Login:

Password:





Who's online? | Login | Leaderboard | Anagrams

Crossword Championships And Speed Solving

If, like most people, you plod along when solving a cryptic crossword, then have you ever watched a crossword championship?

These events are truly incredible, where the best solvers literally read the clues and write answers in at the same time! Whereas for mere mortals you need to ponder a clue, often for several minutes, and often giving up after your pondering doesn't lead you to the answer, the best solvers can almost just write in the answers for cryptic crosswords.

How do they do this? Well no doubt lots and lots of practice is key, often solving several puzzles a day. But more than that they just seem to have a massive general knowledge and an intuitive built-in natural ability to just instantly be able to parse a clue, work out what type it is, and then arrive at the answer.

For most people, part of the pleasure of the cryptic is just to solve it at leisure, with no clock. However, if you are interested in speed solving, then you need to start timing your solve. And, since in a competition you will not have recourse to electronic aids, then you need to get used to actually working out anagram answers and so forth by hand (if you currently, like many solvers, use online tools or other gadgets). Also if you can't think of a word that fits a pattern of letters, then you'll just have to keep on thinking - no electronic aids to suggest words here!

In order to quality for a championship, you will typically be sent a puzzle or puzzles to solve, or have to solve puzzles in a newspaper, then send off your solving time - with the best solvers picked to attend the championships where you will solve puzzles in exam conditions. So there is no point cheating as you will get found out in the championship itself!

The best solvers of a newspaper cryptic crossword can solve a puzzle in around 8 minutes in total, which is pretty incredible when you consider that if there are 30 clues in the puzzle that works out at 16 seconds per clue: that's to read the clue, understand and parse it, and then to work out and write in the answer: pretty insane solving, really!

Of course, those fastest solvers are exceptional... if you can solve a cryptic crossword consistently - fully - and without help - in around 15 minutes or less then you are right up there with the best solvers and could potentially qualify for a cryptic crossword solving competition, although you'll need to occasionally hit around the 10 minute mark to have a chance of doing really well at one.

Are you a speed solver? What's your best time? We'd love to hear from you.
Date written: 21 Apr 2015



Comment on this post

You must be logged in to comment - please Register or Login

Other Blog Posts You Might Find Interesting...

Cryptic Crosswords: Hidden Word Clues
One type of cryptic crossword clue is called the 'hidden word' clue. As the name suggests, the answer here is actually hidden in the clue. This sounds like it would be far too easy, but actually these answers can be very hard to spot - even when you...
Added: 17 Apr 2015


Tips On Solving A-Z Puzzles
Every A-Z puzzle starts the same: with a completed crossword grid, save for the small matter of 26 squares being blank, and you as the solver must decide which letter from A-Z fits in each empty square, with the important caveat that each letter appears...
Added: 02 Apr 2015


Cryptic Crossword Anagram Indicators
When solving a cryptic crossword one thing you can be sure of is that there will be some anagram clues, or partial anagram clues, in the solving mix. Some cryptic crosswords have over 50% of the clues containing anagrams in some form, whilst even the...
Added: 16 Apr 2015


Quick Crossword Writing Tips
Writing a quick crossword may sound very straightforward, but it is actually difficult to write a good puzzle. Indeed, many newspaper puzzles are written by hand by the people that also write the cryptic puzzles, you just generally do not realise it. The...
Added: 07 Jun 2015


Skeleton Crosswords And Symmetry
Skeleton crosswords are one of the hardest puzzles there are, and certainly one of the hardest crossword variants - probably alongside the cryptic crossword with the specialist solving skills that puzzle requires. Like the cryptic crossword, one's...
Added: 01 Apr 2015




Back to Puzzle Blog


Puzzle Types:
Arrow word Puzzles
Pangram Puzzles
General Knowledge Crosswords
Quick Crosswords
Wordwheels
Word Ladders
Word Fit
Skeleton Crosswords
A to Z Puzzles
Codewords
Cryprograms Online
Every Letter Counts