Posted by nmsindy on December 31st, 2008
The Indy under its editor, Eimi, who took over early in 2006, continued in 2008 its pattern of puzzles, many of which have themes and/or Ninas. A Nina is a hidden message in the grid not necessary for solving but which can certainly speed it up if you see it emerging! (Named after the American artist Al Hirschfield who liked to incorporate the name of his daughter Nina into his sketches.)
This review lists below the number of puzzles by each setter and my average solving time. I do not approach puzzles in ‘race the clock’ mode nor am I a super-fast solver but I think it’s interesting to note the times in order to compare the setters and see whether a puzzle is relatively hard or easy. My average solving time was just over 30 mins compared with 29 mins in 2007.
I occasionally do the Times puzzle, if I have time, (another excellent puzzle with many of the same setters, though, by policy I think, a generally Nina-free zone). I noted solving times for these and in 2008 the sample I did was just a little easier than the Indy (average solving time just under 29 mins).
One new setter (Radian) made a début in the Indy in 2008 and the other main change was that, apparently due to work pressures, the excellent setter and former Indy crossword editor Virgilius appears fortnightly rather than weekly.
My personal solving times for 2008 in ABC order of setters
Please note solving errors are my own and do not reflect on setters in any way.
My fastest solve was 10 mins (Quixote once and Phi twice) and the slowest 120 mins (Scorpion’s puzzle on 29 March). I’ve recorded the dates and solving times of puzzles, though I’ve not kept the puzzles themselves. If anyone is interested in these please contact me through this site or my own email address which some will know.
The stats are in the form (total puzzles, puzzles with errors or unfinished, average solving time in minutes – for solved puzzles only)
Al (1 puzzle, 0 with errors or unfinished, 32 mins), Bannsider (8, 1, 69), Dac (53, 0, 20), Eimi (13, 1, 32), Glow-worm (7,2,35), Hypnos (9, 2, 32), Mass (3,1,32), Math (10, 1, 35), Merlin (8,1,31), Monk (9, 1, 38), Mordred (8,0,35), Morph (11,0, 39), Nestor (13,4,40), Nimrod (32, 4, 46), Phi (52, 1, 24), Punk (16,1,31), Quixote (52,1,19), Radian(10,0,33), Scorpion (10,1, 52), Tees (12,1,47), Virgilius (29,2,28)