because of Dad’s blog.
    Richard (mini BD)

    1. Thank you for your contribution to The Mine, I use it all the time. I hope your family is coping well.

    2. I’m so sorry to read such sad news, Richard, and my sincere condolences to you and your family. I had a lovely rapport with your father over the years and you can be justifiably proud of his legacy.

  67. I was so very sad to read this news. Big Dave has created a wonderful opportunity for us to understand and improve our understanding of crossword challenges and also to share news across the globe. Thank you so much BD I hope your work will continue for many years to come.

  68. Awful news. The BD site is a great resource: to think of it minus BD is daunting indeed. Thanks to him for all that we now have here, and RIP — thank you, Dave Morton.

  69. I have only just found out this sad news by reading the preamble to today’s puzzle by Mr K.
    As a result of stumbling across his website when it first began, I advanced from an incompetent cryptic solver to now rattling through most of the toughies. I owe all my ability to BD.
    I met Big Dave in Putney in 2011 and had a most entertaining conversation with such a lovely man.
    He will be greatly missed. Condolences to all the family.

  70. Dave was my mentor when I first found the blog not long after he had started it, I thought of him as an online friend, his help and friendship invaluable at all times/any time, I’ve not been on the blog so much in the last few years for various reasons but at one time it was a lifeline to me in so many ways, thank you Dave, for your dedication to us all, I’m just sorry that we never met in person, I will still be calling on your name, when I’m struggling with a clue or two, condolences to Richard
    Mary … Pepsib 💔😢😢

  71. So sorry to hear this sad news, my condolences to Richard and Big Dave’s friends and family.
    What a legacy he has left, having touched the lives and helped so many people, he will always be remembered.

  72. This is such very sad news indeed. I greatly valued Dave’s friendship over the years & he will be sorely missed by so many. My sincere condolences to Richard, further family & all the friends that knew Dave far better than me. I’ll raise a glass to him. RIP Big Dave.

  73. As others have said, finding this wonderful site was an absolute blessing and apart from helping me solve puzzles has given me a lot of laughs over the years. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

  74. So sad to hear this news. Dave gave me an early start in the NTSPP slot and was always very helpful. I met him at various ‘dos’ and he was always good fun with his pleasant manner. He will be sorely missed.

  75. I have never joined the Comments here before but as a silent reader I too am terribly saddened by this news. My best wishes to Richard as he navigates this passage. RIPBD

  76. Pre Big Dave my grandparents and parents had battled daily with the DT cryptic crossword with thesaurus and dictionary close at hand-most times stopping frustratingly close to completion and/or full comprehension. I have learned, with the help of this very kind and generous group to become a more complete puzzler. Thanks to all contributors to this blog-but most particularly to Big Dave, I did not know you-but very much would have liked to.

  77. Such very sad news. Unfortunately I never met BD in person but as I tentatively dipped my toe into the murky waters of compilation his encouragement and constructive criticism, often being laced with apt and amusing personal comment, were invaluable.
    Condolences to his family and I think borrowing a famous epitaph at this time is not inappropriate
    “Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you”
    RIP Big Dave

  78. So sorry to hear the sad news. A huge thank you to Big Dave for enriching my life and the lives of many, many people through this wonderful blog. Richard, you had a dad to be so proud of, my sincere condolences to you and your family.

  79. Very sad to hear of Big Dave’s death and his wife’s earlier in the year.
    The blog and crossword provide a link of continuity in a changing world- my grandfather started doing it in July 1925 when it started, followed by my parents and other relations.
    Times, political affinities, locations etc change, but the companionship of shared regular mental & physical activities with those far away add so much to life.
    Perhaps, like Baucis & Philemon, Mr & Mrs Big Dave are now joined as Oak and Linden trees together at last. God bless them.

  80. Sad news. Condolences to Dave’s family.
    Since retiring 3 years ago I have visited this blog daily and increased my crossword ability and vocabulary immensly.
    Thanks Dave for setting the blog up
    Rest in Peace

  81. Very sorry to hear this. Condolences to all those close to Dave.
    I’ve learned a lot from this site – long may it last as a tribute to him, and all he’s done for cryptic fans.

  82. Some years ago I was stuck on one last clue – like others I fell upon Big Dave’s blog by chance when I googled the clue – I have never looked back. What a great achievement the blog has been and long may it continue – a wonderful legacy. My sincere condolences at this sad time.

  83. A large and generous character in every way and our sincere condolences to Richard. As our go to source for crossword knowledge.He will be sorely missed. Richard & Barbara Debenham

  84. That is such terrible news. Although we never met Big Dave we feel as though we knew him; that was the way he was. Our thoughts are with all those close to him. We have followed the blog almost since it started and Big Dave will stay in our hearts forever.

  85. Deepest condolences to Richard on the death of your dad. I never met him in person but we communicated with e-mails and I will always remember his enthusiasm and down to earth advise he gave me. A BIG loss to the crossword community.


  86. I hope you are still reading these comments Richard. My husband found this site by chance many years ago and what a wonderful resource it is! We have learnt so much from all the the blogs and comments and enjoyed a wry smile when someone was put on the naughty step by BD for being too revealing in their post. Our sincere condolences to you, your family and all the setters and bloggers who knew him.

  87. We would all like to have a legacy when we move on and, boy, has Big Dave left one!

    My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

    RIP, BD.

  88. Sincere condolences to Richard and all the family.
    I never met him but ‘Big Dave’s Crossword” has been part of my lunchtime routine for many years

  89. What a sad day. In this world there are few things that always bring joy to one’s life and BD’s blog is one of these. I hope it continues in his memory. RIP

  90. This is a professional sadness that seems personal – his blog taught me how to do crosswords and opened my eyes to a life affirming hobby that has enriched my retirement.
    As with so many who contribute here – it seems personal.

  91. Big Dave’s blog site for DT crossword was my joy and saviour. I never met him, but he must have been a genius to set up and run this site.
    Sending my sincere condolences
    to his family at this sad time.

  92. Thank you for this wonderful site, I’ve met so many “friends” thanks to you. My condolences to Richard and family. Godspeed, Dave, with a fair wind and a running sea.

  93. What a loss he is. Condolences to you, Richard, it has been a very hard time for you, and condolences to all his family and friends. I think his friends probably include everyone who reads the Blog. We will all miss him.

  94. I am sad to hear about Dave. My condolences to Richard and family. Dave was very kind to me as an aspiring setter — he published my very first puzzles in the NTSPP series, which was a great way of getting feedback from solvers. I am grateful to him for giving me that opportunity. Thanks, Dave.

  95. Such sad news – my condolences to Richard and the rest of the family. I hope they can take comfort in the knowledge that Dave helped so many people by setting up this wonderful blog. I, for one, would never have been able to complete the cryptic puzzle without his help.
    RIP Big Dave, you will be sorely missed.

  96. He will be sadly missed. Hopefully there are enough of you gurus to carry on the good work that he established. Condolences to all who knew him.

  97. Very sad news. I’ll always be grateful to Dave for indulging me with the publication of a few of my puzzles here, and for the friendly encouragement that was his trademark – even when we disagreed on a few things! Condolences to all those close to him. RIP.

  98. Very sad news. I was introduced to Big Dave’s site over a decade ago. It helped me understand the craft of the compiler and the nuances of clues in a way I had never really understood before. I still look at the site most days to read the comments or to get further clarification on those 1 or 2 clues I can’t get. RIP Big Dave, a huge loss. Condolences to Richard and all.

  99. What sad news. My condolences to his son and family.
    So many of us owe him a lot and he leaves a terrific heritage, both here in the Blog and in the wider crossword community.

  100. This is such a shock. I send my deep sympathy to Big Dave’s family. He has created a crossword world of like-minded people ,,so when one logs in to the comments after his brilliant and enlightening analyses , it as if we are in a university common room
    feeling stimulated and comforted. by the camaraderie. What an achievement . I do hope this will continue a sit means so;mujch to me Valerie Phelps

  101. Very sad news indeed. I have had Big Dave as a friend in the ether for many years and would have given up puzzling without his brainchild.

    My condolences to his family and close friends, and to Richard a hope that light may conquer the darkness of your double loss this year, and memories bring you peace.

  102. Very sad news indeed. This site has been a big influence in my life over recent years.
    RIP Big Dave.

  103. We have learned so much from Big Dave’s Crossword Blog and can now nearly finish the DT sometimes. RIP Big Dave

  104. I’m very sorry to learn of Dave’s death and I express my sincere condolences to his family. I’m another Rookie Corner debutant and Dave really has done a great service to crosswordland.

  105. Larger than life! A modest man with a lovely wife in Pam. I had the pleasure of buying him a pint on a couple of occasions at the Swan in Hanley Swan.

    He has left the world having created something wonderful.

    Rest in peace Dave and Pam.

  106. What sad news, my condolences to all who knew him. I’m a very recent arrival to this community but feel like my solving progression has been on fast forward thanks to the massive support and help that the bloggers have created and the witty, fun and informative posts from the commenters BTL. None of it would have been possible without the brainchild and passion of Big Dave himself

  107. I echo all the thoughts already expressed above. What a wonderful legacy BD has left behind and what an amazing community he has built. My sincere condolences to Richard and all those who were close to this remarkable gentleman.

  108. I only comment very occasionally but I use Big Dave’s wonderful site most days. A big thank you to him for his patience in setting it up and overseeing it for so many years. Condolences to Richard, and may Big Dave’s name live on through this website.

  109. I am very sorry to hear this sad news. Although I never met BD, I am indebted to him for publishing puzzles of mine in the Rookie Corner and NTSPP series, where I was able to benefit from receiving useful feedback from those who comment there. My condolences to his family and friends.

  110. This is sad news.
    Big Dave and the community he created via his blog added a lot of enjoyment to my daily life.
    My thanks to him.

    My condolences to his friends and family.

  111. Whenever it’s pray time, my prayer to the Almighty always includes to restore the sound health of Big Dave and make him walk again. As usual, I prayed for Big Dave a little while ago at the Maghrib prayers. Since today I took a day’s leave from my work in order to appear at an exam in the afternoon, I was back home at least four hours earlier. So, I thought of opening the site of Big Dave’s Crossword Blog after the prayers, which otherwise I open on Saturdays and Sundays, the two non-working days. I was almost on the verge of crying after reading the sad news that Big Dave had already passed away a day before which came to me as a shock since my prayers to the Almighty went unanswered. But I quickly held back my tears thinking that Almighty God must have had better plans for Big Dave and Mrs Big Dave to be together. I now remember how His Kindness Big Dave shaped me into being a member of the family of the world’s biggest crossword blog. I remember his comments to my comments from the days of 2014 when I first got attached to the blog through the Monthly Prize Puzzles (MPPs) and those were the first moments of my learning from this great master. My future comments were liked by him and further a review earned his confidence and thereafter his invitation to do reviews of the MPPs, especially of those set by Alchemi and which he himself did until then. He also invited me to be in the hot seat on two Wednesdays to provide hints and tips to the DT Cryptics and further gave me an opportunity to write a full review, hebdomadally, of the DT Cryptics that I am continuing even to this day. Today, I lost my friend, philosopher and guide in the crossword world forever. I say it today and not yesterday, because he was still alive to me and in my thoughts and prayers. I will forever remain indebted to Big Dave from whom I learnt so much through his valuable explanations in his emails to me which I cherish so much. To date, I have not deleted even a single email of this great soul who made me one of the very few persons from Asia, Africa and South America whose reviews appear on the world’s biggest crossword blog. Today, I again remember the angelic hand of Mrs Big Dave pulling my name twice out of her hat that also led to my name being twice listed in the Roll of Honour. And so, I am now praying to the Almighty for the eternal rest and peace of Big Dave and for bestowing upon him the nice place in Heaven where he could be with Mrs Big Dave for whom I prayed in March. I will pray again for both of them at the Isha prayers and for many, many days to come. My heartfelt condolences to Richard. You lost your mother in March and I could feel your pain as I lost mine in January and now you have lost your father too. Richard, I also pray for your good health, peace, prosperity, success and happiness in life. My condolences also go out to all family members, friends and all those who are somehow attached with this blog and in grief. I also pray to the Almighty to give the strength and courage to Richard, their family, friends and others to overcome this tragic and irreparable loss. Finally, we must remember what a marvellous legacy Big Dave has left behind! It is the duty of all of us who loved him to see Big Dave’s Crossword Blog remains the world’s greatest crossword blog.

    1. Wow! What an amazing, heartfelt tribute. You could not have written more beautifully or more movingly. I so hope Richard reads this.

  112. Such very sad news. Than you Big Dave for introducing me to this wonderful site Can I hope that hatchets are now buried and those who left in a hissy fit will once more return to this sadly depleted fold?

  113. As someone asked, I have continued to read all the comments on here and am overwhelmed by all the lovely comments and sentiments that have been written. I am so pleased that his “baby” took off far beyond his wildest dreams. May it long continue.

  114. Sincere condolences to Richard and family – Big Dave created a community which will continue at least as long as the Telegraph sets cryptics. He will be sorely missed

  115. Such sad news. BD created something very special with this site. For solvers he developed an original and innovative approach that provided help without just giving the answers, and he encouraged off-topic discussions in the comments to build a community of readers who care about each other. For setters, he created the Rookie Corner and NTSPP series of puzzles to nurture new compilers, including me, and to provide an outlet for their work. For everyone interested in cryptic crosswords he created many pages of reference material and commentary explaining how they work and how to solve them. As is obvious from the comments above, he made many, many friends in the cruciverbal community. He will be greatly missed.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

    Readers who want to know more about the history of the blog might enjoy browsing through The Gallery at There are some great images of BD in there, such as

    1. I am so sorry to hear abt Big Dave – hv just logged on to check an answer to an old cryptic crossword to read the news of his passing. I was an occasional logger on but loved the help it gave when I was stuck – he will be v missed 😔

  116. So sad – my condolences to Richard and to the rest of Dave’s family and friends.

    This blog has had such a huge effect on so many people. I found it in 2014, not long after I had started solving cryptics more regularly than the occasional dabble. For the next few years it was a large and happy part of my life, and it opened doors to a wonderful community of crossword enthusiasts.

    Big Dave the man may be gone, but the legend will live on.

  117. Oh gosh what awful news. I only met Big Dave once, at the 2020 Little Venice gathering, and once met never forgotten. I only occasionally post but have been visiting virtually every day for several years and we all must be grateful for him for setting up the blog in the first place. Deepest sympathy to Richard. If we do have a bash in London to pay our tributes then I am on the list.

  118. Big D’s inspirational website gave me the courage to start trying this wonderful puzzle. He only ticked off me once I think for a misdemeanour although sadly I have been on the naughty step a few times with others. Once on a Saturday for giving an answer away almost 😨. I never met Dave and sadly have never met any of my fellow bloggers but I look forward to doing so at some time in the future to raise a glass. God bless Dave.

  119. This is desperately sad news. My heart goes out to Richard. Losing both dearly loved parents in such a short time is deeply painful. My warmest condolences to him, and to Carol and all Big Dave’s family and friends. May your happy memories overwhelm the sadder ones and so bring you some comfort. God bless you and may your beloved parents rest in peace.

    Unfortunately I was never able to meet Big Dave in person, but have the utmost admiration for what he has achieved with this site. It is beyond compare and so many of us owe him our everlasting gratitude, whether we be setters, rookies, bloggers, or solvers like myself. There is a special joy to be found in crossword land! Thank you Big Dave for enhancing our lives.

  120. Just read this sad news, and extend my deepest sympathies to Richard. Very tough to lose both your mother and father in such a short space of time. You can perhaps take comfort that Pam and Dave are now together again, and be proud of the wonderful gift your father gave to crossword solvers the world over. I know it has made a big change and huge improvement to my own solving capabilities. RIP Big Dave.

  121. I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences to his family.
    A few years ago I decided I wanted to crack how to do cryptic crosswords. Someone told me about this site, which has been invaluable. It has taught me a great deal and with humour and warmth.

  122. Picked up this sad news on 15sq. Big Dave was a student at Bristol, a year ahead of me — we never met there. We met at the George though and were good friends, though on this website I have taken a few knocks. You did not have to agree with BD always, but you did have to admire his energy to bring crosswords alive to many folowers, with no personal gain. A remarkable achievement. Goodbye Dave and thanks for all you did. Giovanni

  123. This is such sad news. Big Dave was very much part of our ‘crossword life’. We always knew we could count on him when things got tricky. Dear Richard, I hope you know what an impact he had and how much he will be missed.

  124. I have just learnt with great sadness of dear Big Dave’s passing. He surely leaves a huge vacuum in the whole cruciverbal world. I personally thank you Dave and your marvellous Big Dave 44 for providing me with daily support and warm camaraderie I wish we had met apart from some email exchanges but nevertheless your friendship permeates the site and I am sure will continue to do so and you will be sorely missed. RIP dear friend and I send my heartfelt sympathies to Richard.

  125. I only just read about your loss. Big Dave’s blog became a central part of my life at a dark time and I owe him a great deal.

    Reading the comments, I can see he was greatly loved and I hope the knowledge of all those whose lives he touched will be some consolation.

  126. Great loss, used to have email correspondence with him and his help was invaluable to me. RIP.

  127. Very sorry indeed to read the sad news on fifteensquared earlier today.
    I met Dave once or twice at S&B events, and he was very encouraging when I submitted puzzles for Rookie Corner and later for NTSPP. He will be much missed and it will be a fine tribute to him if this site is able to continue – si monumentum requiris circumspice.

  128. This is extremely sad news. I met Dave at several gatherings, and the ‘Big’ part of his name was appropriate in so many ways. A huge, bubbly character blessed with warmth, humour, humility and wide-ranging knowledge. An all-round lovely man who has made a great contribution to the wider crossword ‘family’ and (as Donnybrook said at Fifteensquared) here’s hoping that Big Dave’s site can be supported and maintained so that others can savour — and benefit from — his legacy. My condolences to his family and closest friends. RIP Big Dave.

  129. I was so sad to read this news. My condolences to Richard and Dave’s family. Like many, I stumbled on his blog, in its early days by “googling” a clue. I live in the US now but was born in the UK, started DT crosswords there and picked them up again when the DT went on line. During the gap, the way things were clued had changed quite a bit and Dave’s blog taught me how to solve clues and become a much better solver. It has also introduced me to many people here that love crosswords as much as I do, from all over the world, and that has been a unique experience. I didn’t often contribute lately as, being in the US, I was usually doing my solving while most of you were asleep, but I looked in almost every day.

  130. I am really sorry to hear of Big Dave’s death. He was a great character and the crossword blog he created has become a fantastic resource for solvers and setters alike. What a wonderful legacy. Long may it continue. My sincere condolences to his family.

  131. So sorry to hear this sad news – a huge loss, condolences to Dave’s family … many thanks for all the wonderful work building the community, and especially for the marvellous opportunities provided by Rookie Corner & NTSPP..

  132. Goodness me. How Dave will be missed. He has been (quite unknowingly) a kind of surrogate mother to me, as she was always my first port of call for tricky Telegraph clues; it was shortly after her death that I stumbled across this marvellous site. My deepest condolences to Dave’s family.

    And, awkward as it may sound, it is very heartwarming to see so many familiar old and new faces on this thread. Best wishes to all of you, and may we meet again in happier circumstances. Like maybe the next Elgar Toughie.

  133. Very sorry to hear this. Although we never met Big Dave he was a big of a celebrity in this cruciverbalist household and we stood in awe at the speed at which the answers weee published. Indeed if we ever checked for a final clue and Big Dave hadn’t posted we thought we were doing v well indeed!
    Prayers are being said for Dave and his wife to rest in peace together.

  134. Big Dave. In 2015 I suggested i would like to blog for him and he told that he only had the friday toughie slot available. He was incredibly supportive always. Like many others, i used this amazing website to test my first few puzzles, both in Rookie corner and NTSPP. The feedback was high quality. I owe big dave a lot. I feel terribly saddened, but i hope he rests in peace. My condolences to family, especially Richard who is now orphaned – this is traumatic at any age. I really hope Richard finds some solace in how much we all loved big dave.

  135. Terribly sad news. I live abroad and have never met Dave, but he helped me immensely when I was recovering from open heart surgery and decided to set crosswords to pass the time during recovery. It is clear from all the comments that he was a towering figure in Crosswordland who will be greatly missed. This site is a tremendous legacy and I hope that it will endure. RIP, Dave.

  136. Very sad news indeed. I’d always hoped he’d get back to penning the odd blog here and there. This site was instrumental in kick-starting my interest in cryptic puzzles and I learned such a lot in a relatively short time by virtue of the wealth of knowledge that is to be found here.

    RIP Dave, you’ll be missed and my thoughts are with your family.

  137. So sorry to hear the sad news. My belated comment indicates the reason for my being a lurker, rather than a regular contributor. I always get around to solving the crosswords late in the day. I started reading the blog about ten years ago, and like many others, have appreciated the education and enhanced enjoyment of crosswords it has given me. I’m sure that Richard must be immensely proud of his father’s achievements together with grief at his loss. I know his legacy will be continued and protected by the dedicated team he has created. I send my condolences and massive appreciation.

  138. I’m sorry to hear the news of Big Dave’s passing. May he rest in peace with his wife. My condolences to his son. What a huge loss that must be.
    I am so grateful for this site. I read the blog and all the comments everyday. I rarely post because I’m usually a day late, as I solve at bedtime. I have grown from a “make a good stab at it” solver to a “just about finish everyday” one. I do hope the blog continues and it’s friendly community continues.
    My thoughts are with everyone involved in this site. You too, must be grieving.

  139. Sorry to hear this sad news. Big Dave publishes some of my puzzles in Rookie Corner and helped many aspiring setters further their cruciverbalist careers. He will be missed.

  140. Big Dave, inspired my journey into cryptic crosswords, now a daily enjoyment of mine.
    My condolences to his family. Hopefully the blog will continue as inspired and developed by Big Dave.

  141. A cryptic crossword addict for many years, I only found this blog about two years ago. I read it every day and it is a source of great pleasure help and information, for which I say very many thanks to Big Dave, a sad loss to the crossword world. RIP BD

  142. Like many others, I came across this site when trying to check an answer! Now I tend to look most days.

    Very sad to hear of BD’s passing and my condolences to his family and friends.

  143. Condolences to Richard and the family. RIP Big Dave the man who did so much to develop my love of crosswords.

  144. So sorry to hear the news. Big Dave will be very much missed. Condolences to Richard and all BD’s family and friends.

  145. This is such sad news. I was lucky to meet Big Dave a few years back at meet-ups in Maccesfield and London. He was so friendly and encouraging, and every bit as welcoming to my non-cruciverbalist wife as to me, something she has never forgotten. I shall always be grateful to him for accepting my early puzzles for Rookie Corner and later in NTSPP. Unlike the professionals I’m not a particularly prolific setter, but without this site I would probably still be dabbling with the odd clue here and there and nothing more.

    I’m not a Telegraph solver so have never used this site for its original purpose, but what comes across is how BD made sure it is friendly and unstuffy – unlike the site that I do occasionally consult where many bloggers and posters seem so keen to remind you how superior (they think) they are. It’s a wonderful legacy and I hope those who have taken it on can keeping it going for many years to come.

  146. I am sorry to hear this, although I never met Dave at any of the events (living in France made it a bit difficult). My condolences.
    I was recruited as blogger number three, although having done the DT crossword for most of my teenage and adult life, writing a blog on a weekly basis really did hone my solving skills. For that I will always be grateful. RIP Dave.

  147. People like Big Dave are an all too sad rarity. Big hearted and human. Your physical presence will be sorely missed, but you will live on in our memories every time we tackle another DT Cryptic. Thank you Dave. You certainly put the word to lights for me.

  148. Very sad news. This site has encouraged me to improve my solving skills albeit I can be very hit and miss. But without this site I would never have moved forwards. My deepest condolences to BD’s family. May he rest in peace.

  149. Shocked and saddened by the news. Like most others this site improved my solving abilities out of all recognition, for that I will be eternally grateful. RIP big man. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

  150. Very sad news. Having been introduced by my boyfriend to this fascinating blog, I would like to add my condolences to Richard and his family on their loss, his memory will go on. Mrs TWLC.

  151. Sadly I never met him but I, like so many, owe him a big thank you for this site which calms my frustrations on a regular basis. I’m raising a glass to him here in France and wish his family the strength to remember all the good things – that’s how you keep him alive..

  152. Such sad news. This blog has inspired me, helped me and entertained me for a number of years. My condolences to family and friends.

  153. I am so sorry to know this. Big Dave made our crosswords a pleasure. He will be so missed
    Rest, Big Dave. Xx

  154. I am so sorry to hear the sad news.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you Richard at this time after having lost both your mother and father within a few months.
    I am very grateful for all the pleasure that David gave so many people over the years devising The Telegraph Crossword

  155. I was saddened to read the news yesterday and wanted to pass on my condolences to Dave’s family at this difficult time. I hope that they can take some comfort from the incredible community of crossword bloggers and setters that Dave created. Dave gave me the encouragement and the platform to start out as a crossword setter – something I will always be grateful for.

  156. Our condolences to Richard and all of Big Dave’s family.

    This website is an amazing legacy and tribute to him.

  157. Sorry to hear this, condolences to his family.

    I didn’t get a chance to meet him, but solving advice from him and the other bloggers on here has improved my solving no end. Sure his legacy will live on in these pages.

  158. Very sad news indeed. I met Dave quite a few years ago along with his sister Carol at the compilers’ do at Wapping, then at Liverpool Street, and a few times in Paddington. My sincere condolences to Carol and Richard and to all of Dave’s family. The blog Dave created has enhanced my solving skills over the years, but more importantly it has provided a sense of community for Bloggers, solvers and setters alike. RIP Dave.

  159. I too would like to pay tribute to an amazing guy, and am thinking about Richard and Carol for their work in caring for the big man.

    Dave was a character, one in a million. He could be so frustrating and we had many animated conversations about various topics. Especially his politics. We were poles apart. But he was also a kind and generous soul and has encouraged so many through the site and these messages are a fine tribute to that. Let us hope that we can find a way to preserve and develop what he has created,

    And to develop it in his honour.

    RIP my friend.

  160. Like many others I’m saddened by this news. A while ago I sent Big Dave a message saying how much I appreciated his blog and how it had helped my crossword solving. Big Dave’s reply : “ That’s what we’re here for”.
    À marvellous man who’ll be greatly missed. My condolences to Richard and his family.

  161. My wife and I would like to add to our condolences. We only started cryptic crosswords in 2016, in retirement, discovering the blog a year or so later. We haven’t contributed to the blog but have learnt so much from the other contributors. We don’t do the crossword everyday and save up the toughies, sometimes tackling the more difficult ones as much as a year later, which is one of the reasons why we haven’t posted anything. We do enjoy the entertaining community spirit and are extremely grateful for the helpful hints from which we have learnt so much. We hope BD’s family are fully appreciative of his legacy in this regard.

  162. How very sad, for Richard to lose both his parents in such short space of time. I found the Big Dave blog a few years back when I was getting big time into cryptic crosswords, and it has been such a great help. An amazing legacy. Thanks to those who have kept it going.

  163. The big man leaves a big void in all our lives but did so much to enrich them too. This community is Big Dave’s legacy. Thank you.

  164. Very sad news indeed. Big Dave and his crossword solving will be hugely missed. Condolences to all who knew and loved Dave.

  165. I’d like to add my own thanks to Big Dave for all his help over the years and condolences to his family. I have read the lovely comments above and can only echo them. They say everything about BD and the environment he created.


  166. May you rest in peace Big Dave! Although I stopped commenting on your blog, I still sought help from it quite often. Thanks to you I met Jean-Luc Cheval and we discovered that not only we were the only two French nationals enjoying Cryptic solving but also lived in Hyères! What a nice welcoming man you were! Now you are in the cosmos looking with benevolence at all the cryptic solvers, especially the beginners which you always encouraged.
    My heartfelt condoléances to Richard and all the family.

  167. The very deepest condolences to Richard and Family, and, indeed, to this community, and may Big Dave and Pam rest in peace. Thank you Dave for your indispensable creation which I always keep to hand whilst doing the crossword and to review afterwards. I hope this blog will continue to go from strength to strength. BD, you have created a wonderful legacy. Rest in Peace.

    1. Very sad to hear of Big Dave’s passing. He has been a mentor to many setters and solvers and this site is testimony to that. Deepest condolences to the family

  168. Very sad to hear of Big Dave’s passing. Like many others, my life has been greatly enhanced by Big Dave’s blog. He has created a site which brings together hundreds- probably thousands- of individual crossword solvers of varying abilities and experience on a daily basis.
    I had been a visitor for several years before commenting and I am sure that, for every person who has contributed comments , there are many, many more who visit the site to enhance their crossword experience.
    Not many people leave such an amazing personal legacy.
    Best wishes to Richard and the rest of Big Dave and Pam’s family

  169. Such sad news but the blog will continue and he will be remembered for teaching us all so much about crossword solving. I am a relative newcomer and contributed only occasionally but have learnt so
    much and will always be grateful to the Big man. Best wishes to Richard and all the family.

  170. Very sad news, my condolences to Richard and family.
    Like many others I stumbled across this blog, quite by chance, at a time when I had no idea how to tackle a cryptic crossword, and didn’t even understand the answers when I saw them. What a help the blog was and still is, and most days I visit for some assistance and a chuckle at the comments and antics of the community.
    A wonderful legacy, rest in peace Big Dave.

  171. Having been absent from this blog for some time, I was deeply shocked to learn the very sad news about BD – and also Mrs BD. My sincerest condolences to Richard and all Dave’s family and friends. I am so pleased to have met him some years ago and am grateful for the support he has shown over the years. His legacy lies with the people whose lives he has touched. May he rest in peace.

  172. Just to add my condolences to Richard and family on the passing of your father and earlier on your mother. The blog has been a source of pleasure for me for many years now and I am indebted to Big Dave though I never met him.

  173. There are a great many crossword clues that I can’t solve, and sometimes one of those particularly piques my curiosity. It was through typing such a clue into Google that I discovered this site in late 2009. Dave introduced the NTSPP puzzles shortly afterwards, and I was happy and grateful for the opportunity to provide my own puzzles for the series.
    I met Dave many times at crossword-related events around the country. Pam too, at a few of them. (My wife Polly was pleased to enjoy a non-crossword conversation with her.)
    Tilsit’s description of him feels very apt. Dave was a kind and generous soul. My sincere condolences to his family

  174. Deepest condolences to Richard and the rest of Big Dave’s family. Also to this Blogging community. I enjoy the banter and rely a lot on the tips. Quite a legacy Dave has crafted.

  175. So sad to hear this, condolences to his family. I had the pleasure of meeting Dave at a couple of the get-togethers and I will always be grateful to him for his kind words of wisdom and crossword-setting guidance. RIP.

  176. This is very sad news. I had never heard of Big Dave or his blog when I turned up at the George in May 2017, determined to find someone who might publish a puzzle from me. Happily, when I enquired of the small group at the first table if they were “with the crosswords” I got an affirmative and a warm welcome from Big Dave, Dutch and Sil. It wasn’t long before I was promising to send Dave a puzzle for Rookie’s Corner, which I duly did, the first of several.

    I met Dave a few more times, both at the George and at Little Venice where it was always a huge pleasure to be in the warmth of his company, whether discussing crosswords or rock ‘n’ roll.

    Dave helped so many people in different ways and if the man is gone, well, the site he created lives on … and long may it do so.

    RIP BD and condolences to the family.

    Whynot (Tony Collman)

  177. Sending our thoughts to Dave’s family. My husband and I started doing cryptic crosswords in 2015 when we got married and this blog helped us learn and saved us from frustration when we got stuck! Thank you Dave and all the other crossword buffs that contribute. May he rest in peace.

  178. I’ll never forget stumbling across Big Dave’s blog & thinking- what a legend!

    Generous, witty & serving a community.

    I never had the chance to meet Dave but have friends who did- they tell me those words described him beautifully.

    My thoughts are with Richard & his family at this difficult time.

    So long & thanks for all the solves Dave- you will be sadly missed.

    Baz & Koen

  179. Terrible news and condolences to Richard and the rest of the Big Dave family. As noted in the hundreds of messages above, the big man has left a great legacy and hopefully that will continue in his name. From a personal perspective, I discovered this site during a spell of gardening leave in 2015. My father – by then suffering with Alzheimer’s – had long done The Telegraph and Sunday Times cryptics and I’d been meaning to try my hand. This site helped enormously and provided a means of connecting with my father in his final years, something I’ll forever be grateful for. RIP Big Dave.

  180. I have been away for a few days and not visited the blog until now, so I was devastated to read the very sad news of our leader’s recent passing. Despite being a regular contributor to the site I never managed to make any of the get togethers as the blog’s birthday always clashed with my own, so I did not have the honour of meeting BD.

    May I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends, and say a belated thank you to BD and his dedicated team of bloggers who have helped me become a more competent solver.

  181. So sorry to hear this news, this blog has helped me over several years and improved my crossword doing by explaining through hints and tips solutions. Rest in peace Dave my sincere condolences to his family .

  182. So very sorry to hear the sad news and many condolences to his family. I have come to rely on the blog to help and explain the crossword, and it has improved my solving skills. RIP Dave

  183. Very sad news indeed. An incredible inspiration to so many cruciverbalists over the years and no doubt, for many years to come through the legacy of the blog. RIP Big Dave.

  184. I was so sad to hear Big Dave has died.
    Having found the blog by accident after being unable to do a crossword in 2011 it became very quickly part of daily life.
    Big Dave will never be forgotten – his creation of the blog changed a love of doing a crossword being a solitary pastime into something very sociable which is appreciated by numerous people.
    I send my condolences to Richard and others of his family.

  185. Sad news. Like many, I stumbled across the blog by accident a couple of years ago when I started to tackle the DT cryptic crossword in earnest on a daily basis. With the support of bloggers on this site I have progressed from largely blank grids and a great deal of head scratching to being a regular solver and always derive huge enjoyment from a completed grid. Even manage the Toughie on the odd occasion. RIP and condolences to the family.

  186. Very sorry to hear this news. Back in my own days of blogging I think I joined Dave’s team fairly soon after discovering this site, and until a new job meant having to stop (my last posting here explains if this is mysterious), I had just over a year with the privilege of writing about the Sunday puzzles, then by Brian Greer. I was pleased to meet Dave after Times Championship finals, and we once dropped in for at least a cup of tea at Hanley Swan.

  187. Very sad to read this news and many condolences to his son and family.
    I mainly lurk on this site but I consult it every day and it has taught me so much about crossword solving. Big Dave was an inspiration to us all and I want to express my great thanks for all his hard work in setting up the blog.

  188. Over many years, on and off, I have enjoyed and been greatly helped by Big Dave’s Crossword blog. My condolences and sympathy to Richard and other members of his family.

  189. I am posting this as I am not sure who receives the weekly Telegraph Puzzles email.

    Big’ Dave Morton

    Our condolences go to the family and friends of blogger Dave Morton, who passed away last week. Dave was the founder of Big Dave’s Crossword Blog, where a blog and hints have been posted to every Telegraph Cryptic and Toughie Crossword published since January 2009. As well as helping many solvers over the years, several of our back-page and Toughie compilers began their setting careers in the pages of the blog.

  190. My sympathy for you Richard, sending you wishes for strength and courage for the future. I lost my husband recently, and within a few weeks, my mother. My husband and I were big fans of Big Dave. Take one day at a time.

  191. I have just heard the tragic news from Hippogryph. Very sad – a great loss to the world of crosswords. Although I was not always on the best of terms with Dave, I would be foolish not to recognise the immense benefit his site has afforded me – indeed without BD and Rookie Corner to get me started and offer me the very best of advice, I would not have lasted long in the setters’ universe!

    Sincere condolences to all his family and many friends. May he Rest in Peace.

    Peter / “Laccaria”.

  192. Please send our condolences to Big Dave’s family. He has been part of our lives since we started doing the telegraph crossword, although we never knew him.
    Deepest sympathy from Dave and Mo Black, Cheshire.

  193. I have only just read this sad news. Many condolences to Richard. About 7 years ago I decided to learn how to do cryptic crosswords and stumbled across this blog. It has been a brilliant, fun and interesting way of learning, so a huge thank you to Big Dave.

  194. Very sad. I first met Dave in 2010 at a White Horse gathering when, after a few pints of beer, I offered to do some blogging for him. That was then my Thursday morning activity for almost 10 years until I took a sabbatical because of a health issue and never resumed again even though the health issue turned out not to be serious. I met Dave at quite a number of crossword gatherings and always enjoyed his company. Such get-togethers won’t seem the same any more.

  195. So sorry to hear this. I have never commented before but I always enjoy reading it. And the site has improved my crossword solving skills enormously. Thank you Big Dave and rest in peace.

  196. I was so sorry to hear about Big Dave’s death, from the puzzles editor of the DT. I look to his blog to explain the questions when I get some answers, and sometimes when the answers elude me too. Rum pirate scene.

  197. Dreadful news. Sincerest condolences to Richard and the family. I had the privilege of meeting Dave on many occasions and always loved his warmth and good humour. At one crossword event he peered at me closely and said that if ever I needed a new crossword nom-de-guerre perhaps it should be Rosa Klebb. I did, and it was. Thanks, dear Dave. You’re going to be massively missed x

    Rosa Klebb/Arachne

    1. BD used to say that the first time he met you, he had said how lovely it was to meet a lady crossword setter who didn’t look like Rosa Klebb. He was extremely delighted when you choose the name for your FT alias

  198. The biggest tribute I can pay to you Big Dave is that, whereas before I had just three completed clues, I sit here now with Sunday’s Prize crossword completed. I sit here with a smile, proud that I’ve completed it. As you look down on us all do so in the knowledge of the smiles and joy you’ve brought to thousands.

    Thank you Big Dave

  199. So very sorry to hear the sad news. Our thoughts are with Big Dave’s family. The blog has not only been so helpful in improving my cross wording but also as an essential daily enjoyment for so long.

  200. So sad about this. I love being part of this online community albeit as an observer only.
    Take care with everyone’s lovely memories xx

  201. Called too soon.
    I am really very saddened to hear this tragic news.
    My sincere condolances to his son and daughter-in-law.

  202. When I was a child I always watched my dad do the Telegraph Cryptic crossword every day. Later at night when he was (very rarely) stumped I tried to finish it off. During COVID and all of the misery and fear that came with it I set a goal to conquer the crossword! My biggest help in that pursuit was BigDave. I would try an answer then check it on this website. I am so proud that thanks to Dave I have made my dear dad proud and can now complete it most days with only a little help! RIP Dave and heartfelt thanks for making me feel closer to my dad who will be 82 this year.

  203. So sorry to hear this. My condolences to all of his family. His blog has been a part of my crossword lately fe for many years

  204. Such sad news. We feel as if we actually knew him. And as with many others, he’s a huge part of our crossword lives.
    Many condolences to Richard. We send out best wishes.

  205. I am sure Big Dave could never fully know how many followers he had. There were lurkers and bloggers and all without fail are so very grateful to him for this blog which has brought so much joy to so many. My deepest sympathy to his family. I felt his passing even more as this morning I heard I had won the Saturday crossword for the first time.

  206. I never knew Dave or thought particularly about who organized this brilliant blog. But I have used it happily for years. I wish I could say that I don’t need it any more, but I just can’t.
    My condolences to Dave’s friends and family and my gratitude to those who have become enrolled in his vision.
    Stupid from London.xxxxx

  207. Found out the sad news today and like others I am indebted to Big Dave for all the efforts he put in to produce the best blog around
    and the enjoyment he gave us .
    Condolances to his family.

  208. R.I.P I am a latecomer to this site, although I have been a Telegraph crossword fanatic for 50 years. I enjoy reading the exchanges and have welcomed the assistance at times. Again, RIP.

    1. Very sad to hear about this. Dave was so helpful and supportive when I started submitting on Rookie Corner. And what an amazing resource for the Crossworld he has created.

      Condolences to his family. RIP Big Dave

  209. So sad to read the news about Big Dave. The blog has been an enormous help over the years, and a gem of a find. Condolences to you Richard, and I hope that all the positive comments about your father bring comfort.

  210. So sorry to learn of the passing of this legend. Thanks for all the fun and for allowing me to become part of this cryptic cruciverbalist community.

  211. So very sorry for your loss. Dave became part of my Saturday where ever I was, and his blog will be missed by many. Rest in Peace Dave.

  212. I’ve only just seen this sad news. I found this wonderful blog about 5 years ago. What a marvellous thing it is too Big Dave has brought together a community from around the world with people of various backgrounds, beliefs and political persuasions all communicating with respect and humour. What a legacy . Our condolences to his family who I trust in time will get great comfort from visiting the blog and imagining what comments Big Dave might have made to that days crosswords .

  213. BD touched our lives and helped us broaden our thinking. Oh that we can continue his good works.

    Mr & Mrs T

  214. Having been away, I’ve only just caught up with this sad news. I can only echo the sentiments of those who have already commented. RIP Big Dave. Your legacy is one of which your family can be rightly proud.

  215. RIP, Big Dave — in creating and fostering this community you have brought pleasure so many people’s lives. Thank you.

    Condolences to Richard and family. Your dad was something special.

  216. Coming late to this, as I haven’t been on this blog for some time. So very sorry to hear the news, and many condolences & sympathy to RIchard and to everyone who knew him personally.

  217. I’m so sorry to hear this. My condolences to his family and friends far and wide. May he rest in peace.

  218. Condolences to all Dave’s family and friends. Meeting Dave sent me off an an unexpected path to become a crossword setter. I went along to one of his Setters and Bloggers meetings with the hope that I could find someone to help me set a crossword for my father’s 70th. Dave very generously introduced me to Alchemi who kindly put a grid together for me and critiqued the clues I wrote. I then went on to submit several puzzles to the NTSPP slot where I got invaluable feedback and I know that he was proud to have been the person who set me on my way to being a published setter. Thank you Dave xx

  219. I just wanting say how much your dad changed my life. I always liked the idea of cryptic crosswords but how to get to grips with their impenetrable codes? Your dad helped me do just that, and crosswords are now a joyous part of my day. Thank u so much Big Dave xxx

  220. So sad to hear the news of Big Dave and condolences to his family.
    His site has encouraged my crossword solving and taught me so much. Although i rarely contributed to the blog i feel the regulars have become friends.
    Selfishly i hope there is a way this site can continue. It helped get me though the Covid lockdown as well.

  221. So sorry to hear this. Condolences to all his family and friends. I have been helped enormously finishing my crosswords when stumped.

  222. I am so sorry to read the sad news that Big Dave had died. Sincere condolences to his family and friends. I found the blog by chance one day and have used it ever since to do the Telegraph Cryptic so thank you Big Dave you will not be forgotten!

  223. We are so sad to hear this news. Dave’s Blog has helped us both for many years. Dave’s blog was like a friend helping and encouraging, especially when a clue completely stumped us. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave’s son, Richard and everyone one else who loved him. Julie and Bob T.

  224. My mum and I often say “best check with Big Dave”. He’s a cryptic crossword institution. Condolences to Dave’s family.

  225. I’ve only just read this – what very sad news! We crossworders will miss him greatly, but are immensely grateful for the work he put in to making sure it could continue.

  226. I am so sorry to read this sad news. I had never made it to one of the gatherings – work always seemed to get in the way. Dave picked up from where my mentor in my first job left off, helping me to understand the structure of clues and how to spot the lurkers. If I ever had a ‘bung in’, I knew I could come to the Blog and see WHY it was the answer (and I could add it to my store of knowledge). I trust that the Blog will continue as a lasting legacy. Sincere condolences to Richard.

  227. So sorry to hear. Condolences to his family.
    I discovered this site a few years ago when I started to look into cryptic crosswords thanks to a friend.
    Every weekend I come back here to het a few hints to get started on the Telegraph crossword, so this has been a big part co most my weekends.
    RIP Big Dave.

  228. Very sad news indeed. As a long time lurker but not poster, have found Dave’s site invaluable for tips and understanding clues. I am not sure he realised how useful the blog would be to a lot of people when he started it. I for one hope it can continue. Condolences to Richard.

  229. It is with great sadness that I have just seen the news ofBig Dave’s passing. He has helped me so much with the blog and really hope the site continues.
    I send my condolences to Richard and the whole family on their sad loss

  230. I can’t tell you how saddening this news is
    I was his paper boy 40 years ago when he lived in Great Bookham and I went to the same school as Richard
    My sincere condolences Richard
    We have lost such a warm, intelligent and friendly man
    RIP Dave

  231. Very sad news. I too have been helped by this wonderful blog over several years. My condolences to Richard and Dave’s family and friends.

  232. Truly devastated by this news. Can only echo the many tributes in the comments above. This blog stands as a lasting tribute and legacy for a truly creative man.

    Condolences to his family and to the larger family of solvers, setters and bloggers who sustain the blog.

  233. I’m a very occasional poster but try to do the Saturday crossword every week. Really sad to hear this news and my condolences to Dave’s friends and family.

  234. So sad to hear about big Dave’s death. His hints and help taught me how to understand and enjoy crosswords. I will always be grateful

  235. We are both very saddened to learn this. As many others, we never met him nor his family, but through the blogs feel he had become part of our family. Sincere condolences to the family, tough times for you all. RIP Dave. Best wishes, Noel and Gwynne

  236. Oh dear such sad news. To Richard and his family may I offer you my sincere condolences and tell you that you can be hugely proud of your father and his incredible achievement of building this platform that brings such pleasure to so many. Personally I have learnt so much from it and it’s contributors and I am truly grateful for that.
    RIP BD

  237. I started doing crosswords a few years ago to keep my father company when he was in hospital and he’s been doing Telegraph crosswords since the fifties. And my grandfather did them before that.

    So thanks Big Dave for teaching me how to do crosswords and giving me something to talk about with Dad. And thanks for the fun that crosswords give me and I wouldn’t have understood without you

  238. Initially found this blog many years back when seeking the solution to a particularly intractable crossword clue. The community and ethos of Big Dave have kept me coming back. The insights into the art of solving have proved invaluable as the years have unwound, paradoxically leaving me in less need of the wisdom contained within the boundaries of this site. And yet I keep coming back if only to see how the bastions of Big Dave have rated the latest crossword for difficulty and if that chimes in any degree with my experience.

    I guess and hope that this site will continue as a worthy celebration of Big Dave and that his name will long be remembered n all matters cruciverbal.

  239. I have never participated in the blog but have used it to help my journey through cryptic crosswords. I send the family my deepest condolences. Thank you Big Dave

  240. Not just an inspiring person, but an institution. Taught me all I have learned about cryptic crosswords. Very sadly missed. May he, and his wife, rest in peace.

  241. Very sorry to hear this. I have used this blog for several years, and learnt a lot – but still a slogger! Would be very interested in a blog meet up to raise a glass to Big Dave if others are keen. Seems like the right thing to do. Duncana

  242. Very sad news.
    A (very) long time lurker, the site has been invaluable in making sense of a seemingly arcane clue. I hope his name lives on atop the site for years to come.

  243. Deepest condolences on what must be a terrible time for you. Wishing you the strength to come through it.

  244. So sorry to read of this. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. He evolved a most helpful fun crossword solver.

  245. So sad to hear this. Big Dave’s is a site I’ve visited so many times, when I’m stuck …. Which is too often. Rest easy Dave

  246. Sending sincere condolences to Dave’s fami!y. His name has been a byword in our household for many years – as in “I’m stuck and I may have to consult Big Dave!” Thanks for all the help & for creating such a lovely community of cruciverbalists. Your name will live on. Jane B West Sussex x

  247. Rest in Peace Big Dave your blog made so many of us enjoy our attempts at crossword solving so much more. Condolences to all of his family and friends

  248. Just learned the sad news of BDs passing. This site has helped me no end in understanding how cryptic s work so I am eternally grateful to BD for all he has done. RIP Big Dave. Your legacy lives on.

  249. As an occasional reader, I have only just seen this sad news. R.I.P Mr and Mrs “Big Dave”. His blog, which has been such a boon to so many, lives on.

  250. Very sad to hear this news. Without Big Dave I would never have understood the world of cryptic crosswords. My thoughts are with his family

  251. Very sad news.Loved this page and used it everyday to help solve The Telegraph. He will be so missed❤️

  252. I follow so many and express my sincere condolences to family and friends.
    God Bless
    ( Bangalore King )
    Chris Thatcher, Manila, Philippines

  253. Such sad news. Thoughts are with the family at this difficult time. Dave left a great legacy. He will be sorely missed.

  254. Oh what sad news. Big Dave has been my guide and mentor over the years when I find myself frequently clueless despite the sometimes seemingly obvious clues! My thoughts are with you, Richard

  255. It was with great sadness that I heard the news . Over the years the blog has been a delight and was not only factual but imbued with great wit . I particularly enjoyed the images and the little jokes

  256. Sad news. My condolences.

    He will live on in this site and the pleasure that he, and those that support him, have brought to so many lives. I thank him for the help and pleasure he gave me.

    Ian Dale

  257. I have been a shy lurker for many years and would like to add my sincere condolences. Big Dave’s wonderful site helped me back from an acute cerebellar stroke in 2018 by helping my brain reactivate to the point where occasionally I can finish an Elgar crossword !

    You will be sadly missed Dave and I hope your family are able to see how many people your work has touched in so many ways.

    RIP Dave.

    Alan Jurek(Shy Lurker).

  258. My sincere condolences to Richard and the rest of his family. The blog helped me tremendously in developing a way of thinking in tackling the Telegraph crossword and from there turned solving cryptic clues into an enjoyable pastime. Big Dave is still my go to site when I get stuck. RIP Dave.

  259. I’ve only just seen this sad news. So sorry Richard and family. I hope seeing all these wonderful tributes will help in some way. I’ve been using this site as a lurker for a few years and can now solve most puzzles without help… but only because of the help I’ve had along the way from this amazing site and it’s kind hearted and generous contributors. It’s such a satisfying hobby giving pleasure every day, thank you big time Big Dave

  260. Sorry to hear the news. I met Dave at the Cheltenham Literary Festival and had a most enjoyable chat with a lovely man. He’ll be sorely missed. Condolences to his family.

  261. I am very sorry to hear this news. My condolences to Big Dave’s family and friends.
    This blog is an amazing and wonderful resource. I am a lurker who resolved some years ago to learn how to do cryptic crosswords. With the help of this blog I am getting there. Thank you Big Dave for starting it and to the contributors who keep it going. It is much appreciated.

  262. Dave has made a stand-out contribution to crosswording which will leave a lasting legacy. Condolences to Richard and all the family, with a quiet prayer.

  263. Just spotted this; sad news indeed. Wish I’d turned up to the occasional meets.

    Thoughts to family and all on here.

  264. So sorry to hear of Dave’s passing , my condolences to his family at this sad time. I am not very good at crosswords and use the blog every day to help me.God rest his soul

  265. Just seen the very sad news. My heart goes out to the family. Spurs have lost a dedicated fan.
    Rest in peace Big Man.

  266. Deepest sympathy Richard. Your father founded a blog that gave countless crossword addicts daily pleasure. Truly a life well lived. May he rest in peace.

  267. I am very sad to learn of Big Dave’s death, and of that of his wife, Pam. I have been a silent user of the blog for many years and have felt very grateful to Big Dave for helping me learn how to do cryptic crosswords, which have been a source of great satisfaction to me – thank you Big Dave.

  268. So very sorry to hear this news. I only recently started doing cryptic crosswords (during Covid) at the ripe old age of 69. It has been lovely to have the site available when getting stuck and it has helped me to develop my ability to understand the various ways a clue can be constructed. Big Dave did a magnificent job when he set it all up and I shall raise a glass to him, his legacy and to say a huge say ‘thank you’.

  269. I am 3 weeks behind on the puzzles so have only just found out the sad news. RIP Big Dave. What a wonderful legacy you have left.

  270. I am a 43 yo American and I visit this blog almost daily. I never got to know Big Dave, as I’m not much of a commenter or comment reader. (I actually don’t even keep up with the daily: I buy the books. So while most people are blogging or commenting on a recent puzzle, I’m back in 2009.)

    Big thanks to Big Dave, from one Dave to another. It’s people like him who keep this hobby alive and, vitally, keep it accessible to rookies. The first time I picked up a cryptic crossword book I thought, “gee, that was a complete waste of money. I’ll never figure that out.” This is one of the websites that taught me the ins and outs of my now-favorite word game. Over the past decade, I’ve become slightly obsessed and I owe my progress to Big Dave and the other bloggers and commenters here, as well as their counterparts at The Times blog.

    Sad news. My heart goes out to Richard and his family and friends. What a tough year. Know that Big Dave was and is a big (positive!) chunk of my Internet experience and I’ll always be grateful to him and others that carry on his legacy. And I’m sure I speak for the other non-commenters as well when I say many, many thanks.

    Rest in peace, Big Dave.

    Little Dave

    Okay, okay, Medium Dave

  271. I am a two-crossword-a-day man, and I have long had the comfort of knowing that when I am utterly baffled (such as today, DT 30,334 1 Down) I can get help without feeling I am a cheat.

    I have never met him, but I still greave. I hope he will help God with all his puzzles.

  272. I just discovered this site and want to express my condolences to Richard and the rest of the family on the passing of Big Dave. May he rest in peace.

  273. So sorry to hear this news. Although we didn’t know him, Big Dave became a vital part of our Saturday morning attempts at the Telegraph crossword. Our rule is that we are not allowed to consult Dave until midday, a rule we often had to break. RIP.

  274. So very sorry Richard. I love the Telegraph crossword hints site; it’s so much more useful than just being given the answer. I hope you enjoy crosswords as much as your father did. May both your parents RIP and that it comforts you to know that they are together now . Best wishes, Geraldine

  275. I am deeply saddened by the news of Big Dave’s death. Richard, it must be very difficult for you but Dave has joined Pam as so many devoted couples do when one passes. RIP both Dave and Pam

  276. RIP Big Dave. You made sure that we always enjoyed our cryptics, no matter how twisted or obscure the clues. We will be forever grateful. My condolences to BD’s family and friends at this sad time. Rejoice in the fact that he meant so much to so many.

  277. I am very shocked and saddened by this news. Sincere condolences to Dave’s family. He will be missed by so many people.

  278. I have found the use of the blog invaluable over the years. My sincere condolences to Big Dave’s family.

  279. Attempt to do the crossword every day and always enjoy his comments and explanations, without doubt the best criptic puzzle which was made more enjoyable by Dave, my condolences to his family

  280. So sad to read this news. This blog is where I cut (and continue to sharpen) my cryptic solving teeth, if I can put it that way. Heartfelt wishes to Richard at this difficult time. I will definitely raise a glass at the appropriate time. That idea is a good one. Peace to those who have departed and those that mourn their departing.

  281. So sorry to hear this sad news. I love the blog it has been part of my Saturdays for ages now. Sending condolences to Richard. Marcia Purcell

  282. How very sad for Richard & the rest of the family – thoughts are with you all. Big Dave’s blog has helped enormously over the years with the DT cryptic crosswords & taught me so much. RIP Dave

  283. I found this site by accident a few years ago when trying to learn the art of cryptic puzzling. Since then I’ve been a sporadic blogger but I love the camaraderie it engenders. What an amazing legacy to leave us with. My condolences go to Richard and his family for their loss. You should be rightly proud of him. RIP BD

  284. Such sad news but what a legacy. We always look to Big Dave for hints and have guided others to him.
    Sincere condolences to family and close friends.
    Let’s hope one of the setters creates a special puzzle in his memory

  285. I’m so sorry to hear of Big Dave’s passing and my condolences to his friends and family. I never knew him but I have been using his site for years and my understanding of crosswords I owe to him and his site.

    RIP and thank you.x

  286. This morning, after I had cut some of the grass,I thought that I would have a look at Big Dave’s site,only to learn the so sad news of his death. Heart felt sympathy to his family and thank you Dave.

  287. Big Dave is a legend in my house. He, and his colleagues have taught me, via the clues to get somewhere near’ish close to completing a cryptic crossword. My Mum was brilliant at cryptic crosswords, and I wanted to know how she did them. Now I know more, yet still a lot to learn. God bless Big Dave, and his family. Xxx June

  288. Part of the fabric of crossword life for some years. Sad to hear this. Our thoughts are with Richard and with Big Dave’s family. R.I.P.

  289. Such sad news. Condolences to the family. This blog is, for me, a great example of the internet at its finest. What a wonderful legacy of connected like minded people in a positive and friendly way.

  290. Oh, this is such sad news. My deepest condolences to Richard and those closest to him.

    Like so many others, I discovered this site as a beginner in solving cryptics, and although I go through phases of commenting, I come here regularly and love reading the excellent explanations and comments. It’s an amazing resource and community that Big Dave has created, and judging from the comments, one that is respected by solvers and setters alike (even the Editor).

    I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s entirely down to this site that I’ve gone from solving the odd clue to completing nearly all puzzles unassisted, opening a lifelong dimension of pleasure and mental stimulation. For that I will be eternally grateful.

    Unfortunately I never got the chance to meet Big Dave in person but I once wrote to him when he was in hospital. I never intended for him to reply but he did so anyway, and his kindness and humility was evident. Like all the best teachers, despite his great knowledge, he was clearly willing to make time for anyone wishing to learn, whatever their level.

    A heartfelt thank you, Big Dave.

  291. Only just seen this sad news, what can I say – my ability to solve cryptic crosswords has increased immeasurably since I stumbled across this wonderful resource for which I am very grateful.
    My deepest condolences to Richard and other family members. Big Dave RIP.

  292. We are greatly saddened to hear this news. He had become an essential part of our lives through this website though we never met him in person. Our sincere condolences especially to Richard and any surviving Davelings.
    Bev and Barry York

  293. Such sad news ! My thoughts go out to his family. Dave’s blog helped me learn how to solve the cryptic crossword and became a part of my commute home ! Now retired I still need Dave !
    I hope the blog will continue as a tribute to Dave. May he rest in peace x

  294. So sad to hear this, my enjoyment of DT crossword and indeed my ability to do it was all down to Dave. My father had started me off but when he died I turned to Dave and all the bloggers, always a relief when they found it extra tricky as well. I send my condolences to all his family and thank the other bloggers who continue to help me out from time to time.

  295. This blog has helped me learn to do cryptic crosswords from which I now get so much pleasure. It has become my favourite way to relax and I am so grateful.

  296. So sad, life is cruel at times. Hopefully Dave can continue to solve the riddles of life from his lofty perch. Sleep easy.

  297. I was terrified of the DT cryptic crossword until I came across big Dave who helped me enormously. I’m so grateful that he enabled me to enjoy this wonderful time wasting activity. So sorry to hear that he has died condolences and best wishes to his son

  298. This is so sad. This blog taught me how to do cryptic crosswords. I was chatting to a famous person once about a shared joy in doing the Telegraph cryptic crossword, and he said: “Do you ever turn to Big Dave for help?”

  299. RIP – your blog has positively impacted my Saturdays for the past ten years or more. Thank you and best wishes to your family. David from Cheltenham x

  300. So sad to hear, Dave has made the DT crossword great fun, he made our day, especially through the difficult days of lockdown. Much gratitude and condolences to family and friends.

  301. Am so sorry to read the sad news about Big Dave. He has been a tremendous help to me over the last couple of years and has definitely helped to improve my crossword knowledge and love of words. Sending loving thoughts to his family and loved ones.

  302. So very very sorry feel like he kept us company along the crossword Journeys Love to his family and friends. And much thanks

  303. So sorry to hear this sad news, and my thoughts and condolences go out to Big Dave’s family. This blog has been a mainstay in getting my head round cryptic crosswords, the Telegraph in particular.

  304. Sad to hear this news and I join others where this site helped me really solve crosswords whereas previously I was only half way !
    Thank you

  305. This is sad news. I don’t think I would ever have persevered with the DT Cryptic without the support of Big Dave. My brother in Hong Kong, myself in Guildford and my Dad in Leamington Spa all skype to get through the Saturday Prize Xword together and we’ve all benefitted from Big Dave. Think the world could do with more Big Daves x

  306. Sad news. Big Dave is used as a phrase in our household to help with any question. Gone but not forgotten. Thank you.

  307. I was so shocked and very sorry to hear that Big Dave has died. He helped to make my Saturday mornings the best time of my week. My very great sympathy to Richard and his family, at this extremely sad time for you.

  308. I’m still a novice Telegrapgh Cryptic Crossword solver (Saturday and Sunday puzzles only) and I stumbled across this site by chance. It’s the first place I come to if I get completely stuck as a hint usually kicks me into action again. So sorry to hear of Big Dave’s passing. I didn’t know him, unlike may on here, but hopefully this site lives on in his memory.

  309. Our thoughts and prayers are with Richard and his family.

    For many years we have used Dave’s blog it has been a wonderful resource and a fantastic tribute to your father.

    Ann & Jeff

  310. Our thoughts and prayers are with Richard and his family.

    For many years we have used Dave’s blog it has been a wonderful resource and a fantastic tribute to your father.

    Ann & Jeff

  311. What a legacy to leave . You must be devastated at this time but hopefully in the fullness of time you can look on his achievements and be so proud. RIP deep condolences

  312. Very sad news. Thank you, BD, for helping me over the years to become a much more sophisticated solver, and for doing so in such an entertaining and engaging way.

  313. Such sad news! friend and I have often turned to Big Dave over the years when we have been stuck in the final throes of solving the cryptic crosswords! His clues always gave us the extra spur we needed. We will miss him greatly!

  314. I’m am very appreciative of this blog which has helped me enormously with the telegraph cryptic. RIP Dave and condolences to his family and friends. Thank you.

  315. I first came across Big Dave in 2009 and have been a devoted user of the site since that time. The man was a legend

  316. Really sad news , Big Dave was very generous with his time and great solving skill and will be sadly missed . Condolences to his family .


  317. I’ve just heard of the sad news about Dave.
    Though I didn’t know him personally, he seemed like a friend – someone who was always there to help.
    With sympathy to his actual family and to his family of crossworders.
    Thanks Dave.
    Love from, Phil

  318. My daughter & I are sad to hear this news. Big Daves’s given us a lot of help & a lot of enjoyment over the years. Our condolences to Richard.

  319. What sad news to hear that Big Dave had passed away. Here in South Africa we are 3 months behind so I only heard the news this morning. The blog has made an enormous difference to my enjoyment of solving crossword puzzles. My condolences to Richard and his family.

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