October 16, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

ST 2505

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2505

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Quite a tough puzzle this week – a change from the usual gentle Sunday stroll. No harm in this when it’s a prize puzzle, and an easy few months or so may have been deliberate while solvers adapted to a style very different to the old Sunday Telegraph puzzles.
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Toughie 235

Toughie No 235 by Citrus

“You had me cornered”

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Today I have a special treat for you as Anax joins the reviewing panel. He will be known by name to solvers of puzzles in the Independent and by reputation to those in the Times where, as with the regular Telegraph cryptics, the setters are anonymous. The Bloggers page has been updated, so you can read more about Anax there, as well as getting an insight into why he uses the name Anax! I’m sure you can work out for yourselves that anagrind and inserticator are crosswordese for anagram and insertion indicators respectively. BD

The NE and SW corners of this were hard to crack – the former because I was just being a bit dim, the latter because of one obscurity and two bits of wordplay I had difficulty unravelling. Much of the early progress was thanks to going with instinct for the long answer at 4Dn, which gives me an opportunity for a quick solving tip; far from being put off by long answers, they’re often a very good place to start. The simple truth is you either get them immediately or you don’t, and if you do they can provide plenty of starters for cross-checking answers. If you don’t – well, it was worth looking.

I’m unfamiliar with this setter’s style so, inevitably, my solution has a few questioning ticks here and there, but that’s not always an indication of doubt over clue soundness. The Telegraph house style trends away from Ximenean and what might puzzle “purists” may well be perfectly OK here.

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DT 26061

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26061

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I was guilty today of breaking rule #1 in the I-SPY Crossword Solvers’ Handbook, “Read the Clue Carefully”. On 17a I decided that the answer must be the name of a plant hidden in the clue, quickly scanned the letters until I found “ERICA”, wrote it in and moved on. Only later, when I couldn’t shoehorn the answer to 15d in, did I scratch my head and revisit 17a, to find that the clue specifies “plants” and not “plant”.
We have another delightful puzzle from Giovanni, full of amusing clues, but it’s no easier than last Friday’s (sorry, Barrie!).
The answers are hidden, as always, inside the curly brackets – highlight the white space if you need to reveal one.
We’d be delighted to get your comments on the puzzle or the review.

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