December 23, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 273

Toughie No 273 by Cephas

The Back of Beyond

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Today’s compiler is the usual setter of the Saturday Prize Crossword and this puzzle is a pangram (i.e. it contains all the letters of the alphabet), which is becoming his trademark. Apart from a couple of dodgy anagram indicators (at 22a and 28a) there is a horrible clue at 5d which expects you to find a very obscure village with the only help being that it is in Cambridgeshire!

As always your comments are very welcome.

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DT 26119

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26119

All Puzzled Out!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Christmas is always a crossword fan’s dream. Lots and lots of special puzzles around and I currently have 14 waiting to be solved from last weekend. Many of them are Jumbos and barred puzzles with a theme and take a lot longer.

Of course the dailies still run on, and not many have a theme, especially here in the Telegraph. So in effect they provide a little light relief from the festive challenges. This was an OK puzzle, but didn’t really hit the heights for me and it was difficult to guess who the setter was there were no clues to really help me identify them.

One of my (admittedly small) grumbles today is with the cryptic definition at 7 down. I am a reasonably PC person and have to admit to being surprised to see that clue in the Telegraph, rather like yesterday’s CRINOLINE clue. Quite a lot of you will probably find it hilarious, but it isn’t my cup of coffee (I can’t stand tea!). Not keen on the use of “number” to indicate Personal Identification Number in 19 either. However it passed a pleasant few minutes and there wasn’t a lot to trouble me in there today.

Incidentally, if you want a cracking Christmas challenge, try Araucaria’s Christmas Cracker, which can be found here. Read that preamble carefully and get thinking!

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