Mr K – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

DT 29259

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29259

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  Today's fun puzzle brought to mind that "puzzle of two halves" cliché.  The top opened up nicely, suggesting that perfection might be attainable, but then the bottom put up some resistance and it took sustained effort to get that filled.  That thought made me wonder where the original "game of two halves" cliché originated.  The best that the internet can offer is that it originates in 1980s football commentary, but that its creator remains a mystery.  Anybody know who was responsible for it? The Google Ngram viewer agrees with the internet, with its data showing appearances in print of the phrase taking off from the early 1980s.  There is also a flurry of appearances around 1940.  I wonder what that was about?  Continue reading "DT 29259"

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DT 29253

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29253

Hints and tips by the nomadic Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  My first blog of 2020 is being written in a location not far from Sal Tlay Ka Siti.  Today’s delightful crossword reminded me of how I felt when I first started solving cryptics a few years ago and the penny drops came thick and fast.  I found within this puzzle a lot of original twists and turns that made for a very enjoyable solve.  I do hope that our setter will drop in later to take credit for it.  Continue reading "DT 29253"

DT 29247

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29247

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  Can't think of much to say about this solid puzzle, except to note that its filled grid contains only 18 of the 26 letters in the alphabet.  That's almost as far from a pangram as setters have managed to get (in the last twenty years there have been only four back-pagers using 17 letters, and none that use only 16).  Continue reading "DT 29247"

Toughie 2357

Toughie No 2357 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Mr K

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

Hello, everyone.  I've been asked to stand in for Dutch today.  The SW corner of this enjoyable and intricate Notabilis puzzle went in smoothly, but after that I needed some electronic and dictionary help to get it completely solved and hinted.  It's one of the toughest puzzles I've encountered in quite some time, so I'll be interested to see whether our experienced solvers consider it to be a "proper Toughie".  Continue reading "Toughie 2357"

DT 29242

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29242

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  We have a solid puzzle today, with seven anagrams providing multiple entry points and a sprinkling of general knowledge for those who like such things.  Continue reading "DT 29242"

DT 29236

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29236

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  As I wrote the hints for this excellent puzzle I realized that every clue (with the possible exception of 3d) has a wonderfully smooth surface reading and that many raised a smile. 

Continue reading

DT 29230

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29230

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  Another Tuesday brings another time zone for me and another setter for us back-page solvers.  This week’s fine puzzle was created by the setter known on the Toughie pages as Donnybrook.  I thought it was a delightful combination of smooth surfaces, clever cryptic definitions, nice misdirection, and a generous helping of humour.  In a word (or two), it’s the cat’s meow.  Continue reading "DT 29230"

DT 29224

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29224

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to a bright and sunny Tuesday that’s brought us another enjoyable cryptic crossword.  I thought that this puzzle was particularly tightly clued, with no parses requiring any pondering about grammatical correctness.  No obscurities either, although I did learn one or two new abbreviations along the way.  All of that combined with some amusing surface readings made for a great start to the day.  If our setter is reading, we’d love to see a comment from you below. Continue reading "DT 29224"

DT 29218

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29218

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  Today has brought us another excellent Tuesday puzzle – accessible without being trivial, and offering plenty of smiles during the solve.  It also felt fresh, which is not surprising given that the last five Tuesday puzzles, including today's, have been created by five different compilers.  If today's setter is reading, we'd all love to see a comment from you below so we can thank you in person, as it were.  Continue reading "DT 29218"

DT 29212

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29212

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone, and welcome to a Tuesday blog that comes to you this week from Auckland.  Our run of excellent Tuesday puzzles continues with another fine offering.  I thought it was mostly straightforward except for a couple of clues that required some serious thought to untangle.  I look forward to reading what everyone else thought of it. Continue reading "DT 29212"