Posted by nmsindy on December 31st, 2011
As in previous years, since 15 sq began in 2006, I’m posting an annual review for the Indy cryptic puzzles (including IoS) giving average solving times for puzzles for each setter. As before, I emphasise that I do not approach these puzzles in ‘race-the-clock’ mode but nonetheless find it of interest to compare how difficult the various setters are. Also there is no correlation (direct or inverse!) between time needed to solve a puzzle and enjoyment derived from it.
My average solving time in 2011 (for puzzles I solved correctly) was 35 mins . In 2010 it was 34 mins. There were 364 puzzles in all (every day except Christmas Day). In 21 of these I made errors or could not finish. The average solving times for setters from the longest to the shortest were – Bannsider 63 mins, Nimrod 60, Anax 54, Tyrus 54, Nestor 51, Monk 49, Morph 48, Radian 47, Quaiteaux 46, Tees 45, Anarche 43, Punk 41, Klingsor 39, Mordred 38, Scorpion 37, Glow-worm 34, Math 31, Crosophile 30, Hypnos 27, Nitsy 27, Phi 27, Eimi 26, Poins 26, Dac 21, Quixote 18. The slowest was 120 mins for an Anax puzzle on 4 July with the quickest 10 mins for puzzles by Dac and Quixote. Appearances in 2011 by each setter: Phi 53, Dac 43, Quixote 33, Anax 21, Nimrod 21, Crosophile 20, Punk 13, Radian 13, Nestor 12, Scorpion 12, Tees 12, Hypnos 11, Raich 11, Glow-worm 10, Klingsor 10, Morph 10, Monk 9, Tyrus 9, Eimi 8, Mordred 8, Bannsider 7, Poins 7, Anarche 4, Math 3, Nitsy 3, Quaiteaux 1.
Alas, we have to note the passing during the year of two Indy setters – Mass (Harold Massingham) and Yorick/Esau (Mike Laws).
Also, to anticipate a question I’ve been asked before, my experience is that the level of difficulty of the Indy puzzle is fairly similar to the Times, with puzzles in the following series progressively less difficult in order – Toughie (Daily Telegraph), FT, main Daily Telegraph puzzle. Would not have solved Guardian often enough to give a view, but, from those I’ve tackled, I thought the difficulty level varied very widely from quite easy to extremely difficult.
Many thanks to the editor Eimi who has put a very strong, innovative, personal stamp on the series since he took over in 2006, and to all the setters. I cannot think of a puzzle that I did not enjoy in 2011 and am looking forward to more in 2012.
Happy New Year to all.