Sparks – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 2310

Toughie No 2310 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A punchy puzzle by Sparks with some great wordplay and some new vocab for me. I remember my thermodynamics, but it would seem I need to brush up on methods of controlling locks, as well as molluscs, woods and Swedes.… Continue reading

Toughie 2274

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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Toughie 2003

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