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Created 1st Jan 2022



59 comments on “Comment
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  1. Help! is anybody else totally frustrated with the annual renewal process for the DT puzzles site? I’ve tried to contact them but I’ve got nowhere so far. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Fortunately I’ve managed to print today’s puzzles but who knows what might happen tomorrow.

    1. What I’ve done in the past when I had similar problems was to give up on the renewal process and start a new subscription.

      1. Thanks Gazza – I think I’ve cracked it but it was a right palaver. DT “helpdesk” advised that they couldn’t help & told me to contact “World Pay” which is more geared to collecting monies rather than helping with shopper enquiries.

  2. I’m a newbie, love cryptics but your blog leaves me feeling very very inadequate. Still love it and enjoying a very slow learning experience.
    Cheers from QLD Australia.

  3. Hi. My name is Liz Meredith -Jones (née Martin) I studied music on the Performing Arts course at Leicester Poly/De Montford Uni 90-93. Conrad was great fun. Lots of yarns in the pub where we all spent many an hour/night. Conrad helped me to try just ‘having a go’ at jazz piano when I feared even knowing where to start.. He was so patient with students like me who really struggled grasping patterns and jazz concepts. I’m sad to see he’s passed and my condolences go to his family.

  4. I absolutely HATE the new format of the Puzzles Page in the Saturday DT!
    flimsy pink paper… tiny print … the big crossword is so awkward to manipulate when two of us are sharing it – why put the answers to the Pub Quiz on another page? Previously one just had to look at the bottom of the page!!!

    Please respond…

    1. Absolutely agree – we do the Saturday puzzles on Sunday morning and it’s turned (haha, sorry) into an origami fest
      I’d like to know where they get their list of word wheel answers too!
      We usually get more than top number suggested but our lists never tally following week so we’re left somewhat nonplussed, wondering why
      I keep meaning to email Chris – I’ll put it on my to do list for this week

  5. Not sure who was meant to be responsible this time but is there any chance of us getting the review of NTSPP 631 soon?

  6. Anybody else having trouble with the DT puzzle site this morning? I manged to print the back pager & the toughie but then I got a 504 Gateway Time Out message after trying to log back in.

  7. The Puzzles on an iPad (iOS 15.3.1) this morning. The rest of the paper displays OK, including the Puzzles navigation page. It’s just all the puzzles themselves. I’ve informed Chris Lancaster.

    The app has been stable for many months now, but when it screws up it always seems to be the puzzles pages. I guess they are the most complex, but even so.

    1. I had that and tried deleting and re-installing the puzzles app. The puzzles pages are missing completely now and bizarrely this is tonight’s TV

  8. Just a general comment : When the competition and posting by email an entry, do you put ‘Toughie 10’ or ‘Sunday Toughie 10’ in the subject line?
    Many thanks in anticipation of your help.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      I would imagine you’d do better putting “Sunday Toughie 10” in the subject line, as there was, a very long time ago now, a Toughie 10

    2. Sorry Carl I didn’t spot this at the time but CS is correct. and the entry in the paper specifies that the subject should indeed be Sunday Toughie 10 and to ensure that there are spaces between each part.

  9. Hopefully, someone might be able to help.
    As I’m popping off for some hols with no access to a printer, I thought one of the Telegraph crossword paperback compilations would be just the job for the beach.
    Does anyone know if they are the standard level, toughies, or a mix – and are they ones that I will have already done (not that I could remember a puzzle from more than a few weeks ago)? :-)

    1. The one I have seems to be a reasonable mix of normal back page standards. I was fortunate to win cryptic book one in the monthly puzzle that BD runs, unfortunately, that has just had to go to quarterly, however, the telegraph books site and Amazon have a wide range of telegraph puzzle books. I think they are up to at least 10 by now.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me.
        I assume you didn’t notice too much Deja Vu?
        On looking further (Amazon), there is also an “all new” series, but I don’t think this means new puzzles.

        1. there are always a few oldies but goodies but like yourself, I soon forget specific puzzles and have never had that deja vu moment when I realise I am redoing something I solved ages ago.

  10. I have solved 4 clues through today’s crossword , am I going loopy or is the setter from another planet ???

  11. Hints for Sunday Telegraph Cryptic 3,172 omitted 23(d) – Alliance broken, leaving one cold initially. I get Bloc for Alliance but how does the rest fit?

  12. Hints for Sunday Telegraph Cryptic 3,172 omitted 23(d) – Alliance broken, leaving one cold initially. I get Bloc for Alliance but how does the rest fit? Interested to hear.

  13. I just had to comment somewhere on a couple of observations from my travels (travails?) going back through the NTSPP archive. NTSPP-351 by Elgar – I gave myself a 5 out of 10 for getting as far as I did before admitting defeat, but I give crypticsue at least 10 out of 10 for her review and solving of this toughest of toughies. Amazing piece of unravelling, CS, I am truly inspired! (I always enjoy my Elgar challenges, even when I grind to a halt, because occasionally I do succeed!) Then NTSPP-350 by Maize, a triple pangram no less! With my printout already littered with ticks it blew me away when I realised what might be going on and then finally confirmed it. I don’t think I had knowingly encountered Maize before, but I see there are some more NTSPPs from this setter still to be enjoyed deeper into the NTSPP archive (once I get past a Radler or two).
    What a fantastic resource BD has curated with this site! :yes:

  14. Just want to say a big thank you to our ‘gang of five’ moderators who are working so hard to keep the blog running smoothly. There are plenty of us who really appreciate all your efforts and I’ve no doubt that BD is very proud of and grateful to you all.

      1. Thanks Gazza but I’ve got to ask the crossword editor the reason for this tomfoolery & why there has been no communication with subscribers.

        1. Logged on this morning to get the cryptic and do the prize puzzles – deary me.
          Do you think they’ll just remove one more puzzle per week and hope that nobody notices, or will they try to do the right thing and at least tell someone what is going on?

          1. Managed to dig up my password and log on to the new puzzles site, but still no Monday prize crosswords.
            How did everybody find out about this change-over – did I miss a communication?
            Also, here’s another no-vote for the crossword print-out format.
            I hope it gets changed before the old site disappears.

            1. I’ve just sent the DT Customer Prevention dept another email regarding not only the disapperance of puzzles from the main site but also the amateurish way that this change has been handled. Also don’t try printing puzzles from the new site unless you’re as rich as Croesus & do not mind being ripped off for new ink cartridges.

                1. Apparently a new site has been launched (who knew?) which will, and I quote, offer a more up to date and interactive player experience (marketing speak). There will be a gradual move to the new site with the codeword puzzles being the first to migrate. IMHO if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  15. Regarding an enquiry I made about the whereabouts of the online codewords I have hust received this reply:
    Our new website has lots of new functionality, including the ability to play Codewords and all of our other puzzles online. If you would still like to complete this puzzle on paper, you can print it by choosing to play the puzzle on the new website, then clicking onto More > Print. The new website also includes interactive versions of other puzzles, including our crosswords and sudoku, with further puzzles due to be added later this year.

  16. For the sake of completion I’ve tried to use the new website for today’s backpager & guess what? It’s useless – it’s difficult to read the clues even when you increase the magnification & then you lose sight of the answers you’ve already entered.
    Does anybody else remember the time a few years back when they messed about with the DT site. That was a mass of bu##erment & so history repeats itself.

  17. I’m fuming. As a late-comer to the cryptic crossword world I’ve been playing catch-up with DT/ST and had just reached the end of December 2016, looking forward to another year clawing my way to 2022. I logged on earlier today (I feel your pain Tater!) and was re-directed to the new site. No archive of old crosswords to be found. No warning this was going to happen. No chance I’m gonna renew my subscription!!
    Still, I’d welcome an email address so I can vent my spleen accordingly…..

  18. Hurrah! Got in after several attempts so thanks again.
    I wonder how long it will still be available for…?
    Guess I’ll be printing like mad in the coming days!

    1. I received an email from DT puzzles offering me a free trial of the new site so it looks likethey’re going full on ith its launch. I’ve tried the print option & it’s rubbish. Let’s hope that the “old” site won’t be closed down too soon or I’ll be off to the FT & the Guardian.

  19. To avoid the new site – hit the X at the top right of the opening form to say “No”.
    I’ve tried to keep an open mind playing with the new site. However I must say that I use the Times Puzzles site as the benchmark for professionalism, no frills design and ease of use.

    Here are my main concerns.
    1. Many of the puzzles including Saturdays’ Giant General Knowledge, Herculis and the “Win Prizes” set can now only be accessed from the new site.
    2. To switch between the two versions it is necessary to log out and and back in.
    3, It’s now extremely difficult to format the Saturday GGK onto one page. And then the grid is too big and the font for clues is too small. The alternatives are printing on two sheets (not good on the bus or train) or printing on both sides (impracticable). I refer the designers to an engineer’s adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
    4. Clues linking Saturday’s and Monday’s GK puzzles are not clearly highlighted.
    5. Presenting crosswords in colour goes against the norm. As does using hash shading for blanks.
    6. In the Sudoku suite, the addition of the on-line “options” facility is great, but requires excessive use of the cursor, mouse, mouse-pad, etc to switch between modes. Assigned function keys to toggle between modes would make much more sense (This is the only complaint I have about the Times version)

    Whoever designed this site is clearly not a regular crossword or Sudoku user.

    1. Given all of the commments from a number of bloggers & solvers regarding the negative aspects of the new site do you think that the editor should pay some attention & review it before going ahead with its launch?

  20. Looks like the old site has evaporated – for me at least, and no sign of any recognition for the new-site-crossword-printers’ woes. I notice the “do it on your PC” version kindly has a “change font size” button whilst the print-out option still uses the tiniest of font sizes with no adjust button. So somebody has thought about readability – but not all the way through. I also assume the lack of the puzzles archive is to increase sales of their compilation books!

    There you go, I’ve just tried the old site again and it opened this time. However, most of the above points still stand so I might as well post. It’s going to go soon whatever.

    1. If you close (X in the top right corner) the initial window presented when you go to the puzzles website you can still access the ‘old’ webpages. I have made a number of representations about the failings of the new format, and asked for re-assurance that the old format (and wonderful archive!) will still be accessible for the forseeable future, but have received no acknowledgements or any such re-assurance. The silence from the DT puzzles team is deafening :negative:

      Talking about wonderful archives, please see my next post…

  21. Following up on my comment #15, above, I have been delving deeper into the NTSPP archive and come across ANOTHER triple pangram from Maize :yes:
    The crossword itself was a treat; challenging but with no obscurities, fair cluing and mostly smooth surfaces – a-Maize-ing!
    Next up is a puzzle from Alchemi, another favourite setter. If I regrettably end up cancelling my DT puzzle site membership as a result of its awful re-design I will still have BD’s splendid archive of puzzles to keep me entertained :good:

  22. Have had a nightmare with my puzzle subscription. It has moved to a new website and does not recognise my details any longer (despite having an annual subscription which the help line could not see on my record) . Having finally spoken to someone else it appears that as we paid via World pay this method of payment is no longer recognised and they refunded the balance of my year’s subscription. World Pay ceases to exist from the end of November. As a result you need to resubscribe. The bonus seems to be that I was paying £35.88 per year and it is now £29.99 !

    1. Welcome to the blog

      I couldn’t get on the site either and have emailed the enquiries team as my subscription doesn’t expire until the end of February. Apparently the old site is working again now, but I could have done with that earlier as it is much easier to create a blog template from the old version than the new :(

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