Never knowingly undersolved.

Sunday Cryptic Puzzles

Posted by Admin on January 19th, 2012


Anax is trying to get some feedback as to what people think about the level of difficulty of the Sunday cryptics. To this end he has added a poll to his website. It only requires you to select one answer from four so please take a minute or two to pay his site a visit: Anax Poll.

4 Responses to “Sunday Cryptic Puzzles”

  1. Don Manley says:

    Those who are interested may visit the Crossword Centre message board to discover the reservations I have about this exercise. I have always regarded the style of puzzle to be a matter between the crossword setter and the crossword editor, and I am not at all sure that Anax wil have a truly representative sample (let’s face it, we bloggers are generally at the higher-ability end of the spectrum).

    I hope that whatever the result, crossword editors will remain in control of the types of puzzles they regard as suitable for their readers.
    Some authentic market research on their part might be a good idea, but not this skewed activity.

    I have no doubt that this argument will be rubbished here, as elsewhere, but I shall have nothing further to say on the matter.

  2. anax says:

    It is skewed activity, of course. Even if voters on the poll represented all levels of solving ability they still only represent those solvers who follow their hobby online. We might infer that taking the trouble to indulge a hobby online indicates a higher involvement than the purely casual solver, and that higher involvement is likely to be coupled with higher solving ability, and thus a willingness/desire to have tougher puzzles.
    Editors and setters do and should agree style/difficulty but, as in all commercial ventures, what customers want is important. The results of the poll will be far from definitive but, evaluated properly, I hope they will give a general feel of solver opinion.
    For those interested, results so far suggest that around 18% of solvers would prefer all Sunday puzzles to be easy and about 26% want them tough. We can’t take this at face value for the reasons explained above, but we also have to think a little about wording.
    My interpretation is that 26% WANT tougher puzzles, while 18% NEED easy ones, and I’d say the need is more important. So ignore the percentages – the simple fact is that a significant number of solvers regard the Sunday puzzles as an opportunity to practice solving on a day when they are likely to have most time available.

  3. Walduck says:

    Just wanted to point out that not all visitors to this site are advanced bloggers! I find it very useful as a relative beginner. However, as my crossword activity is almost entirely during weekday commutes, I don’t have any particular views on Sunday puzzles.

  4. muck says:

    I don’t think the Anax poll is likely to be useful and haven’t responded.
    I can usually complete the Guardian daily cryptic when I have time and inclination.
    Observer: Everyman isn’t too challenging in comparison; Azed I rarely attempt.

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