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Archive for December, 2006

Guardian 23951/Shed

Posted by neildubya on 23rd December 2006


Is it my imagination or do we not see Shed as often as we used to? He’s usually ranked at the harder end of the Guardian scale of difficulty but I never seem to struggle with his puzzles like I do with some of the other harder setters – maybe I’m just tuned in to his wavelength. There was a lot of good stuff in this, as there is in all of Shed’s puzzles. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Guardian | No Comments »

Guardian 23,956 by Chifonie: Soup, stew or curry?

Posted by michod on 22nd December 2006


Not as hard as some Friday puzzles, but containing one or two relatively obscure words and sub-words with a capacity to frustrate. Took me about 20 minutes over a leisurely breakfast. A lot of clues that are reasonably well disguised, but in fact just combine a one-letter abbreviation with another word to make the answer.

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Posted in Guardian | 2 Comments »

Independent on Sunday 879 by Quixote – trouble in the SW corner

Posted by nmsindy on 22nd December 2006


I thought this was going to be reasonably straightforward until I hit stormy weather in the SW corner (points covered in notes below).   

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Posted in Independent | 2 Comments »

Independent 6298/Nimrod

Posted by neildubya on 22nd December 2006


Another one of “those” grids from Nimrod, with only 9 (count ’em) across clues and 5 of those have 15 letters. It’s been said before, here and elsewhere, that the problem with this is that if you can’t get the long ones, the rest of the grid is hard to crack and when you do, everything else falls in to place very quickly. That said, I don’t think this was as tough as a typical Nimrod; either that or I was on fire this morning as I did this in the time it takes a Central line train to go from Ealing Broadway to St Paul’s (about 30 mins), which is roughly half the time a Nimrod usually takes me. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Independent | 6 Comments »

Independent Weekend #598 – SQUARES by JUDE

Posted by petebiddlecombe on 22nd December 2006


This is a sample review to show what you can expect in the New Year, when we hope to cover this puzzle every week. Jude is Mike Laws, editor of this puzzle.

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Posted in Archive | 1 Comment »

Guardian 23955/Taupi

Posted by linxit on 21st December 2006


Solving time approx 20 mins.

I seem to remember the last Taupi was seriously tricky, but this one was OK. A lot of very clever and succinct clues that required a bit of thought, but only one word I didn’t know (23d), and one clue where I couldn’t figure out the wordplay (9a).

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Posted in Guardian | 3 Comments »

Independent 6297/Monk – Six wise Monks

Posted by rightback on 21st December 2006


Solving time: 11:36.

Monk is one of my favourite Indie setters and today was another gem with clues as inventive and accurate as ever. Some difficult words – five I didn’t know (12, 24, 25ac; 8, 15dn) – but many of these were made much easier if you spotted the theme, clockwise in the perimeter squares. This was a particularly impressive construction as even without this feature, every answer had at least half its letters checked.

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Posted in Independent | 3 Comments »

Independent 6296/Dac

Posted by neildubya on 20th December 2006


More quality cluemanship from Dac.

6 hidden in “riCE REAlly”.
10 O,I,GIRL<
11 YO,SEMITE – I guess this is a reference to George Bush’s infamous “Yo Blair!” comment.
13 MEDICK – “medic”. I’d never heard of this plant but with M?D?C? I had a guess.
15 HEN in ACE
23 A in ACHE,N or ACHE in A,N – not sure which. Does “visit” indicate going in something or around something? Answers on a postcard please?
24 SERGEANT – (GETS NEAR)*. A reference to the character in the Hardy novel, “Far from the Madding Crowd”. I’ve read this, but ages ago now so I couldn’t have told you which novel it was from but I had a vague recollection of a Sergeant Troy from somewhere or other.
2 T(wit),OFFISH – nice clue with a good surface reading.
5 DIP, “tick”
7 HE in RUM
16 LAUD in CIA – CIA is an abbreviation worth remembering as it often proves very useful to setters.
17 CREDITS – double definition.

Posted in Independent | 1 Comment »

Guardian 23,954/Quantum – CD hits a sour note

Posted by loonapick on 20th December 2006


Solving time – 10 minutes – would have been under 5 if I’d realised what what was going on in the middle “column” of the grid.

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Posted in Guardian | 7 Comments »

Coming Soon in 2007 – Independent Weekend Magazine Puzzle

Posted by neildubya on 19th December 2006


From the New Year we will start to cover the advanced cryptic puzzles that appear on a Saturday in the Independent Weekend Magazine. These puzzles are edited by Mike Laws and are generally easier than the Listener or Enigmatic Variations puzzles but a bit harder than a plain barred crossword so they’re ideal if you want to start exploring the world of special advanced cryptics. A review of a recent puzzle, “Squares” will appear on the 22nd of Dec as a taste of things to come.

Posted in Announcements | 3 Comments »

Independent 6295 by Virgilius – F-words in the Indy!

Posted by nmsindy on 19th December 2006


Another amazing tour de force by Virgilius, whose weekly Indy puzzles usually have a theme.

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Posted in Independent | 9 Comments »

Guardian 23,953/Paul – What You See is What You Get

Posted by loonapick on 19th December 2006


I thought that this puzzle was quite tough for a Tuesday morning, or maybe my brain is starting to wind down for the festive season.  As usual. Paul demonstrated some clever wordplay, but he does take some liberties with the definitions in a couple of his clues.

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Posted in Guardian | 3 Comments »

Guardian 23952/Rufus – it’s Christmas already

Posted by ilancaron on 18th December 2006


Virtually every clue is holiday related (xmas, parties, trees, pantos, carols…). I probably missed an allusion or two being of the other faith. I think this is the first of the Xmas-related themes that I’m sure we’ll be solving until 2007.

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Posted in Guardian | 6 Comments »

Independent 6294/Tees

Posted by neildubya on 18th December 2006


I really enjoyed this. Quite tricky in parts, with some subtle and genuinely inventive wordplay. I got one wrong (18D), confirmed one on the Interweb and filled in a couple without fully understanding why but these clicked into place when I looked again. Great start to the week. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Independent | 6 Comments »

Azed 1,802 – Vocabulary 7 down.

Posted by michod on 17th December 2006


I did most of this on the tube, without Chambers, which is an interesting exercise – you have to make quite a few educated guesses and then corroborate them via the dictionary later (I came unstuck doing this in the competition puzzle a few weeks ago when I forgot to check one guess, which was in fact a word of my own invention!) Fifteen words that were new to me – more across than down – which is why doing Azed’s so good for your vocabulary. His clueing is beautifully concise, and a lot of the wordplay’s actually very straightforward once you work out how to split the clue.

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Posted in Azed | 6 Comments »