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The purpose of this blog is to help anyone, and I know there are quite a few of you out there, who is struggling with the Daily & Sunday Telegraph cryptic crosswords.

While setters are welcome to visit the site, and to leave appropriate comments, they should respect the fact that our primary purpose is to assist solvers and any abuse of this privilege will result in the deletion, without prior notice, of the offending comments.

I started by providing hints as ad hoc comments on the “Crossword ends in violence” site, run by James Cary, which, at the time, was doing a blog for the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword.   For entirely unrelated reasons, I needed to acquire a WordPress logon, and during this process I was asked if I would like a blog as well.  In a moment of inexplicable weakness I ticked “Yes” – and that’s how “Big Dave’s Blog” was born on Jan 28, 2009, with the first post being published the following day.

Having acquired the blog, I then had to think what I was going to do with it, and hit on the idea of doing for The Toughie what James was doing for the regular cryptic puzzle.  I did this for a whole week, adding the Gallery as an item of interest for friends and family.

Then I received an email from James asking if I would take over the awesome responsibility of doing the regular cryptic as well, allowing him time to do some fee earning work of his own, although he promised to still contribute from time to time.  I sent an email to Libellule, who was one of my early visitors, to see if he would be able to help from time to time, and then told James that I would take it on.

Within a couple of days, mentions on the “Times for the Times” and “Fifteensquared” websites created unexpected interest.  It was suggested that a change to “Big Dave’s Telegraph Crossword Blog” would make referrals from other sites easier, so that gave me the title that was used for the first year.  The tag line evolved from the rather ambitious “Putting the world to rights” to the more appropriate “Putting the words to lights” over several months.

By the end of the second week Gazza and Libellule had taken on the Thursday and Friday blogs for the daily crossword, leaving me to tackle the Toughie – a welcome lightening of the load.  It was at this point that Peter Biddlecombe, the mentor of the “Times for the Times” website, suggested that the Saturday crossword should be given the full treatment, but only to be published after the deadline for submissions had passed; he made this offer even more attractive by offering to do it himself!  Mini-biographies for present and past bloggers can be seen here.

Fourteen of the Toughie setters and eleven of the Daily/Sunday setters (some days are shared by more than one setter) have left encouraging comments, and maybe others have looked in anonymously.

Feb 21, 2009 – ScrewedUp News was introduced to document problems on the Telegraph Puzzles website.  Well , it may have been a coincidence, but problems are now rectified more quickly than before and it is quite a while since it was last published.

May 27, 2009 – The new-look variable width theme was launched.  This allows the increasing number of those of you with wide-screen displays to utilise the full width.  From novice blogger to novice CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) designer!

Jul 26, 2009 – The total view count broke through 250,000.

Oct 24, 2009 – The total view count broke through 500,000.

Jan 10, 2010 – The site’s Alexa rating dropped below 1,000,000 for the first time.

Jan 28, 2010 – Our first birthday.

Feb 13th 2010 – The Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle (NTSPP) was introduced – five sof the setters who cut their cryptic teeth in this series have gone on to be published in the National Press.

Feb 20, 2010 – the title of the site was changed to “Big Dave’s Crossword Blog” to reflect the emphasis on crosswords from many different sources.

– the site’s Alexa rating dropped below 500,000 for the first time.

Mar 8th, 2010 – The total view count broke through 1,000,000 (future milestones are recorded on the Statistics page)

Jun 4th, 2010 – Our 1,000th post was published.

Jun 23rd 2011 – Our 500th Toughie was reviewed

Jan 27th 2013 – We recorded our 100,000th comment

Jan 28th 2012 – The blog celebrated its 3rd birthday with a party in London at which the highlight was a cake baked by Crypticsue.

May 2nd 2012 – The site was transferred from to Evohosting, a UK-based hosting company.  Among other benefits, this enabled the introduction of Java-based interactive NTSPP crosswords.

June 2nd 2012 – Our very own Monthly Prize Puzzle was introduced.

The view count has crept up to over 15,000 per day; each daily cryptic crossword is viewed over 5,000 times and each Toughie over 500.   Some of the statistics and milestones can be seen here.

Who would have thought it back in January 2009!! redirects to this site