Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent Crosswords – Review of 2006

Posted by nmsindy on December 31st, 2006


Some explanation first: Since handheld computers first appeared I’ve kept personal records of my times solving the Indy Crossword (including the IoS), mainly to compare the setters. When those handhelds went into the dustbin of IT history, I entered the info on my own PC. I’m happy to share it, now that this website has gone up.

There may be some very slight inaccuracies but they don’t affect the overall picture. Basically each day I enter the solving time in a spreadsheet under the column of the relevant setter. From 2007, I intend to record the date and number of the puzzle as well. I give the solving time only of puzzles correctly solved. Those where I made errors or could not finish are recorded as error.

Unlike Peter B and those experts at Cheltenham and elsewhere, I use every assistance I can get when stuck.

Overall Comment on the puzzles: I like the puzzles to entertain and to be within the range that (a) they are hard enough to be a challenge and (b) not so hard that they cannot be solved in the breaks one gets in a working day. Once again this was the case for me in 2006.

Editor: There was a change in editorship early in 2006. The new editor sets as Eimi.

Setters: The new editor has made significant changes. While five setters have a slot weekly (or close to it), new setters have been introduced, no fewer than 10 appearing who did not appear in 2005, bringing the total number of setters who appeared in 2006 to 22.

Puzzle types: There has been a move to themed puzzles and to more difficult puzzles (the latter especially in the Saturday edition).

Solving times: 364 puzzles in all (every day except Christmas!). Solved 352: Error 12 Average solving time: 23 mins. This compares to 21 mins in 2005 and rose in the second half of the year when the harder puzzles were introduced. Before that it was nudging 20 mins. Solved in less than 30 mins: 76%, less than 20 mins 55%, less than 15 mins, 28%

Quickest solve in this (or any other) year: 7 mins for a Phi puzzle early in the year. Slowest 115 mins for Monk – I think it was the puzzle with CATS and DOGS in the central row and column.

Solving times for individual setters

An error or failure to finish is my own mistake as a solver and in no way adversely reflects on the setter concerned.

I’ve divided setters into two groups – the five with a weekly slot and the others. I show the five in order from the quickest solve to the slowest. The others are shown in ABC order.

Phi (51 puzzles, 0 errors, average solving time 16 mins), Dac (54, 1, 16), Virgilius (50,1, 20), Quixote (53, 0, 22), Nimrod (37, 0, 33).

Alaun (1, 1, NA), Columba (1,0,17), Eimi (9, 0, 26), Empire (8, 0, 30), Glow-worm (6, 0, 16), Hypnos (4,0, 34), Mass (20, 2, 28), Math (15,1, 19), Merlin (12, 2, 22), Monk (11,1,46), Mordred (2,0, 55), Nestor (2,0,46), Obtrox (11,0,22), Papillon (1,1, NA), Punk(1,0,34), Scorpion (5,2, 66), Tees (10, 0, 21)

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