October 31, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

From The Top

From The Top

A start-to-finish story of setting a cryptic crossword puzzle.

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +


Just a quick note you before you start reading.

After the description of filling the crossword grid, the article gives an account of the clue-writing process. Please note this is in no way intended to be a guide to writing cryptic clues, so while some technical aspects are mentioned there is no attempt to explain how/why particular techniques succeed or fail. Instead, I’ve tried to give an insight into how I go about dissecting an answer to identify wordplay components – it’s all about the scribbled notes, rejected ideas and “a-ha!” moments that come with pleasing discoveries.

Whether or not all of the clues stand up to scrutiny isn’t of great importance. The article finishes at the point when a crossword such as this would be ready to send to an editor and – like any setter – I would just have to sit back and wait for the email asking me to make changes to certain clues; that’s what editors are for!

Continue reading “From The Top”

DT 26074 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26074 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Anax’s excellent article, titled “From the Top”, on how he put together a whole puzzle will be posted at 12.00 today.  You will find this insight into the mind of an accomplished setter extremely interesting, all the more so if you solved the puzzle when it was posted last Saturday.

This puzzle gets three stars for enjoyment mainly because it is a lot better than last week’s Prize Crossword. A couple of iffy clues spoilt the overall effect, but it should please a lot of the Saturday regulars.

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. A full review of this puzzle by Tilsit will be published at 12.00 on Thursday, 5th November (remember, remember!).

Continue reading “DT 26074 – Hints”