February 4, 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

3D Puzzles

The Monday Maestro in 3D?!

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One of the setters universally appreciated around these parts is Rufus, our Monday Maestro and if you would like to see him in a slightly different format and help some very good causes, here’s your chance.

Last year Sirius (aka the wonderful Eric Westbrook) launched his first set of three dimensional crosswords, in calendar form, containing cryptic puzzles by setters of note. The project was a success helping to raise a large sum of money for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)and the BBC Children in Need Appeal (CiNA).

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DT 26151

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26151

Redeeming Features?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment *

A puzzle that stimulated a lot of debate on these boards last Saturday with a large number of people agreeing with Big Dave and myself that it was not one of the better puzzles and at the moment we seem to be going backwards instead of forwards in terms of quality on a Saturday. This week we have seen a very strong set of daily puzzles where the setters have worked hard to produce accessible and fair puzzles.

Contrary to popular belief, it gives me no pleasure to write about a puzzle in negative terms. I basically end up wondering that if that puzzle had been submitted to the other three main editors, would it have made their paper? The resounding answer is almost certainly not, for a variety of reasons, but the main one being on quality.

In every other paper, the Saturday puzle is the Showcase Puzzle of the week and there was stiff competition last weekend with a strong Araucaria puzzle in the Guardian and our very own Anax’s wonderful (and ferociously difficult) Independent, as well as a lovely Times puzzle. This limped in some way behind even the Financial Times puzzle.

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Toughie 297

Toughie No 297 by Firefly

A bit of 6a but no 27a

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This was one of those puzzles where about four-fifths of the answers dragged ink from the biro almost before the nib touched the paper, but there were a handful that really caused some head-scratching.

Post-solve, it became apparent just how much difference there can be between Ximenean and Libertarian clueing. If I wanted to wear my purist’s hat I could say there were all sorts of wordplay indicators here that were questionable, but the comment would be irrelevant. Telegraph solvers are used to having things a certain way, and what’s dodgy in some circles is perfectly acceptable here.

When Dave sends me the template for doing the write-up there are default Difficulty/Enjoyment levels of 3 stars each, and in this case I think that’s about right – it’s very much a straight-down-the-middle sort of puzzle.

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.

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DT 26155

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26155

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Quite an enjoyable crossword today, but it does seem as if we have entered into a new genre – cryptic general knowledge crosswords. There is a nice mix of clues, not just in terms of types, but also complexity and trickery which should appeal to most of us. Once again we have a dodgy anagram indicator, but I think I can live with it.

To see the answers, highlight the space between the curly brackets. Your own thoughts on this crossword, can be entered below. I do enjoy reading them.

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