Comment – Jan-Dec 2015

Archived Comments – Jan-Dec 2015

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Updated 1st January 2016


  1. spindrift
    Posted January 3, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Help! My subscription has not been renewed due to reasons I’m trying to understand therefore would some kind soul e-mail me a pdf of today’s puzzle please? Many thanks in anticipation.

  2. Jane
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi BD. Just a thought – how about asking the Rookie compilers to do their own review on the day following publication, prior to the BD experts giving their ‘take’ on it. The comments would surely be more pertinent given an insight into the way they had thought out the clues?

    On the other hand – maybe you already do that and it’s just that the rest of us don’t get a look in!

  3. Tobias D Tortoise
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I hope I have found the right place to post this.
    I came across this site but a short while ago and find it very helpful. I attempt most dt cryptics but rarely the toughies.
    My thanks to BD et al for this site, it is a boon.
    Is there any specific format for sending prize puzzles to DT? My scanner’s preferred option is PDF so that is what I use.
    Haven’t been able to find any info on this but am aware of the requirement for spaces and commas in subject line.

    Many thanks,

    • gazza
      Posted January 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Tobias.
      There’s some information, supplied by the DT Puzzles Editor, in the FAQ – see here.

  4. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Trust me to find the one crossword with such a polemic.
    Downloaded Ntspp 162 by Wiglaf. Pure chance given the amount of puzzles in the memory bank. Even if I can’t reveal that particular clue with my little windows phone I think I get the hint of who it might be.
    The blog being closed, I post here.
    I don’t think 18a is a real word is it?
    21a is a bit far fetched.
    Liked 20d although it’s a very long clue.
    Thanks to wiglaf.

  5. Rosie Rushton
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Help! Where is the blog for today, January 26th Daily Telegraph??? I\t’s nowhere to be seen and no explanation. Feeling lost!

    • Posted January 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Rosie

      11:00 am is only the target time for the blog. Today’s blogger also holds down a full-time job as a publican and has to fit the blog around his other duties.

  6. Cherry
    Posted February 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    We need all the help we can get, but often the hints aren’t enough for us, so we just want to be told what the answer is. But we aren’t getting any Click Here buttons with the hints and tips – it was easier for us when the answers were just hidden in brackets to be clicked on. That worked. Now we feel so frustrated – we have to wait a WHOLE DAY to get the answer in the paper. Has anyone any ideas as to how we can make the Click Here buttons appear?

    • Posted February 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      What platform (PC, Mac, tablet, phone etc.) and browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.) are you using?

  7. Cherry
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. I use a PC with Windows 8.1, and Internet Explorer 11.1, or whatever the latest is.

    • Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      It works OK for me – I use Windows 8.1 and I tried it with IE 11.0.15.

  8. Cherry
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    No – the only Click Here I get is on some ad. for skin creams that pops up. Nothing for the hints. Funny though, if you can get them with the same system, why can’t we?

    • Roger
      Posted February 14, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Can you try clearing your browser cache?

      Try another browser?

      Try the browsers with any extensions etc disabled ?

      • Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        … or use a better browser like Firefox!

  9. Aman
    Posted February 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave
    Several weeks ago the Telegraph cocked up my subscription to the crosswords by cancelling it. I spoke with them on Friday and everything seemed to be sorted out. This morning… bloody crossword! Any way to get a copy of today’s crossword? I will give them another call in the morning. Cheers

  10. Aman
    Posted February 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Got it! Thank you!

  11. Expat Chris
    Posted February 21, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Good Morning. Having issues accessing the internet with IE again (yes, I’m dumping it!), and via Chrome the puzzle site won’t accept my password. While I’m waiting for them to send me a new password, would you be so kind as to send me today’s cryptic, and the Quickie also if you have it. Many thanks! .

    • pommers
      Posted February 21, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      You have mail.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted February 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Thanks very much Pommers. Malwarebytes didn’t find anything and I have now done a full system scan and the problem has disappeared. I can access the puzzles with my current password. My knowledge of IT is very limited, but maybe I had an uninvited add-on that the full scan got rid off.

  12. spindrift
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    A new anagram indicator [partial], well to me anyway –
    Hallucinogenic dream about large fruit (6)

    • Jane
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Love it, spindrift – but they taste vile if eaten straight from the tree. Tried one in the garden of Shakespeare’s daughter’s house a few years ago. Great when cooked and bottled as a jam.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane.
        We used to have a neflier in the Jardin, but it slowly suffocated under the ever growing cedar tree. It used to make lovely fruits but you had to eat them pretty fast. The flesh between the skin and the rather large inside stones was like honey but turn blet quickly in the open air.

        • Jane
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Hi Jean-luc,
          It never ceases to amaze me that you are so very good at doing crosswords, despite them being in a foreign language. Do you translate the whole thing before you start? I can’t imagine any other way that you could cope with the anagrams.

  13. Jane
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi BD – just to say thank you for the St. David’s day logo. I bet Mary will have enjoyed it as well, but don’t know whether we have any other Wales based commenters?

    Whilst I’m writing – wonder whether anyone else has asked if it would be possible to post the Rookie puzzles on a Sunday? It would certainly be a bonus for me but I guess might not appeal to others.

    • Jane
      Posted April 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Don’t know that it’s intentional, but I now find that if I stay up late on a Sunday, I can often get the Rookie – which makes me stay up even later! Thanks, BD.

  14. Jane
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    My local paper – the Bangor Mail – is published by the Trinity Mirror North Wales, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirror PLC. It has a very decent Cryptic crossword – any idea who sets these?

    • Jane
      Posted April 1, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      No replies from any of you – does nobody know?

      • gazza
        Posted April 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        BD publishes it at midnight (UK time).

        • Jane
          Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          I guess you’re referring to the Rookie puzzle – not the Bangor Mail crossword?!!!

          • gazza
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            Sorry – yes. I thought I was replying to your query about the Rookie.

            • Jane
              Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

              No problem, Gazza – but if you do happen to know the answer to the question about the Trinity Mail crosswords I’d be pleased to hear it.

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted March 26, 2015 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    Once again, I am having issues with my DT subscription. I received notification that it had been automatically renewed. But when I tried to access the puzzles, I am told my subscription had been cancelled or expired! This is a depressingly annual occurrence. Would you mind sending me the Cryptic, Toughie and, if possible, the Quickie? Many thanks.

    • Posted March 26, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      You’ve got mail.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 26, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Received. Thanks so much!

  16. Jane
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Much prefer to do the puzzles on paper which means that, although I buy the DT, I have to resort to the printer for Rookies, NTSPP and monthly Prize Puzzles. I’m going through black ink cartridges at a rate of knots – anyone found an alternative way to print?

  17. Wahoo
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Re Tuesday, 27769.

    Haven’t posted for a while, although I have been tracking all your views and fun comments, but had to say Hi tonight on behalf of the Island’s tourist board (with whom I have no connection!) for the answer to 20A!!!

    Please come and visit – you will love it!! And enoy a 23A …….MP I’ll let you know where you can get a special one whilst Saint Sharon chills out from all of those chores.

    Just into **/**** for me. Held up by first word in 9a and answer to 24a – and as usual, for no obvious reason

    Thanks to Tuesday’s Mr Ron

    • Jane
      Posted April 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      20a is a pretty good place to visit, as well!

  18. spindrift
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    i found this link on another web site & thought that the good people of this parish would appreciate it.

  19. George
    Posted April 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure why, but I have been having quite a few problems accessing the site over the last couple of weeks. I keep getting an error saying the site is off line. I can connect to the hosting server OK, but then not the pages. It seems to be OK after 10 to 15 mins but it seems to happen about 1 out of every 3 attempts to connect. Just thought I would let you know.

    • Jane
      Posted April 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I usually find the ‘off site’ flashes up just after I’ve tried to post a really long comment, with lots of emoticons. Always thought it was a BD ‘too much, already’ comment but your posts are usually very succinct so I really can’t say.
      I CAN tell you that it’s a heck of a problem to recreate a post once it’s been committed to cyberspace!

  20. Jane
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi BD, I’m no longer receiving the notifications of blog postings. Are you trying to tell me something (!) or have I inadvertently blocked them when deleting ‘junk’ stuff?

  21. fortis
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    please could anyone tell me how to change my icon (avatar?) i cannot remember how i put it in in the first place, many thanks for any help

  22. anoxic
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    In this week’s prize cryptic crossword 341, I have solved it correctly (submitted 100%) but cannot parse the solution to 1 across:

    Powerful, take what’s ours close to coast (6)

    Without giving the answer away (as per prize conventions), can anyone explain where the “b” comes from please?

    • gazza
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      This is the prize cryptic crossword on the Telegraph Puzzles site.
      1a is ‘take what’s ours’ (3,2) followed by the closing letter of coast.

      • anoxic
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        That’s enough for me to understand it, thanks. I was going for anagram of ours+t. I was on the wrong tack completely.

  23. pommers
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    One for the pedant’s corner which I’ve come across twice in the last couple of weeks . . .

    A MISS is not a young woman, she’s an unmarried one who could be any age, like my aunt Winnie who died aged 94, still a miss.

    • Jose
      Posted December 11, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I’ve just spotted this comment and it doesn’t sound quite right to me, so I respectfully respond as follows. The word Miss (with capital) is a title prefixed to the name of an unmarried woman or girl. Definitions of miss (without capital) include “a schoolgirl” and a “person between a child and a woman”. And for the adjective missish: “schoolgirlish” (all from the BRB). Collins Online Thesaurus gives the following synonyms for miss: girl, maiden, maid, schoolgirl, young lady, lass and damsel. So, your lovely aunt is definitely a (titular) Miss but I’m not convinced that at 94 she’s a miss.

      BD, perhaps (if you have time) you could give an official definitive ruling on this apparent incongruity?

  24. spindrift
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Help please. In the Week magazine’s competition crossword for w/e 25 April (closing date 4 May) the following clue has me beaten as to why the answer must be what it is:
    ‘Crack and Ecstasy with time can bring on madness’ _E_E_T_A

    • spindrift
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      As soon as I pressed send it came to me – an anagram (crack) of TIME, AND E

      Not had a gnomoment for a long time!

  25. Kath
    Posted June 4, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Today’s quickie pun is Beehive+Eeyore+Pattens=Behaviour patterns.

  26. Expat Chris
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Good morning. The DT’s not accepting what I thought was my password. I’ve sent a request for a new one, but meanwhile could you send me today’s puzzles, plus the NTSPP if it’s available. thanks!

    • Expat Chris
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Never mind about the NTSPP. I don’t need a password for that! Can you tell I’m still half asleep?

      • Expat Chris
        Posted June 13, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Never mind. I’m apparently still logged in if I access the DT puzzles via IE, which I have been avoiding using because it’s awful. If I use Chrome it asks for log on details. I don’t understand that, but at least I have the puzzles for now.

  27. Neil
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    A newbie to the site and I love it!
    When you give a BD Rating I fully understand the enjoyment factor being subjective but is there a yardstick for the difficulty? e.g. time to complete and if so what are the norms?
    Keep up the good work

    • gazza
      Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Neil. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become one of our ‘regular’ commenters.
      Some bloggers have a personal formula for calculating the difficulty stars based on time taken to solve; others (me included) just make a subjective assessment – I try to use 3* as ‘average’.

  28. Christine Green
    Posted June 20, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Good morning, I’ve just looked at the solution of puzzle 27,827. Regarding clue 15d, “contrail” is not in the dictionary (Oxford, Cambridge, Macmillan…). Where did the setter get the word from, and what does it mean, please?
    Thanks for your answer,
    Chris Green.

    • Posted June 20, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      We can’t repeat often enough that Chambers is the “dictionary of choice” for Telegraph setters, and that means the Big Red one, not the condensed online free version.

      * short form of condensation trail

      condensation trail
      * a vapour trail

      • dave lock
        Posted November 16, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        BD, just for the benefit of some readers (I know you will be aware yourself) “contrail” is a good example of a “portmanteau word” (coined by Lewis Carroll in 1872) – a word which condenses the meaning of two words into one shorter word. Like a portmanteau – a travelling case having two halves joined by a hinge.

  29. Hanni
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Any reason I’ve been CAPTCHA’d?

    • Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Not that I’m aware of, but that usually means you have been intercepted by the spam filter.

      • Hanni
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        I tried to post on the 27835 thread as normal. My email and name are saved so I don’t have keep refilling them in, and it went to a CAPTCHA page. Hey ho.

        I’ll just repost my comments on the rather good crossword again.

        Cheers BD

    • Posted June 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I have recovered several comments from the spam folder, including some of yours. Don’t ask why they were they as I don’t know.

      • Hanni
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        No worries at all. Just one of those things.

  30. Tony Munday
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Very surprised to see no solution to DT 27838 dated 26 June
    I finished, eventually, but found it hard.

    • Prolixic
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Welcome Tony. A major server crash meant that anything posted on 26 June was lost and access to the site is only just coming back on-line.

  31. Wahoo
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Re ST2805. Hope it’s not like it is tonight online (about 9.00pm UK) in the morning. No word/letter numbers with any of the clues. Makes it a little more difficult!

    Tried switching off/on/exit etc. Juts thought – half of every clue is missing! Back to finish post-dinner “tea” until the DT fixes it.

  32. Sue May
    Posted July 29, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I’d done nearly all of it, but not sure why some of them were right. So great to have that all explained. Excellent site!

    • gazza
      Posted July 29, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Sue May. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.
      You don’t make clear which puzzle you’re referring to – if you’re leaving a comment about a specific puzzle it’s best to use the ‘comment’ facility at the bottom of the relevant blog, then more people will read it.

  33. john williams
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    As I am not a frequent visitor to BD – I do try to manage without it – I may have missed the introduction of the feature of tagging pictures with the answers to the clue. I noticed it when I looked for hints to DT27881. It seems to defeat the object of a “Hints” page and to go against the rules.

    • Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Did you read the FAQ before leaving your comment?
      FAQ #9 explains the “rules” and pictures have been tagged in this way since the early days of the blog and I have no intention to change that.

  34. Wahoo
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    DT 27,885.

    If that was a Ray T (maybe?) then even Brian must enjoy it. Just into 1.5 because of a couple but fun, say 3+. Let’s see what the morning brings!

  35. Hanni
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hi BD et el. Toughie 1453 has almost identical clues in the paper version for 3 and 4d. Has anyone got the online copy? Think there may have been a printing error. clarify they both read..

    With wild cat entering animals turned tail: didn’t remain impassive.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 25, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      3d should be

      Run through – run through article (6)

      • Hanni
        Posted August 25, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        CS you are a star..thank you.

  36. Expat Chris
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Big Dave! Re meeting up when we are in the UK. We will be going to Cheltenham on Monday September, 14th, having spent a few days in Ramsbury. We plan on visiting the old homestead of Eckington on the way. It’s just a few miles from you. Are you up for lunch at The Bell around 1 o’clock on the 14th? This time we are not renting a car so my brother-in-law will be driving us. If that’s not convenient for you, perhaps we can meet in Cheltenham on the 15th for lunch. Let me know, and please e-mail me a phone number so that I can keep in touch once we are there in case anything changes. Looking forward to seeing you!

  37. mary
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Is it just me or is anyone else just getting yesterdays puzzles on the Telegraph web page???!!!

    • Gazza
      Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      If you scroll down to ‘Puzzles’ you can get today’s puzzles.

      • spindrift
        Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Thank you Gazza.
        The phrase “couldn’t organise a p#ss up in a brewery without someone getting drowned” springs to mind.

        • mary
          Posted October 16, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          You’re not alone spindrift

      • mary
        Posted October 16, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza … eventually figured it out

  38. JohnW
    Posted October 20, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Why do you persist in tagging photos on the Hints page with the actual answers! It makes a mockery of the big warning not to include answers in comments.

    • Posted October 20, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog John

      Why to people persist in ignoring the instruction above the comment box that reads “if you are asking a question please check the FAQ first”?

      I don’t take kindly to those whose first comment is a complaint.

  39. JohnW
    Posted October 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    A bit touchy aren’t we? This is not my first comment! The first one, some time ago, was about a particular clue.
    Anyway I have commented before (19August) about the tagging, having that time checked the FAQ without success – and I’ve just looked again with the same result. I’m afraid I missed your response to my August comment but reading it now enabled me to discover the answer. I even tried searching for “tag”, “picture” and “image” but that only works if the relevant FAQ is open, so short of opening all 31 FAQs I was unlikely to find the reference! So you see I did make a bit of an effort and I’m sorry if I upset you – you must have a lot of idiot comments to deal with.
    Thank you for the help your site provides and I shall continue to use BD when I’m really stuck but must be careful in future to avoid those images with my cursor.

  40. Dick Boyd
    Posted October 23, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    DT 27937
    Some were ghastly which prompts me to make the following observations:
    There seems a great disparity nowadays between two extremes, hard and easy fine, but somewhat more uniformity in the formats. I like working the cryptic to fit the definition. Not guessing what is the definition, trolling through Roget hopefully to find a word that fits the known letters and then firuring out how the cryptic can be satisfied. Often now the case and like this one so tenuous and ghastly.
    in the old days a dictionary would suffice, now sportsmen, actors etc are a prerequisite.
    An opinion.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Dick

      Although your opinion relates to observations on cryptics generally, if you are commenting on a particular crossword, it helps if you post your comment on the blog for that puzzle.

      If BD was around, he’d probably move your comment to the right page, but I can’t work that sort of magic so you’ll have to remain here in ‘comments’.

  41. Shahriar Bader
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Greetings, Does anyone know what’s happening to the Telegraph puzzles points system? I’m showing at over 9 million points. Best to the best.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 24, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think anyone understands any of the Telegraph puzzles systems. I particularly like doing the Quick prize winning puzzle on a Monday which apparently takes me thousands and thousands of hours!

    • Ginny
      Posted October 24, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Lately my points seemed to have jumped to about ten times what they should have been. I took it as a crumb of comfort when looking at the person at the top.

  42. Tony Gamble
    Posted November 1, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve been downloading your help blogs for the Daily Telegraph Cryptics for about a month now.

    When I was 26 I seem to remember cracking the cryptics in less than an hour. At a ripe 76 I struggle to get up to 1/3 of the answers before looking at your hints -but then I do get to within about three/four before needing to look up the word.

    I have read as many of your guides as I can find. What I have not come across is anyone suggesting work flow. By that I mean what do the wizards do first? Do they try to identify what type of clue it is? Do they try to pick the key word and look for synonyms that fit the clue?

    One piece of advice I have seen and followed is not ticking off the clues as they are solved. Thus keeping clear of the clue panel and concentrating on leads created by letters from the crossing words. It seems to work.

    I used to put the letters from anagrams in a circle. Someone has suggested vowels on one line and the consonants on another – that is now what I do.

    But, to cut a rambling post short, can anyone point me to a URL that suggests the ‘best’ way to work through the clues assuming one has already understood the differences between anagrams, hidden words, etc, etc.

    It is a great web site, Dave, Well done to you and the other helpers.

    • Posted November 1, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Tony

      I think you will find that there are as many approaches to solving crosswords as there are solvers. Personally I would describe myself as a completist – I get a foothold in a corner of a puzzle and endeavour to complete that corner before moving on to an adjacent corner.

      As far as anagrams are concerned, once again there are many methods that are used. I enter the letters into a grid that is three or four (depending on the length of the answer) letters wide along the top row then backwards along the second row and so on. For example, with 12 Across in today’s puzzle:

  43. Tony Gamble
    Posted November 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dave,

    Two valuable suggestions there.

    I’ll be interested to hear what the other gurus come up with.


    • pommers
      Posted November 1, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Tony and welcome from me too.

      I always start a puzzle by going thought the acrosses and then the downs in order. No more than about 10 seconds thinking time on any clue, unless perhaps an anagram is identified when I may spend longer trying to crack it. This process usually reveals a few answers and after that I look at the grid and use BD’s technique – go for the areas where you have the most checkers.

      Anagrams I do a bit differently. If you think think the clue is an anagram you must know the indicator, the fodder and therefore the definition. I then treat it as a quick crossword clue and guess answers before checking if they fit the fodder. Pommette uses the BD method ans sometimes she’s quicker and sometimes it’s me – I fare better on long anagrams.

  44. Tony Gamble
    Posted November 1, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Pommers

    Two more good ideas.


    • crypticsue
      Posted November 1, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Firstly if you click on ‘reply’ if keeps the comment thread together.

      I start with the Across clues and work my way down, then do the same with the Down clues, and then I work my way back up the grid from bottom to top. Only then do I look properly at the grid to find places where I have more checking letters than others and start to fill the missing.

      Anagrams – I either cross out the letters I already have from the word(s) in the clue in the paper and see if I can fit in what’s left or if that doesn’t work, I write out the anagram fodder in either a long line or a couple of rows of say 3, 4, 3 letters or whatever the number is and again cross out the ones I have.

      • Tony Gamble
        Posted November 1, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Crypticsue.

        Again useful.

        I hope this reply is in the right place.


        • Posted November 1, 2015 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          • Tony Gamble
            Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            Do you folk use dictionaries?

            I tried 27,950 yesterday and only managed about two answers before having to resort to your help posting.

            I always get to within about two clues from the end with your help. Those are usually words I don’t know. It is just that I struggle so much getting moving before I need your help.


            • Kath
              Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

              I can’t quite work out which day 27950 was but you have to believe me that I will have used a dictionary – I almost always need to – I don’t think it’s cheating. It’s how you learn things so what’s wrong with that – others will disagree with me but whatever – just keep going I say.

              • Kath
                Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

                PS – The most important thing is that you enjoy doing the crossword – that’s why we do them, isn’t it?

              • Tony Gamble
                Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

                950 was Wednesday.

                Good to learn that Dictionaries are OK.

                Is there an on-line one that is as good as the Chambers?


                • pommers
                  Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                  Hi Tony

                  Try this one. It very rarely disagrees with Chambers and I find it very useful.


                  • Tony Gamble
                    Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

                    Thanks pommers.

                    I’ll get it linked tomorrow.


                  • dave lock
                    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

                    Yes, just google “collins online” and this is the best web dictionary. You can switch your search from dictionary to “Thesaurus”, which gives long lists of synonyms (and antonyms) and is great for clue-solving assistance.

            • Expat Chris
              Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

              I always have my Chambers dictionary handy! That’s the one the Telegraph compilers follow. I wouldn’t be without it. My vocabulary is fairly good, but it doesn’t include those obscure words that turn up so often. I find a “real” hardback dictionary is so much better than any on-line version, which seem to be somewhat limited. I also use a thesaurus at times. As Kath says, that’s how one learns.

              • Tony Gamble
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

                I am pleased to say that yesterday I managed to complete the cryptic 27,964 of Friday 20th Nov without once resorting to your help notes.

                I have been trying to do two puzzles a day since writing on the 8th – but I have never managed without needing to look at your help for about 40% of the clues.

                One site I found useful was It says nothing much new that is not on your site, but maybe the same instructions in different words has helped a bit.

                However the biggest help I have found is
                In one system I get synonyms, anagrams and the facilty to key in the letters already showing and get a list of all the matches.

                I have also got the on-line Chambers Dictionary and Thesaurus which I turn to if the above site fails. I loaded the Chambers app but it does not seem as good as working on-line.

                It’ll be interesting to see how I fair with today’s puzzle.

                I have to admit that without the above two aids I would not get far. My vocabulary is far too limited – but posters have said it is OK to use help so I don’t feel too guilty.

                Thanks for the help and confidence building. I never thought I’d get there.


  45. MooseHunter
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone else noticed that the Prize Winners section of the Telegraph Puzzles web-site hasn’t been updated for some time (5th Oct).

    I have e-mailed the Telegraph but have had no reply. Do you still have the ear of the Editor, BigDave? (I recall that you were in regular contact during the site outage debacle.)

    I’m hoping that we are still being entered and that prizes are still being awarded.

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Your earlier comments used your first name – both will now work, and I like this one.

  46. dave lock
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Big Dave, I have just been reading the FAQs on here and have learned something new. Although I was aware that some crosswords contained hidden features, I never knew they were called Ninas. I’m sure you know yourself, but others who read this blog might not be aware that the Quick Crossword underneath the Telegraph cryptic very often contains a Nina. Usually the first 3 or 4 across clues combine to make a longer word or well known phrase and they are indicated by the relevant clues being written in italics. Just thought I’d mention it ………

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      It is for that reason that the quick pun is always shown under the daily hints

    • dave lock
      Posted November 16, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Thank you, but not sure what you mean. Do you mean that the Nina from the Quick crossword is shown under the daily hints for the crytic? You’re being too cryptic, Sue!

      • dave lock
        Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Yes, you did mean just that! Have found it now – but you can’t expect someone obsessed with cryptic crosswords to be able to understand a simple, obvious statement, surely!

  47. Time2Day
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Cryptic 27962, 11 down
    Have got the right answer, but cannot work out how the answer fits the clue! If someone can explain it, I’d be pleased!

    • Posted November 18, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Time2Day

      Please wait for the review (scheduled for 11:00 am) of a current puzzle before asking questions about it.

  48. dave lock
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Big Dave, how come the nina in the Quick crossword is sometimes indicated with italicised clues and sometimes not (as under DT 27,962)? Also, why is it referred to as the Quick “pun”, instead of the Quick nina. What’s the point of having a specific term for a hidden crossword feature (which a “pun” is) and then calling it something else?

    • Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      It’s called a pun because that’s what it is – it is not what is usually referred to as a Nina, you said that, not us. A Nina is a hidden message – see the FAQ entry for examples.

      Over the last few years the clues leading to the pun have been italicised when more than two answers are involved, but it is not infallible.

      • dave lock
        Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        BD, I see where you are coming from but in FAQs the definition of a Nina is a “hidden feature”, which surely covers a hidden “pun” or indeed anything else. Also one of the given examples (of a Nina) is “fine tooth comb” – which isn’t a hidden message, it’s a hidden pun! Thus plainly confirming that a hidden pun is actually a Nina. But if everybody calls it the Quick pun, then so be it! It’s merely semantics, I suppose.

        Also, my main point regarding italics is: if a crossword contains a Nina or pun and there is no indication of such a thing – how would anybody know what to look for? New readers (and some regular readers also) of the DT may be totally unaware that there is a pun included unless the clues are italicised or otherwise indicated.

  49. Expat Chris
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    BD, I don’t see a Rookie Corner puzzle today. Did I miss an announcement as to delay?

    • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      There’s a very simple explanation – I forgot!

      Will sort one out asap.

      • Jane
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – bang goes another assumption. I thought you were infallible, BD.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Happens to us all at times. I forget what I went into a room for on a regular basis.

  50. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Hope you get your site back soon.
    In the meantime I wish everybody a nice evening.

  51. mary
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    What a pain !!!! blocked out agin! Another day no crossword!!!!

    • Expat Chris
      Posted November 29, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Oh dear. What’s blocking you?

      • mary
        Posted November 29, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        World Pay! My card details had changed so when my subscription ran out they cancelled my membership to Telegraph puzzles but renewed it when I put new details in, I had puzzle yesterday but now they are telling me it has run out again!!!!! There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do!! Wot a pain, wot else to do on a dull cold wet Sunday morning

        • Posted November 29, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          You’ve got mail!

          • mary
            Posted November 29, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            There are some friends, no matter how long there is no contact, that you can always rely on … thank you Dave I hope I can sort this out tomorrow

        • Expat Chris
          Posted November 29, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          I’ve had that issue. The payment was processed by World Pay but the DT didn’t change the card details on my account. Trouble is, it always seems to happen at the weekend and no one at the DT will respond to an e-mail until Monday.

          • mary
            Posted November 29, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink


  52. mary
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Hi dave I’m begging again, still not been able to sort things out … pleased could you send me todays puzzle? Eternally grateful

  53. mary
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Me again Dave, despite phone calls to Telegraph still being blocked, will ring again soon, meanwhile … please can I have todays puzzle

    • mary
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Dave after yet another phone call they have resolved it at last, thanks once again

  54. Hanni
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi BD. Please can you pass my email address to Pommette re quiz questions.

  55. Hanni
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s sorted BD.

  56. Jane
    Posted December 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi BD – just to let you know that there doesn’t appear to be an answer box for the latest MPP.

  57. Al
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi. It seems that everybody knows what “brb” is. Could someone (yes, you!) enlighten me. please? Thanks.

    • Posted December 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Al.

      You’ll get on a lot better here if you don’t ask questions aggressively. Did you look in the FAQ first? I guess not.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted December 15, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Hopefully this will not be construed as an aggressive comment, but …

        … if one hovers over the “FAQ” tab … the drop down menu merely says …

        Prize Puzzles
        Toughie Setters

        I always feel great sympathy for the “newbies” who are harshly told to “Look at the FAQ first”

        • Jane
          Posted December 15, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          Ah – but if you ‘click’ on FAQ all sorts of info comes up! Even I managed that – and, believe me, that’s saying something!

        • Posted December 15, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          I’ve dropped the subsidiary entries so there should be no further confusion.

          My ‘harsh’ response was because of the rudeness of the question, which I didn’t find to be in the least bit funny – more like when someone shouts out “Oi you!” to attract your attention.

          • stanXYZ
            Posted December 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Thanks BD, but could you, please, explain what BRB means?

  58. Al
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi again. It wasn’t meant to be aggressive; it was meant to be but humorous – that’s the problem with the written word. Thanks again.