Posted by nmsindy on December 31st, 2012
As in previous years, I’m giving my solving times for the Indy crossword for 2012 showing the average for each setter. Also for the first time this year, analysis is given of each day of the week.
The layout is (1) introduction (2) solving times for each setter from the hardest to the easiest (3) average solving time for each day of the week (4) number of appearances by each setter (5) general information on methodology and how I approached the task and (6) conclusion.
The analysis covers both Independent and Independent on Sunday. In the (leap) year there were 365 puzzles ie every day except Christmas Day. For puzzle 8000, a special crossword appeared set by both Eimi and Nimrod. This is considered separately (as Eimi/Nimrod) from the puzzles they individually set. My average solving time in 2012 was 35 minutes – the same as in 2011. I correctly solved all but 23 (corresponding figure in 2011 was 21). In those I either made an error or could not finish. In previous years, time spent at those puzzles was not included in the analysis – this year it is. This issue is covered in more detail in the methodology section (5) below. The hardest puzzle was 99 mins for the Bannsider Saturday puzzle of 31 March – the easiest 12 mins on a couple of occasions (Nitsy and Quixote).
(2) Average Solving Times by Setter
These were (in minutes) – Nimrod 65, Bannsider 64, Tyrus 63, Rorschach 52, Anax 51, Anarche 50, Nestor 46, Donk 44, Monk 42, Tees 41, Punk 41, Samuel 40, Radian 40, Scorpion 36, Mordred 36, Klingsor 34, Eimi/Nimrod 33, Math 33, Morph 32, Poins 31, Crosophile 31, Jambazi 30, Glow-worm 30, Eimi 29, Phi 29, Hypnos 24, Dac 23, Alchemi 22, Quixote 18, Nitsy 17.
(3) average solving time for each day of the week
Monday 27, Tuesday 39, Wednesday 25, Thursday 45, Friday 29, Saturday 55, Sunday 27, so quite a bit of variation.
(4) number of appearances by each setter
52 Phi, 40 Dac, 27 Quixote 20 Anax 15 Crosophile, Nimrod 13 Radian, Raich, Scorpion 12 Hypnos, Nestor, Poins, Punk, Tees, Tyrus 11 Klingsor, Monk 9 Morph 8 Bannsider, Eimi, Glow-worm, Mordred 4 Jambazi 3 Alchemi, Anarche, Donk, Nitsy, Rorschach 1 Eimi/Nimrod, Math, Samuel.
(5) General information on methodology and how I approached the task
I do not approach puzzles in ‘race the clock’ mode but find it interesting to note solving times esp to compare the setters. As solving these (and similar puzzles) for many years which generally use familiar vocabulary as answers, I’d start with the aim of solving without consulting anything and I’d generally succeed in solving the full puzzle that way. When completely stuck I go for help in any way I can get it (short of simply looking up the answer which is sometimes available) ie I use dictionaries, word lists etc. I usually find that the answer (or element of wordplay) is a word I did not know or had forgotten.
In previous years, I ignored, in the calculations, puzzles I failed to solve. This issue came up in the separate exercise (Which daily cryptic is the hardest?) posted on this site on 22 May 2012. As the puzzles that one failed to solve were usually harder, ignoring them might lead to underestimating solving time. So I included the time spent at them but added five minutes for each error or answer I could not find. I’ve followed the same approach here for the 23 puzzles in question.
I’d like to finish by wishing all the best for 2013 to the Indy crossword editor, all the setters and solvers, all the bloggers on this site and those who comment on or just read the blogs.