Never knowingly undersolved.

Five Years Ago Today

Posted by Gaufrid on November 1st, 2011


Five years ago today (1/11/2006) the first blog appeared on Fifteensquared. It was for Guardian 23,910 by Janus and was written by neildubya, the founder of this site. So, what have we achieved since then?

Well, 5847 puzzles blogged which have attracted in excess of 63,000 comments (the site received its 1,000,000th spam comment a month or so ago). Valid comments are currently being added at a rate of 1600 a month.

This has not been achieved without considerable effort by bloggers past and present and I would like to extend my thanks to them and to those who contribute to the comments.

The total number of puzzles blogged is made up as follows:

Independent / IoS 1843
Guardian 1568
Financial Times 1215
Inquisitor 254
Azed 252
Everyman 168
Enigmatic Variations 158
Beelzebub 158
Private Eye 115
Guardian Quiptic 65
Guardian Genius 51
Total 5847


58 Responses to “Five Years Ago Today”

  1. stiofain says:

    Happy Birthday and many more – not only have 5847 cryptics of various flavours been blogged 15 squared has become the top cryptic community on the web.

  2. scchua says:

    Congratulations to all involved, including – no make that especially – yourself Gaufrid and your predecessor moderators, and founder neildubya. Speaking for myself, as the new blogger on the block, and even before joining, I’ve found it a really impressive site in many respects – organisation, information, variety, enthusiasm, etc. Here’s to much more of the same and perhaps even better in the future! Cheers!

  3. shuchi says:

    Happy birthday! Fifteensquared is an invaluable asset to the crossword community, may it continue to spread entertainment and knowledge in the years to come.

    Special thanks to Gaufrid for being a superb moderator.

  4. Phi says:

    Yes, bravo to all concerned, from one who I suppose has given you plenty to chew over. Which you generally reciprocate, of course.

  5. Quixote etc says:

    Congratulations on maintaining a high standard throughout the five years. Well done for steering clear of the obsession with time taken by the blogger (along with excuses for why it was so long) and for steering clear of the tempation to add laddie pictures for clues that are best left to the imagination. I think you are overall the most sensible of all the crossword blogs and long may you thrive!

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid and to all the bloggers and contributors. This is an invaluable resource for people to learn more about cryptic crossword solving, and to have some fun by joining in with the banter.

  7. jetdoc says:

    Happy birthday to us all. Thanks to Neil for the idea in the first place, and to everyone — notably Gaufrid, but lots of others — who has worked so hard to keep it going. We should be proud.

  8. tupu says:

    Many thanks to Gaufrid and to Neildubya, and to bloggers and contributors to this great site.
    Gaufrid especially is the epitome of the reasonable ‘webmaster’ – long may he reign!

  9. Big Dave says:

    Happy Birthday to the second most popular Crossword Blog!

  10. Eileen says:

    Congratulations to all!

    Many thanks to Neil and to Gaufrid [the statistics he’s provided above are evidence of the hours he spends maintaining this site!] and to all fellow-bloggers and commenters for being such a good-natured lot [on the whole ;-)] and – one thing that makes this site so special – the setters who not only provide us with daily entertainment but also drop in from time to time to comment and clarify.

    Looking forward to seeing quite a few of you in Derby later this month!

  11. Stella Heath says:

    Happy birthday, and long may you reign!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Yes, definitely something to celebrate. Since I stumbled on the site a couple of years ago, my solving has improved enormously. That’s down to the bloggers who’ve explained so much to me, and together with the commenters have provided lots of interesting, and invariably polite, discussions.

    And I’ll embarrass Gaufrid a bit further by echoing all the comments above, especially tupu’s.

  13. Conrad Cork says:

    Just to add my $0.02 worth to all of the above.

    Fifteensquared is now in effect the hub around which my world revolves. (Ok, something else to discuss at my local Get-a-Life Club, but I mean it.) A real sense of community. What a privilege to be able to participate. And what a sense of gratitude to all who administer, blog and contribute.

  14. anax says:

    Warmest congratulations from me, too, and thanks to Gaufrid for maintaining the most diverse cryptic blog on the planet. It’s amazing to think that, at just 5 years old, FifteenSquared is one of the oldest crossword blogs (T4TT is just a year or so older, I think?) – makes you realise how secretive and arcane cryptics could be, to many, only a short time ago.

  15. Gnomethang says:

    Many congratulations on the milestone achievement. I hope to catch up with some of you in Derby this month.

  16. cholecyst says:

    Happy Birthday 15×15! And thanks to all you bloggers too. Especial thanks to Gaufrid for his time and dedication.

  17. Orlando says:

    Happy birthday, and congratulations to neildubya, Gaufrid and the rest of the crew.

    Long may you prosper.

  18. Gervase says:

    Well done to all, especially the bloggers and those setters who enter the fray. And Gaufrid, of course, for his moderate moderation. An endlessly entertaining forum for pleasant pedantry – long may it survive.

  19. liz says:

    Happy Birthday Fifteensquared! Many, many thanks to Neil, Gaufrid and the bloggers who devote so much time to providing us with entertainment and enlightenment.

    I stumbled across the site a few years ago and since then it has given me a great deal of pleasure. (My solving has also greatly improved.)

    I look forward to meeting many of you at Derby!

  20. pommers says:

    Happy Birthday and here’s to the next 5 years.

    My thanks to all concerned.

  21. Arachne says:

    Happy Birthday Fifteensquared! The dedication, erudition and wit of bloggers here never cease to amaze me. Congratulations and thanks to all, and of course to Gaufrid in particular. Cheers! Love and hugs, Arachne x

  22. Jan says:

    Happy Birthday, indeed.

    I echo all the above sentiments and thank Neil, Gaufrid and all the bloggers for their efforts on our behalf. This site has really heightened my enjoyment of crosswords.

    Having only been used to UK/US forums I especially relish the contributions from farther-away places.

  23. Tees & Neo says:

    5 years is it eh? Re-elect!

  24. yogdaws says:

    Happy Birthday from Willesden…

    Whether we complete and need some expert parsing or do not complete and need answers…

    15 Squared is our first (and last) port of call.

    Thank you for all your time, wit and brainpower.

    BTW. ‘Big Dave’ – what is, in your opinion, the FIRST most popular crossword blog? (Not that we’re about to defect or anything).

    Best wishes,

    Yogdaws and co

  25. Allan_C says:

    Can’t let the occasion pass, although it’s all been said already. But to put it slightly differently, llongyfarchiadau! (That’s Welsh for congratulations).

  26. jmac says:

    A brilliant site. Many thanks to all involved in producing and running it.

  27. dialrib says:

    Congratulations! And a heartfelt thank you to all involved.

  28. Pelham Barton says:

    Congratulations and thanks to all those who keep this a site that is a joy to use.

  29. nmsindy says:

    As one who was there from the start, and, has, I think (at 445) written more blogs than anyone else on the site, I’d like to acknowledge neildubya’s vision in setting up the site, and Gaufrid’s incredible work keeping it going for most of those five years.
    Thanks to all bloggers and commenters over the years.

  30. Puskás says:

    Having recently learnt the phrase “frequent lurker” on this site, congratulations, the community as a whole has contributed (Liz said it first) to my better solving and a higher frequency of those “aha” moments. I suspect the efforts made to maintain the site are appreciated by more than you know. I suspect further that the frequent appearance of setters (I’m an expat, online is my only access, and the Reverend made me a Grauniad man 3 decades ago) is a mark of respect which even the “most popular” site would envy.

  31. Puskás says:

    …and seeing Boatman comment on Brendan yesterday (All Saints Day holiday here today, as in much of the “continent”, so I am writing ex post) reinforced my view. Elegant praise, as should be between cruciverbalists.

  32. neildubya says:

    Was it really 5 years ago? Thank you for the kind comments but I feel I really should point out that I basically nicked the idea from Mr Biddlecombe and his Times for the Times blog. And I don’t think it would be where it is today without Gaufrid; he took the whole thing over from me at a time when I was really struggling to devote any attention to it and he has put more time and effort in it than I ever would have been able to. Bravo sir, and thank you.

  33. Pete Maclean says:

    Congratulations and thanks to Gaufrid and neildubya for everything and especially for providing such a splendid venue for us bloggers to contribute in.

  34. flashling says:

    Indeed thanks all and to Gaufrid for allowing me to enter this esteemed company and his guidance in my early days here. I wonder how the blogging style has changed over the years. Would be nice for shy lurkers to come out of the shadows and help us and the setters improve. Here’s to the next 5.

  35. Wil Ransome says:

    Nothing to add, really. Everything has been said. I agree with and echo all the remarks above, especially of course the thanks to Gaufrid. As a blogger, in all my communications with him I have found him unfailingly helpful.

    My only regret is choosing such a widely-used pen-name for my blogs. There must be lots of people out there called John who are reluctant to post for fear of being confused with me.

  36. flashling says:

    @wil not to mention the unfortunate crossword meaning of John, at least today’s john was elton.

  37. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Without Fifteensquared (which I probably discovered purely by accident – I can’t remember anymore) I wouldn’t be where I am now in Crosswordland. I said a similar thing when we all celebrated Araucaria’s 90th birthday as one of his puzzles was my introduction to UK crosswords, one that featured the Sandy Balfour book title “Pretty Girl In Crimson Rose (8)”.
    Both “events” are equally important to me, but, no mistake about that, Fifteensquared has become my favourite website. By miles (and miles and miles and miles – thx to The Who). Without Fifteensquared I wouldn’t have met Dean, John(s), Michael, Roger or Sarah (in alphabetical order) – they have enriched my life.
    These non-pseudonym-people (as well as all the other ones around) have made a huge contribution to my understanding of the English language.
    Cor blimey, I really learned a lot [cor blimey?, see?], certainly after I started writing all these extensive posts. Nowadays I am a bit more low-profile, but believe me, writing comments has really helped me improving my language skills. I know I still make mistakes, but the fact that nobody is going to punish me for that, is another great thing of Fifteensquared.
    Late October I said about a great Brendan puzzle that it was ‘affectionate’.
    Fifteensquared is just like that!

    Many many many many many thanks to Gaufrid.
    Without a Heart a Body doesn’t function.

  38. Paul B says:

    Wil, change it to Mr. E. A. Wilson. Or W. Normalise … or N. Womaniser?

  39. stumped says:

    Congratulations to all involved. Discovered this site less than a month ago. The blogs and comments are invaluable to a beginner.

    Intermittent, losing hundred, and one below average scores this felicitation! (5,7)

  40. Bannsider says:

    Congrats on the birthday! It’s not only entertaining reading but provides lots of valuable feedback for us setters. Unfortunately, my attempts to set easier puzzles as a result of them never seem to work!

  41. Alan Moore says:

    This is a wonderful website for me. I nearly always struggle with the crosswords and I find it invaluable. Long may it continue.

  42. Tramp says:

    Happy birthday. What an excellent site it is too, thanks to all the hard work from the bloggers. Keep up the good work.

  43. dippyd says:

    I’ve been using the blog for 3 years and have learnt a great deal! Thank you to all the bloggers.

  44. stanXYZ says:

    This site is a godsend for someone like me who rarely finishes a crossword understanding all the wordplay! Thanks!

  45. verbose says:

    Love this site. Live long and prosper!

  46. Gerry says:

    The site has added another dimension to cryptic crosswords…thanks for all the work.

  47. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Gaufrid for your unceasing dedication to this site.

  48. mike04 says:

    I’d like to thank neildubya for ‘nicking the idea’ and Gaufrid for all his hard work
    and scrupulously fair day-to-day umpiring.

    The crossword site bloggers have contributed so much to our hobby over the years
    as well. Many thanks to all of them.

    Back in the 1970s, I remember struggling for hours with Guardian Crosswords.
    How I wish this site had been in existence years and years ago!

  49. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    A belated Happy Birthday from me too. Neil Wellard set up Fifteensquared about the same time as I was changing “Times from the Times” to a team effort after nearly a year of writing short reports on my own. If I remember right, Neil offered to help expand Times for the Times to cover other papers, but I thought it was better to have a separate blog. I can’t remember exactly why I thought so, but I think it was the right decision.

    Keep up the good work!

  50. Ringo says:

    I’m a bit late to the party, here, but I’d just like to add yet another Thank-you and Well Done to everyone behind Fifteen Squared, Neil and Gaufrid in particular. There’s nothing quite like it, as far as I’m concerned.

  51. Alberich says:

    Happy Birthday and many thanks for all your tireless work. We all get stuck on a clue from time to time, and the clear and detailed explanations your bloggers provide are far more helpful than just looking up the answer. When you know WHY the answer is what it is, you’ll know what to do next time something similar appears in a clue. No doubt many readers have become better solvers as a result of your analyses – I know I have.

    What’s more you keep us setters on our toes which can only be a good thing. And what a joy to find a forum where both newcomers and old hands are treated with equal courtesy, and where criticism of a puzzle or setter’s work is always positive and never malicious. Even on crossword forums that doesn’t always happen.

    Celebrate well and keep up the excellent work!


  52. Klingsor says:

    For once, I agree entirely with Alberich.

  53. Radian says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary and thank you for keeping this setter on his toes. I for one am acutely aware of all those invisible 225ers looking over my shoulder every time I’m about to hit the button to fire off another puzzle. So I take one last look – and pray.

  54. chas says:

    I add my congratulations to Gaufrid and all the bloggers.

    I cannot remember how I discovered this site but it has been a real boon.

    How many times have I thought the answer must be xxx but WHY? – now I can come here and see the reason :)

  55. ilancaron says:

    Thanks to Neil for letting an American upstart (and neophyte) as myself try my hand at blogging — albeit at first the easy end the spectrum (Everyman) and then later the harder end, namely Azed.

    Certainly this site has served as an excellent forum for we poor solvers to meet the exalted and almighty setters. Who turn out to be Real People. Shocking!

  56. bob says:

    A belated Happy Birthday from another struggling solver who finds the blog invaluable. I particularly treasure the occasional tangential links to other topics, which have led me to many happy hours of discovery.

  57. Chaz says:

    Warmest congratulations to the blog and all involved.

  58. ele says:

    Just arrived on the site to find the last few answers to today’s Indie puzzle and send warmest congratulations to all the setters and bloggers. It’s a great site.

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