July 21, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 184

Toughie No 184 by Excalibur

Hitting the Target

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment **

Thanks to Big Dave for helping out last Thursday when my PC and laptop got the equivalent of man flu.   Now working again, I was happy to swap duties and tackle today’s challenge from Excalibur.  I know that this particular setter’s work hasn’t been well-received round these parts, so I tried to tackle this with an open mind.  I have spent about four hours wrestling with this puzzle today and although I consider myself a reasonable solver, some of the clues just defeated me completely.

When I tackle a tough challenge (like last Saturday’s Independent Prize Puzzle which was by another Toughie setter), I normally have a sense of achievement.  However, I just didn’t get that with today’s, I’m sad to report.

There are some clever  and interesting clues, but there are also one or two that don’t make sense.  The overall puzzle is not helped by the grid itself, which means that you only get help from clues within that corner.  I was lucky to solve the four ten-letter answers, but it didn’t offer me any help with the top right corner and I was staring at a completely  blank corner for over two hours.

The best way I can decribe a few of the clues is to say that in archery terms they hit the outer bull, rather than the inner bull.  When I compile my puzzles, I aim to ensure my clues are precise and hit the inner bull every time, I just felt that a couple here didn’t achieve that.

Let’s take a look at today’s clues, then.  I am afraid there are a couple where my explanation may seem vague,  and if you can help make sense of them, please feel free to comment.  As usual, new posters may take a little while for their first posts to appear, this is purely a precaution against spammers gumming the board up.

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DT 25986

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25986

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

If you like cryptic definitions you’ll love this puzzle which has lots, some much better than others. It’s challenging and entertaining, the two qualities you most want from your daily fix.
As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets – just select the white space to reveal them if my hints prove to be totally inadequate!

Continue reading “DT 25986”