The Blog’s 14th Birthday – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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The Blog’s 14th Birthday

The Blog’s 14th Birthday

A message from Big Dave

Fourteen years ago today when I published the first post on Big Dave’s Blog, I never imagined that what I’d started would have grown into what it is today. I certainly didn’t dream that there would been nearly sixty-six and a half million Page Views.

After my big fall last year, I wondered who would take over the reins and am most grateful to Dave Tilley (Tilsit) for taking charge of the blog. Now he has retired, I would also like to thank the team of four ‘caretakers’ for keeping the blog running smoothly

I am hoping that I will be able to return to both crossword solving and running the blog soon as I miss both very much. In the meantime, I would like to thank everybody for their good wishes, particularly those who have emailed me separately

Thank you to everyone, fellow bloggers and commenters, for their continued support to both me and the blog.

Big Dave


I spoke with BD yesterday and he told me what he wanted to say in a ‘birthday’ post and then approved the draft of the message you see above, which I then scheduled.  CS

66 comments on “The Blog’s 14th Birthday
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  1. Congratulations on 14 years of a superb blog, BD.
    Thank you for all you have done and here’s hoping we see you back very soon.

  2. It’s great to hear from you, BD, on this the 14th anniversary of the blog. Looking forward very much to having you back in the chair soon.

    Nearly 66½ million views. Amazing!

  3. Happy Birthday BD. Time for us lurkers to step forward from the shadows and show our appreciation to the blog that brings clarity to my confusion.
    Many happy returns.

  4. Thanks for the blog Big Dave, it gives a lot of people a lot of pleasure. Congratulations on 14 years and 66 million views, that’s a lot of views! Hope you’re soon on the mend and enjoying crosswording again.
    Thanks too to the ‘caretakers’ for keeping the blog running, it probably takes more time and commitment than many of us realise.

  5. Great to hear from you, big fella and happy 14th birthday to the blog.
    Hope to see you back fully operational before too long.
    Best wishes

  6. 🎂 Happy Birthday, Big Dave’s Blog — hope you’re enjoying being a teenager.

    Great to hear from Big Dave, and may your wishes about solving and blogging come true.

  7. So good to hear from you, Big Dave! What a difference your blog has made in my cruciverbal life, as well as in my life in general. Happy 14th Birthday and many, many happy returns. And best wishes to you personally and professionally!

  8. Thank you so much for popping in on your blog’s birthday and for the reassurance that you plan to return to us soon – your presence is greatly missed although the caretakers are doing an excellent job and have our grateful thanks.
    Like many others, I’m sure, I have learnt so much more about the ‘ins and outs’ of cryptic crosswords since joining the merry band and feel that I have made many new friends across the world.
    You may not have quite understood what you were starting 14 years ago but I’m so glad that you did!
    Happy Birthday!

  9. I was delighted to hear from you this morning and reassured that you are fighting every step of the way to get match fit. My solving skills have improved immeasurably over the ten or so years that I have been a regular visitor, and that is entirely down to the daily assists that this wonderful site offers to all of us.

    To you, BD, and all the solvers, bloggers and commenters, a big thank you and a very Happy Birthday.

  10. Thank you BD and continuing best wishes for as complete a recovery as possible.

    (But, I do sometimes wonder if I made a wise choice to accept your invitation to take over the Sunday blog from you exactly 6 years ago from today.)

  11. Congratulations Big Dave and your wonderful blog. I eventually un-lurked a couple of years after stumbling across the wonderful, gentle hints (and emergency reveal button) you instigated and feel the day is incomplete without a visit.
    Continue your progress and we look forward to seeing you here again.

  12. Good to hear from you Big Dave. Hope you will be back on the blog very soon. This is such an informative and friendly site .

  13. Great to hear from Big Dave – congratulations to him and the hard-working team for reaching another amazing milestone.

  14. Thank you to Big Dave – and best wishes for your continued recovery- and to all those involved in this blog, which continues to be a great pleasure and comfort in these difficult times….

  15. Warmest congratulations to you Big Dave and your wonderful Blog! Almost sixty-six and a half million views is amazing but not surprising! You must be very pleased with your fourteen-year-old brainchild.

    Finding your Blog was a joy. It opened the door to my understanding of how clues are put together and enhanced beyond measure my enjoyment and ability to solve (or attempt to solve) crosswords. It has provided me with years of pleasure as well as solace in difficult times. In other words, it is indispensible — and I know others would agree.

    It will be great to have you back here soon and I wish you and your family warmest best wishes.

    I’d also like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to Tilsit and the ‘caretakers’ for all their selfless devotion to keeping the Blog running on your behalf. Much appreciated.

  16. Great to hear from you Big Dave, onwards and upwards.
    Congratulations on the 14th anniversary of the birth of your baby, he’s a much bigger boy now!
    It must be great to know that the site has helped so many people improve and is an integral part of many people’s days.
    Continued best wishes going forward.

  17. Happy Birthday, Big Dave, what more could I ask for, morning coffee black off course, Telegraph crossword, and Big Dave blog?

    Keep on solving

  18. Happy 14th birthday to the blog, and best wishes to Big Dave – good to read that your enthusiasm hasn’t diminished and I hope you are soon able to return to doing what you clearly love.

  19. Happy Birthday to the blog, and a big thank you to BD, what a wonderful legacy you have created.
    Best wishes for your continued recovery.

  20. Happy 14th Birthday to Big Dave’s Crossword Blog and thank you, Big Dave, for inventing it. Thanks, too, to the caretakers who are keeping it going in your absence. I discovered it very early on in its life and it has now become part of my daily routine and has helped me enormously to understand how cryptic crosswords work, as well as providing interest and amusement hearing news from the regular bloggers around the world. Best wishes to all and especially to Big Dave for a return to health and blogging.

  21. Congratulations on the anniversary. This site has greatly improved my solving skills, and I would sorely miss it if were not here each and every day. I do hope you will soon be fully recovered and able to return.

  22. Congratulations on your fourteenth birthday!
    I taught myself to solve the back page cryptic crossword thirty years ago during quiet moments in the otherwise busy life of working for a funeral director – by checking my previous day’s answers with the printed solution and working out ‘why’. But discovering your blog after retirement explained lots that I hadn’t understood before and helped it all make sense.
    I wish you a full recovery and good health in the future.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      A number of us here on the blog taught ourselves to solve the back page cryptic in exactly the same way you did.

      1. Me too. Tried to teach myself the same way back in the 70s by having a go then looking at the solution the following day. It didn’t get me very far because some of the answers meant nothing to me. This continued for almost forty years with my being able to solve unaided one puzzle in a hundred.

        Then, in 2019 I accidentally found this wonderful blog and cryptic crosswords started to make sense. As I never tire of saying, I now solve most back pagers and it is down to Big Dave, one hundred percent.

  23. Congratulations on the 14th anniversary of the blog. Huge thanks to BD and all the reviewers. The blog gives enormous enjoyment to so many.

  24. Happy Birthday to the blog! I wasn’t present at the birth, but I was invited aboard well before it’s second birthday. Thank you, Big Dave, for your patient guidance in those early years. Some of my misguided attempts at deciphering British English surely generated more than a few chuckles for you. Hope to see you back in the saddle soon,

  25. A very happy 14th birthday to the blog.
    I’d been doing the crossword for many years having learnt from my Mum. One day there was an answer that was driving me mad – my husband just happened to land on BD’s blog and that was that! I think it was early in the summer of 2011 – after that I was reading the blog every day although it took me weeks to summon enough courage to say anything on the blog! Later in the same year I decided to go to the blog get together in London – got about half way before wondering on earth I was doing going to meet a load of people I’d never met in my life just because we all did crosswords – was I crazy?
    It was a lovely day with lots of lovely friendly people – BD, CS, Prolixic among numerous others – and the Birthday Bash became an annual do until Covid put the scuppers on it!
    I do remember all those years ago my husband saying, ” Don’t get too hooked on the blog – blogs come and go all the time” . . . .

    1. Back in 2020 I think it was, Kath I decided I would attend the blog get together and, like you, I wondered if I were mad going all the way to London to meet up with folk I did not know. Normally, I wouldn’t entertain such a thing but such is the power of the blog I had a feeling I would be with friends.

      Sadly, Covid put an end to it.

      As for your husband’s comment I would have agreed totally before finding Big Dave.

    2. I have only just picked this up from yesterday – and I echo all that has been said. Big Dave got me through lock down which coincided with the full realisation of the extent of my daughter’s dementia. I also feel I have made friends around the world but am especially grateful to you Kath for your kindness and understanding, contacting me privately. Bless you.

      1. Thank you, DG – I’ve only just found this – it really is the best blog EVER!
        It sounds as if lots of people had intended to go to the NEXT birthday blog – there will be . . . .

  26. Happy birthday to the blog! 28th January is my birthday. But I am not celebrating because today I am without my mother who gave birth to me and whom I lost only a fortnight ago. While I pray to the Almighty for her well-being in eternity, I also pray to Him for the quick recovery of Big Dave and his return to sound health and blogging.

  27. Happy 14th Birthday BD44 and Many Happy Returns of the Day. You are a star and so greatly missed. Do hope things are improving for you. P.l.e.a.s.e come back soon. 🍾💐🌈.

  28. As a long-time lurker on this site I am so pleased to hear from Big Dave. Everything I know about solving cryptic puzzles I learned from this blog. I am on the other side of the pond and the puzzle has taught me the wisdom of Shaw’s comment about two nations separated by a common language. I learn something new in every crossword/blog combination. Thank you to all of the bloggers and commenters and especially to Big Dave for putting this all together. Best wishes to BD and hope to see him back on the Blog soon!

  29. Big Dave
    I have only just logged on having fine today’s crossword. The weather has been good here in the East Midlands and I’m only sorry I wasn’t walking along the canal from Paddington to the pub. I remember tge last bash before the pandemic. Our numbers were somewhat depleted due to rail strikes and something(s) else that clashed. I can’t for the life of me what they were. I now can’t remember when I joined but I must have been to about six Birthday bashes. I often combined it with the France Show. We’re all a bit older and in my case not in my hitherto fine fettle. À bientôt

  30. Hi Big Dave, compilers, bloggers, faithful contributors and lurkers like me. Grateful thanks to Big Dave for the brilliant original inspiration and all the hard work since. I read the blog every day and enjoy it very much. I know a lot now about so many of your lives and a lot more about cryptic.crosswords. I’m not a lurker by choice but I live in Kiwi land and do the cryptic and read the blog early afternoon my time when most of you are sound asleep. Too late to join conversations. Best Wishes to all

    1. Welcome, Grizz and do comment – it is never too late to do so. As the song says “It’s five o’clock somewhere”. :good:

    2. Well, it often takes me all week to complete the prize crossword, so I wouldn’t worry about being too late! It would be nice to have some company 😃

  31. Lovely to hear from you, Big Dave.
    All best wishes for your continued recovery.

    And many many thanks for this blog ( and thanks to all the others who have filled in for you.)

  32. Congratulations Big Dave and I’m really pleased that your health is improving. I reiterate all of the above comments. I am a relatively new comer to the blog and I’m so glad I found the site just before lockdown as it really helped me to read everyone’s comments and I didn’t feel so alone. I read the blog every day- actually it’s every night and I enjoy sometimes leaving a comment in the early hours and so feeling part of the BD community. Many thanks.

  33. Happy Birthday to the blog and all good wishes to Big Dave. I mainly lurk but love the blog. A few years ago I was on a train in N Wales attempting the crossword and this led to a lovely chat about the blog with a fellow passenger. With its help I think my solving skills have improved and I so wish I could share it with my late husband – he’d have so enjoyed blogging – thanks to all

  34. For various reasons I have been lurking for some time, but I never to fail to read the whole of this blog every day, and during Covid it was a life-saver to me. So good to hear from Big Dave,many congratulations on the 14th birthday, and hope you enjoy a complete recovery very soon. Many thanks to all the others who have worked so hard to keep the blog running during BD’s absence.

  35. Sorry I am so late in saying happy birthday – all the previous comments must have warmed your heart. I have had the date marked in my diary since last year and, God willing and with a following wind, might make it next year.
    Get really better soon

  36. Good to hear about your wish to come back and continue the wonderful work you have already put into this great blog.
    Happy birthday and long life to BD.

  37. Happy 14th birthday to the blog, and congratulations to Big Dave for creating such a wonderful facility, that has gone from strength to strength. Miss you lots BD, I hope you are back soon. Thanks to all the bloggers for keeping everything running. It would be great if we could meet up next year. Have fond memories of the previous meetings.

  38. Thank you for creating this blog. It certainly helped develop my ability to do cryptic crosswords and understand the answers to the clues. I enjoy reading the comments too.

  39. Hi Big Dave, it must be so gratifying to know how much your blog is appreciated around the world. Thanks to you and all your hard working team for keeping it going and for helping us rookie would be solvers. I know I’m not alone in having improved my skills immensely thanks to the tips, hints and weekly solution posts on the blog.

    Good to hear from you and that you intend to return to the blog and every best wish for your continued recovery.

  40. I didn’t really know what a blog was before I joined this BD. Happy anniversary and thank you for enabling me to have so much pleasure every day doing the DT crossword. I was hopeless at the start and the hints were pivotal for me. I hope you recuperate fully soon. Regards. Neil

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