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Previous Comments

Updated 1st January 2017


  1. Sue Walkerdine
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Brenda Reding who was an avid cryptic crossword solver, died aged 90 years on Saturday in Italy. My mother did the crossword for at least 70 years of her life and participated in this Blog until about 18 months ago when she couldn’t type anymore. She learnt to use the computer aged 80 when she solved the on-line version then continued on her iPad until 3 months ago.

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, albeit for such a sad reason.

      How splendid that your mother was able to have so many years enjoying cryptic crosswords

      My condolences to you and your family.

    • Kath
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome from me too and thank you for letting us know of the death of your Mum.
      How lovely that she enjoyed crosswords for such a long time – I hope that she also enjoyed BD’s blog.
      Learning to use a computer at such an age is amazing and something to be admired.
      I join crypticsue in sending my sympathy to you and your family.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Many condolences on the loss of your mother, Sue. She left more than 180 comments on the blog between 2010 and 2014 using the aliases Brendam and Brenda Reding.

  2. Miffypops
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hello Sue, Thank you for letting us know. I am sorry to hear that your amazing Mum is no longer with us. Ditto to the above comments

  3. JohnY
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Dave, Is it OK to capitalise an adjective that is not the first word in the clue – for the purpose of misdirection?
    The clue in question was seen very recently and I was surprised it didn’t come up in the discussion.

    • Posted March 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog JohnY

      The subject has come up on numerous occasions and the general consensus is that while it is OK to capitalise in order to enhance the surface reading, it is not right to drop necessary capitalisation of, for example, proper nouns. By this I mean that while it is OK to capitalise “May” to suggest a reference to our prime minister, it is not OK to use “may” as a reference to her.

      • JohnY
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Dave. I have been on before as JohnY, just a new email address.

        Although I had no trouble seeing what was meant and answering the clue, I feel that the position of the boxing themed capitalised forename in the clue means it couldn’t ever have its meaning as an adjective. Tad unfair.
        The other thing I have wondered about is if a clue directs you to the last letter of a word – John’s end say – if it can only ever refer to the “n” and not the “s”?

        • LetterboxRoy
          Posted August 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Yes, it can only be the ‘N’, ie ‘the end that John has’.

  4. Thomas Campbell
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think big Daves crossword blog is excellent! It has helped me become a better solver with his really useful tips, and I find I read the clues much better. Regards. Thomas.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog

  5. Caroline
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you for this lovely site which is friendly and educational too. I really appreciate the time you have taken to help us towards the answers without giving the whole thing away. Kindest regards Caroline

    • Posted April 9, 2017 at 12:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Caroline

      Glad you like the site.

  6. Mary
    Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    Happy, happy birthday Dave …. hope it’s a sunny one :-) :-) :-)

  7. Bryan Roland
    Posted April 29, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Big Dave,
    Great blog! I live abroad and buy a newspaper only occasionally so I don’t see the solutions in the next day’s edition. This blog has spared me the frustration of unsolved clues and I like the way that the analysis of the clue gives me a final chance to work it out for myself without revealing the solution . It’s also useful when I’m pretty sure I’ve got the answer but can’t quite see how the cryptic part of the clue works.
    An appeal: I’m an amateur compiler and enjoy the challenge of inventing a slick clue but I’m still doing it the old fashioned way with pen and paper. Could you recommend a free download of compiler’s software?
    Keep up the good work.

    • Posted April 29, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Bryan

      I’m not the best person to ask – repeat your question on today’s NTSPP post, which is coming up at midday.

  8. Mary
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Dave once again from a very remiss blogger these days!!! was just wondering if Tisits puzzle, where he got us bloggers to write the clues has been published yet, I did look out for it at Easter but didn’t spot it????? Still keeping an eye on you all mind!!!!!!

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:40 am | Permalink | Reply

      He’s probably having to rewrite all the clues like my effort… well six actually; I couldn’t make my mind up. CS says it’s on it’s way.

  9. Bryan Roland
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    How about a hall of fame for exeptionally good clues. Anyone interested? Here’s my contribution: Castles in the air? (5). It’s the only clue I’ve ever seen in the form of a well known phrase. Talk about smooth surfaces! I wish I could remember who the setter was but it was published several years ago.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:49 am | Permalink | Reply

      Pa bear? (5)
      ? (2,4)

      • Bryan Roland
        Posted May 10, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink | Reply

        I like the second one – economical, to say the least.” Pa bear” looks like a neat double definition but I’m not sure why you think it’s exeptionally good.
        You’re right about ” rooks” of course. I haven’t a clue about the solutions to yours.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      ‘Rooks’ works.

      • Bryan Roland
        Posted May 12, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink | Reply

        My girl Mandy Knows what “Pa bear” is. Nice one! Not a dd at all.
        The “?” still seems impenetrable. Any chance of a hint?

        • LetterboxRoy
          Posted May 12, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink | Reply

          You have the answer…!

      • Bryan Roland
        Posted May 12, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink | Reply

        Maybe I don’t need a hint. I guess I was getting close when I said I haven’t a clue.

        • LetterboxRoy
          Posted May 12, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

          I did chuckle to myself…

          • Bryan Roland
            Posted May 13, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink | Reply

            I just kicked myself.
            i was wondering if you’d noticed anything about “My girl”.

            • LetterboxRoy
              Posted May 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Aaah! Excellent! Something did register when I read it, but didn’t give it a second thought. Well done, good fun.

    • Proper Charlie
      Posted July 11, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink | Reply

      Gegs (9,4) is the clue I can’t forget.
      I just love Big Dave’s superb site and cannot resist getting stuck in!

  10. Jill
    Posted May 10, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    I am an avid Sat.telegraph crossword ‘doer’….but really the hints for 28,420 were almost non existant. The only clue I needed was not there, please ask the person responsible to be more generous in future.

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink | Reply


      The relevant bit of the FAQ page explains all – “This is a site for those who love crosswords. In common with the other major crossword sites, the answers to prize crosswords are not published until after the closing date for the competition. A few hints are published on the day that the puzzle is published in order to help anyone who is struggling to get started.”

      PS: Why not pop back on Friday morning and read the review

    • Posted May 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t understand why you say the hints for this puzzle were “almost non existant (sic)”. I provided hints for 16 of the 28 clues, which is what i have been doing for the last eight years, and I’m not going to be “more generous in future”.

  11. Angela roodhouse
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It is good to have some easier crosswords on a Saturday gives a good feeling to get the whole puzzle out without looking up the clues so thanks for last sat some of them o can’t solve at all

  12. CT
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hello All,

    This is a great resource and allows me to test my knowledge of the Daily Telegraph crossword. Currently I can do about 40% on my own, but I am always keen to improve and become more experienced with the guides on the site.

    One thing I will request is that you check out the links for the “Usual Suspects” and “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” above. I keep experiencing Network Error messages; though this may just be my computer.

    Top work, guys.

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog

      BD will have a look at the links when he sees this message, although I’ve just checked and they work OK for me

    • Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      One other user has reported this problem and he found out that is was his isp that was blocking the site.

  13. Liz
    Posted May 26, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have found this site really helpful, because just reading the hints can help without necessarily having to look at the answers. I can now usually manage three-quarters of the puzzle myself and then check one key clue to help me along when I get stuck. Fantastic – keep up the good work! Thanks to all of you solvers/hint givers!

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 26, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A very warm welcome to the blog Liz.

  14. Mary
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow!!!! once again thank you so much Dave et al … its really great to get these birthday wishes seeing as I’m not such an active blog participant these days … sooooo lovely … I do keep an eye on you all even tho Im not about so much so thank you all once again :-) :-) :-)

  15. FirmlyDirac
    Posted June 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not sure if this is the right place, but I was referred to your site by someone on the Guardian website.

    I’m interested in *setting* crosswords as well as solving, and I’m looking for some helpful tips.

    I’ve read carefully through the “Advice from Anax” section of this site, and take on board much that is said there.

    So: I’ve even gone so far as to put together a puzzle of my own, more or less in the style of the Guardian Cryptic. I used a grid from an old crossword. Fitting the words into the grid wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be – although I had to abandon most of the words I’d ‘prepared’ beforehand: they didn’t fit. Clueing was another story altogether! Nonetheless, after a week or two’s effort, I think I’ve come up with a reasonable first attempt, and I’d really like to have it tried out, to see if it works.

    So, where do I go from here? Currently I’ve got the puzzle, in solved and unsolved versions, stored as a couple of Excel spreadsheets. Not very convenient for solving! Googling turns up a whole host of puzzle-setting tools online – both free and paid-for. Also what’s the etiquette about submitting my puzzle right here on this site?

    Any advice much appreciated.

    P.S. I’m using the same pseudonym here as my username on the Guardian website.

    • Prolixic
      Posted June 5, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Firmly Dirac

      Your best bet is to e-mail the crossword to Big Dave for publication as a Rookie crossword. These are published without editing and then reviewed by solvers and subject to a more detailed review by me.

      The software most setters use in Crossword Compiler but you can submit crosswords in any format (including Excel) and they will be converted into the correct format by Big Dave.

    • snape
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 12:20 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi FirmlyDirac,
      Absolutely what Prolixic said. If you do want to do more puzzles, I do recommend investing in the grid-filling software if you possibly can (Crossword Compiler, or Sympathy). It will save a lot of time, and allow you to be more ruthless if you find a corner is intractable!
      I would also read Prolixic’s guide (on the Rookie Corner home page), but also read though all the previous Rookie puzzles, and learn from others’ mistakes. The clue-writing competitions on DIYCOW are also worth looking at, as there are detailed judgings.
      Good luck!

    • FirmlyDirac
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks a lot for the replies and information :-). I’ve sent my effort to Dave.

  16. spindrift
    Posted June 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I know this forum is for blogging about the DT crossword inter alia but I need some guidance.

    Can anyone tell me how to block the infuriating & insistent message from HP telling me that my printer is low on ink and would I like to be subject to what is the online equivalent of highway robbery?

    I can get pukka replacement cartridges from elsewhere for virtually half the price.
    Many thanks in anticipation.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted July 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi spindrift – either remove HP Status Monitor (or whatever it’s called) and just leave the print driver: alternatively (Windows) press the ‘Windows’ key + r together, then type msconfig in the box and enter. From there you can uncheck it from the ‘Startup’ tab. Hope that helps.

  17. OldKiwi
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 4:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    Came across your blog by accident some weeks ago whilst struggling with a Toughie. Most informative, educational and amusing.
    Thanks to Press Display we can get a daily fix of quality Crosswords down here in the South. of the world.

  18. Expat Chris
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Recently I’ve been unable to access the blog via Chrome. I get as far as “read more” and then I get a “bad request” message. I can get in via IE but that’s a pain.

  19. Christopher
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    Returning to the DT cryptic after a break and finding myself rather rusty, I should like to express my abundant appreciation to BD and his bloggers for your daily doses of wit and wisdom here. Besides helping me when I’m struggling to solve clues, your posts bring me almost as much pleasure as the crossword itself and I love your company each day.

    • Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Christopher

      We always like receiving comments like yours.

  20. Richard
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for taking the trouble to do this Dave

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog. We have another commenter called Richard so you may need to change your alias before you next comment

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