Anax – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

NTSPP – 032 (Comments)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 032

A Puzzle by Anax

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Welcome to the thirty second in our series of weekly puzzles.

This week we have another excellent puzzle from Anax that is as good as those of his that are published in the national press.

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NTSPP – 026 (Comments)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 026

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There will be no NTSPP puzzle today.  Negotiations are in hand to try to get a new one soon.  Please accept my apologies for any disappointment.

Many thanks to Anax for providing a puzzle while I was in London watching the Spurs beating Fiorentina 3-2.

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Toughie 390

Toughie No 390 by Micawber

The Friday Fair

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

There are times when, on seeing a setter’s name, you think to yourself “OK, I could be in for a few nasty surprises here”. When you see the Micawber tag you know you’re going to get fair, accurate clueing, and that was the case here. It was a pretty easy puzzle for me precisely because of that; solidly faithful clues and no head-scratching trying to work out wordplay after solving, although I was left with one minor quibble.

It’s by no means a spectacular puzzle, but it’s accurate and very well constructed – with the added bonus of several beautifully smooth (and indeed deceptive) surface readings, and at least one or two crafty little definitions thrown in for good measure. Not spectacular – but very high quality.

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Toughie 386

Toughie No 386 by Petitjean


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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment ****

A generous smattering of F1 references in this offering from Petitjean, and my first review of a puzzle by this setter. It was difficult to pinpoint an accurate BD rating and 4/4 may be a compromise. I have a little knowledge of motorsport so some answers were easier for me than they may be for others; combined with some obscure answers elsewhere you may find it warrants 5 stars for Difficulty. For Enjoyment I was close to giving it 5 stars as there are some lovely clues, and certainly no quibbles worth dwelling on. Perhaps what took the edge off was the frequent use of initial/last letters for the sake of tying in with the theme – when it’s not done well it looks a little desperate, and in fairness that’s not the case in this puzzle.

Immediately noticeable, on printing the puzzle, was a clutch of long clues. For me they ran to about ¼ of a second page (hence my brilliantly observed and impossibly clever choice of title) whereas previous puzzles have always fitted on one page with a little spare space above the footer. I’ve been called “Mr Short and Snappy” before – hopefully it was a reference to my cryptic clues – so very long clues can feel like a bit of a slog. But again, as with the initial/last letters thing, the long clues here didn’t seem tortured – in most cases they’re actually very smoothly presented.

I’ve highlighted my favourite clues in blue – please let us know about your favourites too.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

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