Author Archives: tilsit

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.

Double Toughie 100005

Double Toughie No 100005 by Elgar

Just lovely!

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

Season’s Greetings from the Calder Valley! One of the joys of Christmas is that the Telegraph continues to treat its subscribers with top-class puzzles throughout the festive season and we are spoiled this year with a Dada Toughie and the usual Rufus Cryptic and Elgar’s Double Toughie.

If you haven’t seen it. Stop now and go and print it off from here.

Quite simply, this is a breath-taking puzzle and one that may have you reaching for a hanky. Don’t let the preamble spoil things for you, this is a most amazingly clever grid construct by Elgar and is a fine tribute to one of the events that affected the crossword community towards the end of the year.

Basically with the exception of the clues to 1 ac / 13 ac which is a definition of the two entries at 24 ac and 47 ac, either of the two words at 1 ac / 13 ac may provide a definition for each half of each double across clue. So as you can imagine this is a brilliant grid construct and it does mean a couple of the down answers are a little more obscure, but those clues are fairly straightforward to get. In each across clue – I’ll define the across answers as either 1 ac or 13ac. I have shown the divide in each clue with a red slash.

Toughie 1105

Toughie No 1105 by Elgar

A Gem of a Puzzle

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

Season’s Greetings from the Calder Valley! It’s Friday and at the end of a reasonable week of Toughies (with a bonus to come – more later!), it’s Vlad the Impaler with his latest teaser and it’s another cracker to start the weekend.

This is very reminiscent of one of the late great Bunthorne’s Guardian puzzles with a big anagram clue. Unless you are a student of poetry I would suggest tackling a few of the other clues to get some checking letters, and then recognising the quote from the words you can see, as I did! I also think there are a very high number of hidden answers to help give you a way into the puzzle.

Toughie 1101

Toughie No 1101 by Firefly

Cogito ergo sum

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley and thanks to BD and Cryptic sue for helping out over the past two weeks while I’ve been getting ready for my forthcoming stay at Calderdale’s finest NHS facility (“Number One in a field of one”).

Firefly is here today, and to be fair it’s one of the gentler Friday Toughies, but given the onslaught of seasonal challenges we will face over the next few weeks that is probably no bad thing. Nothing too challenging here but quite enjoyable. There is a sort of gimmick with some of the clues having a similar endings that provide definitions, although one doesn’t which misleads nicely. Favourite clues are 6d, 18 ac and 17dn.