Big Dave's Crossword Blog – Page 888 – Putting the words to lights – crossword clues explained in plain English

DT 26003

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26003

The Return of the Native

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Back from my short stay in Stalag Luft Calderdale Hospital, where I staged a daring escape by making a small but serviceable glider from pee pots that were stashed in my secret store there.  With a good wind I was able to launch myself off the roof and soar majestically down the Calder Valley and landed safe and sound back in Hebden Bridge.

And after a weekend  allegedly recuperating, we have the Monday Maestro to tackle.  After last week’s plethora of double definition clues, we seem to have an abundance of cryptic definitions which you either love or hate.

I found today’s puzzle pleasant and the usual fine warm-up to the week, but I do have an issue that the answer to one of the clues is almost handed to you on a plate by the clue to the intersecting answer.  The answer is at 23 across and the clue at 21 down.  I just think it looks untidy and would it have made the puzzle ultra-difficult by letting 21 down read  “23 across-ed sheep tear about”?  The expression at 10 across is new to me, and there could have been an ambiguity at 8 down, but it is resolved by the subsidiary indications.  There are also issues with the use of “a”, which in some clues is essential, but in others is padding and would affect the clue’s surface reading if left out.

Let’s go……

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ST 2496 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2496 – Hints

Selected hints by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

A friend, himself a setter, emailed me today and described this as “A crossword for connoisseurs”.  Who am I to disagree?   I have given hints for those which I think will cause the most problems.

At the bottom of the post you will see an array of five stars – use these to give your assessment of the puzzle.  Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

For the weekend prize crosswords I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.  A full analysis of this puzzle will be available at 12.00 next Friday, 14th August.

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DT 26002 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26002 – Hints

Selected hints by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment: ***

A better-than-usual prize puzzle that, for me at least, was a little spoilt by cluing a place as “in France” when the place concerned has historical significance that surely could have been worked into the clue.

Don’t forget that you can give  your assessment of the puzzle.  Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.  Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Thursday, 13th August.

Continue reading “DT 26002 – Hints”

ST 2495 – Review

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2495 – Review

A full analysis by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

There’s little more I can say about the Sunday crosswords.  If you had to choose just one puzzle each week you could not go wrong with this one.

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Toughie 195

Toughie No 195 by Notabilis

Elegance exemplified

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

If you don’t understand the wordplay in one of the Toughies from Notabilis, then keep looking.  As ever the clues are faultless, and the puzzle is correspondingly enjoyable. Continue reading “Toughie 195”

DT 26001

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26001

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

An interesting puzzle today, but thankfully it is nowhere near as difficult as yesterdays. A number of accessible clues that allows access to the rest of the crossword by providing some of the relevant checking letters. There is the usual nice mix of well defined clues, and at least two or three that raise a smile. All in all a nice pleasant ramble after yesterday’s workout. 10a is a new word for me today.

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DT 25996 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25996 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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A fairly straightforward puzzle except for the obscurity at 10A which took me as long as the rest of the puzzle. I’m not keen on puzzles with one stinker clue like this after 29 easy ones – if, as I did, you already knew about orfes, peccadilloes, Lethean and Salieri.

When you read this I should be pedalling my bike about halfway between Tring and Limehouse, so I’ll respond to any feedback on Friday.

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Toughie 194

Toughie No 194 by Busman

Charabancs of Fire!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Calderdale Hospital, where I am having a very short stay (hopefully home this evening!).  I have just been served with a bowl of the finest NHS Chicken Soup and a Cheese Sandwich for lunch.   Rather oddly, I have also been served with Cheese and Biscuits for dessert!

I was admitted at some rather ungodly hour this morning and while waiting for the ambulance to bring me in, I managed to tackle this Toughie.  When I eventually solved it, I tried to play the game of guess the setter (I do wish they would tell us on the website!) and came up with six other suspects rather than Busman.

I have a feeling this may divide the Community; some will like it and others hate it.  I am disappointed with the rating it got on the website,  it certainly wasn’t that weak.

Whether it’s the medication I am been filled up with, I feel rather sanguine about it.  In some ways I am disappointed as Busman’s alter ego produces some absolutely terrific puzzles in The Spectator series ( was last week’s cracker), and this doesn’t feel like a Toughie (today’s DT 26000 was much more ferocious!), but there were clues to make me smile and 8 across was a brilliant clue.  When I finished solving online, I submitted the solution and found I had five mistakes – two were typos, but 2 down,  21 down and 26 across left me having to rethink.

Anyway, let’s dive in and see what lurks within.

Continue reading “Toughie 194”

DT 26000

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26000

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment ***

Today marks a significant milestone for the Telegraph crossword – look at the crossword number – and the setter has incorporated references to this milestone in the clues. Additionally, there is a gimmick described at 16a/1a.
So, it’s a bit different from the usual daily cryptic; I liked it – what about you? – give us your views via a comment. And please take the time to click on one of the stars at the bottom of the review to vote for the entertainment factor.

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Toughie 193

Toughie No 193 by Shamus
Hints and Tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

This is an interesting puzzle from Shamus who has been kind enough to make all four of the 15-letter clues relatively easy, which is a massive help in solving the rest. I’d like to give it two and a half stars for difficulty, but that’s not possible – how many would you give it? – leave us a comment!
Also, please don’t forget to vote for the entertainment factor by clicking on one of the stars at the bottom of the review.

Continue reading “Toughie 193”