Daily Telegraph – Page 641 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 145

Toughie No 145 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

A definite toughie today with several words which were new to me and a couple of familiar words with meanings that I did not previously know. All in all it is a fair and entertaining challenge. It definitely helps a lot if you can crack 5d and 9d early on.

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DT 25927

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25927

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This is the sort of puzzle that you come to expect in the Telegraph.  Nothing too difficult, no awkward constructs, no obsolete or obscure words, no silly phrases, no proper nouns, no isolated corners, and certainly no sign of those love ’em or hate ’em unches!  Just a good, honest puzzle.  Well done our Wednesday setter.

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Toughie 144

Toughie No 144 by Giovanni

Another great puzzle from Giovanni!

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

When I see that Giovanni is the setter, I know I am in for a difficult but thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.  Today is no exception, even allowing for the fact that this interestingly shaped grid is more-or-less four puzzles in one.  There were a handful of easier clues – just as well or you might never get started – but nothing so difficult that, even if you didn’t know the answer, you couldn’t work it out from the wordplay.

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DT 25926

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25926

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

In his review yesterday tilsit introduced a phrase “double unch” (double unchecked square) which I hadn’t heard before and which I determined to remember for future use – well, I did not have to wait long, because today’s puzzle is full of them! It’s a bit of a curate’s egg really, with a few nice cryptic definitions and some attempts at misdirection, but some of the surface readings are pretty poor, notably 16d.

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DT 25925

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25925

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment **

Very much at the easier end of the scale, the only thing that I suspect will hold solvers up today is the grid itself.  What an abomination!  Just under half of the clues contained a double unchecked square (known as a “double unch”).  Indeed my record solving time for the Telegraph would have been beaten only for being held up with 5 down. I really don’t like grids with double unches and although I’ll tolerate a couple in a normal puzzle, surely this was too much.

When a previous Times Crossword Editor took over a few years back, he devoted a bit of time to revising all the Times stock grids.  I think it’s time for the DT to follow suit.

Back to the puzzle.  It being Monday we have the usual collection of cryptic definitions, which are fine, but I would rather have two or three a puzzle instead of the number we get.  I always recommend the Telegraph and Guardian Monday puzzles as good places to start when solving cryptics but I sometimes fear that newer solvers are tempted to stick at this level when other puzzles adopted, shall we say, a more balanced approach.  In addition, as my esteemed colleague Big Dave points out, sometimes the puzzle is weakened by these, 26 across is a good example.

That said, there are some lovely surface readings and constructions.  Thanks as usual to our Monday Maestro.

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DT 25924 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25924 – Hints

Selected hints by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Without the obscure people and places this would have been a very good puzzle. There is quite a lot to enjoy and, for me at least, only one of those clues that give you that teeth-sucking moment.

Two small landmarks – this is the 200th post on the blog and earlier this week the view count topped 100,000.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Thursday, 14th May.

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Toughie 143

Toughie No 143 by Excalibur

A good puzzle, spoiled

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

There was much to enjoy in this puzzle, but, for me, it was totally spoiled by the silly phrases and by wordplay in which so much is sacrificed to achieve good  surface reading.  I fail to see how A B on C means A on B is C, but once you get used to the silliness of the construct the puzzle is not that difficult.

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DT 25923

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25923

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Not too complicated, not too easy either. One new word for me, a french phrase and a couple of Big Dave bete noires, what more could you ask for. Comments as always appreciated.


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DT 25918 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25918

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

Started this off very fast but slowed down in the bottom half.  A saying to ponder from one of the Times for the Times bloggers: “Some of the words in a clue are there for their meaning, and some for their content”.   As a solver, it’s well worth asking “why is this particular word used”, and any passing setters will already have realised that concealing the words included for their content can be quite difficult.

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