Author Archives: tilsit

Toughie 1213

Toughie No 1213 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

Greetings from Milton Keynes! I’ve survived a horrendous journey down including being stuck in a Portaloo for an hour at Leicester Forest East Service Area and having to be rescued by the Fire Brigade!

I’m at the Open University Students’ Association Conference and am running the Quiet Quiz on Saturday evening as opposed to the Noisy One with balloons and foam!

Osmosis is here today with a puzzle that was tough to solve, but unlike other Friday Toughies, it was pleasant without setting the world on fire. I know our setter likes to make things complicated but sometimes it feels unnecessarily so – 28 across is an example.

Toughie 1209

Toughie No 1209 by Firefly

A Grump writes…..

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the AAU at Calderdale Hospital. Trying to write today’s blog while having a top-up of antibiotics. However the good folk at Microsoft deemed that if you have the latest version of their product, Office 365, you have to be online to use it! It won’t even let you cut and paste from your template into WordPad. So I have written the explanations into WordPad in the hope a Very Nice Man can transfer them when I manage to find a wifi connection. [I couldn’t find a Very Nice Man so I had to do it myself. BD]

Enough of my rantings about Mr Gates, time to rant about the puzzle. It’s what I would describe as a typical Firefly with some clues to make you smile and one or two that make you wince slightly as they are almost too clever for their own good. One or two of the cryptic definitions here don’t quite hit the mark for me.

Toughie 1177

Toughie No 1177 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley. Notabilis is here today to tease and torment us with a lovely puzzle, well up to his usual standard, though overall I think slightly easier than usual. Some lovely clues and all-in-all a very pleasant solve.

Toughie 1169

Toughie No 1169 by Beam

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley. When I was wondering who I was going to face today, I have to say the last person I would have expected was Ray T but we have a pleasant Friday challenge that won’t stretch the mind like most Friday Toughies. However, it was fun to tackle and full of the hallmarks of a Ray T puzzle, no hyphenated or multiple word answers and the odd risqué clue.

Toughie 1165

Toughie No 1165 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley. Managed to tackle today’s blog in between daily trips back to my second home at Calderdale Infirmary. I was very pleased to tackle one of my favourite setters and Notabilis did not disappoint today with an enjoyable puzzle that just nicely stretched my mental muscles.

Toughie 1150

Toughie No 1150 by Excalibur

The Week Starts Here!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley. I managed to stage an escape from the clutches of Matron yesterday and came home to the milk I had left out when the ambulance arrived to ferry me off, which appears to have turned into that little-known Calderdale Cheese, and bread that Alexander Fleming would be interested in studying. However I am feeling much better, and thanks to everyone for their nice wishes off and online.

We start the Toughie week with the monthly offering from Excalibur, which very much fits into the Tuesday Toughie gentle pigeon-hole. Nothing too taxing although there were a couple of unfamiliar definitions, and a couple of the clues, you wrote the answer in and had to work out why afterwards, which to me isn’t the point of a cryptic.

Toughie 1141

Toughie 1141 by Elgar

The Real McCoy

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley. There’s been a-stomping in the hills all week and it’s finally arrived. The Cruciverbal equivalent of Vlad the Impaler is back and make no mistake, this is a real beast of a puzzle. I know we don’t often talk times, but this took far longer than any crossword I have tackled so far this year. If I’m honest and I hope Elgar forgives me, I didn’t exactly feel the elation I normally feel when the last answer goes in. There is much to enjoy and admire in this puzzle and it is so much better than many of the puzzles I solve elsewhere, but there was just something about this that left me feeling I had taken too long and I felt I couldn’t blame it on me feeling under the weather.

DT 27411

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27411

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Scchua is away this week.

Greetings from Huddersfield Infirmary! I’m currently resident here after surgery yesterday and although feeling a bit grotty, have a large stock of crosswords and reading material to keep me amused.

Today’s offering from Jay was a nice pleasant stroll and wasn’t particularly overtaxing, probably what I need. It seemed to have a number of what I term ‘swap’ clues where part of an answer needs to have something replaced by an abbreviation or similar, as well as a fair few word sums, making it a nice test for someone getting into cryptics.

DT 27408 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27408 (Hints)

The Northern branch of Big Dave’s Crossword Club

with Tilsit as your host

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There’s still time to enter this month’s prize Puzzle. You are strongly advised to read the instructions thoroughly before entering.

While they are all partying like it’s 1999 in Bristol, it’s left to me to look after the shop. I’ll try and be around as much as I can but I am off to an Open University tutorial in Salford. I’ll try and pop in from time to time, so you’ll all have to play nicely and behave yourselves. If not, you won’t get any of Crypticsue’s cake. Mind you neither will I!

Toughie 1125

Toughie No 1125 by Elgar


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

Greetings from the Calder Valley. Sorry I have been missing for the past few weeks, I’ve been getting ready for forthcoming surgery which happens next week. And I return to the sound of the hobnailed boots from the crossword equivalent of Mark Labbett, the Cruciverbal Beast, Elgar.

After the past couple of his puzzles have been benign, I found this a really tough challenge, back to his ferocious best and after some relatively gentle Toughies this week, this was right up there at the top end of the scale. I managed most of the bottom half of the grid, and then really struggled with the remainder. Some of the phrases used in the puzzle were new to me as well, which didn’t help. But this is where the Toughie lives up to its name, and long may it continue to do so. Thanks to Jon Delfin in New York and Madame Crypticsue for putting me right about a couple, including 11 – I had that one wrong! There were a couple of answers today which were abbreviations and were shown as (3) which was a little confusing.