642 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 642

Toughie No 642 by Notabilis

Lots of four letter words (uttered and entered)!

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

DT Website rating: minus 4539

Greetings from the Calder Valley. As if the day wasn’t bright and sunny enough, we have a splendidly fiendish puzzle from the master setter Notabilis. My plan of action was to print off the puzzle and take it to a hospital appointment this morning. However, due to the dreadful Telegraph website, my plan almost did not come to fruition. I spent an hour between midnight and 1 am trying to get into the site without success. Luckily an American chum persevered and managed to get in after about 40 attempts and was able to send me a copy. Come on, Telegraph IT experts, get your act into gear, or just follow the Guardian’s experience and go free and ditch the competitive elements.

Rant over. Back to the puzzle. When I looked through the clues, I thought that 11 across presented a good place to start and was rather pleased when I entered DIVA (a reversal of AVID – extremely keen). Oh dear! I was wrong. I did think it a bit odd that the next clue I got actually had AVID inside it (9 across), but I was completely stymied in the right corner. However, when I realised what 5 down was, all fell into place. The mark of a great crossword is being nicely deceptive, and today’s challenge achieved it. Thanks to Notabilis for an excellent battle.

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