Never knowingly undersolved.

Indy – Review of 2010

Posted by nmsindy on December 31st, 2010


As in former years, I noted down my solving times for Indy puzzles in 2010.     I do not approach puzzles in ‘race the clock’ mode, but always found it interesting to note the solving times especially to compare the setters.     The average solving time for a setter’s puzzles is irrelevant to enjoyment of the puzzle which IMHO is the only purpose of this leisure activity and, while it’s a cliché, variety is the spice of life.

Including IoS, 364 puzzles appeared, ie every day except Christmas Day.    In 27 of these I could not finish or made errors.     My average solving time for the others was 34 mins ( in 2009 it was 32 mins).        Fastest, a Quixote puzzle (9 mins), slowest, one by Mordred (119 mins).

My average solving time for each setter, in order from the longest to the shortest, were

Bannsider 74,    Nimrod  56,   Anax 54, Tyrus 53, Mass 52, Yorick 51,  Mordred 48,  Klingsor  46,   Scorpion  45, Nestor 44, Merlin 41, Morph 41, Tees 38, Math 35, Punk 34, Eimi 33,   Radian 31, Hypnos 29, Phi 28,  Nitsy 28,  Quaiteaux  24, Virgilius 23,  Dac 23, Quixote 23, Glow-worm 22, Poins 13.

The number of appearances by each setter were   52   Dac, Phi, Quixote   19 Nimrod   17  Anax   16  Virgilius   14 Eimi,  12 Nestor,  Tees   11 Punk, Radian, Scorpion  10 Mordred, Morph   9 Bannsider, Raich, Tyrus   8 Glow-worm    7  Hypnos   6  Math   5 Klingsor   4  Merlin   2 Mass, Nitsy,  Quaiteaux   1  Poins,  Yorick

All that remains is to wish all setters, bloggers, commenters and all other readers of the blogs on this website all the best for 2011, with a special thanks to Eimi for adding Raich, who has appeared in other crossword series, to the Indy team in 2010, particularly satisfying for someone who has tackled pretty much every Indy cryptic crossword since the paper was launched in the heady days of 1986.    They made a big thing of the crossword then, even producing a ‘how to solve’ booklet and it revived my cryptic crossword interest which had been dormant for a while.

9 Responses to “Indy – Review of 2010”

  1. Handel says:

    Fascinating stuff – thanks! Look forward to reading your blogs in 2011.

  2. Ali says:

    Excellent analysis as always, Niall. No real surprise to see Bannsider, Nimrod and Tyrus near the top end, with relative newcomer Anax proving equally tricky! I still think that 52, 23-minute sessions with Dac is about as good as it gets, but have equally enjoyed wrestling with (and often being beaten by) the big boys.

    I head for the Indy as a matter of course now as I’m afraid that I’ll miss out on something good if I don’t, and believe that Eimi has established a cracking team of setters and a great editorial style which make the puzzle pretty much unmissable. Many thanks to the ed, all setters and bloggers, and an extra special congrats on your Raich debut which was thoroughly deserved after some great thematic puzzles.

  3. Tees says:

    Cheers Niall – thanks for the excellent analysis, the great blogging and your own fine puzzles.


  4. Quixote.. says:

    If Niall could bear it, maybe he could (without doing ALL the puzzles) give a comparison of all the broadsheets in 2011 — there’s a challenge. I suspect that The Indy’s are now the hardest and will therefore appeal to a narrower sector of the market — but I’m guessing! But thanks NMS for all your hard work — and a happy new year!

  5. nmsindy says:

    Happy New Year to you, also, Don.

    In regard to difficulty, have solved some puzzles in all the main series in 2010 (except for the Guardian) and noted solving times. I’d say Times and Indy are about equal in difficulty, then Toughie in Telegraph, then FT, then Daily Telegraph cryptic in that order. The distinctive feature of the Indy ones in the Eimi era is the appearance of themes/Ninas, not every day but pretty often.

  6. Michod says:

    Much less scientifically, I’d agree that the Times and Indy are, on average, about equal in difficulty but generally harder than the Guardian. But that’s just on the basis of how often I finish comfortably before I have to get off the tube for work, chopping and changing which paper I get on the way.
    Thanks for the annualysis, Niall, and congrats on your debut. Happy New Year to Mike/Eimi and all my fellow beggars and slotters.

  7. jmac says:

    Thanks for providing such an interesting benchmark. also, I see from the updated Setters page that you are Gurney – the provider of one of my favourite puzzles of the year. Bravo.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Niall. I have been a bit of an Indy obsessive in 2010, so it was nice to see your analysis. This is probably the place to say that while I correctly finish the Indy daily crossword only three or four times a week on average, it’s almost without exception a fair challenge and the harder ones are helping me to get better as a solver. So thanks to all involved.

    I do like the Guardian puzzles as well, but in my opinion the Indy is more consistent, with all the setters providing enjoyable stuff for us in a variety of styles. While the Guardian blog gets more comments, I think that’s partly to do with there being more to complain about, and maybe partly because more people solve it? Dunno.

    Anyway, looking forward to more good stuff this year. Also just to remind folk that the Friday Independent i (the 20p version) has recently introduced a prize cryptic. I did yesterday’s (by Phi) and really enjoyed it.

  9. Paul B says:

    More to complain about? Shhhuurely shome mishtake, K’s D!

    Notwithstanding that, I agree completely. Plus there are more Graudnai readers than Indy readers just for now, and a v. long tradition of Internet, um, interest for that particular xwd on hallowed GU.


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