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Over the life of this site we have received many testimonials – here are just a few.

I have bought a number of “how to solve cryptic crossword “ books over the years, but this blog has been more helpful to me than any of them.
I’m enormously grateful to Big Dave and his helpers for the the guidance they provide daily.


I love Big Dave’s blog.  He has taken me from being able to fill in a couple of clues to being able to complete the Telegraph crossword.  I still rely on him daily to explain the clues I have answered by fair means or foul.  I get such pleasure from finishing a puzzle.  Big Dave, you are my hero! Xxx

Thank you for a lovely site. I’m just a 72 year old lady who loves doing Cryptic crosswords. Being a bit of an obsessive compulsive person, I can’t bear to let go of a crossword until I’ve finished it, which isn’t really a good thing.
Despite the advantages of computers etc. I still like to use my old Collins English Dictionary for help.  However , when all else fails, your site has been my standby, my last resort!  You explain things so clearly, & often leave me kicking myself for not having seen the answer.
Keep up the good work.
I think Big Dave’s 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.

I really do love this blog – it has unlocked the gate to crossword satisfactionville and has finally justified my decision to subscribe to DT. Many,many thanks

I have been using the blog this year to help me solve back page crosswords. I have been finishing Saturday puzzles for some years but only have time for a few minutes on other days. Today I looked at the toughie and surprised myself by finishing it for the first time.
Many thanks for a great site which has certainly helped train my brain.

I don’t actually ‘read’ the Telegraph very often as I’m not fond of the politics, but it is the only cryptic crossword I have a hope of completing and therefore I buy it everyday.  I’m often half a dozen clues short and have to say it is only because of checking your site out that I have progressed and continue to buy the Telegraph.

I have several friends and colleagues who are now Telegraph cryptic addicts and again, this is purely down to your site, so I thank you profusely.  Occasionally I don’t understand a contributors explanation, so it would be good to ask the site directly.

Thankyou for your site which, quite literally, has changed my life and allowed me to progress in the crossword world.


I started doing crosswords at Easter and have just finished yesterday’s puzzle, my first ever completion!  To say that I’m thrilled is an understatement.  Am still getting the hang of the different types of clues, but have a real sense of accomplishment.


Really enjoyed this level of difficulty for once and learnt a lot again and surprised myself at actually working out the majority of answers.

Two months ago prior to joining this blog would probably have managed to complete about a quarter.


Only a week will tell but I think I may have just completed my first Telegraph Cryptic. I just wanted to thank all those who have helped me by unravelling the clues on this site over the last few months.


Once upon a time I lived in London with my parents.  My mother (and her father) were keen clever solvers of The Times and she taught me in the same way as you have done.  I remember – “They are roofless in Castile” Answer “Incas” and the thrill of discovering that orchestra was an anagram of carthorse.

Then in 1958, aged 18, I broke my neck and was treated by Guttmann in Stoke Mandeville Hospital.  Life changed and I qualified as a solicitor and worked in Winchester.  Retired at 55 for health reasons.  Now in a wheelchair and very immobile.  Met a couple 5 years ago at the Anvil Concert hall in Basingstoke and discovered that they were regular and good solvers of the DT cryptic.  Then discovered you who explained so many things e.g. why OR can means privates.

Now the crossword is the thrill of my housebound life.  Always finish with 40 minutes average.  I owe you so much.  Thank you to you and yours.

Big thanks to BD and all the bloggers for all your efforts – thanks to you I’ve gone from being able to manage about half a typical crossword unaided, to the point where I’m disappointed if I don’t make it all the way.

I recently reached seventy and having been looking at the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword for years with little progress. My first break through was recognising anagrams but since then I never seemed to improve despite buying all the “How to solve Cryptic Crossword Books”. It is only since I have discovered your blog have I made true progress and what a pleasure and satisfaction it has given me. Thank you. From your Link tab I found Ben’s Den which is most help full for solving long phrases and my Chambers Crossword Dictionary 3rd edition I find indispensable. I also use Chambers on my iPhone.

I enjoy the fun of prizing out the answer and laughing out loud at the ingenuity of some clues when the answer leaps out. Thank you again for your excellent blog and the pleasure it brings.

Andrew Farrier

I’m facing retirement and am determined to crack cryptic crosswords. Your hints allowed me to complete my first crossword. I’m so grateful (and smug)!


I have been an avid DT back pager (when it’s on the back page) fan for more years than I care to remember. Only recently stumbled across this blog and I must tip my hat to the regular contributors (especially those that supply visual clues) as sometimes the old grey matter needs a bit of assistance. Keep up the good work!.


I have struggled to do the cryptics for about a year. Only just discovered this site. Thank you BD for showing me how to read the clues-life is getting better and who knows, maybe I’ll complete one soon.


I have just found this site after Googling a whole question from the Daily Telegraphs cryptic crossword. I have always wondered how these puzzles were done and now I’m hoping that with a little help from this site I will be able to tackle them. Thank you for putting this site together.


Have developed an interest in cryptic crosswords in the past 10 months. I’m improving all the time, but more that, I am enjoying the crosswords and seeing where I have missed a clue or taken a nutmeg in no small measure thanks to this website. It’s a fun website.

Billy Smith

A very grateful thank you to Big Dave and his bloggers for allowing novices to enter the delightful world of crossword puzzles without feeling like complete numpties. IMHO there’s far too much exclusion in crossword land and not nearly enough inclusion. Like many things in this life crossword skills require diligence, practice and familiarity with convention – so actually not much different from other types of skill. The delight of Big Dave’s blog is that it is so tolerant of mixed abilities and SO good humoured. Nary a harsh word anytime and it does exactly what it says on the tin – crossword clues in PLAIN ENGLISH. Why would one want anything less?

Mystic Meg

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Created 16th May 2012