Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent – Review of 2009

Posted by nmsindy on December 31st, 2009


There were 364 puzzles (every day except Christmas Day) in the Indy (including IoS) in 2009.      23 setters appeared.    The policy of using themes, Ninas, continued, maybe even intensified.

Nmsindy made errors or could not finish in 32 of the puzzles, for the others the average solving time was 32 mins, a little higher than in 2008, when it was 30 mins.    Nmsindy also tackled quite a few Times puzzles and noted that the standard in solving times was very similar.

Fastest solve  was 11 mins, 4 times for Quixote in the IoS, longest 123 mins for the Tyrus puzzle themed on clubs which appeared on 24 November.     Solving times are recorded out of interest esp to compare the setters, but solving is not approached in ‘race the clock’ mode nor is length of solving time any indication of relative level of enjoyment.

Listed below, in ascending order of difficulty are my average solving times for each setter, followed by the number of their puzzles that appeared in 2009.

Quaiteaux  (20 mins, 2 puzzles), Hypnos (20, 9), Quixote (21, 52), Dac (23, 52), Phi (25,  51), Virgilius (27, 26), Merlin (31, 8),  Eimi (33, 9),  Morph (34, 11),    Glow-worm (34, 9   ), Radian (34,14), Math (35,  6 ), Punk (36, 13 ),   Monk (39,  6 ), Tees (39, 12 ),  Nestor (42, 12 ),  Mordred (45,9 ),  Mass (47,  3 ), Nimrod (48, 27),  Scorpion (50, 10 ), Anax (59, 7), Tyrus (65,  9 ), Bannsider (67, 7 ).

My thanks to them all, and the to editor Eimi, of course, for the enjoyment provided and all best wishes for 2010.

3 Responses to “Independent – Review of 2009”

  1. anax says:

    My word, nmsindy, what a fascinating insight! As for my own puzzles averaging around an hour to solve, that’s maybe not surprising since, as a newcomer, my little setting quirks won’t be completely familiar yet.

    Of special note, though, are your solving times for Dac’s puzzles. Surely it’s the mark of a truly great setter that he combines wonderfully smooth (and technically sound) clues which, despite their deception, are reasonably easy to solve. If I ever get to emulate that skill I’ll be a happy little setter!

    To my fellow setters – and particularly to Eimi for accepting me into this elite band of innovators – and to all bloggers and commenters, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

  2. eimi says:

    Thanks, nmsindy, for your analysis, which is always helpful. I don’t even keep records of how many times each setter has appeared, so that’s often revealing too. If Gaufrid doesn’t mind, it would be good to see other solvers’ ideas of the most difficult setters.

    Thanks to Anax – you’re very welcome and the Indy is a stronger band for your addition to it.

    I wish all solvers, setters and bloggers a happy and prosperous new year and, providing the paper can keep its head above water, I can promise at least one new setter, as I have done each year, the return of one setter who has been away for a while, and, hopefully, lots of further entertainment, erudition and enjoyment in 2010.


  3. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    This matches my memory of my own experience pretty well. Monk and Nestor can be very difficult, but not so often as the hardest setters.

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