petebiddlecombe – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

My new job ~ Posted on

Those of you who look at the Times for the Times blog will know that I’ve just started a new job. I can now tell you that I’ve been appointed on a trial basis to edit the crosswords in the Sunday Times. I’m obviously very pleased and know that many of you will be very pleased for me. At this stage there are only a few things to say:

  • A big thank you to Barbara Hall for the help she’s given me during a brief handover period, and to those at the Sunday Times who decided to see whether I can fill this role well.
Continue reading >
ST 2567 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2567

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Christmas is always special in crossword land, but your Sunday setter has excelled himself here. The central 15-letter answer is “A Christmas Carol”, and there’s other material about 3 different Christmas Carols – Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Good King Wenceslas, and the Dickens book of the same name. And there’s heaps of other Christmas material too – 12 answers by my reckoning. Two things to wonder about: If a puzzle referring to a carol with the words “on the feast of Stephen” was printed on the 19th of December, what’s on the 26th? And if next week’s puzzle is Christmas-related, will he have anything left for next year?

A very Merry Christmas to all readers, bloggers and setters from me – as well as from everyone else here.

Continue reading “ST 2567”

ST 2566 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2566

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Posting in a bit of haste as now much busier than I used to be, so no link to Shenandoah for 25A. If you imagine the same introduction as most of the ones for the last year, you won’t be wrong! I liked the smell of the sea at the end of the Acrosses.

Continue reading “ST 2566”

ST 2565 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2565

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another very enjoyable Sunday puzzle – I liked the 200-year musical leap in time between the two long across clue/answer combos

Continue reading “ST 2565”

ST 2564 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2564

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Here’s a puzzle using one of those “natural” 15×15 grids with words of 5, 7, and 9 letters. These have the potential to include some very familiar content, but although there are a few old favourite answers here, there are plenty of less frequent visitors to the grid too, and enough difficulty to make it a relatively tricky Sunday Telegraph puzzle for me, even with 3 hidden word clues.

Continue reading “ST 2564”

ST 2563 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2563

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

More high class fun. It’s a bit dull on this slot – you never get anything to moan about …

Continue reading “ST 2563”

ST 2562 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2562

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A puzzle that I found very easy , finishing in the kind of time I can’t quite seem to manage for the Times puzzles any more. I enjoyed 3D in particular, as a lover of the rich orchestral music of “first-class second-rate composer” Richard Strauss. I also enjoyed the reference to slightly more recent music at 23A.

Apologies for this being late – there’s lots going on at the Times xwd website at the moment, including leaderboards done rather better than at the Telegraph.

Continue reading “ST 2562”

ST 2561 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2561

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Nothing written next to this one on the day – let’s see what emerges as I write up the explanations. As ever: lots of classy clues, including three special hidden words. And a possible indication that BG has changed his mind about a minor cruciverbal controversy.

A quick plug for a bit of my own work: my second Church Times puzzle, edited by Don Manley, is available here. 14 of the 28 clues are my own, the rest are changed, anything from slightly to completely.

Continue reading “ST 2561”

ST 2560 ~ Posted on

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2560

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Not much obvious high drama in the clues this week, though three hidden words is a bit unusual. Just (just?) the usual impeccable clues, and a very kind grid for the solver. The use of two commercial names among the clues and answers is a bit unusual for a British crossword, though the Americans are much less shy about this. Memorable mistake by a famous solver in the final stages of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament: Black and white killer [ O??? ] = OREO (correct answer: ORCA).

There are also some clever uses of words with common meanings in cryptic clues, playing other roles this time, other stuff to give the blogger more to write about than he initially expected, and the chance to link to a bit of music.

Continue reading “ST 2560”