December 25, 2009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

ST 2515

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2515

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Not too surprisingly, this puzzle has a seasonal greeting and many seasonal answers and clues – only five clue/answer combinations have nothing to do with Christmas or midwinter, by my reckoning. I went slightly astray by guessing a wrong continuation of the greeting in 28A, but this didn’t hold me up for long. There’s a fair number of very easy clues and a bit of repetition (one = I occurs at least three times) but the entertainment and theme is worth it. The message is repeated from me, especially if you should be reading this on the day when it’s scheduled to appear, with the addition of “, bloggers, setters and editors”. Now go back to your family and/or friends!

[As usual, I wrote this before reading the comments on Sunday – pleased to see that Brian has abandoned whatever anonymity he’d managed to keep. I hope my reports on his puzzles don’t sound too creepy – he’s one of my favourite setters and that’s hard to disguise. If there is anything to criticise, I’ll be on to it, but he doesn’t slip up very often!]

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Christmas Day Puzzles

Christmas Day Puzzles

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I was rather disappointed to find out that the promised “free” access to CluedUp today appears to be via the 7-day trial, which is available for the other 364 days of the year as well.  I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on these excellent puzzles, so you can download them here in pdf format.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks to the bloggers who have volunteered to produce these posts every day of the year, to the setters without whom we would have nothing to write about, to the Phil, the Puzzles Editor, whose work has come under more scrutiny than he can ever have anticipated, and especially to you, the viewers, who have contributed to making this  one of the most successful crossword blogs in the world.

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Toughie 100001

Toughie No 100001 by Elgar

Christmas Streamer

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

This is a marvellous piece of crossword construction by a superbly entertaining setter. As we’ve come to expect there is a smattering of rule bending but we wouldn’t have it any other way, and the rewards are spectacularly good. With so many answers contributing to the message it’s inevitable that a couple of obscurities have crept in, but that didn’t spoil the fun for me.

The message itself takes up no less than 12 grid entries – in order, 20d, 12a, 28a, 15d, 10a, 1a, 17d, 5a, 21a, 30a, 16a and 9a – a mighty achievement and you’ll see how these placings pretty much forced everything else into place. The message forms the first lines of a poem by George R Sims.

My favourite clues are shown in blue – how do they compare with yours? Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

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DT 100001

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 100001

Happy Christmas, Everybody

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

On this festive day there are, of course, no newspapers printed, so this puzzle exists only in cyberspace on the Clued Up site. I understand that it should be available even to non-subscribers, but I cannot verify this.

Based on a comment left by Rufus earlier in the week, we can take it that this is another of his, so that for the second day running the Maestro has produced a gentle puzzle with a seasonal theme, designed no doubt with the thought in mind that many solvers may have partaken of a small sherry and may not be in the best shape for deep thought.

I hope that you are all enjoying a peaceful and happy Christmas, and if you do have time to leave us a comment, we’d be delighted to read it.

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