Comment – Nov 2010-Dec 2011 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Comment – Nov 2010-Dec 2011


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173 comments on “Comment – Nov 2010-Dec 2011

  1. Re DT 26,408

    So exasperating that without ‘TROOP [13 across], MAVERICK [2 down] fitted all the given letters: – A – E- – – K for the beginning of the clue ‘Odd person….’ took me ages to get past this!!!

    1. Hi sue – welcome to the blog.
      It’s probably better if you leave future comments against the blog for the relevant puzzle (use the comment field at the bottom) because more people will read them there.]

  2. I was annoyed with myself for failing at the last hurdle. I was tempted to enter “predestiny” for 8 dn. but couldn’t relate “piny” and “hunger”. I confess that “predestine” didn’t enter my head.

  3. Hi, just a general query – lots of you quote using “Chambers” to aide solving – is this The Chambers Dictionary or Chambers Crossword Dictionary?


    1. Welcome to the blog S Holmes

      Almost always we are referring to the 11th Edition of The Chambers Dictionary. The Crossword Dictionary is useful, but the main dictionary contains nearly all the words used in Telegraph puzzles. Also the enumeration (the number in brackets) usually reflects the way the word appears in Chambers as opposed to any other dictionary.

  4. Have to go pick son up from hospital so don’t know if I’ll get back to this today, so far I’m finding it quite tricky, good luck all

  5. Finished crossword but won’t be around til later, playing nurse to son recovering from op on knee, cooking dinner and entertaining grandson!! Laters :)

  6. congrats to BD and the blog for yesterday on achieving largest no of hits yet! Just as well they don’t all make a comment then Dave!!! :) So glad I found this blog by pure chance just over eighteen months ago when I started doing cryptic crosswords, it has been invaluable to me and I have made lots of online ‘friends’, certainly cheers up the dull days :)

  7. Yuck! what does anyone think of todays crossword, I know we should be able to be led by the wordplay but surely this is for film/cinema buffs! I have 10 so far but am being driven mad by how to express the last lettter of 19a!!!

  8. Looks like pommette and I might struggle a bit on this one! I think the last time we went to a cinema was for the original release of Star Wars – not film buffs but we do watch a few when they come on the telly!
    Let you know how we get on later on todays thread.

  9. BD, pass on our best wished to Tilsit if you are in contact with him. Just found his blog and read about his journey with interest. He’s not posted on there for a while so did wonder if he was out of action again.

  10. I’m feeling rather pleased with myself this morning, having completed 26508 with no help. I thought today’s crossword was tougher than normal, and I’d be intrigued to know who the setter was, as it didn’t seem particularly familiar.
    At the time of writing this – solution not yet posted so extremely chuffed.

    1. If I was to hazard a guess, I would say the setter is RayT. I am sure BD will confirm who it is later.

  11. Hi Dave, any idea of what’s wrong with the COW site, I just keep getting error messages??

    1. Ait seems to be a periodic problem with the host servers. It usually clears after a while.

  12. The error message you see when trying to access DIY COW points towards the possibility that for whatever reason the webhost is currently unable to run SQL properly. I have contacted them to try to get more information, but haven’t had any meaningful response yet. Fingers crossed everyone!

  13. Having attended Giovanni’s course on Saturday, I recalled to a fellow attendee how very useful were the posts where a couple of bloggers (Peter, Gazza?) reported their approaches to puzzle solving. One thing I learned from that was to always write the anagram fodder out in a circle and how it frequently helps to ‘see’ the word. I know it’s asking a lot, but is there any chance of this being repeated by other bloggers?

    I quite often finish a Saturday puzzle, but sometimes can’t get started without the hints. I’d love to know, eg, CS’s thoughts as she tackles one. It’s so difficult sometimes to think laterally and I really think the insights of more experienced solvers could be very helpful.

    1. Anagrams – I once read a book by Tony Buzan – Mind Maps,etc – he advised making a circle of the consonants and then putting the vowels inside the circle.Then, close your eyes to “see” the solution.

      Sometimes it works, sometimes not.!

      1. If I can’t work out anagrams without writing them down, I write the fodder in a rectangle.

        As a child, I was advised by several people to write in a circle, either with the vowels in the centre or otherwise, but I’ve always found that a rectangle allows for connections between letters to be made more easily.

        Different methods work better for different solvers. I’d suggest trying out various techniques with anagrammatic words or phrases.

        If you haven’t heard these, you could try making a singer out of “PRESBYTERIANS”, a politician out of “A DIVORCED MAN” and a religious subdivision out of “CHOIR CEASED” using each technique, to see which you prefer.

  14. Morning All, I wonder if anyone can help. I have a cryptic clue to solve for a London underground station (nothing to do with crosswords). All the rest are done but I’m left with “SAD – a place for Phillip”. The only thing I can think is that it’s a really bad clue for Queensbury, but if anyone else has any better suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

  15. Hi Spindrift, it’s not a crossword so I don’t have the number of letters or cross-checkers. They’re all just cryptic descriptions, eg. “Keep your cupboards full” – ans. “Stockwell”, “On your head” – ans. “Gerrards Cross”, “Lofty hair-do” – ans. “High Barnet”.

    1. Sorry Roland but the London Underground is a mystery to me & long may it remain so. I’m sure one of the more metropolitan bloggers will be able to assist you though.

      To me, being a Yorkshireman, the “tube” is the work of Beelzebub!

      1. Thanks anyway Spindrift. I think you’ll find it’s the M25 that’s the work of Beelzebub! The tube, in comparison, is a godsend.

  16. Help! I’m struggling to get my head around this one:
    Labour politician, last to back tough one in Ireland [4,6]

    1. Hi oodles – welcome to the blog.
      It’s the last letter of bacK followed by EIRE with HARD I (tough one) inside – so KEIR HARDIE.

  17. In Don Manley’s Crossword Manual, tutorial puzzle #10, pg 32, clue 15a reads ‘Red wine seen in the marquee perhaps (4)’. The answer is TENT, but what is the connection between red wine and tent, please. Don’t understand!

      1. Thanks BD. Never heard of it! Tricky finding an answer in google or wiki if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

  18. It is probably me being particularly stupid, and parsing the clue incorrectly, but 18d in today’s puzzle does not look quite right.

      1. D’oh… I was trying to split it as 2,4 thinking the artist was the first 2 letters.
        I will go and stand in the stupid corner :)

  19. OK, the answer given for the cryptic tube station whose clue was “SAD – a place for Phillip”, was “PRINCE REGENT”.
    Unfortunately there was no reason or explanation given, so apart from assuming that the clue writer has wrongly thought that Phil the Greek is Prince Regent, I have no idea what it has to do with SAD, whether capitalised or not!
    Sorry, I thought it would be a disappointing answer in the end, and it is – but thanks to all for your valiant efforts to help me out.

  20. Roland,
    I suspect Skempie was closest with his explanation, “SAD can mean School of Art and Design. The London College of Art and Design is at Marylebone, just across the road from Regent’s Park “, with the reference to Philip restricted to prince.

    1. Hi Libellule – I’ve just checked and Prince Regent station is nowhere near Regent’s Park, it’s down by Excel in East London while the Park is of course in NW London. This being the case, the proximity of SAD to Regent’s Park would seem to be irrelevant in terms of the clue and answer given.
      I really cannot figure it out at all!

  21. Thanks Libellule (and Skempie), I’m still not happy with it but that seems to make more sense than anything I could dream up!

  22. It’s been a strange sort of day here in Spain. Glorious sunshine this morning, then we had a massive storm at 3pm – thunder, lightning and mega rain – which lasted for about an hour and then the glorious sunshine came back again.

    After supper, I managed to “beat” the BBC and watched the final part of Master Chef on iPlayer (we missed it last Wednesday due to flying home). The BBC won’t let you look at the iPlayer if you aren’t in the UK but I’ve foxed them into thinking that we live in the Isle of Man!

    To celebrate I had a small glass of champers and managed to spill nearly all of it over my laptop keyboard. Fortunately it is spill proof – but a whole glass? So hard disk has survived, which is more than I can say for the keyboard. I’ve taken it apart, cleaned it and dried it off and re-assembled it (with a lot of accompanying swearing) but 2 hours later about half the keys no longer want to work. So I now have my old wireless keyboard sat on top of the laptop to type this!

    Pommers thinks that it may still just be slightly damp and will dry out over night. I’m not so hopeful! Looks like a big bill to get it fixed as it is relatively new and I really don’t want to have to buy another one. If anyone out there can advise, any help greatly received!

    Pommers currently doing tomorrow’s blog so he can stay in bed in the morning.

    Goodnight from a frustrated Pommette.

  23. Morning all, is anyone else having a problem getting ‘clued up’ today? Cannot open the site any ‘help’ gratefully accepted

    1. cancel that, I can open the main page but the print page refuses to open at the moment, anyone else having problems?

        1. I haven’t been able to get onto it.

          Did the back-pager just after midnight, and everything was running smoothly then. I guess the Toughie will have to wait…

          1. I managed to print the Toughie off earlier, but I cannot get back into the site to submit. Without a doubt the slowest, most unresponsive site I use on a daily basis!

          2. I suggest that, rather than complaining here, you phone the support line on 0800 316 6977. That way they will know how pathetic the site has been for the last several weeks.

  24. Just in case I don’t have time to pop back in later just like to say I thought this was one of RayT easier ones, though not easy by any means 3* for me with lots of help from ‘friends’ don’t understand 15a though I have the answer, so will have to call back to find out, laters :-) fav clue the double definition at 8d

    1. Mary,
      Its not one of Ray’s, the Quick crossword backs this up. The clues have multiple words.

  25. O wow, I think I have found cryptic-crossword-heaven! What a wonderful blog and interesting links – well done. I found you after ‘googling’ on Walpole novel – our local newspaper in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, carries the DT crossword, but a few weeks late – so your DT26596 of 5 July ran in our paper today, 2 Aug. I’ve subscribed to your newsletter and will hopefully visit often!

    1. Welcome to the blog Sam

      I hope you won’t be disappointed but the subscription only sends you notification of each new post! There is no newsletter.

  26. Clue up is Clued Down again! after failing to open it now opens with yesterdays puzzle!! Anyone else getting same problem?

        1. Make a comment on my last review so that I will get an email with your email address and I can send you a scanned copy of the paper version.

  27. Is it my imagination or has the solution for Saturdays quickcossword been mistakenly replaced with the answers and grid to the prize crossword !!

    1. No, it is not your imagination, the solution for last Saturday’s prize crossword has been published a week early.

  28. Hi

    Would it be posssible to show the empty grids as well as the answers/explanations so I could attempt crosswords from days when I was unable to buy the paper?

  29. I cannot get onto the Clued Down site this morning I think I am getting on and when the site opens it is just a blank page grrrrrrr, been trying off and on for an hour now!!!

  30. Is the Saturday Prize Crossword not available through the iPad application? I just have a link to the Quick Crissword.

  31. Hi Dave can you tell me how we get Chardonnay in 11a today, I can see end of summer = ‘r’ after tea = ‘char’ but I have tried and tried to find out where ‘donnay’ comes from and only think I can be reading it wrong or possibly the answer is wrong! Help! please :-)

  32. Seems my cluedup subscription has run out and I’m having trouble editing my card details so until then I will not be having my daily fix! grrrr always something

  33. Bad day at the site today. The clock stops for long periods. However, this allows much more time for cogitation. Has anyone else noticed that the DT newspaper site has also become very slow? Maybe its catching!

  34. ps. On really rainy Sundays like today (in Spain) I occasionally look at “Enigmatic Variations” but I have no idea how to start. Am I being stoopid or is it for super.brains? Any tips would be welcome.

  35. Be interesting to see the answer to todays cryptic clue 25a, I have the one beginning with ‘c’ but I suppose it could be the one beginning with ‘s’ !?

  36. Re: DT 26717 24d “Meet” – As in 1662 Prayer Book – Communion Consecration Prayer ” . . .it is meet and right so to do . . .”

  37. I see the pathetic Telegraph puzzles site is not working yet again….. I was hoping to have a look at Giovanni with my coffee!

    1. Been trying since 6 am and still can’t get in. It was the same yesterday. Presumably ‘too many people trying to log in’

  38. Lunch time here in the Middle East – still hoping for the crossword before close of play today but ……. friends in Singapore are struggling more than me with the time difference!

  39. Same here Jezza have been trying for the last half hour to get on!! Perhaps a meteor strike this time????!

    1. I’m probably not going to get the time to look at the Giovanni puzzle today – if I was a setter I would be most upset if my puzzles were not looked at because the organisation I compiled them for was not competent enough to display them (more often than not!)

  40. Not the best day for it to be playing silly buggers! Just one day before a get together of the sloggers & betters – I wonder what will be a hot topic of conversation…

    1. I was hoping that now it’s gone 9am, someone would have arrived at CluedUp and switched their computer on …….

  41. If anyone has a pdf of today’s toughie, I would be most grateful, but considering that nobody seems to be able to access the site, I won’t hold out much hope! :)

              1. Bingo! Finally I too have the puzzles! Better late than never, but I do feel that some sort of updated apology/explanation is due on their home page.

  42. Just paid £1.20 for the paper – the last time I bought it it was £1.00. That’s an increase of 20% – justify. At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask when he was committing daylight robbery.

    Today may be the day when I switch allegiance permanently to the Guardian.

  43. Hi –
    Just wondering how the Gravatar works – can I replace it with my own picture?
    – Mike

  44. Felt yesterdays apology was a bit brief – considering that we have had problems since August 8th. And the site is down at the moment

  45. Same again today! It’s 10.30 here (GMT+2) so breakfast & coffee with no crossword again! Maybe I’ll save today’s for tomorrow – that would sort it. Others i see have complained to the site, how do I add my voice to the rising tide of discontent?

    1. Lunch time here (GMT+4) I would also love to have had breakfast & coffee with the crossword, but I can’t even get onto the site in order to register my complaint. Last time I tried they sent me back a very polite email which said nothing. Very frustrating, but I’m thinking of giving The Guardian crossword a try, but suspect it might be beyond my capabilities – their site does work however, so that is a plus.

        1. I have done sue, waiting to see if I get a reply, by the way some of us only got one months refund! :-)

        2. Thanks Sue, I will send them a grumpy email as soon as possible. In the meantime have just managed to get onto the site ….. printer is up and running!

  46. Hi Jackie, I struggle a bit with the Guardian (sometimes it’s ok) but have got used to the DT and love this Blog so afraid I’m hooked & will keep clicking on the site every time I pass the computer. Will maybe keep complaining too, if we all do it every day maybe we’ll get a refund……

    1. Ho jo isn’t it amazing what an empty gap it seems to leave in your life :-) even talking to the computer and pleading with it, ‘pleeeeese do it this time’ each time I ‘press the button’ :-D

    2. Hi Jo, I know what you mean about this Blog … it becomes quite addictive…. maybe I won’t jump ship just yet!

    1. Not yet & I’m getting tired of trying! I’ve taken up Cryptic Sue’s suggestion & sent them an e-mail outlining the fact that they could not run a p#ss up in a brewery without somebody getting drowned!

  47. Have sent my note of complaint to the site. I wonder why they are not putting the pdfs up in the interim.

    1. Yep I’ve sent in my complaint too…..getting really mad now, suggested a refund would be in order as well (after crypticsue’s comment) :)

        1. I was up at the papershop at 7.30 this morning as I am in charge of Hints and Tips and didn’t dare risk the site not co-operating.

  48. What has annoyed me is that they have said disruptions should be minimal. It was three and a half hours before I could get my crosswords today, at least four hours yesterday, much the same on Thurs . . .

    Still I will wait and see what sort of reply I get.

  49. Big Dave – any chance of you having a word with Mr McNeil please & getting the PDFs on line while “the site is undergoing necessary maintenance” or other such management bo###cks?

    1. Yes please Dave, they cannot even be bothered to answer emails, meanwhile has anyone got it, pleeeeese

        1. Me too after at least 10 attempts. The funny thing is I can access it through the DT main website with no problem other than I can’t remember my password! And when asking for an e-mail to reset it I have never had a reply.

        2. Same here, just got on. I’m now going to save the puzzle for tomorrow morning as I doubt the site will be up an running by then, unless of course Mr McNeil will send Big Dave the PDF’s??

  50. Lovely crossword I would say worth waiting for but that might encourage clued up to be even more clued down!!

  51. Congratulations Rufus! Your cryptics on a Monday are a perfect start to the week both in the DT & the Guardian

    Oh and by the way the DT puzzle site is behaving itself this morning.

  52. Had this response from the Telegraph

    ‘Further to your enquiry, please accept our apologies for the disruption and inconvenience caused by the recent performance issues affecting the Telegraph Puzzles website.

    There are a number of automated processes that are putting a significant load on the website, resulting in intermittent service problems. Our Technical team are doing everything they can to restore the service as soon as possible.

    A number of processes need to be re-engineered in order to bring the service back to its original, stable, state. The Technical team believe that these changes will greatly improve the performance of the site in the short term. However further incremental improvements will be released over the coming weeks to prevent the service being unavailable in the future.

    Please note that the site will currently be down between midnight and 2am GMT for essential maintenance.

    We really are sorry for any inconvenience and again would like to thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding in this matter. Should you require any further assistance in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact us at . Alternatively, call our customer service helpline on 0800 316 6977; our representatives are available to take your call Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.’

    1. What a coincidence! I got exactly the same reply word for word. Uncanny – it’s almost as if it had been pre-prepared and approved by management to say something without any real commitment to a an end date by which it will be fixed.

      1. I’ve also had that reply before. I was hoping for a new one this time around. Incidentally, I managed to access the site quite early this morning, much to my great delight, however, my elation didn’t last long once I realised that the puzzles were left over from yesterday!

        1. Oh b#gger! I didn’t even check before sending them to print such was my elation at being able to get on the site with only a slow connection holding things up & I think that’s more to do with the age of my PC.

    1. Spindrift,
      Today’s Quick 26,727 can now be accessed via:
      The “Puzzles” menu on the Home page;
      The “Crossword Puzzles” menu on the top bar;
      The “Search Puzzle Archive” menu on the right side of the screen.

  53. As I had nothing better to do this afternoon I had a go at a couple of Saturday puzzles from 2002 (from the DT site archives) which were set by Cephas. Must have been him as we were told he did every Sat from 25 years ago untili recently. Both really excellent puzzles but they were a hell of a lot trickier than those he’s set in the last 3 or 4 years, since I got back into doing cryptics!
    Are the puzzles dumbing down on purpose or did I just randomly pick a couple of ‘wee stinkers’? I don’t mind either way as I quite like an easier puzzle and I’m not really a fan of Toughies. Everything else in the world appears to be dumbing down so perhaps the same applies to the DT crossword! Example – the Beeb don’t show the North Atlantic synoptic chart on the weather forecasts any more because apparantly people don’t understand them! I do and now have to go to the Met Office website to have a look! Well, I was a sailor in the Irish Sea so weather forecasting was critical!
    Just thought I’d ask if anyone else has had a similar experience of older crosswords.

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