Sparks – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 2274 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2274 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Great fun from Sparks. I managed to find a little Nina. Even not knowing the dance, the expression of derision, and the botanical term for losing one’s bits (my last one in), all were clearly clued and I completed within ** time.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2246 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2246 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Sparks caught me out on a few bits of general knowledge today. It took me 3* time to fill the grid, but a little longer to parse 3d, 12a & 13a, hence the extra star.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2218 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2218 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Congratulations Sparks! (see Nina). Time to open a couple of Spanish wines. It took a short while to get into this puzzle but it soon flowed smoothly.

Definitions are underlined as usual.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2186 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2186 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A fun solve from Sparks with plenty of inventive cluing and clever definitions. Sparks often has a Nina and I did notice something interesting, something Sparky has – I’m wondering if there is more, and whether one of the answers is relevant.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2135 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2135 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A beautiful sunny day in Macclesfield. The puppies have shredded some paperwork; optimistically, I shrug it off as unimportant. Not sure why my wife bought a shredder. Sparks gives us a lovely pangram today, which helped me with 5d.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2095 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2095 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A wonderful puzzle by Sparks full of surprises and fun. A few new words for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There’s a little theme with a related Nina.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2051 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2051 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

 

Sparks gives us some innovative clueing as always. I managed this without too many problems though I had to look up 17a and 18d, and it took me a while to parse 4a and 24a.… Continue reading >

Toughie 2031 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2031 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Mr K

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

 

Hello, everyone.  They say that a change is as good as a rest.  Well I could certainly do with a rest, and so I volunteered to blog this Friday Toughie in Dutch’s absence and, in case that wasn’t change enough, to do it from Florida.  I’m not sure that rested describes exactly how I feel after solving and hinting this fine puzzle from Sparks, but it was definitely a refreshing experience.  There’s an obvious theme running through the grid with the 9a/19d pair featuring in several clues – I wonder if that has any significance?  In addition, there’s another group of answers having something in common that I won’t spoil here.  I couldn’t work out by blog submission time if there was something deeper going on there, so suggestions and speculation on that point are welcome and I will just say here that in hindsight it was an A-I puzzle.  It’s also a pangram, and it uses a few words and definitions that I needed to verify post-solve.  I’ve inserted hyperlinks accordingly, along with links in a few other places where I thought background information might be useful or interesting.

Continue reading >
Toughie 2003 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2003 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

My windows laptop is playing up, dying repeatedly at inconvenient times. Today it refuses to connect to wifi, so I had to hunt high and low for an ethernet cable.… Continue reading >

Toughie 1967 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 1967 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A good and very satisfying Friday toughie from Sparks with plenty of inventive clueing. I found this fairly difficult and had to phone a friend for 5d. The bottom half went in much quicker than the top for me, and I’d made a mess by using a related word for 1a – I should have paid more attention to “pseudo”.… Continue reading >